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Worst marketing email ever?

Update – 2007–02–27

The post below prompted an exchange of emails between myself and the companies proprietor, Peter Thomson. Peter was keen to resolve the issues I’d listed and from his initial comment on the site I emailed him further details. A full investigation was then undertaken and our replies via email are now listed in the comments.

Peter has done an excellent job of taking our complaint seriously and replying to all of the issues we had. Furthermore he took full responsibility and refunded the remainder of what we’d paid and you can’t say fairer than that. I think in our particular case we were just very unlucky with the service we received.

———

Valentines-eporttravelI received this wonderful shambles of an email today (pictured right) from eporttraveluk.com, the company we “hired” taxi’s from for our wedding / honeymoon back in September.

Whilst they may say they “love our customers”, that isn’t what we think of them. Far from it. The taxi that took us to the airport was nearly an hour late picking us up and probably would have been longer since the taxi driver was lost and I had to go out and find him to go give him directions to our house!

The taxi in the opposite direction was even worse. It was no where to be seen and when we rang to check they thought we landed the following day. It then arrived over an hour later and the driver then drove like an arsehole at over 100mph on the motorway, only slowing down when he saw the police. My 80 year old grandparents were visibly shaken afterwards.

I actually think they want to kill off their customers by leaving them at the airport to drink the diabolical coffee (it’s like warmed up pee that’s stewed for several days and then mixed with grit).

But lets ignore my rantings. If you received this email what would you think? It’s spam? It’s a joke? You’d probably not give it a second thought, but to me it’s a really weird thing to do, email people on Valentines day like that.

I suppose I should mention that we were refunded half of what we paid for the half arsed job they managed, but I would highly recommend not using their services.

Vondur said,

February 16, 2007 @ 11:49 am

lol pauk that’s horrible! as this email as their services! this company must be closed asap ;)

Pope said,

February 17, 2007 @ 1:54 pm

awww how sweet roses! so cute!

Peter Thomson said,

February 23, 2007 @ 12:57 pm

I was distressed to read this blog about my company. Firstly, it is very difficult to reply to an anonymous blog with very little detail. I am very concious of our custom and always endeavour to give a top quality service at the right price. I do appreciate, however, that errors occur, but we act upon and rectify any errors as soon as possible. We have a customer base of over 85,000 people and this figure has steadily grown over the past 14 years, many of which are repeat customers. I would very much like to put right any issues that you may have with my company, so we have browsed our database for parties travelling last Septmenber and subsequent refunds made but I am unable to locate the booking with the limited information that I have.

I am sure that you appreciate that there is two sides to every story and that it would only be fair that I have a right to reply, I trust that you will allow me to do so.

I am sorry that you were offended by our email, that was not our intention, it was meant as a light hearted mail to the customers we have in our data base, please inform me if you wish to be removed from our database. I look forward to any further correspondence with you, you can contact me through the web site or by calling me directly.

If we have done any wrong by you, please accept my personal apologies, but as outlined above, please allow me to investigate further.

Sincerely
Peter Thomson

Paul said,

February 23, 2007 @ 9:32 pm

Peter, I have replied via email to the email address you listed on your post.

Vondur said,

February 26, 2007 @ 1:51 pm

oops, seems like we touched some strings here.
actually, i wonder how ppl manage to find all such posts? does technocrati work so cool? dp ppl actually use it so frequently? or is it just google?

werd

Paul said,

February 26, 2007 @ 2:23 pm

Yep Vondur. I was wondering the same thing about how people come across my blog. A search on Google with eporttraveluk does bring up my blog, but nothing else related does.

Paul said,

February 28, 2007 @ 12:34 am

Below is my email reply to Peter.

Date – Feb 23, 2007 8:27 PM
Subject – Response to blog post on Pauked.com

Peter,

I believe you commented on my blog regarding a post about your recent Valentines email (http://blog.pauked.com/?p=380).

Thank you for your apologies, but unfortunately they do not rectify the fact that the problems we had with your service did spoil the beginning and end of our wedding and honeymoon. To make a mistake once is forgivable, but to do it again, repeatedly is not. So I will try to explain the issues we had and also, for reference, I’ve listed the details of our booking at the end of my email. I didn’t note them on my blog, because they were not strictly relevant.

The taxi for our outbound journey was late because of roadworks on the M66 and therefore the driver had to take an alternate route via Bury to both pick us up and take us to the airport. As such the issue in this instance was twofold. Firstly we were not informed of the delay and the first we knew about it was when we rang yourselves after the taxi was half an hour late.

Secondly when the taxi was near to our address, the driver could not find our home. I did try giving some directions, but I will admit, I’m not the greatest at that. This continued for a while whilst the driver kept ringing back to ask again for further directions (I cannot remember the number of times). It got to the point where the driver said something along the lines of “oh I will find you” that I decided it was best for him to stay put at a known location and that I would drive up to him and have him follow me back. It is a good job that we booked the taxi to arrive very early and that there were also delays at the airport when checking in, because we were late.

Had the taxi just been late and that was the only problem we had had, then that would have been fair enough and forgivable.

However, for the inbound journey there was no taxi at all. My wife rang yourselves after we’d collected our luggage to confirm our pickup. There was then some confusion at your end due to a “computer problem” and we were told we were not expected to arrive back until the following day. By this time we were very upset and frustrated. My wife explained the problems we had on our outbound journey to which she was told “we don’t know anything about it”. We were then told to go for a drink and that we would be called back to let us know what the situation was. The taxi then arrived over an hour later and was an Astra estate from King’s Taxi’s in Burnley.

Note that there were four adults (myself, my wife and my grandparents), all with luggage. As you can imagine it was a squeeze getting in the taxi. For reference our outbound taxi was a Ford Transit mini van and we had paid extra for exclusive transport (I’m aware that you could say it was in both cases, but an Astra estate is pushing it).

As I mentioned previously, the driver was very unprofessional. He seemed extremely nervous and was sweating profusely and constantly wiping his brow. My wife and grandparents were sat in the back of the taxi and were not given the chance to buckle up properly. He then drove at speeds of over 100mph on the motorway and was very aggressive. He was tailgating cars in front and effectively forcing them to pull in. My wife told him to slow down, and he duly did, but to speeds of 80 to 90mph. Not the sort of speeds you should going at in a fully loaded vehicle with 4 passengers.

I would have thought that given the previous problems on our outbound journey, the driver would have been told to give an excellent level of service in order to at least minimise the damage caused. Unfortunately not. The only good thing that can be noted is that our journey home was quick! At the time I did make a note of taxi’s number, but unfortunately do not have this anymore (my wife gave this when she complained at the time).

I would also like to point out an incident that unfortunately further compounded these problems. Two weeks before our honeymoon I was in a car crash on the way to work, whereby my car was written off. So when I had to go find the taxi driver I had to use my grandparents car when I would have preferred not to and I think you’ll also appreciate that on the return journey I was aghast with the driver’s behaviour.

Given that both journeys were not satisfactory, we were not particularly happy to just receive half of our money back. As is plainly obvious, I was fuming at the time I posted to my blog (and to a degree I still am now). The Valentines email was pretty much the icing on the cake given the level of service we’d received. So yes, I would like to be removed from your mailing list and database.

Whilst I am interested to hear your side of the story, I’m not entirely sure there is anything you can do. I will note however that we were pleased that the complaint was taken seriously, but hope that nobody ever has to go through what we did.

Regards,
Paul Healey

**snip – booking details removed**

Paul said,

February 28, 2007 @ 12:34 am

Peter’s reply to my email.

Date – Feb 26, 2007 1:37 PM
subject – Airport Transfer Problems

Dear Paul

Thank you for taking the time to give me the full picture on the problems that you had encountered whilst using our services.

I have located the booking from the details supplied and have investigated it as soon as I arrived in the office this morning.

Firstly, I would like to give you a brief synopsis of the way my company operates.

Airport Travel UK has been in established now for over fourteen years in the Midlands and North Staffs, we have grown to be the brand leader in this field and have a highly professional crew along with the latest technology to ensure our service runs smoothly. Over the past two and a half years we have branched out into Merseyside and North Lancs. We use a core number of own operated fleet and drivers and a more expansive fleet of dedicated contractors, and as a compliment to this, we also have a number of companies on our books from Birmingham right through to Clitheroe, that are on hand to call upon should there be a problem or delay.

ALL OF WHICH MEANS NOTHING IF THE CUSTOMER HASN’T RECEIVED THE SERVICE THAT WE ARE SET UP AND GEARED TO PROVIDE!.

I have spoken to the driver who collected you on the outbound journey, Gary, to see if he remembered elements of the journey, so that I could re-evaluate it. He does remember the delay and the cause. He does state that though there were problems with the departure, he assumed everything was alright with the arrival time at the Airport and he assumed that you were ok. Because of this assumption, he felt that there was no need to report the problems or the delays, so we weren’t quite aware of the full extent of what happened, and therefore no notes were made for the return journey. This in itself is an error, all contractors are instructed to report either verbally or written, dependant upon the severity of the problem, any delay they have had or problem that occurs, irrespective of what or whom is to blame. This enables us to be abreast of the situation at all times and allows us to act accordingly. I have made it clear that this rule must always be upheld to ensure a continuance of good customer service, when there is a breakdown of communication invariably the customer suffers. The driver concerned is now aware of this and has expressed his regret that this was not done in accordance with company protocol.

The return journey is another matter altogether. Kings are one of those sundry companies that we call upon to cover work at short notice or if there is an overspill, as a back up. In the main, we do not have a problem with them, however it was totally unacceptable to send that driver and that class of vehicle to collect you. I am aware that there was a small computer problem at the time which caused the confusion, but if our Despatch Manager had used his hard copy back up, as is normal in these circumstances, your arrival would have been quite apparent. I can assure you that an attempt was made to call our contractor, near to the Airport, Trafford Cars, but for reasons unknown to me at this moment, they were unable to supply a vehicle. Kings were called and they stated they had a vehicle in the field that could be there in approximately half an hour. (The issue of the vehicle arriving far later than that was addressed at the time with them and our Despatch Manager at that time, is no longer with the company).

There is no defence, or excuse for what you had to endure on your return journey. The company (Kings) have been warned and that the driver in question must not be used at all, for any runs that maybe contracted to them in the future, if this instruction is broken, then the company will be removed from our system.

Please understand that I am not waylaying any blame for what had happened, as I accept full responsibility. I can assure you that we constantly strive to ensure that that our service and the service we command from our contractors is of the highest quality. Though I appreciate that we cannot please all of the people all of the time and there are going to be some minor problems or delays, there is certainly no excuse for the level of service that you had received.

Please accept my unreserved apologies for the experiences you had with my company, and though it may be deemed as a little too late, I have authorised the release of a cheque today for you for the rest of your costs with us. Please also convey my personal apologies to the remainder of your family.

Yours sincerely

Peter Thomson

Airport Travel UK

(Proprieter)

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