Best companies in America
May 17, 2012 10:59 AM   Subscribe

I am beyond fed up with large companies. Unfortunately, I don’t have much of a choice in some cases, but I’m hoping to get a list of companies that are decent and still practice actual customer service, rather than just giving lip service to it. (Examples at the bottom for people who feel like reading a rant).

I do not have unreasonable expectations. I know what I can expect from a company and I'm not trying to get them to give me exceptional treatment for free all the time. But when I call customer service over something which seems obviously unfair and the rep can't give me a good reason for doing it, don't take any positive action and then cheerfully say "We appreciate your business!! Have a great day!!" it is frustrating.

I am willing to pay more if it means I get decent service with no shady, underhanded attempts to squeeze more money out of me. Please could you give me a list of companies that you know that are forthright and honest in dealing with customers. I know they may be a rare thing these days, but I’m looking for any input.

I am not looking for fully ethical here, just basic decency. I know this can be very subjective. I also know I need to work on my patience, but that's probably a different askme.

Cell phone providers/ Telecoms
Retail Stores
Insurance companies
Credit cards
Anything else you can think of

I've gotten to the point where I am just considering opting out - no credit cards, no cell phones etc., just because it's so bad with no good alternatives...but that is not always practical.

TL/DR: Do decent companies still exist?

*Wells Fargo (and probably all others) credit card – when I use it the charge is applied to my account the same day. A payment or credit however, takes up to a week. I know they do this because they earn interest on the money but I don’t care about any of that, it’s just crappy and on top of it, I pay them an annual fee.

Verizon – refused to unlock an old phone of mine, which I bought and paid for and no longer use as I have upgraded to a newer smart phone. I am on a family plan which has been with them for years and I asked to have my old phone unlocked for a trip abroad so I could I could buy a sim card and pay as I go. Though they said they can unlock it, that is not one of the scenarios in which they would unlock it. They would only unlock it if I switched that phone to my primary phone. I know they are doing this so they can hit me with tons of fees overseas. I realize they have no financial incentive to unlock my old phone so I can use it with a sim card but as I have been with them for years, have no plans to leave them and own the old phone outright, it would have been a nice thing to do to just unlock it so I wouldn’t have to pay $10 to someone else to give me the unlock code.

I know some of you may have had nothing but great service with Verizon or Wells Fargo but I’m not looking for that. I’m looking for something with is fairly widely known to have great and fair service. An example would be Amazon’s Kindle division. There have been problems with Kindles but most message boards I’ve seen have agreed that when you call customer service they’re great in just sending out replacement Kindles, no questions asked.
posted by triggerfinger to Society & Culture (62 answers total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
I've always had good experiences with Jet Blue, Frontier, and Cathay Airlines. Frontier deserves props especially for how they handled a screwed up flight that had been delayed by Hurricane Irene. They handled it a damn sight better than Orbitz or Continental ever did.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:04 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

As far as banking, I think your choices are USAA (also insurance and credit card) if you can get it, or a local credit union (which isn't a guarantee, just a better bet).

I've never had a data/telecom company that wasn't trying to bilk me like a guy shuffling cars on the corner.

I recently had to deal with Microsoft when my Xbox Live account was hacked and was really astonished at the customer service. Maybe I got lucky, but I spoke to an actual, helpful person who I had a pleasant conversation with in between answering questions when she needed me to, then they quickly accomplished exactly what they said they would and returned my money without any kind of hassle.
posted by cmoj at 11:08 AM on May 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

Nordstrom is known for customer service, and for a good reason - they are fantastic. Returns are easy and they fix any problem quickly. You will pay for it though.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:08 AM on May 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

Not a specific recommendation, but I'm sure has a lot of discussion about this sort of thing.
posted by gauche at 11:08 AM on May 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

Nearly every foreign airline is better than every US airline.

Banks' customer service is directly proportional to the amount of money you keep with them. Open up an account and deposit $50,000 and you'll get people calling you up to ask if you need any help with anything. Not so much if your account has $2.37 in it. I have seen this behavior from both Chase and Fidelity (Fidelity may not technically be a bank).

Ace hardware has *much, much* better customer service than Home Depot does (at least at every single Ace I've ever been to).

Apple still does a pretty good job of customer service.

Insurance companies, like banks, give you better service if you do more business with them. I have my home, auto, and life insurance all through a local State Farm agent and he does a good job.

I don't use credit cards. They have no redeeming qualities.

AT&T has been pretty poor as a cell phone provider, but nobody else seems any better.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:09 AM on May 17, 2012

Retail: Zappos is well-known to have incredible customer service, even now that they are part of Amazon. Some great examples of what they have done are here. I am always willing to pay a little more to shop there.
posted by dayintoday at 11:10 AM on May 17, 2012 [6 favorites]

LL Bean and, in most cases, Apple both have very good customer service.

Also, this is very specialized, but the people who make Thermapens (expensive kitchen thermometers) are just great.
posted by Betelgeuse at 11:10 AM on May 17, 2012

Banks are money-making machines. If you hate the way that makes them do business,look into a credit union, where the business model is based on users being co-owners. It is worthwhile to maintain a big-bank account on the side to cover the limited geography of your average credit union, but for the most part they're great! So take your money for a walk to the other side of the street.

I've always heard that ll bean was about as great as it got when it comes to customer service people bending over backwards for you, but I've no personal ecperience.
posted by Ys at 11:12 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ally Bank
Sierra Trading
posted by thinkpiece at 11:12 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Discover has a good reputation for customer service. Anecdotally, I just had my credit card information stolen last week and they were more than helpful getting everything resolved. Seriously, I'm talking profuse apologies, follow-up phone calls asking if I needed anything, and being very forthright about what steps they were taking to protect my account and personal information. Their call centers are all in the US, too, if that matters to you. I've never had a payment not post the day I asked them to post it.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:12 AM on May 17, 2012

Oh, and I switched to Ally from Wells Fargo, which seemed to me to be nothing short of institutionalized racketeering.
posted by thinkpiece at 11:13 AM on May 17, 2012

re: banks I think it's a pretty standard line these days that your local credit union is a much better bet for customer service. (You can find a local credit union here.) Some offer credit cards. The Pew Trust did a study on credit cards in 2011 (to follow-up on the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (Credit CARD) Act) and the findings of that study (pdf) seem to slightly favor credit union-offered credit cards.

Zappos is renowned for customer service. I have actually always had decent service from Amazon. I would also second LL Bean, their lifetime return guarantee is amazing.

A note of caution re: thinkpiece's suggestion of PayPal - the internet is littered with PayPal horror stories.
posted by Wretch729 at 11:14 AM on May 17, 2012

Oh seconding discover (no charge to pay using automated phone service? Whydoesn't EVERYONE do that?? Paying to pay my bill conveniently is just nuts! They've waived a bunch of late charges for me over the years, too.
posted by Ys at 11:16 AM on May 17, 2012

Ally Bank is the best bank I've ever had the pleasure of using. Seriously, their customer service is tops. And they refund all ATM fees and pay interest on checking with no fees, and many credit unions do not do all that.

JetBlue has great service. I try to fly it whenever possible.

Of course, the best service you will ever receive is at your local hardware store.

(If you want a better credit card than Wells Fargo, I like the Chase Freedom which I chose based on a NYTimes article recommendation. However, I'm not going to sing their super praises. Just happy with it.)
posted by General Malaise at 11:19 AM on May 17, 2012

Amazon has been super great for me, as well as Zappos. I bought an item from Amazon once and they sent me completely the wrong item. Not even REMOTELY close. I contacted them to let them know and they promptly shipped out a replacement (corrected) item and let me keep the original (wrong) item. It was something relatively cheap but still, I thought that was great.
posted by agress at 11:22 AM on May 17, 2012

Logitech is great about replacing broken devices under warranty; they only ask reasonable questions and you don't have to ship the broken mouse back to them.

+1 REI, Zappos, and Nordstrom
posted by asphericalcow at 11:26 AM on May 17, 2012

My solution is simply to never use or need customer service for anything. How many times do you feel like you're being treated unfairly?

My American Express blue card and Chase Amazon credit card have been good and seem to credit their payments quickly when submitted online.
posted by deanc at 11:27 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Places that have always been superb, customer service-wise:
-Jet Blue
posted by estlin at 11:28 AM on May 17, 2012

1-800-Contacts is awesome.
recently I ordered contacts from them, but forgot to update my account with my new prescription, which meant they couldn't verify & fulfill it. they emailed me and called me twice to fix it (& were super nice each time), and then gave me free overnight shipping -- even though it was MY mistake.
I was totally taken aback! nobody is that helpful.
posted by changeling at 11:32 AM on May 17, 2012

Penzeys Spices. They have lots of devotees here, and for good reason. They pick up the phone if you call and you can ask a million questions. They're pleasant. Every order you make, you get a very generous full size sample of a random spice/seasoning, plus they always have coupon codes for free full size products, PLUS they often have coupon codes for $5 off $10. They're cheaper than the grocery store. Love them!
posted by CheeseLouise at 11:35 AM on May 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

LL Bean

REI. Seriously good.

I will second the Thermapen suggestion. Thermoworks, I think they're called. I sent them an email about an out of warranty pen that wasn't functioning, an actual human responded immediately with my options for repair. We swapped a couple more emails and my men suddenly started working. We both had a good laugh about it.
posted by bondcliff at 11:36 AM on May 17, 2012

American Express has always been good to me, Discover has also, but I still mostly use credit unions because they are just nicer in general, their policies are more consumer-friendly, interest rates tend to be a bit lower, no double-cycle billing, etc. Pentagon Federal is my favorite, but I hear SO MANY great things about USAA.

Costco is really easy to deal with for returns, etc.

posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:37 AM on May 17, 2012

American Express and Amazon have generally treated me well. That's why I never cancelled my charge card despite the annual fee.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 11:37 AM on May 17, 2012

B&H and Adorama are the two big camera stores in the US, and they both have top tier customer service in my experience.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:38 AM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nordstrom. Seriously, I'm considering never shopping anywhere else ever again, despite the prices.

Anecdote: when I was on maternity leave, my daughter and I were at Nordstrom when she had the mother of all blow outs. I was in the kids section, but hadn't bought anything. The sales woman saw my complete distress, and lack of babybag. She handed me an outfit from the clearance rack and said "go get her cleaned up, I'll watch your stuff" and when I came back she also gave me a blanket to put in her stroller to cover the poop. And didn't make me pay for either thing. I was so grateful I cried.
posted by dpx.mfx at 11:42 AM on May 17, 2012 [10 favorites]

Nthing Zappos. I just got a copy of their Culture Book: 300+ pages of comments from their employees saying how much they love their company and how great is to work there. They work hard to create a culture which makes their customers happy, and that includes having happy employees.
posted by clearlydemon at 11:45 AM on May 17, 2012

KEEN Shoes. Their customer service is aces. I bought a pair of their mary janes from a third party reseller. The strap on one of the shoes broke after only two months of wear. I was able to go to KEEN's website, fill out a warranty claim (and upload a picture of the damage online! just like it's 2012!), and they'd credited me the cost of a replacement pair of shoes within 24 hours and included free shipping.
posted by MsMolly at 11:48 AM on May 17, 2012

I just had a lovely customer service experience with The Container Store. I picked up a product I'd ordered, discovered after I got home that it was not the size I'd ordered, and they shipped the correct item to my house. They said I could keep the original incorrect item, too (although it was useless to me, it was a $160 item -- I drove it back to the store).

Also, the employees there are very helpful and very happy.
posted by amtho at 11:55 AM on May 17, 2012

Wow. This is a really helpful thread, actually. I hate Citizens Bank and their non-existent customer service. Maybe I'll look at Ally. My parents had a really terrible experience with American Express.

I've never had anything but amazing customer service from both Apple and Zappos.

PayPal is also the worst. I'm not even sure they have a customer service department.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 11:58 AM on May 17, 2012

I agree with most things posted here except for PayPal, I am not impressed with their customer service at all.

Airlines: Jetblue, Southwest, Emirates

Banks: USAA

Retail: LL Bean, REI, Zappos, Amazon, The Apple Store, I've also done well at Target with easy returns and I think their prices are great.

Grocery: Trader Joe's
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:01 PM on May 17, 2012

Credit Unions in general, TCU which is our local one in particular, having had a mortgage with a big bank and with the small credit union I am never going to have a loan with a bank again if I can possibly avoid it. It was like they actually want our business and to loan us money and bent over backward to help us get approval, where as I felt like the big banks where making me beg for it.

Air New Zealand.
posted by wwax at 12:04 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by The Lamplighter at 12:07 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Charles Schwab for both brokerage and banking.
posted by mullacc at 12:08 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing Zappos and seconding the Container Store (where, disclaimer, I used to work -- AND IT WAS AWESOME); also adding USAA for banking and insurance.
posted by hansbrough at 12:14 PM on May 17, 2012

I have had GREAT customer service experiences with Xbox Live support, Nintendo of America, and Amazon.
posted by capnsue at 12:15 PM on May 17, 2012

Oh, also Dr. Hauschka (skincare products). I called and got at least 15 minutes of someone's time to discuss my skincare needs!
posted by hansbrough at 12:15 PM on May 17, 2012

+1 Costco and REI. Totally no-hassle returns for any reason. Also, the bike techs at REI spent literally hours helping me figure out the best bike for my needs. And when the first one they ordered for me was too big when it arrived at the store, they spent another hour figuring out the next best option, without me having to ask for it-- even though they had already customized several components. That experience= customer for life, for me.
posted by instamatic at 12:31 PM on May 17, 2012

Amazon like others have mentioned has pretty good support.

I've had good luck with T-Mobile. It took a bit to get past the level 0 phone people but after I convinced there there was cell problems in my area they sent out people to do cell surveys and they actually called back when they said they were. Turned out that the cell tower closest to my house was defective.
posted by mmascolino at 12:33 PM on May 17, 2012

Uline for packing and shipping supplies. A real live person answers the phone whenever you call, their prices are great, and you can avoid any extra charges (except sales tax, of course) by picking up your order at one of their warehouses.

Abt is a Chicago-based (and online) appliance and electronics store. Their people are truly helpful, often discount their already-competitive prices without being asked, and are happy to match any bricks & mortar store prices. Oh, and if you live in their delivery area, their delivery people are unbelievably awesome! They even bring along batteries for the remote controls and take away all of the packing materials.

TDS for landline phone service and internet. They bend over backwards to be helpful, both in customer service and tech support. I have hated every other phone company, but I love TDS.
posted by DrGail at 12:59 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

I love Costco and Zappos. Costco allowed me to return a set of broken lightbulbs that I'd had in my house for I think greater than 6 months, without a receipt. Zappos sent me a new pair of keen sandals after my kid's started to fray within a month of having them, but let me keep the old pair, which served as a fantastic back up (and never did break, so go Keens). LL Bean is also fantastic, and in fact, they will replace parts on your backpack no matter how long you've had it for free. Also, they let you buy replacement single mittens and gloves for when you lose them.

To add a new one to the list, which is also specialized, the Skuut bikes. After a year of using them, my son's bike tires had worn out, but you can't find replacement parts online. So I contacted them, asking if I could buy them, and they sent me new tires for free, no questions asked. When I popped one of the tubes trying to put on said new tires, and asked if I could buy those, they sent me replacements for those for free too, even though I said I broke them. Most fantastic people ever.

Amazon on the other hand, I had a really horrendous customer service experience with early one when they were fairly new. An experience so bad that I refused to use them until last year. Since then, they've been hit or miss, but I haven't really used their customer service recently.
posted by katers890 at 1:29 PM on May 17, 2012

*Wells Fargo (and probably all others) credit card – when I use it the charge is applied to my account the same day. A payment or credit however, takes up to a week. I know they do this because they earn interest on the money but I don’t care about any of that, it’s just crappy and on top of it, I pay them an annual fee.

This shouldn't happen. I am fairly certain that banks are required by law to credit electronic payments and properly made check payments as of the day they are received. In fact, I don't believe they are even allowed to wait until your check clears (once they open the envelope they are supposed to credit your account). WRT Wells Fargo, this is something they specifically mention on their web site. So if they are not crediting your account for a week after they have received your payment, something wrong is clearly happening.
posted by slkinsey at 1:38 PM on May 17, 2012


Once, I was trying to use one of those prepaid Visa giftcards on their site, and I found a shoe that was like $50.29 that I really really wanted. But! The card wasn't working with their system! So I called them up, and she (patiently) told me how to get a pin for the card so that I could use the card for online purchases AND she took the $.29 off the price so it was just $50 flat. I got the shoes the next day, and a few days later I got a hand-written card from the person I spoke to thanking for my purchase and business. Just outrageously wonderful. And they always upgrade me to free overnight shipping. *swoon*
posted by two lights above the sea at 1:38 PM on May 17, 2012

I have had pretty good experiences with Comcast/Infinity recently. Their techs show up when they say they will, and credit you $20 if they are late. Once I called because of a rate increase and even though they couldnt help me with that, they gave me a free pay channel for a few months.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:31 PM on May 17, 2012

Many large consumer goods companies have outstanding customer service; you just rarely if ever need to call them. But if your box of Wheaties is stale, or your Kraft Mac-n-Cheese has good bad in the box, or your Hormel Chili has mold on the lid when you open it, you will be re-compensated and most likely showered with coupons and free product.

My example is from Coca-Cola. I opened a 20oz bottle of Coke one day at work and clearly and without a doubt the liquid was contaminated with something oily. The cap had not been tampered with as far as I could tell, so I called Coke to let them know. I really just wanted to tell them that maybe something was wrong with their bottling machine because the contaminant looked like oil or lubricant.

The 1-800 number was answered by a pleasant person who seemed quite interested in what happened, took my information and said they would quickly be in touch. A bit later but on the same day as my call to Coke, I received a call from the local Coke bottler and they were sending a saleswomen out to collect the bottle so they could examine the contaminant. Sounds good I said, I'll let the front desk know she'll be coming.

Before the end of the day, the saleswomen called me and said she was in the lobby and would love to meet and hear the details. I met her, gave her the bottle and told her that I bought it that morning at the company vending machine. She asked if she could give me some free product to make up for my inconvenience. Since that answer always is “yes” we went out to her car (a new white Ford Taurus with the Coca Cola script on the side) where she proceeded to give me $100 in free 1 liter Coke coupons, 3 cases of 12oz canned soda, and 2 twelve packs of 20oz bottles.

I received a call from the saleswomen about a week later asking if I had had any further issues, and I received another call from her about a month later to tell me they ID'd the problem; it was a slow, maybe once day drip from a leaking hydraulic cylinder that propelled the bottle line at the factory. They tried to replicate how the drip would hit the small mouth of the bottle and enter the liquid, but couldn't make it happen. But the liquid tested positive for the lube from the cylinder, and it was probably “a one in a million shot” that had now been fixed. And Coke had sent out a memo worldwide for their engineers to check the hydraulics for a slow leak!

How’s that for customer service? $100+ dollars in free product and an explanation of what went wrong, and how they fixed it.

Guess what soda I only drink now? You guessed it...
posted by lstanley at 2:34 PM on May 17, 2012 [14 favorites]

I've said this before, but I'll repeat it: American Express is the only financial services company where I've sent a message after the fact thanking them for their customer service. And I've done that more than once.

Seconding The Container Store, both over the phone (needing to change an order) and an email enquiry about a product that went above and beyond in explaining things. AppleCare has always been great to me, but I've paid for that. Non-US airlines for international travel -- I think, mainly because the staff at US carriers have the enthusiasm beaten out of them. (I'm not near a Virgin terminal in the US: I wish I was.)

Thanks for those recommending XBox Live customer service: I've been wary of signing up because of the PS Network hack, which is guilt by association, but I feel a little more comfortable now.
posted by holgate at 2:37 PM on May 17, 2012

Good question! Based on my experiences I can speak positively about the following:

Jet Blue - not great but about as good as you can get domestically
Korean Air - just a fantastic airline all around

Banking / Investing:
Vanguard - I cannot say enough good things about them. They just do it right.
ING Direct
Charles Schwab - Likewise, I can't say enough good things. I keep waiting for the catch. It hasn't come yet.

REI - expensive, but you're paying for amazing customer service / amazing return policy
Altrec - as good as REI at slightly less cost
Zappos - just damn good
LL Bean - a great company all around (and one of the few that has clothing in Medium Tall - THANK YOU LL BEAN!)
Sierra Trading Post
Amazon - can't complain

Toyota in general
McMaster Carr
Gransfors Bruks

Credit Cards:
Pick your poison. Citicards has been okay. Customer service for English-only sucks as you get routed to an Indian call center and deal with a flow-chart jockey. Call the customer service line in Espanol - they are all bilingual and amazingly helpful and don't seem to be using canned flow-chart speak.

I use Straighttalk because every major carrier I have used (AT&T, Verizon and Sprint) have nickle and dimed me to death. I have never had a problem with Straighttalk but I have heard that if you do have an issue their customer service isn't terrific...again...pick your poison.

PS - Sprint is about the worst company I have ever dealt with. Please avoid them.
posted by jnnla at 2:48 PM on May 17, 2012

I had good customer service from dreamhost a year or so ago.

Amazon has good customer service? I returned something to them several years ago and it never got credited to my account. Maybe i should call them about it.
posted by DarkForest at 2:55 PM on May 17, 2012

Sierra Trading Post for clothing, Zappos for shoes, B&H Photo and Newegg for electronics. Bay Fed Credit Union as a faultless credit union.
posted by jet_silver at 8:05 PM on May 17, 2012

Lands' End (you can return anything anytime for any reason or no reason)
Apple (and I'm not an Apple fanboy but they contacted me not long ago when my first generation Ipod Nano was recalled many years after purchase and replaced it painlessly)
posted by fieldtrip at 8:49 PM on May 17, 2012

Bankwise, I've actually had the best luck using local or statewide bank chains. They're big enough to have decent ATM and branch coverage, but they tend to still be very focused on the community and state. I distinctly remember the one I used when I lived in Colorado sent me a pamphlet right when the real estate bubble started to burst and things started to get bad. It detailed exactly how their investments worked, what sectors they were in, and that they hadn't invested in subprime loans or anything else shady. And I wasn't a serious investor, I just had a checking account. The one I'm at now, among other things, credits your account when you make a deposit, not when the check clears, though they obviously stop doing it if you get a lot of bounced checks. From talking to the employees, they love it. It's one of those places that prides itself on good customer service but management has their employees' backs, which I appreciate after my retail years where that was definitely not the case. It's a revelation after using Wells Fargo and BOA.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:59 PM on May 17, 2012

Airlines: Southwest and one I haven't seen listed yet: Porter.

Stores: Nordstrom, Trader Joe's, Lush. Favorite Lush customer service story: I placed an order on the website. About a week went by and I didn't even get an email with a tracking number, so I called customer service. The rep I spoke to said she would find out the status of my package and let me know. She called me back the next day and said that they had had some computer issues on the day I ordered, and as a result there was no record that my order had been packed. She said that they were going to repack and send out my order that day, upgrade me to the fastest shipping option at no charge, and throw in an extra bath bomb to make up for the delay. Good enough. But when the package arrived, I noticed it seemed unusually heavy for what I'd ordered, even with the extra bath bomb added in. When I opened the box, I found the four things I'd ordered, the extra bath bomb...and a huge stash of other extra items added in (soaps, bath bombs, bubble bars, a lip balm, a bath melt, etc.) It was at least $100 worth of extras in there...and I had only ordered about $17 worth of stuff to begin with! Now THAT is going above and beyond!
posted by SisterHavana at 9:25 PM on May 17, 2012

Nordstrom really is great. It seems like most department stores have a higher caliber of customer service, but Nordstrom stands out on top of that. I've had bad experience in boutique shops though. Burberry especially, their customer service and policies suck.
posted by doomtop at 10:14 PM on May 17, 2012

Our family's had great luck with Other World Computing/MacSales. Fast, reliable, ready to help troubleshoot, generous with returns.
posted by House of Leaves of Grass at 5:56 AM on May 18, 2012

Lands End is great .. returns are hassle free and can even do it any nearby Sears Store.
posted by radsqd at 9:32 AM on May 18, 2012

To go along.. Shipped a backpack from Landsend, UPS messed up the delivery. Called them up and they shipped another one the next day. My neighbour realized it was mine . So now I have two backpacks..Lol
posted by radsqd at 9:34 AM on May 18, 2012

REI are outstanding, as has been mentioned. I've been shopping there for years and I still get taken aback by how easy it is to return or exchange things.

Nobody's mentioned Bed, Bath and Beyond yet? Wow. They are amazing when it comes to customer service. They send out coupons (either $5 off a purchase over $15 or 20% off anything) at least once a month, it seems, and it's an open secret that they don't pay ANY attention to the expiration date on the coupon. You want to use one from a year ago? No problem.

And for returns? Mindblowing. A story I've related before: I had a blender I'd bought there a year earlier break, and based on some comments in AskMe I decided to try taking it back. "Hi, I bought this blender a while ago," I said while fumbling to pull it out of the bag it was in, "and—"

"And you'd like to return it?" the cashier said cheerfully, before I could finish. "Would you like a refund or to exchange it?" They refunded the full price I'd paid almost a year ago without blinking.

They took a return of something we weren't entirely sure we'd even bought there. They reportedly take returns of brands they don't carry and have never carried. They'd rather eat the cost of whatever it is somebody's trying to return if it means that person will become a loyal customer. And it seems to work…
posted by Lexica at 7:04 PM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing Bed, Bath and Beyond. I've returned a robotic vacuum there that was 3 years old (and badly broken) for a full refund. The receipt was so old it wasn't even in their system anymore - so they just asked if it was ok for them to give us a gift card (which was totally ok, because now we're customers for life). BB&B also took back a 2 year old Tassimo that just randomly started leaking.

We buy any big ticket house item at BB&B if we can or Costco if we can't (for the same reason).

Also, Amazon is pretty great.
posted by getawaysticks at 8:10 PM on May 18, 2012

For men's clothing: Bonobos.
posted by puddleglum at 5:46 PM on May 22, 2012

We've had our credit card through Working Assets for years. It is serviced by Bank of America, but I like supporting Working Assets. We also have our long distance signed up with them (though we never use it). We'd do our mobile too but they piggy back on a carrier that doesn't have great coverage in our area.
posted by evening at 10:59 AM on May 23, 2012

Airlines - Southwest and Virgin Atlantic. Hands down best for customers.

Cell phone providers/ Telecoms - nope. It's a race for profitability, not user satisfaction.

Retail Stores - REI, Costco, LL Bean; unlimited no-questions-asked returns. Family-owned hardware stores if you have questions, but Home Depot and Lowe's also do unlimited no-questions-asked returns. Nordstrom's. Zappo's. Apple Stores... but not necessarily Apple-by-mail; a lot of convenience in having a store nearby.

Banks/Financial - USAA if you're military, ex-military, or child of ex-military.

Insurance companies - USAA again, I think. I love State Farm, as they've been incredibly easy to work with, and have *never* blinked at a claim of mine.

Credit cards - USAA again.
posted by talldean at 12:28 PM on May 23, 2012

I had my eye on a wedding dress from J.Crew, but by the time I realized it was on sale, it had sold out in my size. After calling customer service to see if there was any chance one was left, I found out that they have a service specifically for tracking down "sold out" items. They took my address, CC info, and size and told me they'd look out for it. Two weeks later, I got a package from a J.Crew store on the west coast with the dress. And here's the best part - it turns out I didn't like it in person and I returned it! No questions asked.
posted by kidsleepy at 2:37 PM on May 23, 2012

REI has to be the best. No questions, ever. Return something you bought years before if it breaks, though I've not done that because it seems tacky to me, and taking advantage of them. I use their bike mechanic to work on my bike and it's by far the best deal in town, the guy is a bike god and it's amazingly inexpensive. I sent a friend in there to have his bike tuned, they did it perfectly, then said "Hey, aren't you dancestoblue's friend?" and he said yes, he is, so they gave him my 20 percent off. Unreal.
Eddie Bauer was also great, ten years ago. I've quit buying from them, as the quality of their items has fallen through the floor, so I can't say if customer service is as good as it was. They were great.
Lands End -- haven't done much with them, yet, but they are on top and friendly and decent.
Dell -- They have treated me great, overnighted things to me at no charge, spent time on the telephone, on and on. Stellar.
Microsoft. They have spent time on the phone with me, they have given me licence number to XP when all I had was an OEM sticker on a laptop I'd bought and didn't have a copy of the disk to reload it as it'd come from Compaq. But I did have an XP disk. They were/are great, in my experience. Takes time to wind through their menus but good people willing to help.
Sprint was amazing, and I know that I'm one of the only people on the planet with this experience but man, they were great. The past year they have turned totally to shit and come July I am bailing out after 13 years. They just don't care any longer, no matter who I've spoken with, they pretty much just want me to go away. Okay, I will. Fuckers.
Frost Bank, here in Texas. I had to get away from Chase and/or any of the other scum beings in that industry, moved everything to Frost, and always there is someone to speak to me, a real live person spends time with me, in their office or on the phone. THey fought for me when some scummy off-shore mopes started charging against my card. They are the best.
posted by dancestoblue at 5:15 PM on May 25, 2012

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