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Rude Customer Stories



7:45 am on Jul 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Ok so I wanted to write about my experience with very rude and obnoxious customers. 99% of my customers are nice and very polite. However every once in a while I get someone that just seems to be rude and basically an a-hole for no reason. So I had this potential customer email me asking specific product questions. I replied to him and I shared my knowledge with him about the product line he was considering. This led to about 5 emails back and forth, and I wrote approx 500-700 word responses to each of his emails regarding the products, specs, etc. I even offered him a coupon good for a discount just because I had been talking to him for so long. So then the next day I get an email from that same customer saying that they tried to use the code and it didn't work. He then proceeded to say "shame on you" for sending them a coupon that didn't work and that I was fooling him. He then said that he went and bought the item from another store. I couldn't believe the email this guy sent to me, I was so nice to him and he must have not entered the coupon correctly. I then sent a reply, and I gave detailed instructions on how to use the code, but no reply after that. I mean if he just sent a quick email to ask me how he can redeem the code, there would have been no problem. I have also very rarely had anyone that couldn't apply a coupon correctly on my site. Well maybe it was for the better, sometimes you dont want to deal with nasty people like that. I have more, but does anyone else have any customer interaction stories they would like to share?


8:08 am on Jul 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Bottom line, there's some people out there that just aren't right in the head.

I think I already posted my worst once before, but a new chapter was added yesterday, so I guess it applies...

Pretty much same scenario... Guy emailed back and forth with a million questions. Gave me a sob story about being handicapped and a vet. I gave him a free accessory worth $40. between the time he bought it and it getting there, he emailed me another 5 times at least, some of which were very odd. That's when I knew the guy was a few quarts low. My little voice told me that wouldn't be the end of it.

So he gets the things and claims it doesn't work. So began two weeks of me going back and forth with him, many of which were late at night and on weekends. He continually refused to do the things I told him to do and just kept complaining. Finally I lost my patience and told him to send it back for a refund. He said he didn't want a refund, he wanted another one that worked. I told him I didn't have time to keep going through this, and there most likely wasn't anything wrong with the one he had. He then said I purposely gave him a bad one, because I decided giving him the free item was "too good a deal". I told him he should be ashamed of himself, as I counted the emails back and forth trying to help him, and there were over 40. Service you would never be able to get from anyone else... So we are done talking. He sent another email back giving a link to a forum where somebody semi complained about a product, and he said "I see this isn't the only time someone has had a problem with you."

He disappeared for a while, then out of the blue emailed me to say that he finally did what I told him to do and it works, then apologized for getting crazy, because he said he was "devastated" he spent so much money and it didn't work. I told him that I understand, but he really needs to watch making accusations like that, as it does no one any good, including him.

So fast forward about 5 months and the guy emails me to tell me his garage collapsed on the item and it doesn't work. LOL I pointed him to a place that would sell him the part he needs to fix it... There was no way I was going to get involved in that again. But I have a feeling that won't be the last of him.

As they say... No good deed and all that.


8:35 am on Jul 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

My advice would be, when you get emails like this to first get information from the customer about the way they got the problem and see if you can replicate it. Redeem a coupon may work for you with the browser and configuration you setup. But it may not work for somebody else because he uses something else.

Lots of eshops these days work exclusively with flash or js or with a specific browser. I shop online with these things blocked many times and if I cannot enter or use the cart of the store I don't even bother to email the store owner. I just continue to the next store.

If get feedback like that, I will get as much info from the client as possible and try to replicate the problem. All the carts that I have seen have many side effects many times difficult to identify.

All I am saying is don't rule out the possibility the customer couldn't redeem the coupon.


8:46 am on Jul 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

As for codes not working - we had a similar problem with passwords. People forgot their password and requested a new one, and then claimed the new password did not work. Since this happened at least 3 times a week I made the following changes in the function that created the passwords:

- no I or 1
- no 0 or 0 or o
- every secend letter a vowel

So instead of

people now receive passwords like this:

Could be the same problem with your coupon codes. If the contain I10oO this are easily confused.


2:38 pm on Jul 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

we need a new adjective to describe people who can't cut and paste...



3:59 pm on Jul 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Recently I had a would-be customer who called to ask if I had a very rare and expensive widget. It just so happened that I was creating the page to put up five of those particular widgets, which had taken me almost two years to bring to fruition. I told her that, and she asked me the price. I said the price would range from $75 to $185.00.

She was immediately enraged. "I can get an American version of that widget for $3.99! [The American version is a completely different thing.] That's terrible that you are charging so much! You must be some kind of crooked businessman! You don't want to share with the community! It's just greed!"

All this while I was trying to interrupt, pointing out that I had created these myself, this was a very rare widget, no one else even sold such a widget, it had taken me almost two years and a lot of knowledge and skill to come up with these widgets, no one else knew how to do it, etc., but it was pointless. The "share with the community" thing especially made me mad. Content thieves in my niche have told me that. I lost my temper and said, "Tell you what--go on down to WalMart and see what they charge for theirs." And I hung up on her. Of course, WalMart would never sell this widget. I was so mad I wrote about it on my blog: People asking for something rare and wondrous, begging, pleading, crying, pleas please pleas, and then when you finally can supply it, act like it is some cheap plastic crap churned out in the millions by a Chinese sweatshop. Rant snarl howl snap.

I sold two of those widgets in five hours of putting up that page. The rest sold in 10 days. I decided then to double the price on the next batch of these widgets. So there, lady. Guess what you can do with your $3.99.


6:53 pm on Jul 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Funny... Yeah, I've gotten that "share" mentality too. I'm like... OK, what is it about selling stuff that makes people act like it's some sort of public service or something. What would happen if I walked into someone's job and told them I thought they should 'share' some of their paycheck at the end of the week?


11:09 pm on Jul 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I find that the rudest customers are the ones I see face to face, quite often they are unaware that I am a senior partner in the company and one of the designers and speak to me like sh**

Just the other day we had a customer who had purchased one of our products, she had mistakenly placed a wet pair of trousers on top of it (which in itself is a seriously weird thing to do with one of our products) and the black dye from the trousers had run off on to our product, she brought it back and told me that she wanted a new one, she actually argued that it was our fault that she was not able to wipe the stain off of our product!? (there's no reason why she should be able to) She caused a very nasty scene and purposely made it look to our customers like we had done something wrong in an effort to force us to give her a new product. I reasoned with her for half an hour, and lost countless sales. I tried to break it to her in analogies such as "If you put a red sock in the wash with white shirts would you take the stained shirt back and scream at the company that sold it to you?" She became irate and told me to "get the fu***** manager"

The situation declined from that point onwards, it was satisfying to tell her at that point that I was one of the owners of the company. She simply turned around and stormed out, having ruined my day. I felt rotten about that incident for days afterwards.


11:43 pm on Jul 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

You shouldn't feel bad. Most people are nice. A few are brats, and a few are crazy. It's just odds that they turn up as customers now and then.

dpd1, yes, in response to the "you should share" thing, I have offered up the response, "So it's okay with you if I take your car?"


5:51 am on Jul 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

told them I thought they should 'share' some of their paycheck at the end of the week?

Should be no surprise... US Gubmermint (sic) is doing that these days with its citizens! :)

Could this be the New Trick El Economics?


6:18 am on Jul 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I gave detailed instructions on how to use the code

Live and learn because anything requiring "detailed instructions" is doomed for eventual customer failure and you, not your customer, shot yourself in the foot IMO.

I learned years ago that anything you want customers to do VIA EMAIL must be executable in a single link, so if you have a coupon code, you need a link that adds both the product they want and that coupon directly to the shopping cart and makes it plainly visible to the customer that the action has happened.

We have a bunch of special links set up on our site so that anything the customer inquires about can be replied to INCLUDING a "buy now" link that puts that item, the quantity and pricing discussed, including discounts, directly into the cart making the final purchase a snap.

Like I said, live and learn, because making such things idiot proofed and giving a direct call to action will increase your sales in such situations and eliminate the "idiot factor" making mistakes on the other end.


6:46 am on Jul 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

what i meant by detailed instructions was telling her to input the code and press apply discount. She is the only customer that has ever had a problem with applying any coupon codes (of course that I know of, but we have a pretty low cart abandonment rate). The area to apply a promo code is clearly marked and I have tried to make the checkout system as functional and easy to use as possible. 97% of people seem to just get it, but it always seems like theres that small percentage who are just dense.

What you are saying is true though, things need to be bare bones simple for people. The single link is a very good idea, I will look into that and see if my cart will support something like that.


7:00 am on Jul 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

it always seems like theres that small percentage who are just dense


They're having a technical problem, such as the cookie failing or something else.

I've seen all sorts of nutty things happen that shouldn't, inexplicable, usually about that 3% you seem to have issues with as well.

The best anyone can do is streamline it until it's completely idiot proofed and after that it's anyone's guess why it still fails (if it fails) but at least human error has been factored out.


3:13 pm on Jul 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Haven't had any good zingers for a while, but recently had a customer tell me that their $10 order was the "most disappointing buying experience" of their entire life...because they ordered the wrong thing.

Obviously never bought stock in bp, enron, worldcom, or any infomercial weightloss supplements.


9:09 pm on Jul 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I had a woman over the weekend rant and rave about a discontinued product that didn't ship with her order.

The last piece sold out before it had a chance to be deducted from stock - the difference of only a few moments. Severe bad timing.

Anyway, she was never charged for this missing item, but it completely ruined her life by not having this $20 product. She ranted and raved about everything from how my staff is illiterate for not knowing she NEEDED this item and "you should have known that if it wasn't there I'd cancel the full order" - yet she happened to skip past the special instructions box on checkout, where customers normally tell us that type of stuff.

She proceeded to ask "How are you going to compensate me for this?" - that's right, compensate her for not charging her for an item that didn't ship.


9:54 pm on Jul 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

brokaddr: you know what, I have noticed that the rude customers are most often the ones asking for discounts or free gifts (even if they dont qualify for the free gift promotions I am running). Sometimes they think that by intimidating they can scare us into discounts.


6:00 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


I've witnessed people in retail stores do the same thing - talk loudly, make a scene. All so the staff gets embarrassed and throws things at them for free just to get them out of the store.

On the web I think it's the same mentality, but if they get really out of control they're easy to block. I wonder how successful these people are with getting their freebies with that type of attitude over the internet.
I'd rather take a negative review than give into this type of person - once they win from you, they'll tell their friends how easy it was and before you know it; you're serving a bunch of raving lunatics.

Whatever happened to the saying "You catch more bees with honey" or however you say it?


6:30 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Personally for me, I am really trying to avoid any negative review at all. My feeling is that my site is not as big as the larger players in the industry. People will google my site name to look at reviews before they buy. One negative review can show up in the SERPs and that can affect business, so even if they are upset or rude, I try my best to listen to their concerns and offer something like a free gift or at least show I am willing to work with them. Of course there is that tiny percentage of people who are just looney and need to be told to shop elsewhere.


8:37 pm on Jul 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

It certainly isn't unique to ecommerce. In the days when I was a bank clerk back in the 70s you used to meet all sorts. I ended up ordering one customer off the premises when he reduced one of the young girls to tears. I was terrified that he would complain to the manager and get me into trouble, actually he came back next day and apoligised.

Experienced a few in various fields over the years. As a magazine editor I recall the one who insisted that her ad should have priority despite having sold all available space because she had advertised before.


2:49 am on Jul 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I know a CEO who was at a trade show and watched a retail store owner who sold the company's products being astoundingly rude to one of his staff.

He watched the vitriol spew for a while, then stepped in, told the customer who he was, announced to all within earshot that he couldn't afford to pay his people as much as they deserved for putting up with abuse like that, and cancelled her account on the spot.


10:27 pm on Jul 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Cool story. I had the experience of being a customer waiting while another customer berated the clerk at the fish counter because the grocery store did not have some kind of fish he wanted. He was really being mean. The poor woman, you could tell, was afraid to say anything. Finally I said to him in my best New York ethnic, "Why don't you shut up?" The look on his face was priceless. Then he wanted to know what business it was of mine. I said, "You're wasting my time while you yell at someone who doesn't even order the fish! Moron!" He stomped off. Bullies should always get a dose of their own medicine.

She said after that he was always polite.


12:45 pm on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member essex_boy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I recently became involved with a deadbeat customers account, single mother living in low cost housing, so a low income. Over space of three months I made several agreements with her to pay they were always on her terms and conditions.

No payments. Nothing at all.

We go to county court, she turns up with the full amount in cash on the day of the hearing, 2300.

Only after paying she lets rip at me and my firm for being terrible to her and how she couldnt believe that we would take her to court for such a small amount. blah blah blah.

Victim culture me thinks


5:36 am on Jul 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

He then proceeded to say "shame on you" for sending them a coupon that didn't work and that I was fooling him

I have just refused to fill some orders after things get to nasty. When things get to a certain point there are no more emails or phone calls sent, and reps are told to just transfer the call. I have never regretted doing so in those cases.

This prevents chargebacks and potential legal problems from further contact.


7:59 pm on Aug 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Got a good one today. Though I'd like to use a different word besides 'rude'.

Guy sends me an email saying that he has decided he prefers to have an item other than the custom one he ordered from us, so he will be sending that back. Doesn't ask to send it back... Just tells me he's going to send it back. Then tells me he will purchase another item today, and also needs an accessory worth about $35 to go with it. So sure enough, there's the order for the other item, with a note inside asking us to "include" the accessory item. Didn't actually buy it... Just asked for it to be "included". Unbelievable.

And how much you bet he has some issue with the second item as well. I have a good mind to just cancel it on him.


8:05 pm on Aug 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have one like that. She is in canada and is handicapped and can't do this and that blah blah blah and always orders an outrageous amount and then demands extra services with it, none of which she is happy about. We've even gone out of our way to give her extra service from a shop owner in her own city, and she made this person endure her painstaking phone calls and commentary. I've blocked her IP. She can no longer order from us. I don't care how much $$$ she has to spend, it just isn't worth it. Even with the apology afterwards. I think it is often times people who are lonely, who feel victimized and alone, and have no other way to vent except by being a customer.


9:13 pm on Aug 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Yeah, I've had those. On one hand, you feel bad for them. Then on the other hand, they don't make it very easy feeling bad for them for long.


10:43 am on Aug 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It is always the ones' that want something for nothing, rudeness is a byproduct of their f'd up personality.

I had someone email us asking for a discount "because they had bought from us before" they emailed 4 times. I finally emailed back and told them that I sincerely hoped that their employer comes to them at work and tells them that they're taking 50 quid out of their wage packet "just because" and "also because we've paid you before".

She didn't email back and a week later when I thought I'd lost the sale she placed the order! I'm learning to love this stuff! Although it is weird how some people expect you to eat sh** and grin?

I love these threads, just when you're feeling worn down and start wondering why it's only you that gets all this grief, you realise it's everyone, in every niche across every country.


10:18 pm on Aug 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Here's an interesting one.

A fellow placed an order at the end of July. It never came across my queue as he selected the payment option as 'mail-in payment' - earlier this week he proceeded to slam my company around the web and I quote "I paid by Visa and you never sent my stuff"

He never paid for this order; doesn't respond to emails and is posting his sludge all over the place.

There is no way for him to have placed a secondary order, because he's posted the order number in his negative reviews and that order number is assigned to an unpaid purchase. (For good measure, I searched all of my current orders for the name, address and even email of this guy. The only result is the unpaid transaction.)

Easy way to get around some of the "filters" in place at these review sites to slander a company. All they require for "confirmation" is an order number.


10:54 pm on Aug 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

you can always tell the seasoned scammers, first thing out of their mouth is "refund"!

Refund, I placed an order and I NEED a refund, refund my money immediately, refund refund refund or i will dispute the charges, refund!


7:35 am on Aug 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Yeah, the people that do the neg review attacks are lower than pond scum. Seriously... How messed up an individual do you have to be to not only scam something free out of somebody, but try and ruin their business to boot.

When I was a kid I worked at a place that did deliveries. The wise owner once told me... You always know when a customer is crooked, because they're always the first to get angry over things that nobody else does. I quickly learned he was right, because on first deliveries with a new customer, we would always ask for a check. Most people had no problem with that, for obvious reasons. Then you would get the people that would flip out and act completely incensed, insulted and shocked, that we wouldn't bill them on their first delivery. When they realized all their whining wouldn't get them anywhere, that's usually when the legit anger set in. Sorry, no scam today.
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