When Customer Service Fails… It’s Actually Pretty Entertaining

All of these companies paid the price for terrible customer service, but we have to thank them for the interesting and hilarious stories that resulted from their blunders. This is exactly how NOT to handle your customers, and we can all learn valuable lessons from their mistakes.


1. Verizon Customer Forced to Pay for Her Dead Father’s Phone

We all know corporations can be heartless, but this story shows just how cold they can be. One woman asked Verizon to cancel her father’s account because he had just passed. Verizon continued to charge her for the account for 3 months (even after she provided a death certificate) because they said they could not cancel it without his PIN number, which of course no one knew, except for the father. (Business Insider)
death phone talkroute

2. Kevin Smith is Too Fat to Fly

After he was already seated on the plane, a Southwest Airlines captain claimed that Kevin Smith was a safety risk because he was “too fat to fly”. The renowned film director took it in stride and started tweeting about the incident, after which mainstream media picked up the story, motivating Southwest to issue an apology to Smith. (Business Insider)
kevin smith talkroute

3. Cable Company Has No Heart

After one of the most intense tornado outbreaks in U.S. history, Charter Communications of Alabama told their customers to “look around” for their cable boxes, or pay the fine for lost equipment; this was following a disaster that destroyed their homes, and entire towns were wiped off the map. Cable companies should probably think about having a little more sensitivity. (Business Insider)



4. Retail Outlet Makes Fun of a Bride

A bride-to-be was shopping for her wedding dress at the retail outlet, Gasp, but little did she know that instead of being well-treated as she prepared for the joyful upcoming day, the customer service agents ridiculed her fashion sense. “I knew you were a joke the minute you walked in,” said one agent to the woman. (Getapp)

sad bride

5. Amazon Agent Frustrates and Mistreats Customer

No one would expect the online retail giant Amazon to give bad customer service, but one support agent committed an epic fail with this customer. The man’s name was Chris, but the agent kept calling him “Brittni”, and kept the man online for almost an hour for a simple question. This agent was really not paying attention. (Getapp)

amazon conversation

6. Comcast “Customer Retention Specialist” Won’t Take ‘No’ for an Answer

A Comcast customer calls customer support for what should’ve been a quick and easy conversation—to cancel his account. For almost 20 minutes, the agent kept the customer on the phone and refused to simply cancel the account, instead repeatedly asking him why he wanted to disconnect. Sometimes you just have to let go, Comcast. (Getapp)



7. This One is Priceless

(pleated jeans)

sprint talkroute

8.  …And This One

(pleated jeans)

bank sign

9. The perils of canned responses—AT&T

Auto-generated responses in a customer support conversation can be a helpful tool, but if not done appropriately, this is what happens. (pleated jeans)

att texts

10. Virgin Media just doesn’t get it

(pleated jeans)

virgin media chat
Bonus: These marketing train wrecks actually somehow worked out:
Marketing So Bad, That it’s Good



1. Patricia Laya, “NIGHTMARE: 7 Customer Service Blunders That Went Viral,” Business Insider, http://www.businessinsider.com/7-very-public-lessons-in-customer-service-2011-6?op=1
2. James Thornton, “5 Customer Service Fails That Will Make You Squirm,” Getapp, http://lab.getapp.com/5-customer-service-fails-that-will-make-you-squirm/
3. Jeff Wysaski, “15 Customer Service Fails,” Pleated Jeans, http://www.pleated-jeans.com/2012/08/29/15-customer-service-fails/


Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.

Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.

StephanieWhen Customer Service Fails… It’s Actually Pretty Entertaining