First of all, this has nothing to do with RA or health (well, fiscal health perhaps). This is a story of caution for those of you who, like me, are online shoppers (and who isn’t these days).

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I ordered a Zumba exercise disk for my new Wii. I ordered it through Amazon. It’s easy, it’s fast, all my account info is set up, etc.

When I got the shipping notice, it had a copy of the order and the amount was higher than I remember the cost of the disk. I had ordered the disk using the “one-click” feature of Amazon, so I didn’t really pay attention to the order amount when I placed the order.

I went back to the Amazon site and looked at the product description and compared it to the price on the invoice. The invoice was $10 higher.

I contacted Amazon customer service who pointed me to the actual shipper/seller of the product, who basically told me to go pound sand. They explained that they’ve never sold the product for that price. They wouldn’t cancel the order because it already shipped and that if I wanted to return it, there would be a return fee deducted from the refund. I contacted Amazon again and filed a violation complaint against the seller for not honoring the advertised price. Amazon assured me that these complaints are sent to their investigative team to check out.

Then I contacted the seller/shipper again and told them what I’d done, that I was sorry that they couldn’t have settled the sit uation with me in a customer-friendly way, and I attached a .pdf copy of the product description page with the price I expected to pay prominently displayed. (When I order something on line, I tend to save a .pdf of the product description/price because, unlike printed catalogs, web pages can and do change dynamically.)

The seller promptly responded back and pointed out something that I had not noticed. Underneath the price it stated that AMAZON had the product in stock and that the product was sold and shipped by AMAZON. The seller correctly stated that AMAZON was responsible for the lower price, but since the order had gotten routed from Amazon to the seller, I got the going discount/sale rate, which was $10 more than what Amazon had on its website.

So I thanked them for pointing this out and went back to Amazon and asked they why they didn’t fulfill the order as per their advertisement at the price I expected to pay. They never did answer the question, but they did give me a $10 credit against any future order. So other than some time and aggravation, I guess I came out where I should have started.

And the sellers’ customer service team sent me a final email, expressing how much they do care about my satisfaction, and wanted to know if there was anything further they could do to resolve the situation and hoped that everything had been taken care of. I sent them a nice email that they will no doubt put to good use when the Amazon investigative team comes snooping around, thanking them for pointing out it was AMAZON’s problem.

And by the way, I pulled up the product description for the Zumba product again, and the price had magically changed +$15 from this morning, and stated it was sold and shipped by a third party.  Which is exactly why I was glad I had the .pdf from when I ordered it originally.

There are several take-aways from this experience:

  1. First , just because I’d never had any issues from any of my Amazon orders, I shouldn’t have been complacent about making sure the order amount was what I expected it to be.
  2. Amazon (and ShipSound — the Zumba people) both have amazingly responsive customer service email reps. There was a flurry of about 10 emails in less than 24 hours — instead of the usual 3-4 days to get an automated response.
  3. Always keep a copy of the product description screen when you order something online. Either create a .pdf or do a screen capture/print. Otherwise, if something’s not right, you may not have a recourse if the website has changed. Having that .pdf file saved me $10. (If I had either read it more closely or  included it with my initial email to the Zumba people — instead of the follow-up, I would have saved myself several emails and gotten it resolved sooner.)

All in all, I’m heartened to know that in this day and age of automated responses, pushing “1” for English, and companies that mistake being “on hold” for customer interaction, that there are companies that do respond personally to people and actually try to resolve issues.

I hope all your issues are as easily solved. Thanks for checking in.