ODEON #CustomerService #Fail

Posted on 24th October 2010 in complaint/ customer service/ odeon

Today the Odeon have displayed appalling customer service. I am actually quite surprised as it would have been incredibly easy for them to rectify the situation and turn it into excellent customer service – but they chose not to.

Today we took the 4 boys to the cinema to see Despicable Me. As a ‘premier’ member I booked online before we went. The tickets cost £47.70 including the extortionate booking fee.

At the Odeon each child then used their pocket money – 3 of them bought the £2.99 ‘film feast’ and one bought a large bag of sweets costing £2.90 – so in total at the Odeon we spent £59.57.

We watched the film – which incidentally was very good – and once we came out the child who hadn’t bought a ‘film feast’ bag realised that he didn’t have a ‘build your own despicable me’ toy. The other 3 boys had received one free in their bag.

So we queued up again at the counter and asked if we could buy one of the toys. We were told no. We explained to the guy what had happened and asked politely if we could buy a toy for a £1. He again said no.

We left the counter and approached another member of staff – I asked if she was a supervisor and she said she was. So we again explained to her and asked if we could buy a toy. She said no. I asked why and she said it was because they don’t have a code to ring it through the till because they are given away FREE with the ‘film feast’ bags. I said could we pay for a drink (so they could ring that through the till) in exchange for a toy? She said no.

I said I thought that was very unreasonable, that we’d spent nearly £60 in the cinema today and that the child hadn’t realised that the toys were in the bags or he’d have bought one of those. She again said no.

I asked her if I wrote to Odeon HO and explained what had happened, whether they would agree with her. She said “Well if you do the letter will just come here.”

I asked if there was a manager on duty – she said she would go and get the manager. She came back a few minutes later with the branch address written down and said the manager also said no.

I said to her that I would buy an entire ‘film feast’ bag in order to get the toy and then write and complain to the Odeon – she said again that the letter would just come back to her anyway….

So, we bought an additional ‘film feast’ bag just to get the toy.

Meaning that we actually spent £62.56 at Odeon today.

Guess what Odeon – it wouldn’t have cost you anything to have just given my son a toy. But we weren’t even asking for that – we offered to pay.

Your customer service today was despicable. (Pun intended.)

UPDATE: I should add to this that I received a very lovely and genuine reply to this blog post from the new GM at my local Odeon. You can read what he said here.

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  • Reply sheila2010 24th October 2010 at 5:55 pm

    That is terrible – you should never have even be expected to buy the toy – once they realised that it was missing they should have replaced it free of charge. I know only too well how much these things can upset children. That is just awful Customer Care. I would really get a bee in my bonet and take it further. As you say you certainly spent enough there in the first place.
    I am so hot on good customer care – and this time you were badly let down. Hope your little fellow was not too upset.

  • Reply Sandra DeBrandt 24th October 2010 at 6:58 pm

    This is aweful and Sheila is right, Customer Service did let you down! In all honesty this seems to be the wave of the future.
    I’m not sure when it started, but somewhere along the way our society forgot about earning an honest dollar. Now it seems that it’s only about getting the dollar with no respect for the spenders satisfaction!
    It would have been such a simple solution for the seller, just to give the child the missing toy, and have the child and the rest of you walk away with memories of a wonderful time spent at that establishment, and looking forward to repeating the experience at another time.
    Now what will you remember ?
    – enjoying the the great movie with your children, or
    -the frustration of getting a “free” toy from an establishment that promotes the “free toy” with purchase.
    ODEON are you listening?

  • Reply TheMadHouse 24th October 2010 at 7:49 pm

    That is terrible. What an appalling level of service. I can not believe that it cost that much to go to the cinema (now I remember why we only go to the local indie and also wait for the DVD). I would write to them and also if they are on twitter and show them this blog post too

  • Reply Princess L 24th October 2010 at 7:50 pm

    And this is why I don’t go to the cinema! It’s so damned expensive.
    That is a bloody disgrace though! It would make no difference to them if they just gave your son a toy for free. I hope you’re writing to them anyway, I’d check the website for the HQ address just to make sure she gave you the right one.

  • Reply andy johnson 24th October 2010 at 8:13 pm

    That is really crap odeon! Not only do you charge a fortune, you then rip people off with fake booking charges!

    They shld def have given your boy a toy – what I really can’t understand is why they didn’t let you buy one.

    Badly handled Odeon – hope the staff members children are treated the same way one day, and that they realise how bad they made that little boy feel.

  • Reply anny 24th October 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Ooh. What odeon was this? I used to work for them, and I would have thought giving you a new toy as you never got one would be the right thing to do. Its right they can’t put it trough the till but if you never got it surely the stock count would be out anyway. ..mind you, its up to the manager depending on the situation and how you approached it.

    • Reply mrsljhall 25th October 2010 at 7:36 am

      Hi Anny, it was Colchester Odeon. I’m sure they could have given him a toy as a ‘token of goodwill’ if they’d wanted to, or found a way to let us buy one. Either way they failed in my eyes x

  • Reply Gru 24th October 2010 at 9:15 pm

    The toy is offered as an incentive to buy the meal. Every customer gets the same deal: one meal – one toy. Your kiddies bought three meals but because you had four children in tow you needed four toys. You asked for a free toy but the staff said they couldn’t do that. You offered to pay the nominal sum of one pound, but they couldn’t do that either. Eventually you realised how shallow the whole cinematic merchandising business is and you bought a film feast meal with which you received the toy. It wasn’t Odeon’s fault if you think that good customer service equates to a buy three get the fourth free deal. But if you’re claiming that film going is now simply too expensive you’d be dead right. If you go to the cinema expect to be fleeced for every penny in your pocket. But don’t feel aggreived. You only had the right to feel aggreived if you’d bought four meals upfront, which you didn’t. Despicable Me 2 comes out in 2013. If you want quality service go see at at an art house cinema where it won’t be playing anyhow.

    • Reply mrsljhall 25th October 2010 at 7:35 am

      Hi Gru – thanks for your comment. You seem to incorrectly think I was after something for free. Equally I think your email address looks a little made up – but, you don’t know me and I don’t know me so I’ll work on the basis that we can each give each other the benefit of the doubt.

      Let me explain. I didn’t expect to get the toy for free. We paid the extortionate cost of going to the cinema of our own free will – I just happen to think it was very dear. The boys chose their sweets themselves, again they were very dear, especially for the 4th child who didn’t want popcorn and therefore didn’t want the combo bag. We didn’t realise the toy came in the bag. Our fault for not noticing I agree. At the end of the film when 3 of the children were playing with the toys the 4th child was very upset not to have one. As the 4th child had only paid 10p less than the other children this seemed a bit of a swizz but as you rightly said he bought the wrong thing.

      I had 2 choices at this point, I could have lied and said the toy was missing from the box and got a free one. I didn’t want to do that because it would be dishonest and I am not and I do not want my children to be. So we asked, politely, if we could buy one. We asked 3 different members of staff. We explained why. We were very polite the whole time.

      What I think is unreasonable is:

      a) that they didn’t come up with a solution.
      b) that they didn’t care in the least that my child was upset.
      c) that the Team Leader was incredibly arrogant and said if I wrote to Odeon then ‘she’d get the letter anyway so go ahead’.

      All of which adds up to bad customer service and poor staff training – I hope.

  • Reply Claire @ Cheshire Mum 25th October 2010 at 9:53 am

    That’s totally rubbish, what ever happened to the old ethos of “the customer is always right” thanks for sharing, I think brands providing shoddy service need to pull their socks up. I for one will choose Odeon alternatives for my cinema viewings.

  • Reply Jaymee 25th October 2010 at 11:12 am

    As a former assistant manager of Cineworld I can say I would have just given you a toy. Families are our biggest market so we should look after them. This should have been handled under the managers discretion regardless of policy there is always a way, especially in the case of a free toy. If there is a complaint there is usually an allowance for some form of compensation for example a free visit next time, or free food if it wasn’t up to standard. It’s certainly not as if they would have lost money, you weren’t asking for a free pass for a month.

  • Reply Slinky75 25th October 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Seems typical of the ‘treat you like cattle’ attitude of the multiplexes and so many other big businesses. They are making so much money they genuinely don’t give a shit about customer service. I don’t particularly like going to the cinema nowadays and try to go to independents where possible as it is a much better experience all round. Mostly we just wait for the DVD though. Last time I went to a multiplex with my daughter we got there with plenty of time to spare but then my daughter wanted some sweets and we stood in the food queue for ages- then got into the cinema and the ads had started, it was busy and you had to sit in numbered seats but it was so dark and there were about 50 people stumbling around trying to see their seat numbers. We sat in what we thought was our seat but then had to move a few minutes later as we were in someone else’s- eventually we did get to ‘our’ seats. If they aren’t going to employ someone to indicate where you are sitting then please leave the lights slightly lighter at leats until the film starts so people can see where to sit!

  • Reply anny 25th October 2010 at 4:04 pm

    ah right, i misunderstood the situation a bit… see on one hand those toys aren’t for individual sale as they are an incentive to get the film feast. .. but see how your bad experiene will turn lots o,f people off the odeon , for the value of a toy? Its true, a bad experience spreads so much further and the good ones get overlooked.

  • Reply Him Up North 25th October 2010 at 10:54 pm

    I don’t like that Gru very much.

    McDonalds have a loooong history of giving away toys in happy meals, but if you don’t want the meal you can buy the toy separately. It isn’t rocket science, Odeon. I’d take your custome elsewhere and send the URL for this blog post to their customer services people.

  • Reply Wesley Wise 27th October 2010 at 3:13 am

    Man, going to the movies are pretty much staggering now, and with almost every film being made into 3d, it will only get worse. That was a pretty harrowing ordeal, it would suit them better if they had a better grasp of their merchandise policy.

  • Reply Lee 13th November 2010 at 9:13 am

    Oh for crying out loud. You’re that annoyed that you’ve blogged about it and now you’re trying to get folk to retweet it in twitter? Do you know there’s a war on where people are dying every day? Do you know there’s a cholera epidemic in Haiti? Do you know children are dying every HOUR in Pakistan due to the aftermath of the floods. You are so enslaved to what your kids demand. How about telling your child the simple fact that, no, they don’t get a toy. How about not encouraging spooky behaviour by not making such a song and dance about it. All you do is make the kid want the toy even more. You can’t buy 3 happy meals in McDonalds and then whinge because you didnt get the tacky cheap made in a sweatshop in China with your Big Mac. Odeon were well within their rights not to give you a free toy without the relevant purchase and it’s idiots like you that hold up the queue for people who can actually read the disclaimers. People like you think your kids are the most important thing in the world and you are quite pathetic for making such a fuss. Boy, what great parenting. I hope your child has learned that if they want something they’re not entitled to that they can make a fuss and then mummy will make an even bigger fuss until they get it. Join the 21st century – most retailers have special offers and staff can’t circumvent them. You get the offer as advertised so they can ring it through the till or you don’t. If you do waste even more of your time writing to the Odeon because you think they should change their marketing promotions to suit you I do hope they have the sense to write back and tell you what a pompous self-righteous fool you are and you can write another blog about that.

    • Reply mrsljhall 13th November 2010 at 9:41 am

      Hi Lee, thanks for reading and commenting. I’m sorry that you are so desperately unhappy with your life that you feel the need to attack mine. Lisa

  • Reply chickenruby 13th November 2010 at 9:56 am

    Nice come back Lisa and well done for not showing yourself up and retaliating to someone who is so obviously not worth bothering with.

  • Reply Greer 13th November 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Given that the Odeon is run my kids anyway, you think they would have appreciated the situation a little bit more.

  • Reply ODEON #HOreply « MrsLJHall 24th November 2010 at 4:26 pm

    […] In case you aren’t aware, this relates to a complaint I made. […]

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