I don’t mind spending time talking to companies to ask for discounts, even if it means I have to complain about their service. I used to spend a lot of time talking to AT&T to get a great plan, I’ve never paid a ridiculous upgrade fee, and I’ve gotten discounts and credits when companies have made mistakes at my expense.
The best example is the $50 discount I got off our futon when one of the pieces delivered was broken, and then another $50 because the replacement piece they sent was broken, too. I had to complain and to get the credit, then had to wait an extra 2 weeks to put everything together, but the $100 discount was well worth the wait. Overstock.com was very helpful in resolving the situation, and when I told them the initial $25 credit they wanted to give us wasn’t good enough, they upped their offer to something more reasonable, and issued it in a partial refund back to my card. And because they took care of me when they made a mistake, I haven’t shied away from using them again.
Virgin America’s Bad Day
If you have flown with Virgin America, you need to start. You can order as many drinks as you want, and there’s DIRECTV at every seat, and a plug in between the seats so you can stay charged during the flight. Plus, their flights are very competitive with some of the cheaper airlines.
However, on a recent flight with Virgin America, once I got to the gate, they alerted us to the fact that one of the flight attendants was ill and we were going to be delayed by 3 hours. They gave us a $10 meal voucher, but in my mind, that didn’t begin to make up for the huge inconvenience of having to sit in an airport terminal for 3 hours. I walked around, spent some time on my laptop (thankfully, the airport had free wifi), and got something small to eat.
When we finally took off, I purchased WiFi and got back to work while watching a few episodes of Castle (surprisingly entertaining). But halfway through the 6-hour flight, I realized that my electronics were no longer charging. I powered down to save some battery for later. It wasn’t nearly as inconvenient as the 3-hour delay, but it definitely was unexpected. I managed to get what I needed done and paid more attention to Castle.
I Complained And Got What I Deserved
I woke up with an email from Virgin America that contained a $25 voucher that I could use on future travel because of the inconvenience caused by the 3-hour delay. That’s a pretty small credit for the delay, so I figured a phone call couldn’t hurt. The next morning, on my way to work, I called Virgin America to discuss the situation. They said they couldn’t increase the credit, it’s determined by some algorithm and they can’t make any adjustments to it.
I was pretty bummed and they made it clear that they wouldn’t increase the credit and that my time was worth about $8.33/hour to them. So I tried a different tactic: I complained about my non-functioning outlet. I explained that I paid a pretty penny for access to the Internet, but was only able to use it for part of my trip because the outlet wasn’t working. The response I got was that when a lot of people are using the outlets, some don’t get power. That didn’t really help me at all and it’s wonderful that’s how it’s designed, but I still thought I deserved a credit.
After getting rejected a few times, I reiterated that I really like Virgin America, but the reason I like it is because of the amenities, like having a great entertainment system and the ability to charge electronics during my trip. So when things don’t work, it’s especially frustrating. Then, I asked if speaking to a supervisor would help. At that point, she put me on hold for 3 minutes, and came back letting me know I was being given another $50 credit.
Fight For What You Want
Finally, I got what I thought I deserved, even though it was in an nontraditional way. But a $50 credit on my $200 flight is pretty good, and I definitely plan on flying with Virgin America in the future.
It took a little longer than I expected, but in the end I did get a credit and they made it up to me. My initial strategy of asking nicely didn’t work, so I started to get a little more worked up. I was never rude, I just made it clear that I was getting more annoyed by the lack of positive response.
What’s your strategy for getting what you deserve in this type of situation?