dickbaker - 12:38 am on Jan 8, 2011 (gmt 0)
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.