complaint letter

Contains “adult content” (according to Facebook)

I like Facebook. I’m not one of those bandwagon jumping player-haters. I don’t get antsy about privacy issues because my philosophy is that if you don’t want people knowing you do something you probably shouldn’t be doing it. But today, Facebook went too far. They sent me this, and removed two of my photos.

“You uploaded a photo that violates our Terms of Use and this photo has been removed. Facebook does not allow photos that attack an individual or group, or that contain nudity, drug use, violence or other violations of the Terms of Use. These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children who use the site.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit our FAQ page at”

These two photos.

So I sent them a complaint letter. This is what I said:

Dear Facebook Staff and Mr Mark Zuckerberg,

I love Facebook. I have been an enthusiast at both a professional and private level – defending you to my peers and potential advertisers (I worked for a membership based community service group that helped small businesses promote themselves). I think your platform is incredible. I even read your Facebook blog, and despite thinking that all night coding sessions that produce exciting new products sound a little bit nerdy I don’t tease you for it, even on the inside. Even in the face of your continued redefinition of the concept of privacy I’ve defended you and decried the decisions of my friends who have turned in their Facebook badges and ridden off into the sunset.

You were helpful when my account was once hijacked by a hacker. Which was great. So I have faith that this letter will be passed to the appropriate people and acknowledged by something other than a form letter.

But Facebook, overnight (my time, Australian time), you removed two of my photos and issued a warning. Now, I’m sympathetic to the cause of keeping nudity and smut off your servers. I think other parts of the internet could learn from you at that point. I’m an evangelical Christian currently attending seminary. If anyone is going to be in your corner, wanting to keep your service “family friendly” it’s me.

Let me explain what it is you deleted and why I think that decision was wrong.

I recently took part in a study tour in the historically significant archeological sites of Corinth and Ephesus – cities that are significant not only because they contain remnants of the Roman empire, but because they feature in the Bible (there are even books named after letters sent to the churches in the cities). The archeological sites are of interest to Christians and to Roman history buffs. Categories many of my friends fall into.

The photos removed were from a museum in Corinth. They were deemed significant enough to be placed on display at a museum run under the authority of a team of academics and archeologists from the United States and Britain – not for their merit with regards to Christianity (they don’t have much to say about the death of Jesus in the place of sinners for their free forgiveness, and his resurrection and lordship of all things). The subjects of the photos, various casts and sculptures of parts of the human anatomy, were from a temple in Corinth where sick or sad Corinthians would place sculptures representing the physical malady they were praying for. First century Graeco-Roman culture was quite sexually driven, so their prayers were often along those lines. Obviously. Based on the sculptures. So the photos were in no way titillating, and they were clearly from a museum exhibit. I’m wondering how it was that they were considered “nudity” when they were clearly made of stone and not part of a body?

Yours Faithfully,

Nathan Campbell (username nm.campbell).

Now, some of you might think there’s an inconsistency between me suggesting that innuendo laced status updates shouldn’t be put on Facebook by Christians lest they cause their brothers to stumble, which was one of my arguments against the breast cancer awareness campaign (though not the thrust of that post). If you can’t tell the difference between appropriately talking about sex, and turning sex into cheap laughs and lewd talk then we can talk about that offline, over a boxing match, in which we participate.

Let’s not fly Jetstar

If you want to know how to complain to Jetstar (because their website doesn’t make it obvious) you need to mail your letter of complaint to:

Jetstar Customer Care
GPO Box 635

Jetstar’s customer care manager is currently Michael Mirabito.

Here’s the letter I am posting tomorrow.

Dear Jetstar,

Allow me to introduce myself. I am passenger number #Z4RC9S from JQ906 on Monday the 14th of December. You might recognise that date. It was the day your booking software crashed nationwide, causing delays of up to 90 minutes throughout your network.

I mention the date, and acknowledge the troubles your network experienced, because you might be tempted to use this circumstance as a mitigating factor with regards to my complaint. It is not an excuse, and I am not complaining about the lateness of my flights.

I have flown the competitive Townsville to Brisbane route a number of times over the last four years. On a number of these occasions I have flown with Jetstar. Many of my friends refuse to fly Jetstar. After yesterday I can understand why.

Let me tell you my story. I’ll narrate it like an objective observer in third person.

Passenger #Z4RC9S and his wife were in the car driving to the airport when they heard a radio report that Jetstar’s flights around Australia had been delayed because of a software malfunction. The passengers thought that this was completely understandable. Computers are unreliable. Airlines get delayed. This was not a major problem. An inconvenience yes. But worth complaining about? No.

The passengers entered the airport and approached the line for the check-in desk. They had not checked in online. Passenger #Z4RC9S is quite tall (around 195cm or 6’3’’ in the old measure). Passenger #Z4RC9S wanted to see if an exit row might be available. The unhelpful, rude, and abrupt lady manning the check in line informed Passenger #Z4RC9S that he and his wife must check in at the machine first. They had arrived 45 minutes before the original departure time for the flight. This was no problem. If it is the policy (which seems to contain inherent double handling and seems to waste more precious time on behalf of the passenger).

Here is another gripe – why are the queuing lanes kept unnecessarily and artificially long during off peak times when there is a gatekeeper ensuring that only passengers on particular flights are lining up. This is a waste of time.

The Passenger and his wife made their way to the counter to request an exit row. Where they met a second unhelpful, rude and abrupt Jetstar employee. This employee did not look up from her desk, did not acknowledge the request past a curt dismissal, and made no attempt at rudimentary customer service. When Passenger #Z4RC9S requested an exit row on the flight she informed him that there were none available. Without looking at the computer. Without even taking a moment to provide an iota of effort to meet the needs of the customer.

When the passengers entered the plane carrying their hand luggage (four bulky items and one purse) they were rudely informed that hand luggage policies dictate four items only. When did a small handbag become hand luggage? It is not overhead luggage. It is a purse. The information, at this stage of the journey, was entirely irrelevant and delivered in a sneering, and rude, manner.

When the passengers finally embarked and were seated in their seats – in row 15 (one seat behind the exit rows) and the doors were closing – they noticed five available exit seats (out of 12). Five out of twelve?

The unhelpful flight attendant then picked other passengers from the row behind the Passenger #Z4RC9S as if to add insult to injury.

I can understand that stress levels may have been high due to the delay – but it is on these occasions that your staff should be rising to new heights of customer service – not sinking to new lows. Every interaction we had with staff on that fateful morning was negative. This was poor beyond description.

Bad customer service will cost you customers in the long run.

I’ve introduced myself by my number because it’s clear that Jetstar’s customer service policy is to view travellers as cattle rather than as people. Perhaps, in order for my message to be clearer, I should refer to myself as $119. That’s what my flight cost. On a conservative estimate based on my flying patterns over the last three years, and assuming I live to the age of 80, the loss of my six potential flights with you per year at an average cost of $119, will cost you $39,000 directly. Double that because I’m married and fly with my wife. That’s $78,000 in lost bookings over my lifetime. Sure, you’ll find some other schmuck to fill my seat with… but the indirect impact has the potential to be far greater.

Let me give you a little more background about myself – and why you should care about me, and indeed about all of your passengers. I work in PR in the tourism industry – hosting travel writers and dealing daily with members of the media. We talk about airlines and horror stories all the time. But I am not special. One thing I know from my role in PR is that bad news travels fast. This is why you should care about your passengers.

I have 658 friends on Facebook. Many of them are journalists. Many of them travel regularly. Today, after yesterday’s experience, my status reads “will never fly Jetstar again”. I will also post this complaint letter on my blog. It’s not a big blog. But it gets between 500 and 600 unique visitors a week. It will no doubt get lots of hits from people searching for similar tales of airline woes in coming years. It will be a small black mark against your name in cyberspace – where there are many similar small black marks against your name. At some stage, Jetstar, you will need to do something about this.

Here’s the thing Jetstar – word of mouth matters. And because of my experience yesterday, and the shared experience of many other passengers, you are suffering. If I convince just fifteen friends and family members who fly as regularly as I do not to fly with you on the Brisbane to Townsville route (let alone all the other routes they might fly) the cost, using the same figures as above, will be over $1,000,000. Just because your staff are rudely incompetent.

This is clearly not an isolated incident – as I was writing this letter I read a story featured on the SMH website about poor customer service on the Sydney to Gold Coast route. This habitual interpersonal incompetence will cost you money.

Sure, you have cheap flights. You’ll always have that corner of the market. Those who can’t afford to be discerning. But you’ll never be the airline that has people saying “if I won the lotto tomorrow I’d still fly Jetstar”. The bottom of the market probably won’t grow. Especially with the economy improving.


Nathan Campbell

Life is like a box of chocolates

Below is a complaint letter I just sent to Cadbury. Lets hope something comes of it.

Name of Product: Favourites
Weight of product: 600gm
Best before date and batch number: 12/07/10 N 01:50
Where did you purchase this product: Gift
Subject for your Email: Favourites box comes without favourite chocolates

Dear Cadbury Chocolatiers,

I am a long term fan of your product. I consider myself a chocolate aficionado and believe that Cadbury’s quality is unmatched on the supermarket shelves – and indeed is on par with the expensive stuff you can only buy at fancy chocolate shops.

A box of Cadbury’s Favourites is one of my favourite gifts. It’s much better than one of those Whitman’s Samplers or other generic chocolate box.

Cadbury’s Favourites are a yardstick for quality.

But you might notice I checked “complaint” when submitting this feedback. And I have a complaint, just a small one (though not about the reduced size of the chocolates in your Favourites selection – but I did notice the Cherry Ripe squares seem to have lost a centimetre or two… no doubt a casualty of the Global Financial Crisis).

Nay, my complaint is more serious. We recently received a 600gm box of Favourites as a gift. Which was terrific and very thoughtful. My wife is a teacher and you’d be surprised how many students think miscellaneous craft will suffice as a material reward for her year of service. It won’t.

I opened this box of Favourites – as is my due (I do, afterall, contribute to the report writing process and offer general moral support throughout the year), I opened the box and lo and behold there were none of my absolute favourite to be found. “A mistake,” thought I. An issue with distribution in the box due to density… perhaps. But no. I am now at the bottom of this 600gm box of Favourites – and to my dismay have only managed to unearth two Turkish Delight chocolates. That’s two. You can count them on less than a hand. A captured English Archer could still count them (the French historically chopped the fingers off archers captured during conflicts with England). Two. How can a product call itself “Favourites” while offering such lip service to the notion. Well, lip service is a misnomer – I certainly didn’t feel served. I know my wife didn’t eat them – she doesn’t like them. And it seems unlikely (though they are of value) that anybody has broken into our relatively secure home just to steal those chocolates from the box.

I was most disappointed Cadbury. I believe you can do better. Perhaps the balance of chocolate in these boxes needs to shift from the boring “Dairy Milk” squares (which I assume are designed to cater for the lowest denominator of chocolate consumption) to the fun stuff – like the Moros, the Picnics, Cherry Ripes, and of course my beloved Turkish Delights.

You are no doubt sick of hackneyed Forrest Gump references in these feedback forms – but the problem I have with this particular box is that I know exactly what chocolates I’m not going to get from the box. And they’re my favourites.


Nathan Campbell

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