Reviews about fast food restaurants on Pissed Consumer

The “world’s first faith-based LGBT film festival” is hitting the road thanks to corporate sponsors. One of those sponsors happens to be one of the most conservative businesses to make the news in the past few years. In a rather startling turn of events, one Chick-fil-A franchise is sponsoring “Level Ground”, the LGBT film festival in question.

While this wouldn’t have made the news for almost any other business, Chick-fil-A’s owner has gone on record repeatedly with his and the company’s views on gay marriage. The views were not favorable. In fact, following highly publicized boycotts for and celebrations of its anti-gay marriage views, Chick-fil-A has become a lodestone of conservative businesses, much like Hobby Lobby, and those with similar views are shocked to learn that the Chick-fil-A logo will be prominently displayed among others in the film festival.

Embracing a New Perspective

The LGBT film festival has the elements of faith that would resonate with the supporters of the restaurant’s viewpoints, but that is where the support ends. In fact, many patrons of the chicken restaurant have started a petition to let the world – and primarily Chick-fil-A – know that they are not at all pleased to see the familiar logo associated with “an agenda which is contrary to Chick-fil-A’s corporate stance on Christian values regarding marriage and stewardship.” So far the petition has more than 250 signatures.

The film festival’s mission statement, which protestors claim is contrary is to create a “safe space for dialogue about faith, gender and sexuality through the arts.” That does seem an unusual mission for Chick-fil-A, a company that allegedly donated millions of dollars to anti-gay groups. But it’s hard to argue with the clearly displayed Chick-fil-A logo on the film festival’s Sponsors page.

Chick-fil-A’s Position

Surprised to see such a dramatic shift in perceived opinions, Eater, an online food news source, investigated the festival and reached out to Chick-fil-A’s corporate headquarters. The response from the company was that the LGBT film sponsorship was not a corporate one. Instead, a franchisee decided to sponsor the festival. The official stance by the parent company is that store “operators make decisions on local sponsorships.”

While perhaps not a new leaf for the entire highly conservative company, the sponsorship decision and the parent company’s support of (or perhaps distance from) it certainly stirs the pot a bit on LGBT discussions.


Chick-fil-A Reviews:

Reviews about prepaid cards on PissedConsumer

Customer complaints about prepaid cards have been increasing over the last six months. In fact, the number of complaints on Pissed Consumer have snowballed. The first review on Rushcard appears on Pissed Consumer four years ago. An average of 13 reviews about the prepaid card were made each month in the first nine months of the year.

And then October came. Looking at customer complaints, it seems Rushcard’s computer system went down on October 13. In the span of three days – October 13 through October 15 – Pissed Consumer saw over 700 reviews posted about Rushcard. In the weeks since that time, the total number of reviews about Rushcard have increased to 1,200. All since October 13. Something is not right in the world of prepaid bank cards.

When they work correctly, prepaid cards can be a financial lifesaver for those who aren’t able to take advantage of traditional banks and banking accounts. Some prepaid cards act in much the same way banks do offering customers the option to directly deposit paychecks and other funds onto the card that can then be used in almost any way a credit card can.

Of course, sometimes things don’t work correctly. When customers start complaining that “My direct deposit has not shown up yet, over 24 hours later than normal” (review #716829) there’s cause for concern. But when seven hundred people are saying something similar, it starts to sound rather serious indeed.

The problems individuals are having aren’t isolated to just a single company. The issues customers are complaining about with Rushcard are strikingly similar to an issue that evolved with Reloadit, another prepaid card company, in the summer of 2015. Customer complaints on Pissed Consumer describe tremendous frustration with the Reloadit website and the inability to load funds onto the cards. Customers describe their experience as “the worst experience” (review #690448) and complained that customer service is “absolutely pathetic, extremely inept and powerless” (review #658887).

The Case of the Missing Money

Among the most troubling concerns is missing money. Customers check their balance on the card or account, but when they go to spend the funds, the available balance is reduced and transactions are denied. Complaints describe their situations as being “overcharged $100 at gas station” and “duplicate charges that already posted now showing up again as ‘pending’” (review #719210). Perhaps worst of all, one irate customer explains that “No one will answer the customer service phone, it just hangs up on me” (review #716829).

One woman explains in her review that she checked her balance at home and had $176 available. When she tried to use her card to pay at a store she was declined. She tried to remove the funds as cash at an ATM, but was told she only had a balance of $76. When she got home and checked again to try to sort the situation out, she was down to a zero balance – all without spending anything from the account. She claims the funds simply disappeared from her account without explanation (review #718662).

Hers is not the only story like this. Others include stories of gas money disappearing at the pump and balances simply winding up zero without any transactions to reduce funds. Others can’t even get through to an automated system or a customer service representative to find out their balances at all, making customers very concerned about where exactly their money is going.

Troubles with System Upgrades

While some appear to be missing their funds after loading them, others can’t seem to use their cards at all. Customers complain of buying the reloadable cards at the store and then trying to load funds. They quickly find out that they either can’t load the funds, the card isn’t recognized or that they are going to have to wait days or perhaps weeks for activation.

When customers call customer service about their concerns, they are told by the company that “they were in the process of reworking their website, and that everyone was experiencing these same problems” (review #656134). Customers – especially those who have funds trapped on the cards – aren’t finding this particularly reassuring. Complaints range from customers spending hours to days trying to load funds before they realize it’s simply never going to happen.

The Biggest Complaint of All

Still others are caught in a particularly tricky spot. One man sums it up well when he posted that “It is now 7am on my payday, my direct deposit is STILL NOT THERE!” An update the next day reinforced the dire situation by claiming the funds still weren’t in despite the fact that the he would usually “get my direct deposit every Tuesday for over a year now” but now “Rush has over $600 of my money and I can’t even put gas in my car!” (review #716829).

Not only are direct deposit funds never arriving the first time, but many customers are trapped in a messier spot because the same prepaid card that is giving a customer trouble is due to be replenished again with another direct deposit.

Imagine the frustration of one customer who had trouble with her prepaid card, realized the implications of her pending direct deposit, tried to cancel it and realized she was too late.

Her entire direct deposit, perhaps even her whole paycheck will be deposited to a card where her previous balance evaporated inexplicitly in a matter of hours (review #716398). Needless to say, she is beyond irate with the entire situation. Worse, she is certainly not alone.

Reviews about employment on PissedConsumer

It’s a nice problem for the economy to have, perhaps, but it’s not nearly as appealing for the stores that are facing serious shortages of workers. As the holiday season rapidly approaches, Target, Wal-Mart and TJ Maxx have all boosted wages and made noises about not being able to get enough workers employed.

Raising Wages

Working in a retail job at Target or Wal-Mart isn’t necessarily prestigious, but it does bring in a paycheck. Fortunately for workers, those paychecks are going up just a bit. Wal-Mart has adjusted its starting wage to $9 per hour and Target quickly followed. TJ Maxx, another discount fashion retailer jumped in with a starting wage at $10 by 2016.

The rising wages in retail don’t seem to be doing much to drum up interest in workers, however. The number of advertised retail positions over the last year has increased by 26 percent. But the website Indeed has measured that workers’ interest in retail positions has fallen by 9 percent in roughly the same time period.

There are increasingly more jobs – especially seasonal ones – in retail, but there are fewer people interested in them.

Competing in Retail

The employee gap can mean a few things for current employees and customers alike. Current employees in most of these large stores can look forward to pay raises as wages go up. They may be even more likely to score a bump in pay by leaving one store to go and work at a competitor.

The higher wages also mean more content employees at the stores, which will hopefully trickle down to the customer. Happy employees usually make happier customers, after all.

On the other hand, there is a distinct possibility that the shortage of holiday workers can make this holiday season a bit sticky for many shoppers. If stores are looking to hire even more holiday workers than they did last year, that means they expect more shoppers. If they fail to hire those workers, all of those extra shoppers are going to be looking at longer waits at the cash registers and fewer employees on the sales floor to help.

As many pissed consumers have noted before, a shortage of workers is never a good thing in a retail store.


TJ Maxx Reviews:

Is Home Depot a Credit Killer?

We all know the value of a high credit score, and if you don’t, you likely haven’t been paying attention to yours. One man was very worried about his credit score. So worried, in fact, that he is suing Home Depot for “ruining” his score with a late payment notice.

The High Price of Paying Late

A customer in Oregon has taken the extreme measure of suing Home Depot for $250,000. One quarter of a million dollars is the value the unnamed man has put on his own credit score, which he claims Home Depot negatively affected without cause.

The story laid out in the case goes like this: The man opened a line of credit with Home Depot. The man made a payment that was delivered within hours or minutes of [the payment] date. Home Depot charged a $28 late fee. The man’s credit dropped 100 points once the late notice hits his credit. The man requests the fee be taken off his credit. Home Depot says no. The man sues for $250,000.

Two Sides to the Story

Obviously there are two sides to the story, but so far Home Depot hasn’t had much to say on the subject. The retailer told a reporter at that the building company would be turning the lawsuit over to Citi to handle, as that financial company handles the private financing for the store.

Other than this, Home Depot has been silent.

The plaintiff, on the other hand, has wasted no time making his side of events known. He filed the lawsuit in Multnomah County, Oregon suing Home Depot for $250,000. The unnamed man claims that the retailer charged him a fee for a payment that was made within minutes, or perhaps hours, of the due date.

The man claims he asked for an explanation of the late charge and to have it removed from his account, but instead Home Depot “embarked upon a harassment campaign designed to bother, vex and leverage Plaintiff. Defendant Home Depot caused dozens of electronic telephone calls to be made to Plaintiff. These calls were difficult to stop.”

Those of us not suing over our own late payments would call those collection calls, most likely. Especially if a payment was a few hours – maybe twelve or twenty-four hours – after a due date. It’s hard to know specifics from the intentionally vague working in the lawsuit. And while the man may have suffered a big hit to his credit for not paying a bill on time, he would have been at least thirty days late anyhow for the late payment to make it to his credit report in most cases.

It will be interesting to see if a man who paid a bill thirty days and “a few hours” late will be able to recoup his $28 and an extra $250,000 to go with it. It seems as though this individual may have left a few key details out of his story – only time, and a bit of sworn testimony, will tell for sure.


Home Depot Reviews:

Reviews about food service

When McDonalds launched its all day breakfast menu customers were thrilled. The owners and managers of the restaurants which had to serve that all day breakfast are far less enthusiastic.

McDonalds Trying for a Comeback

McDonalds has been in a slide for some time as the public looks for better options in fast food. One of the many tactics the fast food company has tried is to simplify its main menu and now it is expanded the menu to include breakfast items all day.

Other fast food companies like Sonic have always had this option available, but what McDonalds great – the super-fast service and predictable food – is starting to tarnish a bit under the movement to give customers what they want, when they want it.

The Problem with McDonald’s Breakfast

What put McDonald’s on the map initially was the idea of true fast food. The process of making burgers and fries in a modified assembly line fashion allowed many customers to be served in a short amount of time. The morning shift would cook eggs and sausage in short order, and the lunch and dinner shift would do the same with burger patties and fries.

Now, by allowing breakfast to move into dinner, the folks actually making the food and trying to satisfy customers are about to throw up their hands in defeat.

An analyst for the Japanese finance company Nomura took a survey in 226 different locations throughout the United States and the results weren’t good. The store operators are extremely frustrated in many cases.

Concerns in the Kitchen

Store operators complained about many things. The smaller stores were literally falling over themselves trying to make both breakfast and dinner options at the same time. There just wasn’t enough space to cook all the things that needed to be cooked.

Store patrons are “abandoning in droves” because the service in these stores has slowed down as the kitchen has turned into utter chaos.

Stores are being forced to hire more people to handle the different food requests. This is particularly bad because selling the breakfast menu all day means customers aren’t spending more each time they visit – they are spending less.

Many operators are concerned that this series of events can’t possibly end well.


McDonalds Reviews:

Reviews on PissedConsumer

Five stars. Two thumbs up. 100 percent.

As consumers, we rely on product reviews to steer us in the right purchasing decision. It’s easy to see why we, the buyers, might need positive reviews. After all, if you have a great experience at a particular restaurant, your positive review encourages others to visit the restaurant. Hungry patrons and restaurant owners alike are thrilled about every positive review. The same can be said for movies, video games, books, service and virtually any other experience.

But what about the experiences that aren’t very good? Do we need negative reviews just as much as positive ones?

The consumers of the world – especially the ones who have been burned by bad service or bad products – argue that yes, we absolutely need negative reviews. How else will the disgruntled consumer be able to share his experience with others? How can those looking for a good experience avoid wasting money?

On the other side of that, however, companies are wary. They certainly don’t want negative reviews. Those one star, no thumb, 15 percent rankings run off would-be customers and can destroy businesses. There are, in fact, companies who have tried to penalize consumers who dare leave a bad review – even if it’s an honest review.

Avoiding Bad Reviews at All Costs

Companies have struggled with the burden of bad reviews over the years, trying to find the best way to discourage negative reviews on consumer websites while staying at least a little bit legal. While a few practices raise a few eyebrows, others fall off that fine line right into the fully illegal side of things.

Yelp, a popular review website, is one who raises a few eyebrows. Customers write reviews about their experiences in restaurants, hotels and other businesses. With the popularity of a website like Yelp, even a single negative review can have a significant impact on the business and its reputation.

Naturally businesses are leery of review sites like this because there is often no way to check and see if a review is actually true or perhaps just a malicious attack, perhaps even an attack by a competing restaurant. One hotel bad mouths another online and business grows, let’s say. It begs the question, how do websites like Yelp prevent fake reviews, especially those that might damage a business without cause?

It turns out that Yelp does have policies in place to deal with fraudulent reviews both good and bad. Unfortunately nobody outside the company seems to know what those policies are. Even a lawsuit against the company
did “not raise more than a mere possibility that Yelp has authored or manipulated content related to Plaintiffs in furtherance of an attempt to ‘extort’ advertising revenues.”

What exactly was the question of manipulating content? According to the lawsuit and many other frustrated customers, Yelp is removing reviews according to their own policies. Policies that nobody knows. This is annoying, but not illegal. What took the eyebrow-raising actions to court was that some customers believed there was a financial basis in what reviews where removed and which stayed.

One realtor called the company to figure out why a legitimate positive review was removed by the Yelp team as being fraudulent. She learned that the company seemed “to be wary of first-time reviewers.” She claimed, “If your first review is negative then they let you post other reviews, but if your first review is positive then they remove it. The same goes if all your reviews are positive.”

But the kicker came when the slighted realtor realized, “They hinted that if I advertised on Yelp this may not have occurred.”

This realtor appeared to insinuate, as the lawsuit filed against the company claimed, that Yelp would leave good reviews in place, or even remove bad ones, if you paid for advertising on the website. The lawsuit against Yelp was dismissed by a judge back in 2011 not because it was clear Yelp wasn’t doing anything wrong, but because the class-action suit couldn’t show enough evidence to prove it. That’s a thin line to walk, indeed.

Going Over the Line

Other companies have tripped well over questionable behavior into the big leagues. Jen Palmer ordered items from the website She never received the items and couldn’t get anyone on the phone to discuss the missing delivery. Finally she did a charge back on PayPal and left a negative review about the company on a popular complaint website before moving on in her life.

Three years – more than 1,000 days – later, she was contacted by KlearGear and told that she had violated a non-disparagement clause buried in the terms of service. Not only had she violated the clause, claimed the company, she would “immediately be billed $3,500 USD for legal fees and court costs until such complete costs are determined in litigation.”

Shocked to learn that she was going to be billed $3500 in legal fees that didn’t even exist yet from a potential future suit, she also read that after thirty days her “unpaid invoice would be forwarded to our third party collection firm and will be reported to consumer credit reporting agencies until paid.”

In short, KlearGear had a statement buried in the fine print “to ensure fair and honest public feedback, and to prevent the publishing of libelous content in any form” telling customers they couldn’t post negative feedback if they purchased products from the site. In short, three years after the company failed to deliver a product or answer the phone, Jen Palmer was told, post a negative review and be ready to pay $3500 for the coming lawsuit. Or battle collections agents while your credit score drops if you don’t pay. Your call.

When the news story broke in 2013, it went viral and the internet jumped into the fray. Tim Cushing at TechDirt dug through the internet archives to learn that the non-disparagement clause didn’t even exist on KlearGear’s website at the time that Jen Palmer ordered the item that was never delivered. If the clause didn’t exist, it certainly can’t apply to her situation, but apparently nobody at KlearGear bothered to check this out (or they just didn’t care) before they requested $3500 for a not-yet-started-lawsuit.

As the outrage in the online world raged on, it was noted that KlearGear had misrepresented the Better Business Bureau’s rating on its website as well, which is another serious concern. Story after story was written and shared and eventually KlearGear shuttered its social media accounts. No lawsuit was filed, no money collected, but KlearGear retreated behind a closed Facebook account and protected Twitter. This is probably not the sort of move a $47 million company makes when it is trying to show the world it has nothing to hide.

Determining the Value of Negative Reviews

In some cases when companies try the say-nice-things-and-we-won’t-sue clauses, the Federal Trade Commission takes action. After one such case, the FTC recruited a top researcher, Paul A. Pavlou, to analyze whether suppressing negative reviews would actually harm consumers in some way.

Granted, most consumers want to know about bad products and services, but do we need to know about them? That was the question posed to Dr. Pavlou.

After researching the question and drawing upon years of additional experience in the field, the answer was straightforward. In his thirty-page report, Dr. Pavlou says unequivocally that the use of non-disparagement provisions and related threats and warnings has a negative effect on consumer welfare.

Threatening consumers willing to post negative reviews does two things. It inflates the perceived value of the product and it also prevents customers from learning about possible problems with the products.

Negative reviews may not be what the company wants, but by artificially suppressing the reviews, at least one expert claims consumers are getting hurt – either in the wallet or perhaps in the stomach as well. Without real customers experiences to examine it’s hard to tell.

The Truth behind Negative Online Reviews

There are numerous studies that have shown online ratings are tied to online purchases. Researchers from Wayne University  proved this easily, but went further in their research to see just what additional relationships existed between online reviews and sales.

The Wayne University researchers wanted to see what happened when companies – much like Yelp – tried to filter reviews. The experience the researchers set up filtered out reviews that would not enhance product sales, or basically bad reviews. Then, after a period of time, the filter was changed to allow all product reviews through.

Where you might assume that sales would now drop with the added negative reviews, the researchers found something else entirely. Apparently “by providing unbiased filtering, companies actually increase the positive impact of online reviews on online transactions.” By allowing a collection of both positive and negative reviews to be posted, sales actually increased online.

The Good Thing about Bad Reviews

Online reviews on PissedConsumer

Other researchers have delved into the data surrounding product reviews and unearthed some truths that companies should probably know.

Online reviews help customers.
The reviews others leave online help steer customers toward or away from purchases. Increasingly customer reviews are considered by other consumers to be unbiased and non-profit driven. This is obviously not the case for company-generated (or company filtered) materials. In fact, this lack of sincere consumer posts created by the experimental filter above may be why sales increased when negative reviews started making it online again. Customers respond to honesty and unbiased opinions.

Online reviews can raise prices.
Strong ratings can reduce a customer’s uncertainty about a product and actually boost demand. Higher demand often leads to higher prices, which is a huge plus for the seller. Online reviews are self-governing and allow customers to make informed decisions about online markets – often an asset for niche markets and developing businesses.

Negative reviews protect customers.
Literature has shown that negative reviews are an important element of the online sales community. The negative ratings warn customers about hazardous products or items that are of lower quality.

Negative reviews predict sales.
The vast majority of online reviews are positive. Negative reviews are fewer in number, which makes them more potent as a predictor of sales. Negative reviews are considered informative, helpful and diagnostic for would-be consumers.

Negative Reviews Harm Companies

It was found by both the pair of researchers from Wayne State University and another set of researchers from Harvard Business School that suppressing negative reviews can harm companies. A bad product can hurt a company, of course, but more indirectly, simply trying to squash neutral or negative reviews about a decent product can backfire on companies as well.

Fraud, distortion and the manipulation of product reviews damage the credibility of companies and their brand value. Manipulating online reviews lowers their value and can harm a company’s image, sales and potentially harm customer welfare as well.

The Consequences of Negative Reviews

Dr. Pavlou, who specializes in consumer behavior including online reviews and sales, had dire predictions for companies who try and suppress naturally occurring negative reviews. Suppressing negative reviews would not just hurt the company, but could prove dangerous to consumers as well who aren’t told of real problems people have experienced.

It would seem Dr. Pavlou was on the money when he claimed suppressing reviews would harm both the company and consumers. Consumers don’t stay quiet long when questionable activities come to light. According to Dr. Pavlou, it would seem customers don’t like it when companies “allegedly made baseless claims for their products, and then threaten to enforce “gag clause” provisions against consumers to stop them from posting negative reviews and testimonials online.”

Reviews about fast food on PissedConsumer

While customers love the dollar menu at fast food restaurants like Wendy’s, the store itself may not be as big a fan. In fact, many other fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Taco Bell are also looking for ways to boost the bottom line while leaving the value menus that customers love. For restaurants, the dollar menu is very much a double-edged sword.

The Value of the Dollar Menu

The actual purpose of the dollar menu at a Wendy’s location is to encourage customers to spend well over one dollar. Order a single burger for a dollar and then add a drink and a side and suddenly you’ve spent closer to $5 rather than the $1 you might have been planning on shelling out. This is the hope, of course. In reality, there are many customers who manage to spend only a dollar or two per visit using the menu, ultimately hurting profits in the long run.

To help move customers into higher spending brackets, the dollar menus at Wendy’s have changed a bit to encourage customers to think of $2 and $3 items as values as well. The Dollar Menu is now the “Right Price, Right Size Menu” carefully jumbled to mix the one dollar items in with the three dollar items for maximum “value” spending.

The company realizes however, that customers aren’t a huge fan of the shift away from the true $1 value menu. “We know our Right Price, Right Size Menu is not a sufficient value proposition to continue to attract value-seeking consumers,” Wendy’s CEO Emil Brolick acknowledged recently in an interview.

Bringing Back the Specials

But Wendy’s can’t seem to let go of the super cheap pricing all together. After all, that is what customers are drawn to. To this end, Wendy’s has also introduced specials like “4 for $4” where customers get a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, a small fries, a four-piece chicken nugget and a small drink for only $4. While each item technically only costs $1 in the quartet, the customer leaves the restaurant having spent $4 in a bundle – better than just $1 at least.

In fact, most fast food restaurants are shooting to get customers to spend $5 on a meal. A full meal for $5 means customers are getting a terrific value and stores are still making a profit. It’s considered the sweet spot in fast food. Or it is for now.

Another fast food giant, Burger King, recently warned the public that raising minimum wage for fast food workers could easily destroy the dollar menu at all fast food restaurants. The fast food chains simply won’t be able to meet the payroll selling $1 hamburgers.


Wendy’s Reviews:

Reviews about Disneyland on PissedConsumer

After more than six years of theme park magic, Disney is changing the way tickets are sold for both Disney World and Disneyland. The theme parks will be changing ticket sales to reflect demand, hoping to spread crowds out over the year by pricing holidays and weekends higher than non-peak times. The hope is that by making tickets more expensive on popular days, and less expensive on traditionally non-peak times, Disney-goers will be able to enjoy their experience more.

Long Waits, Closing Gates

Disney is facing a problem that many companies would love to have. The parks are just too popular. There are days when the parks actually reach capacity and have to close their gates, making the Happiest Place on Earth a bit less happy – at least for the vacation-goers who just got turned away.

Those who were lucky enough to make it inside the park have their own set of problems. Lines. With the parks almost bursting in capacity, there are simply too many bodies waiting for rides to make it possible to accommodate everyone in a timely manner. This is obviously causing a great deal of frustration on the part of vacation-goers who are stuck in line for hours to enjoy a two minute ride.

Spreading Out the Crowds

Disney is hoping that demand pricing, similar to the way airlines price their tickets, will offset some of these crowds. Raising ticket prices on weekends, for example, may encourage more visitors during the week. Summer vacation pricing rises, encouraging more individuals to take vacations to the park during less popular months like September or October.

While Disney has not released the new dates and prices, we can expect higher prices on the most popular times to visit the most popular theme parks in the world. This may dramatically affect some families as they plan their vacations – especially if the prices rise significantly.

Increasing Popularity

Walt Disney World and Disneyland aren’t expecting crowds to wane in the near future, however. In fact, with the popularity of the movie Frozen and Star Wars, crowds are expected to continue growing over time. This is especially true now that Disney has announced that a new Star Wars themed land, or area, would be added to the theme park complexes in both Orlando and Anaheim.


Disneyland Reviews:

cell phone_639x416

It would appear that Experian has dropped the ball on protecting the information of 15 million users. The credit company, which markets itself as “a name you can trust” held application information for the mobile phone giant, T-Mobile. Unfortunately all of the data from T-Mobile customers, including Social Security numbers, passport information, names, addresses and birthdays was among the compromised data Experian failed to protect in September.

The Experian server that held this information was hacked and more than 15 million individuals have now had their information compromised. Fortunately it wasn’t a server with credit information and reports, but having a server with virtually every personal detail ever found on a T-Mobile application certainly isn’t a good thing.

T-Mobile Shoulders Responsibility

While the credit company Experian seems to dodge responsibility and claim that they “do not know who the criminals were behind this incident.” Experian also claims that “there is no evidence that the data has been used inappropriately. Furthermore, they are working with law enforcement.

Meanwhile the entire T-Mobile network of users is compromised.

Fortunately the CEO of T-Mobile has at least acknowledged the severity of the issue. The company posted a letter from John Legere, T-Mobile’s CEO explaining and apologizing to customers. The letter claimed that Legere is “incredibly angry about this data breach.” T-Mobile will also be instituting a “thorough review of our relationship with Experian” just as soon as they assist the customers affected by the breach.

Finding Solutions to the Data Breach

While T-Mobile appears to be genuinely concerned, the only step besides posting the website statement is to offer customers a two-year credit monitoring service without cost. Granted, this credit monitoring will be done by Experian – the same company who didn’t adequately protect customer information in the first place.

Apparently the “relationship review” between T-Mobile and Experian is going to wait for a bit, at least until a two year deal for credit monitoring is complete. It does make a consumer wonder if T-Mobile is even responsible for the service or if it is simply passing along a too-little-too-late offering from Experian.

Of course with a good 760 individual customer complaints in the PissedConsumer logs, T-Mobile isn’t exactly a shiny star of customer satisfaction thus far. Of course having millions of customer data stolen rather pales in comparison to a rude customer service representative or a faulty payment system.

But still, it’s reasonable to assume that we’ll soon see even more complaints as customers realize just how far reaching the data hack implications reach.


T-Mobile Reviews:

Reviews about food service on PissedConsumer

Taco Bell doesn’t register with consumers as being a high end product. It’s actually not even in the middle where you might order ahead and pick-up take-out. Instead, most of us use Taco Bell as a form of craving eliminator. Want a taco? Taco Bell will have one for less than a dollar. Spending less than a dollar on a taco doesn’t exactly warrant home delivery.

But Taco Bell is trying to change all of that with its latest revamp. While Taco Bell has made some changes over the years including adding hotly anticipated breakfast items and many new menu items, the basics have always been there. The good news is the staples of Taco Bell aren’t going away. The even better news is that you can now order them online and even customize your creations.

Online Taco Bell

Earlier this week, Taco Bell unveiled a brand-new website to allow customers to design and order their food online. Is this a direct competition with Chipotle and the like? Perhaps, but not really. Taco Bell serves a different market than Chipotle, but the new website may draw in even more fans of the inexpensive fast food joint.

The website features customized taco boxes and random meal assortments that can be created easily using pictures and literally hundreds of combinations. To use the site you simply select the item you’re interested in starting with. A taco, let’s say. Then add all sorts of toppings and extras.

Or you can browse the menu without feeling rushed and try some of the existing combinations like the Doritos cheesy gordita crunch box and then swap out meats, swap out taco shells and even swap out the toppings for each taco. With so many items on the menu already, being able to customize every detail is almost culinary overload. (If you can call Taco Bell culinary…)

No Taco Bell Delivery Yet

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your budget, Taco Bell isn’t offering delivery just yet in all areas. Imagine how much it would cost for that one-dollar taco once you added on delivery fees and tip. Although you don’t have to imagine it if you live in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago or Dallas where the fast food joint is piloting delivery options through DoorDash.

Instead, by ordering online, your customized meal is prepared for you and you can walk up the counter and simply pick it up. Even paying for the items is done online, making the cashiers a thing of the past. Imagine a scenario where you pull up to the local Taco Bell and see long lines. You simply pull up the new website on your phone, right there in the parking lot, arrange the order, pay online and then wait a few minutes, walk inside and pick it up.

Simple, delicious, and probably not a bit healthy.


Taco Bell Reviews:

Reviews about Food Stores on PissedConsumer

Whole Foods has tried to change not just the way we shop, but the way the world sells meat as well. The high-end grocery chain created a five step meat rating system to ensure shoppers know what they are buying, but now PETA, the animal rights advocates, are accusing Whole Foods of laxness when it comes to that same system.

In fact, PETA has filed a lawsuit against Whole Foods claiming that the humane meat range they have created is “deceptive and misleading.” Whole Foods, of course, has disagreed with the claim.

Rating Humane Meat

Whole Foods specializes in selling high end foods, usually at a premium. The range of meat products is an excellent example of this. The grocery store has created five steps for the meat the stores sell. The meat at each level is marked clearly so that buyers know what they are buying and so that suppliers have an incentive to up their game, providing even higher quality meat for higher prices.

To even make it on the scale of high quality meat with a level 1, suppliers have to raise meat with “no cages, no crates, no crowding.” The scale continues up to a level 5 ranking which requires animals living on the same farm their entire lives and spending copious amounts of time outside. Whole Foods hopes that by letting customers know exactly how well the animals are treated that become hamburgers and steaks for the table, those same companies will feel some pressure to treat animals even better.

PETA disagrees.

The PETA Lawsuit against Whole Foods

PETA claims that Whole Foods may have started the system in good faith, but in reality the store practices “barely exceed common industry practices”. In fact, the suppliers for Whole Foods are only monitored and audited every fifteen months, and the inspection is allegedly so relaxed it’s impossible to tell just how well the animals are really treated.

PETA claims that the meat ranking system isn’t really about letting customers make good purchasing decisions, but instead about inflating prices based on a fraudulent system created for that purpose.

Whole Foods has fought back already in the media, however, by pointing out that PETA is probably not the best advocate for pricing cuts of meat in the grocery store. After all, as Whole Foods representative Michael Silverman points out, “it is important to remember that PETA’s mission is a total end to animal agriculture and animal meat consumption, and their claims against our business are generated with that specific goal in mind.”

The spokesman went on to point out what he calls deception by PETA in the filming of one of the company’s suppliers.

Its’ hard to know what to believe, of course, but Whole Foods is right about one thing. PETA wants the world to stop raising and eating animals. It’s hard to take their claims at face value. But then there are plenty of frustrated customers in Whole Foods who might not think it’s much of a stretch to find out there was some deception with meat packaging.


Whole Food Reviews:

Reviews about Volkswagen on PissedConsumer

Volkswagen, one of the companies who proclaimed a higher standard, has fallen from the pedestal. In fact, the company has fallen so hard and so quickly it may take some time to even stand up again, much less climb back up in the eyes of consumers.

That Volkswagen Quality

Volkswagen was always considered a quality product. German engineering. High safety ratings. Expensive. Fuel efficient. And a low foot print.

But wait! It turns out that Volkswagen isn’t quite as green as we all thought. In fact, in the last forty-eight hours it has been discovered that the German company created deceitful technology in 11 million of its vehicles in order to beat the emissions standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s one thing to have a mistake in a vehicle. Perhaps a faulty switch or a low quality wire. But when a company actually installs a software into its vehicles that detects when emissions are being tested and actually changes the quality of the emissions – that’s not a mistake. That’s cheating.

Volkswagen Comes Clean

Apparently the deception isn’t new. The only new is that the company got caught and has some serious scrambling to do if it wants to survive the fall-out. The EPA determined that emissions were a bit different in different environments and looked closer. The top corporate executives at Volkswagen crumpled immediately and admitted the deception.

On Monday the company acknowledged that 500,000 vehicles in the United States are creating emissions at more than 40 times the allowable emissions of Nitrogen Oxide. On Tuesday the admission went further to include a full 11 million vehicles – most of which are in Europe. In fact, a full 25 percent of cars sold in Europe are Volkswagens.

That means one in four cars in Europe may be producing up to forty times more air pollution than is allowed.

Of course Volkswagen admitted the problem and promised three things. The first is that manipulation and Volkswagen will never occur again. The second is that the company is already working hard to win back the trust of customers. The third thing – the thing that will likely hurt the most in the short time – is the company has already set aside $7.3 billion to somehow modify the 11 million Type EA 189 diesel engines affected.

Oh, and part of that $7.3 billion is already ear-marked for pissed consumers. And there will be plenty of those for quite some time to come.


Volkswagen Reviews:

Reviews on PissedConsumer about Drug Stores

CVS is working hard to be known more for health than as a corner store specializing in junk foods. There have been many efforts to this end, but the most recent is the announcement that CVS is revamping stores to move the junk foods to the back of the store while centering the good stuff up front.

Of course, some of the healthier choices may not be quite as healthy as CVS might like. Kind bars, for example, will be stocked near the registers as healthy choices, relegating the Oreos and other sweet snacks to the back aisles where you must look a bit harder for temptation. Kind bars, however, have recently been identified by the Food and Drug Administration as being a bit less healthy than their packaging would like you to think. Of course they are probably still healthier than the chocolate, lard and sugar confection that creates an Oreo cookie.

Becoming CVS Health

CVS is first and foremost a pharmacy, a drug store. The shops center on the pharmacy, but have grown to become a medium sized corner store sporting basic dry goods, dairy, toys, beauty supplies and more. CVS has had similar merchandise for years, but last year CVS rebranded and became CVS Health rather than CVS Caremark. The rebrand did two things. It refocused the store chain on providing overall health products to customers and it helped the chain make quite a bit more money as well.

The largest revenue stream, even after the rebrand, is the pharmacy and drug services. This is not a surprise, however, as CVS is also the largest health care company in the country. With thousands of stores across the country, you can find a CVS is virtually every town.

Growing and Changing

The name change isn’t all for CVS. The company is also working to create a true health experience inside the store. This summer the store expanded its dry grocery products to include fresh foods and healthy (and healthy-ish) snacks. The candy, sweets and salty snacks that are usually so popular in corner stores moved farther into the aisles to allow for more nuts, granola and health food bars.

The changes are ongoing still, with a full CVS store mock-up used at the company headquarters to test out new aisle arrangements and product placement. But even bigger changes are in the works. CVS and Target have reached a $1.9 billion deal where CVS will acquire ever Target pharmacy.

Perhaps as the company continues to grow, it can work harder to soothe the frazzled employees and frustrated customers all of this growth and change seem to leave behind.


CVS Reviews:

Reviews about fast food on PissedConsumer

McDonald’s, easily the largest name in fast food, is making big news this month by announcing that they will be going entirely cage-free over the course of the next ten years. Cage-free refers to the chickens that lay the eggs used in the breakfast foods sold in the restaurant. By buying only eggs from chickens kept out of small, cramped cages, the eggs will be slightly more expensive for the company, but provide a more natural and guilt-free eating experience for restaurant patrons.

Serving Guilt-Free Breakfast All Day

Perhaps even more exciting than the announcement of where the company’s eggs would be coming from is some of the reasoning behind the big switch. McDonald’s plans to begin selling breakfast all day long rather than cutting off breakfast foods midmorning. This switch will likely lead to a much higher consumption of eggs, prompting McDonald’s to make a big change.

The full transition away from caged hens to the more independent layers will take a full decade. The transition will be done in stages, which is good news for the vast network of McDonald’s egg suppliers. The company is confident that going cage-free is the right choice, however.

“Our customers are increasingly interested in knowing more about their food and where it comes from,” McDonald’s USA President Mike Andres said in a statement. “Our decision to source only cage-free eggs reinforces the focus we place on food quality and our menu to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations.”

Improving Ingredients, Improving Companies

McDonald’s has struggled over the last few years as customer preferences have changed. In fact, thanks to companies like Chipolte, the entire fast food industry has been changing. Customers have realized that companies can provide healthy, fresh ingredients just as easily as the less natural ones – or at least it looks that way on the buyer’s end.

Customers are talking with their wallets and they want the good stuff. Restaurants serving fresh, guilt-free foods are bringing in big bucks and taking up significant portions of the market, despite being so much smaller than the colossal companies like McDonald’s.

McDonald’s has responded to the lost profits by making big changes. The menu has been streamlined and already this year McDonald’s announced that antibiotic fed chicken meat would no longer be part of the chain’s menu.

While significant, there are many who are still skeptical as to how McDonalds will actually implement the changes it has announced. Cage-free doesn’t necessarily mean cruelty-free, and a chicken in an over-crowded pen isn’t really that much better off than one in a crowded cage.


McDonald’s Reviews:

Sep , 2015
Reviews about coffee on PissedConsumer

It’s the fall and the memes are predictable: Brace Yourself, Pumpkin Spice is Coming. There is something about the first cool front of the year that makes coffee shops and bakeries sprinkle a bit of pumpkin spice love over everything they sell. It’s become such a stereotype that there are pumpkin spiced jokes, pumpkin spiced articles and, of course, pumpkin spiced memes.

Pumpkin Spice Is Dead?

As it turns out, the hype may be a bit overrated, or perhaps because it is so hyped, it would appear that pumpkin spice everything is on its way out.

The health-tracker app, MyFitnessPal, told the Huffington Post that the trend of pumpkin spice might actually be “fizzling out.” According to the statistics kept at MyFitnessPal, the desire for pumpkin spice everything has diminished by 7.3 percent. Over the last year, our society has decided that we like Pumpkin Spice about 7 percent less than we did last year.

Salted Caramel Is In!

There may be a 7 percent drop in pumpkin spice, but that certainly doesn’t mean that there is a 7 percent drop in coffee, lattes, and muffins. Instead the pumpkin spice slack is being picked up by the new favorite – salted caramel.

Since the beginning of 2014, salted caramel has been “booming”, according to MyFitnessPal, which has enjoyed a 7 percent spike since the start of 2014.

It’s hard to know what 2015 will bring with pumpkin spice fading. Will it really be the flavor that disappears over the course of this winter? Probably not, but then Starbucks has plenty of other things to worry about in terms of its customers.

Customers are less concerned about the availability of Pumpkin Spice and are a lot more concerned about Starbucks turning off power and WiFi services or changing up the things they offered. It would be hard to imagine that Starbucks would change up their menu enough to cut pumpkin spice lattes from the menus, but we can certainly expect to see more salted caramel than ever before!


Starbucks Reviews:

Reviews on PissedConsumer about Mobile TV

More than a few months ago, AT&T entered the television industry with the purchase of DirecTV. Now Verizon – not to be outdone – is going it alone into the world of television. The company known for mobile phones is picking up a new business in the form of Go90, an ad-supported online media service.

Watching Streaming On Mobile Devices

The connection between Verizon and mobile television is simple enough to see. After all, the number of consumers watching shows on their phones and tablets is constantly growing thanks to younger viewers. Verizon is hoping to offer a service targeted at these Millennials that is similar in nature to Netflix or Hulu.

And therein lies the problem.

Millennials may not be particularly interested in watching on demand shows and live-stream events through Go90. After all, there seem to be countless other services offering exactly the same thing, all of which have been around much longer and have established audiences.

Between Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix and even HBO Go, there’s not much room left for competition in the streaming TV market unless Verizon offers something that we haven’t seen before. There is talk that the new service may offer a “smattering of original programming”, but if it’s the same shows everyone else is showing paired with one or two new ones, it may be a hard sell to customers.

Selling Mobile Television

Go90 isn’t going to be branded with Verizon because it will not just be a Verizon product. The product will be available to anyone, regardless of carrier service. Of course, this can be said for the many other streaming services. It isn’t clear at this time if customers will need to pay for the streaming service or it if will be free and completely supported by ad revenue. That may be the difference for many who aren’t interested in subscriptions and memberships for streaming content.

Even if the idea of streaming television shows on mobile devices isn’t particularly clever or innovative, the name at least is fun. Verizon has named its new service Go90 as an homage to the movement it takes to watch a television show on a phone. You have to turn the phone 90 degrees to the landscape position for it to work correctly. Perhaps with that some of creative thinking, someone at Verizon can find a way to make this work in an increasingly saturated market.


Verizon Reviews:

Reviews about video streaming on PissedConsumer

Netflix has been the leader in streaming media for quite some time, but Amazon just made a big move this week that may knock Netflix off its pillar. Amazon Prime members can now download media to mobile devices. This was a feature that was previously allowed only for Amazon Fire products, but now any mobile device can download episodes of shows or favorite movies to be watched when the device is offline.

Streaming Off-line

In order to use Netflix to stream shows or movies, a device must be either connected to WiFi or to a wireless service provider. This means that binge watching a new series can only take place if you’re connected to the internet. If you know that you’re driving for hours, for example, you can either use your data plan with your wireless provider or pay per episode of the show through iTunes or Amazon.

Now, however, rather than paying up to $3 per episode to download material, you can download entire seasons of shows for viewing when you have no internet connection at all. This means no individual payments, no data overages and a currently wider selection of shows than Netflix has to offer.

The Numbers Game

Currently Amazon Prime is $99 per year. This includes streaming media, music and free Kindle book downloads as well as free shipping. Netflix subscriptions start at $8 per month, or $96 per year. There is no way to predict how much individuals will spend to purchase and download media to watch offline. Currently a full season of a show is close to $35.

With Netflix and Amazon Prime running neck and neck in annual cost, doing a bit of digging reveals that Amazon Prime is still showing the big blockbuster movies that Netflix is dropping the end of the month. They offer series outside of media streaming. And now, with Amazon Prime, you can download and watch media just about anywhere.

There’s no question that the current value of Amazon Prime is starting to quickly outpace that of its chief competitor, Netflix.


Amazon Prime Reviews:

Reviews on PissedConsumer about streaming service

Netflix, the most well-known digital streaming service, hit a minor road bump when the company announced that the long-running partnership with Epix was expiring. This means big, blockbuster movies like Transformers and Hunger Games are going away soon, and probably won’t return.

This has caused a tremendous bit of anxiety among Netflix users and even the stock market as the customers sort through what will be left after the contract expires. Fortunately there is still way more to celebrate than there is to complain about.

Netflix Original Content

One of Netflix’s biggest efforts now is in producing its own original content. Orange is the New Black and House of Cards have been huge in the media world, and there are new seasons in production for both. Not only that, but Netflix is allegedly working on new series for families as well including Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events.

Of course these original content shows are expensive to produce and take time to bring to the market, but when they arrive they are almost always excellent – and exclusive to Netflix.

Exclusive Content on Netflix

Which brings us to the next thought. Netflix isn’t the only streaming service that offers the Epix movies. Amazon has them, too. That means you can usually find the same movies on Netflix and Amazon and that’s not what Netflix is trying to be.

Netflix likes to be independent. It wants exclusive content. So while it knows that some customers will be upset to see major blockbusters go, they can easily find them on the other popular steaming services. Of course, that’s not to say that Netflix isn’t going to be home to some serious blockbusters in the future.

Exclusive Disney Distributing

It turns out Netflix isn’t crying many tears over losing Epix after five years simply because they have a much better hand to play shortly. Netflix has signed an exclusive distributorship agreement with Disney. This deal has been a few years in the making, but it’s coming into real fruition in the next year.

The distribution deal means not only the old Disney episodes will be online through Netflix, but major Disney productions including the Avengers series and the hugely anticipated new episodes of Star Wars will all be exclusively available on Netflix eight months after they are released in theaters.

And that is nothing to complain about.


Netflix Complaints:

Consumer reviews on PissedConsumer

92 percent of consumers use online reviews. That means only 8 percent of America’s population isn’t looking up what others are saying before they make their own purchase. Not only that, not quite half of the population – 44 percent – believes that only reviews from the last four months are relevant when making a purchasing decision.

That’s a lot of pressure on companies to keep up a fully charged, positive spin online with customers. That pressure can lead to another impressive statistic about online reviews. A full third of consumers will only trust reviews if they believe they are authentic – and that means customers are trusting online reviews less.

The Art of the Online Review

It used to be that we had to rely on the experts to try things out for us and tell us which was best. An entire industry sprung up around these experiments and reports and publications like Consumer Reports are still used for this purpose today. But while the expert feedback is always good, what matters even more to the typical consumer is what others have to say about their experience. If something is good enough for a friend of mine, it’s probably going to be good enough for me.

A first we could only rely on word-of-mouth recommendations. Now we have the wide world of the internet at our fingertips, simply bursting with reviews and customer experiences. It’s a challenge to find a retail website that doesn’t offer customer reviews of specific products, while other websites – like this one – collect reviews about a number of businesses and industries.

With more than 90 percent of consumers now checking out new local businesses online, it stands to reason that more than 90 percent of the population is also making decisions about these businesses based on the reviews others have left. Restaurants and cafes are easily the most popular type of business reviewed online, but it is possible to find reviews about doctors, hotels, airlines, clothing, books, dentists, realtors, schools and even driving instructors. Consumers are searching, reading and basing their decisions on all of these reviews.

Choosing a Good Business

Simply having a review or two online isn’t enough to satisfy most new consumers. On the other hand, having thousands of reviews isn’t much help either since most customers only read the ten most recent reviews. Many read fewer than that.

It would probably surprise business owners how much information would-be consumers pull out of reviews online. Not only is the potential customer reading to understand another patron’s experience, but they are looking at the number of stars other customers have left for the business as well as how well the review was written and even the age of the reviewer. A forty-year-old isn’t looking for the same sort of café experience as a sixteen-year-old, of course.

Overall, however, it is the star ranking – the most visual aspect of reviews – customers react to most. Most only select companies with at least 3 stars. Almost half will only work with businesses that have earned at least 4 stars out of five. But regardless of stars, some individuals find themselves impressed and swayed by a company that makes it a point to reply and respond to posted online reviews. A company willing to try to publicly acknowledge and address an issue gets a favorable boost from customers.

Trusting Reviews

There is one tiny hiccup for customers in the world of online reviews and it is growing larger with time. Customers are trusting reviews less than ever. An increasing percentage of consumers will only trust a review they feel is “authentic.”

While this is great news for the public’s increasing ability to think critically online and not be swayed by nonsense, it presents a challenge to companies. Customers are skeptical. Reports of companies being able to cherry-pick reviews, dropping negative ones in favor of more positive ones, makes people raise eyebrows. The emergence of an entire industry paid to post positive reviews on products certainly doesn’t help.

It’s not just fake positive reviews customers must be wary of. Some unethical companies, or even unethical fans of a company, may post negative reviews about a competitor, posing as an irate customer.

The increased volume of online reviews has naturally led to an increased number of possible issues, leaving customers cautious and businesses on edge. The best solution for building trust with online reviews is to read a larger variety of reviews from a variety of viewpoints. Go back a few weeks and check how reviews are trending. Fake reviews will almost all ways stand out from the real ones over the course of time.


Reviews about shopping on PissedConsumer

Hennes & Mauritz, or H&M as it is better known in most retail establishments, is the world’s second largest fashion retailer. The company’s brand is known for inexpensive, quality merchandise, but the company recently revealed that they are looking for a change. In particular, they are looking to change the way they make clothing.

The company has offered the world one million euros, slightly over one million dollars, to come up with a way to recycle clothing materials in new ways. This prize is to be offered every year, rewarding innovators who can easily change the entire fashion market.

Throw-Away Clothing

Right now there are many retailers – H&M included – who are dependent on customers buying new clothing constantly. Their pricing structure is set up so that customers buy an inexpensive shirt, wear it out, and then go in and buy another one. Without the constant sales, the companies simply wouldn’t move enough merchandise to be successful in the low-price marketplace.

The downside of this increasingly popular retail strategy is the old clothing. When you’ve worn out that old, cheap shirt you can’t do much with it. You might turn it into a dusting rag, but most people simply throw the old clothing out. After all, cheaply made goods don’t stay stitched together very long and they can’t be donated.

Environmentalists have been calling attention to the tremendous volume of waste in the fashion industry as well as the volume of chemicals necessary to grow cotton for clothing reliably. H&M is looking for a way to recycle the fibers of these old clothing items to boost it’s environmental street cred as well as prepare for raw material shortages.

Recycling Clothing

The $1.16 million prize isn’t just for recycling cotton and synthetic fibers. Technology currently exists to do that. Unfortunately the cotton fibers that are removed from the recycled materials aren’t nearly as strong and useful as the original ones, making current recycling methods inferior in the marketplace.

H&M is looking for a new technology that can recycle the fibers with an unchanged quality. Essentially, that worn out and torn pair of jeans can be remade into a new pair of jeans from the same high quality cotton. So far this technology is only imaginary, but H&M has hopes for the near future.

Of course, while the company waits for the next big break-through in recycled materials, there is still plenty for the company to worry about on the customer service front including return policies and even safety recalls.



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