A Houston-area retailer is facing a social media firestorm after consumers around the country took to Twitter demanding Conn's Appliances answer questions about how they treated one customer.
New York Times columnist David Segal calls himself "The Haggler." Consumers write him about problems they can't resolve with companies and he steps in to help. Most of the time he says he's successful. But when he called on Conn's two months ago to help a consumer named Grace, he got nowhere.
"I've written and I've called," Segal told Local 2 Consumer Expert Amy Davis. "I've even called some of the executives at home at night to try to get their attention, and basically nothing has worked."
When Segal couldn't get a response, he did what writers do: he wrote about it.
Segal asked his readers to contact Conn's by phone, email or Twitter using the hashtag "TalkToTheHaggler." One woman tweeted, "It's outrageous you won't discuss this; consumers are watching and waiting."
His plea prompted hundreds of cries for a response from Conn's. And yet.
"I have not heard of a single response to a single tweeter," said Segal.
onn's maintains it won't talk to Segal about the consumer's credit issues even though the customer signed a document asking them to.
The company has a history of customer relations problems. Local 2 investigated Conn's in 2009. That same year, the Texas Attorney General sued Conn's for violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Conn's paid $4.5 million in restitution. Now fast forward five years.
"There is nothing in the experience that I've had and the experience that Grace has had to suggest that they learned anything from that experience unfortunately," said Segal.
Conn's attorney told Local 2 by phone that the company does not discuss customer issues with third parties, even when their own customers want them to. He believes Conn's has improved its responses to customer's complaints.
Want to chime in? If you believe, like Segal, that a publicly traded company should address consumer issues you can contact the company yourself, Segal has listed several ways to contact Conn's in the last paragraph of his column.