Returning An Item Shouldn’t Be This Difficult

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If I didn’t work, and if I had been endowed with far more patience than the reasonable amount I generally had and if I weren’t having an insane time trying to be an honest citizen, then maybe I would have stayed calmer with the customer service on the other end of the phone.

A couple of weeks ago I saw an item that had my friend’s name all over it. She will remain nameless as will the item because there is more than a small chance she will read this blog. The gift, which I shipped to myself, arrived even sooner than promised, which is just one of those things that happen when you don’t need it to. The gift will not be given until sometime from now. (Of course, gifts I needed very, very fast but did not want to pay gonzo shipping to expedite did not arrive until well after the promised date).

So, pleased to have this gift, the absolute perfect gift for this person, wrapped and ready for giving, I put it up on a high shelf to keep it out of harm’s way.

And then . . . and then . . . three days later, a duplicate arrived, but no charges showed up on my bank account. My choices: (1) send it back, which would mean going to the post office or UPS store, not the biggest deal I realize, but I am so buried in deadlines I can barely get to the shower, let alone the supermarket, the cleaners, the bank, an exercise class, etc.; (2) Keep the item and call them to say I received an extra and I was keeping it but did not see a charge for it; (3) Keep it and say nothing.

Knowing that looking at it every day would assault my conscience if I didn’t pay, I decided to go for option 2. I would call customer service, tell them I received two, but was not charged for one of them. So I took the item out of the box, totally destroying the Styrofoam, and tossed the box down the garbage chute in the hallway of my building, and set the item out on my counter. It was a bad fit with my décor, but the box was gone, and the item is now mine.

Today, I received an email telling me the item I ordered had shipped. WHAT? Would I now be the owner of three of these items and have no choice but to have to send it back an my (in)convenience? I called customer service, and this is what happened: After hearing my story, the guy at the other end of the phone asked me for my email address. After keeping me on hold for 12 minutes, but who’s counting, he came back onto the line to tell me “Nothing is coming up.”

“What does that mean?” I queried. “And what would you suggest I do?

“Well, I don’t know,” said the enlightened agent, again asking if he could put me on hold.

On his return, he said, “I tried again and you do not have an account.”

“Is there any other information you can use? My telephone number? My address? The name of my first-born child? You are sending me emails. There has to be an account,” I said.

“Can I put you on hold?” he said.

“NO!” I said at something short of an outburst but not exactly in a kind tone. “Where are you going? Why do you have to put me on hold? Why can’t you just put the phone down and do your sleuthing? I am trying to GIVE YOU MONEY and I do not want to listen to that hold music one more time for one more second.”

“Ma’am . . .” he said.

“Please get me a supervisor I beseeched.”

“He left at seven,” the agent reported.

“OK,” I said. “Please put a note in my non-existent account that I really tried to be an honest consumer and pay for something that was inadvertently sent to me.

And as I am typing, I have just thought of a 4th option. I can give it to an organization that is looking for Christmas gifts for families that cannot afford gifts. Now that is a solution I can live with.

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