July 14, 2008

CONSUMER RANT Well....maybe!

I might have a bone to pick with a certain online company.

You see, I received a very nice coffee maker for Christmas this past December. It’s a 10 cup coffee maker, it’s an espresso machine….what more could a girl want? This coffee maker has served me well the last seven months or so. That is, until I broke the carafe. I’m not even drinking coffee everyday anymore. I drink it about once a week, usually on Sundays when we’re all home and have nowhere to rush off to. Sunday seems more complete with a cup of coffee in hand.

This particular brand of coffee maker doesn’t seem to sell replacement carafes. I’ve gone to the website and I’ve Googled just about as many different combinations possible with the words ’10 cup’ ‘replacement’ and ‘carafe.’ In addition to that, this carafe is sort of an odd shape. The base of the pot is smaller in diameter than most, so your run-of-the-mill generic replacement carafe will just simply not do.

By the way, I made coffee yesterday using a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup and a butter knife to hold the ‘pause and serve’ button up so that the coffee would keep flowing. I then transferred said coffee to my thermal carafe to stay warm. That actually saves some energy and might consider doing that again, but without having to stand there with a butter knife the whole time.

So, I finally found a couple of sites that appeared to sell the exact carafe I needed. I ended up Googling the model number and the words ‘replacement carafe’ to get to some sites I hadn’t found in the past. Out of the few companies I found, I selected the one that gave the most information, or at least it seemed to! I placed my order and paid right then and there.

Well, I received an email from that company just this morning telling me this:

“We understand that you attempted to place an order with us over the weekend.
Unfortunately our website was experiencing server problems and the shipping was misquoted.

The shipping on your order should have been $8.95.
If you would like us to continue with your order, please email us.
We apologize for this inconvenience.
Customer Service”

Well, $8.95 is a dollar more than they had listed on their website Saturday. A dollar more than I paid. While a buck is not a lot of money when you’ve already spent more than you’d care to admit on a piece of glass with a plastic lid, it’s more the principle of the thing now.

Now, I know that everything in this world seems to be going up in price. I feel it every time I go shopping for groceries and spend more, even though I leave with less.. I see our energy consumption going down and yet our bill going up. I won’t even talk about the hit we are all feeling at the gas pump. That pretty much goes without saying! We are a single-income family and are feeling these hits just like everyone else. I know companies are making less money and having to charge more for things like shipping and usually have their own steadily increasing set of bills on top of that. I expect for the price of things to be going up all around me. And I do not think I am above those increases.

What I do not expect, however, is to purchase something at one price, only to be told AFTER I BUY IT that they need to charge me more. Even if it’s just a dollar, that is not what I consider to be good customer service. If your servers are giving you problems, you fix them as soon as you can and eat the difference. They should be grateful that it was only a dollar! I mean, how many people could have possibly ordered something from them that same weekend and chosen that exact same method of shipping? Maybe they all went up, I don’t know!

My point is that, with all the things getting so much more expensive and everyone having so much less to spend, we need good customer service now more than ever. Some days, it's all we seem to have left. That person ringing us up at the supermarket had better greet us with a smile, thank us when we leave, and tell us to have a nice day. It’s the only thing that can ease the pain of having to pay almost four dollars for a gallon of milk, and it’s the least they can do. It’s just good customer service and it should not be a thing of that past.

It would be so easy to just pay the extra dollar and know that my coffee pot is on its way. But, when was the last time that anything worthwhile was easy? And I am frustrated with the company who actually makes the coffee maker. But, I’m more frustrated with myself for not doing a little more research about things like replacement parts. Other than that, the coffee maker is wonderful and I have no other complaints.

I replied to their email and basically told them that, should they really feel that they need to charge that extra dollar, then they can just go ahead and cancel my order. I then told them that I would make sure that everyone I knew was aware that this company goes against what they say. Who wants to buy something when they could be charged more afterward? AFTER THEY BOUGHT IT. I also thanked them for giving me a great thing to blog about.

So, do you have a beef with anyone? Is there a company out there giving you ‘the shaft’ and you’ve had enough? Speak up! Share! Use your voice! I know I think hard about giving someone my business when I read about something good or bad about the company. Good reviews can be just as powerful as bad ones when choosing a company to deal with. We have more choices than ever before when it comes to whom we choose to give our business. On that note, we should also acknowledge good customer service when we find it. People should be given the proper credit for a job well done.

I will give this company some time to respond to my email. What I blog about next really depends on their next move.

I will keep you posted.


Jessie said...

I hate to discourage, because you're in the right here and consumers have the right to complain about this stuff, but they're all going to laugh at you.

Like the lady at Wal Mart who holds up the line because her foot powder was $2 and they rang it up as $3.

But keep fighting the good fight anyway.

AMY said...

hmmmmm now i am curious...whatever happened did you get the pot? did they eat the dollar? curiouser and curiouser