Author Topic: Is it SS behavior to keep asking questions in this case?  (Read 1234 times)

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snappylt

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Is it SS behavior to keep asking questions in this case?
« on: April 09, 2014, 06:53:56 PM »
I'm having trouble phrasing the question I want to ask. I think it is: Is it rude for me to keep asking questions of a merchant, trying to get something we already paid for, when in fact the lesser alternative we've been offered would work OK for us?

Last fall we prepaid for one year of "free" 2nd day air shipping from a big online merchant. (We decided to try it for one year and then decide if it is worth it or not to continue the service.)

Sometimes, when we're not planning a drive to the city, we order some dry pet food from the online merchant. It is a specialty product, and we would have to drive 25 miles each way to the closest brick-and-mortar store that carries that product in the big city. The online merchant's price is the same as the store's price, and with our prepaid-for-one-year 2nd day air service we save money on gasoline for trips to the big city pet store.

Only - today when I went to re-order the pet food, the online merchant refused to honor the 2nd day air service I've already paid for.  Their logo for "this item qualifies" is still on the pet food's product web page, but they're only offering ground shipping.

Truthfully, the ground shipping would work fine for us (and in fact I ended up ordering the pet food that way). But I am left feeling a little "cheated" that I prepaid for a year of 2nd day air and the merchant is no longer honoring their promise.

So, I tried a live chat with a CSR from the online merchant.

The CSR insisted that the merchant itself had NOT decided to stop honoring the 2nd day air promise.

His first story was that the manufacturer had told the online merchant that it was unsafe to ship the pet food by air.  (He gave the example of lithium batteries being unsafe to ship by air.) What I asked him to please explain what ingredient in the pet food is unsafe to ship by air he could not explain.

His next story was that the shipping companies had told the online merchant that they now refuse to accept the pet food for 2nd day shipping.  (His point was that it was the shipping companies' decision, not the online merchant's decision, to refuse to ship the pet food by 2nd day air.)

When I asked him to tell me exactly which shipping companies refuse to accept pet food for 2nd day service (and why they accepted it before today) he wouldn't or couldn't tell me.

At that point I thanked him for being polite to me and asked him to forward the chat transcript to management to ask them to respond to my questions.  (I wanted to tell him that I didn't believe his various stories, but figured that would be needlessly rude of me.)

==

Let me stop here. I'm curious to know what others think.

On the one hand, honestly, ground shipping will work for us.  We will probably not run out of pet food before the ground shipment arrives, and if we do, we can drive 25 miles each way to the big city pet store. Next time we will know to order a few days earlier and all will be well. So maybe the polite thing to do is to just let it drop. (I do have other matters to attend to!)

On the other hand, the online merchant took our money in exchange for a promise to ship our purchases by 2nd day air for one year. Claiming that the manufacturer says it is dangerous to ship pet food by 2nd day air or claiming that the shipping companies refuse to ship pet food by air seems quite unbelievable.  Is it polite to tell the manger who contacts me that I don't believe what the CSR said and ask him to prove the truthfulness of his CSR's stories?  (The only thing is that it's not worth my time - it leaves a bad taste in my mouth to be lied to, but it's not worth spending time on, is it.)

Two Ravens

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Re: Is it SS behavior to keep asking questions in this case?
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2014, 07:02:24 PM »
I assume this is Amazon Prime you are talking about?

I think you need to consider what you want out of this interaction. It appears that, for whatever reason, they can't ship the pet food to you two-day. The two-day shipping is only for Prime eligible items, and it appears this product isn't it anymore.

It would be valid to complain that it is still showing up as Prime eligible when it is not, but is knowing the exact reason for it really going to make a difference?

whatsanenigma

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Re: Is it SS behavior to keep asking questions in this case?
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2014, 07:06:03 PM »
I assume that the pre-paid two day shipping was more expensive than regular ground shipping.  If that is the case, I would be at the very least trying to get a refund of whatever the cost difference would be.  You paid extra for something you are not getting.  So I think it is entirely reasonable to demand either the two day shipping or a partial refund of what you've paid.

jedikaiti

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Re: Is it SS behavior to keep asking questions in this case?
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2014, 07:24:09 PM »
I'm guessing this is Amazon, too.

Is it possible that it's Prime-eligible when you buy from seller A (Amazon or someone who has Amazon ship their orders) but not with seller B, and that you're accidentally getting it from seller B? I ask because it's exactly the sort of thing I would do.

If not, I'd call in and ask to go straight to a supervisor. I am guessing you have your copy of the chat transcript, right? Have it handy for reference.
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Amara

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Re: Is it SS behavior to keep asking questions in this case?
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2014, 07:27:43 PM »
I think you have to decide if paying $100 a year for two-day shipping is really worth it. I don't think so. I refuse to pay that fee so buy a number of routine items I use regularly (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.) that add up to $35 or more so I get free shipping. And here's the funny thing: it comes in two or three days almost every time.

I suspect it costs the merchants something to be part of Prime and maybe that's why this particular company is opting out of it.

Two Ravens

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Re: Is it SS behavior to keep asking questions in this case?
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2014, 07:35:41 PM »
I think you have to decide if paying $100 a year for two-day shipping is really worth it. I don't think so. I refuse to pay that fee so buy a number of routine items I use regularly (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.) that add up to $35 or more so I get free shipping. And here's the funny thing: it comes in two or three days almost every time.

I suspect it costs the merchants something to be part of Prime and maybe that's why this particular company is opting out of it.

For me, it's definitely worth it. I'd pay that for the streaming content alone. The free two-day shipping when I want to buy something is just a perk.

Jones

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Re: Is it SS behavior to keep asking questions in this case?
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2014, 07:40:12 PM »
I had assumed it was Kmart because they have something similar and I was unaware Amazon had physical stores...if they do, how cool!

I actually ordered some specialty dog food, unavailable locally, from Amazon about 2 weeks ago to try on my dogs, so if Amazon is no longer shipping dog food 2nd day air that's news to me (I also have a prime account). I don't blame you for questioning what ingredient would be dangerous to ship by air, that would concern me as well. I do suggest you have a screenshot showing that the item is Prime eligible, in case they try to change it before getting back to you. There is a point when you have to shrug and say "Oh well, I'll live with it" but I don't think you've hit the point yet, after you speak with a supervisor is that point, IMO. And if the CSR was just making things up, letting a supervisor know the issue is a good thing; making up excuses is not a good business practice.

esposita

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Re: Is it SS behavior to keep asking questions in this case?
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2014, 07:45:54 PM »
I think you have to decide if paying $100 a year for two-day shipping is really worth it. I don't think so. I refuse to pay that fee so buy a number of routine items I use regularly (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.) that add up to $35 or more so I get free shipping. And here's the funny thing: it comes in two or three days almost every time.

I suspect it costs the merchants something to be part of Prime and maybe that's why this particular company is opting out of it.

For me, it's definitely worth it. I'd pay that for the streaming content alone. The free two-day shipping when I want to buy something is just a perk.

It is definitely worth it to our household as well. We use it for movies and shows, and with other items we buy, we save lots on gas, not to mention being able to buy things that we can't find here. It has probably paid for itself three times over.

Sometimes things stop being prime eligable as their companies grow and change, I don't think its anything nefarious or shady, though it certainly is annoying. (Said the lady who's kids go through raisins at an alarming rate and who still may be bitter about losing her least expensive source of said raisins.)

snappylt

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Re: Is it SS behavior to keep asking questions in this case?
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2014, 08:44:56 PM »
OP here again.  Thank you for your comments.

To clarify, as I said in the original post, on the web page for the pet food it is clearly marked with the merchant's special logo as being eligible for the 2 day shipping.  (The pet food is sold by the online merchant itself, not a third-party seller.)

I do feel ambivalent about the whole thing. Sending pet food by 2nd day air seems silly to me - except that the merchant sold me a service promising that they'd ship my goods that way.  Anyway, I'm leaning toward the thought that its not worth my time to follow up too much, although being lied to does leave a bad taste in my mouth.  (I'd love to hear proof that dry pet food is too dangerous to ship by air!)

jedikaiti

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Re: Is it SS behavior to keep asking questions in this case?
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2014, 09:32:03 PM »
I think you have to decide if paying $100 a year for two-day shipping is really worth it. I don't think so. I refuse to pay that fee so buy a number of routine items I use regularly (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.) that add up to $35 or more so I get free shipping. And here's the funny thing: it comes in two or three days almost every time.

I suspect it costs the merchants something to be part of Prime and maybe that's why this particular company is opting out of it.

When I've used the free super saver shipping, I've never seen it leave the warehouse in less than 3-5 days, much less arrive that quickly, so it is frequently worth it to me.
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Harriet Jones

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Re: Is it SS behavior to keep asking questions in this case?
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2014, 09:39:08 PM »
I think you have to decide if paying $100 a year for two-day shipping is really worth it. I don't think so. I refuse to pay that fee so buy a number of routine items I use regularly (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.) that add up to $35 or more so I get free shipping. And here's the funny thing: it comes in two or three days almost every time.

I suspect it costs the merchants something to be part of Prime and maybe that's why this particular company is opting out of it.

I just watched a video today talking about what would make Amazon Prime "worth it" http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-prime-terms-cost-2014-4

cicero

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Re: Is it SS behavior to keep asking questions in this case?
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2014, 11:55:27 PM »
Of course it's not SS behavior to want to get what you paid for. It is irrelevant if*lesser option* works fine for you. Compare it to a car rental- let's say you paid for upgrades and when you get there they don't have the fancier car. Sure the smaller car will get you from point A to B but that wasn't the deal.

I would do a " print screen" of the page with the shipping, and send it by email to the company. You either want your two day shipping or some kind of compensation

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Onyx_TKD

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Re: Is it SS behavior to keep asking questions in this case?
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2014, 01:21:12 AM »
I think you've run into some legitimate problems that are reasonable to pursue with the company. However, I think you'll need to be careful about what aspects you pursue and how you go about it if you want to stay polite and be taken seriously. As I see it, there are two significant issues here:
1. They advertised that this product was covered by your 2-day shipping plan and then reneged on the deal when you ordered.
2. The perceived bait-and-switch is casting doubt on the value of the 2-day shipping plan you paid for.

Issue 1 is either a mistake or false advertising. If I were you, I would expect customer service to, at minimum, apologize and offer assurance that the discrepancy would be corrected--either by correcting the product page to indicate that it's ineligible for the shipping plan or restoring the 2-day shipping in the shipping options. For good customer service, I would expect some attempt to "make good" on your transaction--arranging for free 2-day shipping on your order, a small credit on your account as compensation for the slower shipping, etc. However, I don't think they owe you any explanation of why the eligibility of this product for 2-day shipping has changed, assuming that their terms of service allows for such changes.

Issue 2 is more of a sales issue. If they want you to pay to renew your shipping plan next year, then they need to convince you that it's worthwhile. From that standpoint, I think it's reasonable to ask about their policies regarding what is covered and what isn't covered by the shipping plan. In general, what determines whether a product is eligible? Can any product become ineligible for the free shipping at any time? If so, what guarantees do you have that your shipping plan will continue to be useable for you? Are there certain categories of product that are guaranteed to be covered? I still don't think they owe you any explanation of what specifically makes this particular dog food ineligible, but they ought to give you some answers if they want to keep you as a customer.

Margo

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Re: Is it SS behavior to keep asking questions in this case?
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2014, 07:08:29 AM »
It's not rude or SS to pursue it.

I woukd be requesting a refund or partial refund.

Do you get other products? (i.e. is there any other benefit of having the pre-paid 2 day shipping?) If not, I would ask for a pro-rata refund for the year backdated to the last order you recieved that way, OR comnfirmation in wirting that the information wyou were given this time was incorrect, assurances that it wouldn't happen again, and a refund equivalent to one, one-off two day delivery charge.

If you will make use of the shipping service for other products then I would still be asking for a (smaller) refund.

Either way, I would be making a written complaint as in my experience, this is often more effective than telephoning.