Secret Eyes Mystery Shops: Internal Revenue Service

By: Customer’s Poet

Ahhhhhh. The dreaded IRS call.

I am referring to the call dreaded by millions of Americans when they have to call the IRS for any (and I mean any) tax issue.

No one wants to travel through their maze of call prompts before getting to the proper IRS agent. Let alone wait upwards of an hour or more (during peak season) for help. Staying on topic, I too have found myself ringing the IRS multiple times between February through May.

After filling my return at the end of January, I received a letter a few days later requiring that I verify my identity to receive my 2016 tax return. Which I did. After verifying my identity, the agent stated it would be estimated 9 weeks before my return would be issued. I am sure you could imagine my frustration. Yet, 9 weeks came and went. No refund.

After calling the IRS multiple times, speaking to many agents (even having the one hang up on me without offering help), and receiving many different answers; there was still no refund. Only estimated dates of when it would be released. Again, those dates came and went. Unfortunately for me, the agent I spoke to in February misfiled my return as an identity theft issue instead of putting it in processing.

What have I learned from all of this that I can share with you?

Always ALWAYS write down agent names, id numbers, and the date

I know, I know. I am the customer service person. Yet, in my hast to get in the call que and multiple task, I admit. I have failed multiple times at writing down the agent’s name. Sadly, many of them could care less if you get their name and agent id numbers as they state them at the speed of light. Yet, it’s vital that you record this information. It could later build your case. Not to mention, it allowed me to report that rude agent who hung up the phone in my face without even getting my information to check my files.

Call and call some more

Using some of my customer service sense, I found myself calling the IRS multiple because I wanted to double what was told to me not just accept it as fact. Yet doing so got me many different answers. Which lead to me finding out the real truth about my refund: the agent made a mistake. One which cost me in the long run.

Not all IRS Agents are assholes

Piggy backing off of making multiple calls, I spoke to many different IRS agents. Some were complete assholes I will admit. While others seem to genuinely care and did I thorough investigation on my behalf. Which I utterly appreciated.

In the end, my refund check which was promised by late February has still not arrived. In my quest to get answers, I remained cool and was able to get the help I deserved.

Should you experience a similar tax issue, contact the IRS Tax Advocate office in your state by visiting

As always be smart, be savvy, and equip.


Most Loved & Hated Airlines According to Customer Service

Most Loved & Hated Airlines According to Customer Service

By: Customer’s Poet

With so much negative news surrounding airlines these days, here are a list of the top-rated Airline according to customer service.

JetBlue (82) and Southwest (80) are in the lead while Alaska Airlines is close behind at 78.

JetBlue’s low-cost business model and cabin upgrades are paying off, while Southwest’s pricing policies (that include no hidden fees and no charge for a flight change), remain popular with customers.

Alaska Airlines, known for excellent customer service, is in the process of merging with Virgin America. While mergers often cause customer satisfaction problems, hence AT&T with DirecTV, for Alaska Air’s sake let’s hope it continues to improve.

American Airlines is up by six percent despite the viral incident involving a flight attendant violently taking a stroller away from a customer nearly hitting her baby. While our hometown airliner Delta is up seven percent with a 76, just one point above the industry average.

On the other end of the spectrum, United was the lowest-rated of the nation’s big three airlines even after improving by three percent scoring a 70.

At the bottom of the list once again: Frontier (63, down five percent) and Spirit (61, down two percent). People who fly Frontier and Spirit tend to have fairly low expectations for service — they simply want to get from here to there for as little as possible. Let’s just agree that you get what you pay for.

As always be smart, be savvy, and equip.

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Secret Eyes Mystery Shops: Jim Ellis Audi of Marietta

By: Customer’s Poet

Jim Ellis.

The well-known, family owned & operated dealer of the Atlanta metropolitan area with a track record that many competitors can’t touch.

Yet, when it comes to dealing with customers with children, the dealer leaves more to be desired.

While actively shopping for a luxury SUV for my family and I, I took the recommendation of customer to visit the local Marietta Audi dealership. Pulling into the dealership, going inside to find a sales person, and discussing the car I wanted were all typical to me. Same old, same old.

What stood out to me was when my salesman Joe Jefferson allowed me to put my child’s car seat in the car but did not offer a test drive. Well why did not you ask for one? Many of you may ask. For one of many reasons.

First as a customer (with or without children) you should not have to ask for a test drive. It’s already understood that you want to purchase and have an interest in the car. Having to ask for a test drive states that the salesperson did not assume the sale.

Secondly, as a customer I stated multiple times that I was interested in another competitor’s car. The singular red flag to a sales person that a competitor could take your sale. Using the fact that having more space for my growing family was important to me. Sadly, Mr. Jefferson was more concerned with stating why his brand was more superior that the competitor I was considering.

Finally, for a customer there is nothing more frustrating than when a sales person fails to demonstrate and/or describe product features for big ticket items. While looking at the Audi SUV, Mr. Jefferson opened the doors and mentioned basic facts about the car which was clearly visible to the eye. I felt he believe the car would sell itself because I was a woman and it was an Audi.

As always be smart, be savvy, and equip.

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Dragged Off Flight Due to Overbooking? Here’s What You Should Know.

By: Customer’s Poet

While United CEO Oscar Muñoz may have issued a public apology, the damage has already been done as the company’s stock is down by as much as 6% in premarket trading. Unfortunately for them, bad news travels fast.

Understanding all the trouble United has gotten itself into over customer service, even after reading that is not usually known for putting customers off of planes, here’s what you should know if an airline asks you to voluntarily give up your seat on an overbooked flight.

According to Popular Mechanics, airlines do have the power to remove a traveler from a plane, for any reason they deem necessary. When you purchase an airline ticket, you are entering into a contract, known as a “contract of carriage.” Few consumers exercise their right to get a copy of the lengthy document, much less read it, but they might reconsider that after this week’s United fiasco.

If you did not know your rights as an airline customer in the US, here are a few in regards to overbooking according to the US Department of Transportation:

Overbooking is not illegal. Most airlines overbook their scheduled flights to a certain extent in order to compensate for “no-shows.” Passengers are sometimes left behind or “bumped” as a result. When an oversale occurs, the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires airlines to ask people who aren’t in a hurry to give up their seats voluntarily, in exchange for compensation. Those passengers bumped against their will are, with a few exceptions, entitled to compensation.

Voluntary Bumping

DOT rules require airlines to seek out people who are willing to give up their seats for compensation before bumping anyone involuntarily. Here’s how this works. At the check-in or boarding area, airline employees will look for volunteers when it appears that the flight has been oversold. If you’re not in a rush to arrive at your next destination, you can give your reservation back to the airline in exchange for compensation and a later flight. But before you do this, you may want to get answers to these important questions:

• When is the next flight on which the airline can confirm your seat? The alternate flight may be just as acceptable to you. On the other hand, if the airline offers to put you on standby on another flight that’s full, you could be stranded.

• Will the airline provide other amenities such as free meals, a hotel room, transfers between the hotel and the airport, and a phone card? If not, you might have to spend the money it offers you on food or lodging while you wait for the next flight.

DOT has not mandated the form or amount of compensation that airlines offer to volunteers. DOT does, however, require airlines to advise any volunteer whether he or she might be involuntarily bumped and, if that were to occur, the amount of compensation that would be due. Carriers can negotiate with their passengers for mutually acceptable compensation. Airlines generally offer a free trip or other transportation benefits to prospective volunteers. If the airline offers you a free ticket or a transportation voucher in a certain dollar amount, ask about restrictions. How long is the ticket or voucher good for? Is it “blacked out” during holiday periods when you might want to use it? Can it be used for international flights?

Involuntary Bumping

DOT requires each airline to give all passengers who are bumped involuntarily a written statement describing their rights and explaining how the carrier decides who gets on an oversold flight and who doesn’t. Those travelers who don’t get to fly are frequently entitled to denied boarding compensation in the form of a check or cash. The amount depends on the price of their ticket and the length of the delay. Here are the rules:

• If you are bumped involuntarily and the airline arranges substitute transportation that is scheduled to get you to your final destination (including later connections) within one hour of your original scheduled arrival time, there is no compensation.

• If the airline arranges substitute transportation that is scheduled to arrive at your destination between one and two hours after your original arrival time (between one and four hours on international flights), the airline must pay you an amount equal to 200% of your one-way fare to your final destination that day, with a $675 maximum.

• If the substitute transportation is scheduled to get you to your destination more than two hours later (four hours internationally), or if the airline does not make any substitute travel arrangements for you, the compensation doubles (400% of your one-way fare, $1350 maximum).

• If your ticket does not show a fare (for example, a frequent-flyer award ticket or a ticket issued by a consolidator), your denied boarding compensation is based on the lowest cash, check or credit card payment charged for a ticket in the same class of service (e.g., coach, first class) on that flight.

You always get to keep your original ticket and use it on another flight. If you choose to make your own arrangements, you can request an “involuntary refund” for the ticket for the flight you were bumped from. The denied boarding compensation is essentially a payment for your inconvenience.

If you paid for optional services on your original flight (e.g., seat selection, checked baggage) and you did not receive those services on your substitute flight or were required to pay a second time, the airline that bumped you must refund those payments to you.

As we all know, when it comes to rules, there are a few conditions and exceptions. Please visit the US Department of Transportation for more details.

As always be smart, be savvy, and equip.

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Turkish Airline Crew Successfully Delivers Baby Mid Flight, Mom Was 28 Weeks Pregnant

By: Customer’s Poet

Talk about Customer Service.

According to the Huffington Post, the crew of the Turkish Airline flight from Guinea’s capital of Conakry to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso delivered a passenger’s baby mid-flight. Yes. I said they delivered a baby at 42,000 Feet altitude. I’m sure they did not learn this in med school.

The new mom was 28 weeks pregnant at the time of birth ad cleared to fly with a note. Yet, her daughter could not wait any longer.

Fortunately, the newborn and mommy were taken to a hospital in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital. They have been report as doing well.

As always be smart, be savvy, and equip.

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Customer Energy: When it comes to complaining for results, what kind of customer are you?

By: Customer’s Poet

I know. I know.

We have all experienced some form of customer service where things went south quickly. Boo Hoo. It’s just a part of life. Things don’t always go as plan.

After considering the story of a customer calling another customer a slut for kissing her boyfriend in public, I wanted to take the time to ask What kind of customer are you when it comes to complaining?

Taking guidance from The Complaining Cow herself, Helen Dewdney, read the profile to learn which customer complainer you truly are.

Serial Complainer AKA Persistent Complainer

You complain continually to the same company. Your complaints are frequently correctly but you keep complaining. You spend a lot of time complaining by sending emails, calling the company in question, sending letters, etc. and never give up.

Extreme Complainer AKA Unsatisfied Complainer

Some may consider you a serial complainer. You complain when the time you spent complaining doesn’t match the solution offered by the company. You’re un-satisified and want more. Sometimes, your complaining efforts do match what the company gave you to resolve the issue but you continue complaining. I call this the person who just doesn’t let things go.

Dishonest Complainer

You make up stories or do things to make your stories real to receive freebies. For example, we had a customer complaining about a makeup kit she never received. Bashing the company’s name via social media. When it turned out she never purchased a makeup kit in the first place. Talk about dishonesty.

Opportunist Complainer

Like the dishonest complainer, you seek opportunities to complain in order to gain something not entitled to you. Often keeping on customer service until you are paid to go away.

Rude Complainer

You complain by attacking everyone. You swear, shout, write abusive letters or emails to customer service and members of top management in order to get your way. Usually your abusive strategy leaves your complaints going unresolved. Making you more abusive.

Amusing Complainer

Not being prone to use anger like the abusive complainer, you use humor to get your point across. Which usually gets you noticed and closer to having your complaint resolved. But, sometimes it can cause your complain to not be taken seriously.

Innovative Complainer

You look for creative ways to get to the top dog of the company in efforts of getting your complain resolved quickly.

Regardless of your complaining style, you must make sure that your complaining efforts don’t go overlooked. Ensure you’re an effective complainer (Know their rights. Assert them politely. Will not be passed off when company tries to pass the blame) and not an ineffective complainer (Tends to vent their complaints but never follow through. Post on social media and that’s about it. Not assertive and don’t know legal rights. Often gets passed off as not serious).

As always be smart, be savvy, and equip.

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White Woman Threatens to Kill Black Family at Fast Food Restaurant Yelling “Get Out of My Country”, Workers Step In

By: Customer’s Poet

While we are not sure where this occurred or why it happened, it is clear footage of an unidentified woman lingering outside of a fast food restaurant’s door. From the footage, it appears she was staring at the Black family as they casually ate a meal with their infant child.

After thoroughly analyzing the footage, our theory is that this woman could have been a previous problem starter for this restaurant or that what was recorded was the aftermath of something that occurred between the irate woman and the family. Either way we commend the workers for stepping in and acting as a barrier between the family and the irate customer.

Considering we don’t promote violence or hatred we won’t share what exactly was said. Yet, if you want to know, click here to watch.

As always be smart, be savvy, and equip.

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