When you make a purchase online or in store, most retailers want to ensure your satisfaction. This means they have easy return policies, price adjustment policies, and helpful customer representatives. Big box stores (some of my favorites as you’ll see below are Target and Amazon) can afford to not do these things, but know they’ll benefit more in the long run from having happy customers. Smaller businesses can’t afford to miss out on the opportunity to provide excellent service to their customers because the future of their business depends on it.
It also depends on you, the consumer, to let them know when they’ve done things that aren’t up to your satisfaction. This isn’t to be nit-picky – this is to let them know when their products aren’t doing what they should, or their staff isn’t doing what they should, and both of those things are important if they’d like to have you as a customer again.
As a side note, I must throw a big blanket apology out there to everyone I ever served in the retail world when I didn’t or couldn’t give them what they wanted. In my heart I usually wanted to (unless they were nasty), but I also wanted to keep my job and that meant complying with some pretty awful store policies. I’m sorry you wasted your money on those products and were unable to get satisfaction when you came to me for help.
Just in the last few weeks I’ve had multiple experiences with products where the product I purchased did not arrive as it should have, didn’t stand up to normal wear and tear as it should have, or changed prices.
Now, getting what you want in general is important, but for the purpose of this post this is only referring to the retail realm of this world. Since I’m a consumer almost daily in one way or another, it’s also important for me to know I have a chance to voice my opinion and get things righted.
CRIB SHEETS SHRUNK
I purchased a set of super cute, trendy crib sheets from an online retailer Shiny Happy Shop via Amazon. After a few washes, they shrunk so much that they bowed the mattress when I put them on. Obviously I could no longer use these, so I contacted the company.
They happily offered a refund or an exchange, and also let me know they had added an extra inch of fabric to the sheet so shrinkage wouldn’t be a problem.
I expected to have to ship the old set back to them, but they said I could keep it and just enjoy my new set. That saved me the hassle of returning the old sheets and now I have some cute fabric I can use for other projects.
ITEM ARRIVED DAMAGED
I ordered laundry soap from Amazon because I thought I’d run out before I’d have a chance to get back to the store. When it arrived, although it was wrapped in a huge plastic bag, it had leaked about 1/3 of its contents throughout the box onto my other items.
I contacted Amazon customer service to ask for a refund. Not only did they give me a refund but I also did not have to ship this product back. Such a time saver, and instead of wasting the rest of the product I am able to use it.
PURCHASED WRONG ITEM
I’m trying to figure out the best formula to use as a supplement for my son, and in doing so I purchased a soy-based formula from Amazon. I wasn’t thinking, however, because I notice when I eat soy-based products he spits up more. Silly me.
I contacted them to ask for a return authorization but instead they gave me a refund and told me to keep the product. Now I’ll be able to donate this to someone in need.
POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE FROM MANUFACTURER
A necessity for any baby’s room is a white noise machine. We were using our old iPhones with a white noise app, but since mine no longer produces sound we needed something else.
I found some inexpensive, well-reviewed, white noise machines by HoMedics on Amazon.com. After looking around at some other options I purchased two of these – one for each kid’s room.
When I’m looking at products, even if they have a lot of 4- and 5-star reviews, I’ll read the 1- and 2-star reviews as well to see what people are saying. If they’re all saying the same thing, sometimes I won’t buy the product. This time, I ignored those people and bought it anyway.
These sound machines worked well for about 2 months and then the sound started becoming inconsistent and choppy. Not what you want in a white noise machine.
After contacting the manufacturer directly back in January, I received a response 4 days later asking for some more information. I provided it and never heard back. I contacted them 3-4 times after that, about once a week, to see what was going on and I still received no response.
So, I went to Amazon to see what they could do. They said although the product was outside of the return window, they would give me a full refund and I didn’t have to ship it back.
Are you seeing a trend with how amazing Amazon is?
I used the refund to purchase two new ones. Let’s hope those work.
ITEM WENT ON SALE
And, finally, an ode to my favorite big box store, Target.
Price adjustments aren’t anything new – I remember bringing receipts into retail stores as a teen (when I shopped more frequently and was more aware of price changes) and receiving the difference between the original price and the sale price – but they’re pretty fantastic when they’re a big difference.
Almost two weeks ago we purchased a piece of outdoor furniture. The purchasing process of this couch has been a love/hate relationship as either the piece is out of stock, not on sale, or on sale and not in stock in our color. It’s been a hassle.
Finally it was back in stock in our color, so we bought it, full price be darned.
Today I received an email from Target asking me to review the purchase. Usually I ignore these emails until a later date but today I clicked on it right away. It took me to the product page where I realized this couch was now on sale.
I thought “Price adjustment?” and called Target customer service to see if I could get one.
Turns out it is still within the 14 day window from my purchase date so they sent me an electronic gift card for $70 (!!!) for the difference.
It pays to pay attention, folks. Literally.
And there it is. My list of recent wrongs-made-right and love letters to Amazon and Target.
Try to be a smart consumer and be aware of your options! Don’t sit on something you’re unhappy with. Let the company know and see if there is anything they can do for you.