Does Delta care about fraud, scams or customer service?

Den Howlett Profile picture for user gonzodaddy August 25, 2013
Delta Airlines has a chequered history of customer service. Their best customers often praise them but they still get many complaints. So when an inquiry is sent that includes the words 'scam' and 'fraud' should they reply promptly? They don't and as a result they fail in offering full customer service.

I wonder if Delta Airlines cares too much about its reputation.

Last week I received a suspicious email claiming to be from Delta that said I'd booked a flight to Washington, a credit card had been debited and that the ticket would be available at a specified link. The email also said that if I needed support than I could get that from yet another link.

These kinds of well disguised spoof scams are all too common but this one was particularly clever because - among other things - I could not see the underlying link structure from my Android phone. It turns out the link detail I could see was to an expired or dead link.

The underlying link was another matter, attempting to get me to reveal details of my Box account via the rather crude measure of enticing me into downloading an executable script. Even so, and with mention of an un-named credit card plus $500 on the line, there was always the potential for loss.

Inquiries among my Twitter pals firmly implied that this was a scam rather than a direct fraud. This was a new one on me. PayPal and eBay scams are worryingly frequent and both businesses learned a long time ago how to manage those threats. There is a special email address to which concerned customers can forward these spoofing attempts. Delta doesn't have a similar approach. In fact it has no approach.

I've never been a direct Delta customer since I am not based in the US and rarely take internal flights. Even so, I felt it was worth advising them in an effort to bring full closure to this story.

The Delta site offers a method by which you can contact their customer service with options for the type of topic you wish resolved. "Fraud and scams" are not there which left me having to go with "General." Rather than call up, I completed the contact form, explaining the full situation, copied the received email body text and various links, suggested that it could be a scam or attempted fraud. I then sat back and waited. The image at the top shows the meat of what I sent to Delta as rendered on the page that came back to me. I was shocked.

  • No date that I can see to provide a record for follow up
  • No proper formatting - anyone trying to read this missive is going to struggle

Worse still and after some three days, I've heard nothing, nada, zippo. There has been no attempt to reach out to me beyond what you see above. This should be a concern at multiple levels:

Delta complaints

How Delta fails

  1. According to the response page: "As a valued customer, your input is most appreciated and we will make every effort to ensure a quick response." How do you define 'quick?' 24 hours? 48? 72? A week? Without a clear message, the customer can never know. Putting 'value' into action means making commitments that you strive to honor.
  2. Presenting a customer with an ugly acknowledgment form is not acceptable in this day and age.
  3. The fact my form included the words 'scam' and 'fraud' should have been a red flag. Even if Delta thought someone was pulling their leg or instantiating a crafty fraud doesn't it behoove them to at least contact me and discover whether it was a real inquiry? Where are the semantic recognition systems that would allow this type of inquiry to be filtered and actioned?
  4. A quick Google search for 'Delta airlines customer service review' brought up this site above the fold (see image above.) The number and value of complaints recorded is a rounding error for a company like Delta yet even so, I see no attempt to change perceptions.


Airlines are regular and easy sport among colleagues. In 2012, 'R' Ray Wang, CEO Constellation Research went on a rant about United. My good friend Vinnie Mirchandani frequently rails against various airlines, preferring to contact CEOs direct in an effort to get service. Occasionally, he gives kudos - even to Delta. British Airways seem to monitor my Twitter feed as they surely know I will praise and pummel in equal measure. Yet nothing much changes in the industry as a whole. There really is no consistency that might lead to a general improvement in standards.

As a frequent flyer, an airline can woo me all it wants and sure I will sing its praises. But...if that same airline does little to improve service for everyone, maybe feeding off the handsome profits it makes from its best customers, then it is still failing. On that score, Delta is a the loser's circle.

Featured image credit: MiniAtlanta

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