EXCLUSIVE:LG in PR horror after Weekend Away promotion goes badly wrong

lg-logoElectronics giant LG is facing a PR nightmare after its customers failed to get free weekend trips they had been promised as part of a promotion, Mumbrella can reveal.

The situation began more than a year ago, in December 2007, when LG offered a free weekend away in various Australian hotels worth up to $400 if they bought items including plasma and LCD TVs, AV equipment, DVD players, GPS systems, fridges, washer dryers and air conditioning units.

But many customers have found it impossible to claim their trips, with long delays in getting answers and availability hurdles put in their path.

The situation bears some similarities to the Hoover free flights fiasco, one of the biggest disasters in British marketing history. Customers were offered free trips in return for buying Hoover products, but the company was overwhelmed by demand. It eventually cost the company more than $100m, although there is no evidence to suggest that LG is facing a situation on that scale.

LG will not say how many people tried tried to take up the offer. However, the number of products included in the promotion suggests several hundred could have been affected. Mumbrella has seen a string of complaints on consumer web sites (see below).

tlc-logoMumbrella understands that LG used the marketing fulfilment firm TLC for the logistics of the offer, although it has since parted company with the firm.

LG  has also removed its original press release about the promotion from its web site in the last few days, although a cached version from Google can be seen here.

lg-adLast weekend LG placed press advertisements asking customers who had previously registered for the promotion to contact it again, urging them “please do not use any previous contact details you may have received.” It gave them until February 8 to do so. The advertisements gave no hint other than that of the problems that had been experienced.

When Mumbrella called the new number and asked for TLC, the person who answered said: “They did not fulfill what they were supposed to. So it’s been passed to us.” She said the new company handling the issue is called Consortium.

After being contacted by Mumbrella, LG issued a statement saying: “During 2008, some customers who had taken part in the promotion experienced difficulties booking their weekend away. LG Electronics is taking steps to address any issues its customers have. LG Electronics apologises for any inconvenience caused.”

Nnobody was available to answer further questions.

When Mumbrella rang TLC, the person who answered said: “To be honest I don’t think I’m allowed to go ahead and explain.”

A spokesman for consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it was not the organisation’s policy to say whether it had specific cases underway.

 Complaints seen by Mumbrella include:

“Terrible customer service because you can’t speak to a real person and if you leave your details no one return your call.”

“It has now been five months. I have left a number of messages with their promo line to no avail. Not Good LG!!”

“Customer service is non-existent and different people give different answers and phone calls are not returned.  I am also informed by LG they get 10-15 calls a day with complaints in relation to this particular promotion.”

“LG have brushed us off at every opportunity. After dozens of attempts to resolve I am now with Fair Trading.”

“I have left countless messages on a very poor quality recorded message but no-one has returned my calls. I have amazingly managed to talk to a real person on two occasions. The first sounded like he knew nothing and told me to call back in a week , the second guy (who I could barely understand) gave me the runaround. Since then I haven’t been able to get through at all. Very bad customer service. NOT GOOD ENOUGH.”

“The offer was too good to be true and hence we are left with egg on our face.”

“It has now been going on to two months with no correspondence heard from LG, despite the terms stating notification is to be sent to us within seven days of receiving our booking form. I also have got nowhere with the marketing company TLC that i was forwarded to, as they have given me the runaround and failed repeatedly to return phonecalls, and I must say were quite rude.”

“A completely misleading promotion from LG/ TLC Marketing. I have called the customer care line over ten times and left my details, complained to LG via their website and called TLC marketing who tell me the same thing everytime: we will let you know in 10 days. They are dodging bullets big time and something needs to be done.

“Life’s NOT good with LG – not at ALL good.”

“Don’t let them brush you off. I feel I need a week away to recoup after the stress they’ve given me.”

“This promotion is what made us choose this fridge in the end. It was the fridge I wanted but a bit over our budget but we thought if we get a couple of nights accommodation it would justify the extra expense. ”

“This is a tactic of theirs to persuade people to by their products….they are not much better than politicians.”

“I have been lied to, ignored, insulted and generally treated like an inconvenience, rather than a respected customer – that’s both by TLC and LG.”


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