John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

Bad customer service

Last August, I started redirecting all my impersonal emails -- mailing lists, loyalty clubs, contests, daily deals, that sort of thing -- to a new email address, with the goal of reducing the amount of mail flowing into my inbox every day. Usually, it was pretty easy; most commercial emails have a link to update your contact information right there in the email. Others only offered an unsubscribe link, so for those I would just unsubscribe and resubscribe with the new address. For a number of bands whose mailing lists I'd found myself on after downloading music from Noisetrade, there was a way to unsubscribe but not to resubscribe, so for those I had to submit a request through the list management company's customer support, which I thought was weird and inefficient but got the job done.

After an initial flurry of address changes, I had successfully culled most mail of this type from my primary inbox, but every so often I get a message from a list that hadn't contacted me recently. On May 7, I received a message from the online travel site Travelocity. They'd managed to slip through the cracks by not having contacted me at all in over a year. Nor I them, for that matter; when I went to the site to change my email address, I found my profile listed an address and phone number I'd not had since 2005. I went ahead and changed those while I was at it.

On May 8, I got another Travelocity email in my primary inbox. And another on May 10. And another on May 11. And on May 13.

After receiving another one on May 14, I clicked on the link to opt out of promotional emails I found at the bottom of that email, which which took me to an "unexpected response" page. So the next day I submitted a report to customer support, giving them the error message I'd received and explaining how I was continuing to receive emails at my old address a week after changing it. A little over an hour later, I had an apologetic response from Travelocity, confirming that they had no profile associated with that address and asking me, if I received any additional promotional emails from them, to forward those emails to them.

I received another promotional email from them that night, which I dutifully forwarded to them the next morning, May 16. Shortly afterward, I received a Travelocity Email Unsubscribe Notification in my primary inbox and another response from customer support telling me an unsubscribe request had been submitted.

Less than two hours later, I received another Travelocity email. And another one less than five hours after that. And another the next morning, May 17. I forwarded all three, noting on the third that I was "not at all averse to the idea of deleting my Travelocity account altogether, and I will do so if the emails do not stop immediately." I had a response back less than 20 minutes later, saying they were investigating the issue and that they appreciated my patience.

On May 18, I received another Travelocity email, with the oddly appropriate subject "LAST CHANCE." I forwarded it, adding "Last chance, indeed." May 19 passed with no emails, but another one arrived on May 20. This one had the subject "Great Travel Fares from Washington, D.C." which was particularly galling given that I'd updated my physical address that at the same time I'd updated my email. I forwarded it, adding that the next thing I would do after hitting send was cancel my Travelocity account.

But of course it's not that simple. Cancellation requests have to go through customer service, so you probably won't be surprised my account has not yet been cancelled. In fact, here's some evidence to suggest they seem to think the account I want to cancel is under the old address, even though the request was submitted with the new email address and all of their communications with me about both support requests have been sent to the new address. Not to mention that fact that THE WHOLE POINT was that my account was no longer associated with the old address.
Tags: i don't get it

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