smaller and of lesser quality than they appear. Clothing does not always fit
properly, and sure as hell won’t look as good on me as the supermodel on the
website. I get it. I’m prepared for these types of disappointments. I
wouldn’t bother to shop on-line at all, but as I’ve said, the only option within
an hour of me is Wal-Mart.
What I am not prepared for is famous department stores falsely advertising
product prices, then having their customer service department lie to me about
it. Let me tell you the story of my recent customer service battle.
My boys were in a wedding this summer. The men of the wedding party were
going fairly casual, and my boys didn’t have to wear tuxes, but I wanted them to
be wearing newer, matching stuff so they looked nice in the pictures and
ceremony. Trying to find matching things in all three of their sizes is near
impossible in stores. It’s not easy to do on-line either, but an on-line
department store happened to have shirts similar to what the groomsmen were
wearing in all three of their sizes at a decent price. Yay. I went to place my
order. I was five dollars shy of getting free shipping (heavy sigh). Mistake
number one: I hit “continue shopping.”
They had some shoes that would probably work for the wedding, but I wasn’t
sure my boys would like the Hawaiian print on them. Skulls = awesome. Hibiscus
flowers = problem. But they had them in all three sizes, they were on sale, and
it would give me free shipping. I figured even if my boys only wore them the
one time, my wedding shoe problem would be solved easily and cheaply. I would
be sparing clerks and fellow- customers the joy of shoe-shopping at their stores
with all three of my monkey boys. Everybody wins.
Ever the spend-thrift, I attempted to get an additional twenty percent off
through some coupon website. Has anyone ever gotten one of those things to
work? It said my discount was applied, but it wasn’t showing up. I messed
around with it for a while, but I finally decided it was just another scam to
sign me up for their spam and hit “submit order” sans coupon. That would be
mistake number two. There just aren’t enough swear words for the premature
click. AFTER I clicked, I did the mental math. My order total was much higher
than it should have been (heavy sigh number two).
Mistake number three: I messed around on-line for a bit, checking out how
many hits my website had that month, giving friends the thumbs up on Facebook,
waiting for my order confirmation to come through so I could see what went
wrong. When I checked the confirmation, I saw that the shoes rang up at nearly
twice the advertised price. (More cursing.) I called the customer service
number and very politely explained the situation. She checked, and informed me
that the color I had chosen was not on sale. Well, they had clearly marked
every color as being on sale, but this woman was making minimum wage and so I
just politely told her to cancel the shoes from my order.
It was too late. They can only make changes within five minutes of placing
an order. I would have to return the shoes to the nearest store, which would
cost more in gas than it would be worth, or pay the shipping to return them by
mail. (Heavy sigh number three).
Now I know I screwed up by not double-checking my order beforehand, but as I
stared at that screen, big red numbers promising unknowing customers a super
deal that didn’t exist, I got pissed. I decided to send an email complaining
about the false advertising. I was civil (no cursing or name-calling), but did
not mince words. Another customer service rep replied to my email. He said he
saw no indication of a sale, but that they would not charge me for shipping the
I checked the website again. Sure enough, the sale price had been removed.
Well, at least no one else would get hosed, but I did not appreciate the
implication that I was lying (or blind). Plus, how could I trust them to
credit me for my return and not charge me for the shipping when they had been
lying to me every step of the way?
That’s when I hatched a plan. I would submit a one-star ‘buyer beware’
review of every product on their site (evil laugh). Realizing this would take
me all day, I decided to submit one review of the shoes in question and see if
it even posted before wasting my time. Not only did my review not post, but
within a few hours from when I last checked, the shoes were back to being
advertised on sale while still ringing up at full price. (More cursing).
Mr. Customer Service received another email from me. Was it their policy to
lie to their customers? Were they purposely messing with my head? Should I
expect Anthrax to be included in my order? I didn’t care if he was only making
minimum wage, dammit. If I’m going to get screwed, I’m not letting go until I’M
Customer service rep number three emailed me back. She still contended that
there was no shoe sale at the time of my order, but was willing to credit me the
sale price. Well, they did change the price of the shoes three times within a
48 hour period, but they were definitely marked as on sale when I placed my
order. And which was it, that particular color not on sale, or no shoe sale at
the time? Despite all of the deception, I’m happy to report that the store did
make good on their promise to credit me the difference. Victory at last!
Sometimes you just gotta be the squeaky wheel.