Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Angry Consumer

I've worked a pretty substantial portion of my life in the service industry, and I've done a fair amount of training on customer service. I'm usually pretty sympathetic towards people in customer service positions for that reason; I've certainly been on the end of some very irrational tirades from irate consumers. Unfortunately, my sympathy has its limits, and those limits are reached very quickly when I have to deal with customer service representatives who a) don't care what my problems are, b) don't listen (or read) when I explain the difficulties I'm having, c) just keep repeating the same things, or d) all of the above.

I've been trying to find a good pair of shoes to wear for the wedding, and I thought that I had found the perfect pair last week on the Spring Shoes website: McCombs. I like Spring's shoes a lot, and I've ordered from them online before. The prices are decent, and they usually have a good mix of fun and classy. The shoes I picked out have a pretty vintage style, and a relatively low heel. They're also only $40, which is a price tag I can get behind. So I ordered them last week, and got a shipping notice soon after. When I went to click on the tracking info, it would take me to a page that said my billing info had been voided, and the package hadn't been shipped after all. Huh. I figured I'd give Spring the benefit of the doubt, since this was on a weekend, and well within the delivery window.

On Monday I logged in to my account on the website to see if it had any updates. It didn't, so I logged back in yesterday, only to find that my account had disappeared. It wouldn't take my password, and when I entered my email address on the password retrieval screen, it told me that there was no account registered under that address. Not cool. So I emailed the customer service department, and that's where things began to unravel:

ME: Hello, I'm having difficulty logging in to my account because it tells
me there's no account associated with my email address.

SPRING: So, there was an issue with your order. The shipping notice got
sent out but the shoes didn't ship. So we've cancelled the order and you should
see a refund on your PayPal in 3-5 days.

ME: Thank you for letting me know about this1, but
that isn't what I contacted you about. I can't log in to my account, etc.

SPRING: Go to the password retrieval page and type in your email address;
we'll send you your password.

ME: No, I can't do that. It tells me there's no account associated with
this email address.

SPRING: We looked up your name/email combination and you have an account on
the American website. That's why you can't log in. You're not in America. You
should start a new account on the Canadian website.

ME: I don't want to start a new account; I want access to my order history.
Also, why was I able to access the account up until today?

SPRING: You can't place orders from or hold an account in a country that
you don't live in. So you can't have an account on the American website. Start
one on the Canadian version.

ME: I had an account up until yesterday, which was on the Canadian
website2. I have placed orders before through this
account. I will not start a new account until you tell me what happens to my
order history.

The whole thing has been unnecessarily aggravating. I don't know what to say to the CS rep to get them to understand what's going on here; they obviously can't be bothered to do anything other than tell me that I've done something wrong. The worst part is, I still want the shoes.

1 Although this makes me wonder when, exactly, they would've informed me of this.
2 I'm pretty sure of this. It listed my closest store as Sudbury, and charges me HST, which the US site wouldn't do.

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