Thursday, October 20, 2011

Like Jerry Seinfeld says, "it's got a taint!"

Scones & Tea bookMore than a month ago, I ordered a book from Hoffman Media called Scones & Tea.  Yes, it's by the people who put out Teatime and Victoria Magazines.  Now, I've ordered stuff from them before and never had to wait more than a couple of weeks to get it.  This one ... took 6 weeks.

When I opened the package, I noticed there was a bill inside and a note that said I had ordered via check and underpaid.  No, no, no.  I ordered right from their email and paid via my credit card.  Now, truth be told, I don't remember if the shipping was free or not, but since I've ordered from them before (and since) and there was never a shipping fee before, I assumed the shipping was included in the $19.99 price.

Nope.  Now they want $4.

I sent them a note telling them that I did NOT order by check and that I believed the shipping was free.  Guess what--it wasn't Hoffman media that answered my email.  It was some fulfillment house.  (Probably they're the ones who sat on my order for 6 weeks.)  Make no mistake, they want that four bucks, and there was no "Dear Customer," no apology for whatever misunderstanding that may have happened, no explanation, no nothing--just a statement that says I owe and I need to pay it ASAP.

This is NOT good customer service, and not what I expected from a company that prides itself on Southern hospitality.  First of all, they should have acknowledged that I didn't pay by check.  They should also have given me some explanation as to why when ordering by credit card the shipping was NOT included. They did neither. "PAY UP SISTER" was their message.

It's too bad I really enjoy these magazines, or I could just ignore them and never order another thing from them again.  But I still want to read those magazines.

I tried to call and was on hold so long that I was in danger of using up my cell phone minutes for the month.  (Which is why I ended up emailing.)  But I'm not happy about this situation.  Would I have paid an extra $4 for this book had I known the cost was $4 more? Maybe -- maybe not.  But having to pay extra after you've already received the book?  Not amusing.

SeinfeldAnd I haven't even opened the book.  Now, to quote Seinfield, "it's got a taint."

Have you ever had an experience like this before?  If so, what did you do?