The Breakup

by Janne, www.kunstfabrikken.wordpress.com

image by Janne, www.kunstfabrikken.wordpress.com

Dear Camerabox,

When I met you I was just another consumer wandering around in www looking for a camera to buy. I am not saying I was naïve and innocent. I had been around the block, spent hundreds of pounds and kroners on clothes, books, food and gadgets online. But this time it was different. I had searched through an endless array of forums and tests to find the perfect camera for me and I found the one I wanted.

So in search for a shop, I picked you; camerabox.co.uk. The equipment was reasonably priced, you had next day delivery and a secure web-page (In addition to your handsome looks and layout). What more can a www-consumer ask for? After placing the order, you seemed quite eager to make me happy straight away, because the next day I found a note in my post-box, saying delivery had failed since I was not in. The same thing happened again next day but I could collect the parcel at the local depot.

This is the point where our relationship started to rock. Citilink, the delivery company was in another town, an hour drive away. When I called the delivery company and an automatic answering machine gave me two options:

Press 1) to return parcel

Press 2) to track the order.

I pressed 1 and e-mailed you, dear Camerabox, to let you know that the parcel was heading your way, and to say that I did not think much of your choice of a courier. I called you as well to arrange a new delivery and you kindly said that you would off course contact me when the parcel returned. That was so nice of you! And it was not your fault that the courier did not do a particularly good job.

After establishing this relationship between us over a week in October and after contacting you so many times, I felt I should leave the ball in your court this time and sit and wait for you to call. That took you 2 weeks. When you called and told me the camera I had ordered had gone out of stock, I started having doubts about our relationship, It felt like I was giving you so much more than what you gave me back. The funny thing is that

  • I had paid for the camera, so it was my property
  • The camera had been shipped to me before, so it did exist.

The only thing I gather from this is that you sold my camera to someone else, while I was sitting there, waiting for it. As I pointed this out to you, you said that it was my fault, since I had not contacted you. But I had! Twice!

I think you could sense my frustration, so you asked if I wanted a refund. And since I am a well-behaved customer who knows that mistakes happen, I tried not to shout when I said yes. And you probably did not notice, but I pressed the “hang-up” button on the phone pretty hard.

As you know, this happened in the beginning of December. I shall not bore you with all the details of what happened after the break-up, I am sure you remember most of it, so here is a recap:

  • I called, and you said I would get a refund within 5 days.
  • After 7 days, I remind you about it. You did not respond.
  • I called again, and you said you would give a refund within 30 days.
  • I sent you another reminder the day after and again you did not respond.
  • 30 days after I sent you yet another reminder.
  • You called me to tell me about how a new payment system were making things slow. You apologised for the delay. You also asked if I wanted the refund as a cheque or straight to my account. I said I wanted it transferred to my account.
  • A couple of weeks later, you e-mailed me and asked for my address so you could send me the cheque. (Even though I explicitly stated I wanted it transferred straight to my account).


To this day you still haven’t refunded my money. I tried to break this relationship off a long time ago, but it is hard when I am being reminded again and again about how lousy you treat me by not sending me my money back.

I wish we could just end this. The power is in your hands. All I can do is give you these pieces of advice on how to treat you future customers:

  • Know your facts. There is a huge difference between 5 days, 30 days and 60 days when a customer is waiting for a refund or a delivery.
  • Be honest. It is extremely frustrating when the customer has to wait for something, but it is even more frustrating if they are told the product (or in my case, a refund) will arrive at a date and it is considerably delayed.
  • Do not let the customer do your job. If you have problems knowing what the customer wants, or if something about the order changes, let the customer know! It should not be the customer’s job to call and ask. For the record, I sent 8 e-mails and received 3 replies. I called about ten times, and received one diminutive phone call from you.
  • Document your communication with the customer. If you document your conversations and e-mails, it is easier to know where the customer stands and what has previously been said between the customer and customer-service.
  • Do not sell a product twice. Pretty much what it says on the tin. Just don’t do it!


That is all.

(Not so kind) regards,

Gerd Inger Aarnes


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