10 September 2010

I Feel Better Now

Letter # 1

10 September 2010

Aristidis Zaharopoulos
Gothic Cabinet Craft
58-77 57th Street
Maspeth, NY 11378

Dear Mr. Zaharopoulos:

Last Christmas, my husband & I bought a dollhouse for our daughter. We quickly realized that we needed a table of some sort to put the dollhouse on, and after canvassing various local stores and on-line retailers, we ended up in the Gothic Cabinet Craft store in (redacted).

We wandered around the store for awhile, not finding anything that was the needed dimensions. Finally, a salesperson pointed out a piece that was sitting up high, on top of a modular wall system – not down at floor level. In fact, we never would have noticed it without the salesperson’s assistance. As it was the right dimension, we decided to order it.

The salesperson wrote up the order, we signed it and paid for it, and left the store. A couple of weeks later, my husband returned to pick up the piece – and found that it was not what we had ordered.

Yes, the piece matched the stock number on the order form – but the salesperson wrote down the wrong item number on that order form. There was no way for us to have known that the clerk made a mistake until we saw the wrong piece of furniture. Stock numbers are idiosyncratic and obscure, kind of like medical billing CPT codes. Would you recognize that your doctor wrote down the code for an angioplasty when in fact you had a cholecystectomy? Unlikely.

We protested to American Express and after much back and forth, American Express has sided with your store.

I am appalled by this. We are out nearly $400 because of an error made by YOUR SALESPERSON. I simply do not understand why our failure to recognize the salesperson’s error in the stock number should be held against us.

The salesperson’s argument that we changed our minds is just not true. We needed this, we wanted this, we thought we ordered it. We would have glad taken receipt of the item had it been the right item.

I’m not a complainer – but this situation makes my blood boil. This is heinous treatment by your company and by American Express, and if I don’t get resolution I am taking this matter to the New York Times, the Better Business Bureau, and small claims court.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

[Magpie Musing]



Letter #2

10 September 2010

Kenneth I. Chenault
American Express
200 Vesey Street
New York. NY 10285

Dear Mr. Chenault:

I hope you can help me. I have been a CardMember since 1987. Membership has its privileges, right?

Last Christmas, my husband & I bought a dollhouse for our daughter. We quickly realized that we needed a table of some sort to put the dollhouse on, and after canvassing various local stores and on-line retailers, we ended up in the Gothic Cabinet Craft store in (redacted).

We wandered around the store for awhile, not finding anything that was the needed dimensions. Finally, a salesperson pointed out a piece that was sitting up high, on top of a modular wall system – not down at floor level. In fact, we never would have noticed it without the salesperson’s assistance. As it was the right dimension, we decided to order it.

The salesperson wrote up the order, we signed it and paid for it, and left the store. A couple of weeks later, my husband returned to pick up the piece – and found that it was not what we had ordered.

Yes, the piece matched the stock number on the order form – but the salesperson wrote down the wrong item number on that order form. There was no way for us to have known that the clerk made a mistake until we saw the wrong piece of furniture. Stock numbers are idiosyncratic and obscure, kind of like medical billing CPT codes. Would you recognize that your doctor wrote down the code for an angioplasty when in fact you had a cholecystectomy? Unlikely.

We protested to American Express and after much back and forth, American Express has sided with Gothic Cabinet Craft.

I am appalled by this. We are out nearly $400 because of an error made by a salesperson. I simply do not understand why our failure to recognize the salesperson’s error in the stock number should be held against us.

The salesperson’s argument that we changed our minds is just not true. We needed this, we wanted this, we thought we ordered it. We would have glad taken receipt of the item had it been the right item.

I’m not a complainer – but this situation makes my blood boil. This is heinous treatment by your company and by Gothic Cabinet Craft, and if I don’t get resolution I am taking this matter to the New York Times, the Better Business Bureau, and small claims court.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

[Magpie Musing]



I'm on the verge of cancelling my Amex card, and I am never shopping at Gothic Cabinet Craft again. What happened to "the customer is always right?" And on second thought, maybe the title should have been "I Feel Better Now Though I'll Feel A Lot Better When I Get My Money Back". Because right this minute, I'm still out that money.

25 comments:

meno said...

Get your money back and THEN cancel your Amex card.

Bastards!

Gina said...

The thing that is so irritating is that when it is honestly no fault of yours, you get screwed, but the idiots win every time. My mom works in retail and they have to take basically EVERYTHING back. People will return things that have obviously been worn - sometimes well-worn. I have seen items on the rack that have clearly been worn - I once saw a blazer being sold that was so worn that it had pilled!

Or the same customers constantly bring things back with no receipt (obvious shoplifters), and the only concession the store makes it giving them store gift card vs cash.

And yet an honest person loses a receipt or has a mistake caused by the store and gets screwed.

On Christmas, we bought a Visa gift card for a neighbor. When we bought it, no one mentioned that we needed the receipt to activate it & my husband lost his wallet (with the receipt) shortly afterward. The neighbor was unable to activate the card! We ended up buying her another and trying to fight to have the old one activated, but no luck - we just lost that money.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I cannot believe this. American Express and MasterCard have always sided with me in merchant disputes. This is just unheard of.

I wish you the best of luck in this fight.

Bibliomama said...

Those letters are indeed a work of outraged art, but the situation is indeed unbelievable. I think every single time we've ordered a piece of furniture we've gotten the wrong piece or gotten a broken one and had to re-order, and we got a stainless steel dishwasher when we ordered a white one, but we always got our money back or eventually got the right thing. That is beyond bad customer service. You should print the address of the shop and we can all pretend we live nearby and were just about to spend hundreds of dollars there and now are not, because of this. Bleah!

The Homesteading Hussy said...

Injustices like this make my blood boil. I need to go sit in the pond right now.

Marty said...

"outraged art" I love that.

Has PayPal bought out American Express or something? Because, really, they are the only ones I can imagine siding with a lying merchant.

I hope somebody steps up and fixes this for you. It is inexcusable.

RuthWells said...

Unbelievable. I'm rooting for you!

Quadelle said...

How incredibly frustrating! I would certainly stop shopping at said store and using that credit card, too.

Amanda said...

I hope they understand your pledge to follow through with the NYT and BBB is in no way hollow.

So sorry.

painted maypole said...

crazy. and they never at any point said... if we get you the $400 table you actually wanted, you'll purchase it?

insane

Life in Eden said...

wow. that is just plain sucky. I can't believe you walked away with nothing and they can still charge you $400! crazy!

mayberry said...

That's awful! Definitely a candidate for that newish column in the Sunday Times business section -- the Haggler, I think?

flutter said...

report the craft store to the BBB

Mental P Mama said...

There ought to be a law....

bipolarlawyercook said...

Oh, I'd totally report them to the BBB now without waiting for the refund. You'll get your refund PDQ. I mean, you're already never going to shop with the store again, and Amex already has you steamed to the point of being ready to cancel your membership.

And you're totally right on a special order like that, the stock codes are CRAZY. (Kinda like international "standard" book numbers, bwahahahahaha).

Even an evil orderlord like mine would give you your money back in a circumstance like this.

yogurt said...

But I hope I would know the difference at the time those procedures were administered!

This is an unbelievable situation. The customer IS always right. What schmucks. And AMEX too. Don't you have to pay an annual fee for that card? A pair of scissors is in order!

FreshHell said...

Yes - call BBB. It's unbelievable that they won't simply take back the wrong table and order the right one. They'd still get their money AND a satisfied customer.

Frogs in my formula said...

How rude! The customer is always right, hands down.

alejna said...

Gah. I'm glad you wrote the letters. I hope they pay off in more ways than giving you a way to vent!

Cold Spaghetti said...

Holy moly. We've got a Chase and have used the challenge thing a few times -- all successfully. I would have thought this was an easy one!

BTW, this part...: "Would you recognize that your doctor wrote down the code for an angioplasty when in fact you had a cholecystectomy? Unlikely."

...just makes the whole letter wonderful.

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

you go get em girl!

You are right, they are wrong.

Stimey said...

That is some prime bullsh*t right there. I would be sooooo mad.

leanne said...

I, too, loved the "outraged art" description. Still sucks about the table and the $400. Hope you either get the table you want or your money back. And hope both companies realize how they screwed up.

Why do such seemingly simple things have to be so difficult?

YourFireAnt said...

Since when can't you change your mind? Cripes. Practically every store [online or off] that I encounter is willing to give free shipping both ways to get a sale.

Where do you find such a dumbass store anyway.

Sorry you got treated so badly.

T.

n said...

this is a job for the haggler.
haggler@nytimes.com

keep it short and say you have the details on your blog
(link to your blog)

or send it to me and I'll forward it from work;)