failing customer service 101

October 30, 2009 at 3:59 pm 4 comments

I’ve got a product that I love and I was almost out of it and I was debating whether or not to order some more when I got a 30% off coupon in my inbox. COOL.  Not only did I order one, but I ordered two. Well, actually, it was four because this particular consumable item is sold buy one, get one free.

I had ordered from this company before and it had shipped out right away. But not this time. At first I didn’t worry about it because maybe tons of people were ordering with the coupon and maybe they were just backlogged.  I placed my order on August 17 online and paid with my paypal account (thankfully as you’ll see later.)  On September 3rd, I sent an inquiry wondering if my order had shipped and if there was a tracking number.  Two days later, I received a notice of shipment and a tracking number.

When I got my box, it contained only 2 bottles.  Uh-oh. Maybe they were shipped separately.  When I hadn’t received the completion of my order a few days later, I sent a friendly inquiry on September 12. I heard nothing.

I sent the same e-mail to a different e-mail address on their website on September 15th. Still, I heard nothing back. WHAT was going on?  I looked up the company at the Better Business Bureau and was relieved to see that there were no customer complaints on file. Still trying to give them the benefit of the doubt (aren’t I nice?), I thought perhaps they hadn’t received my e-mails so I sent another e-mail from my g-mail account.

Before explaining more, let me insert here, that there are no fewer than 13 e-mails in my g-mail exchange with D from this company. (who I think is the sole owner/worker at this place.)

I have sent you  two e-mails regarding my order that was placed on August 17th and have gotten no response from you. I e-mailed you on September 12th and again on September 15th from my main e-mail account.  In the possible event you are unable to receive e-mails from me at that address, I am trying again from a different account.

I received only half of the order that I paid for. I see two options. You can either refund the difference or ship 2 bottles of castille soap to me at your earliest convenience. Please let me know what you plan to do. Sincerely,  Guinever

Believe it or not, she responded to me the same day:

I need to se what you did.  It seems you got 50% off the products and then used a 30% discount code-and somehow paid $9.60 for shipping when it would be twice that to actually ship.  No other order came through as that did-so very unclear how you did that.  I will do the math tommorow-I am just leaving for the day.

This e-mail rather irritated me. First of all, I’ve been very nice to her the whole time, it’s been more than a month since my original order and now she is blaming me for her shopping cart problem. With this e-mail, I had the feeling that she shorted me the product on purpose to make up for the shipping charges. It was only an instinct and I kept it to myself.  Also, as an aside, if she had contacted me when the order was placed about the shipping charge, I may have paid it (but I don’t think it should be double the amount if shipped together.)

So, did she get back to me next day, as she said she would?  A big NO.
So on the 24th, I merely sent her an e-mail, “Just waiting to hear from you again.  Thanks, Guinever”

It was nearing 45 days since I placed my order and paid for it. Paypal allows customers to open a dispute within 45 days so that’s what I did on October 1st.  Below is the second half of the letter I wrote.  I’m not bothering to include the first half since the info is all included above.

I regret having to open this paypal dispute but you leave me no choice  as you have not offered any resolution in the matter and we are  nearing 45 days since I placed my order.  You even kind of blamed me for what happened. I merely placed my order. You shopping cart is what “DID” it whatever “IT” is.

I see 2 options for you. You can either immediately ship out my other 2 bottles or you can refund me $22.40 (which is half  of the subtotal before shipping.)

She responded to my e-mail on October 5th (not through paypal channels.)

If you really love the soap I will send the rest.  if you were just trying to get a really good deal-I will refund the second box. Here is a 30% off lin for repeat buyers if you do like the soap.

Then my response to her:

I do love the soap and would like it if you’d send me the rest of the order =)  I even wrote about your product on my blog in April. (and I included the link for her but have deleted it here in an attempt to keep her anonymous. Don’t ask me why.)
~blessings, Guinever

Then her response:

That is VERY cool!   I will be sending the two bottles in the next 24 hours.  I just got situated back in Florida.
You are correct it is gentle on skin.  I think a Castor Oil version may be even better and I will send 8 ounces of that also.  The castor oil is more pricey because it is all oil essentially.  But I suspect it is the best when we are talking no drying at all and pets who also have skin conditions.

And then in a separate e-mail the same day, she wrote:

Oh yeah, I was seriously debating begging you to work for us when I saw your order.  It perplexed me that you were so careful and took so much time to get the bets deal.  I was thinking “Purchasing agent!”

OK, this gave me quite a pause and only confirms what I suspected earlier. She was aware of my order. (thinking I was a purchasing agent trying to get a good deal so I could sell at a profit.)  If this is true, then she purposely sent only half my order which miffs me a little bit. By now, it was October 8th.

Then on October 16th, I still had neither received my box of lovely merchandise nor had I received an e-mail stating it had shipped so again I wrote to her. At this point, I still wondered if she was actually going to ship. I only had a couple more days with the paypal dispute. After opening a dispute, you have 21 days to get it resolved or escalate it to a claim where paypal gets involved and makes a decision.  I really, really was hoping to avoid doing that.

Thanks for sending out my order. Hopefully, I will receive it soon. Do you have a tracking # for it?   I just got back home a couple days ago after being out of town for a funeral. …Thanks for the castor oil soap too.  Looking forward to trying that out. I’ve never heard of that.
~blessings, Guinever

And here’s  her response that would be quite unbelievable had it not been for all her other responses and non-responses in the previous 3 months:

I am sending it out tomorrow I hope. Our sites crashed last week as we were moving them to a bigger server.  It caused a total income stop for 7 days and that was just hard on me to afford to breathe. I love your site and I can give you 50% off from here on out.  I should be stable by Monday.  I know I have been through a very transitional summer.
Bottom line I am waiting for more loot to come in to pay for shipping which is $10.  Usually I am not too worried about that-but in this economy it has really mattered.  Orders are just starting to come back in so I can have at least cash flow.
By the way I can make any lotion you want per yoru specs for yoru Eczema effort.  I have Emu here and all of that stuff.  I find Vitamin B-1 in a creme is awesome and menthol as well. that is the Gold Bond formula that has helped some people.

She’s trying to tell me that she doesn’t have $10 to ship out my product.  Now, I just know that she is trying to earn my sympathy so I’ll send her another $10 for shipping.  Forget it.  The time to ask me for more $ or just to off-handedly imply that I should send her money for shipping is loooooong past.  It is now 8 days since she said that she would ship my product within 24 hours, and it is nearly 3 months since I played the original order.

Thanks for your sweet offer of 50% off future orders. First, I’d like to get THIS order shipped and have a tracking number Monday or Tuesday so I can close the paypal dispute before the deadline of the 21st..Thanks so much, Guinever

October 19, I received notice of shipment with a tracking number. A couple days later, I received my two bottles. Noticeably absent from the box was the 8 ounces of castor oil soap that she promised to send because she loves my blog and my review of her product.

I’ve had it with the company. I love, love love the product.  Business ethics and dealings are atrocious, though, and are not worth the tremendous time and effort so I am forced to find another lovely castille soap for my family’s use.

Any suggestions out there?
edited to add a few minutes after publishing:  Well, I haven’t been removed from her e-mail mailing list because I just received this:

I am sending this special offer to customers I think would like this and not to our general mail list.   Our busy season starts the day after Halloween and I am really trying to order in new materials and secure some new equipment.  Geenrally the next three days is a total dead zone for cash flow. I will need up to two weeks to ship.  Suggestions include liquid soap, balm base, lotion base and flavors.  Please do not combine this with other offers-such as already reduced liquid soap.

HA HA HA. I guess she learned her lesson with me since she has included a little disclaimer about not using  the coupon code on already discounted soap=)


Entry filed under: everyday life, Uncategorized. Tags: .

my Grandma can I feed six on $100 a week?

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Melora  |  October 30, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    How about Dr. Bronner’s castille soap? That is what I have always used. Is hers better for some reason?

    She seems a bit clueless about how to run a business.

    • 2. guinever  |  October 31, 2009 at 2:53 pm

      Without looking at the ingredients to know why, Mabel’s isn’t as harsh or drying as Bronner’s is for us. Plus I love the smell of the unscented (I know that sounds funny.)

  • 3. deputyheadmistress  |  October 31, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Wow. She does seem clueless about how to run a business, but I’d be a LOT more sympathetic about that if her customer service manners were better.

    Incidentally, Shoplet STILL hasn’t refunded their overcharge, though I have now received another email saying that they did.

    • 4. guinever  |  November 2, 2009 at 9:59 pm

      I hope you get your refund soon.


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