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Taking Customer Service Into His Own Hands

Posted by: Jena McGregor on July 8, 2009

I’ve written in the past about how customers are increasingly taking the job of resolving customer service into their own hands. In “Consumer Vigilantes”, I chronicled Mona “The Hammer” Shaw, made famous for taking a hammer to her local Comcast office; Michael Whitford, who uploaded a video of himself giving his Mac the axe when Apple wouldn’t fix it; and Justin Callaway, who created a video and web site against Cingular after his phone was busted.

Still, this has to be one of the most professionally produced acts of consumer vigilantism I’ve seen. Musician Dave Carroll, fed up by United Airlines’ response to his broken guitar, produced a four minute video about his experience. I’m not sure how much this will damage United’s reputation for baggage handling—most airlines don’t have much of an image in this department—but it certainly can’t help it, either.

Reader Comments

Ben Rast

July 8, 2009 7:37 PM

An artist must suffer for his art.

Ben Rast

July 8, 2009 7:52 PM

I guess it's true: an artist must suffer for his art.


July 8, 2009 9:44 PM

I love this video - accomplishes exactly what it set out to do. Now United is backing down.

Hope you guys get a million bucks of promotion out of this and a nice recording contract.

Thomas Huynh

July 8, 2009 10:24 PM

What a catchy tune! That part about how he won't promise he won't fly with United again since if he has to fly United to save the world, he would. Otherwise, no. Classic! Thomas, founder,

Eddie Note

July 8, 2009 11:41 PM

United is a trip (I don't mean that in a good way). My wife was on a flight so rough it almost through her out of her seat and the pilot advised everyone to assume the crash position. Trying to get help with her medical bills, United denied the incident every occurred. Their security chief called her a liar.

We;ll never st foot on an United flight again. BTW - fantastic video. Well done!


July 9, 2009 6:46 PM

Love it! The customer revolution is afoot (The Customer Strikes Back...). Technology is driving a irreversible change in the way large company's will deal with (and respect) their customers in the future.

No longer a number, our individual and collective voices will echo around the world, and the power-play between supplier & customer will change either through fear (e.g. it could hurt our business if too many people hear about this) or through care (e.g. listening and acting on our customer concerns is what we exist for..).

Bravo Dave - you're leading the charge to a new world order!

Thomas Huynh

July 11, 2009 8:33 PM

Hi Jena and everyone, here's an update to this story on Ad Age:

Sort of a happy ending, but why must customers have to make a huge production over something companies should have taken care of in the first place?

Jeff Toister

July 21, 2009 11:36 PM

Simply awesome! United's lack of customer service over the past decade is legendary, but it is fantastic to see someone take such a creative and humorous approach to sharing their story. I'm not a country fan but I had to buy the single just to get the song out of my head!

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