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Dealing with complaints is a rare but vital part of my job. It is not often I get moans about advertising to deal with but I had one today that I can honestly say I've never come across
An old chap rang to say he had been duped by a personal services ad in our paper.
You may never have noticed but we carry a few adult services ads in the classified section and this chap (I won't tell you where he lives to spare his blushes) answered one of them, the result of which was a young lady calling at his house.
Our caller was only interested, he said, in "having a cuddle" for which the lady said he would be charged £200.
He stumped up the cash, which I like to imagine she folded into her blouse, and then she said she just had to pop out to the car for something...before promptly driving off.
Our caller was shortchanged in every sense of the word and rang us to see what could we do about it.
I wasn't really sure what we could do. If someone buys a second hand car from an ad in our paper and it doesn't get going we aren't responsible. If someone buys a lilo from our classified sales and it won't lay flat, we can't be held to account.
All I can say is that we would investigate and advised him to call the police. I did think about sending him to trading standards but that seemed inappropriate.
The tale got some odd reactions in the office. At least three people said they'd have given him a cuddle for considerably less than £200... and only two of them were women.
On a serious note, this was not a young bloke on the phone and he was obviously mortally embarrassed. I felt very sorry for him that he had been duped.
But if you are going to dabble in this industry I suppose you can hardly expect top notch customer care and an after sales service.