Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cook Street School of Fine Cooking

**UPDATE at the end of the post! All's well that ends well!**

Cook Street School of Fine Cooking in Denver, CO is run terribly, and I would recommend that you stay far away from them! Here's my story:

Okay, so. 2 years ago I received, as a present from my Dad and Terry, a gift card to Cook Street School of Fine Cooking in Denver. I was so excited because I had never taken a cooking class but had always really wanted to. I looked through all of their classes, and decided that I wanted to sign up for some of their holiday cooking classes. I had to wait until they were offered again, though, so I bided my time until they were available again. Last November, just about one year ago, I signed up for two classes, Holiday Candy and Holiday Pies. Cook Street ended up canceling the Holiday Pies class, and said they would refund me for that class on a new gift card since they don't refund money to an existing gift card, they just give you a new one. When I attended the Holiday Candy class, I got my new gift card, which had $79 on it. I also had about $40 left on the original gift card that was left over after initially paying for the 2 classes up front. So I had 2 gift cards, one with $79 and one with about $40 on it. With me so far?

I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to take a class called Steak and Scotch. I emailed Cook Street with my card numbers and info, and asked to sign up for the class. One day later, I get a call from an assistant to a manager, informing me that gift cards are only valid from one year of purchase (which I did not know, their policy was unclear) and that my first gift card with the $40 on was expired. The second gift card was fine, I was told, but it didn't have quite enough on it to cover the class...I would need $10 more. I was unhappy that I had been unaware of this policy, and told her I was not interested in paying anything for the class, and to cancel my enrollment. A few minutes later, her boss, the front of house manager, called me back to explain that she would go ahead and apply $10 from my expired gift card to the class, and I could still take it if I wanted to. I thought that was great, and was very happy that they decided to work with me on this. I signed back up for the class.

The next day, I get a call back from the manager, Tina. She said she was having trouble with the accounting on their end and it appeared that the money on my $79 card wasn't really there, or had been used, or had never been applied, or something. I explained to her exactly what happened with the Holiday Pies class, and she said she would check with her accountant and get back to me. We had several back and forth communications about this because she apparently was having a lot of trouble figuring out her end, and I just kept telling her what I knew and what had happened from my end. She did check her records and finally found that what I told her was exactly what happened, and she informed me that she'd okay me for the class again. I was getting the opinion that their records weren't in the best shape, though.

This morning, I get an email from Tina saying that their records are now showing that my $79 gift card paid for a Wines of Spain class for someone named xxxx(not gonna post this poor lady's name). She said I could pay $46 from my own pocket if I still wanted to attend the Steak and Scotch class. I have never heard of the person who attended this class, I never signed up for or paid for that class, and none of this is my fault or my job to figure out. I am livid. I replied to Tina the following:

On second thought, maybe we should just cancel everything. I have never heard of [redacted] and I never paid for or signed up for the Wines of Spain class. I feel like this is too big of a hassle, when all I wanted to do was use my remaining money on my gift cards, that were a gift to me from my father, to take the Scotch and Steak class but this is really turning into much bigger of an issue than I want to be dealing with. I paid for and attended Holiday Candy last year. I signed up for Holiday Pies last year as well, but Cook Street canceled that class, so I should have been refunded for that class. I have not purchased anything else from your establishment. All of the other issues are on your end.

I would like to make sure that I get the $79 from the gift card, though. I will spend it in your shop so I don't lose the value entirely. However, I am left with a very bad taste in my mouth regarding all of this.....the mess ups on your back end are not my fault, yet I feel like I am "to blame" or left to try and figure out what happened. I should have money on my gift card, number [redacted], please make sure that I will have $79 to spend on it.

Cancel my enrollment in the Steak and Scotch Class.

Ugh. In conclusion, Cook Street does NOT have their crap together, and I would recommend that you stay far far away from Cook Street School of Fine Cooking in Denver.

I received an email from the COO of Cook Street, who told me that they would make everything right, and she apologized for all of the issues. Apparently a staff member somehow ran my card number to pay for some random person's purchases. I don't know how or why that happened, and I don't care. Cook Street is willing to make this right, and they apologized. That is all I wanted, so I'm very pleased! Thank you, Cook Street COO, for your quick response and for making things right!

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