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Customer claims package missing an item
jrockfl



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 5:04 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

How do you handle a situation where the customer claims the package is missing an item?

 

topr8

WebmasterWorld Senior Member topr8 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 5:22 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

... depends on what the item is.

depends on if i trust the packer (i certainly ask them if they might have made a mistake)

depends on how much they ordered all together.

- i know this is a bit of a non answer but there are many variables.

jrockfl



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 5:33 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

The item is $19.95
The packer would have been me or my wife.
$120 plus, they got free shipping.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the customer to confirm the size of the box.

We save the weight of package when it goes on the scale. We also "calculate" the weight based on the weight of the products, etc at check out so we know how much to charge. So far, those numbers are really close.

The next thing would be for us to package the order again to confirm.

What do you typically do?

dpd1

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 5:59 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'll look at the weight, because they're always the same. But sometimes it could be a very small item. A few times I just had to eat it, even though I knew it was in there... just to be done with it.

You can't figure it out through inventory?

jrockfl



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 6:04 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

The product is 12.80 ounces. It would be obvious if it was not in the box.

If we determine that the item was in the box when it shipped out, do we mention that to the customer?

The weight would be easier than trying to count inventory.

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 6:17 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Past thread here ..( I'll let some else find it :-) ..one poster said they take a photo of every box, including contents "visible", just prior to sealing it..

For the future ..do this and email it to the customer ..with their label / packing note / invoice "in shot" at the same time as the package is sent ..that way..no arguments..

jrockfl



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 6:26 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yeah i read that too, I don't think that would work for us though.

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 6:37 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Depends where you are based..become a notary public..( not entirely joking ) and "authenticate"/ "notarize" ? your own parcels..

dpd1

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 6:41 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

You could politely tell them that you checked the weight and see what they say. But you know what the answer will be... "Well, it wasn't in there when WE got it".

jwolthuis

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 7:11 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Tell them the weight was 12.8 oz, itemize everything in the shipment down to the 1/10th ounce (including dunnage), explain that the weight was confirmed by the scale at the post office, and now you'll need to notify the Regional Postal Inpector to come get the shipment and its contents to file a claim. Please listen for the doorbell.

If they are truthful, they will understand and cooperate (at which point, call off the dogs and just reship the item).

If they are scamming you, they'll whine about your terrible customer service and go away. It probably isn't the first time they've done this trick, but if you make it easy on them, they'll just keep doing it.

jrockfl



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 7:17 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

@jwolthuis,

Perfect! I will do that. That's my point exactly, I want them to know we are paying attention and they can't just easily scam us like that.

votrechien



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 8:19 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)


Tell them the weight was 12.8 oz, itemize everything in the shipment down to the 1/10th ounce (including dunnage), explain that the weight was confirmed by the scale at the post office, and now you'll need to notify the Regional Postal Inpector to come get the shipment and its contents to file a claim. Please listen for the doorbell.

If they are truthful, they will understand and cooperate (at which point, call off the dogs and just reship the item).

If they are scamming you, they'll whine about your terrible customer service and go away. It probably isn't the first time they've done this trick, but if you make it easy on them, they'll just keep doing it.


Perfect solution.

Ultimately, if push comes to shove, you'll likely be on the hook for the item (things like this happen- it's part of doing business). So it's trying to weed out the scammers from the legitimate claims.

dpd1

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 9:50 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't know about this specific situation, but... I don't know that I would use that as a deciding factor on whether or not somebody is scamming. A while back I had a $15 item that wasn't included in an Amazon shipment. If they had told me I had to wait for a postal inspector to come and investigate it, I would have thought they were nuts and probably just told them... Forget it.

Innovate



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 11:07 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I had a brand new and sealed DVD case arrive with no DVD in it. I am glad that the company resent the DVD instead of acting like I was trying to scam them. How it happened, I don't know, but as a customer it wasn't my job to find out. I just wanted what I paid for.

jrockfl



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 11:24 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

@dpd1
What did Amazon do?

@Innovate Are you an e-commerce store owner?

dpd1

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 12:46 am on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

They said the original seller was out, so they refunded my money. No questions asked. But of course... I'm assuming they #1 Look at your past record. And #2... They're Amazon.

Innovate



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 12:56 am on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Actually, yes. Why do you ask? The point of sharing was that sometimes flukes happen. You couldn't tell the case was empty by holding it.

To me, it's not worth it to insult someone over a $20 item unless there some other fraud alerts going on. I value my reputation too much, and I am fanatical about providing a good customer experience.

Now if it was a $200 item, then my opinion might change a bit but my perspective would still be how can I make this better as opposed to how can I catch you in a lie.

That's just me.

jrockfl



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 1:04 am on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I guess I need to not take things so personally and focus on having exceptional customer service. I understand mistakes do happen, but I also understand there are people out there trying to intentionally steal.

I few months ago, I did catch someone in a lie. She kept changing her story and then finally said her sister must have opened the package and took the product out.

But like I said, I should be focusing on the positive and having exceptional customer service

dpd1

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 2:46 am on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Look at it this way... If you owned a store open to the public, you'd be losing hundreds, if not thousands a year, from shop lifting. Virtually every store there is gets hammered by shoplifters every year. They can make an effort to catch people, but at some point, it's just not worth it. They just have to let it go. So it sucks when you get screwed, but if you spend too much time on that... you're actually letting them do more damage by distracting you. You could easily make up for that loss with a couple hours of promotional work, or whatever.

philbish

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 6:50 am on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Even though we barcode scan, and automatically snap photos of everything that is scanned, stuff still goes missing. Most likely it was a very tiny product that got stuck in the side of an envelope / packing material, and the customer didn't look carefully enough. And they tossed out the packing material already. Or the part dropped on the floor when they unpacked it, and didn't realize.

So we show them the photos and ask them to double / triple check that it isn't there, and if they still can't find it, we usually just re-send whatever is missing, since its not much money.

Every order gets three photos of the package as it is being weighed, plus a zoomed in photo of each item as it is scanned (and we have video + multiple angles)
Example: [i43.tinypic.com...]

We use the same concept when receiving & unpacking cartons from suppliers. Photos are snapped, and tied to each receiving scan. Example: [i40.tinypic.com...]

jecasc

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 9:10 am on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

We used to have cases where we suspected the customer to try to cheat us in the past. Two things dropped the number of cases like this to zero:

1. Each item is scanned during the packing process. So it is close to impossible to forget an item or ship a wrong item.
2. We wrap the goods in colored silk wrapping paper so they are recognizable immediately when the parcel is opened. Especially small items are easily thrown out with the packing material.

It has happened to me, too. I ordered something and thought the battery charger was missing. The guy I ordered from insisted I search trough the parcel once more - and indeed, there it was. Wrapped in the same paper that was also used as stuffing material. This was an eyeopener for me and the next day I ordered colored silk wrapping paper.

So looking back I am glad I never accused someone of trying to cheat us, because it is very likely it was either us who screwed up or an honest mistake on the side of the customer.

jrockfl



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 12:01 pm on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

@philbish That is pretty cool, your picture has given me some ideas to setup my warehouse once I get larger.

I had the same issue happen with smaller products, so I put them in organza bags.

According to our scale, the product was in the box. But you @philbish and @jecasc it is possible she is not noticing it. She ordered another similar product and we kinda tape them together.

I have already arranged for a replacement to be sent to her.

jwolthuis

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 1:11 pm on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Each item is scanned during the packing process. So it is close to impossible to forget an item or ship a wrong item.


We scan items also, but it requires a couple of things:

(1) items are serialized, not just barcoded. Each object needs a unique identity, otherwise packers can double-scan a single item (like they do at Walmart checkout, when you have six of something). Simply scanning a UPC provides zero proof that two widgets got packed, instead of one.

(2) Your stockers must apply the correct serialized barcodes to the correct items in the first place. If a "large" sticker is applied to a "small" widget, it will pass as a large widget when it's packed. A scanner removes all liablility from the packer for incorrect items with correct barcodes.

We've all received something in the mail that was incorrect, and we all understand the importance of great customer service to right a wrong.

But most of my customers have little to no order-history with me, and I cannot afford to roll over and treat an order from a crook as "cost of doing business". Especially when they claim to have not received a 5-lb widget contained in a 6-lb box.

We deal with order issues in a professional and polite manner, but techniques such as weight-itemization, item-serialization, and UV ink markings have to be utilized when you transact business via mail. It's totally different than running a store in the mall.

jrockfl



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 1:35 pm on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

@jwolthuis
So are they claiming you sent them an empty box?

ssgumby

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 3:46 pm on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

All of our products have bar codes per the manufacturer. We scan each item on the order, the packager cannot (easily) print a shipping label until the order registers as scanned. Implementing this system took us from lots (dont have numbers with me) of messed up orders to next to none. We occasionally have a customer screw up, but that is almost always attributed to an incorrect UPC in our system and is very, very rare.

jwolthuis

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4441563 posted 7:19 pm on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

@jrockfl
In *that* particular case, they did. It was a cheap regional rate box that had split during shipping. They received an empty box, and the contents probably went into a bin at the sorting facility.

But my point was that shortage claims should be investigated in a polite and professional manner. I think you can have top-notch personal customer service *and* fraud prevention too. I just got the sense that some posters felt that they were mutually-exclusive; that you can't provide excellent support if you're worrying about $20 losses. I disagree.

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