It's true: Some companies get it right

Consuming Interests

December 26, 2006|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,Sun Columnist

If you're reading this space for a rousing rendition of The 12 Days of Christmas Shopping Nightmares, prepare for disappointment. If you came looking for another consumer grievance against a soul-less corporate greedmonger, this is not your day. If you were hoping to commiserate with other aggrieved customers to collectively shake an angry fist at the insensitive doofus who owns the neighborhood service company, well, you're out of luck. The specialty here is usually a heaping order of outrage on a plate, but today we're going to do something different - say some nice things about companies. Yes, good stories do exist:

My husband and I own a cedar shake and brick home. We had a wide range of estimates, some frightening, but we knew that the shakes needed to be cleaned and sealed. My husband contacted a company in Edgewood called Malone Power Washing and the young man said he would come and give us an estimate. We agreed to $1,270 for the completed job. The team of two had the job completed in three days and my house looks wonderful. I would refer these young men without hesitation.

- Alice Bingel, Havre de Grace

I ordered two financial kits from author and radio talk show host Dave Ramsey for a class I was going to take with my niece. It turned out that I only needed one kit so I returned the other one. After about two weeks, a credit appeared on my statement, but it was for the amount of both kits instead of just one. I e-mailed the company and told them about their mistake. I then got an e-mail back stating that since it had been their error and the error was in my favor, they were just going to leave it be and let me keep the extra amount for my trouble. It was no trouble at all for me!

- Anne Carroll Gamber, New Windsor

I belong to the Cecil County Board of Realtors. A few weeks ago, the board sent out an e-mail requesting board members to donate sleeping bags for the homeless. That started my quest.

On Nov. 1, I did some on-line research on the [Dick's Sporting Goods] Web site and located sleeping bags for $19.99. My plan was to buy 10. I called the Bel Air store to see if they carried those bags. I was told "no," but after I explained my goal, manager Charles McDaniel was put on the phone. He told me that he would search the stockroom and call back. Shortly thereafter, Mr. McDaniel called and told me that he had 16 adult sleeping bags that he could sell for $200 - six more than I thought I would be able to purchase - perfect. He also made available some youth sleeping bags at 50 percent off - I purchased 10 of those. In this day and age of lackluster customer service, not only did Mr. McDaniel provide incredible customer service but he also assisted me in helping those less fortunate.

- Bruce Hechmer, North East

We purchased an orthopedically correct reclining chair about two years ago from JoAnne's Bed & Back in Timonium. The chair was incredibly comfortable, but in the course of moving it one day, an armrest separated from the base. I called the store manager to arrange for a repair. The manager referred me to a person at the main office who assured me that someone would come out to our house for the repair. After two months, there was no further response, so I stopped in to the Timonium store in person to speak with the manager who sold me the chair. He informed me that he had good news. Because the chair was still under warranty, the company would replace it at no charge. Sure enough, about two weeks later, a truck pulled up in front of our house with a brand-new chair.

- Ed Sherwin, Lutherville

Last summer, I took my 5-year-old daughter along with my two other young children to Wal-Mart in Towson so she could spend some money that she had saved in her piggy bank. My daughter carried the money (cash and mostly coins) in a little plastic baggie for the 90 minutes that she walked the aisles in the electronics and toy departments in search of the perfect way to spend her $9.76. She finally decided on a Pucci Pup and carried the item to the escalator when she discovered that she had lost her bagful of money.

It was a tough way for her to learn that she needed to keep an eye on her money. On the way home from Wal-Mart, I called the store and explained what happened. The very friendly woman on the phone asked me where exactly we had been shopping and said she'd call me back if she found anything. Eight minutes later, the phone was ringing. It was the woman from Wal-Mart saying that my daughter's money had been found by the manager of the toy department. Since Wal-Mart generally receives bad press, I felt like they should be recognized for providing outstanding customer service when it's due.

- Sheila Wagner, Towson

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