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Even More Fun with Harry & David

As you may recall, in a recent essay, I wrote about technological trouble I had when ordering from Harry & David and about the followup in which their systems tripped a fraud warning on my credit card. More recently, I wrote a followup essay, in which I discussed the followup issues: Incredibly poor customer service via email [1], packages that arrived without the recipient’s name, and so on and so forth.

Well, it appears the followup essay tripped their We need to call this person alarm [2]. So, on Wednesday night at about 7 p.m., I got a call from a customer support specialist at Harry & David. What did she say? Approximately, Well, it appears that there was a problem, and we sent out two separate preauthorizations on your credit card. So, yes, in the end, it was their fault [3]. Why hadn’t any of the other people I’d emailed known this, and why did they keep insisting that it wasn’t a problem? It appears that they did not have the right to access the appropriate information.

So I asked my normal followup question: What are you going to do to compensate me for the lost night of sleep and the higher fraud warning on my credit card [4]? The response? Well, we sometimes give a discount, but you ordered with a discount. We sometimes give free shipping, but you get that because you joined our club. I was out with a friend. In the end, I didn’t really want anything other than an apology. So that’s what I asked for: Please put into writing what you just told me. The response I’ll have to talk to my supervisor; I’ll let you know tomorrow. But I did just send you a coupon for 20% off your next order.

The next day, I got a voicemail message from the same person. Unfortunately, my supervisors will not let me send you that apology. Isn’t that nice of them?

As I’ve been thinking about it, I realized why. Sending forth two preauthorizations when the customer has not made two charges may, in fact, be fraudulent [5]. Admitting that in writing is probably risky. At the same time, the original action is a fairly serious screwup.

I do think that when your system screws up and has a serious effect on someone, you should (a) make up for it, and (b) present a real apology. In addition, when your customer service department does not respond to a complaint for two weeks, you not only have some additional apologizing to do, but also need to address the problems in your system. Clicking a button to send a 20% off coupon is not a real apology.

But, you know what? I’m not the one who screwed up. They are. It shouldn’t be up to me to figure out what the appropriate apology and restitution are. It should be up to them. I think I’ll call back on Monday and see what they can come up with [6].

I guess there was one positive from all of this: I got the excuse to write some amusing rants. Nonetheless, I still wish none of this had happened. And, while I love giving folks Harry & David, I suppose I’ll need to figure out another source for holiday gifts next year.

[1] Including a period of two weeks in which they did not respond to my email messages.

[2] Although, it appears, not their Respond to the email alarm. We may learn why later in this essay.

[3] Well, according to them, it was their bank’s fault. But, from my side, that’s essentially the same thing.

[4] Is that greedy? I don’t know. Probably. I’m still angry at losing four hours of sleep because of their screwups, and about the complete lack of service from customer service.

[5] It’s a good thing that my credit card company caught the conjoined charges.

[6] Or maybe this essay will once again trip the We need to deal with this annoying person who is complaining about us in public alarm [7].

[7] In case you’re wondering, I’m waiting for Terian Koscik to turn these essays into another of her Overly privileged rich people Twitter ’bots, or maybe a new comic strip.

Version 1.0 of 2016-12-31.