Here’s the short version: Bought a combo deal, no substitutions, got charged a different price than advertised. Honest mistake? Cashier rang in the wrong items? Nope, my bill shows it was correctly entered. I contacted both the local store and Corporate head office for an explanation. Here is a copy of their full reply:
Yeah, neither one bothered answering.
Anyhow, here are the details: On the morning of March 17th, I ordered a Bagel B.E.L.T meal at the Tim Horton’s in the Calgary airport. Here’s a picture of their menu, look at meal #5:
Phone camera picture is little fuzzy, but you can clearly see the meal is $5.89, and on the left bottom corner it clearly indicates that all meals come with a medium coffee & hash brown. So, I ordered meal #5.
Here is my receipt for this on the left. A couple of things to notice. First of all, you can see that I did get one Bagel belt, one hash brown, and one medium coffee. Nowhere does it show the $5.89. It shows the regular price for the sandwich and the other side items, and then some kind of combo discount. This makes it difficult for customers to realize they were charged the wrong amount, specially if they order more items. Presumably they do this so if you want to substitute something, you still get the discount. Fair enough, there is nothing wrong with that, as long as the math works out (and we all know Math Iz Hard).
So why the wrong price? Maybe they had just updated their prices and just hadn’t fixed the store signage yet. Could happen. A bit unethical to show a price and charge another one, but mistakes and delays happen. So I sent an email both to the local store (an email address was on the receipt for any feedback) and through the “Contact Us” page on the corporate website. I also followed up with an email to Tim Horton’s Guest Services. I received absolutely no replies from anyone, other than an automated message from the local store saying “Your message is important to us and our goal is to reply to your email within 48 hours.” This was over two weeks ago.
At first I thought it was just an honest mistake. But then a bit of Googling shows that many customers have suffered similar experiences. There’s a whole blog dedicated just to this. The Toronto Star’s Ellen Roseman (who investigates consumer complaints, and who also did a story on Bloomex that I referenced in an earlier rant) also looks into this situation. At ComplaintsBoard there are over 200 entries for Tim’s, and there are entries in the RipOffReport database for them as well. Also check out this twitter account dedicated to posting daily occurrences of Timmy’s screw ups.
So why no reply? Is that because they KNOW this a systemic approach for them to make more revenue, and they didn’t want to acknowledge it?
Oh well, I’m taking some satisfaction in writing this while using the free wi-fi at a different coffee shop!
Responsibility in causing issue: 1
- Completely their fault. I ordered a standard item from the menu with no substitutions and got charged a different price
Ease of resolving issue: 2
- At least they have a form on their website to contact them. Too bad they don’t reply. A simple apology would have prevented whatever negative feedback this post causes them.
Speed in resolving issue: 1
- It was never resolved by them
Final Score: 4/20
Would I do business again: Only if it’s the only coffee option around. Otherwise, I’ll gladly go out of my way to go elsewhere.