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Is Customer Satisfaction Worth $9.95?

Back in early June, I noticed that the front grill emblem on our Scion xB was missing. I decided I wanted to replace it and our local dealership's price seemed high so I checked online. I found a decent price but their web ordering system was out of whack and proposed $35 for shipping (um, no). There was, however, a box I could check to "get a quote" for shipping.

So, I placed the order (using PayPal) and checked the box. The next day, they sent me a quote for shipping. The quote was a bit higher than I would have liked (the item is small enough to fit in a USPS flat-rate envelope) but it was only a $5 difference from what I would have liked, so I sent the shipping by PayPal. Then I waited.

And waited.

On July 28 (a month and a half later), I received email:

Customer never responded. Paypal is being refunded.


I wrote back to enquire what they meant. They replied:

your order was put on hold because you asked for a shipping quote. I couldn't ship an item to you without you oking the amount plus you had placed the order through paypal so I couldn't of just charged you the shipping if I wanted to. After a month or so with no contact from you I assumed you didn't want the item so we them cancelled it.

I checked PayPal. There was the shipping, sent on June 15 (three days after the order was placed). Right addressee. No errors.

And they hadn't refunded that portion when they canceled my order. I wrote back, including a copy of the PayPal receipt.

They wrote back:

I was never notified of the addtional $9.95 nor do I receive the email stating it was ok to continue. I will have the person that handles the account look for the 9.95.

By now, I was seriously beginning to wonder if I wanted to do business with this company. I decided to give them one more chance. I would re-order the item if they would pay the shipping. After all, the errors up to now were theirs:

  • confused ordering system claiming a $35 charge for a small part
  • failure to monitor their PayPal account
  • failure to contact me again
  • summarily canceling the order with little explanation after 45 days
  • failure to wonder what that extra $9.95 was for, for 45 days (who "balances the books"?)

They said no.

I'm sorry your time has been wasted but if you want the part you have on order you will need to pay the freight.

Along the way, in our back and forth email, the company representative has never accepted responsibility for any of the errors made. There have been excuses ("I'm sorry that took longer than I originally told you I didn't realize our gal wasn't in.") but no responsibility.

Translation: "We're sorry your time has been wasted (and we hung onto your money until you noticed and asked for it back) but..."

I'll buy the part elsewhere.

If you were this company, what would you have done?

Is customer satisfaction and a good future relationship worth $9.95?

August 4, 2010 in category Relationships | Permalink


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