Don’t Assume Your Customer Is Stupid

March 4, 2013

Today I received a parcel from an Amazon Marketplace seller. I had been looking forward to receiving it even though it took 10 days (hardly 1st class service as advertised). Upon opening it though I discovered quickly that not only was it late but they had not sent the item I had ordered. It was not only a different model but a completely different manufacturer and altogether different features.

They could have got away with calling it a mistake until I saw the accompanying letter that told me they had run out of stock of the item I had ordered so had taken the liberty of sending the one that arrived instead. They stated that this was a more expensive item with all these features so it must be better and they would absorb the cost difference. They stated this as if they were doing me a favour. Their suggestion was that the product they had supplied was much better than the one I ordered.

The problem with this practice is that they are assuming the customer has just ordered on a whim and that they know better than the customer. It’s cocky and arrogant. In my case, as with all products I buy I researched carefully to find just the product I wanted. I put time and effort into making sure I was selecting the right one. I read over a hundred reviews. I was pretty certain that I wanted the product that I ordered. In double-guessing me they are insulting my ability to choose wisely when buying. They are calling me stupid.

It wouldn’t have taken them more than a few minutes to send me an email to ask if I wanted the alternative. Certainly it would have taken less time than packaging the wrong item and posting it. I would have been able to get my item quickly elsewhere and would have been happy in the end. As it is I’m still waiting for a response from their customer service email address. My time has been wasted. Their time has been wasted. Their money in sending, refunding and processing is wasted, and the packaging materials are wasted. Oh, not to mention the negative feedback that is imminent and the resulting loss in future business to them from potential buyers who check out their seller rating.

For now I have decided not to name the seller here. With a bit of quick talking customer service they might get away with this, but the longer it takes to get a refund the higher the chances that the negative feedback will come with some really negative comments.

I guess the moral here is – don’t assume your customer is stupid, communicate with them and let them choose to be stupid if they so wish.

Update: This was resolved quickly and the seller did have good reason for acting the way they did. In the end though I went to Argos to get my product – something I usually try to avoid.

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