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Complaining and Complimenting Yields Freebies

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Whenever I receive a bad product or bad service, I typically will write an email or a letter to the offending company (unfortunately I don’t confront it right there, sort of passive aggressive I suppose) to let them know. On the flip size, when I receive excellent service or a product I like, I write an email or a letter to the company to let them know as well. In most cases, the company will send you something for your trouble – good or bad. I’ve only done this about four times and three of the times I’ve received a coupon for something. And if you read Frugal for Life, you’ll know that Dawn recently sent a letter about her Bic razor and received a coupon for a freebie as well.

I’ve written about it before about how complained to Target about their photocenter and to Coca-Cola about unflavored cans of Diet Coke but I don’t think I’ve written about my experience with Edy’s Ice Cream (awesome ice cream), Starbucks, or Colgate.

Edy’s Ice Cream is almost always on sale, a usual two for one type deal, and their Slow-Churned Grand Light (low fat) ice cream is incredible (I can’t tell its low fat). Well, one day I just decided to shoot them an email to let them know how much I loved their product and they sent me two 50-cent coupons (expiring in two years), a list of flavors, and a thank you note!

Colgate sent me a full-size sample of one of their toothpaste products and I thoroughly enjoyed it, however, the plasticy paint on the tube began to flake. Personally, I don’t think that’s a big deal at all but since it was a sample product I assumed they would want to know about any problems whatsoever. I wrote them a short email and in a few days I received a whole batch of coupons for Colgate-Palmolive products as a thank you (unfortunately I don’t think I used a single one).

Finally, there was the not-so-pleasant Starbucks experience at an unnamed I-95 rest stop. I always like to pay with a credit card (for records and I don’t like loose change) and so when I paid with a credit card at the rest stop (granted it was busy but that isn’t an excuse), the register attendant (who may have been having a rough day), gave me a look and a sigh before swiping. I shot an email off to Starbucks about it and they sent me two coupons for a free drink of whatever I wanted.

I’d be interested to hear what sort of freebies you all may have gotten using either vinegar or sugar…

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8 Responses to “Complaining and Complimenting Yields Freebies”

  1. MyMoneyBlog says:

    Very interesting, I was very close to complaining to Ben & Jerry’s just last month when I got two pints in a row with virtually no heath bars in my Heath Bar Crunch. Maybe it’s not too late…

  2. jim says:

    Complain! They want to know if the product they put out there is sub-par… though chances are they will want to know some information from the container for their own quality purposes. When I had the non-syrup’d Diet Cokes they wanted me to read some numbers off the can so they could identify where it was made, the date, etc.

  3. Caitlin says:

    A friend of mine wrote to Van de Kamps about a missing fishstick and got some coupons. And I’ve had multiple cans of coke that were empty or nearly so within the past year. Darn…should have followed up. (I don’t drink it anymore).

  4. Ellen says:

    I definitely do this a lot. Ben & Jerry’s is super-responsive to both compliments and complaints–they have a detailed online form you can fill out either way. I love trying out their newest sample flavors (usually only in scoop shops at first) and shooting them an e-mail. They get feedback, we get coupons for free pints. Win-win! They respond the same to positive and negative comments, although they will give you additional coupons if you had a problem that was their fault–like not getting enough Heath Bar–as opposed to just not liking a flavor or something.

  5. When I was a kid, I filled out a little survey card at Wendy’s saying the restaurant was too cold. They sent me a coupon for free fries. Pretty smart to send a coupon for something warm.

    A couple years ago, I was ordering a Gingerbread Latte at Starbucks in Arlington, VA. They were out of gingerbread syrup, so they offered me any other drink for free. This completely made my day b/c I was on my way home from the hospital where I was undergoing my annual thyroid cancer tests and was finally allowed to break my (expensive) low iodine diet.

  6. lc says:

    i once ordered the wrong cheesecake because the wrong listing was in front of it so i called the company and complained and i recieved a ten dollar gift card.

  7. Jon says:

    I got bad beef jerky in a vending machine for $1.25 and Jimmy Dean sent me a coupon that I used for a $4 item at the supermarket.

  8. echidnina says:

    Squeaky wheel gets the grease… :) Pretty neat, I always enjoy receiving samples and coupons and whatnot in the mail. I generally can’t be bothered to take the effort to actually write a company though, not sure it’s worth it unless I have a truly bad experience and need to vent (or a truly awesome experience and need to thank them).


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