Jake couldn’t place an order for an Xbox 360 deal on Black Friday—yes, we’re talking about a failed transaction from two and half months ago—but he got surprisingly helpful customer service from Office Depot. Margaret at the Office of the Chairman even gave him her personal number and promised him a raincheck of sorts in the form of a gift card for a future purchase. Her offer sounded almost too good to be true, and maybe it was, because as of February he still hasn’t seen a gift card. And Margaret won’t return his voicemail messages, not even to say the deal is off. Update: Office Depot saw this post, and they contacted Jake.
Here’s his story:
In November when the online Black Friday deals were starting to heat up, I saw that Office Depot was running a sale on XBOX 360 bundles with BioShock for $199.99. (It was item number 0519380.)
Their current page for this item is here: http://www.officedepot.com/ddSKU.do?level=SK&id=519380
On Friday, Nov. 21, I went on the Office Depot website and tried to order this item. Every time I tried, it told me that the item was invalid for my area, and it wouldn’t allow me to put the item in my cart.
So, I called Office Depot’s telesales number. There, I spoke to a girl who was very friendly. She put me on hold for about ten minutes while she tried to place the order for me. When she came back on the line, she told me that she could see the item, but she wasn’t allowed to place orders for it. When I asked her what I should do, she told me there’s a chance my local store manager can order it for me.
Then I called the Layton, UT Office Depot. I spoke to Matt, the manager there, and he was very friendly. I told him the item number for the XBOX 360 I was trying to buy, and that telesales had told me that he might be able to order or reserve it for me. Instead of putting me on hold, Matt looked at his in-store system with me on the line, and found that he also could see the item, but he couldn’t order it. He said that he wasn’t sent any to stock either, so he couldn’t help me get one.
I was almost ready to give up, and I asked Matt if there was anything else I could do.
“Look”, Matt said to me, “It’s there on the website, so you should be able to order it, right? So why don’t you just call that telesales number again, and tell them to order it for you, and if they say they can’t, escalate it until whoever you’re talking to can.”
I was amazed to hear one of Office Depot’s store managers telling me this, and I felt that he was absolutely right.
I called the telesales number again.
This time, I got Michelle. I told Michelle about the website, and about my first call to telesales, and about the store manager, and that she should take a look at the item number and if she can’t order it for me, please escalate the call.
Michelle was great. She found that she was not able to order the item, and escalated me to her supervisor right away.
I waited on hold for the supervisor for about five minutes, and when she came on the line, I forgot to write down her name (oops). When I explained the situation to her, she told me that she was going to send my call to executive customer care. She said I might be on hold for a while, but to wait, because the person I would get on the phone there could help me.
I held for about fifteen minutes, and then someone answered with, “Office of the Chairman, this is Margaret.”
Margaret listened to all the things I’d done to try to order the XBOX 360, and then she told me that she would have to research it.
I told her that would be fine, but I had already done all this work, and I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t hang up and then never hear from her again. So, Margaret gave me her full name and phone number.
That was Friday the 21st. I knew that I wouldn’t hear from her during the weekend, so on Monday, Nov. 24, I waited all day for her call. Around 3:00 pm, I called her number and got voice mail. I left a message that I just wanted to follow up with her and was looking forward to her call.
A few minutes later, she called me back. Margaret told me that she was unable to find an XBOX 360 in any of her warehouses, and she was very sorry. Then, she said, “To make it up to you, I’d like to send you a $260 shop card. Would that be ok?”
I was so surprised that I didn’t know what to say, and I think I stuttered that it would be great. I gave her my address and thanked her several times, and that was it.
And since then, I’ve been waiting for the promised card to show up. I figured there might be a delay, because things take time to process, so I’ve kept telling myself to be patient. I’ve tried to call Margaret a couple of times, and I’ve left her one or two upbeat voice mails asking if she could check on the status for me.
But Margaret hasn’t called back, and now it’s February.
I was really blown away by how every single interaction I had with an Office Depot employee was excellent. They were always nice, and they always tried to help. And I never expected to be offered a shopping card, but a broken (or delayed, hopefully) promise is hard to overlook.
So I’m hoping that writing this to Consumerist will get Office Depot’s attention. And I’d really like to see the card come through, but failing that, just an explanation would be nice.
(Photo: dev null)