You be the Judge….


Read the entire post please

We have been posting on this blog since really June 2011.  Me, as in Leslie has reviewed  100’s of motorcycle accessories, bikes and gear, etc…and I really try to be fair and honest without losing credibility or defacing a company.  Up until now I have to say it’s been real easy to  keep things positive or critique as constructively as I can. 

However, recently,I was shocked by the response I got from a return I recently made and I will keep the business name anonymous for now because I can’t wait to see how they actually handle my order. Please note:  These lights were ON SALE for the public.  He did not discount them as a special favour to me as he implies in the below email…

Scenario is simple:  I order Rigid Aux LED lights for both our bikes from a USA company as I do in many cases, I see what they really look like on the same bike as ours this past weekend and decided NOPE, not for us…too big for the place we want to mount lights.  Simple right?  Well, even before I refused the package that I spent a lot of $$ to be shipped to Canada I emailed the owner, said thank you for answering all my questions but unfortunately these lights won’t work for us so I was going to not even open the package and just send it back….this is the first email I got back.

“OK, I understand.

There will be a 15% restocking fee of the purchase price.  Shipping fees are not refundable.

If there’s any return fees imposed by the Post Office, we will deduct that value from the refund.

It’ll probably take a month to get the refund processed.  There are some logistics to the refund.  Because it is a PayPal transaction we can’t refund a partial value, it’s an all-or-nothing refund.  I will have to scratch my head on this one and contact PayPal. “

OK…so the owner has issues with returns but what a way to put it to me…I wrote back…wow, what a deterrent to return anything back to your company…and inquired about the 15% restocking.  I asked because we buy a lot of stuff from Revzilla and have truly forgotten the word restocking fee.  Next email I get is this…partially edited.  Remember I paid over $50 in shipping fees…which I did not expect to get back and won’t…

“Leslie:

Here’s the reason for the restocking fee:  We get charged at least 3% in PayPal fees for the original transaction.  Then we get charged at least 3% for the return transaction.  So we’ve already lost 6% ($30 +).  Then we have to pay for the costs of packing, the box, the copies, etc, plus we have investment in the time involved in processing the order, completing customs forms, and finally we have to pay the shipping clerk’s salary as they handled the order.  So now we’re taking a loss of at least $60 on the order.  The 15% restocking fee barely covers those costs (it probably doesn’t)…

When the package comes back to us we have to fully inspect it for damage, and we have to make sure it’s in 100% sellable condition.  If we can’t then we are stuck with a unsellable product.

Our return policy is posted on the website.  It’s pretty much the same policy that you find anywhere in the motorcycle industry.  We’re not Costco or Walmart, we can’t afford to accept returns without passing along the costs of the transaction.  Especially when a customer arbitrarily changes their mind.

You may not realize it, but normally we don’t give refunds or accept returns on electrical parts or lighting systems.  We’re not enforcing that provision.

You were keen to make sure I gave you a discount, which I had already done.  Then you changed your mind and decided the lights wouldn’t work for you, so now you’re refusing the package.  And now you’re indignant because we’re charging a restocking fee?  Come on…”

The owner of said company called me indignant because I asked about a restocking fee????  So, I admit I did not read their return policy, expected to be dinged which is not what is bugging me…it’s the attitude and connotation in his emails that has made me irate.

I believe customers are not always right but ought to be treated with respect and appreciation…this is the first time not only do I feel almost held hostage due to all the money I will lose by returning these lights but the tone of an owner??? An owner of a motorcycle online shop???  Am I wrong to feel talked down too?  Almost treated as though I am an idiot?  Am I over reacting?

YOU BE THE JUDGE AND PLEASE FEEL FREE TO LET ME KNOW THAT I AM OUT OF LINE OR OVERREACTING…

My last email I sent this owner was this…

“Haven’t heard a restocking fee being charged for a while because we buy a lot from Revzilla.  And the fact you just called me indignant just made this a not so nice return.  You can ding me anything you want, it’s your policy and right as the owner.  I will sit back and wait to see how this works out.”

No more emails after this one I sent!

24 Comments

  1. Jerry Oliver says:

    The internet is a wonderful thing in that if I get bad service or attitude from one company, I can find a dozen others selling the exact same product. I can also make sure that everyone is AWARE of the bad customer service that I received. The days of “take it or leave it” are over.

    • advgrrls says:

      The one thing I did not mention is that I have spent a lot of $$ with this company and when I have added to an order that was never an issue but this is the first time I have returned an order without even opening the package…just really interesting his reaction. And you are right…there are so many companies that have better attitudes and once this is over we will never shop with this company again.

  2. Daren Tucker says:

    I think the owner is absolutely right about his costs…what he does not take into account are “opportunity costs.” A little more difficult to define, but basically he’s lost at least 2 customers. How much more would the two of you spent with him? Probably not known before this, but likely $0.00 now.

    I don’t have access to the financials for Revzilla, but they are one of a few companies, that if necessary, ill spend a few more dollars to deal with them. That’s how I should feel about all vendors, but as you’ve experienced, that is not always the case.

    • advgrrls says:

      You are right he has lost two customers and the owner knows our history with his company…we have spent enough using his company to outfit many of our bikes with no issues but it appears perhaps he does not care that he will lose a couple of customers…maybe he is so successful it does not matter? 😉

  3. NikkiC says:

    When all this is said and done, please let us know who it was because I won’t be doing business with them.

  4. patrice says:

    As a business, we have to keep the customer happy because everybody know that a happy customer will always be back, this guy obviously worry too much about his money than losing a good customer

    • advgrrls says:

      he called me ” indignant”…a harsh word for just asking a question.

      • Sharon Eblen says:

        Leslie, I get the impression that the man was projecting his own feelings in his last response to you. I certainly didn’t get “indignant” from your prior correspondent. You were asking questions and he wasn’t providing much detail in his responses.

  5. Bob says:

    I’ll name the company I dealt with Tourtech USA
    I was going to order a single decal for my panniers roughly 25.00 shipping cost to Alaska 30. something. They do the same on t-shirts and other sundries
    The folks in Canada always seem to get a rough deal ordering through internet but I think everyone does

  6. Tim says:

    Hey Leslie – Have you ever noticed in life how some people can make friends by the way they say no while others make enemies by the way they say yes?
    I see two issues here, shipping/return policy and customer service/conflict resolution.
    If the shipping and return policies are on the website and you did not read them, then shame on you. It is buyer beware. You agreed to the transaction based on the terms and conditions on the website (the price, the shipping costs and the return policy). I do not believe that customers have a ‘right’ to change their minds. There are costs associated with a transaction and the store should be entitled to enforce their return policy.
    I do not believe that the customer is always right, however the customer has the right to choose which store to do business with. That choice is based not only on the tangibles (price, etc) but also on the intangibles, what your perception of the store is based upon your interaction with their customer service.
    The use of inflammatory language, in this case by the storeowner, is not conducive to effective conflict resolution and will only ever escalate the situation. It would have been far better for him to reiterate the return policy without the derogatory comment about your tone…even if the tone of your email was indignant. This would be customer service 101.
    So let us know how this is resolved. Please let us know the name of the store, so we can make informed decisions in the future.

    • advgrrls says:

      I’m confused by one thing you said. Customers do not have the right to change their minds? I admitted to over looking the return policy but in the end if he wasn’t so defensive, implying I would lose my shirt with this return, dinging me for every expense associated with a sale I would not be responding the way I am. As a customer who has supported this business I completely feel it is my right to change my mind. Yes I will lose money not really the issue but if I knew buying from him was like a binding contract that I broke? Well…that would be a deterrent for all customers.

      • Tim says:

        You can absolutely change your mind, in which case you are guided by the return policy that you agreed to, even if it was by default. It is a binding contract. You are not in breach of the contract as there are terms and conditions for the return or refund. The storeowner wants to enforce the return policy. The question is should he or is it in his best interest to do so?
        Return policies are put in place to increase sales, not to increase returns. They provide a degree of confidence for customers to make purchases who may later change their minds. But I do not believe that is the real issue here.
        As I read your last comments, the issue here is whether or not the storeowner provides the customer service you expected. His use of inflammatory language was inappropriate and has unnecessarily escalated the situation. You feel that as a ‘valued’ customer who has spent a lot of money over many transactions that you should not be held to the stated return policy.
        Here is where the storeowner needs to determine your value as a customer. I would suggest that your value is far greater than just the dollars you have already spent or may have spent in the future. As the owner of a blog with more than one million unique hits, your perception of the store can have far reaching effect. That is why I ended my last post by requesting that you provide us with the name of the store, so we can make informed decisions in the future.

  7. Gary says:

    Hey Les, this may be a case of winning the battle and loosing the war. In this case, the business is loosing customers at the expense of their own policies/customer treatment.

    Here in Alaska, we are used to second-class citizen treatment from online sellers in terms of freight costs and return policies. We adjust accordingly and ‘vote with our dollar’ and tend to buy from businesses that treat us well.

    It reminds me of a few years ago when our governor Sarah Palin was picked as the VP running mate – apparently it pissed off a particular company that wore its political ideology on their sleeve. An Alaskan customer was refused even the right to buy a product from an online company and said so in an email that because Sarah Palin was the VP candidate, they would not sell anything to Alaskan customers. This is true – the story was in our local news paper. So if this company was able to stay in business while turning away customers, more power to them. Fortunately, there are other companies that want our business.

    I see your current situation in a similar light – business models support the social exchange theory – that is, party ‘A’ provides services or goods to party ‘B’ at a certain cost. When party ‘B’ is dissatisfied with party ‘A’, they can find another party ‘A’. The communication aspect of the internet gives party ‘B’ unprecedented power so that party ‘A’ can reach potential party ‘B’s. Conversely, party ‘B’s can communicate with other party ‘B’s to warn about party ‘A’s and find more accommodating party ‘A’s.

    There is no doubt the bigger companies such as Amazon have made it tough on the smaller companies as they are in a better position to absorb costs. Locally, all of our ‘Mom and Pop’ pet supply stores have gone under because of the big corporate Pet stores can beat prices all day long. I’m just guessing that your problem company in this case is in a similar situation and is not big enough to absorb these types of costs – however, the tone and language of their communication to you is surely destined to ‘has been’ status of history.

    Just as an aside – these days we try to buy motorcycle items from Amazon whenever possible because of their great shipping and return policies. I realize this might hurt some of the smaller companies. Also, we try to shop locally and order from local merchants – we seem to get a better break on shipping and returns. At least we have a friendly face to deal with and not a surly email in your case. My personal thoughts are that businesses that have an internet footprint will live or die on service. I do not see a bright future for the one with which you are dealing. 😉

    Gary

    PS – We’ll be in your area soon. 😉

  8. Maybe because we’re used to absolutely shite customer service in the UK but I didn’t find his emails particularly abrasive UNTIL the final paragraph. (Leslie, I believe you’ve read my tyre shop experience at Guilford Tyre Company Ltd, Woodbridge Meadows, GU1 1BA—I’m not bitter at all!) A few grammatical errors and perhaps some slight over-explaining—but who in business eggs on a (repeat!!) customer with a phrase like ‘come on…’? What, are we 5 years old?

    Shame that you have history with this particular vendor—that should have been taken into account when he chose to enforce or overlook his returns policy. I get the impression you don’t do returns often so in the interest of keeping relations amicable it would have been reasonable for him to eat the cost of doing business in this case. Perhaps with a note to say he’d waived the restocking fee on this occasion because you’re an appreciated customer.

    As several have mentioned above, vendors on the internet are like the snakes on the heads of gorgons… cut off one and another grows in its place. Always sad to see a previously good relationship go sour, but… next! Don’t lose sleep over it.

    • advgrrls says:

      not losing sleep just won’t buy there anymore…;-) Customer service has seemly been put aside for some companies but one day I post the companies who we have dealt with that actually appreciate good devoted customers.

  9. 2wheels4going says:

    As much as I love their variety of “stuff” to buy for my bike I also have learned that dealing with this company involves acknowledging that they have some of the worst customer service I’ve ever experienced. Over the last few years the number of other suppliers for our lifestyle are growing, and you’d think that they would try to compete in every manner- customer service has a monetary value. I only buy from them if I know 100% what I’m getting will work and I cannot find it cheaper elsewhere. They act like they are the only choice.

  10. Wonko the Sane says:

    So he won’t refund the more than $50 you spent on shipping, but he uses the cost of the box and the salary of the person who put it in that box (as if that’s their only job) to partly justify a restocking fee. Hmmm… And he’s upset with PayPal’s return requirements!?

    Glad he’s not my boss.

  11. rosejanne says:

    Wow, I hope many won’t buy from his store! poor customer service!

    Rose

    • advgrrls says:

      The kicker now is that he said the package has not been returned and it has I know for sure. Because it did not have a return # it will take him time to find it. OIY!

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