During our thirty-nine-year marriage, a live Christmas Tree always graced our home. Always a big tree...as large as the room would allow. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without a huge tree. We found out last year that isn't actually true. Because I could not obtain and decorate a large tree by myself, I purchased a seven-foot artificial tree and decorated it. And you know what? It wasn't such a bad little tree as Linus would have said.
As nice as the tree was, I never dreamed my husband would suggest that we get a larger artificial tree for this year. This from the man who loved going out to the tree farm, selecting the perfect tree and spending hours decorating it. I was delighted, since I remembered the awful un-decorating process...the way the room looked when the tree was finally out the door and the struggle to get the tree on top of the SUV to take it to the lake. And the mess all over the floor and on the porch and down the steps.
So this year, my husband ordered a tree in a box.
The tree sat in the box for several weeks.
We decided to decorate the tree on Friday, December 3. We moved all the furniture and opened the box. The metal tree stand looked "funny." It would not open. Closer examination revealed that the tree stand was not only broken, it was warped. The opening was oval. Just as you can't put a square peg in a round hole, you cannot put a round pole in an oval one.
There was a disclaimer with the tree advising us to call the manufacturer, not the store from which the tree was purchased. I called them. I waited and waited and waited until I finally reached a human voice.
Did you send in the warranty card?
No, I just now opened the box.
Send us the warranty card and we will send a new stand.
No, your warranty does not depend upon whether or not I have sent the card. Perhaps I could speak with your supervisor.
The supervisor agreed that honoring the warranty did not depend upon sending the card.
Can you give me the UPC number on the box?
After much scrambling I found the number and gave it to her.
We will send you a new stand. You will get it in 7-10 days.
Seven to ten days? Can't you get it here sooner than that?
Not unless you pay an additional $90.00 for shipping.
Ninety dollars? I should pay another ninety dollars to obtain a replacement for your faulty product?
Well, otherwise you can wait the week to ten days.
Perhaps I could speak with your supervisor.
The supervisor confirmed that no one in the company could waive the ninety-dollar charge. I told him I would not pay another ninety dollars and asked that they send the new stand. I asked if he could give me a tracking number. He explained that it wouldn't be available until Monday and I should call then. They would use my telephone number to find the tracking information.
[TIME SPENT ON PHONE: about 40 minutes.]
We decided to put the smaller tree in the empty space until the new stand arrived. At least we would have a lighted Christmas Tree there and wouldn't have to rearrange the furniture again.
I called on Monday, provided the appropriate history of my problem and asked for a tracking number.
I'll need some more information.
I was told you could use my telephone number. Can't you just pull up the information on the computer?
I don't have a computer.
You answer the customer service line and you don't have a computer?
I take it down on paper and take it to the supervisor who can look it up. I'll call you back.
She calls me back to say they have no record of my call on Friday, so we complete the process again. When I called to check for a tracking number on Tuesday, we WENT THROUGH THE SAME PROCESS AGAIN!!!
On Thursday we came home to find that UPS had delivered the tree stand. We put up the tree on Friday and it looks lovely. On Saturday, UPS delivered another tree stand. Since I talked with five different people, I'm wondering just how many tree stands we might receive.
Here's the tree, up and decorated. You'll need to click to see much of anything.
One thing I learned from this experience. ALWAYS check any boxes you receive WHEN you receive them. Also, just because a company doesn't appear to have a clue about customer service, they may actually come through for you.