NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 3, 2012

Angry customers turn to Facebook posts

AMESBURY — Words spread fast in the digital age.

Just ask the owners of Amesbury Sports Park who found their decision to close on Thursday ridiculed en masse after one family wasn't refunded its money.

"Social media got away from us," said sports park president Mary Carol Fowler.

Closing the park because of snow might seem odd, but the wet snow that fell didn't make for good snow tubing conditions, Fowler said.

"When you have wet snow, the tubes act like a snowplow," Fowler said. "You can't go down the hill because you get stuck."

Fowler said that it's the policy of the sports park that senior management meets with guests at the park when it closes due to weather, to determine if families get gift certificates for future visits.

One family did fall through the crack, Fowler said.

Instead of calling the sports park, they took to the sports park's Facebook page and spread the word, as did an apparent "large group of moms and dads."

"I highly recommend that you rectify this problem by refunding the money considering the family that bought tickets did not even get a chance to go down once. I am urging you to get in touch. You do not want 430 moms and dads telling everyone now do you?," one woman wrote.

Fowler said that the park apologized and refunded the family's money after reading what happened.

Using social media to vent — and praise — businesses isn't new.

There are websites like Yelp that allow customers to rate and review businesses. Amesbury Sports Park has a rating of four out of five stars on Yelp.

Using social media to rally the masses isn't new, either.

In recent months, social media protests caused Bank of America to do away with a $5 monthly fee for debit card users, and college lender Sallie Mae changed its fee policy in response to an online petition.

Fowler said that she has no plans to delete the posts since it shows they were out front and center of the situation.

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