Back in Mid-May I ordered some Topsy Turvy tomato planters from Amazon.com. I had some Amazon gift certificates on my account, so the cost with shipping was only gonna be a little over $12.
I waited. And I waited. Amazon usually is so good about sending out notices to my email telling me my product has shipped. But this one just sat there as an open order. And then it said, product to be shipped between June 5th-10th with arrival no later than June 20th. And June 20th came. And went. And my order just sat there open. Until July 1st-when I received a message saying Amazon had cancelled my order because the seller failed to comply with regulations to ship within 30 days.
Ok, I figure-it's getting a bit late to plant those tomatoes anyhow. I will just buy some, earlier next time, the following year. On July 2nd, I got a UPS notice saying something had shipped from Home and Beyond (the company that fills orders for True Value on Amazon). I called Amazon and spoke with a nice CSR. He told me my GC balance had been credited to my account and he showed nothing being charged to my card or even shipping out from said company. I explained my concern, thinking my card would be charged the full $37.07 from this company, and again he assured me that no, it wasn't possible-they don't have my card number, only Amazon does and Amazon cancelled the order.
On July 8th, a rather beat up baggie arrives from Home and Beyond and I open it. Inside were two pretty beat up boxes of Topsy Turvy tomato planters. Though the boxes are both crushed in on the sides (why they used a baggie for shipping these, I don't know-couldn't they have afforded a box?) I inspect the planters and thankfully they are undamaged. Inside was the number to call Home and Beyond. I call and am on hold for about 10 minutes, all the time listening to elevator music and the automated voice saying "thank you for calling Home and Beyond. Your call will be answered in the order it was received. There are currently 0 callers ahead of you." Ok, so if no callers ahead of me what were they doing? And why weren't they answering the phone? I was kind of perturbed with the whole thing, because I think (and still do) that they got the cancellation from Amazon and rather than refund the money pulled a fast one and sent it out the next day.
So, finally the phone is answered by Monica. Who explains to me that the item was on backorder and it wasn't HER fault Amazon didn't tell me this. She said she showed no record that Amazon had cancelled the order on July 1st, and that when the products finally came in on July 2nd (yah right!) they shipped them out to me immediately. (again, because they'd been paid by Amazon and didn't want to refund the money) She told me the item was paid for, and said Amazon had paid them. I told her Amazon had cancelled the order, and told me my GC balance and card were not charged. (which I confirmed by looking at my Amazon account and saw the GC balance was reinstated.) Monica said they'd been paid and that was pretty much the end of that, and if Amazon didn't charge me then Merry Christmas! I could keep them. Wow! Basically telling me she didn't give a s%&t about it and it was out of her hands. Oh, I could return the stuff, but since I'd opened it, I'd have to pay to ship it back to them-um, that wasn't what I had in mind.
I called Amazon immediately afterwards and spoke with a another friendly rep. I explained to her what had happened and like me, she was shocked that the Home and Beyond rep. actually told me to keep the stuff and hope Amazon didn't notice. I know, being in accounting, that somewhere, somehow, someone down the line will do an audit and find this error, and I will be made to pay when I can least afford it... so better to pay less when I have the GC balance to use up. I told the Amazon rep. I would keep the planters for next year and by then I had a $40 gc balance in my account so told her to charge that for the whole amount and the items would be free to me. She was happy that I was honest enough to call, and was putting the request in to the accounting dept. and also they were going to do an investigation of the vendor, to find out what happened. Perhaps they will monitor them a bit better in the future, because I read several negative comments about them on the Amazon feedback page.
First, the planters weren't damaged, just the boxes. And the cost out of pocket to me would have been $12.07 originally after GC's used. By the time the error was resolved, cost out of pocket to me was $0. (due to additonal GC's I had added to the acct.) I would have had to pay for shipping (they refused to send a label) and besides, it was an item I can always use next year. I could have just shut up, spent my GC balance on something else, and had my debit card charged the full amount later on down the line when they discovered the error. Or I could have paid for it (even the $12 amt would have been fine) and felt honest, and better about myself in the end. I chose to go with option #2. And I can live with it. What would you have done? Don't worry, I don't judge anyone, my teen son was like "Mom, just keep it. They'll never know. " To him, it wasn't really a big deal. Would you have done anything differently in dealing with Monica, the rep. who told me to keep the item? Sounds like she has the same way of thinking as my son.