Customer service shitlist: Frontier Airlines and FedEx

Two weeks ago, I wrote enthusiastically about Zappos.com, a company that is excelling, seeing 100%+ annual revenue growth largely attributed to phenomenal customer service. Today, I'm beginning a new feature entitled "customer service shitlist" to highlight companies that severely underperform in the customer service department.

Frontier Airlines - I flew to Denver Sunday for work and decided to give Frontier a try as they were the lowest available fare. Upon checking in for my flight, the machine took creative license to reassign me from my aisle to a middle seat. After some strong protests at the gate, the flight agents corrected the situation. Unfortunately, checking in for the return flight, I experienced the same scenario. It also turns out that the seats selected on the web interface that shows a map of the plane with the occupied and unoccupied seats only represents a request, not an assignment on Frontier. Interesting. Frontier must be the only airline to operate this way. Their slogan "a whole different animal" certainly rings true in this case. Where Frontier gets an "F" is in not realizing that I'm a new customer and in this case a lost one.

FedEx - Until my most recent experience with FedEx, I really admired this company. A month ago, I shipped a high end pc to my friend in SF for updates and repairs. When it arrived, the box had been punctured and the computer scratched and case cracked. In addition, several internal components were damaged. The box had clearly been carelessly handled and/or dropped - all this despite the red "fragile" stickers plastered on each side. I declared a value of $3,000 for this package, but when I filed a claim for $875, the runaround began. Two different inspectors, multiple equipment and repair invoices. A claims process that was promised to be resolved in 5-7 days lasted five weeks before it was denied. Why? Because the box used for shipment (which incidentally was the original box for the case with original molded styrofoam) was certified for 14 lbs while the shipment weighed 34. Now, if the pc had fallen out of the box, I could understand this rationale, but the box arrived in tact, just damaged and in much worse condition than when shipped. FedEx CEO, Fred Smith, will be getting a nice letter from me later this week as I continue to plead my case. It will be delivered UPS overnight.

By Josh Guttman

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