Unreasonable Customer Policy Stories from a Real Customer

Why Justified Indignation Can Lead to Losing Business

November 19, 2014

Have you encountered customer-alienating policies from otherwise respected service providers? Our guest columnist, Irene Kopel, eloquently details her frustrations with ADT Security and PayPal. Not only are the policies she writes about bad business on the part of the providers, resulting in the loss of customers and prospects, but they actually punish existing and loyal customers while rewarding new customers.


By Ronni Marshak

Most companies are working hard on attracting new customers and making life easier for existing customers. However, occasionally, businesses, even large, well known organizations, make boneheaded policies that can really tick off customers.

Here are a couple of stories about how ADT, a 140-year old company, and PayPal, one of the best known providers of payment solutions, enforced policies that made life difficult for one customer. In the end, they both lost the respect and (most) business from this end-consumer.


Reconnecting with an Old Friend

Irene KopelRecently, I reconnected with a dear friend of mine. The wonders of Facebook and email have resurrected a friendship from our high school days. As we caught up on what has happened in our lives since our last contact, well over a decade ago, I sent her a link to Customers.com, and invited her to read what I’ve been “doing.” I was surprised and delighted to get an email from her that stated, “Hi Ronni. I enjoyed reading your articles. I sure do agree. There are a number of times when I have complained to companies about their customer-corporate interface. I cannot speak for all consumers, but I can tell you that I will happily pay more for better service.”

Here, in her own words, are some examples of her personal stories of failed customer experiences.

ADT Turns Away a Potential Customer

By Irene Kopel

I bought a house that had an existing security service called ADT. So, I thought that I would simply continue with them. After close of escrow I called them to change the service into my name only to find out that I could not actually do that for 30 days!

Yup…somehow they had some kind of contract that extended for 30 days past old customer cancellation (something like that; I don't recall the exact details as it never made any sense whatsoever anyway), and, therefore, I had to wait 30 days before going into contract with them! Meanwhile, of course, there would be no security as the old contract had been cancelled!

ADT Makes It Hard for a New Prospect to Sign Up

 ADT Makes It Hard for a New Prospect to Sign Up

© 2014 ADT.com

1. Although ADT works hard to attract customers, it couldn’t help a prospect who simply wanted to convert an existing account into her name when she moved into a house with an existing ADT system.

I called their headquarters and tried to explain to them that this policy actually forced potential customers to abandon them—but I honestly don't think that they got it.

Meanwhile, the above info actually took me days to tease out as I was shuttled from office to office while, at the same time, I was getting... (more... Download the PDF to read more of this section.)

PayPal Punishes Its Best Customers

Okay, Ronni, ...one more. Sorry, but now I am wound up...

Here's my PayPal story, and why I hope that they eventually have a competitor that puts them out of business:

A few years ago, I started to buy a few things on PayPal. I opted to pay with my credit card and all went well. Never a problem. Everything paid quickly. No indication that my credit was less than stellar.

All of a sudden, PayPal told me that I could no longer continue paying with my credit card—or any other way—unless I became "certified" (or some similar term). It wasn't personal.

Apparently, before they don't know you, or your credit history, from Adam, you can charge up to $5,000 (might be more now) without any problem whatsoever. However, once you reach that "limit" you need to become certified by providing them with your banking information and access to your bank account.


So, I looked online and there were a lot of people complaining about this. In fact, there is even a website called paypalsucks.com. Many have complained about...... (more)

A Site for Non-Fans of PayPal

So many customers are angry at PayPal that a website of complaints and what to do about it thrives.

 © 2014 PayPalsucks.com

2. So many customers are angry at PayPal that a website of complaints and what to do about it thrives... (more)


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