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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Another Bait and Switch?

Over a weekend my wife and I decided we would take advantage of a cruise which had been heavily advertised in the press and TV. We called the advertised number and an operator answered. We outlined our request and were transferred to a reservation agent, where after being placed on hold for over 15 minutes we were quoted a rate for an extended stay at a place we had enjoyed in the past. We confirmed the price with the agent multiple times while on the phone and he did so with consistency. Then he switched us to another agent to book the business, and in doing so we were again placed on a long hold. We did not understand why this switch was even made.

When the second agent came on the phone we had to repeat our requested dates and details (including names, addresses, date of birth and contact phone numbers) as well as the price quoted by the first agent (after the operator). This agent put us on hold two times presumably while inputting the information in a reservation system. She finally came back and said: “we are sorry but the rate quoted is not available for the trip you asked about.” By this time I had been on the phone for almost 25 minutes and was angry even before getting this news. After reciting the facts as stated above, I asked to speak to a manager, and was placed on hold once again.

A manager came on the phone and after a long discussion, placed me on hold again! He finally came back with the statement that the price quoted could not be honored and the new price was 50% more than that quoted. After a few choice words from me, including the phrase: “bait and switch”, he said he would try again and check with the “chief manager”. When he said he would put me on hold while he did this, I screamed NO MORE HOLDS! It had been almost 45 minutes. I gave him a phone number to call me back. He agreed.

He called back about 30 minutes later and said he could not honor the quoted price.

I told him is company was obviously in trouble and hung up!

I hate to see a company in trouble. But this is one that needs a new management


What would you have done?

How would you have handled a potential customer in a similar situation?


Steve Koenig, SCORE Counselor



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