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Fraudulent Customer Complaints

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#1 AJ1795

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 07:00 PM

I am interested to know what procedures you all have in place to deal with customers claiming illness?  What do you do in situations where you are sure that the claim is fraudulent?  Look forward to hearing opinions!  


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#2 Scampi

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 07:04 PM

How do you know the claim is fraudulent?

 

 

Keep a customer log by name then you will know if it a repeat offender.

If it is only a single customer, best advice, don't admit guilt, but send a coupon for a replacement or something like that. Best to address the situation as if it were legitimate until you are sure the customer is making it up.    


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#3 AJ1795

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 07:23 PM

How do you know the claim is fraudulent?

 

 

Keep a customer log by name then you will know if it a repeat offender.

If it is only a single customer, best advice, don't admit guilt, but send a coupon for a replacement or something like that. Best to address the situation as if it were legitimate until you are sure the customer is making it up.    

 

 

Of course, we can't know for sure but the original email that came through customer service was... manipulative.  I was just curious how other companies handled these situations.  Even if it was legitimate, what kind of procedures should be in place for illness complaints?


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#4 Setanta

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 07:34 PM

Do you have samples from your runs that you can send out for lab analysis?


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#5 AJ1795

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 07:45 PM

Do you have samples from your runs that you can send out for lab analysis?

 

We retain samples now, but it is a new procedure and was not being done at the time this product was made.  In the future, hopefully we will have comparative samples on hand that we can test in the event that this happens again.  


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#6 Scampi

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 08:08 PM

This is what CFIA states

0.1 (1) An operator who has processed, packaged, labelled, stored or distributed a meat product, or any person who imports a meat product, and who learns that the meat product might constitute a risk to the public health or might not meet the requirements of these Regulations shall investigate the matter and notify an inspector.

So in Canada, every food producer has an obligation to treat each complaint as legitimate no matter what tone is in an email. That would mean, revisiting documentation relevant to the time of production and/or any raw materials coming in contact with the food including and food packaging that might have caused the problem. Such as, did the vendor change ink etc.

I would perform a full risk analysis to validate that no, this customer did not get ill from our product.

 

 

 

On the business end of things, customers worth whatever it costs to make them happy. A happy customer might tell 100 people about their experience, and UNHAPPY customer will tell EVERYONE!


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#7 Setanta

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 08:12 PM

OK. Have you had any other similar complaints, especially with that date/lot code?

Depending on your lot sizes, a one off illness seems unlikely. Do they have a doctor's diagnosis to a specific food borne illness? Has your state/local municipality tested them?


Edited by Setanta, 23 January 2015 - 08:13 PM.

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#8 AJ1795

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 08:18 PM

OK. Have you had any other similar complaints, especially with that date/lot code?

Depending on your lot sizes, a one off illness seems unlikely. Do they have a doctor's diagnosis to a specific food borne illness? Has your state/local municipality tested them?

 

Hi Setanta,

 

No other complaints, thousands of units, and never an illness complaint with this product before (in ~10 years of production).  They did not visit the doctor, etc. and were mostly interested in getting free product.  


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#9 Setanta

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 08:58 PM

It is easier to send a pleasant letter asking for cooperation and add coupons than to rebuild a rep.


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#10 ksullivan

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Posted 26 January 2015 - 06:06 PM

I would say that if you think there is something that you could test for, that would cause the type of illness that the customer complains of, then you should do it.  If you do not have a retained sample, perhaps you have some retained raw material samples or a boundary lot sample?  

 

I would definitely write up a memo for the your customer complaint log/file that documents the complaint and any subsequent investigation and actions, including an alert to your customer service folks about the product and the complaint SO if a similar complaint should come along, that information will flow directly to you and you can determine whether or not there is cause for alarm.

 

We had an illness complaint once that seemed pretty far-fetched, for a product we make all the time.  I had no idea how that illness might have been related to our product or process, and had no idea what to test the product for. So I documented the information, talked to the customer and waited to see if any similar complaints arose.  None did.  When the FDA was in for a routine inspection, the inspector looked at this complaint and we discussed it.  He agreed that since the complaint was isolated and the illness was  undefined, that my actions were valid (whew!).

 

Good luck!


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