If you’re planning great Customer Service you better read this.

Here’s an entertaining email I received from an online betting company this week: (as usual I won’t name them and have tried to hide their name where possible). My thoughts are in Red, my comment is at the end.

Important Account Information
This has been sent to all customers as it contains important account information. It contains no account info, only a threat to take my money

We recently wrote to you about an Administrative Fee which would be applied to your Ladbrokes account. Would it surprise anyone if I said that I’ve never heard from them about this?

The Fee has now been taken from your account and was calculated as either £2 (or currency equivalent) or 5% of the balance on the date at which your account became inactive, whichever is greater. When calculating the charge, we have included balances from all wallets (including poker, casino etc). The Fee itself has been taken from the Sportsbook wallet and this may result in a negative balance if funds were held elsewhere. So not only do you want to take my money, without my authority, you can’t even be bothered to take it from where it is, instead you casually create a negative balance for your convenience, not mine.

If your account retains a total positive balance a further Fee will become due on the 1st day of every subsequent month. Do you honestly think I’ll wait that long with you as a customer?

To prevent further Administration Fees, please review the following options and choose the one that you prefer:

1) If you choose to resume betting, all you need to do is log in to your account and place a bet using the credit balance. Ahhaa.. stop dicking around and Get Betting (and lose so that we can take all your money at once) please.

2) If you’ve decided you no longer wish to bet with us you can log in to your account and withdraw your current balance. It is possible that your card and account details are out of date so you may wish to check and update them first to enable you make a withdrawal. But when you do try and log in to withdraw funds it is not possible to do so. The live chat support also fails to work.

3) You may choose to donate your balance to the Ladbrokes in the Community Charitable Trust which donates funds to good causes throughout Great Britain. To do this, email us at AccountQueries@Ladbrokes.co.uk, expressing your wish to do so along with your username or Customer ID. You want me to support your altruistic values when you are dicking me around like this?

4) In addition to options 2 and 3 you may wish to close your account for good, in which case after withdrawing your funds email us atAccountQueries@Ladbrokes.co.uk and ensure you include your username or Customer ID with your request to close your account. I won’t just close my account” for good”, I’ll close it for ever.

If you take any action as described above your account will be protected from the Inactive Account Fee for a period of no less than twelve months from the date of activity.

Please note: No Fee will be deducted beyond that which would take the aggregate of all balances into a position below £0. Well that’s kind, you’re not going to take me to the workhouse by trying to take money that isn’t there and then chasing me through the courts.

MESSAGE ENDS

Now tell me: what sort of customer service is that? What are the costs to them of having my account sitting on their servers, not doing much? They already have my money in a place where I’m lining up to lose it one day and yet they have now helped me decide to not lose it, but to withdraw it instead.

When the cost of acquisition of new customers is so high and the competition from other similar online services is great, how can a Public Company be so naive as to treat its customers in this way.

I wonder what the service is like at PaddyPower?