Entries in Customers (8)


Website Lets Businesses Share Notes on Bad Customers

Matt Stachel(NEW YORK) -- Customers can rate businesses on sites like the hyper-local Yelp, but where can businesses go to share comments about bad customers?

Matt Stachel, a landscape contractor in Feasterville, Pa., created just the website:

“ is the consequence of a bad customer,” Stachel, 33, said.

"I have worked for plenty of bad customers.  It really was just frustrating always seeing the one-sided story in the media or on Angie’s List or Yelp: the poor customer who gave a contractor a deposit and the contractor left.  Or a restaurant go-er will write, ‘My fork was smudged and I’ll never go back.  They stink,'” he said.

For $15 to $99, business owners can do the same about negative customer experiences.  Business owners can write about customers anonymously, sharing details about customers who, for example, reneged on a contract, warning other businesses to stay away.

“I get there are some bad business owners,” Stachel said.  “I’m not saying there are not.  But where’s my story of customers that my friends and I deal with?”

He likens the site to a reverse Better Business Bureau.

“We are just a resource for the service provider or business owner to rate and review their customer.  We give you the ability to know about your customer before you do an estimate and we empower you with the resource to help get money owed to you when you’ve worked for that customer,” Stachel said.

Stachel reviews every post before it goes on the site, making sure there aren’t profanities and that the member sticks to the facts.

He said many people ask him if there are concerns about slander.

“I always clear up for people that we’re no different than Angie’s list or the Better Business Bureau, or than the food critic that works at the newspaper judging an outlet,” he said.

Stachel said he started working on the site in 2009 and it launched in October 2009.  Membership recently started ballooning after the Philadelphia Metro newspaper and Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about him earlier this month.

He said membership is around 2,500 and growing, with over 11,000 page views on Monday alone.  He tries to work on the website every night from 6 p.m. to about midnight, plus weekends.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Banks Lose Customer Loyalty, Survey Finds

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.) -- Americans don't feel that banks are particularly loyal to them so why should they feel the need to stick with their banks?

A new J.D. Power and Associates survey finds that more customers switched allegiances last year, with 9.6 percent admitting that they opened an account at another bank in 2011.  In 2010, the number of bank-changers was 8.7 percent.

The survey reveals that a third of those who leave their banks cite higher fees as the reason they made the switch.

J.D. Power official Michael Beird remarks, "When banks announce the implementation of new fees, public reaction can be quite volatile and result in customers voting with their feet."

The winners in all this appear to be smaller banks and credit unions.  Their customer base grew by 10.3 percent in 2011, a whopping 2.2 percent increase in new accounts from last year.

A big reason why people decided to leave their old institutions was last November's Bank Transfer Day, a grassroots movement to protest Bank of America's decision to charge some customers $5 a month to use their debit cards.  The bank has since rescinded that policy change.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bank of America’s Deal Service Raises Privacy Concerns

Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Bank of America began testing a new service on Wednesday to offer personalized deals to its customers based on their previous purchases, and if privacy concerns are overcome, other banks are expected to follow suit. But some say that's a big "if."

Called BankAmeriDeals, the service offers Groupon-like deals to customers who log in to the bank’s website.  Customers will pay full price for purchases related to the deal, but will get cash back in their accounts the following month.

The second-largest bank in the country will reportedly offer the service for free to customers but has yet to announce when the program will launch. The bank is testing the service with employees in North Carolina, South Carolina and Nevada and will roll out the program to more employees in February.

“The goal is to deliver easy, relevant offers to our customers at places where our customers already shop,” Tara Burke, spokeswoman for Bank of America, said.

Burke said the bank does not share customers’ personal information with third-party vendors, and customers’ privacy and security is the most important priority.

Adam Levin, chairman and co-founder of and Identity Theft 911, said there are potential privacy concerns about the service.

“Bank of America has our spending data anyway, and has been waiting for a way to monetize it without giving the impression that customers are paying more than usual,” he said.

While most consumers say they are against being tracked by institutions, they tend to be less resistant if it saves them money or provides convenience, Levin said.  Bank of America will not receive payments from customers or merchants.

The bank said customer data will be safeguarded. The matching of customers and offers will take place on software hosted on the bank’s hardware, in its data center behind the bank’s firewall, and without using personal identifiable information, Javelin Strategy and Research reported.

When BankAmeriDeals is offered to customers, Levin said he expects other banks or card networks to simulate the services.

“Those in the banking industry are lemmings.  If one does something and it works, then they all do it,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


December Retail Sales Fall Short of Expectations

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Retail sales in December rose to $400.6 billion, an increase of 0.1 percent but less than the 0.3 to 0.4 percent many economists had expected, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Customers responded to deep discounts during the holiday season, though analysts are waiting to see if consumers will continue their spending pace in 2012.

The Commerce Department also revised November’s retail sales figure to an 0.4 percent increase from 0.2 percent.  The figure was 6.5 percent above sales in December 2010.

Retail sales were boosted in part by strong car sales in December.  Excluding automobiles, retail sales dropped 0.2 percent.

For the year, total sales increased 7.7 percent from 2010, the strongest year since 1999, Bloomberg reported.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Netflix Apologizes for Changes; Separates DVD, Streaming Services

PRNewsFoto/Netflix, Inc.(LOS GATOS, Calif.) -- Netflix has issued an apology to its millions of subscribers for how it's handled a new pricing policy.

"I messed up.  I owe everyone an explanation," said CEO Reed Hastings in a blog post to Netflix customers on Sunday.

Hastings admitted his company "lacked respect and humility" in how it announced new, higher prices.  The changes led to many customers canceling their subscriptions.

And now, customers have another reason to complain: Netflix is separating its online streaming and DVD rental services.

The company says it will retain its name for its streaming business but will branch out its DVD business under the name "Qwikster."  The services will no longer be integrated, so customers will have to sign on to two separate websites -- and -- and will have two distinct accounts.

Hastings adds, "There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!).  Members who subscribe to both services will have two entries on their credit card statements, one for Qwikster and one for Netflix.  The total will be the same as the current charges."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


HP Slashing Prices of Discontinued TouchPad, Sending Buyers into a Frenzy

Hewlett-Packard/Palm(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- After announcing it will end its involvement in tablet computers and smartphones, Hewlett-Packard slashed the prices of its TouchPad tablets, sending buyers into a craze over the weekend.

The company marked down the 16GB TouchPad to $99 and the 32GB version to $149 -- price reductions that amounted to $300 or more.

As a result, inventories of the tablet computer flew off store shelves fast.  HP's own website sold out of the TouchPad, as did Best Buy and other retailers.

Customers who are still looking to take advantage of the deal may be running out of luck.

HP spokeswoman Marlene Somsak told The Washington Post that the company would not be releasing any more of the discontinued tablets.  The company will, however, sell any that have already been shipped to stores.

The TouchPad was released on July 1 as HP's answer to Apple's iPad.  Back then, the 16GB version sold in the U.S. for $499.99, while the 32GB version was available for $599.99.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


AT&T Beaten in Customer Satisfaction Survey by T-Mobile

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Consumer Reports conducted a customer satisfaction survey for AT&T and T-Mobile. Results from the study, based on 50,000 subscribers, showed that T-Mobile beat AT&T in overall customer satisfaction in 20 out of 21 cities.

The proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile may be less satisfying for T-Mobile customers used to cheaper calling plans and better customer service.

“T-Mobile hasn’t exactly been delighting its customers, but AT&T’s cell-phone service has been less satisfying in nearly every respect, according to a head-to-head comparison of data from the most recent cell-phone satisfaction survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center,” said Consumer Reports expert Melissa Valentino.

AT&T scored less in contract and prepaid services despite their rollover minutes being valid for 12 months.

The widest disparity was in customer support on various platforms including phone and online, where AT&T scored less than T-Mobile.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Time Warner Cable Offers Free Calls to Japan to Customers

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Time Warner Cable announced Friday that all calls placed by its digital phone customers to Japan will be free until April 15, 2011.  The deal will be available to both residential and business class phone customers.

Time Warner's offer comes after seeing a noticeable increase in the number of calls to Japan by its customers.

"We have seen an increase in the number of calls made by our customers to family, friends and colleagues in Japan we have been touched by the events that occurred earlier today," Glenn Britt, Chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable said Friday.

The company says that the offer will be retroactive for all calls placed on March 11, 2011. 

Customers making calls to Japan during the eligible period do not need to make changes to their accounts to participate in the offer, Time Warner says.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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