Dying on the hill of Christian customer service
I knew I needed a typing program that would both help Ethan (my 7th grader) improve his skills — he’s at about 7 wpm — and that would teach Grant (my 5th grader) the new skill of typing. Aided by Cathy Duffy Homeschool Reviews, which I have found to be very reliable, I decided on Typing Instructor Deluxe. Rather than spend $21-ish for the newest version, I decided to save a few bucks and get the next-latest version (16) which I found “new” for $7, including shipping.
However, in Saturday’s mail was my “new” product, not in the product box, but in a generic paper sleeve! My first thought was, “Pirated copy!” But, I inspected the CD and the way it’s etched, it does look like an original. However, I didn’t pay for a product in a sleeve, I paid for a new-in-box copy! Sometimes, there’s really nothing in the box other than a jewel-cased CD-ROM, but other times there is a user’s booklet, or other goodies that make understanding the product much easier.
After calling the seller’s phone number — no answer — I sent an e-mail. To his credit, the seller issued me a refund, saying that I did not have to send the product back. I turned around and bought the same product, listed as “BRAND NEW RETAIL BOX SAME AS PICTURED” from a different seller, for $1.00 more. And, the seller said that he would change his listing to reflect the fact that purchasers could expect a CD-ROM in a sleeve. He did; his listing now says “New, CD in
Environmentally Friendly Paper Sleeve!” Hm. That sort of twerks me, because I highly suspect his motivation is not to be “environmentally friendly,” but to save on shipping costs.
We had an e-mail exchange, and in the last one, he asked me what I do for a living. I don’t know if he was insinuating that he had to make money… I don’t begrudge people having to make money! I do begrudge deceptive listings, though. I have purchased items listed as, “Like new, not in original packaging.” Or even, “New, CD only.” Or similar. But, if something says, “New” with no caveats, my expectation is that it is going to be identical to a new, in-store purchase.
(In the voiceover voice of SpongeBob: “Five hours later…”)
Well, the guy has e-mailed me a number of times more, and all of them basically say, “Well, it’s OK for me to make a ‘mistake’ because I’m a Christian and you should ask your God what he thinks of you for treating me with hostility.” 😕 He accused me of not wanting him to make a living, listed his own various upstanding accomplishments, and suggested that I was not a Christian because I was not willing to let it slide.
My last reply to him said:
My point is: 1) Practice honest business practices. 2) If somone catches you in dishonesty — or even a mistake — I think it’s only fair to issue a refund, or some other way to set the record straight, which you did, and quickly, which I do appreciate. Your refund enabled me to buy the product from a retailer that is more upfront. I won’t give you negative feedback, if that’s what you’re concerned about. But, PLEASE don’t say, “Well, I’m a busy Christian man with a difficult life, that’s why I wasn’t forthcoming because I need to make $2.00.”
Maybe I should have let it drop long ago… but — I hope you understand! — what made me upset was him asking for a free pass because he’s a Christian, and then accusing me of NOT being a Christian because I wouldn’t do so. I think Christians should hold themselves to a HIGHER standard of integrity and forthrightness, not allow themselves to be deceptive, then excuse it.
It all amounts to a giant waste of time. Ugh. I shouldn’t have taken the bait when he asked, “What do you do for a living?” to which I responded: “By the provision of God and a really diligent, hardworking husband, I am able to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of five” because it all went downhill from there.