Carmel Limo: Customer Service Failure

Photo by Bryce Longton

Photo by Bryce Longton

I used to use Carmel Limo fairly regularly when traveling. I prefer to schedule my ride to the airport rather than hope like hell that I can get a cab (either at rush hour or in the absurd hours of the morning). But, their record wasn’t all that hot, especially when picking me up at the airport. So, when they absolutely blew it this summer upon my return from Curtain Bluff in Antigua, I’d had enough. I wrote to the company to let them know how upset I was.

Brace yourself for some horrible customer service: the correspondence is after the jump. To put the moral of the story up front: Carmel Limo’s only response to a problem with customer service is to have you call customer service. Ugh.

My Note to Carmel Limo

I have just completed my last transaction with Carmel. I have had problems with you in the past but generally let them slide. After this evening, this will not continue. After spending five hours on a plane (and having to deal with Customs), the last thing you want to do is wait for a car. So, when I was told it would be five minutes, I had no idea that my car would arrive after 40 minutes and several phone conversations.

We told dispatch our terminal (correctly) and provided a description of my clothing (correctly). Apparently, neither made it to the driver, who addressed my unhappiness with, “It isn’t my fault.” Customer service 101: those words are totally unacceptable, especially as a greeting. Meanwhile, phone call three had one of your customer service reps telling me I told him the wrong terminal (sorry, not the case). Also, he told me and my wife on calls 2, 3 and 4 to go to an island in the load/unload zone. First, we were sent to departures on calls 1 and 2, where there is no island. Then, the rep told us on calls 2, 3 and 4 that we were wrong … that there was an island … and that we should go to it.

Now, here’s an interesting question: if I’m standing on the sidewalk in front of the airport and don’t see an island, who is likely correct? Me or your customer service rep? Needless to say, he did a great job of insisting that I go to a location that did not exist. And, he took an attitude with me for my refusal to go to an island that wasn’t there.

After calls 1 and 2 drove home the notion that we should go to departures, call 3 instructed us to go to arrivals. “Why did you go to departures?” I was asked. I explained, “Because you told us to.” The reply: “No, we wouldn’t do that.” Yeah, great job all around.

Finally, when he saw that he only got a tip of slightly more than 10% (mostly for taking an attitude with me from the start and telling me it wasn’t his fault before even greeting me), your driver didn’t even get out of the car to help with the bags. So, as I exited the car, I pulled the bags out, so that my pregnant wife wouldn’t bother continuing to struggle.

Keep this in mind: when I am upset, and the driver tells me it isn’t his fault, he’s basically telling me I’m wrong. Is that how you would treat the guy who pays your bills?

This situation could have been so easy. Had the driver merely arrived within five minutes of our call, he would have been a hero. All I wanted after a fairly long international flight was to go home. But, some breakdown between dispatch and driver — I don’t know where it happened, and frankly, I don’t care: running your business is your concern, not mine — turned an easy win into a colossal failure.

If you would like to discuss this with me, please call or e-mail. I am not looking for excuses. I don’t care how the problem unfolded; that’s for your organization to figure out so you don’t lose someone else. But, if you are genuinely interested in my opinion — unlike four customer service reps, a supervisor and a driver — you can contact me.

The Automated Reply

Dear Carmel Customer,

If this is customer service related and to give your situation the utmost attention, these matters will not be dealt with through email. Please call the customer service department at 212-662-9807, Monday through Friday between the hours of 9AM to 6PM. If you are seeking rates and reservations, please visit our website at If you need further assistance feel free to call 212-666-6666 or 1-800-9-Carmel 24hours a day 7 days a week. Thank you for your business and as always thank you for choosing Carmel.

The Other Automated Reply

Please address any complaint or concerns you may have by calling 212.662.9807.

1 thought on “Carmel Limo: Customer Service Failure

  1. Vancouver Limo Service

    That is a pretty unforetunate experience. At, a Vancouver limousine service company, we go to great extents to make sure that we are on time, as we realize no one wants to wait for transportation to/from the airport ESPECIALLY when they have taken the time to schedule car service or a limousine. We include meet and greet service for all pickups at the Vancouver (YVR) or Abbotsford (YXX) airports as a courtesy to try and make sure we connect with our clients. This said, in 6 years and thousands of airport pickups we have missed a total of 2 people. One was a complete miss, and pretty much our fault (new driver). The other miss the client walked right past our driver who was holding a page board with our companies logo and the clients name and into a taxi only to call our customer service to ask why we stood him up. When our driver was able to describe what he was wearing and carrying (because he noticed the guy looked a little lost, and in hind sight regretted not asking him if he was our client), the client accepted that he must have just looked past the driver as his mind was elsewhere when he left his flight, and accepted our return trip to the airport on his way back home. As far as the driver being crappy and not helping you with your luggage because you *only* gave him a 10% tip, this is totally unacceptable. It is our companies policy that the driver helps with the luggage NO MATTER WHAT. From time to time when a client doesn’t tip due to no fault of the drivers, perhaps because they have no change, or perhaps don’t believe in tipping, we as a company pay the drivers tip. This is what we do to keep good drivers, which are hard to come by. If I were you I would take the time to contact Carmel, even though you may have to pay for the long distance call. It would be a shame if this type of stuff was going on without them knowing. They contract their trips out to other carriers, and if the other carrier is treating their clients like this I am sure they would want to know. I am also pretty sure that will compensate you for your troubles in some way. Better luck to you next time, and if you are ever coming to Vancouver, British Columbia Canada, perhaps you would like to give a try for Vancouver limo service!


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