A Customer Service Story
I shopped online at Barnes & Noble to avoid holiday shopping season. B&N shipped my items in separate packages. I received one package which did not have the soft-cover journal I need for my business notes, but a book on yoga for pain. The first line of the return policy states, “It’s easy to return an item if you’re not satisfied.” The online policy also states that I may return items in the store. The packing slip adds “For your convenience” the item can be returned to the store.
This is what I ordered:
This is what was delivered:
I checked online to see which B&N actually had my journal in stock. I went to that store. I was told that they cannot exchange the item because it “messes up the inventory.” I pointed out the online policy as well as referenced the packing slip verbiage. The clerk, Jeanette had to call customer service. There was no special hotline from the store. She called the same number any of us would have to call. Jeanette was on hold for five minutes. After explaining the situation to the man (how can I possibly be the only person this happens to?), he needed to speak with me. Benjamin confirmed the order number, billing and shipping address, then put me needed to put me on hold.
After being on hold for more than seven minutes, Benjamin explained that his “tools” weren’t working. Wanting clarification, I asked him what “tools” meant. It was his computer. So he had to transfer me to another customer service representative who could help me (and whose tools were apparently working). I waited on the phone for a good ten minutes. I asked Jeanette if I could just return the incorrect item and purchase the correct item. Perhaps they couldn’t “exchange” an online item for an in-store item, but surely, based on the return policies, they would allow me to return the item they screwed up and let me purchase the correct item. Right?
Wrong. Jeanette helped me hang up with customer service before telling me that she would return the item via UPS on my behalf. So essentially, I gave up the incorrect item and the packing slip so that they could mail it for me and purchased the correct item (which Jeanette gave me at a 10% discount).
I’m still shaking my head a bit. I ordered these things online so I wouldn’t have to deal with going to the store during the holiday shopping season. B&N sent me the wrong item. Sending me the wrong item was cause for me having to go to their store (returning the item at the store seems less hassle than the mail). And even though their policy states that I can return it in the store, that’s actually not the case. Until the incorrect item which they sent me arrives back with them, my account will not be credited, so I have essentially paid for the item twice. I don’t have a guarantee (except faith in humans and Jeanette) that I will be credited. How is that easy?
I’m sorry Barnes & Noble, but you cannot post a policy online and on your packing slips and then not honor that in-store. Major F in customer service on that one.
Have you experienced anything like this lately? Or better, have you experienced great customer service this holiday season?
Tags: Barnes & Noble, Customer Service, fail, Online purchases, return policies
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