So it’s been a wee while. I know, I say that a lot. I guess I’m a busy person. 2010 has been a very busy year so far. And now it’s practically Thanksgiving! Where did the time go? A few weeks ago, I was obsessing over Halloween. Now I’m frantically trying to get organized for Xmas (NZ post Xmas cutoff date for air mail is Nov 29th)!! Eek!
Speaking of NZ post, I’ve been having some issues with Customer Service. It’s like the great Customer Service God has shat on my head or something. Honestly. My dear friend Emily sent me my annual Halloween parcel and NZ post honestly totally stuffed up the delivery (see below, an excerpt from my letter to them):
It was brought to my attention about mid-week last week (tentatively Wed Oct 13) by my flatmate that the postal carrier had delivered a parcel for me to our neighbor (the carrier told her upon realizing his mistake and seeing my name on another piece of mail). Upon inquiring with our neighbor, I found out it had been returned to the Moray Place post shop in Dunedin CBD. I have only been residing at this property for 2 weeks by that time, and had officially registered the address as my official address (through a change of address with NZ post). Upon ringing the post shop, I was informed that it was not “in the cupboard” most likely returned to sender.
It was an unexpected parcel from a friend in the USA, so I am extremely disappointed to find out via tracking the item today online that my international parcel has been returned all the way back and no inquiry was made as to its correct destination. As far as I am aware, only 1 delivery attempt was made at my residence, no card was left, my address was crossed off and the neighbor’s was written in (as reported by flatmate/neighbor). Some very large mistakes have been made here.
And did anyone take responsibility for this parcel gone missing? Nope. Not NZ post (who’s fault it clearly was – oh no! Claims must be made in the country the item was sent from). Not USPS (oh no! We can’t make a claim because it was sent letter post – whatever the heck that means). Both Em and I spent hours trying to achieve something, we both contacted NZ post and USPS and… nothing. Em’s out of pocket for two shippings! : ( I know, I need to send her an extra nice Xmas parcel. I don’t blame USPS as much as NZ post. The crappy thing is that we can’t actually live without the post office. I can’t decide simply to ban them – they’ve got a monopoly on international parcels and letters (unless I want to pay a fortune and send stuff with DHL. Not. going. to. happen.). Going up against the big kahuna/authority is not a pleasant experience.
Moving on to other crappy customer service companies. Swimwearboutique.com. Yep, stay away from them. It took 2.5 months for them to issue me a refund! I sent it back new, within the terms of trade, and they were just real slack in issuing my refund of over $100 thank-you-very-much (I know, I know who spends over $100 on a swimsuit?!). After ringing them about half a dozen times, leaving nasty messages, getting the runaround about how it was the “accounting department” just being slow – I finally got a refund from someone on the 6th call. It didn’t take the accounting department? You just issued my refund right there, over the phone? So why didn’t you just issue my refund the first 5 times I called?!? So buyer beware – swimwearboutique.com sucks!
AND my most recent crappy experience (aside from my horrible landlord – but I’m waiting for my lease to be completely 100% over before I rake them over the coals. You know, don’t burn the bridge until you know the enemy is on the other side of the river sort of thing). I bought some boots on Sunday. I had been oogling them, literally for weeks. I had tried them on in another colour. And I took them home. And felt a little guilty. I’m trying to save money. And they weren’t really that comfortable. And would they really match that much else? So yesterday, Wednesday, I brought them back and wanted a refund. They were brand new, nothing wrong and it’s only been 3 days. No problem right? So turns out the store, Street Legal, doesn’t give refunds if you change your mind. Defective items only. How can that possibly even be legal?? Oh yes. Consumer guarantees act. The retailer in NZ doesn’t have to give you a refund if you “change your mind.”
I guess this is a prime example of my Americanism. I had assumed (I know, so bad!) that because they were new, unworn and it had been all of two point five days that I could have a refund. Oh no! The staff at the store were actually hostile (and it was 2 against 1!) and said the store policy is store credit only to protect them from customers. There was a heated argument. The two saleswoman were extremely rude, defensive and aggressive. I got shitty (I’ve worked in customer service long enough to know that if you get shitty, you get what you want). I simply kept saying “I want a refund”. They finally agreed to ring the director later and ask if maybe I could get sent a check, and said that this was going “above and beyond”. I received a text today, calling my Amber (F***! I am not Amber and I am not Rachel <—- The most common 2 mistaken names I get called), saying I would be issued a check.
There are several issues here. Honestly, do you call that customer service? Clearly I am wayyyyy to used to the US where consumer is king! But that was absolutely shocking. Oh yes, I sent a llooonnnnnggggg email to the company (who doesn’t even have a website) explaining how I would not be shopping there again after the rude treatment, and that in fact if their goal is to “protect themselves from customers” (their words, not mine!), perhaps they are in the wrong business. I guess if they treat people like that, they won’t be in business much longer. ALSO, if you only accept defective returns and you have a sneaky consumer, they may intentionally damage the item in order to get a refund. In which case you have to send it back to the distributor, who will credit you at wholesale, so you won’t actually make a sale, and therefore lose your profit margin. It is actually in your best interest to accept reasonable returns of new undamaged items (c’mon people – 3 days?!) because you can sell that item to someone else, make your profit, AND maintain customer relations and goodwill. Sorry, Street Legal Dunedin, you f***ed big time. Yes, I will be telling everyone how badly you suck. Too bad too, for you, as I have an obsession with shoes, and a fair amount of disposable income.
Ahhhhh such relief after that vent. So I’d like to hear from YOU – what companies have mistreated you? Are you sick of feeling like the powerless little guy? And how crap is the Consumer guarantees act? I am pretty sure it doesn’t guarantee much aside from pissed off consumers!
As a consumer, I simply want the authority to take responsibility for mistakes, and issue compensation if they happen. Clearly I’ve got a warped expectation because at my job (where I am customer service) we absolutely go above and beyond, we literally bend over backward for our customers. But I guess I work for a small company, and clearly I can’t expect the type of service that I give from absolutely anyone else. Sad really, because an unhappy customer is not going to be a repeat customer.