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.


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on August 3, 2009, in Christian Living, Christianity, Homeschooling, Sad Things, Shopping. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I’m sorry sweety. What a poopy thing to have happen, and then to suck up time on someone who really isn’t worth the time. I know I find it hard to not take the bait in those situations too. The issue of what YOU did for a living had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he misrepresented his product. Shmucky is the only word that comes to mind. Take a deep breath and let it go. But good for you for trying to help him understand the REAL issue.

    Love you!!!!

    • Yeah, I didn’t really make it clear in the post that what he did was offer a refund (which I didn’t actually ask for) then send me a series of e-mails trying to make me feel badly for “making” him give me a refund. 😕 Ugh. I don’t feel slimed or anything, but I sure want the time back that I unwisely invested sending 6-7 e-mails to the guy, trying to iron out something that just wouldn’t iron.

  2. Sometimes ministry to other Christians (or, perhaps more accurately: “Christians”) is the hardest thing to do.

    Hang in there, and I’m glad you were able to get a great deal for only a buck more!


    • Thanks, Luke! Actually, I hardly ever have run-ins with other Christians! That’s what threw me for a loop, because I just wasn’t expecting it, and on the outset, was certain that we’d just have a little exchange (which he instigated, BTW), and go on our merry way with a better understanding of each other. Nope. Yuck.

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