Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Always Check the Box

Regular readers may recall that Christmas last year was far from normal at our house.  We had a player who sustained major injuries in early December before the tree was up.

During our thirty-nine-year marriage, a live Christmas Tree always graced our home.  Always a big 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.


Carolina Linthead said...

Oh, how I know what you mean! I once received five identical cell phones because of a glitch with their online ordering process. The phones arrived en mass on the morning we were to leave town for Christmas vacation. By late afternoon I had managed to get four of them canceled out and had made arrangements for pick-up of the ones to be returned, so all ended well. I am glad things worked out for you, as you have a beautiful tree, but yes, best to open the box right away and inspect the contents.

LoieJ said...

Once when I tried to order an pretty good air filter from an on-line company supposedly specializing in air quality devices, I got it ordered, only to find out that it was on back order immediately. I needed it in less than 5 days. They also billed my credit card when I ordered it. That took a lot of unscrambling to get fixed. I learned that some "mail order companies" are only a small office that processes orders, not actually companies with merchandise on hand.

Lesson learned. I will always try to deal with big companies who care about their reputation even if it costs a bit more. I know that most long standing companies don't bill your card until the merchandise is shipped.

Anonymous said...

That's quite a story! I'm glad it all worked out, and you have such a beautiful tree in time for the holidays. Great advice about opening boxes right away. It's true, and save all the paperwork too. It's amazing how often that stuff comes in handy.

Karin said...

I'm just like you though - wouldn't open the box until we need it! Lesson learned1 What a lovely tree - I like that it is slender and tall! Beautifully decorated too!

abb said...

You gotta let us know how many stands you end up with!

Your tree is beautiful!

The Bug said...

Gorgeous tree! Which is good since it cost so much of your time :)

Taradharma said...

Argh! Just don't attempt to send back any 'extra' tree stands, or they just might charge you for them!!

What an ordeal, but your tree is beyond lovely!

Rudee said...

What an ordeal! Perhaps you should write a letter to the president of the company in respect to their customer service. Link the president to your blog post with his product name in the photo. Who knows? Maybe you'll get something for your effort.

NanaNor's said...

Hi there, So glad you finally got the stand. I am one who thought I'd never succumb to a fake tree but once we had it, I loved it-the ease, the clean up and everything else. I think it is the best decision hubby ever made. My grown daughters still have live trees and they are beautiful but mine doesn't shed.
Hugs today.

Appalachian Lady said...

You have far more patience than I would have with that company. The tree though looks lovely.

This year I didn't put up a real tree yet but decorated my orange, lemon, and a pine trees with ornaments and lights. That might just suffice!

Valerie Cummings said...

Wow you had me going there! I was thinking what????no computer???? Oh Im so happy you got your stand!!! Happy Holidays!!!! Hugs Joey and Kealani

carolina nana said...

Glad your persistance payed off.That is a lovely tree.
Merry Christmas

Busy Bee Suz said...

I am sorry for your frustration...but your tree looks AMAZING.
Maybe you will get another tree for another room later in the week??

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Beautiful tree, Carolyn.... Glad it all worked out... Talk about a poorly run business though... Yipes!!!!!

We have one of those trees in a box... Ours is a 7 ft. one ---since we only have an 8 ft. ceiling. BUT--from one who swore I'd never have a 'fake' tree-----we love ours. WE have had it about 6 yrs. now I think. AND--it still works perfectly.... I love having a pre-lit tree... NICE!!!!!

Yours is gorgeous for sure though...

Vicki Lane said...

What a story! But the tree looks great!

Anonymous said...

I am so impressed that you were able to tell this story without profanity. I inserted some on your behalf as I read it.

Tree IS beautiful!!!

Jayne said...

Nothing like customer service experiences like that to make you crazy! LOL... yes, I do wonder just how many tree stands you will be receiving! The tree looks just beautiful Carolyn.

KB said...

Good advice about always checking the box! I'm glad that you finished the crazy process with a beautiful tree and a working stand.

George said...

Oh, the joys of dealing with customer service. But at least you did get your tree stand(s) and the tree is beautiful.

Jen said...

That's a beautiful tree! And if you end up with 5 tree stands, you can always gift them. Or put up 5 trees next year ;) Glad you finally got it all settled.


Tipper said...

Well what a story of aggravation! But the tree looks amazing-wow it sure is pretty!

Loulou La Poule said...

Obviously it wasn't an outsourced customer service rep; they'd have had a computer.

Oh, brother.

Merry Christmas, honey!

Ruth said...

Your title is good advice for sure. What a rigamarole to get it made right but the tree looks lovely.

SouthernSass said...

That is good advice. The tree is beautiful!

Golden Samantha said...

Your tree is absolutely gorgeous, but you need to hire yourself out to write comedy. The tea I just took a sip of is coming out my nose now, but of course, I'm not giggling at your misfortune. You told a common tale so uncommonly well that I couldn't help myself - thanks for the reminder! In a wonderful way!
Sammie's and Avalon's Mom

JeanMac said...

all i can say is mercy !

KGMom said...

As Shakespeare said--all's well that ends well.