Dollsome reader Paige C. writes in about the tragic mislaying of one of her Blue Nile earrings. It is rather predictably followed by a smattering of appalling customer service on Blue Nile’s part after they promise (then deny) her a half-priced replacement:
Last Christmas, my husband bought me some garnet & diamond earrings from Blue Nile. A few weeks ago, due to some wacky physical comedy involving spilled water & a grated Parmesan cheese explosion, one of the earrings was inadvertently swept up and thrown away, never to be seen again. When I deduced this, I was completely distraught, as I am a sentimental sort. The next day, I emailed Blue Nile’s Customer Service department, explaining the situation involving my garnet and diamond studs, and asked if there was any way to purchase one earring. Honestly, I expected bad news, but thought that it couldn’t hurt to ask. Then ” Diamond and Jewelry Consultant” Terri Brown wrote me back saying:
“We can help you replace your missing earring at half the price of a new pair of pre-set diamond stud earrings, but we’ll want to make special arrangements to make sure you end up with a well matched pair of earrings. What we’ll have you do is mail back your remaining single earring, and then we’ll send back a new pair of earrings so that we can be assured of the best match between the diamonds. I would suggest contacting us by phone to make these arrangements. You can call us at 1-800-242-2728 Monday – Friday 5 A.M. – 9 P.M. and Saturday – Sunday 6 A.M. – 7 P.M. Pacific and any consultant you reach will be able to assist you.”
I was ecstatic.
Of course, if there’s a jump, we all damn well know that Paige’s ecstasy can’t last…
I went home and told my husband the good news. It turns out that he and emailed them the same day and he, too, had been told a replacement was possible. A few days later, he called the toll-free number to set the replacement process in motion. That’s where the ecstasy ends, as he was told that Terri Brown was mistaken, only diamond studs are eligible for this service and Terri Brown’s mistake, it seems, was our misfortune. This matter was then turned over to me as my husband is the yelling and hanging up sort and has learned not to engage and alienate them forever.
I called Blue Nile back and explained the situation to a customer service rep on the other end of the phone. He “understood my frustration” but was “unable to authorize a replacement.” I explained that this situation made it quite unlikely that I was ever going to spend any more money with Blue Nile because, while I now understood the literal policy, I was still led to believe that my earring was replaceable for 1/2 the cost of the pair. As was my husband. I was then told that a supervisor would call me within 24 hours. 24 hours passed, nothing. I called back again, nothing. 5 days later, I called back and spoke with ANOTHER representative, who gave me the same explanation. I was told that the other two representatives I had spoken to were “temporary employees.” Not my problem. I was told that Terri Brown must have misinterpreted my original email (which clearly stated they were garnet & diamond studs, not just diamond studs), and that his email was a template. Again, I informed him that their misinformation should not be my problem, and what’s more, I have been waiting for some sort of definitive answer to my question for almost a week. I said that I was beginning to feel as though they just wanted me to go away and give up, but made it clear that I would not, and that, frankly, this runaround was severely decreasingly the likelihood that I would ever buy anything from them again, let alone give them $150 to replace the earrings. Garth had me send him the original email response and promised me a call back within 15 minutes. Sure enough, within 15 minutes, Garth had authorization to send me a new pair of earrings at a 50% discount and I was allowed to keep the one remaining earring from the original pair – a completely acceptable resolution to the problem.
Anyone happen to remember when you could hold companies to their word? Where companies actually considered their employees to be representatives and spokesmen for the company as a whole, and if an error was made, they paid for it, not the consumer? Even though Blue Nile eventually capitulated, it is astonishing to hear stories like this, where they essentially said: “Sorry, we made a mistake. But fuck you anyway.”