Consumer Complaints Process and Always First Driving Academy
I would say that 9 times out of 10 people truly want to help you. Even if they are unable to give me what I desire or meet my needs completely, if they have a friendly attitude, I try to get along with them and be understanding. After all, I worked in retail for many years in my parents’ stores, so I know how aggravating an irate customer can be.
Where I Draw the Line
That said, I also know what good customer service is, because my father insisted on it and trained his employees (me included) to treat the customer with respect and care.
However, when I am treated in a rude, condescending manner, it does bother me because I have been trained that customers shouldn’t be treated that way.
Always First and Where They’ve Gotten It Wrong
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the attitude of the receptionist or whoever answers the phones for them. You see, there is already one complaint on the BBC about how rudely this woman treated someone else that aligns with the same issues I’ve had with them on getting the service I already paid for.
In our area in Indiana, if you want to get your license early, you must have driver’s education. You can then get your license when you are 16 and 6 months. There is only one place to take it at this time and that is Always First Driving Academy.
We signed up for their online course and combination driving lessons (in person) on March 30, 2012 (or pretty close to that date). At that time there was no mention of a waiting list for the driving lessons.
Shortly after March 30, 2012, I phoned to inquire about the timing she needed to complete things in. How long to finish the course?
In the very early fall of 2012, one of their instructors phoned to set up driving lessons. It was a male and I inquired about whether there were any female instructors or if there would be other students in the car. I was told I would get a call back, but I never heard anything.
In early December, I phoned again to try to find out what the delay was and was told that my daughter would now have to complete all of her online lessons before they would schedule her driving time due to a change in the laws. Not at that time or any other time did they ever indicate there would be a wait for her to schedule the lessons. In fact, the woman kept reiterating that she had the whole year to take the lessons if she wanted and they would get her right in for her driving.
When my daughter finished her online lessons in January, I phoned to find out when she could take her driving portion and was then informed we would have to send in the completion certificate. I printed it out that day and mailed it.
I never heard from Always First. I had to phone again in February. I asked about the lessons and was now informed there would be a three month wait. I explained that we’d not been informed of this and we could be flexible with times if they had an opening. They said the new laws had them backlogged, etc., but acted like they were going to bump her up on the list and that she could do the lessons over her spring break, etc. However, no one ever phoned yet again.
Today, I phoned them again and the woman said it would be three months, period. So, I asked if she understood why I was dissatisfied with their services. She told me that maybe my daughter should have finished the course sooner. Her tone and attitude was unhelpful and sarcastic. I reminded her that multiple times she’d told me that my daughter had a full year and there was no hurry. She said, “She does have a year.” I had to laugh at that point, wondering if she even heard herself.
She also insisted we would have been told this, but that is blatantly untrue. In fact, her words previously about being backlogged now and the laws changing on them prove that they would not have told us this in March of 2012 as the laws were different then. However, we should have been informed the moment they realized the laws had changed and they were getting backlogged. My daughter would have finished the course sooner.
From my point of view:
- We were offered false and misleading information throughout the process
- The receptionist needs customer service training in how to speak to the public
- They need to hire more driving instructors to meet the needs of their students or stop taking on new students
What Recourse Do You Have?
In a complaint against this company on the Better Business Bureau website (BBB), the complainant stated that the receptionist told her she had “no other recourse”. This was essentially what we were told that the only person we could speak with was the one answering the phones or at the reception desk.
However, you do have some recourse if you’ve had problems with this company or another.
- Contact the owner of the business. You can find this information in public records, online or with some detective work.
- Write a blog post about how dissatisfied you are and let others know so they don’t get sucked into the same situation.
- File a complaint with:
- State Attorney General
- Ripoff Complaint
- Hire an attorney
If you have other ideas of how to handle a difficult situation, feel free to share in the comments area.