View Full Version : BBB Complaint

11-08-2007, 04:38 PM
I'm reading a letter that someone sent to the BBB about their expierance at our haunt.

Their complaint is basically we scared them too much and our security followed him through the haunt. They want a refund. I'm trying to figure out the best way to word this reply because I know who it is and the guy is really lucky we didn't have him arrested for verbal and physcial assult of an actor.

Any help? remember the reply goes to the BBB, not the idiot.

11-08-2007, 05:02 PM
I believe that the BBB has a mediation service. Maybe you can ask them how this is best resolved?

I totally don't think it is fair, but gut tells me, give them refund, document everything and formally notify them that they are banned from event.

I am interested in how this will turn out -keep me posted.

Greg Chrise
11-08-2007, 05:43 PM
Who checks with the BBB before visiting a haunt? If you expect anyone else to be checking this such as local suppliers and such, thank him very much for making sure your business is listed!

11-08-2007, 05:48 PM
I'm not worried, but still someone went through the effort so I'll respond.

If anything now we have the guy's name and address! (incert evil laugh)

Jim Warfield
11-08-2007, 06:21 PM
Just say that guaging just how much you are scaring someone is not a precise thing and just to be sure they are getting the "Product" he paid for, that you maybe gave him a scoop or two too much, erring on the side of excess, usually something any customer of any business will be pleased with recieving.
As far as his feeling that security was following him? This was for his own protection since the woman he was in the company of matched the description of an escaped sexual preditor who dresses like a woman but really isn't one.
Just trying to serve and provide as any viable, concerned business does.

11-08-2007, 06:38 PM
OMG! That is great. I may word it a little different. :)

11-08-2007, 07:22 PM
Doesn't your haunt have a sign that says no refunds? The back of our ticets said so too. If yours does, I would just say exhibt A your honor and wait for them to say Case dismissed....

Frighteners Entertainment
11-08-2007, 07:36 PM
Jim, truely clever!!

11-08-2007, 07:41 PM
We have it in 3 places. The ticket book, the main gate where you wait and in the first room where the rules are explained to you.

Jim Warfield
11-08-2007, 10:53 PM
"Well that "No Refund" thing means someone else, not us."

As I told Jessica last October first:"We are now in the stupid-season when we speak slowly and plainly and some of these people just hear what they want to hear."
"I don't have the money to send you a check for a reservation, just "pencil me in".
(Do you really need an anal dip-stick with an eraser on one end? I can see that you are a quart low just the way that your eyes seem to want to cross.)
"I want a discount because I'm bring a big group."
"How many will be in your group?"
" Possibly 5 of us.'
"That's not a big group and we don't give discounts anyway."
"No discounts!? Not even for the Extremely Drunken Biker Group From Hell Club?"
Last time we gave a discount was for The Screamingkickingfits Daycare Center.
"Oh? how did that work out?"
The Screamingkickingfits kids made the Extremely Drunken Bikers all start crying, it was terrible. They cried so much that their bikes wouldn't start..too wet.

Old Tree Studios
11-09-2007, 10:35 AM
Dear Better Business Bureau,

Thank you for your attention regarding a situation with a patron at our Lazarus Maze Haunted Attraction.

Safety of our patrons as well as our actors is our top priority. Although it is unfortunate that one of our patrons was disappointed with a security escort, our staff is empowered to make these decisions when deemed necessary to ensure the safety of all involved.

Our policies regarding patron conduct and refund policies are clearly stated at the attraction, and as such, we are not inclined to issue a refund in this case.

**OR** We are happy to issue a refund in this case, however, we will not compromise safety at our attraction and will continue to dispatch security escorts in situations where our staff deems that a patron could potentially be a safety risk to himself or others.

And of course, as a haunted attraction, in regard to the patron being "too scared"... we consider this a job well done!

Again, thank you for your attention in this matter.

11-09-2007, 07:44 PM
My Reply ....

In our haunted house we have in three spots that there are no refunds posted. At the ticket booth, at the entrance gate when people wait and our first room where the rules are gone over.

We are sorry he didn't have a good time, but we are interactive theater and we respond to how we are treated. It is very apparent that Mr. Holbrook does not have the temperament to attend this type of entertainment. He used excessively fowl language so our actors teased him in return. It's a common practice in this industry. He went as far as to threaten physical violence, so our security officer followed him. In hindsight we should not have allowed him in the haunted house at all.

No one complained this year to us about our cast or their jokes/scares, including the people that gave us all our awards that he mentions in his complaint. They all had the exact same show he did. It comes down to you get what you give. He gave us attitude, so we gave it back. That's what people pay for.

While we do have a no refund policy we have refunded for people that have not made past the 2nd or 3rd room due to panic attacks. Not to anyone that has gone through the whole show. To us that is like going to a movie and then after it's over deciding you don't like it then demanding a refund. It just doesn't happen.

Our sole purpose is to scare people and sometimes that means making puns about people. He also, complains about us making fun of his girlfriend that is 22. To us age doesn't matter. We've make the exact same joke to a man 6'8" with full beard and well past their 40s. Everyone laughed, except him.

Again we are sorry he didn’t have a good time and we will not be refunding his money. At least we made an effort and that is what he paid for. As for the written apology he asked for we feel that he actually owes our staff one for his excessively fowl language. Our acting age starts at age 5 and we feel he over stepped the boundaries of good manners.

.... I wish I could attach the file of this guy in the haunt. We are thinking about putting on our website under how not to act at interactive theater ... When stupid people attack! :P

Mephisto the Great
11-09-2007, 11:38 PM
Hey Webby:

As much as your letter tells things as they are, it comes across very defensive. The best approach is the no-nonsense letter written just before yours (by Old Tree Studios). I would copy that version and send it nearly verbatim. The BBB does not need any purient details or opinions. They need to know that A) safety is paramount and B) the no refund policy is clearly posted and is part of the implied contract when someone purchases a ticket.

Do not give this joker a refund. He has no legal right to receive one.

Good luck!

P.S. You mentioned he used "fowl" language. Did he quack like a duck? :)

Jim Warfield
11-10-2007, 01:40 AM
"Quack like a duck?"
He thought fowl language atracks the "Chicks".
Typical thinking of an armless, leg-less reptile.

Mephisto the Great
11-10-2007, 01:22 PM
Ah, I just figured the guy screamed, "CLUCK YOU!"

Okay, that was bad. I'm ashamed.

11-10-2007, 06:31 PM
Yep and I ment it to be.

When it comes the the BBB themselves I don't care what they think. They are a non-profit that is trying to get money out of me to get rid of the complaint. They have no real authority. Now if it was the Consumer Protection Agency of Utah, then I'd be a little more careful about my words.

And yes he is clUCK you many times :p Stupid spell check took the wrong version of my mis-spelled word :)

11-11-2007, 06:31 AM
Be the bigger person, give the guy his money back, wipe your bottom with it first of course. Write him an apology letter something to this accord.

Dr. Sir,

We apologize for your experience at our attraction. We strive to meet all of our customers expectations throughout the short time we are open. We understand this is no always possible and do hope you will except out sincerest apologies for the experience you had at our event.

In response to you inquiry we have refunded you money in full along with a few dollars to cover gas and other cost on your trip to our attraction. We consider this matter resolved and thank you for your patience in dealing with this matter.

Please do understand however that while we are conceding to your demands we will also impose our own sanctions regarding this issue. Please do not come to our event next year, nor any year there after. If you do come on our property during any month of the year we will have a Police escort remove you from the property and file charges for trespassing.

Thank you,
Billy Bob
The great haunted house in the sky

Be the bigger person, the MUCH bigger person. This guy's $40 or whatever it was is not worth it. Go above and beyond what he expects and then crush him like the little pathetic bug he is.


Jim Warfield
11-11-2007, 07:55 AM
Of course Freddie, Webby will be also needing the A-hole's home address to make the refund.........."I know where you live!"
Reading Webby's one post was an eye-opener for me! I assumed most of my customers are actually customers eager to become my patrons, I just have to be nice to them,give them stimulating entertainment for their dollars and the whole wonderfull seven-layer frosted cake will automatically fall into place by itself.

Of course there are a few sour pusses that no one and nothing will ever begin to please.

"Here's your refund plus $50.oo plus a limo ride back home."
"Well it had better be a brand new limo!"

11-11-2007, 10:23 AM
We have his name and address. :) Now I'll be the bigger person by not giving a copy of that to our cast.

We have added his photo and name to our Banned for Life board in the ticket booth. So he sits next to a chick that tried to pass counterfeit money to us last year.

The only reason I was concerned with this in the beginning is because I thought the BBB was a state agency. But their whole point to to extort money out of businesses. If they don't remove the complaint from their website we will go to the real state agency with a complaint against them. When it comes right down to it a business can do what ever then pay them off for the complaint to disappear. Also they post it publicly before getting both sides of the story, which could hurt a business before all the facts are known. The true state agency that can actually do something does not do that.

11-11-2007, 10:34 PM
Be sure and use the fact that you scared someone too much this year in next year's advertising. Does anyone know the law regarding whether she can quote him? And remember, he was the one that made the big fuss and brought the matter out in public. She isn't invading his privacy.

Old Tree Studios
11-11-2007, 10:57 PM
Just out of curiosity, we checked the BBB website. Lazarus Maze is listed as a business in Ogden, UT but has no complaints against it.

Perhaps the BBB read the guys letter and agreed with you that he is a whack-job. The Maze looks squeaky clean to me.

Here is a link to the report.


Kevin Dells
11-12-2007, 05:20 PM
Webby a few more thoughts to ponder in response to Mr i want my money back.

As any guest has ever wanted their money back because we sacred them to badly OR the parent who has no brains in their head when they bring young children through when our signage and website clearly suggest we run a PG show not recommended for children under 13 years old.

Its very simple to explain.
Mam, when i have 2000 people in line waiting to get in and my actors are doing their best to give the other 1998 people their moneys worth or they will complain that the shows not scary enough,well i have to side with the majority here!

if you want to do the meet and greet with Casper don't come to one of the highest ranked haunts in the state thinking you"ll find him here,just not going to happen. You don't get to be one of the best around by shaking hands with the patrons!

We do what the crowd pays us to do,we use everything in our little bags of sinister to give them the product they so desire and if you want to bring your 5-6 year old to experience this well then good for you! I hope Little jimmy sleeps right between you and your husband until he's 35!

I meen seriously how do you scare when theres huge lines of people demanding you to do what you do best,sorry but im going to make the children cry evertime!

As far as the security issue, thats a judgement call every single haunt owner makes all across the nation! We protect our people because bad stuff does happen to them!

Webby check your messages

Jim Warfield
11-12-2007, 05:38 PM
I once had a customer make it 2/3 of the way through the house THEN want his money back because it wasn't "Scary" but he refused to take that one more move that would have provided him with that scare (almost 98% guaranteed!)
I escourted him out of the house.
I left the video camera recording while I did this. Later I played the tape to see what was said about this by the girls he came here with:" Boy is he stupid!" "I can't believe him!" "Why did he say that? Is he really that scared?"
"I know Jim really well, he sat near me in study hall when we were in high school."
??????? I never saw that woman before in my life! She seemed quite a bit younger than myself...strange!?
A wanna be groupy?

Lord Barnabus
11-12-2007, 11:59 PM
Webby, the letter you wrote is fine. There is no way in hell I would even consider giving this guy a refund. I can't believe someone on this board thinks you should give him his money back, PLUS gas money.

I've dealt with the BBB in my city regarding something that happened at the music store I worked at for eight years. The BBB doesn't give a crap about the businesses they deal with. They wouldn't even listen to our side of the story. In fact, the person who complained did not even do a business transaction with us, but complained about something that had no relativity to our business at all.

Keep us updated on what happens.

11-14-2007, 09:42 AM
We had a guy a few years back trash talk our haunt after going through and complained about the two hour wait. He e-mailed me complaing as well. I appologized to this guest and did indeed give him a refund plus tickets to come back and hopefully have a better experience. At first the guy refused the tickets and then decided the next day to take them ( we gave them 12 total for their group that came through that night.) Now this guy did not deserve anything out of us but we treat each customer like a valued guests regardless how they act. This man was so pleased witht he way we repesoned he went on to tell alot of people about his great experience he had at our haunt. After future conversations I found out he owned his own business and now he is one of our biggest sponsors! Moral here... TREAT EVERYONE AS A GUEST NO MATTER HOW THEY ACT! We go with the Disney approach and will do everything in our power to give every guests the best experience possible.


11-14-2007, 11:44 AM
Never give a refund for any reason. If that is your policy stick with it. The BBB can go screw ! In my opion giving someone a refund is also showing guilt , you did nothing wrong so why would you give a refund. At our haunt we have never refunded money in 14 years and never plan to. A haunted house is what it is , people need to know themself enough to know if they can handle it or not .

11-14-2007, 12:18 PM
My Reply ....

... Our acting age starts at age 5 and we feel he over stepped the boundaries of good manners.


Webby, just a quick business note.... as mentioned the letter above this response is not only terse but also very appropriate ... your letter offers way to much info... I have been in business a LOOOOONG time and the more you offer is the more rope you have to hang yourself... don't do it!!! I highlighted a section that you offered as a potential red flag... this one could potentially get you investigated and there was little reason to define this much detail... "zero tolerance to profanity" would suffice if you felt the need to defend your actions... I am not trying to be antagonistic just always remember the golden rule -CYA!!!

11-14-2007, 02:06 PM
That's funny old tree when the complaint first came in and we searched to see if we was in the BBB database it came up as Lazarus Maze Lawn Service. :p

I'm not worried Daddy. Our first year we was investigated by child services. Which was kinda ironic because we didn't have any kids till this year. Our young actor works in the same room as a parent and is always away from the crowd. The bad thing about voices is they travel long distances.

One of the things I love about Utah is their labor laws. When you are seasonal (7 months or less) then fair labor laws do not apply. I learned this last year when a volunteer tried to sue us. You can actually pay some one 10 cents an hour or less and it's legal! Even child labor laws do not apply. Now since all of our people are contacted volunteers we had to have the state approve the contracts.

11-16-2007, 05:24 PM
What did he say was said about his girlfriend?

11-18-2007, 07:41 PM
What did he say was said about his girlfriend?

He asked if she was old enough to go through the haunted house. We ask everyone no matter how old you are.

Jim Warfield
11-18-2007, 11:23 PM
"Are you old enough to go through the haunted house , and enjoy it?"
The answer should have been "No." Obviously.
I mostly agree with treating my customers very well, but then we had the bus load of sloppy drunks, and there was no way we could treat them like "Gold", and guess what? The odds were heavy that most of them would not be remembering much of what went on here anyhow!
I have seen this in the past, bust my butt (watch out for the ensuing smell!) entertainig them, babysitting them, scaring them nearly to their death and a night later , coming here sober (To return a mask they stole when here drunk)
They did not remember enough of their experience here to even bother with.
I really trully value my customers because guess what? They sure did not HAVE to come here, now did they?
For many from the Chicago environs they will have invested about 8 hours to see my house! (3 hr, drive here, 3 hr. drive back home, 1 hour standing in line, an hour or more to actually tour the house!

11-19-2007, 01:33 PM
I think that this is pretty funny... I'd say good job!

I would post that on my website, that we have people reporting us to the BBB for being too scary! Yes we scare our customers! After you come out screaming please report us...

'That is not how you treat your customers, making them scream, crawl and cry for 20 minutes...I want my money back'.



11-19-2007, 04:44 PM
This reminds me of the alarm manufacturing company that made sure the local newspaper heard about every complaint filed with police about how loud they were, and the speedboat manufacturer that welcomed speeding tickets. This falls right in with the industries they were in and what they got out of complaints. A haunted house that someone has compalined is too scary? What more could you ask for? You can't buy publicity like that!

Jim Warfield
11-19-2007, 06:52 PM
Remember what was said concerning publicity:"Just make sure they spell my name right!"
One of my original financial backers started a lake, swimming, fishing, boating, camping.....
One fine Memorial Day weekend not one but TWO men drowned while trying to swim there!
The tragedy was covered by three local TV stations, all located in the town these men lived in.
"Well there goes this season of swimming, no one will want to swim here where people died!" He thought.

WRONG! The next weekend they were packed!
Everyone wanted to see where those two guys had drowned!!!??
(Right over top of the hatch of the submerged UFO hiding under the lake, probably)

You just never really know?

11-23-2007, 10:05 PM
Something very similar happend at Six Flags St. Lous many years ago. The park had decided to "convert" one of their two Runaway Mine Train coasters into one where the riders would stand up during the ride. The ride was very rough and turbulent and threw riders around quite a bit (no doubt because it wasn't designed that way to begin with). I thought that it was more of a novelty ride and was better in its original form. It was considered more of a "curiosity" with the park guests and did have decent lines throughout the day.

The support system included a very large shoulder restraint system that came down from above the riders and down to their waist. There was not much of any support system on the sides of the riders. This was an accident waiting to happen....

One day, a rather large woman took a ride with her husband on the "stand up" mine train. Sometime during the ride, the woman popped out to the side when the train took a sharp turn and was killed. Turned out that because of her size there was a lot of room on either side of her to pop out from under the restraint system that kept riders positioned from above (but not on the sides).

At any rate, once the state of Missouri allowed the park to re-open (with a new policy that "large" guests could not ride), there were **HUGE** lines of people lined up for the rest of the season (no doubt out of morbid curiosity) to ride the coaster that killed the park guest. The park had very good attendance despite the incident. (The ride has long since been dismantled, was purchased by Dollywood in Tennessee, and converted back to the original sit-down version.)

Jim Warfield
11-24-2007, 06:56 PM
I do understand the concept of killing a customer to generate publicity , I have just never quite figured out how a place ever retains their assests or is ever allowed to ever open again?
This doesn't seem to be the "Tricky Part" for the amusement parks though.......
OK, I'm just jealous!
A really knowledable guy like Larry might know? Someone could write a book explaining how to do this, kill for publicity then be able to open up again?
Of course we all know the title would be:

"Getting Away With Murder!"

(For fun and profit)

Could some of the huge crowd of tourists coming after the death be potential suicides that needed some place to die, by "accident" of course, so it wouldn't be suicide and the life insurance people would have to pay off?

"Good news Mrs. Waxmeyer! With new technology we saved your husband's head, it will probably live another 50 years, what with no body to drag it down, the bad news for him is though that the extreme quanitys of Viagra in his blood stream made is nose grow bigger and it impaled his only other remaining living body part...yes, sad to say...(here it comes) .....his anus"

"Honey! what is that incredibly bad smell? It just won't go away!"
"For the thousandth time, Milburn, it's YOU!"
(Happy next 50 years!)

Greg Chrise
11-24-2007, 07:30 PM
Don't worry, the man who used to inspect this no longer works here, he is now a school bus driver. It is a sucky ride that we wanted to replace anyhow, we didn't design it or install it even thought we did modify it to make it more effective. Using an unlicensed subcontractor of course.

A long time ago, we put texture finish on a pre war, large multi story, granite and 8 foot thick concrete fall out shelter/Post Office front steps. For a hundred years, more than 400 people a day had gone up and down these steps but one 80 year old lady did a tumble. So it never happens again they spent $6,000 on a texture non skid surface. Now if anyone ever slips, there will be nothing but a skeleton at the bottom. Good Job! Nothing left to bitch about the stairs ever again.

Jim Warfield
11-26-2007, 07:29 PM
Just like "Tator Gloves" As advertised on TV!
Abrasive texture glued to a kitchen glove to rasp-clean potaoes or anything else the least bit pliable.
They use these in the next Hostel or Saw movie?
A product just aching for perfect movie product-placement.
Use a diamond blade, remove the palm from a Tator glove, super glue it to the Grandma's rear and she will suddenly have an overall effect like power brakes when her butt hits the steps!
Super Wedgie!
This posterior application could be slightly modified to reduce waste product diameter to ease the strain on the plumbing drains. (or just chew your food alittle more?)