Ello. I wish to register a complaint

Dead Parrot

No, no. 'E's, uh, restin'

I surprised myself this week by writing my first ever letter of complaint to a business for bad customer service. I don’t really know why, either. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting old. Some people mellow with age, and I guess some people get more grumpy.

I’m usually a pretty patient kind of guy, but something inside me just snapped this day and as I was driving home I made the decision that someone’s gotta know that I’m unhappy. I think a few reasons contributed to my loss of self control including having to stand for most of my ordeal, and also having nothing to read besides magazines about Commodores. I mean really, Commodores are awful cars and a tyre place really should have more variety in their waiting room literature, but it’s something that I’ve come to expect living in the Peel region.

Having worked in retail I know that a complaint can ruin your whole day, but then again having worked in retail I know there’s standards of service below which you should not slip lest you incur the wrath of the customer. In Australia these standards are pretty low compared to, say, North America so you’ve gotta be pretty awful before someone will raise their voice in complaint against you.

Anyhow, onto the email:

I want to voice a complaint about service I got from Tyrepower last week. I called ahead and booked in to Mandurah WA Tyrepower on Tuesday 8th March for 10:30. I rolled up at the appointed time, ordered two front tyres and a front wheel alignment, handed my keys over and was told it’d be ready in an hour. I had taken the day off work and had hoped to be back at work for the afternoon.

I came back at 11:30 and found that it hadn’t been started which was disappointing.

It wasn’t until 12:30 that work started on my car. The tyres were put on, and the car was taken down off the lift but before I paid I asked if the wheels had been aligned as I’d asked. “Uhhh, no. But now we have another car in there so you have to wait”. It wasn’t until 1:30 that work started on aligning my front wheels and it wasn’t until 2:30 that I got my keys back and hit the road with no apology or explanation which was too late in the afternoon to go back into work.

Now, I’m not Mark Webber. I don’t drive a top of the line Red Bull RB6 Formula 1 race car, and I never expected to be in and out with new tyres in less than 4 seconds. I get that, I really do. But I would have hoped that by booking ahead of time and being told it’d take an hour that work would have been completed in the ballpark of the agreed time. I understand things go wrong, things happen and can take more time than expected and I can make allowances for this. But 4 hours to change two tyres and align the wheels is a bit long I think. Or am I being unreasonable?

One other point I want to make is that the $2 fee to dispose of the tyres was never discussed or agreed upon when making the booking, and no alternative was given when I was asked to pay. I understand there’s a secondary market for used tyres where rubber and steel are bought and sold as commodities to be recycled so to charge me $2 so Tyrepower can profit from this is a bit cheeky.

I will no longer be using Tyrepower for my own cars, and will recommend against Tyrepower to friends, family and co-workers. Thanks for your time.

Brian Hoover
Perth Australia

I sent this to the WA head office. The response I received so far has been along the lines of “Let me contact that office and I’ll get back to you” from the Retail Development Coordinator. But nothing in the days since then.

I’m probably wrong about the market for tyre recycling, but that extra little $2 gouge upset me too.

So, have I been unreasonable? Was it wrong to expect the appointment to be kept? Are my expectations of a 1-hour turnaround for two tyres and a front wheel alignment to high? Is it wrong for me to complain about this scenario? And just what is the state of affairs for tyre recycling in your part of the world?