A Letter to Bob Young


Bob Young
c/o Lulu Enterprises, Inc.
3101 Hillsborough St
Raleigh, NC 27607-5436


Dear Mr. Young,


Today I called your company to straighten out a billing problem I had with a book purchase I’d made a couple of days ago, when my Paypal account bounced the debit back to me due to a lack of funds. I had already straightened it out with Paypal, and was calling Lulu.com just to make sure that you’d gotten paid OK, and that the order had indeed gone through with no problems on your end.


The gentleman who answered the phone sounded like a back-room pressman, resentful of the fact that, interrupted from his work, he was being made to answer customer service calls against his will. 


He hung up on me before I could explain my situation to him.


Really, Bob? A company that has “empowered creators in more than 225 countries and
territories to produce nearly two million publications available in six languages” (from your own website) hanging up on a paying customer by an obviously disgruntled worker? Is this the kind of image you wish to project to your customers who purchase books from your site? 


It made me feel like I’d just gone into my favorite restaurant, and the waiter, to demonstrate his resentment of having to wait tables for a living, held out my bowl of soup and poured dog poop into it, right in front of my face. Is this the kind of reputation and word of mouth you are attempting to build a successful business on?


When googling Lulu.com today, searching for an address to write to, I came across forums with many similar complaints. Usually when I encounter a company that is so poorly run as to generate this many complaints, my suspicion is that this neglect of good customer service comes from the top down. My suspicion is that you are too cheap to hire a customer service department. Please, Bob, feel free to correct me here. Tell me it isn’t so. 


And if this is the way you treat your paying customers who bring you business, I shudder to think of how you treat people that you don’t like. 


For every person like me who takes the time to actually sit down and write you a letter, there’s probably a thousand angry people quietly fuming to themselves about the poor treatment they’ve received at your hands, who simply won’t bother to write you. They figure what’s the use? 


The problem with CEOs is that they never take the trouble to experience their own company the way a customer does, and so they never get to have the lovely experience of being mistreated by their own company. As soon as someone hears that Bob Young is on the phone, the red carpet comes out, and you are given the royal treatment due a CEO. The rest of us aren’t so lucky.


Take the criticism, Bob, and fix your broken company. Otherwise, it’s been nice knowing you. I won’t be doing business with your company anymore because you’ve given me every reason not to. I will be sure to warn all my friends and acquaintances about this experience, and I will be looking forward to finding a competitor who knows the meaning of good customer service.


Sincerely yours,

Jim Carruth


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