Similac Baby Formula Recall Yields Poor Customer Service

Posted: September 22, 2010 in customer service, family
Tags: , , , ,

In the 13+ years of my online presence, I’ve seen the internet be used as a source of information pertaining to customer service. With social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter more popular than ever, along with thousands of bloggers constantly updating about anything and everything under the sun, communication spreads like wildfire. Even more so when it’s negative communication. What am I getting at? There is a point to this, after all.

Word came out earlier today regarding a recall of Similac baby formula, manufactured by Abbott Laboratories (see CNN article: “Similac recalling 5 million cans of baby formula“). A few months ago, my thought would have been “Oh, that’s not good”. Now, as a father, my first thought was “Oh (crap), that’s what we give to our daughter”. After a check of the lot numbers of the two canisters that we have for our daughter (one of which she’s finished, and another which was recently started), it was verified that our two canisters were indeed a part of the recall.

Per the CNN article, Abbott Laboratories gave two sources for customers to reach out to for more information and to initiate service. Inquiries could be made either through their website (http://similac.com/recall10) or their 24/7 Customer Service hotline (800-986-8850). Their website has been unaccessible all afternoon/evening (more on this later), and the Customer Service line was giving a busy signal for quite a while.

Finally, my girlfriend Amy was able to get through and reach a CS representative on the phone. Said CS representative was very rude and disrespectful to her, and when the issue of the unavailable website was addressed, the representive’s response was “the website wasn’t built properly”.

1) Don’t ever make excuses to a customer – and if you choose to break that rule, don’t make it such as weak of an excuse as this.
2) If your website was truly not built properly, your webmaster needs to be fired, along with whoever still pays them.

As an individual, I can understand the trials and tribulations involved in running damage control, especially when it pertains to something as important as children. With that said, a positive response can yield you positive feedback from satisfied customers. Likewise, as is the case with us, a negative response will almost guarantee negative feedback.

To Abbott Laboratories, your Customer Service representative’s handling of this situation was both unprofessional and inexcusable. My family will no longer use your product.

To other parents out there who may be giving Similac to your children, I can only hope that if you’re able to get through and speak with someone on their support line (since their recall website is still unresponsive, 8+ hours later), that you get treated better than Amy did.

Sincerely,
A Concerned Father

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Comments
  1. arogersphotos says:

    It wasn’t *just* the website. It was the fact that it took me more than an hour to speak with someone so they could mail me the packaging to mail their recalled product back. Their website for the recall constantly timed out on everything & the lame excuse that “it wasn’t built right” was just wrong. I didn’t have thw lot numbers on me because I was picking up a prescription. I was told he wasn’t sending me anything without them. Five times I told him I’d checked them & they were recalled per their website, but the site failed to process my information to send the product back to them. I also advised him numerous times that it took me over an hour just to get to him & that I wasn’t going to call back & go through the whole process again. His supervisor took care of everything for me after advising her of the same things.

  2. Jeremy and Amy, first, I am sorry to hear that the baby formula you have been giving to Jennah is part of the recall. Second, that is completely uncalled for like you described the customer service for this company that has the recall. They need to think about their are parents who are concerned calling this number to get more information. And if they need to hire more people it sounds like to answer the phones so parents can get through. I hope in the end, you can get the info you need to help you through this mess.

  3. Shelly says:

    This is very frustrating when you try to get on the website to see if you formula is involved in the recall and you can’t get on the website. You call customer service & noone answers & just directs you to the website. I am a very frustrated first time parent right now with not very nice words to say about your company.

  4. kalendarze says:

    nice and really interesting. Thank you for this post.

  5. Similac Team says:

    Mark, Jeremy and Amy, we’re very sorry about your experience! We understand this is frustrating and want to let you know we’ve been working around the clock. We’re continuing to increase call center resources and expand the bandwidth of our site. We very much appreciate your continued patience. ~Similac Team

  6. Similac Team says:

    Shelly, please let us know if you are still experiencing any difficulties reaching us. We have added a new, additional phone number you can use: 888-376-2054. You can now also search for your lot number in the PDF list here: http://abbott.vo.llnwd.net/o18/similac/sms/pdf/similac-recall-lot-numbers.pdf . We look forward to hearing from you, Shelly.  ~Similac Team

  7. Namita H says:

    I have been in the same boat as some other folks on this forum. I have been feeding my daughter (now 6 months old) Similac since birth and am infuriated.

    Once I learned about the recall, I filled out the recall form on the similac website and sent the information to Similac. I did not receive any notification from the company that my request was received, by email or phone.

    Then, I called a few different times and spoke to the customer service.. each time, they told me that they have mailed out the mailing package.

    After waiting for a few more days, I again called 888-… number this morning and they told me that the someone had cancelled the mailing request on my account and that he had to reactivate it. What should I really expect?

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