So on December 12th I was doing a little last minute online Christmas shopping. I went to Overstock.com, through whom I have had both good and not so good service, but figured what the hell they have a good selection, and they're cheap. ( I once got a brand new iRiver mp3 player for $75 due to their total incompetence)
I place my order that day for a DVD for my brother-in-law and a live bonsai tree for my cousin. Later that afternoon, I get the tracking info for each item. Wow, they are both invalid numbers. You're batting 1000, Overstock! I figured that I would wait a while to see if either the items would arrive, or the tracking numbers would be updated. Maybe 3 days later, the DVD came via UPS even though it was marked as having been sent USPS.
Many days later, and still no sign of the bonsai, I am getting worried. I mean, this is a live plant being shipped. Plus, it specifically stated on the website that it would be sent express due to it's perishable nature and would not be shipped to be in transit over a weekend. So I hop on to use the Overstock chat feature. I tell my sob story and am told "We're so sorry, blah blah blah, we guarantee delivery by Christmas, we'll update the tracking info and Research will contact you within 1 business day". Great. I am placated.
Two days later, no contact and still no bonsai. I contact them again and get basically the same song and dance, except this time my rep added "We have a 10 day waiting period before an item can be claimed as lost - we will contact you within 1 business day with updated info." OK...that makes sense, but since it should have gone express, won't it most likely be dead after 10 days of transit?
I wait maybe a 3 or 4 more days before trying submitting myself to more fun with Overstock.
Me: Hey, still no tree - if you really did send it, I'm pretty sure it's dead by now.
Them: No, it's fine - we guarantee delivery by Christmas.
Me: Really? How can you guarantee that?
Them: We just do.
Me: And what happens if it's not here by Christmas?
Them: Someone will contact you within 1 business day.
I literally went through variations of that conversation 5 more times.
Skip to the day after Christmas, where I loving gave my cousin the heartwarming and meaningful Barnes and Nobel last minute gift card. I get back online, not quite as 'understanding' as I have been in my MANY previous encounters, and this is the exactly what happened:
Nicky: Thanks for visiting Overstock.com, this is Nicky, how can I help you?
you: Hello, I'd like a refund on my order #XXXXX
you: For: MY NAME, MY ADDRESS (Please note, I know the drill by now)
Nicky: I'm sorry to hear that you wish to return this order.
Nicky: I will be glad to help you with that.
you: No, I never RECEIVED this order
Nicky: g-Dawg, thank you for verifying the Name and Billing address.
Nicky: Are you referring to the 'How I Met Your Mother - Season 1 (DVD'?
you: No, the bonsai tree
Nicky: Thank you for confirming.
Nicky: May I know the exact return reason as why you have decided to return this item to initiate your return appropriately?
you: Because it never arrived.
Nicky: Thank you for the information.
Nicky: I have verified your account and I see that we have already initiated the trace with the carrier for a full refund.
Nicky: If they are unable to locate the package we will issue the full refund.
you: that was over two weeks ago
Nicky: We have set this trace and we will contact you via email or phone within the next 1 business days regarding the status of the trace.
you: No. I'd like the refund now, as the amount of time I was stated for a trace has MORE than passed and I still have yet to be contacted, despite numerous promises that I would be within 1 day. 5 times, to be exact.
Nicky: I understand your disappointment at this point of time.
Nicky: Such an incident is an isolated one and is quite rare. I am sorry that it happened in your case.
Nicky: I understand that this inconvenience cannot be compensated.
you: In fact it can be compensated, by a refund
Nicky: At this point of time what best I can do for you is issue a discount coupon of $5.00 as instore credit on your account and it will automatically apply to your next purchase with Overstock.com.
you: I don't really care for a coupon, as I don't anticipate using overstock again. I just want a refund in a timely matter.
Nicky: I really wish I could resolve this issue for you at the earliest, however, we need to escalate this to the Research Department as they have to look into this issue and give you the appropriate resolution.
you: Again, I have been told that at least 5 times now, without any contact or any kind of resolution. If this kind of runaround is the only resolution you can offer me, I will initiate a charge back with my credit card for failure to complete a transaction. (THESE ARE THE MAGIC WORDS, FOLKS!)
Nicky: Let me check what the best we can do for this. Can you please hold?
you: sure (I hold for maybe 1 minute)
Nicky: Thank you for staying online.
you: no prob
Nicky: I'm glad to tell you that we have issued the refund on this item.
Nicky: This credit will be reflected on your next credit card billing statement.
you: Thank you
Anyway, after all the crap I went through I finally got my refund. Then today came the icing on the cake. Almost 4 weeks after this all started, FedEx Ground delivered me a bonsai tree. Totally out of the blue. Best part? It's not even the one I ordered, it's a more expensive one. And it's in perfect condition, obviously packed and shipped recently. So I am now the proud owner of a beautiful (and free) juniper bonsai. Thanks Overstock!