Saturday, 29 April 2006

A Journey Up the Amazon

I ordered a Gift Certificate from a well-known internet retailer of books etc. and got an email acknowledgement. Then:

• After four days I checked on their website and found that it had not been despatched.
• In response to my enquiry asking for the reason I had a standard reply: “…apologise for any inconvenience…system error…working hard on a resolution…".
• Four days later I found that the order had still not been despatched, so I enquired again.
• I received another copy of the same message.
• There was a name at the bottom, so I tried to send a reply email.
• It came back “This address cannot accept emails”.
• Two days later, the order still came up as “Not despatched”.
• I cancelled the order. This produced yet another copy of the same message, with two additional paragraphs: "...We request you please write back to us after order completed so that we will refund you and serve you better... and "Please visit the following link to provide the information we requested...". The information requested was the order number, which I had already quoted on all my messages.
• I sent a second message cancelling the order again.
• There was no reply, but three weeks later the certificate was delivered.
• The recipient tried to buy a book with it and got a message: Invalid voucher.

And this was only an order for a Gift Certificate.... imagine what these idiots might have achieved if I had ordered something difficult, like a real book!

Two weeks on, I discovered that my credit card had been debited. I sent another message pointing out mildly that this matter might have been better handled and eventually got a reply saying that the amount would be refunded and offering "appologies" for the inconvenience.

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