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Swedish Consumer Agency opens investigation in SAS post-strike

Swedish Consumer Agency opens investigation in SAS post-strike

Old Aug 23, 22, 8:21 am
  #1  
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Swedish Consumer Agency opens investigation in SAS post-strike

<em>Dagens Nyheter</em> reports today that Konsumentverket (the Swedish Consumer Agency) is opening an investigation into the way SAS has handled customer interactions, complaints and refunds during the period of the SAS Pilot's Stirke.<br /><br />Source: <a href="https://www.dn.se/ekonomi/konsumentverket-startar-utredning-mot-sas/">https://www.dn.se/ekonomi/konsumentverket-startar-utredning-mot-sas/</a><br /><br />Roughly translated, partly by Google and partly by me.<br /><br />
The Swedish Consumer Agency received 168 complaints against SAS during the period January 1 - August 15 this year. The complaints concern difficulties getting in touch with SAS customer service and that it has been impossible to get help when flights have been cancelled. The complaints are spread over the time period, but most have taken place in connection with the summer's pilot strike.<br /><br />...<br /><br />The Swedish Consumer Agency is now starting an investigation to see if SAS has violated consumer protection legislation. SAS now needs, among other things, to provide information on how the passengers were informed about disruptions in air traffic, how rebookings and refunds were handled and how long it has taken on average to get the money back for canceled flights.
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Old Aug 24, 22, 3:50 am
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I don't get this, they open an investigation now and to SAS? It is difficult to get in touch with any customer service of any company in Sweden and generally to get help, SAS is really not special here. For some reason this country thinks it is perfectly acceptable that when you call basic every day institutions like banks, utility companies or insurance companies that queueing for 45 minutes to an hour to just to talk to a human is normal. Or having that human then refuse to talk to you or help you unless you have BankID or some other nonsense "security" reason.

They should push the government for legislation on consumer laws that obligate companies to answer service lines in a certain amount of time instead of going, "Hey we budgeted 3 FTE for the phonelines regardless of how many call". Support lines and teams need to scale with the need for support, alternatively you solve your IT systems so people can self service their support needs.
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Old Aug 24, 22, 10:38 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingMoose View Post
I don't get this, they open an investigation now and to SAS? It is difficult to get in touch with any customer service of any company in Sweden and generally to get help, SAS is really not special here.
They open the investigation because there are many complaints and it's their job to investigate whether companies break the consumer law. Airlines are covered by the European law which specifies what kind of assistance should be provided in case of disruptions. It is perfectly possible that they will conclude that SAS fulfilled their obligations.

However, not being willing to hire staff (or pay them properly to be able to hire them) does not waive company's legal obligations.
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Old Aug 24, 22, 11:10 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingMoose View Post
I don't get this, they open an investigation now and to SAS? It is difficult to get in touch with any customer service of any company in Sweden and generally to get help, SAS is really not special here. For some reason this country thinks it is perfectly acceptable that when you call basic every day institutions like banks, utility companies or insurance companies that queueing for 45 minutes to an hour to just to talk to a human is normal. Or having that human then refuse to talk to you or help you unless you have BankID or some other nonsense "security" reason.

They should push the government for legislation on consumer laws that obligate companies to answer service lines in a certain amount of time instead of going, "Hey we budgeted 3 FTE for the phonelines regardless of how many call". Support lines and teams need to scale with the need for support, alternatively you solve your IT systems so people can self service their support needs.
I was on hold for over 6 hours to get through to SAS! This is a lot more than 45 minutes wait. This was the reason why I was stranded at YYZ. SAS didn't even offer call back service (they did it at the beginning of the strike). The long queue is simply because the only way to sort anything out is to call, a question with a credit card? Call and they can tell you what the computer said. Need to do a chargeback for a Q8 credit card? Call. Need to change my contact phone number for my bank? Call. Need cheaper insurance? Call because the computer can't give you a better price.

Originally Posted by the810 View Post
They open the investigation because there are many complaints and it's their job to investigate whether companies break the consumer law. Airlines are covered by the European law which specifies what kind of assistance should be provided in case of disruptions. It is perfectly possible that they will conclude that SAS fulfilled their obligations.

However, not being willing to hire staff (or pay them properly to be able to hire them) does not waive company's legal obligations.
Exactly and SAS knows well enough that there will be a strike, so they could have planned ahead how to deal with this.
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Old Aug 24, 22, 5:49 pm
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US should do that first. Everywhere I call now (banks, communication companies, government offices, airlines) - 1+ hour hold, and often no response at all. I'll take the Swedish 45 min anytime.

Originally Posted by FlyingMoose View Post
I don't get this, they open an investigation now and to SAS? It is difficult to get in touch with any customer service of any company in Sweden and generally to get help, SAS is really not special here. For some reason this country thinks it is perfectly acceptable that when you call basic every day institutions like banks, utility companies or insurance companies that queueing for 45 minutes to an hour to just to talk to a human is normal. Or having that human then refuse to talk to you or help you unless you have BankID or some other nonsense "security" reason.

They should push the government for legislation on consumer laws that obligate companies to answer service lines in a certain amount of time instead of going, "Hey we budgeted 3 FTE for the phonelines regardless of how many call". Support lines and teams need to scale with the need for support, alternatively you solve your IT systems so people can self service their support needs.
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Old Aug 25, 22, 2:24 am
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Originally Posted by tr3k View Post
US should do that first. Everywhere I call now (banks, communication companies, government offices, airlines) - 1+ hour hold, and often no response at all. I'll take the Swedish 45 min anytime.
Not when I called Marriott or UA Maybe they are better.
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Old Aug 25, 22, 3:06 am
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Although not in the travel and hospitality sector, my benchmark has always been the HSBC-owned bank First Direct. For the majority of years I banked with them in the UK (up until 2019) you didn't even hear the ring tone. A human being would simply answer the call.
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Old Aug 25, 22, 3:18 am
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Originally Posted by the810 View Post
They open the investigation because there are many complaints and it's their job to investigate whether companies break the consumer law.
Did Swedes just stop complaining about all the other companies?

Originally Posted by nacho View Post
I was on hold for over 6 hours to get through to SAS! This is a lot more than 45 minutes wait.
I don't think a 45 minute wait is acceptable at all either, these things need to be solved in consumer law. Force companies to have the means in place to answer the phone in less than 5 to 10 minutes. I shouldn't have to take a day off just to call a business.
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Old Aug 25, 22, 3:31 am
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Originally Posted by the810 View Post
They open the investigation because there are many complaints and it's their job to investigate whether companies break the consumer law. Airlines are covered by the European law which specifies what kind of assistance should be provided in case of disruptions. It is perfectly possible that they will conclude that SAS fulfilled their obligations.

However, not being willing to hire staff (or pay them properly to be able to hire them) does not waive company's legal obligations.
Swedish parties who fit into the “ordinary” local box usually get preferentially perceived by Swedish authorities as being “in compliance”. But foreign parties may not get such benefits, and that’s even more of a factor in this Swedish period where the public discourse is defaulting around “foreign” = “bad” while “Scandinavian” = “good” way more than even usual for the country.
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Old Aug 25, 22, 5:04 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingMoose View Post
Did Swedes just stop complaining about all the other companies?


I don't think a 45 minute wait is acceptable at all either, these things need to be solved in consumer law. Force companies to have the means in place to answer the phone in less than 5 to 10 minutes. I shouldn't have to take a day off just to call a business.
If Swedes are ok with 45 minutes waiting time, there's no reason to file complaints. It's not constant 45 minutes, it really depends on when you call.

That's why I make call for Mr. (but I can't do that for all types of calls) - once in a while he spends a whole afternoon on the phone. The problem is that you can expand the CS by setting up a crappy call centre in India or something, and they have zero power to help you with anything, what's the point?
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Old Aug 25, 22, 10:02 am
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Originally Posted by nacho View Post
Not when I called Marriott or UA Maybe they are better.
I just had to call UA several times - excessive wait (phone and chat), and even if you get a person - it's a disinterested, uninformed and limited (in access/capabilities) call center worker from across the globe (who has to contact actual UA cs for every keystroke, so then the call itself is 1 hr too)
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Old Aug 26, 22, 4:32 am
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Originally Posted by tr3k View Post
I just had to call UA several times - excessive wait (phone and chat), and even if you get a person - it's a disinterested, uninformed and limited (in access/capabilities) call center worker from across the globe (who has to contact actual UA cs for every keystroke, so then the call itself is 1 hr too)
I called around 2am ET to get my self back to Copenhagen. I think I got the call center people from the Philippines. Those agents were efficient and friendly (not to mention 0 waiting time), which was a refreshment after being on hold for 6h calling SK. They were kind enough to waive the phone booking fee, and at around 4am ET the call cut off in the middle of booking my flight down to ORD. I called again and got an US agent who is disinterested and told me to book online myself.

Maybe it's the time of the day, or maybe I'm lucky.

I did call OZ LAX office and the wait time was 15 minutes (4pm ET).
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Old Aug 26, 22, 12:28 pm
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Originally Posted by nacho View Post
I called around 2am ET to get my self back to Copenhagen. I think I got the call center people from the Philippines. Those agents were efficient and friendly (not to mention 0 waiting time), which was a refreshment after being on hold for 6h calling SK. They were kind enough to waive the phone booking fee, and at around 4am ET the call cut off in the middle of booking my flight down to ORD. I called again and got an US agent who is disinterested and told me to book online myself.
.
So 2am to 4am - a 2 hour call that did not finalize a booking?
Holding UA up as an example of quality customer service is unusual. Aside from my own multiple negative experiences, UA forum is full of various horror stories.
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Old Aug 27, 22, 3:15 am
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Originally Posted by tr3k View Post
So 2am to 4am - a 2 hour call that did not finalize a booking?
Holding UA up as an example of quality customer service is unusual. Aside from my own multiple negative experiences, UA forum is full of various horror stories.
I was using Skype using YYZ public wifi and they cut people off every hour or so... (I had to re-log in to get wifi), and another problem was to find a flight that gets me to CPH. I wanted to book online but not able to complete the payment so I called. Then the agent had to look multiple times to try to get me that itinerary to get me home without a layover at ORD. She told me that a lot of people are booking flights to Scandinavia and the database couldn't update as fast as the demand. Hence, the flights I saw online couldn't be booked and she tried to give me options and was able to get me on an itinerary with all full *A members instead of Aer Lingus or Eurowings. She could have told me to just book that itinerary online but she decided to waive the fee (actually both agents did waive the fee without me asking).

Maybe the experience with SK was so bad that made my experience with UA a good one - I am EBG with SK and nobody (now UA S) with UA. The calls I made to UA in the past years had been really ok actually, maybe a couple of times with the typical US attitude but at least I got what I wanted, the rest had been pretty ok actually.
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Old Aug 27, 22, 6:58 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingMoose View Post
Did Swedes just stop complaining about all the other companies?



I don't think a 45 minute wait is acceptable at all either, these things need to be solved in consumer law. Force companies to have the means in place to answer the phone in less than 5 to 10 minutes. I shouldn't have to take a day off just to call a business.
This is what they do in Sweden. A scheduled delivery or repair is "Sometime between 8 and 17" - standard. Unacceptable, but standard...
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