WeddingDepot’s Nonresponsive, Passive Aggressive, Customer Service

UPDATE: WeddingDepot calls this post libel and requests its removal.

Loren ordered a personalized ornament from WeddingDepot.com on December 16th. Instead, she received a “unity candle holder” on December 22nd. She emailed several times starting that day and didn’t receive her first response until December 28th.

What follows is an exponentially degrading exchange between Loren and customer service rep Shaun. Eventually Loren wears him down this:

    “I’ve tried to offer you a solution, yet you continue to debate it without end and thereby causing yourself further delay. Here ya go – this will work:

    1. Throw unity candle stand in the trash.
    2. We’ll issue a full refund.
    3. We’ll cancel your account with us. Please shop elsewhere.”

It’s all for the best. Loren gets her money back and WeddingDepot loses a customer they’re unable to satisfy. Frankly, their stuff is pretty cheesy so Loren is better off taking her business to another store.

Full exchange, inside…


Loren wants WeddingDepot to pay for UPS to come by her house and pick up the package, and she wants her personalized ornament sent before she returns the faulty merchandise.

Shaun pretty much wants the opposite. He wants Loren to return the items before they will process the refund or ship the correct item.

By law, stores can set their own return and refund policies. However, Shaun does a poor job of adequately communicating these policies and doesn’t never addresses the emotional frustration Loren expresses. If had shown a little empathy, things might have gone over better and Loren wouldn’t have felt like she had to resort to filing a BBB complaint.


Loren writes:

    “I placed an order for a personalized ornament with WeddingDepot.com and unfortunately, received the wrong shipment. It has all gone downhill from there in one of the nastiest customer service battles I have ever been involved in.

    I have included here all of my email communications with the company on this matter. I truly can’t believe the way this customer service representative has chosen to speak to me …

    I’ve already contacted the Better Business Bureau but feel consumers must know about the way this company is choosing to conduct business.

    You have my permission to post these emails, albeit without my contact information or email address.

    Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

    Thanks,

    Loren

    [ed: We think the apparent mixup in the timestamps is due to Loren and Shaun being in different time zones.]

    —– Original Message —–
    From: “WeddingDepot.com”
    Date: Tuesday, December 19, 2006 12:35 pm
    Subject: Order Update
    To: Loren

    WeddingDepot.com

    ** IMPORTANT ANSWERS: Some items – including albums -require special production times. Always check item descriptions first for production & shipping times. Some items only require 10- 14 days while others such as Art Leather albums require 6- 8 weeks. During this time, your order will simply remain in process without further email updates. DELIVERY TIMES: This is different than production times. Delivery times are the time the delivery service has your package. Orders ship from zip code 37064. Most orders ship US Mail. For questions about delivery times, check USPS.com. We cannot control delivery times. TRACKING NUMBERS are only available on FedEx order. Also, check the My Account section of the website for information about your order.

    ——————————————-
    Order Number: 26316
    Detailed Invoice:

    Your order has been updated to the following status. New status: Hooray, order has shipped!🙂

    For shipping or delivery times, please refer to the item description on our website, the Help menu on our website, and the My Account section also on our website.

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Loren
    To: LorenWeddingDepot.com
    Sent: Wednesday, December 27, 2006 9:17 AM
    Subject: Re: Order Update

    I am STILL waiting for a response on this.

    You sent me the wrong item. I ordered a personalized ornament, that I paid for expedited shipping on, and received the wrong order instead. I am still expecting and waiting for the ornament I ordered and I would like shipping costs removed from my bill … as the item clearly didn’t get here in time for the holidays, as I had hoped.

    Please respond on this. This is the 3rd email I have sent.

    Thanks,

    Loren

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Customer Service
    Date: Wednesday, December 27, 2006 8:09 pm
    Subject: Re: Order Update
    To: Loren

    Hello there,

    Thank you for your follow-up. Which item did you receive?
    Shaun
    Customer Service
    http://www.WeddingDepot.com

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Loren
    To:Customer Service
    Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 2:25 PM
    Subject: Re: Order Update

    I replied earlier today and have still yet to hear back from you.

    I was sent a unity candle holder. I ordered a personalized ornament.

    When can I expect the ornament to show up and will the charges be deleted from my account?

    Please reply asap. I am disappointed with the response time I have received from your company.

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Customer Service
    Date: Thursday, December 28, 2006 4:28 pm
    Subject: Re: Order Update

    Hello there,

    Thank you for your follow-up. Unfortunately, we cannot always instantly reply. Sometimes we have to investigate an order to discover what happened to create a mistake. As you seem to be very frustrated and disappointed – because you keep stating that in your emails – how about we have you return the mistaken shipment via US Priority Mail and we’ll refund your full amount including the return shipping. We’ll then discontinue our shopping relationship. When errors are made, we try out best to solve them, but unfortunately if someone keeps telling us of their frustration and disappointment, there isn’t much hope for a satisfactory result.

    Shaun
    Customer Service
    http://www.WeddingDepot.com

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Loren
    To:Customer Service
    Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 3:56 PM
    Subject: Re: Order Update

    My initial email was sent to you on Friday, December 22nd. Without a phone service to answer my call, I was left guessing if I would receive the item in time for Christmas. That is what got me so frustrated.

    I would still like the ornament, as I paid for it, and it was a gift that I had bought for someone very special. It’s frustrating to buy that one special gift and be let down when it is guaranteed to arrive, you pay for it to arrive and then it doesn’t show up at your doorstep in time.

    To end the disappointment, the best resolve would be for me to receive the item that I originally ordered. I will gladly send the other item back, but not until I receive the item that I ordered.

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Customer Service
    Date: Thursday, December 28, 2006 5:17 pm
    Subject: Re: Order Update
    To: Loren

    Hello there,

    Thank you again for your reply. We indeed are sorry to have shipped the incorrect item. Because FedEx only designates the time FedEx has a package in their possession and does not alter order processing dates, orders with personalized items still require their normal time before shipping, so a personalized item placed on the 22nd would not have been guaranteed for delivery before Christmas. Most personalized items require several business days before shipping – although we tried to shorten that when we could for the holidays. Ornaments are usually in the 5-7 business day range for production.

    Please use this information for returning the mistaken shipment and we’ll reimburse you for the US Priority Mail fee, and we can move forward with correcting the personalized ornament shipment.
    Return form: http://www.weddingdepot.com/returns RA# 061227SL

    Thank you!

    Shaun
    Customer Service
    http://www.WeddingDepot.com

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Loren
    To:Customer Service
    Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 4:20 PM
    Subject: Re: Order Update

    I didn’t place the order on the 22nd. I placed the order on the 16th and paid for expedited shipping. I received it on the 22nd and it was incorrect. That is when I originally emailed, at 3:00 and received my first response on this today.

    As I mentioned, I will gladly ship the item I received back, but not until I receive the ornament that I ordered.

    Thanks,

    Loren

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Customer Service
    Date: Thursday, December 28, 2006 5:35 pm
    Subject: Re: Order Update
    To: Loren

    Hello there,

    Thank you for the clarification. If you would like to keep the candle holder, you can purchase it. If you wish to return it for the ornament, we need it to be returned before the ornament can ship. This is nothing unusual. All your local retailers and major online companies require a return before another item can be shipped. Your local retailer does not offer you another item until you return the previous one. I don’t know why you would want to hold the candle holder as it’s not even a comparable item. It sounds like some sort of “ransom” idea or something… ha, ha. It costs us more for you to actually ship it back to us, so that theory wouldn’t quite work as it would be more cost effective and easier for us to just have you keep it and not to ship the ornament at all. We’re trying to correct the situation for you. You wanted good service and we’re trying to provide it to you. If you choose to complicate it, it only adds more frustration on your end. Trying to play a “I’m not shipping this until you ship that” game will only end in a very messy and frustrating situation that will probably include your not receiving the ornament.

    We’re trying to provide the service you wanted and condemned us for not having. We’re trying to help.

    Shaun
    Customer Service
    http://www.WeddingDepot.com

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Loren
    To:Customer Service
    Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 4:44 PM
    Subject: Re: Order Update

    The form you provided me with is not a return shipping label … I’d have to actually go to the post office, PAY for shipping and hope that you’ll reimburse me …without knowing that is going to happen … or if I’m even going to receive the ornament that I originally ordered.

    I don’t think it’s “standard” to say that I should pay for an item that I never ordered. Standard, would be sending UPS to pick up the item that you incorrectly sent, at your cost, not have me go to the post office, pay for the item and wait to be reimbursed. In fact, any time I have ever been shipped the wrong order, UPS has been sent to pick it up and the right item has been sent to me.

    It’s not an issue of ransom … it’s an issue of why should I go out of my way for your company’s mistake?

    I don’t understand the service I am receiving or the rudeness at all.

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Customer Service
    Date: Thursday, December 28, 2006 5:49 pm
    Subject: Re: Order Update
    To: Loren

    Hello there,

    You are correct. It’s not a label – I did not say it was. Yes, you will have to deliver it to the post office – that is why I previously said we would reimburse you. This was a matter of a mistaken shipment. I am uncertain why you are inflating it to be a situation where you are a victim. That is something you are imagining. We want to correct the situation, but you are working against us in our efforts.

    You may have worked with UPS in the past. We do not. We have provided our method of return and reimbursement. Again… we’re trying to correct the situation for you and we hoped that you would help do so because it’s you we’re trying to help.

    Shaun
    Customer Service
    http://www.WeddingDepot.com

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Loren
    To:Customer Service
    Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 4:59 PM
    Subject: Re: Order Update

    Surely, I hope name calling is not standard in your business operations. I never called myself a victim. I just want the ornament I ordered.

    I will return the unity candle holder. In what form of payment do you plan on reimbursing me for the shipping? Will I receive a check? Will you put the credit on my credit card? Please let me know.

    And when can I expect to receive the ornament that I ordered?

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Customer Service
    Date: Thursday, December 28, 2006 6:41 pm
    Subject: Re: Order Update
    To: Loren

    Wow – name-calling? Where did that come from? Victim is an ordinary term in vocabulary which described the perception I was getting from what you were telling me. You were insinuating the lack of morals of our company by questioning if you were even going to get reimbursed and repeatedly condemned our service level. That is something someone says when they think they are a victim (being ripped off) and that is what I interpreted your perspective to be from what you were telling from me.

    I promise you we want to take care of this honest mistake but are having a bit of a bumpy road doing so. If we could not back- up my offer and were going to rip you off…. why would we have sent you anything in the first place? The reimbursement will come in the form of a credit back to your card.

    Thank you!

    Shaun
    Customer Service
    http://www.WeddingDepot.com

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Loren
    To:Customer Service
    Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 8:38 PM
    Subject: Re: Order Update

    I do not consider myself a victim and don’t appreciate the use of the term … I am simply being a cautious consumer, and from the type of unprofessional communication that has been coming from your end, I think I have every right to be. I have never in my life been talked to by a customer service representative in the tone that you have chosen to take with me.

    As I understand it, in the customer service business, it is your responsiblity to make sure the customer is satisfied and has received the items that they have ordered, in a timely manner and in the shipping time in which they requested and paid for. Instead, we have wasted an entire day emailing back and forth without a resolve to the problem at hand. So now I have to wait until you receive the unity candle holder before my ornament can be shipped when it should have been here by Friday, the 22nd? Seems to me that I’m the one that is now being inconvenienced even further for your company’s mistake … How is that customer service?

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Customer Service
    Date: Thursday, December 28, 2006 10:26 pm
    Subject: Re: Order Update
    To: Loren

    Hello there,

    Wow… we’re definitely on different wave-lengths and I don’t possibly see how you interpret “victim” to be a negative term. I am uncertain what word you would use for someone claiming to be at the mercy of a company who they suspect and make claim to having done them wrong. The reason you’ve not ever had communication like this before is because most companies train employees to practice activities that are illogical in order to cater to the dreams of customers and that includes telling customers anything they want to hear as long as it makes them smile. It’s an act that companies do to hope that customers will think they’re great and come back. It usually goes beyond what’s reasonable and logical for the situation and pretty soon the company wastes more time and money trying to cater to a customer who is insulting them. That leads customers to have the mind-set that a company should do anything for the customer. After all… why wouldn’t it? The customer learns they can yell and insult the company and look… the company then does anything you ask. That’s ridiculous. Errors do not translate into carte blanche. There are still processes that must take place and procedures to be followed to make corrections to mistakes. Those same customers usually are quick to cast negativity toward companies and then claim the company is being rude to them when it responds to such allegations cast by the customer. They think it’s a one-way street and their purchase entitles them to say anything to the company. Companies are only people too, and half the gibberish that a frustrated customers email would never have left their lips if they had to say that in person… to a person.

    Yes, I agree that today’s communications have been virtually wasted. Early in the day, I offered the solution we are ending on – yet you continued to debate it for the entire day. Not only that, but you continue to ignore the fact that you are incorrect that the item was to be delivered to you by the 22nd. You are creating your own “guaranteed by” time and blaming us for a production and shipping time you’re making up. In fact, you’re even making up the “guaranteed” part totally. We only state approximations for all our products, yet you’re taking it upon yourself to interpret it as “guarantee”. We cannot control your choice to convert our information into what you wish it to be.

    This is definitely one of the most peculiar email exchanges I’ve had with a customer and it amazes me how your failure to understand the correct shipping time in combination with an honest mistake in our shipping department has caused you to question the morality of our company by questioning if we would refund your money. We look forward to receiving the product back so we can rapidly conclude this exchange.

    Shaun
    Customer Service
    http://www.WeddingDepot.com

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Loren
    To:Customer Service
    Sent: Friday, December 29, 2006 6:48 AM
    Subject: Re: Order Update

    You say I am imagining that I’m a victim here? I am imagining reporting you to the Better Business Bureau. THAT’S what I’m imagining.

    You state ” Not only that, but you continue to ignore the fact that you are incorrect that the item was to be delivered to you by the 22nd. You are creating your own “guaranteed by” time and blaming us for a production and shipping time you’re making up. In fact, you’re even making up the “guaranteed” part totally.”

    Actually, no, I’m not making any of it up. I received an email on 12/19 saying “HOORAY! Your order has shipped!” The production time was clearly through with and the item was on its way. And I received the candle holder on the 22nd. SO…. If the RIGHT order was shipped, it would hold true that the ornament would have been here by the 22nd, no? I haven’t made anything up. “Thank you for your follow-up. which item did you receive?” … that was the first response I received from you after emailing you three times and stating that I was disappointed I had not received the ornament. A simple “We are sorry for the shipping error, we’ll get the ornament out to you as soon as possible” would have gone a LONG way solved this entire debate. Instead, you chose to argue with me about this.

    I am not asking you to bend over backwards for me as the customer. I am asking for CUSTOMER SERVICE, none of which I have received.

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Customer Service
    Date: Friday, December 29, 2006 10:25 am
    Subject: Re: Order Update
    To: Loren

    Thank you for your reply. The reason you received the shipped notice was obviously because the wrong item had shipped because the regular production time for the ornament would not have been complete yet, so my comments about “guarantee” are exactly right. We did offer a solution early on. You chose to debate it, so we replied each time.

    We’ll await the arrival of the return. We will handle the exchange when it arrives.

    Shaun
    Customer Service
    http://www.WeddingDepot.com

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Loren
    To:Customer Service
    Sent: Friday, December 29, 2006 9:36 AM
    Subject: Re: Order Update

    Regardless, the ornament should have been shipped BY NOW.

    I will send the unity candle holder back COD.

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Customer Service
    Date: Friday, December 29, 2006 10:42 am
    Subject: Re: Order Update
    To: Loren

    We reimburse for postage and not COD fees or additional services you select to add to the return.

    Shaun
    Customer Service
    http://www.WeddingDepot.com

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Loren
    To:Customer Service
    Sent: Friday, December 29, 2006 9:54 AM
    Subject: Re: Order Update

    You have been reported to the Better Business Bureau.

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Customer Service
    Date: Friday, December 29, 2006 11:29 am
    Subject: Re: Order Update
    To: Loren

    No problem. We’ll be sure to include the BCB. We’ll enclose your on-going debate in our response. I’ve tried to offer you a solution, yet you continue to debate it without end and thereby causing yourself further delay. Here ya go – this will work:

    1. Throw unity candle stand in the trash.
    2. We’ll issue a full refund.
    3. We’ll cancel your account with us. Please shop elsewhere.

    That was easy. Have a good New Year’s!

    Shaun
    Customer Service
    http://www.WeddingDepot.com

    —– Original Message —–
    From: Loren
    To:Customer Service
    Sent: Friday, December 29, 2006 10:46 AM
    Subject: Re: Order Update

    It’s not surprising that you’ve been reported before and have an unsatisfactory record with the Better Business Bureau.

    I am still unsure of what solution you ever offered me other than for me to go to the post office, pay to return the unity candle holder, and then patiently wait to be reimbursed for that … as well as wait even longer for the ornament to arrive.

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Customer Service To: Loren
    Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2006 10:53:44 -0600
    Subject: Re: Order Update

    Please follow the below solution and discontinue communication with us.

    Shaun
    Customer Service
    http://www.WeddingDepot.com”

— BEN POPKEN