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February 27th, 2000

I don’t like being called a liar

(sorry for the delay in today’s Ping — I was out of state, sans password… may you have mercy on me…)

I’m going to take my time today to bitch and moan about a particular company and my recent negative experience with them. For now, I will refrain in saying the company’s name (since I don’t know for sure yet how this will all be resolved).

In mid-February I placed an order for some storage boxes (the collector’s type for protecting magazines, comics, etc.) from a store with an online presence, albeit an extremely weak one that’s still stuck in the 1995 mold of e-commerce sites. After placing an order on their web site, a customer representative calls me up to get my credit card number (because they, despite being an established company, can’t even use something like ccNow to process their own transactions online). I give it to her and I’m on my merry way.

The next day, I have a message on my voice mail, asking me for my credit card number for an order that’s been placed. I call them back and let them know that I only placed one order and that they needed to make sure that there weren’t duplicates in their order system. I was told, by the same person that had taken my information the day before, that everything would be OK.

A week later, the boxes arrive.

The next day, the boxes arrive. Again.

I checked my credit card account online and I had only been charged once for the boxes, so I e-mailed the company to find out what I should do. Of course, being a company still playing catch-up on the Net, they called me back. The same person I had dealt with before told me that “Oh, well we have two orders in the system for you. The reason we call and ask for a credit card number is so that things like this don’t happen. You should have told us the second time that we had already called you.” Of course, I had, and I told her that.

“Oh. And it looks like two different credit cards have been charged: a Visa and a Mastercard.” I told her that the Mastercard is the only one that should have been charged. The Visa was what I had used with previous orders, but I sure as hell didn’t authorize the charge.

She said, “Well, what do you want to do?” I told her I didn’t need the boxes and I certainly didn’t want to be charged for them, so I wanted to return them. She told me how to return it and I double-checked to make sure that they’d reimburse me for shipping.

“Well… since it was kind of both our faults, how about we split it?”

“Well, really, it wasn’t my fault at all. The way I see it, it’s entirely your fault. I called and told you about the duplicate order and did not authorize a charge to my Visa.”

“Yes, but I don’t see how we could have messed up. The reason we call is to avoid duplicates. I’ve been working here six months and this has never happened before.” And then came the kicker, “Well, how about we split the cost.”

“Um, didn’t you just say that?”

The argument went on for a few more minutes where she basically implied I was lying and I should cover half of it. I was tired of dealing with it, so I told her “fine” and hung up angrily. Sure, it was only going to cost me $2.50, but I don’t like being called a liar by some moron who didn’t even realize she was the person I dealt with through all this.

So, I’m going to write a formal complaint letter to the company and let them know they’ve lost a customer that’s spent almost $200 with them over the last year-and-a-half. Now, all I have to do is find a place that also sells storage boxes for collectors. (If you know any, pass them on!) -ram

Posted in Consumer Commentary

FROM: Old Fezziwig
DATE: Monday February 28, 2000 -- 9:32:17AM
I would not have given in, even for $2.50.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Monday February 28, 2000 -- 1:48:44PM
Ryan, Ryan, Ryan. First of all, did you check The Container Store? ;) (We really should have something to suit your needs! Email me on it) Second, it's funny you mention bad customer service because I just banged out a lengthy reply to a Best Buy employee re: my Best Buy Sucks page. And I think it stands up pretty well as an idea of what good customer service is all about.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday February 29, 2000 -- 5:59:10PM
My scathing lunchtime letter:

I spoke to you on Friday about returning a duplicate package to you. After having spoken with you and having time to think about it, it is definitely not a good compromise that we split the return shipping costs. Sure, it's only $2.50 for me, but it's the principal -- I came away from our conversation on Friday feeling that you were calling me a liar, and I don't appreciate that.

The facts are as follows:

1. I placed an order on February 10th. You (personally) called me for my credit card number. I gave it to you and explicitly said, "This is a different one from the one I have on file with you."

2. On February 11th you (personally) called me again asking for my credit card number. I returned your call and explained that you had called the day before and I had already given you my card number. After being put on hold several times, I was told "OK, it's been taken care of" and that my duplicate order would be deleted.

3. On February 22nd, I received my order.

4. On February 23rd, I received my order again.

5. I called you on February 25th to inform you of the duplicate order. You told me, "Well, you should have called and told us of the duplicate order." I told you I did. You told me that I was charged on two different cards and that in your six months of having worked there, nothing like this had happened. "We wouldn't charge your card unless you gave us the number." You then said, "How about we split the return shipping costs since it's both of our faults." I debated that issue and explained to you why I was not at ALL at fault. You then said, "Well, how about we split the return shipping costs" yet again. I had to return to work, so I agreed to it, and you said that you would send someone to pick up the box on Monday morning.

6. No one came to pick up the package on Monday.

*Specific_CS_Rep*, I am extremely upset with the way this order has gone. I've ordered from you all in the past and I've overlooked the fact that your web site is about 5 years behind having to call for credit card validation. I've also overlooked the poor packing job you do, as my previous orders have arrived partially damaged or falling out of the packaging because of a poor taping job. But this time, I can't overlook it. I'm fed up and frustrated with the way this simple problem has been handled -- how a company can ask a customer to split the shipping cost when it's entirely their error (while implying that the customer is lying at the same time) is beyond me. It's an example of astoundingly bad customer service.

It's Tuesday at 12:45pm and STILL no one has come by to pick this package up. I am going to dispute the charge with my credit card company (offering them a copy of this letter as evidence) and I will hold onto the package until an RPS delivery person comes to pick it up. I am also requesting, again, that *Specific_Company* pay for the return shipping cost.

You've lost a customer that's spent several hundred dollars with you over the last year-and-a-half and referred a number of other customers. I simply will not deal with a company that treats me in this way for a product that is simply not that great to begin with.

... Ryan A. MacMichael

The reply:

Please accept our apology for all of the problems you experience with your order. *Specific_CS_Rep* didn't understand the *Specific_Company* philosophy regarding settling customer mix-ups. We are cancelling any charges regarding the freight fee. *Specific_CS_Rep* is relatively new to the the telemarketing side of our company and it is a job that requires a great deal of experience before a person acquires all of the skills necessary to be proficient in handling all of the problems that arise in her complicated work.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


*Another_CS_Rep*, Customer Service Department

FROM: Robert
DATE: Wednesday March 1, 2000 -- 10:47:20AM
I think that *Specific_CS_Rep* needs a *Specific_Combat_Boot* up his/her *Specific_Orifice*. That should settle matters.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday March 1, 2000 -- 11:15:52AM
Amen, sister.

I got an e-mail this morning telling me that they'd be sending an RPS person to pickup later this week or early next.

... Ryan

FROM: Huyen
DATE: Wednesday March 8, 2000 -- 12:35:42AM
They lost me as a potential customer. I thought that there was going to be more emphasis on customer service as more and more companies get online. It seems like the biggest problem that not many companies are addressing is good customer service. Maybe that's why I still like to deal face to face with small, friendly, customer service-oriented stores. I hope companies start getting the hint soon!

FROM: chris
DATE: Saturday February 15, 2003 -- 3:03:26 pm
How does one stop being a liar?

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 2:11:59 pm

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Thursday December 22, 2005 -- 9:58:33 am
That's a lot of work for $2.50. I mean, consider the economics. You wouldn't work for $2.50 an hour, and yet you probably put in an hour of aggravation just to get your $2.50 back. Even if it was only a half hour, you still probably wouldn't work for $5 an hour.

FROM: Julie
DATE: Tuesday May 2, 2006 -- 8:05:30 am
aww Ryan, I don't know you but I'm so sorry to read this, albeit obviously a few years too late! I found a link to this from another forum which listed "said company" by name. I have to tell you, I work for "said company". I'll give you, our website and practices in 2000 were far below par when it came to anything technology related (this has since been alleviated and we continuously strive for the most user friendly and safe methods available). What concerns me is the way you were responded to when you spoke with a person, on multiple occasions no less! I don't know who you spoke with but I would like to offer you an apology. If I can ever make amends for this, please just let me know. It's too bad that this experience had to be representative of our company. Thanks Ryan

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday May 2, 2006 -- 12:00:59 pm
The above comment by Julie is exactly how companies *should* respond.

I should note that since this Ping was written, I've lightened up on Bags Unlimited and have even placed an order or two. Any hate from the original Ping is gone... they've been a good company outside of this incident over six years ago.

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