EECB Scores Direct Hit On Overstock's CEO

Reader Alison is enjoying her Sunday morning even though failed to send her the shipping label she needs to return a defective DVD player. At 10 a.m., she launched the feared Executive Email Carpet Bomb at twelve Overstock executives. Shortly before 1 p.m., CEO Patrick Byrne personally responded. Read her story, after the jump.


I am writing because of a terrible experience I had with recently. I understand that mistakes will happen, but there is no excuse for treating your customers poorly when they attempt to resolve your mistake, or for having customer service representatives who clearly aren’t trained or equipped to handle issues effectively.

I ordered a DVD player from recently. When it arrived and I set it up, I immediately discovered that it was completely nonfunctional: The eject button didn’t work at all, so I couldn’t even open the tray to put a DVD in, and the VCR portion ejected tapes as soon as I inserted them. I called Overstock and was told that you would initiate a return and I would receive a shipping label by email within two days. Two days later, having received no shipping label, I used Overstock’s “live chat” to find out what was going on.

The woman who “helped” me over live chat made the situation far, far worse. She wouldn’t respond to questions, answered things I wasn’t even asking, casually dropped information very late in the conversation that I had asked for much earlier on without success, and was generally infuriating in her unwillingness or inability to listen and respond to what I was asking.

After 20 minutes of a very unhelpful live chat, I terminated the conversation, still having no idea when, if ever, my return label will arrive. I don’t understand why it would take days to email a return label to me, I don’t understand why it’s still not here, and I certainly don’t understand why she wouldn’t just let me print one directly, as your Web site promises customers can.

I am attaching the transcript of the chat to this message as a file, so that you can verify this.

I would like my return label to either be emailed to me immediately, or I would like to be able to print one online. I am very disappointed in Overstock’s unhelpful, aggravating customer service, which made an already frustrating situation far, far worse, and if this situation isn’t resolved quickly, I plan to post far and wide online (craigslist,, etc.) to describe my experience and encourage others to stay far away from Overstock.



Reissuing a shipping label should not take much effort, but that didn’t stop Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne from replying:

Dear Alison,

I am so sorry about the lousy experience. I will have someone contact you immediately to resolve things. Please elt (sic) me now if things are not fixed to your satisfaction by Monday afternoon.


We congratulate Patrick for responding to a customer’s email on a Sunday morning – which by itself almost qualifies as above and beyond.

The Executive Email Carpet Bomb is one of the most effective tools for promptly resolving complaints. Read our step-by-step guide to learn how to launch your own EECB.

(AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)