On Being a Consumer

Alley Belle
 “She” has been on a rant lately about customer service. This is an issue that is important to her, because, years ago, She worked as a Customer Service Supervisor. Even though her job was basically in the “complaint department”, She really loved it. There was so much reward when a problem was presented, which could be solved to the consumer’s satisfaction. The real challenge, however, was when a consumer couldn’t get what they wanted, but were still pleased with the way the situation was handled. Her days were long and hectic, but She was fulfilled in knowing She helped when She could, and softened the blow when She couldn’t. She was once told She could “kick someone in the teeth and make him like it” – She took that as a compliment!

Recently, She received notice in the mail that a magazine subscription was about to end.


In order to prevent the magazine from automatically renewing, She had to contact Customer Service and cancel the order. She was given two weeks in which to do so. She immediately made the call and requested the subscription be cancelled.

Then, in the mail came this:
Books I didn't Order!
Included was a letter which stated that along with the automatic magazine renewal, there was a free preview of these books. She had so many days, after which She could purchase, or return them. She was not happy! She again called the Customer Service number for the magazine and was told that the books were sent by mistake, but She could keep them.

A few weeks later, an invoice showed up for $50.90. Well, needless to say, this did not go over very well! Again, She called. This time, they said the girl had made a mistake when She was told She could keep the books, and She would have to contact the publisher, Rodale Inc., to resolve the situation. She was given another number to call. After calling that number several times and finding it not in working order, She was pretty frustrated. So, She went on-line to the publisher’s site and found an e-mail address. She drafted a letter outlining the issue and stated that She would be glad to return the items if they would provide the materials to do so. She let them know, in no uncertain terms, She was not willing to pay postage to return items She never requested in the first place. Then, She sat back and waited for a reply, thinking in the back of her mind She wouldn’t get one.

It was a pleasant surprise when She did receive a reply by e-mail which included this statement:

Because of the inconvenience that you have experienced, the billing statement for this order has been cancelled. Please either keep and enjoy the books yourself or donate them to a local library or charity.

You can bet this is one e-mail that She will hang on to for a while, just in case this merry-go-round ride is not over. She feels a little like She has been kicked in the teeth, but didn’t like it at all! The sad thing was that it took three contacts with three different individuals to get this resolution.

You would think a company that is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles would be a little less inclined to cause this much stress and hypertension to a customer! Even though the end result (if it really is the end) is satisfactory, none of it should have ever happened. When these items were sent to The House of 9 Lives unsolicited, they became her problem. She could either expend the time and effort to rectify the situation, or be charged for the items.

Currently, She is dealing with two other issues which involve a Cell Phone Provider and Health Insurance Company. Being a consumer these days is practically a full-time job! Good thing She’s got all that Customer Service experience! Oh well, if she needs my help, I’ll be in my office!




6 thoughts on “On Being a Consumer

  1. Well that could be a real pain in the, well you know!
    Sorry Alley couldn’t help mysef! Oh I love your office,
    that was too cute!! Oh and you match the candle!


  2. I hate the way company’s can send stuff to you that you didn’t ask for and it is your responsibility to get it back or pay for the merchandise.

    I received some books from Rodale a couple of weeks ago that I did not order. Because I had previously learned from the post office that if you open a package even if you didn’t order the items you have to pay for them or pay for postage to return them, I sent the package back to Rodale without opening it, marking return to sender on the outside of the package.

    About three days later I received an invoice in the mail stating that I had been sent some books for preview and that I should have received them by now and I had so many days for the review or I could return them. If I wished to keep them I could pay $50.00.

    I wrote them a letter explaining that I received the books before I received the notice explaining that I was being given a reveiw period on the books. Since I had not ordered any books I sent the package back without opening it. I asked them to not send me items in the future that I did not request. I do not wish to do busy like that.

    I don’t think it will end that easily but so far I haven’t heard any thing from them.

    If things keep going like this Alley may have to open her office to the public.


  3. Oh I hate it when stuff like that happens. Sometimes magazines can be so hard to cancel. I like automatically renewing stuff as long as I want to keep it. It’s when you want to stop it that it can get difficult.


  4. Alley has a very nice office.


    The USPS regulation is that if you receive something that you did not order, you cannot be required to pay and you are free to keep at no cost to you. A lot of magazines skirt the regulation by automatically renewing a subscription even though you may have cancelled before the automatic renewal deadline. The same is said for items, like books, sent for “preview.” As such, you can file a complaint through the USPS. They do monitor how commercial mailers use the US Mail to conduct their business. If the item comes through another delivery service, it gets resolved by using your method.


  5. Crap I wish I had sent a nasty letter because I got the same books. I just boxed them up and wrote no thank you on the bill and mailed them back at my expense. Isn’t that tacky how they try and pull one over on ya like that.


  6. We recently had a Sirius auto-renew radio issue that was similar (except no surprise renewal books in the mail to try and get rid of).

    I MUST look into fluffy toilet covers for our bathrooms! Alley looks so happy!


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