This week I will share a ‘buyer beware’ story.
NOTE: I do not mean to imply that all online businesses are unscrupulous or out to con you. My point in sharing this story is to encourage you to own your consumer power.
Following the January, 2014 ban on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, I bought my first bluetooth device. It was love at first use. I not only used mine for phone calls, I used it to listen to music while exercising, and audiobooks while cleaning the house. It was magical! Christmas rolled around that year and I thought ‘What a great christmas gift!’
My adult children (AC) were skeptical when they opened their presents but it didn’t take long for them to become bluetooth lovers too.
Fast forward to Fall of 2015, christmas is on the horizon and it’s time to start thinking of ideas for gifts. One of my ACs had shared that he recently killed his bluetooth device accidentally by wearing it while he exercised. Who knew the little bugger was allergic to sweat. Fortunately though, that gave me an idea for a gift. I started looking around town for waterproof exercise bluetooth devices and was put off by the price so I thought I would check online.
I will spare you the details, but I found what I was looking for at the biggest E-commerce site on the internet (that shall remain nameless) and at a more reasonable price than I was finding locally. The gift arrived in plenty of time for christmas. It was a hit and worked great….until the battery ran low. It wouldn’t hold a charge. Not a problem, that happens sometimes with electronic devices. I contacted the seller through the incredibly E-normous E-commerce company and received the following message:
“hi dear, is there any damage on the charging port? or could you use other cable to have a try? thanks.”
In my head – First of all, although we have had a ‘transaction’ together, that doesn’t entitle you to call me ‘dear’. Two, no there is no damage to the charging port and what if there was? For all I know it was damaged when I got the device. And three, no I will not use ‘other cable’ to try to charge the device thus voiding the warranty. WTH!
Actual response: There is no damage to the charging port and I’m afraid I don’t have another cable to try to charge it with. I would like a replacement please.
Next message: “hi dear, no neeed to send it back,just keep it or see some one could repair it. we could send a new one(would you like to offer a little shipping postage for it,). thanks,”
In my head – Um, NO I will not offer a little shipping postage, thank you very much, I have already paid for the device and I have no intention of getting it repaired. I want a replacement.
Actual response: I want a replacement please.
I then get a message saying:
“E-commerce store accepted a return for waterproof bluetooth headset. You should receive a return shipping label by Jan 14, 2016. Just print the label and send the item back to the seller.”
This is the return label that they posted in their email:
Go ahead, laugh. It really is quite comical.
Needless to say, I was not happy. Trying to get the E-normous E-commerce company to intervene was like hollering into a well, all I heard was my own echo.
It was obvious that I was not going to get my replacement headset, but I wasn’t about to go down without a fight. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, we as consumers must remember that we have power, and we must not be afraid to use that power.
How did I use my power? I sent an email to the E-normous E-commerce company telling them of my unsatisfactory service with one of their E-stores and I left negative feedback. Not to be vindictive, but to warn future buyers to beware.
While exerting my consumer power may not have gotten me the results I was seeking, it just might help some other unsuspecting buyer from making the same buying mistake that I did.
We also have power as consumers before the sale. My mistakes? Although this particular E-commerce store had overall good ratings, I should have read the negative ones; I might have thought twice about spending my money there. Also I should have checked out what the return policy was before I purchased the device.
Lesson learned, I think I’ll shop local from now on.