Zappos Steadfastly Refuses To Stop Delighting People

Yes, here is another happy Zappos customer. Reader Sarah’s son’s shoes broke and she asked to exchange them… but they just overnighted new ones instead.

Sarah says:

I ordered a pair of Keen Kids Newport H2 sandals from Zappos on April 14th for my son.

Unfortunately, one of the straps broke last weekend so I emailed Zappos to organize an exchange. Lori kindly got back to me this morning letting me know that not only were they sending out a replacement but they were overnighting my order for free and I needn’t bother to send back the defective pair. Zappos has just earned themselves another loyal customer.

Yeah, speaking of that, Zappos sent me the wrong shoes and when I tried to send them back they wouldn’t let me, and instead told me to donate them to charity and overnighted me the correct ones.

Any suggestions on which is the best charity to give a pair of totally-useless-to-me size 6 moccasins?


Edit Your Comment

  1. thesadtomato says:

    Try your local women’s shelter, domestic violence crisis center or sexual assault center. Those places need clothing and shoes for their clients (victims), and most people don’t think about it, instead give their stuff to Goodwill. It’s a little more work to find where, but they’ll appreciate it.

    • blueneon says:

      As a woman, I am all for people donating time, money and goods to women’s shelters, domestic violence centers and sexual assault centers. Can you tell me why though you apparently feel giving to Goodwill is not a deserving charity? (I took feeling that from your post) They seem to do a lot of good for people as well.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        We tend to donate these types of things (shoes, clothes, jackets and cell phones) to the local shelter because it goes directly to people in need, with no middlemen and no overhead.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        The difference being that a domestic violence center or women’s shelter often takes the items and places them directly into the hands of women in need without payment in return. Goodwill sells the donations they get, meaning women who would otherwise get those shoes would have to buy them through Goodwill.

        There are numerous organizations that provide women professional clothing they can wear to job interviews and to work, if your moccassins are close enough to being something women could wear with some professional clothing.

        • strathmeyer says:

          Wow, who knew people’s stupidity was holding them back from donating to Goodwill?

  2. snapdoodle says:

    Salvation Army?

  3. semanticantics says:

    This is my Zappos story (once submitted to Consumerist):

    I signed up for VIP status at Zappos a very long time ago, just in case I ever ordered from them. This past Tuesday, December 15th, I made my first order. I was expecting the VIP free UPS Next Day Air shipping service, but when completing my order, the only carrier I could select was USPS. USPS also has Express Overnight, and I wasn’t in an extreme need for shoes to begin with, so I didn’t think much of it.

    When my shoes didn’t arrive Wednesday, I didn’t think much of it again. I know this is the busiest time of year for the carriers, so much so that they suspend guaranteed service. No biggie.

    When the shoes still didn’t arrive today, I decided to call Zappos because I was more curious than anything, but had been hoping to have my new shoes for an event on Saturday. When I called I reached a CSA within a minute, so the menus and hold time were fine.

    The CSA was a very friendly woman, I regret not getting her name. I gave my order number and explained I had been expecting the overnight shipping. The CSA apologized (I feel as though I was being taken seriously, but it was not expressly stated) and did some digging on my account. The CSA said when ordering, it looked like I had purposefully selected USPS and this is why I didn’t get UPS Next Day. I said I didn’t recall un-selecting UPS, but that I was placing my first order with them and might have made a mistake. The CSA offered to send a replacement pair, and I could just return the wayward pair when they arrived, but of course I had ordered the last pair in my size. Somewhere in the discussion it was also mentioned that the system at either UPS or Zappos didn’t like my address and felt it was undeliverable. I was satisfied with the effort and said thank you.

    I decided to try going through the order process to see where I might have gone wrong, and after clicking Checkout, I noticed my account defaults to USPS Priority Mail, with no option to select UPS (or FedEx). I decided to call again and inquire. I was connected to Eric (I did receive a last name, but not sure if it should be used), who again was very friendly. I explained my previous order and that my account defaults to USPS. He placed me on hold for a moment and talked to another department, flagging my account for a manual review so that the UPS Next Day Air is applied whenever I order. He also made the offer to send a replacement pair, but I explained that wasn’t an option, as my pair was the last of it’s size. He asked if anything else on the site caught my eye, and as luck would have it, I had found another pair I liked while on hold. He asked for the SKU#. The first pair of shoes was $48, this new pair was $86. He said “Let’s see what I can do…since it’s your birthday”, implied *wink wink*, “and you’ve threatened to never order from us again…”, implied *nudge nudge*, “I can honor the $48 price of the first pair.”

    Wow. I told him I was impressed, that I had heard / read stories about their customer service and training. I said that I had read about the VIP offer on, and that I’d be writing them an email to sing the praises of Eric in Zappos customer service.

    If I had been flying off the handle about something, or was a long time customer, I guess I could’ve “expected” this kind of service. But as a casual, first time customer, Eric went way above and beyond anything necessary, and as a result, found a new customer for life.

    Thanks Consumerist and Eric at Zappos.

  4. fatediesel says:

    I’ve heard great stories about Zappos, and the only time I used them everything went fine. I am a bit worried that their customer service will suffer after being bought out by Amazon. Amazon is one of the best companies in terms of customer service but they have gone a bit downhill the last couple years, getting rid of their 30 day price guarantee and taking longer to reply to emails.

    • ooeygooey says:

      I disagree about Amazon, although my bad experiences were some years ago. It was so bad, though, that I am permanently afraid of them. Here’s the story: I used to have a wish list for xmas gifts, as did my whole family. On two separate occasions, I returned gifts that had been purchased for me from my wish list, for whatever reason. Instead of sending ME a credit or something, Amazon sent a refund to the original gift purchaser. Just think about this. Can you imagine sending a xmas gift to someone and then 2 months later getting a refund because your gift had been returned? I mean, I had to have these REALLY uncomfortable conversations with family about 1) returning the gift they gave me, and 2) what they should do with the money. I admit I was apoplectic with Amazon over this, no doubt, but Amazon did nothing to address the error, as it happened a second time. After that, I was done with them.

      Don’t even ask about getting your name off their email spam lists. Took me a year, no lie.

    • kerry says:

      Zappos has been a subsidiary of Amazon for nearly a year now and I haven’t noticed any change in their business. I order from them nearly once a month, sometimes more frequently. I was also worried when Amazon bought them, but it looks like (for now) Amazon is just making money off of them while Zappos does what they’ve always done and basically operates independently. In fact, this week Zappos was out of some shoes I wanted, so I ordered them from Amazon. This morning, three days after placing the Amazon order, I got an email from Zappos stating they were back in stock. Amazon still hadn’t shipped the shoes, so I canceled that order and the shoes will be here from Zappos tomorrow morning, with free overnight shipping. That functioned very much like working with two separate companies, not two branches of the same company.

  5. TehQ says:

    While it is good customer service and I have had nothing but good things to says about Zappos it makes sense they don’t want the old shoes back. It probably costs them more to ship the shoes back and there is nothing they can do with them since they are damaged.

  6. divedeep says:

    Hint to other retailers: Customers love companies with great customer service and are willing to give them their business!

    Why is this lost on so many other retailers?

    • JohnnyP says:

      Having not bought anything from them but seeing multiple good stories about them I told my wife the next pair I need are coming from them.

  7. blueneon says:

    two charities for shoes are and

    also, some cities have local shoe charities as well

  8. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    I’ve never bought shoes online before but was just about to place an order with I think I’ll try zappos instead because of all the good things people are saying about them.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I love Zappos! I’ve heard that in their customer service centers they often employ people who have experience wearing the shoes you’re looking for, like they’ll hire people who skateboard to work on questions about skaeboarding shoes, so if you call them with a question they’ll have people who are more able to help.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        Their price actually looks pretty consistent with everywhere else. Oddly enough, I’m planning on ordering the adult version of the shoes mentioned in the article.

    • veronykah says:

      How can you go wrong with a place that has FREE shipping there AND back if you need to return something?
      Zappos is awesome.

  9. Russban says:

    One of the reasons that retailers don’t always “get it” that we consumers like good customer service is that most of the time we fail to let them know that our business depends on how we are treated. Think of how often in our day to day life we receive poor treatment and either just let it go or we may make a complaint to a manager. Then think of how often when we receive good or excellent treatment, while we may be happy about it, how often do we tell a manager or supervisor about it? I have made a point in the last year to take the time to mention it to a supervisor either by phone, email, letter or whatever when I receive above average service and how that drives me to keep doing business with them. You would be surprised at how often the company expresses surprise and appreciation for the customer who takes a moment to say that. Praise is a good motivator.

    • webweazel says:

      Yes. I recently had a tech for AT&T come out to fix an intermittently troublesome DSL connection. Repair was scheduled for the next day. He came on time, answered all my questions to help me actually understand, explained everything well, showed me testing results, worked hard to actually FIND the problem, then showed me the corroded wire that was causing the trouble. He asked if there was any other issues I had while he was there. Exemplary service from this tech. I called AT&T to specifically give praise for the tech, and to put it into his file, so hopefully I helped to give him a raise in the future.

      I usually expect a certain amount of “customer service” depending on the provider/store. If someone goes above & beyond and soars high above that level, or if they go way below and start digging, I’m going to let the higher-ups know all about it.

  10. andoman says:

    I ordered shoes for the first time bout a month ago. I ordered the shoes at night at about 8pm. I checked regular delivery. They upgraded my order for free to overnight shipping and I got them the next day by 3 pm. Pretty amazing.

  11. goodcow says:

    Zappos is expensive but has fantastic customer service.

    It’s kind of like how when I go to the Apple Store or the Container Store, I know I’m getting screwed price wise, but the experience and customer service makes up for it and I know that’s what I’m really paying for.

  12. Blitzgal says:

    I also had a pair of Keen sandals that broke after only wearing them twice. I thought it was perhaps a design issue as the sandals have very thin straps. So I requested that I exchange the broken pair for a different style of Keen sandals and I would pay the difference (the new ones I wanted were ten extra dollars). They sent me the new pair that same day, before I’d even returned the broken one! I really love how responsive this company is, and have always had a great experience with their customer service representatives.

  13. Mighty914 says:

    I know it has less cache, but how about a “Best Company in America” bracket? Zappos and Amazon could be two of the top seeds.

    PS. Zappos’ competitor,, is excellent as well.

    • ARP says:

      Nordstoms and Costco. But it would be a very small group of companies. We’d probably start at Sweet 16.

    • fatediesel says:

      Not sure if you’d separate Zappos and Amazon, since Amazon owns Zappos.

    • JohnnyP says:

      I think it could give the worst company to work towards. Even ones that end up in the worst bracket it could give them a goal to work towards being on the best bracket.

  14. TheWillow says:

    I’ll take them.

  15. savvysavingbytes says:

    Great customer service is such a rarity these days that once a customer finds it, they will stick to that company for ever.

    Enthusiastic word of mouth; likes the Zappos comments here, is priceless. No zillion dollar advertising campaign can match it for drawing in new customers and retaining old ones. Like Divedeep, I wonder why so pitifully few companies get this.

  16. Boo LaRue says:

    Zappos has GREAT customer service, and some of the fastest shipping in the world. Kudos to them!

  17. JulesNoctambule says:

    Take the unwanted shoes to your local shelter — someone there will no doubt very much appreciate them!

    I bought a pair of shoes from Zappos and they arrived with what was clearly factory-inflicted damage. I called, and the new shoes arrived the following day before I’d even had a chance to take the damaged shoes to the post office. Between their prices, which are very competitive with what I would pay locally, and their customer service, I have no reason to even consider buying new shoes anywhere else.

  18. Rachacha says:

    An yet in our wisdom, we voted Comcast as Worst Company in Am…oh wait, Nevermind.

  19. Segador says:

    I would normally never order shoes online, but dammit, Zappo’s is getting my business.

    • veronykah says:

      I wouldn’t normally either but you can return the shoes for a different size FREE! And the selection is better than you will find anywhere in person.

  20. lawgirl502 says:

    Zappos may have great customer service, but I am an avid shopper and I know my prices, and they are too expensive.

    • SecretAgentWoman says:

      I have odd sized feet and can never find my size locally. I’ve tried “bargain” shoe websites and have been burned more than once on so-called “WW” or “E” shoes that were NOT. When I order from Zappos, the shoes ALWAYS fit perfectly and are quality shoes that last and last. They are worth the money. Shop at Payless if you want, but you’ll throw out those shoes and buy 3 pairs for one at Zappos, and does that really save you money?

  21. SugarMag says:

    Love Zappos, have bought from them many times, regardless of the price of an item.

    I did an exchange for sizing once – they sent the “new” size immediately – without waiting for the return of the other pair first. That was mucho cool and convenient.

    I heard they treat their employees well also? If so, I am even more apt to give my bucks to them.

  22. Baxterjones says:

    I can also recommend Zappos wholeheartedly. I have used and can vouch for their 365-day return policy.

    I bought a purse from them last year. Four months after my purchase, I saw two tiny cuts in the leather near a seam (as if it had not been sewn properly at the factory). I called them and they sent a replacement and just told me to send the damaged one back in the new box.

    Not only that, but after my fourth order or so, they automatically upgraded me to VIP status with free overnight shipping for life. On older, out of season items, or might be a bit cheaper, but I’m willing to pay those $2 extra for Zappos customer service. They’ve got a good reputation for a reason.

  23. NORMLgirl says:

    I have been wanting to buy some Keen Venice H2 sandals. I will now gladly give my business to Zappos!

  24. Medic1 says:

    I needed to get a new pair of shoes by today, so I ordered online yesterday morning with overnight delivery. The email I received shortly thereafter showed standard free shipping with delivery in 4-5 days. I called customer service to get it changed and to pay the higher shipping fee. The CSR (I can’t remember her name) upgraded to overnight shipping at no charge. I received them this morning before lunch. That kind of customer service is rare and I will use them again in the future whenever possible.

  25. Snakeophelia says:

    Exact same thing happened to me. New shoes, strap broke, I was leaving town in two days, and Zappos overnighted me the new pair and told me to send back the defective ones whenever I got around to it. Love them.

  26. TennesseeLeigh says:

    Zappos is always going above and beyond with their customer service. I have hard to fit feet – especially after having foot surgery – and the free shipping/free return shipping means that I can order multiple sizes to find the best fit. I buy all my shoes from Zappos and recommend them to all my friends.

  27. veronykah says:

    Oh Zappos, I love them.
    Just ordered 2 pairs of shoes, at 12:00am Wednesday morning.
    Paid nothing and selected standard ground shipping.
    Got home from work at 12:30pm today [thursday] and they were waiting at my door.
    THAT is awesome.

  28. panicjanet says:

    Sounds great, but I’m still waiting for them to do this kind of thing for their Canadian customers. We still have to pay for the shipping on returns, sadly, so I don’t think I’ll be seeing any free/instant replacements any time soon!

  29. SGT. E. G. ROCK says:

    * ZAPPOs is fantastic ! *
    I have a terrible time finding cowboy boots in Triple E,
    but that was not a problem for the people at Zappos.
    We went through every model that they had to try to
    find what I need, and could wear. This took more time
    then most ‘reps’ from other companies would have ever taken.
    I told them I needed them for a “theme wedding” I was going to,
    and I needed them really soon. Upon not finding the right style I needed,
    they ask me if I knew a make and model from another company.
    ( from ANOTHER company !!! )
    Well, end result they “found” the color I needed, the style I needed,
    and they ordered and had multiple sizes sent to me (just in case),
    because I wouldn’t have had the time to exchange them had they not fitted correctly.
    They overnighted ALL the boots to me. I kept the ones that fit,
    and sent back the ones that didn’t. (All with NO shipping fees, EITHER WAY)
    Pro & Con :
    CON: They are definitely not cheap like “Pay-Less” !
    PRO: They are definitely not cheap like “Pay-Less” !
    They truly care about the customer,
    and EXCELLENT customer service.
    Then, if that wasn’t enough..
    Their phone people sent ME,
    lovely cards thanking ME for using them
    and giving them my business.

    I most definitely WILL be using ZAPPOs again !