Funny stories... tales from the road... life with us.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Dilemma

So... I have a problem. This is kind of an ethical dilemma, and although I think I know what I should do, I'm interested in your opinion!

A few weeks ago, I ordered a cardigan sweater from a clothes store. This is a big-name, national clothing store with a pretty good reputation (I'd rather not say who they are in case they are scanning blogs - ha!).

Anyway, the store didn't have the item I wanted, so the sales gal searched other stores and informed me that they had one at a store in D.C., and they could ship it to me. Perfect, right? Keep reading.

The next day, I get an e-mail confirmation that the store did indeed have the item and was shipping. One week later, no sweater. Two weeks later, no sweater.

On Sunday, I decided to check the confirmation e-mail again, and noticed that my address was wrong. Our street name is two words, and the sales gal only put in our house number and one of the words. In a big area like this, the mailman isn't going to realize that the package was for me and seek me out.

So, I sent an e-mail to their customer service group, explained the error and asked what could be done. No reply.

Oh - and I realize that my credit card has already been charged for the item and shipping cost.

Yesterday, I called customer service. The first operator was clueless, so I asked to be connected to her manager. The manager had no idea what had happened, so she got the store on the line, and here's what they said: "We never had the item. We haven't shipped the item. We don't know why you were charged $48, since we never had the item." Over and over. And by the way, the item is no longer available anywhere.

I was steamed. What if I'd never called? Would I have been out $48 with no sweater? I informed them that my card better be credited that very day. I was a little on the rude side, but that was ridiculous.

Yesterday when I got home, Rob informed me I had a package. Guess what?? It was the sweater! The sweater they "never had and never shipped." The address had been corrected by someone, somewhere, with a big pink sticker.

I also had a phone message that they'd located the item at another store and would ship it to me overnight. If I wanted it, I should call them.

So now I have a sweater and a supposed credit on my card (although it's not showing up on my online statement yet). And today I get another e-mail from the store that they've shipped yet another sweater. Same item, same size, same color.

Here's the quandary: I was all prepared to call them today and let them know that I actually did receive the item that they "never had and never shipped," and that they should re-charge my card. But the second supposed sweater ticked me off. I never said I wanted it (in fact, on the call yesterday, I told the girl to just forget about it), and I'll be hot if they've charged my card without authorization (can they do that?!).

So do I keep sweater #1 and call them? Do I keep sweater #1 and never call? If sweater #2 shows up, what on earth do I do with that, especially if they don't charge me? If they have charged me without permission, what then?

I'm stumped. And amazed that a store this well-known is so disorganized.

Whew! If you've read this far, I'm impressed. I'd also love your opinion on what I should do.


Leann said...


My first thought is to wait and see what happens on both situations. If you never get credited for the 1st sweater and they don't charge you for the 2nd sweater, then you're good with the credit card situation. But then if they credit you for the 1st one and charge you for the 2nd one and send the second that I don't know. If they charge you for 1st and 2nd and send the 2nd, but never credit the 1st one perhaps you can just send the 2nd one back and ask for a refund on it.

Also, if they send the 2nd sweater, you may be able to just return it to the store. Although if they never charge you for it, it might be difficult to get it all resolved. It's almost like if you do the ethical thing (which is to call them back and get it all squared away) you might be entering into one heck of a vicious cycle.

I really do think a wait and see policy may be best on this just so you know what the entire situation entails before any decision is made on what is completely ethical.

(Another option if you get the 2nd sweater...if it's one of your friend's me :) could re-gift it.) ;-)

Salza Family said...

That last comment had me running around in circles! I'm cracking up at your dilemma. It seems like everytime I order something, reputable company or not, somehow they screw it up. It's not that hard people!

One of my last online orders sent my original order TWICE! (It doesn't usually work in my favor that way.) I'll be interested to hear how it all plays out, so make sure you give us a follow up post.

Andrea said...

Give it another few days and see what happens. After the dust settles, then make your decision. If you call now, regardless of whether you've been charged or credited or hit over the head with the idiot hammer that the company must supply to their customer service'll probably have to call again in a few days when you receive the third sweater. :-)

Anonymous said...

So, did you get the charge removed or get sweater #2? That is just crazy. I would call (if you got more than one sweater and/or had the charge taken off for the 1st sweater). Ask to speak to a supervisor. I can't believe all the drama for one sweater. That is super annoying. I am sure you have tons of free time for hunting them down, tracking your sweater and checking your credit card. LOL. Poort hing! Hopefully it is all worked out buy now.

Robin said...

Oh, my word! Talk about frustrating. I'm glad Leann can give you some specific advice. The only thing I can come up with is to sleep on it a day or two. Probaby you'll feel better in the morning and better able to deal with the inefficiency of a big name retail store. :)

Best wishes,