|Funny customer email exchange|
I'm sure everyone here has had one of these customers. He bought a fairly pricey widget two weeks ago, and thought it was defective. I told him to send it back and I'd send a new one. A few hours later I received this email:
|The unit has been packaged in the original shipping container and shipped out. It should arrive by Friday. |
Note: While separating the widget from the mount the wrong set of screws were removed causing several springs to slip out of place. All parts are still there but it now requires assembly.
I thought that might be a problem, so I sent him the following as a heads-up:
|Hello, Mr. _____. I can't say for certain, but I think the fact that the widget is coming back in pieces may cause problems with exchanging the unit for a new one, as they may say the unit was tampered with, voiding any warranty, and will only take it in for repair. I don't know this for certain, but did want to give you a heads up. |
Shortly afterward, I received this reply:
|That is unfortunate. I had high hopes for this product and am becoming decreasingly more disappointed with it. It is now costing me time and money to ship a defective product. It was disassembled only to be shipped back. In the future I WILL be extremely hesitant to deal with both Acme Widget and internet merchants selling products that cannot be inspected for quality first hand. |
The outrage on his part is funny. Notice in his first email that he doesn't take responsibility for the screws or springs being removed. They just were removed. A ghost, perhaps. As for my inspecting (or not), this manufacturer's quality tolerances are such that neither I nor two of my distributors have ever seen a defective product in the six years we've all been selling the manufacturer's line.
Today I sent him the following:
Hello, Mr. _____. I wanted to let you know that the widget came back this afternoon. We're going to photograph it and send the photos to Acme to see what they say about an exchange. That could take a couple of days.
When I emailed you earlier, I didn't say it was a certainty that Acme would reject the widget because it was in pieces. I just wanted to alert you to that possibility. I cannot think of one manufacturer or retailer who would exchange an item after it had been taken apart and shipped back disassembled. I'm curious as to what you thought you might find by disassembling it.
If it had not been disassembled, we would be sending you another one this minute.
As for the shipping cost, we will reimburse you for that once we get this straightened out.
I'll get back to you in a few days on this.
And his reply:
"I'm curious as to what you thought you might find by disassembling it."
Go back and thoroughly read my reply. You'll see that I did not think that it was a good idea to disassemble it. I'm sure that you were just very busy and overlooked that part which is not really a problem. I too was very busy and trying to get several things done when I accidentally removed the wrong set of screws. If that is considered tampering then so be it. Examine the parts and I'm sure that it will be quite clear that no part was cut, heated, scratched, bent, stretched, or modified in any other conceivable way. They are exactly as they came off the assembly line (obviously defective to begin with) and should be able to be reassembled in the same condition it was shipped.
Aha! He now admits that it was he, and not a phantom, who removed the screws, but he did so accidentally. (That happens to me all the time. Last week my mind was elsewhere while driving, and I removed the radiator from my car).
He also admits he thought it was not a good idea, and says that he stated that in the beginning. I didn't see any such statement, but I don't reed tu gud. If it wasn't a good idea, though, why did he do so?
As for the unit being "obviously defective", it's going to be hard to determine that after he's monkeyed around with it. But that's ok, because somebody can reassemble it to the same condition in which it was shipped. I wonder who should pay for that "somebody", and what happens if it can't be reassembled to the same condition?
In the end, though, I created this problem myself. In his first reply, he says he's becoming "decreasingly" more disappointed. If I'd waited a day or two before replying, he might have gone from disappointed to delighted.
What a maroon.
You handled it exceptionally well. I'd have straightened him out from the get go.
Well, it does seem like he took it apart by accident.
|brotherhood of LAN|
Indeed... his tone does sound fairly level headed.
As for the outcome; imo good companies provide a replacement and have an element of goodwill; hopefully your supplier is one of those people and you can give the customer the good news.
I didn't think his tone in the second email was level-headed at all. I thought it was a snarky reply to what was just a warning about the possible outcome.
That he would so boldly lie in the last email isn't level-headed at all, either. Nowhere in the first email did he say anything about him thinking it was a bad idea to disassemble it. The emails I've posted are the entire exchange we've had, except the phone call he made when he told me there was some wobble in the mount. He hadn't taken it apart at that point.
I'll see what the manufacturer has to say, and I'm holding a new one for him just in case, but I'd be surprised if the manufacturer offered to do anything more than fix any problem that existed and reassemble it properly.
I don't get upset with people who tell me the truth. It's the ones who lie and try to blame me or someone else for the problem who anger me.
|He bought a fairly pricey widget two weeks ago, and thought it was defective. |
|It was disassembled only to be shipped back. |
I think when he received it, he removed wrong screws for whatever reasons, the springs popped up, he could not put it back together and decided to claim it is defective in order to get another one that is assembled. Then in the email he claimed the screws were removed only because he was shipping it back, to shift the responsibility.
I dislike people like this. Why not tell him you can re-assemble it and the cost will be X, otherwise he can get his dis-assembled product back.
|Mr Bo Jangles|
Talk to your supplier and try and put the bite on them to fund a replacement, or, if you have to, go 50/50 with the supplier. Probably won't cost you much in the long run. And you'll sleep a little better - and so will we *_*
|Talk to your supplier and try and put the bite on them to fund a replacement, or, if you have to, go 50/50 with the supplier. Probably won't cost you much in the long run. And you'll sleep a little better - and so will we *_* |
As I already said, I have a new one set aside just in case the manufacturer says that there's not a problem with it being disassembled, and they'll take it back if the hinge does indeed have some wobble in it.
This is a $525 item. Even if I could get my distributor to go 50/50 with me, we'd each be eating the wholesale portion of that $525, which is $450. If it's been taken apart neither of us can sell it. I'd have to put it on Ebay and really take a hit.
I've been taking hits from flakey customers quite a bit this holiday season, but not from somebody so imbecilic as to take an item apart. The springs on this item are installed in such a way that they wouldn't come out unless someone was really doing some major surgery on it. A parallel would be having the valve springs removed from the cylinder head on a car. It just doesn't happen "accidentally".
And I thought I was the only one who did this. :)
|Last week my mind was elsewhere while driving, and I removed the radiator from my car |
That line about removing your radiator is priceless!
I haven't had anyone send me back a disassembled item, but I have had people put very delicate and expensive luxury items in a plain letter envelope to return them. It's as though people assume that they are interacting with a machine, so they check their humanity at the door.
Your customer sounds like a reasonable guy who got caught trying to get away with one. I think you're handling it well.
I think I had it all in the past. One customer event sent back a box without the product, there were only newspapers in the box.
|I think I had it all in the past. One customer event sent back a box without the product, there were only newspapers in the box. |
I just spit out some Sprite. Really. That is classic.
I really think there is a book in this. Weird crap customers do and say.
We once had a customer send back an item with exchange instructions written in tiny letters on a wooded pop cycle stick.
|We once had a customer send back an item with exchange instructions written in tiny letters on a wooded pop cycle stick. |
Oh come on... Ha!
I once had a customer claim that they had received an empty box. If memory serves correctly, It was about $200 worth of product that I had personally packed and shipped which mysteriously vanished from the box enroute.
I've had people say parts were missing. Like... BIG parts. Heavy aluminum plates and stuff, that I personally put in there myself. Then when I ask if the box was opened, they say... no. So it's like... OK, so I guess aliens came along with their transporter beam, and just decided to randomly transport some big aluminum plate out of a box, for no logical reason.
Its true lol I saved it along with fake money orders and checks - Our collection of weird stuff
I just had a customer email to say that he'd seen a charge on his card from yesterday, and that he didn't know what it was and didn't remember ordering it.
I called him today to get his credit card number for a refund, and he said he really wants to get the widget some time when he can afford it. He still couldn't remember ordering it, though.
That's the thing, is when you deal with people sight unseen, you have no idea what is going on with them. They could have alzheimer's, or god knows what. There's a guy on a forum I'm on, that is convinced I work on secret spy satellites and I manipulate the forum through my NSA contacts.
|There's a guy on a forum I'm on, that is convinced I work on secret spy satellites and I manipulate the forum through my NSA contacts. |
You mean you don't?
Seen this a couple of times, with variations. :)
For high-cost items that can be stripped down, place a clear warning within the package such as:
Any attempt to disassemble the product invalidates both the warranty and any return. In the event of ANY problem, phone us on this number: 12345678. Removing parts will render the item NON-RETURNABLE and we WILL NOT refund or replace the item.
That should cover your A.
"There's a guy on a forum I'm on, that is convinced I work on secret spy satellites and I manipulate the forum through my NSA contacts."
Conspiracies are everywhere these days. Recently on a forum I was accused by several people of being a government shill. Yes, that is why my forum sig line links to my witchcraft blog. All government shills have witchcraft blogs. I guess all those racist depictions of Obama as a witchdoctor had a secret meaning.
I don't know if there are more loons now than in years past or if I just notice them more with encroaching age-related cynicism. I know what you're saying: this guy has a witchcraft blog and he is talking about other people being loons. Believe me, I am a hard-headed materialist compared to the loons out there.
To me it seems like there's more conspiracy people. I just think the internet and other forms of media that cater to that crowd has grown, and they just basically feed on themselves. I have friends that believe every last conspiracy out there, who are perfectly intelligent people otherwise.
I had a guy receive his $400 dollar item and he called me about it. He told me that he didn't quite like the style now that he saw it in real life and had put it into service and said that I should pay for it to be returned (shipping was $100). I told him no, that I would not pay the shipping for him to send back a used item and he then decided he would keep the item and also charge it back to his credit card.
I told him it was well within his rights to charge it back on the card. I also told him it was well within my rights to sue him for the balance, send him to collection, get the sheriff in his area to seize assets to pay for it, publicize it in his local paper, and file a complaint with the FBI for interstate fraud.
He then decided that he liked it better, and wanted to keep it.
Had a good one the other day... Guy emails all irate, because he received his package and a "part was missing". He wants me to "call him immediately"... "this needs to be rectifying" and so on. Of course, he doesn't just inquire like a normal person... He goes straight into threat/defensive mode. I emailed him anyway.
I politely tell him that I know for sure the part was in there, because I did it myself. He says the cardboard it was on was in there, but not the part. I ask if he was missing anything else... He says: No. I said: Well, was it opened when you got it? He says: Yes, the whole end was ripped off.
Now, you would think that might have been something a person would mention first. I said: OK, can you just do me a favor and call your local PO, and see if you can get somebody to admit it was like that when they delivered it? He says: OK (But never did). Then I said I'd send the missing part. I once again asked if anything else was missing. He said: No, I have the other part. I go... OK, but there was more than just that... You DO have these other parts, and their undamaged, right? Because I don't want to have to pay for shipping a third time. (And I name all the parts) He says: Yes... They're all there.
So the next day I just happen to look at email right before the replacement went out (a little voice told me to), and there's an email from him saying that there is in fact another part missing.
I've always been fair to merchants. If I open something or mess up a part, I order a new one.
These guys are lazy shoplifters - they do it from the convenience of their homes.
> Last week my mind was elsewhere while driving, and I removed the radiator from my car