Purpose: Despite double deviation being an acknowledged phenomenon in services marketing, less research has been devoted to the evaluation of the underlying relationships between cognitive appraisals, customer forgiveness and postrecovery actions following a double deviation. Therefore, this study aims to develop and empirically test a conceptual model to determine the role of customer forgiveness and its boundary conditions in double-deviation scenarios based on the stress and coping theory. Design/methodology/approach: This study aggregated 290 survey data by adopting the retrospective experience sampling method and examined the proposed model using structural equation modeling and bootstrapping analysis. Findings: The results confirm that customer forgiveness mediates the link between service recovery dissatisfaction and postrecovery customer complaints (i.e. online and third-party complaints). Additionally, attribution-based factors (i.e. stability and controllability attributions) positively moderated the service recovery dissatisfaction–customer forgiveness relationship. Finally, these findings exhibit that relationship-based factors (i.e. relationship duration and affective commitment) had negative moderating effects on the service recovery dissatisfaction–customer forgiveness link. Originality/value: Without ensuring customer forgiveness, customers who experience failure twice in a row may act more aggressively to damage service firms. Yet, knowledge of customer forgiveness in a double-deviation scenario is still lacking. The results make twofold contributions to the service recovery literature. First, this study emphasizes customer forgiveness as an integral coping response that has a mediating role in the relationship between service recovery dissatisfaction and postrecovery customer complaints. Second, this study shed insights into boundary conditions of customer forgiveness by identifying attribution- and relationship-based factors as moderators.