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Help -- Customer complaining on her Facebook page

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
My husband and I own a bakery/coffeeshop and we have a little mobile cookie tricycle from which we sell cookies downtown in our tiny town. Today we had a somewhat regular customer send her little 4 year old boy to the cookie trike to buy a cookie. He paid with a $5 bill, my husband gave him his change and his cookie, and off he went. Shortly after, the boy's mom came over and told my husband that her son paid with a $20. My husband is very good about paying close attention to the denominations and knows that he was paid with a $5. To be sure, he showed the woman that he only had two $20s in his pocket from two earlier transactions. Also, when he returned to the bakery, my husband counted the cash and compared it to the number of cookies sold. It all added up correctly. If it hadn't, we know who this woman is and would have gladly returned the extra money. I should also mention that this woman has done this before, in our shop, with the $5 vs $20 denomination issue and been wrong.

Now this customer has posted negative (and untrue) comments on her Facebook page. Neither my husband nor I are sure what to do at this point. We live in a very small, tightly knit community and want to keep our customers happy. By giving her money that is not hers, I think we would be admitting guilt and she would certainly take it that way. I don't care if we lose this customer at this point, because she is clearly a bit of a troublemaker, but I don't want her trashing our business. Any suggestions to clear this up?

Thanks in advance for any help!!!!!

Edit: Here is her FB post, identifying names changed:
Quote:
Quote:


"Here is what I just posted to Facebook. I want you to be aware of how angry I am about this. I don't have extra money to just throw away but have always felt good about supporting your business and treating myself and family and friends. Not anymore. I have no doubt that I am absolute correct in this matter and am not mistaken in what money was given to my son to purchase the cookies, but that isn't the point. The customer is always right. Sadly, not today obviously. I still can't believe that someone would state they also questioned what amount was given originally and then when explained later that is indeed what was given you still deny it? Really? It wasn't like he wondered about any other amount, or that I was expected to come and question the change given. Sigh. Here is my posting:


-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-xx--x-xx-x-x-


Oh sad sad day. Local Bakery just lost a loyal customer. I realize it is hot out, and the owner/cookie cart guy must be melting out there, but there is no excuse for how you treat customers. I sent Johnny to get us cookies (by himself he felt like such a big boy) and all I had was a $20 and a $5. Since I wasn't sure how much they cost I gave him the $20 and told him to be very very careful with the change. When he came back with only $1 I thought he had dropped the rest. I went over with him to the cart and said I had given him a $20 (and expected the owner to help me look for the change). Instead he said (here is the clincher) that he thought so too so he doubled checked and that Johnny only gave him $5 and cookies were $2/each. I explained that I was certain he was mistaken as I only had those two bills in my wallet and now I only had the $5. He refused to even consider it and argued with me. He thought so too and doubled check and then when I come over and explain it he still doesn't get it?! Double checked what? The wad of mixed up bills in his pocket. The upside, I might have lost $15 but have just saved myself many hundreds this year alone on the cakes and pastries and coffee I usually buy. Not to mention the rave reviews I have given them and won't be anymore. Their loss. Mine too, but probably better for me in the long run."

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post #2 of 22
I certainly wouldn't give her a dime.

I'd send her a certified cease & desist letter telling her that if she doesn't delete the defamatory posts that you'll be taking her to court.

I'd also make sure that I NEVER, EVER completed a transaction with her, or any of her family members, in the future.

And, if she left the posts up, or continued to defame me, I WOULD take her to court.

Rae
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I love you, but your emergency is not my crisis!

They say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it is not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance.--Terry Pratchett (b.194
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post #3 of 22
She is a thief, plain and clear. Definitely threaten legal action. Her poor little son is learning how to be dishonest, too. And we wonder why this country is in trouble....
post #4 of 22
If she has done this before I would contact the police department right away. If the police can find evidence that other shops have been hit with this there would be a much stronger case against her.

The defamation lawsuit threat is basically a bluff, it's doubtful you would be able to win that one. Other than going to the police I would ignore her. If she happens to post on your business's FB page, don't delete the post but reply with your side of the story.
post #5 of 22
I own a retail storefront and no, the customer is NOT always right. Some people conduct their lives in such a way to make everyone around them miserable and this lady sounds like one of them.

Just the fact that she was willing to trust a small child with a 20 dollar bill and then expect him to get correct change and then bring everything back along with the cookies tells me she's not the brightest crayon in the box.

I would respond calmly and respectfully on whatever forum allows a reply and leave it at that. She can only get so much mileage out of the situation and then it will blow over.

After that you may see her sneak into your place quietly one day, hoping you have forgotten her rude behavior. I had that happen once with a complainer that made my life miserable over a one letter misspelling on a small cake. She didn't give me a chance to fix it, instead she posted on forums and brought my rating way down on a restaurant review site by being the only negative review. After some time had passed she tried to place orders 2 more times and I refused to make another cake for her. Who needs that kind of headache?

No, the customer is not always right. Sometimes they are downright rotten.
post #6 of 22
I'd blast her on her own shitty post too.
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post #7 of 22
Oh it was on her personal page? So she had to go out of her way to make sure you'd see it? Who does that?!?? What a hag.
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post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

I'd blast her on her own shitty post too.


While this may provide some catharsis, remember that people reading the post don't know all the information, and for all they know they could believe this person's story. As a business owner it's a good practice to take the high road in these types of situations and respect a customer even when that respect is undeserved.
post #9 of 22
I had the opposite happen. I am totally anal retentive about numbers. My husband gave me $32.00 to get my three dogs' nails clipped by my regular groomer. I sat that same 20, 10 and two one's on the coffee table for two weeks and stared at it. When I finally went to the groomer, I only took two dogs. I gave the amount for two dogs plus about a big tip. I handed the girl the 20 and ten and told her what amount to give back, let's say $16 plus & $7.00 tip. I only took in that same $32.00. So I gave her $30 and asked for $7.00 back. The owner chimed in that that would only be a $2.00 tip because I gave her $25.00. I explained and the owner still corrected me over the tip!!! not the amount. Most don't tip at all but they knew I was a big tipper. The tip should have never been addressed in the first place.

I had been going there for years and my husband's ex-wife had also patronized the shop. Her husband was a patient of my husband's. Obviously I never went back and we spend plenty on our pets.

I wasn't upset about the $10 vs $5 thing... this has happened to all of us on one end or the other. But to argue over the tip was ludicrous.

But I would never put this on facebook.

My husband has had patients post negative comments when he has had to be more aggressive about a past due bill. All of a sudden he is a bad doctor. I didn't know this until it happened, but you cannot post negative comments for the sole purpose of causing a company to lose business. You may not be happy with the company, but the things you say must be accurate. I know all about libel, but this takes it a step farther and you can actually be sued for your feelings about a company if the facts can't substantiate your written or verbal criticism.

Since I have known this, I have never used comments or ratings to air my displeasure with a company. It's just not worth it. I found my daughter's car online and went 100 miles to get it because I wanted a particular color. The dealership warranted it that it was a one-owner. Well, I got the "Car-Fax" and that one owner was Enterprise Rent A Car. The car was still a good deal and I bought it anyway. It was practically new. But before I blasted their practices (new car dealership in the Baltimore area), I thought about my husband's C&D order by his attorney to his patient and I just left it alone.
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the responses! As it is a very small town and everyone knows everyone, we opted to respond politely to her post. Yes, AZCouture, she did go out of her way to tell us to look at her post. Funny, too, because we just a week or two ago had a somewhat negative interaction with her at our shop and have been leery of her lately. Anyway, here is the response we offered her:

Quote:
Quote:

I am sorry to hear that you are upset with what happened today at the cookie cart. I am the person you spoke to at the cart and I want to let you know that, as I said there, I double checked the bill that I was given and it was a five. I am extra conscious when young children pay just in case they don't check the change. Twenty dollar bills are rare at the cart and, because they require extra effort when making change, I always know how many I have been given in a day. Like I said to you there, I received two twenties earlier in the day and had the same number in the cash box at the end of the day.

I do admit that I should have come up with a better solution when we spoke. In the few instances this has been an issue, our protocol for dealing with it is to count the register at the end of the day and compare it to our sales for the day. If there is an overage, we can contact the customer and set things right. Unfortunately, I didn't think about that when we were speaking and I sincerely apologize for that. When I returned to the bakery this afternoon, I counted the cash box and compared the amount to the number of cookies sold today. The numbers agree exactly. If there was any discrepancy at all, we always side with the customer, but the amount of money in the cash box agreed exactly, to the dollar, with the number of cookies sold today.

I am sorry that your experience today has given you a negative opinion of Birchgrove Baking. We work very hard to make our customers happy and regret that we were not able to achieve a satisfactory outcome. If you would like to discuss this further, please don't hesitate to call me at 555-5555.



We have such amazing customers and are so appreciative of their loyalty. In the four years we've been running our business, we have had only two other unresolved situations where "the customer was always right" (and, um, they weren't...). Honestly, while we strive to make everyone happy, I don't mind too much if she doesn't come back. Every dealing with her is a headache, but at the same time, I don't want her bad-mouthing us to every person she comes across. I'll keep you all posted if anything else comes of this, but I am hoping that Amberwaves is right and this just blows over. Thank you all for your help!
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

I'd blast her on her own shitty post too.


While this may provide some catharsis, remember that people reading the post don't know all the information, and for all they know they could believe this person's story. As a business owner it's a good practice to take the high road in these types of situations and respect a customer even when that respect is undeserved.



Yeah, I'm really quite aware of that, but thank you. It can be done tactfully. You better believe if someone was accusing me of that on my page they'd get an earful.
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post #12 of 22
I think your response was professional and addressed the perceived problem.

I live in a small town, too. It's so small it can't support a cookie trike or even a bakery. Most people in your town know this woman and know her ways. They will not let it affect their opinion of your business negatively. If anything, they will silently cheer for you for standing up to her.

In my town, we have the "Christian" grandmother who even sings professionally in a gospel group in the area. She takes her grandkids to fast food joints and they leave a high holy mess behind. She always insists that the order was wrong- and not in a nice way.

We also have a cake thief in this small town. For three years someone's cake at the cake auction would disappear yet we'd always have one cake left over. We changed our system and I put a strong woman in charge of the cake tables and she caught her thieving butt. She hasn't been back since she knows she now has to take the plain cake she bid on (and won) home and not the $200 one. Another one who doesn't return any longer is the woman who always made her check out for less than she owed. It drove me nuts the first two years trying to figure out why the figures didn't add up.

Trust me- it's small town. We know who they are and know to take their words for their worth: nothing.
post #13 of 22
I think you handled it well...You look better than she does if people read both letters.

Keep in mind that if she posts on YOUR business page you can delete the post and block her from posting.
post #14 of 22
WHEN YOU SLING MUD YOU GET DIRTY TOO !!!... You can't change a person's actions,but you can control how you react...You said your husband and you were thourough as to the money exchange and the amount of product sold matching what was earned and it all balanced out...also she has done this before. It seems that if everything is straight in the books and bank ,,,Yaw owe her nothing.... DO NOT get caught up in all that craziness, Keep serving your community I bet there are those there who appreciate what you guys are doing.Remember "There is NO right way to do wrong"<333><
post #15 of 22
First of all... who sends a 4 year old little one ALONE to handle any business tranaction? I don't care how small of a town you live in... NEVER hand a small child a $20 and send him on his way to purchase a cookie, snowcone, toy, etc! The parent is responsible for the purchase! Eesh!!! On the subject on how to handle... Facebook can be a great tool in advertising, and can be the direct opposite at times! Always handle your self with grace - no matter how ugly she gets. After all, this is your livelihood! You can notify her in a professional manner that "Slander is a crime and will be reported." Give her the chance to remove the posts, if she does not... you have the right to report her.
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