EECB To Lids Finally Gets Me Out Of Dead-End Customer Service Maze

It only took a month, several e-mails, a visit to the Lids store and an EECB to company management to get Michael the hat he'd ordered.

It only took a month, several e-mails, a visit to the Lids store and an EECB to company management to get Michael the hat he’d ordered.

You buy something online and the wrong item shows up. You try to exchange it in the store but the item you ordered is out of stock there. You call other stores and customer service, only to be made a worse offer than what you’d paid for weeks earlier.

This is what happened to Consumerist reader Michael when he simply tried to order some hats online from the Lids website on Cyber Monday.

He didn’t really complain that it took two weeks for his order to arrive. But when one of the hats he’d bought was different from what he’d ordered, he unwittingly stepped into the customer service maze.

Lids customer service told him he could mail the hat back for a replacement or take it to a nearby Lids store. Given how long it took to process and ship his original order, visiting a brick-and-mortar store seemed more expeditious at the time.

At the store, they don’t have the hat Michael had ordered, but an employee tells him he can just issue the refund and then Michael can re-order the original hat online or see if another Lids store has it in stock.

No other store in the area had the hat, so Michael went back to the Lids website to re-order. But of course the Cyber Monday deal is come and gone so the hat is now selling for more than he paid.

He e-mails customer service and gets no response. After three days of waiting, he calls and explains that all he wants is to be able to get the hat he ordered several weeks earlier but which Lids never provided.

“She understood exactly what I was asking for, and after a brief hold informed me the best she could do was generate me a 20% off coupon,” writes Michael. “This coupon sounds great but really its useless because I am a Lids member and will already receive 20% off any order I make. Not to mention I am unable to apply this code in conjunction with my Lids membership discount–basically she provided me with nothing.”

So, unable to find anyone that can simply sell him the hat he ordered at the price he ordered it, Michael did a bit of research, located the names and e-mails of some top folks at Lids and launched an Executive E-mail Carpet Bomb, calmly and politely detailing the issue and expressing his genuine disappointment with the company’s customer service.

“After sending this email, I was contacted by a regional manager and a regional director,” Michael tells Consumerist. “The very sympathetic and understanding regional director informed me that he was just getting off a plane in Seattle and was on his way to a store where he would find the hat and send it out to me.”

And within 48 hours, Michael was opening an overnight package from Lids containing both the had he’d ordered and a $40 Lids gift card.

“While it was unfortunate it had to escalate to that level, I was genuinely pleased with the response and effort of the upper management level employees that helped me out,” says Michael.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.