Lady Ignores my Advice at a High Cost

I work as a customer service rep. at a smaller call centre that sells discounted electronics. We deal in either damaged goods or older models. If you’ve bought from any clearance outlets or racks you will probably be familiar with a no returns policy. We also have this policy if a customer makes an error or changes their mind.

For context, this story concerns a lady who has accidentally bought a new $1000 bottle gas heater. There are two types of gas heaters, town gas and bottle gas and the two aren’t interchangeable. We highlight the difference clearly and suggest they call us when advertising products but many people still get the two confused.

First call:

Customer: Hi, I just set up my heater and it’s coming up with an error.

Me: Sorry to hear that. Here’s the manufacturers number try some trouble shooting with them first then give us a call back if you need more assistance.

Customer calls back:

Customer: Hi, I think I spoke to you earlier. I have the heater company on the phone and they are telling me I have the incorrect model, I need the one for town gas.

Me: Mmm, yes, it looks like you bought the wrong model. Unfortunately this was our last heater and since you have already opened and installed the product, we can’t offer a return. We can offer a restocking if you like. We will return the product and refund you all but 25%. The 25% covers our delivery fees as well as the fact we will be reselling the product at a much lower cost now it’s out of box and potentially damaged.

Customer: Wow that’s over $200.

Me: I can see that would be quite expensive for this case. I can lower the price to 15%, which is much lower than I’m usually approved to offer but I understand this was an honest mistake.

Customer: One second…… the lady from the heating company says that is extremely expensive and she wouldn’t pay that. She says refuse your offer and seek remediation through the government’s consumer affairs department.

Me: Listen, I’m going to give you some personal input on this situation. The heating company lady doesn’t know consumer policies. We legally don’t have to take back your product if you didn’t consult us before placing an order and you’ve made an error. The restocking is here to help you and we only charge for it to cover the large losses and paying our delivery drivers. If you choose to talk to consumer affairs that’s your right but they have a long wait list and will tell you the same thing. By the time they reply we can’t offer to restock either because you would have had the product for several months. The choice is up to you but I’ve already lowered the fee considerably and I think you should take the restocking.

Customer: I think we’ll let the consumer affairs decide! -hangs up-

Not only did the consumer affairs deny her request but she was stuck trying to sell an expensive type of bottle heater most people can’t use.

Personally, I will always do some simple google research before buying a product over even $100 so I have little sympathy for customers who make these mistakes and don’t seem to understand this will cost the small business as well.

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What do you think?

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Well I’m going to the FTC about this, you’re required by law to help me!

Order numbers and why you should be kind to people you’re calling.