SIGG Responds: Yes, The $50,000 Gift Certificate Was Intentional

Last week, we posted the experience of a SIGG customer who received a $50,000 gift certificate credit for the BPA-riddled water bottles she mailed back to SIGG as part of their massive exchange program. SIGG contacted us to clarify what was going on. To sum up: it’s intentional and meant to expedite customers’ exchanges. And they’ll catch you if you try to abuse it, you jerks.

On behalf of SIGG, I want to take a moment to respond to your recent post.
Since we launched our Voluntary Exchange Program back in August, we have received thousands of exchange requests. We quickly realized that issuing individual coupon codes was delaying the process and resulting in many frustrated customers. To improve our customer service response time, we began issuing daily batch codes. This is the reason for the large credit balance that some people are seeing after redeeming their codes.

Each consumer is told what their individual exchange value is. We also review each order before it leaves our warehouse to ensure that it accurately matches that value. If it does not, we do not ship it. Our systems ensure that consumers get the value they are owed.

Some of the comments on your site encourage people to order bottles to which they are not entitled. Thankfully this has not been an issue to date. Attempts to abuse the system will only delay our ability to issue valid replacement bottles.

We are making every effort to deliver solid customer service and do the right thing on this issue. We have allocated significant resources and are constantly improving processes to try to streamline this program. That said, we are still catching up. And we appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding.

As a small company, we are doing our very best every day and we will work tirelessly until every order is processed appropriately.

Sincerely,
Robert Rheaume
General Manager
SIGG USA

Given the number of complaints about delayed exchanges we’re received, it’s good to hear that the company is instituting measures to speed things up. Even if seeing a gift card balance of 50 grand is initially confusing for customers.

PREVIOUSLY:
SIGG Will Replace BPA-Containing Bottles For Free
SIGG, Where Are My Replacement Water Bottles?
SIGG Gives Customer $50,000 Gift Card For Two Water Bottles

Comments

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  1. Xerloq says:

    If they’re taking the time to review each order, why not simply ship the replacement product when they look up the exchange value?

    Seems like the gift-card step is an unnecessary confusion.

  2. billy says:

    >>>To improve our customer service response time, we began issuing daily batch codes. This is the reason for the large credit balance that some people are seeing after redeeming their codes.

    First, what does that mean? It doesn’t explain why a daily batch code=$50,000.

    Also, how is crediting $50,000 better, more efficient, or less confusing than flagging the exchanges as such?

    • secret_curse says:

      @billy: That means they’ll give a whole bunch of customers the same code every day. That one code has $50,000 on it. If each order is $10, then 5,000 customers can use the same code.

      No money is changing hands, but I’d bet their web store is coded so that it absolutely must have money or store credit to process an order. This is a quick and dirty method of getting the orders through the website so that the warehouse gets an invoice. Once they get that invoice, apparently they check it against their records to make sure the number of bottles ordered is equal to the number of bottles a customer is entitled to, then they ship them out.

      It seems like a very customer friendly policy to me. Surely some people are going to get away with getting a bottle or two more than they deserve, but Sigg is willing to take that risk in order to get bottles out ASAP. Good for them.

    • srh says:

      @billy: Why speculate?

      This policy doesn’t hurt anybody. SIGG apparently believes it expedites the process. I see no reason to question their motivation.

      Unless you have some inside knowledge of their warehousing and purchasing system, why question what they have decided to be the most efficient way to handle the situation?

  3. UrIt says:

    Makes sense, and it’s nice of them to think on a quicker scale for the consumers vs continuing the slow way and causing angry mobs bent on an agrarian revolt

  4. Xerloq says:

    @ichibanjay: Wouldn’t that be on the original order? The order that they look up to determine the replacement value?

  5. morganlh85 says:

    Wouldn’t it make more sense for them to give credits of, say, $100 or even $500 to expedite orders for people who have a few bottles? I don’t know anyone who owns 500 Sigg bottles, I mean, come on. The potential for abuse is astonishing.

    • secret_curse says:

      @morganlh85: They’re giving the same credit code to lots of customers. They’re catching abuse by checking orders before they ship them. Each person isn’t getting their own special code with $50,000 on it.

    • nbs2 says:

      @morganlh85: It is ripe for abuse. But just as we don’t tolerate abuse of customers by corporations, we should not tolerate abuse of corporations by consumers.

      Well, except for BoA. And Comcast.

  6. Xerloq says:

    SIGG made the first flub in creating a “voluntary” exchange program. Regardless of the actual effect of BPA, they should have replaced ALL the water-bottles proactively, instead of waiting for customers to ask for exchanges.

    Seriously, you learn that in Public Relations 101 – at least I did.

    If your product contains something that may be dangerous, you don’t leave it up to the consumer to decide whether he takes the risk of using the product or not.

    Imagine if Tylenol did that with the possible cyanide contamination… [en.wikipedia.org]

    BPA may not be as toxic as cyanide (no one was murdered with BPA, AFAIK), but the scenario should be handled the same.

    • madanthony says:

      @Xerloq, we are all made of stars.:

      How are they supposed to “proactively” replace them? They have no way of knowing who has bought them – it’s not a car where they can send a recall notice to all registered owners. Should they start breaking into random houses to search them to see if they have bottles to replace?

    • subtlefrog says:

      @Xerloq, we are all made of stars.: Normally I’m with you, but here, I have to go with madanthony. I’m not sure how you think SIGG could possibly do this. People buy these things from SIGG directly, at retail outlets, get them as gifts…how the company can be omniscient about who has them and how many I don’t get – and really, don’t think I want to…

    • katstermonster says:

      @Xerloq, we are all made of stars.: Ummmm how in the WORLD is Sigg going to know who all these people are? My (BPA-free) Sigg bottle was given to me as a gift, and neither I nor the purchaser registered it in any way. And they better not be able to get her name/address from her CC information. That would be a terrifying breach of privacy.

    • katstermonster says:

      @Xerloq, we are all made of stars.: And honestly, I think the comparison to cyanide-laced Tylenol is pointless as best, offensive at worst.

    • megafly2 says:

      @Xerloq, we are all made of stars.: PPA is just like cyanide, except that cyanide kills you and PPA just might…perhaps…possibly make you sick in 5 years of long term exposure.

  7. triple-e says:

    I like the explaination, would be good to tell the customers when they get their balance, but I like the fact that the company is standing behind their product. There would be a lot of other less consumer friendly alternatives.

  8. TheOrtega says:

    Sounds like they couldn’t figure out how to to send individual credits for the bottles so they just put a pool credit out their and planed to door check it in the shipping process.

  9. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    If they know the real exchange allowed for each person, doesn’t it just seem faster to focus all their attention on making the exchanges then sending out 50k coupons? They say they have the valid amounts, so just SEND them. Sigh.

    Companies like to make extra work for themselves sometimes. And always for the customer.

    • secret_curse says:

      @Loias: It’s a lot easier to make one store credit code for $50,000 and giving it to hundreds of customers than it is to make hundreds of store credit codes in varying amounts and making sure those correct amounts make it to hundreds of different people.

      I’d imagine what they’re doing is giving customers the same code until it runs out of credit and then making another $50,000 code. When someone places an order, they can check their database at that point to make sure they’re not ordering more bottles than they’re entitled to before shipping. That way the vast majority of orders for one or two bottle will go through really quickly, but if someone tries to order 50 bottles it can be flagged for someone at Sigg to check and see if that guy just really loves metal bottles or if he’s trying to scam the company.

    • arymede says:

      @Loias: What sort of buiness do you run or work in if you believe companies actually like making extra work for themselves? It’s completely ridiculous and counter to any logical business model.

  10. Damocles57 says:

    What they are doing is an accounting practice of reserving a specific dollar value as a limit for anticipated returns. The card numbers give them an audit trail to verify and charge against the declining balance of the reserve account.

    I would like to see any of the critical posters here devise a method of returning items that would survive the unlimited methods people create to game the system when they see an opportunity to get something for free.

    And then let the rest of us attack you for your ignorance, stupidity, greed, lack of speed, failure to wrap the item in the properly sized box, etc.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @Damocles57: seems like a good method to me as well, though i would’ve had the storefront coders remove the remaining gift balance from view to reduce the potential for confusion/abuse.

  11. n00nen0se says:

    Having worked on product catalog and billing systems, it sounds like they had to get something in place ASAP and some arguably poor decisions were made. Typically, if their system can create customer credit and assign an identifier to it, it shouldn’t matter whether you’re issuing 100 or 10000 refunds.

    If they’re issuing the same code to every user on a daily basis, that means someone is cataloging each user, their specific return information, and assigning that refund code to them (either manually or loading each customer into a tool that assigns the code in bulk). In either scenario, it shouldn’t add much complexity to assign a random identifier to an individual refund and associate it with a user’s profile.

    Just a geek’s two cents.

  12. ExtraCelestial says:

    Actually I think this is understandable and pretty decent of them to come up with a way to make this as quick and painless as possible for customers that are already a bit ruffled. I appreciate that they responded to the article, but maybe they should make their customers aware of this as I’m sure the tipper wasn’t the only confused customer.

    That said, I still see no need for bottles at a table unless you are under 5. And I always hit my teeth when I try to use them while I’m in transit.

  13. uptown says:

    Looks like somebody doesn’t want to pay their web developers to implement an effective solution to the problem.

  14. rwalford79 says:

    Wait..

    So Sigg doesnt have time to put $55 into everyones account as a credit for their bottles taking forever, and for the exchange…Yet they have time to go through and “verify” orders that might be 50,000 dollars?!?!?!

    Ummm… Sorry Sigg, thats a little fishy, and you should be ashamed of yourself.