They say that a customer who has a good experience will tell two people while a customer who has a bad experience will tell ten. I want everybody to tell everything. is a 100% independent site

Wednesday, June 3, 2009 doesn't like my name.

I tried to sign up for the Airmiles Reward Miles program at yesterday, but could not complete the registration process due to an error. The error read, "There are illegal words in your input text", as per the attached picture. At first, I thought that perhaps the system had a problem with the punctuation in the name of my city, St. John's (as I have had issues with this on other sites before), but after removing the period and the apostrophe, I was still unable to register. Then it hit me. My surname is Butt.

I Googled "funny surnames", just to see whether there were other "illegal" names out there. Oddly enough, I was able to continue without error by using the last names Balls, Death, and Cockshott (all real surnames according to

No "illegal words" error when I tried to sign up as "Janet Nipples", either.

I contacted them via their feedback link and they contacted me today, saying that I could email my information to them for processing. I asked if they might fix this problem and got a reply with their generic message saying they would "forward my concerns to the appropriate department".


  1. I, too, have had bad experiences with I am a live-at-home student and both of my parents have Air Miles cards. I attempted to apply for my own via but was told my information was too similar to existing accounts, and to call the toll-free number.

    I called the number and selected the option to enrol for a membership. That option directed me to go to Useless.

    Hung up and called back. There was no option to speak to an operator, so I had to wait while the main menu was repeated many times before they finally transferred me to a customer service representative.

    I explained to the CSR my problem, and she told me that it happens all the time: just press "Continue" again and it will go through. She seemed like she was in a hurry to get me off the phone, so I took her word that it would work and we ended the conversation. Lo and behold, it did not work.

    I then contacted them via their feedback link. In the may days it took me to receive the same response (email my information to them), I went to Sobeys when Sobeys had a promotion on and signed up for Air Miles on the spot.

    It was not a good experience.

  2. Sounds painful. Every time I call a 1-800 number, I press 'zero' right away, and then 'zero' again if if it directs you to another recording. On some of the really stubborn ones, you might have to hit it a few more times. I find this usually works to get a CSR on the line!

  3. I did press zero once on the second call; it didn't work, though, so I stopped pressing. Guess I should have persisted! Thanks for the tip. :)

  4. RE: Getting a human on a customer service call -

    Sadly lacking in Canadian businesses, but a lot of big ones are there.