It takes a lot to get me really mad. I'm the kind of person who doesn't often send food back to the kitchen or bother to return to a store if I later find an overcharge I think was an honest mistake.
I seldom raise my voice in anger when I get lousy customer service. I'm really appreciative of good customer service and say so when I get it.
That said, I've reached my limit with Spring Green out of Green Bay, Wisconsin. We've tried every route of resolution to deal with their deceptive business practices, and have gotten nowhere, so now I feel it's only fair to warn others of what they may encounter should they decide to go with Spring Green.
In early 2007 it was our first spring in our new home. We'd never put any chemicals on any lawn we'd maintained, but since the previous owner here had done so, we signed up for a summer program through Spring Green. They were to make several visits throughout the season. By the time we had received two applications, we had discussed the necessity of this service with our new neighbors and decided we really didn't need it and we weren't sure we like the idea of chemicals on the lawn anyway. At that time, we were not unhappy with the service; we had just decided that we'd wait and see how our lawn behaved before deciding what we may or may not need/want.
Obviously our request to cancel was received and understood, as Spring Green did not send any one to service our lawn again that year.
Fast forward to 2008. We begin getting calls from Spring Green, but we keep missing them. Finally, I catch a call, and a technician asks if we would like to sign up for the same service we had signed up for the previous year. I tell him no, we canceled last year because we just want to wait and see what happens if we deal with it ourselves. Besides, companies were offering an organic alternative this year, and we thought we might do that if we did anything at all. I'm thinking that's the end of it. Had I known I was dealing with people who would try to rip me off, I would have documented the call. However, most of the people I've dealt with in WI have been incredibly friendly and honest. I did not record his name or the date of the call. My mistake.
Weeks later, there are little flags in our yard. We figure our condo-mate must have signed up for lawn care. But later, she comes over and asks US if we did, because a bill was left on her condo. It had our name and address on it, but it was left on her door. Both of our homes are clearly marked with our addresses. We get to talking with other neighbors, and we are told that a lot of people are having this problem. My husband wants to pay it and avoid hassle. I insist that we did not request the service, it's their loss. It seems to me that they are counting on a lack of communication between condo owners, and they figure most people are just going to figure they got the service, they'll pay the nominal fee. The charge was $46.09.
MY problem with this is that if they screw enough people, they make a huge profit by being dishonest. I'm vehemently against rewarding unethical behavior just for the sake of laziness.
So, my husband writes to Spring Green and explains the situation. They insist that the service automatically continues without notification of discontinuation. After getting nowhere with them, he decides he will pay half just so they don't send this stupid bill to a collection agency and ruin our credit. He figures then he'll report them to the BBB, post our experience on Angie's List, and contact Clark Howard and any other news outlet that might be able to protect the consumer. I will add, he did not tell me this was is solution to the problem. Anyway, on July 15th, 2008 he agrees to pay $23.05.
On July 18th, 2008 we get a notice from Spring Green that we have failed to pay a balance of $46.09 on our past due account. The date the letter was drafted was July 16: the day AFTER they had spoke with my husband.
I happen to be the one to open this particular piece of mail, and I'm livid! Had we gotten service all last summer, I'd buy that they didn't know we didn't want their service. But they STOPPED OUR SERVICE AS REQUESTED WHEN WE REQUESTED THEM TO STOP. That means, there was no miscommunication. We did not fail to play by the rules. And they came and serviced the yard anyway, and then were insistent we pay for a service we didn't ask for and didn't want!
So I call and talk to LORI. (This time I got a name and a date: July 18, 2008, around 4 pm.) I explained to her we did not owe them anything, and I was about done being patient. She told ME that my husband had agreed to pay. End of story. The more she insisted that since 'the mister' had agreed to pay, there was nothing more to discuss, the angrier I got, until I finally got to the same place my husband had gotten...we'll pay the damn thing...but I was A LOT more pissed off than he ever got, I guarantee.
When I asked her why, if she had come to this agreement with my husband on the 15th, we were billed for the full amount on the 16th, she said their policy is not to show that on an invoice until the agreed upon 50% has been paid. I told her, if past actions predict future actions, I would fully expect remittance of ANY amount in response to that bill would then be used by Spring Green to somehow 'prove' we agreed to it, and I wanted EVERYTHING in writing EXACTLY as agreed. She informed me that she didn't appreciate my tone. Like having a business lie and expect compensation for it is no reason to get irate.
They could have just said, 'Gee, we're sorry for the confusion. Of course we'll take that charge off.' Instead, they stand to lose hundreds if not thousands as we spread the word of how they treated us. $20 here and $50 there over thousands of potential customers means they make money even if they don't do the work...as long as no one complains and everyone just pays it to keep their credit in good standing.
Like I said, it's not the amount. Sure, it would be easier to just pay it. Most people probably do. But the fact that this is how they handled it says to me that they aren't concerned with customer service. They are concerned with making a buck no matter how they do it. Which also suggests to me that was the plan all along, which is why I'm so upset.
So, buyer beware is all I have to say.