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A Costco subterfuge denounced by its customers

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Costco is being accused by its customers of using subterfuge to boost the popularity of its credit card and the automatic renewal of the membership card. We speak of an “unpleasant” experience, of “arm twisting”, of “insistent”, “insulting” and “harassing” practice.

It’s upside down for the giant Costco, recognized and acclaimed even for the quality of its customer service. The company has drawn the wrath of its most loyal and fervent members on the Facebook group Les accros du Costco. Ordinarily, the comments one reads there are almost always laudatory.

It all started with a publication by Eric Georges on Sunday afternoon. He said he was informed by an employee, after paying for his purchases, that there was a “problem” with his membership card. “He was a very mysterious person, with a suspicious look,” he told me. It was extremely unpleasant. »

The two men proceeded to the counter near the tills where a card check was carried out. “It took less than a second. I was told “everything is fine, but do you know all of Costco’s payment methods?” »

Stunned by the question, Eric Georges wanted to understand why his card had been taken from him, citing a problem. So he went back to see the cashier who greeted him with an unpleasant and unusual tone. He eventually realized that he had been the target of a commercial solicitation tactic.

“It’s very uncomfortable. We feel a little suspected, but we don’t know what exactly. And the person doesn’t even show up. I didn’t like it at all”, relates the one who has been a member for more than 15 years and who has always described the service as “top notch”.

His story generated nearly 300 comments in a few hours and more emoticons. The same thing happened in Laval, Boucherville, Anjou, Saint-Jérôme, Trois-Rivières… If hundreds of people took the trouble to express their dissatisfaction online, how many thousands didn’t appreciate it?

Some members say they felt stuck, no longer having their membership card or bill (necessary) in hand to leave the store.

“Exactly the same thing happened to me. […], wrote Amelie. Ultra insistent person, refusing to give me back my bill. I had my 2 year old boy with me. No time for his credit card which interests me zero. I quietly explained to the lady that I had nothing to do with her card, that I wanted to leave. She insisted, she even approached me in an arrogant way. […] Me, from the pressure sale, not capable. »

Others said they had been pulled aside to convince them to sign up for automatic membership renewal or upgrade to “executive” level.

“I was accompanied almost by force to the counter to switch to automatic renewal. I had to get angry to be able to leave,” Aline wrote.

  • Publications on the Facebook page Les accros du Costco

    SCREENSHOT OF COSTCO HACKS FACEBOOK GROUP

    Publications on the Facebook page Les accros du Costco

  • Publications on the Facebook page Les accros du Costco

    SCREENSHOT OF COSTCO HACKS FACEBOOK GROUP

    Publications on the Facebook page Les accros du Costco

  • Publications on the Facebook page Les accros du Costco

    SCREENSHOT OF COSTCO HACKS FACEBOOK GROUP

    Publications on the Facebook page Les accros du Costco

  • Publications on the Facebook page Les accros du Costco

    SCREENSHOT OF COSTCO HACKS FACEBOOK GROUP

    Publications on the Facebook page Les accros du Costco

  • Publications on the Facebook page Les accros du Costco

    SCREENSHOT OF COSTCO HACKS FACEBOOK GROUP

    Publications on the Facebook page Les accros du Costco

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Mélissa had her bill and her basket taken. ” [Elle] put it behind her so I couldn’t take it. She said, “There’s a block on your map.” At the time I thought blocking, and yet I had just paid, well no, it was to offer me the executive card. »

In Quebec, François Bélanger did not appreciate being accosted while he was paying. “You would have thought I had stolen something,” he told me. Doing this in front of customers makes no sense! I can understand people being a little taken aback. Like others, he was told that auto-renewal would soon be mandatory, which means providing a credit card number.

Costco spokesman Martin Groleau was unable to confirm or deny this information on Tuesday. He also did not react to the flood of negative comments.

A client from Quebec was even forced to renew automatically. After being forced to go to customer service for a so-called “address or phone number problem”, she discovered in her online account that this option had been checked. Without his consent.

She is furious. “I think it’s an unfair practice. If I had been offered it, I would have refused, because I don’t want forced business. If I decide not to go to Costco anymore? The customer declined to be named, as she filed a complaint with Costco.

All of these practices demonstrate a “flagrant lack of ethics,” says honorary professor in the marketing department of HEC Montreal Louis Fabien. This is also my opinion. This is “completely unacceptable”, because “the notion of customer service implies frankness”, adds his colleague Jean-Luc Geha, customer service specialist.

In this case, we are more in the subterfuge, in the unpleasant tactics that eat up time at a time when we rather want to leave.

I find it hard to understand the idea of ​​Costco, which stands out precisely for its service. It’s inconsistent. Plus, customers love the business so much that you don’t have to twist their arm to keep them filling their big baskets there.

The card renewal rate reached 92.6% in its last quarter, up 0.3 points from the previous period. This is a “historic high”, according to senior management. The number of complaints could also peak, if it continues.



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