Everyone has had bad, unsatisfactory, or sometimes outright rude dealings with companies or stores. It happens to me on occasion, and I usually don't bat an eye - in the grand scheme of things, it just doesn't matter. However, sometimes I just enjoy the argument. Which brings me to a company who we shall call "Games Utopia", and their Customer Service Department.
Before Christmas, I was looking for a particular card game I played with friends - it's called "Bang - The Bullet". I tracked it down online, and handed over about 45 shekels to have it shipped to my door. The game is relatively hard to find in stock, so I was pleased to see it available.
I was also pleased to see a guarantee of 1-3 days dispatch from the date of purchase.
I'll let the emails tell the story from here on in...
Regarding our purchase of "Bang - The Bullet" on the 12th Dec, I am a little dissapointed in the misleading information on your website.
The Shipping information states:
"Whilst we are able to send most packages with NEXT DAY DISPATCH, in busy times such as Christmas for orders received by 11.00am AEST, Games Utopia guarantees 1 to 3 working days dispatch with Australia Post E-Parcel Express Service. Orders within Australia can be expected approximately 1-3 working days after the order is dispatched. In most cases, delivery can be expected the day after dispatch.
The phone message on your 1300 number then states that an extra 3-5 days processing time will be needed. When put through to Games Utopia, it then states that we could expect a dispatch email on the 20th Dec!
Whilst I can appreciate the higher tempo of Christmas time, a specific Christmas shipping gaurantee of 1 - 3 working days was provided, and I expected shipping no later than today.
Can you please confirm that this item will be shipped today (for arrival no later than Tuesday 21st)? If not, can you suggest an appropriate offer to make up for the situation?
I would love to keep shopping with Games Utopia, and hope that this is simply a one off occurance.
Note how I mentioned my intention to keep shopping there? Complaint Resolution 101 - these guys missed that class... I sent the following email on the 21st of Dec.
I guess that is a 'No" to my request of a response and confirmation of shipping.
I look forward to hearing from somebody about this by the 20th Jan - if not, I will escalate this issue to the Office of Fair Trading.
I received a reply on Jan 5th. What was originally a very simple issue to fix now has me geared for war. I am a Ranga after all...
This was shipped on the 21st.
Please advise if you have still not received the good by then.
Sorry for the delay
Yeah, not really the concerned and bashful tone I was looking for Steve.
I have received the item.
Can you please respond to the questions I have asked in the previous emails.
The company is still in a very recoverable position - which is why I am hoping they shoot themselves in the foot in the next email. They do not disappoint.
What is your Customer Order, I cannot see this anywhere on the correspondence below,
Ahhhhh. I love stupid people. I have been passed up the line to a Customer Service Manager, and the correspondance has transcended rudeness to drop proper grammar and punctuation. Wonderful.
My order number was # 500003135.
In regards to your order,
During our Christmas period, we have the Christmas delays clearly marked on our header of our website (Mentions we were up to 7 Working Days Behind in processing),Main Delivery Page (not the tabbed product delivery page), and Terms & conditions which you accept when placing your order (final checkout page),
Your parcel despatched within our Christmas Delivery Guidelines, and also arrived to you before Christmas as per our guarantee,
Please let me know if this does not answer your query,
BZZZZZ wrong answer, bucko. Also, the continued use of poor punctuation is starting to bug me.
Sorry, but your website did not display any such message when I purchased the item - it mentioned that delivery could not be guaranteed by Dec 24 for purchases after Dec 15.
Your main delivery page only stated:
"Christmas 2010 Delivery Terms
For orders placed up until 11.59pm (AESST) on 15th December 2010 delivery can be expected by betwen December 20, 2010 and December 24, 2010.
For orders placed after 0.00 (AESST) on December 16, 2010 delivery prior to or on December 24, 2010 is not guaranteed. Please note that we will be shipping on all business days during the Christmas New Year period."
Your Terms & Conditions page states the same.
The information given underneath the product gave a specific guarantee of 1-3 days dispatch in 'the busy Christmas time". If this was not the case, the item guarantee should have been removed.
In any case, stating differing delivery times elsewhere would not supercede the original guarantee.
Despite that, the telephone message for both Utopia companies provided to every enquiry then stated that an additional 1-3 days time would be needed. That would make dispatch no later than the 18th of December.
The specific 'Games' Utopia message then states that I could expect dispatch no later than the 20th of December.
The item was dispatched on the 21st of December.
In what way have you met any of the assorted guarantees and guidelines provided?
*stretches* So much fun. All you readers in the blog-o-sphere (yes, both of you!) probably think I am screaming at the computer, bashing keyboards and crying. Not so.
We were all having a good laugh at the office - people just don't know how to play this game anymore.
Luke, having already taken an aggressive stance on putting the blame on the customer, decides to push on to victory...
You are unfortunately incorrect in regards to the homepage message, I will forward you a screenshot of the homepage that ran through December, this will come from our graphic designer by Tuesday,
The Games Paradise Delivery Page (not the product delivery tab) and Terms and conditions mentioned the 7 Days processing, these have obviously been altered since christmas as the delay no longer exists.
Further to this I am happy for you to speak to some of our customers who took notice of this 7 Days processing message, and who can provide feedback as to this,
My sides hurt - I begin to suspect all this laughing has dislocated a rib. If resolving a customers complaint involves condescending language, things have changed since I worked in retail.
Lets not even discuss the various ethical and privacy issues with a company putting a disgruntled customer in contact with other patrons - I would not appreciate that myself.
Whatever happened to Customer Service? You could have easily sorted out this problem by apologising for the mixup, and offering a token discount on the next purchase. Instead, you want to argue with a customer, trying to prove that it's my fault Games Utopia provided misleading advertisment?
A customers rights are clearly documented in regards to online advertisements - send me your screen shots, and a copy of your T&C's. It doesn't negate the fact that a specific guarantee was originally provided, and you are legally bound by it.
Or, you could acknowledge that the site was confusing and poorly advertised, and make an effort to regain my patronage. Because, believe it or not, I would still like to shop at Games Utopia.
I have not received a reply since.
Feel free to tell me I am being petty and stupid - I understand the idea of arguing about late delivery is not a big deal. However, good customer service has become a rare and mythical creature in this country, and it is the apathetic masses and spineless pushovers that allow it to perpetuate.
I pay for a service, I damned well expect it. Always.