Highs and lows in customer service

by DaniGirl on December 7, 2007 · 6 comments

in Consumer culture, Editorial asides

I may have mentioned (*grins gleefully*) that I got Beloved a Wii for his birthday this year. I started thinking about looking for one way back in August, and even then was having trouble locating one. When I finally found one online at theSource.ca at the end of September, I jumped on the opportunity, ordered it online and had it delivered to my parents’ house.

At the beginning of November, I happened to be flipping through a Source/Circuit City flyer, and saw that they had (as had most retailers) dropped the price of the Wii console by $20. Great, I thought, and went to the store in the Rideau Centre to ask how I could get the $20 credited to my account. First, they said they couldn’t do it at all. Then they said the Wii I ordered was of a different caliber (??) and the price on those units had not dropped. Then a second person said regardless, you bought it online you have to talk to the online people.

Okay, fair enough. I bought it online, I will continue to deal with them that way. So I called the customer service number, and argued my way through an employee and two supervisors, all of whom declined to credit my account for the measly $20 difference. “Our price guarantee is only good for 30 days,” they insisted.

“But, it was a Christmas gift!” I countered.

“Well, you didn’t indicate that when you ordered it in September,” they said.

“I ordered it online,” I replied. “There was nowhere for me to indicate any such thing, or I would have.”

“Well, no,” they said. “You would have had to place your order by phone. And anyway, the 30 day price guarantee is firm. We’re sorry, but no.”

“But!” I sputtered. “I’ll just take the whole unit, still in it’s shipping packaging, and return it to one of your stores and then rebuy it. Why are you making me go through all this? It’s terrible customer service!”

“You can’t return it,” was the blunt reply. “The 30 day rule also applies to refunds, returns and exchanges.”

“But!” I sputtered again, by now appalled in addition to frustrated and annoyed. “What if there’s a problem with it?”

“We’re sorry, ma’am, but those are the rules.” was the helpful reply.

In contrast:

The same week, I found $30 worth of unused but long-since expired gift certificates from the Rideau Centre in an old purse. I had received them in May of 2006 and the expiry date on them was clearly marked as May of 2007.

Disappointed but hopeful, I brought my expired gift certificates to the customer service desk, thinking of all the times I’d heard that expired gift certificates were invalidated and not honoured and prepared to argue at least a little bit over their validity.

“Oh, that’s absolutely no problem,” said the friendly woman behind the counter. “Heck, we get them a lot older than this – sometimes ten years old or more. Hang on, let me convert those to a gift card for you so it won’t expire and you can use them any old time you please.” And I went happily on my way, fresh gift card clutched in my grateful fingers.

Now that’s customer service.


Just a quick question: on my laptop, my banner is not displaying. It’s fine on any other computers I’ve been on recently, including our desktop. Very weird. No photos I host on my own site are displaying on the laptop, whether I view through IE or Firefox. I was just wondering if any of you are having the same problem?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Batman December 7, 2007 at 8:48 am

Sucky service from the Source. I hate pencil pushers. They never seem to see the bigger picture. You could also try writing the corporate office. I’ve had moderate success with other companies going that route after dealing with the front line naysayers. As for pictures and banners, I see them.

2 suze December 7, 2007 at 10:17 am

And, that’s why we don’t deal with the source. The kids they employ don’t know a lick about the products they sell (you should have seen Mike the other day give the clerk helping us a lesson on sound and headphones!) and their customer service is the pits.

Yay for the Rideau Centre however.

Also, I can see the banner fine. I’m using IE.

3 kim December 7, 2007 at 11:40 am

I can see the banner and pics fine, and i am on Firefox.
I work in retail, and i find myself wanting to apologize fir the crappy service you received..and i don’t even work for that store. Companies need to realize that you cannot bite the hand that feeds you.. Yeah for the Rideau Center…THAT is what is should be like!

4 Madeleine December 7, 2007 at 2:56 pm

Dani, any chance that on the laptop’s browser settings, you’ve chosen “don’t show images from other websites” or something like that? If the banners/photos are hosted separately from the words, it might cause that problem. I tried it once in a fit of anti-trojan horse paranoia, and a lot of blog’s photos stopped showing up.

5 Laura December 8, 2007 at 2:16 am

Errrrrrr poor customer service sucks! The only way I have come up with combating poor serviceis by recognizing great service and making sure managers and such know when someone offers superior service, during the holiday time and year-round. This helps me remember the good and fester less on the bad! Then I blog about both the good and the bad!

Good luck on your fight…

6 nomotherearth December 8, 2007 at 2:32 am

I work in Customer Service, and it just appalls me how you can be treated some places. It’s like they hire monkeys, or something. Especially over the phone – people think they can talk to you any way they want.

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