In Which the Author Considers Purchasing a Wood Chipper and Instead Sells Her Soul for an Easter Egg.

In honor of Father’s Day, I offer you a letter I started writing to my pater familias, which turns into a major, hissy fit rant.  Enjoy.

WoodChipper2
I found many disturbing images of woodchippers available online. Be grateful this is the one I chose.

*

Dear Dad*,

I recently purchased a bed through Amazon. Wait, scratch that, I ordered what I thought was a bed through what I thought was Amazon. When, in fact, I received three-quarters of a bed from a third-party seller.  The seller—Home and Living—omitted sending the portion of the bed that actually holds up the mattress.  (Turns out I have woefully high expectations of the number of pieces required to make a bed.) If you have already had dealings with on-line purchases backfiring on you, you may skip ahead to the picture of the burning bed. If not, steady yourself for an ad nauseum retelling.

BRING ON THE IRRATIONAL OUTRAGE!

Upon discovering the perfidy of the missing ‘link spring’, I attempted to return said useless item or request that the seller send me, free of charge, the part of the bed that was in absentia. Emails and phone calls flew, mostly in one direction.  I managed to finagle a $20 credit for the cost of return shipping in one phone exchange with Amazon. Then I found out shipping these items using UPS would cost, at a minimum, $100.76.  Did I mention the purchase price of the item was $241.00?  (That, after getting a special Amazon Synchrony credit card to save about $40.00.)  Or the $75.00 restocking fee the seller wants to charge for grudgingly taking back their non-bed?  So, this almost-a-bed which I paid $241.00 for could cost over $175.00 to return. Now, most people at this point would throw up their hands and say, “I give up. Sell me the missing part for $150.” Most rational people would take this approach. I am not most people. Nor am I all that rational when I feel someone has deliberately duped me. Thus commences weeks of my fiendish plan: ‘Operation Threaten and Wheedle’. (This is where working in law offices and knowing terms like ‘misrepresentation of product’ and ‘consumer fraud’ are helpful. And regardless of the situation, Res Ipsa Loquitur always wows a crowd.)

BOIL WITH RAGE – SPIT LIKE A VIPER

First, I bombard the Amazon retail customer service with demands for satisfaction based on their A to Z policy. (Which, I have not read but assume has alphabetical significance hereto.)  I politely, but sternly outline my position: “I bought a bed. They did not send me a bed. I want my money back.” I may have thrown the words ‘I hate to be litigious…but’ into one email, I am not entirely sure. In return, I received a form letter from India which stated:

“Amazon is looking into your claim. Amazon has until June 21, 2015 to investigate your claim. Please standby.’  [Does anybody else hear Apu from the Simpson’s voice when reading this?]

So I wait for someone to contact me.  And I wait. And wait…After a few days, I send another request for review. And then I make a call asking, “What’s happening with my case?” This is where I find out that further replies came in the form of Junk Mail—informing me that I had three-days to reply before my complaint would be shredded and used to line the cage of a particularly flatulent rodent. (Can you guess how many days too late I was to reply?  Answer: enough.)

I am starting to seethe at this point. I am feeling great outrage at the anonymous corporation which has blindly dismissed a small, pathetic customer in favor of profits. I am irritated by the generic customer service form letter factory in India that doesn’t actually read my question but sends responses such as:

This transaction is with a third party seller and before they can proceed with your refund or replacement, they will need to have the item returned. Please contact the seller directly for any further details.

I think I read this sentence in almost every email I received—or at the very least, a running subtext to the effect: “Look, you buffoon, we’re just going to keep stringing you alone until sciatica forces you to give up and buy the damned ‘link spring’ or alternately we force you to pay for your mistake twice over by requiring you to pay the shipping cost, a $75.00 restocking fee, AND demanding your first born child. Mwua hah ha ha ha!”  So, I snapped.

Burning Bed
Thank you Flickr – here’s hoping this isn’t copyrighted.

I started fantasizing about how I would avenge my consumer outrage by getting a wood chipper and reducing the almost-but-not-quite a bed to so much mulch. I decided this was a bit dramatic, and expensive, whereas lighter fluid and a match would do the job just as well and provide a much lighter pile of ash to ship back to the seller. (Bonus: I could also roast marshmallows to toast the bitter-sweet satisfaction of pointless revenge.) It was at this point that a friend of mine suggested that maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t being terribly reasonable about this.

“Yes, they sold you crap. You were screwed, blued and tattooed; but, they aren’t going to fix the problem and you still don’t have a bed. Just go buy the damned support and be done with it.” This is what a rational person would do.  (See above regarding rational behavior, and likelihood thereof.)

Be rational?  Okay, I could do that. I could suck up my outrage and my ire and submit like a whimpering dog…OR…I could do what I did.

I got all of my facts in a row. I contact the Amazon Synchrony credit card company. They do not offer the option for a consumer complaint and redress of consumer fraud. (And yes, I will be canceling this card just as soon as this is resolved.  They are too closely in bed with the pimp who sold me the trashy furniture. Goodbye Pimp Card.) Their customer service rep in India transfers me to the same exact Retail Customer Service professionals I have been tangling with for the past couple of weeks.  Operation Smooth Talker to commence in t-minus 10…9…8…

“Hi, I’m Adam. How can I be of service.” A man’s voice purrs to me.

“Ohhh, yeah.” Wait…did I say that out loud?

Adam is my representative. He sounds like a hip young man who drinks Southern Comfort and rocks a bolero tie.  He speaks smoothly with a hint of Georgia in his syllables; I want to melt listening to him.  “Okay,” I think, “so they brought out their big guns. Two can play at this. I see your Southern Gentleman and raise you an Earnest, Disabled Widow with a Special Needs Child…and a blog”. We both put on our genteel, company-is-coming manners and exchange points of view with sugary assurances that: “Ha ha, I know how frustrating it is…blah di blah blah.”  “Yes, I’m sure Amazon is doing all it can… Yaddah Yaddah.”

Our exchanges were terribly polite and, probably, totally superficial. But, once he spoke to his overlords, I did get a promise out of Adam. He would make a one-time exception regarding the return of the item. He was authorized to cover the cost of shipping…but there was a catch. The money won’t actually appear in my account. He is now emailing me proof of a secret credit to cover the expense of the shipping. It won’t be a reimbursement, per se, but the next time I go to spend money on Amazon, a magical amount will appear cloaked by a shield of invisibility until the one true king returns….or words to that effect.

Upon hearing this, I sat up straight.  “You mean…it’ll be like an Easter Egg?”

“Ha ha. Yeah.  Like that.” Adam says, probably thinking the batty old broad is referring to colored eggs which turn rancid over time.  (Not that that would be a bad analogy.) He further reassured me that this money would never expire. It will live on in infamy…but only as a credit on Amazon…and only coming into existence when I spend money. It sounded fishy, but I’ll admit, it also appeared to be the compromise I swore was my goal. Continuing this argument would be small-minded and mean, even if it meant I could listen to Adam grovel so nicely on behalf of his superiors.

As much as I would like to say I was willing to fight the good fight, I recognized a concession when I heard one.  I asked a few questions more, and have come up with a list of recommendations for anyone who is even considering a large-ticket purchase online:

  1. Read the product description three, four, maybe even a dozen times. Look for very tiny print in inscrutable language that might possibly be offering you a lower-price at the cost of your soul, your sanity or both. If you read stuff you can’t understand…walk away.
  2. Check out something called the Seller Feedback page. This is where you can itemize exactly where, how and in what creative ways the seller screwed the pooch. (You, being the pooch in this particular analogy. Probably a female one.) A link to the Seller Feedback page can be found in the section of text below the item listed following the phrase: Ships from and sold by (insert scurrilous villain’s company name here – Home and Living** in my particular case).
  3. Lastly, I highly recommend you avoid third-party sellers*** if you can at all manage it.  While Amazon promises to back all of the items purchased ‘through’ Amazon, not all third party sellers actually fall into this category. You have to read their customer service policy.  If it states that it abides by Amazon’s A to Z policy, then Amazon can work to get you customer service satisfaction—eventually.  However, some of the third party sellers require expensive returns, as in my case, and are thoroughly unpleasant to try and deal with. The phrase you want to see under any item you buy is “Ships from and sold by Amazon.com”.

So, Dad, when I finally do get my imaginary money, I am planning on buying you a CD: Bouyer’s Silver Fanfare.  Since I know this will be a vile use of funds, try not to grind your teeth into a powder and know that at least I am paying for it with hard-earned revenge. And that’s a gift that keeps on giving.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*Yes, I am just that cheap that my entire gift to my father is a letter ranting about online purchases. It’s still better than a tie.

**I will be linking this post to my Seller Feedback–F*ck ’em if they can’t be bothered to call me back. They deserve $75.00 worth of retribution. Feel free to pass this around.

***Here is the ‘bed’ in question. See if you can find the tricky lawyer-ese that explains this is missing the  bottom.  This Is Not the Effing Bed You Are Looking For!

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16 thoughts on “In Which the Author Considers Purchasing a Wood Chipper and Instead Sells Her Soul for an Easter Egg.

  1. Ummm … it’s right there – fourth bullet point in regular-size print: “This daybed requires a Link Spring (sold separately)”.

    Mind you, prior to reading this post I had no idea what a “link spring” was, so maybe that’s why you missed it. But if you google “what is a link spring”, this – https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=what%20is%20a%20link%20spring%20for%20daybed – pops right up.

    Reminds me of the time I bought a mattress and tried to return it a few hours later because Himself decreed it to be too firm. I hadn’t removed it from the plastic cover – heck, I hadn’t even removed it from the CAR – but no way were they taking it back. No no NO. Not happening. And while I was in mid-scream and threaten rant and plead – because we were flat broke at the time and I really, really couldn’t afford an unusable mattress – the manager pointed to a whopping great sign on the wall, right where no normal person would miss it when standing in front of the till, stating “No Mattress Returns Under Any Circumstances”.

    Thanks for the warnings re Amazon. Also, the mattress company was Comfort World. You’re welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I swear, the ‘description’ of the bed isn’t the one that was on the page when I bought it. It didn’t say anything about a ‘missing link spring’ but it could be my brain is performing historical revisions. It is wont to do that when it is very, very tired.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I followed your link and raise you a link spring listed there (I had no idea what the hell that was either until I Googled it. Thank you Google.). Apparently your rightful outrage gave them the clue to actually include that kinda very important information. See, your suffering actually changed the world a little bit for the better.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Being with Steven will bring you nothing but trouble. I’d suggest you be with anyone else listed on this particular link. Steven just reeks of pandemonium. (Kidding, Steven. Don’t unfriend me.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. They still haven’t changed the title of the item they are selling, though. Calling it a ‘Daybed’ when they are only sending the sides and the back is a little disingenuous. I am fairly certain they expect people to mistakenly order it and then they offer to sell the missing piece. It is flim flammery, I tell you. (I swear I am equal parts old-curmudgeon and cheese paring tightwad.).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Disclaimer: the reader is in no way to take the above legal advice under advisement without seeking actual counsel. A history as a former law secretary does not constitute or substitute actual lawyerly experience. Watching back-to-back marathons of Law & Order also do not a jurisprudence degree make. If you decide to take legal advice based on random mutterings of a woman with a dictionary and penchant for verbosity, the consequences may be severe and the ramifications may be indeterminate and permanent.

      (Read this with the fast-forward voice you hear at the end of all drug ads listing side effects and warnings.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s too funny. And I can relate. I’m a trained lawyer, but never practiced law (hated it) so I specialized elsewhere. I only took one issue through the courts to the highest court in Sweden in my late 20s ~ and won. $60 in pharmaceutical reimbursement. That was really hilarious.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A fellow windmill-tilter. How I admire you! If we can do nothing else, we can at least bring some irritation into the lives of the entirely-blameless low-level non-power-wielding employees of these dastardly companies!

    I am sleeping (even as I type this after midnight, barely aware of what my fingers are doing) on an IKEA bed designed by those masters of engineering, Swedish Smarties®, yet even MY bed had a major fail.

    My Svingska-Linkska bed has patented Ever-Clever bolts which are intended to function as the equivalent of your link springs, to attach mattress support to siderails and head and footboards. The holes that accept the bolts butt up against either head or footboard–thus preventing enough clearance to turn the head of any screwdriver known to humankind. If one attempts to work around this by slightly angling the driver, one learns that the screws were formed of aluminum foil, and strip in a soft breeze.

    I contacted IKEA, and ridiculed them soundly when they offered to send me more foil screws. I wrung out of them that they had received a “substantial” number of calls about this bed and their screwing of customers–yet they had never fixed the d#mn problem. They admitted that “many of our customers” had done exactly what I have done:

    Saved the screws for Christmas toy train displays, in order to place them on the tracks for flattening fun, and purchased my own bed boards and plywood, which are supporting the mattress.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On a totally unrelated note, I managed to nearly paint my bolts shut. The bed was the last item moved from our previous abode. 15 minutes of cussing and various tools used attempting to remove the last bolt. Finally, someone went to their car for a socket set, otherwise, I’d have two bed issues to complain about. (This one, however, would have been entirely my fault, therefore, much less interesting to describe.)

      Liked by 1 person

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