A lesson in customer service

I think I’ve just experienced the worst ever customer service known to humankind.

I ordered some 2 part epoxy clay that you can mould, texture and impress with a pattern and it will then harden without having to fire it in a kiln. It is expensive and I needed black coloured clay for my designs. So I order 100 grams of black clay (50g black, 50g hardener – US$30 incl. shipping) from this seller in the USA and it arrives within a week. Great!

Only, it is a mustard/glittery colour – not black. I wrote and asked the seller if it will turn black after curing, or if I was in fact sent the wrong colour.

What happened afterwards was a nearly 1700 word to-and-fro debacle textbook case of poor customer service, where the seller tried to:

1)      blame the manufacturer for putting the wrong colour product in the packet that she then on-sold to me.

2)      suggest I was fortunate that she undercharged me $2.33 postage on the original package and she would waive that amount if I agreed to buy another lot of clay from her, in the right colour. Then trying to guilt trip me by saying other customers have agreed to pay the shipping shortfall in the past, as they would not expect that she should have to pay it even if it is her own error.

3)      suggest I should calm down and not talk to her until I had done so

4)      she then offered that I can return the wrong colour part (it’s a 2-part product) and she will then send the right colour part, but only after she gets the wrong part back first, AND I have to send the return by tracking post ($20 cost to me for an item worth about $10) so she knows I really have sent it. She reminded me that she was only agreeing to send out the correct colour to ensure I send the wrong colour part back to her. (WTF?)

5)      Accuses me of being difficult and demanding, and saying she thinks I believe she sent me the wrong item on purpose (double WTF?).

6)      The seller asks ‘do I want to be responsible for her being upset about not being able to sell to Australia anymore because of the high cost of sending things here? (triple WTF?)

7)      The seller says ‘do you know what other people sell this product for?’ implying that her prices are low and I should not be any trouble because of that.

Phew! I’m tired already.

So the facts are:

1)      the item comes in a clear plastic Ziploc bag – you can see the colour of the product without even opening the packet, and it is not labelled any particular colour on the pack. If the wrong colour is sent, it is because the seller did not check what she was sending me.

2)      I paid the shipping cost in the listing, $10.50, and assumed the seller charged me the correct shipping- it’s a product she sells a lot of and should know the shipping cost. If she miscalculated by $2.33, sorry, that’s not my fault and unless you agree with the buyer to cover the difference BEFORE the item is shipped, you are being really cheeky to ask for it later on and use it as a bargaining chip to cover your own mistake.

3)      A disappointed customer who is getting nowhere with a seller who does not admit an obvious error and offer a solution does not need to be told to calm down and ‘come back to this discussion when you are calm’.

4)      I asked her to send me the right colour and offered to return the wrong colour by regular post at my expense. I said I will not pay for tracked post as it costs twice as much as the item is worth.

5)      I was sympathetic and stated that people do make mistakes and that is fine, but it’s how they deal with them that matters.

This is not normal, is it?

And the unfortunate thing is that I was planning to make some prototype products which, if they take off, I will need to buy a whole lot more of the product.

In the end I agreed to pay the shipping to send a whole new lot of product, in the right colour, and she will not charge me for the product or ask for a return of the wrong colour. All she needed to do is offer this in the first place and I would have thought she was the greatest and left glowing feedback for her.


One response to “A lesson in customer service

  • Rhonda

    Okay, that is one crazy town seller. Your story is all too common of really bad customer service that we sometimes have to experience. Although, my bad customer has NEVER been this bad. I am so happy it all worked out in the end, well, now that you’re exhausted from all the typing.

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