"Dear Mrs John Smith...hows our customer service?"

(41 Posts)
heidihole Fri 30-Aug-13 09:53:23

Just a rant really as DH has just rolled his eyes and said "does it really matter"?

DH and I bought a house this week. Solicitors needed both our passports and utility bills. Our names are Mr John Smith and Miss Heidi Hole.

Today we received the deeds to the house in the post along with a letter to Mr and Mrs John Smith. "blah blah, pleased to confirm completion on the property, enclose deeds etc etc. Our firm is now featured on a website highlighting local business services. We'd be so grateful etc etc if you take some time to put some comments up about our services"

I'm so pissed off. I just gave them £2,000, they have my passport and utility bill so no danger they don't know my name and they have the CHEEK to get not only my surname wrong but also my first name (i'm not john)

Then to add insult to injury they ask me to write them a recommendation. I want to email them, in a friendly, non-irate way and point out how bloody pissed off they should take more care in future to avoid a brick through their window other customers being insulted in this way.

slug Fri 30-Aug-13 10:24:21

Try returning the letter with "No such person at this address" on it.

pinkyredrose Fri 30-Aug-13 11:12:05

Ask your DH if he'd like to be called Mr Heidi Hole.

MissPlumBroughtALadder Fri 30-Aug-13 11:17:02

I ALWAYS take companies to task over this. Nothing makes me angrier than the subsumation of a woman's identity. I've had some small successes. One online company I refused to buy from because their drop-down title menu only offered Mr/Miss/Mrs rewrote it to include Ms. (Despite my username I am very firmly a Ms!)

FannyMcNally Fri 30-Aug-13 11:22:16

This is a lazy mail shot and yes you should follow it up. Not good enough! It might be a joke to your DH but 'little' things matter.

Woodhead Fri 30-Aug-13 11:29:59

You should of course email them and politely pull them up on it. It may be sloppy computer coding but they should be able to manually sort that out, and the more people who complain the sooner these things will get fixed.

I've been having some problems with mailings from a charity recently, and the people I speak to are very helpful and apologetic, but they seem to have some dinosaur code that makes it difficult to get the automated system to behave itself. These things won't get corrected if noone complains though.

UptoapointLordCopper Fri 30-Aug-13 11:35:50

Pull them up on it. I had an incident like that yesterday too, but on the phone. From now on I'm practising three responses when I'm asked "Is that Miss or Mrs?":

"It's Dr" if I like them.

"How is that information relevant to the situation" if I don't like them but don't feel too upset.

And "actually it's fuck off" if I'm really cross. (Disclaimer: this option is suggested by DH ...)

PoppyAmex Fri 30-Aug-13 11:43:20

I'd send a snippy note correcting them and commenting that solicitors with that level of lack of attention to detail don't really inspire confidence.

tribpot Fri 30-Aug-13 11:52:02

So the solicitors have been obliged to perform an identity check in accordance with regulation - but then can't actually remember your name? I'd suggest that their due diligence and the accuracy of their record keeping requires attention - and is that really the message they'd like you to be giving to prospective customers?

Does it really matter? Yes it bloody well does.

ApocalypseThen Fri 30-Aug-13 13:56:49

I notice they got the name if the person to whom it's not a big deal right. I'd say it's not a big deal if they can treat you with due respect alright.

The electricty bill at ours is a DD from my personal account with my name and all that. Bills are still addressed to my husband.

EduCated Fri 30-Aug-13 14:03:30

I would phone them out of concern that they appear to have your details wrong, seeing as they've got your name wrong and you're ever so concerned they might have done their paperwork incorrectly.


Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Fri 30-Aug-13 14:10:20

Send them a cheque for payment from Mrs John Smith and then ignore all requests as they desperately try to cash it.

heidihole Fri 30-Aug-13 16:33:28

I will def email them. It isn't a computer generated thing I don't think as its mainly about our property that they just transferred for us.

Just so depressed that I gave them 2k and my passport and utility and they called me mrs John smith! I mean its not everyone that has a copy of your bloody passport in front of them when writing to you is it! And still they get it wrong. It's just so ingrained in society sad

heidihole Sat 31-Aug-13 16:35:09

I sent the email today. My DH thinks it was hugely over the top and I had "no call to write that". He doesn't see that there could be any link between a lack of attention to detail in knowing my name, and the potential that maybe they didn't do a complete boundary search (for example).. He just says IABU and the sale has gone through now so it doesn't matter. Of course his name was recorded correctly hmm

Email copied below: (I've sent it now so too late to change!)

Dear Ms XXX,

I confirm receipt of your letter regarding the purchase of 'XXX', a transaction which ABC handled on behalf of my company, BBB Limited.

I would like to express my concern and disappointment that you have addressed your letter to me so utterly incorrectly. We received the letter addressed to "Mr and Mrs John Smith".

My name is Heidi Hole. ABC required a copy of my passport and bank statement in order to confirm identity. I was lead to believe that providing this proof of ID was vital.

Clearly your team has not read or recorded my ID anywhere. This leaves me hugely lacking in confidence about the attention to detail employed by ABC in the transaction which I paid roughly £2,000 for you to complete.

As an additional insult to injury, not only is my name, Heidi Hole, not on the letter, but I seem to have been reduced to a mere appendage of my husband. Mrs John Smith. I believe I will not be your only client under the age of 80 who would find this hugely offensive.

The irony is that your letter goes on to ask me to recommend your services on the XXX (local) website. If you are unable to correctly record your clients first and last name (whilst holding a copy of their passport) I certainly do not have enough confidence in the rest of your work to recommend you.

Kind regards

Ms Heidi Hole

tribpot Sat 31-Aug-13 17:10:48

An excellent letter. Shame your DH can't see what the problem is - let's hope the solicitor is able to figure it out.

ShootMeNowPlease Sun 01-Sep-13 19:42:50

Good letter. That ought to produce a grovelling response if the firm is serious about customer service...

Rollermum Mon 02-Sep-13 12:02:35

That's a great response and good on you for sending it. I let this sort of thing slide too often.

Hope you get a good reply soon.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Mon 02-Sep-13 12:21:06

Brilliant letter, good on you. Have you asked how your husband would have felt if it was addressed to Mr & Mrs Heidi Hole? Not so great I imagine.

ChunkyPickle Mon 02-Sep-13 14:15:31

The trouble in my experience is that DP doesn't mind if he's called by the wrong name - it would be funny to him because it doesn't ever happen and is clearly a mistake, and he'd get a grovelling apology.

In my case, it happens all the time so funnily enough I have less of a sense of humour over it.

eurochick Mon 02-Sep-13 14:21:17

Good letter. I would be ragey about this too.

Re: reversing the situation to ask how a man would feel - it is not a fair comparison as men don't have centuries of history regarding them as a mere chattel to contend with.

Lio Mon 02-Sep-13 16:17:48

Brava, Heidi. I look forward to hearing how they reply to you.

bigkidsdidit Mon 02-Sep-13 16:21:38

That's a great letter, well done.

I believe in the broken windows theory of feminism that it is only in pulling up little things like this repeatedly that big changes will be achieved.

K8Middleton Mon 02-Sep-13 16:26:26

I believe I will not be your only client under the age of 80 who would find this hugely offensive.

Snurk grin

Yanbu. I would be furious with dh if he trivialised my identity and existence as a separate entity from him like yours has.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Mon 02-Sep-13 17:13:21

Ooh btw Heidi - I posted on MN ages ago about a friend named Heidi who came close to marrying a Mr Hole, and never even realised the joke.

heidihole Tue 03-Sep-13 09:56:45

Update: A grovelling reply. smile

Dear Ms Hole

I sincerely apologise for any offence my letter may have caused but am somewhat concerned that you are “hugely lacking confidence” in our services.

My colleague XXX has carried out a very thorough investigation into title, reported in full and liaised with (DH) throughout this matter to bring the purchase by (your company) to completion. The error that has arisen is purely through my own fault having only liaised with (your DH) during my colleague, XXX's, absence on annual leave during a somewhat busy period, to include visiting your managing agent, to drop off keys, a service we do not normally offer.

Again my apologies, which was not intended to offend.


I'm happy now, and hopefully if it's educated one person not to use Mr & Mrs John Smith it's worth it. Snail steps!

heidihole Tue 03-Sep-13 09:58:35

DH has now read this thread and has back peddled furiously. Claims never to have trivialised it, agrees wholeheartedly etc etc...funny that...faced with the unanimous support of all you posters, he suddenly agrees! smile He's a good guy, just struggles sometimes to fight off the brainwashing of society even though he knows deep down what is right and what isn't.

UptoapointLordCopper Tue 03-Sep-13 10:02:33

Well done!

ElephantsAndMiasmas Tue 03-Sep-13 11:17:05

Nice one. You've taught them that it's not acceptable to just shove a woman's identity in the bin in favour of her husband's. useful that.

bemybebe Tue 03-Sep-13 11:21:37

Brilliant letter OP!

tribpot Tue 03-Sep-13 20:12:47

Very glad to hear that your DH's judicious rewriting of history has put him on the winning side wink

Extremely glad the estate agency apologised - if they're on Twitter it might be worth commending them to @EverydaySexism as an example of how to deal with unintended offence.

IrisWildthyme Tue 03-Sep-13 20:29:46

Glad they apologised. I can't stand this sort of thing. Unfortunately I recently discovered that in some schools children are still being taught "Mr & Mrs John Smith" as the correct way to address a married couple, even now!!

PosyNarker Tue 03-Sep-13 20:33:21

Well done & glad they apologised.

I was very cross on hols recently when we checked into our hotel & couldn't find our guest card / guest information. I had booked and paid for the holiday as Ms P Narker.

My DP and I checked in & filled in guest cards as Ms P Narker & Mr N Parker. I came down to pick up guest cards and was told there was no couple by the name of Narker staying at the hotel. Turned out they'd taken the cards and changed all of our details or Parker, despite only having credit card details in my name.

I think this sort of shit is sadly very common but IMO there's a huge difference between assuming you are Mrs Smith and knowing that you are not and changing it anyway. That IMO is rude as well as sexist.

EmmelineGoulden Wed 04-Sep-13 07:39:25

It's not that much of an apology. The person who wrote to you seems to have realized they should have checked your name, but don't seem to have retailers that Mr. & Mrs. John Smith is a rude way to address a couple who do share a surname. They say the error is down to having only spoken with your husband, insinuating they assumed you shared a surname - but the form of address they used was rude regardless

K8Middleton Wed 04-Sep-13 07:45:57

I agree it is a crap apology. It's failed to take on board the points and tried to make it sound like your fault.

Sometimes it's best just to say sorry and admit you were wrong.

EduCated Wed 04-Sep-13 07:57:07

What have they actually apologised for? It's bizarrely written.

cflops Thu 05-Sep-13 12:49:13

Similar thing happened to me with a boiler repair company. They only ever dealt with me yet the invoice was addressed to a Mr 'my surname'. I wrote this email.

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to express concern and disappointment at the incorrect addressing of an invoice.
Although your company has only ever dealt with myself Ms Claire xxx, the invoice has been addressed to 'Mr xxx'
The miriade of assumptions your administration staff have made is staggering.
One that I am married, two that I have taken my husbands surname, three women don't live alone, four women don't live with other women, five men pay the bills. Have I time travelled and woken up in 1952?
Hopefully this is just an oversight, but I'm sure there are many other of your customers for whom this is an issue.

PoppyAmex Thu 05-Sep-13 14:44:46

Sadly it doesn't read like a grovelling excuse, they actually point out they went above and beyond the call of duty for you and sound seriously arsy between the lines. Bastards.

heidihole Thu 05-Sep-13 22:03:01

Now you've all made me read it again i'm a bit put out! totally doesn't seem as grovelling as i thought. more like "yeah yeah yeah but i didn't know your name so had to guess, and why wouldn't i guess at Mrs John Smith? Plus my boss agreed to us dropping a key off which i don't normally have to do. huff huff stomp stomp"

ach. cant win 'em all....

CaptChaos Thu 05-Sep-13 22:34:46

It doesn't actually read like an apology at all, more like a sop to the silly woman.

I apologise, but......

A paragraph stating why you should understand that they don't have to use your name, don't you know they're busy????

Then another wet apology. I doubt they've learned anything.

All in all, not the most grovelly letter ever sent. I still wouldn't be able to recommend them, and would probably name and shame on EDS.

samandi Fri 06-Sep-13 21:59:05

They sound like utter morons.

So many men IMO really fail to understand this issue.

I wish now (12 years later) I had never changed my name, but that's another thread!

It is a wishy-washy STFU apology letter though isn't it? One written by someone who has no intention of changing the way he does things.

My PIL would not see any problem with you being Mrs John Smith sad

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