Like many others, I am a true sucker for online marketing. Yep, I am a marketer’s best friend. I recently made a purchase online without checking the reviews of the product or the company that sold it. As a marketer’s dream, I am willing to “give it a go” as they say.
Well, when the product arrived, and it looked nothing like the picture and was just not functional, I got a little exasperated. Yet, I did not do my research. I did not check out the product evaluations, and I did not take responsibility for my purchase. I left all control right there at the advertiser’s doorstep.
I quickly phoned the number of the company which was hard to find on the small dispatch note that came crumbled up in the box. When my call was answered so quickly, a wave of reassurance swept over me. However, what was to come next was truly upsetting. I gave the customer service representative my order number and asked for a return slip and refund. She then quickly stated that there was a $30 restocking fee. After a moment of shock, I said WHAT? Nowhere was there any mention of returning the product, let alone a restocking fee.
When I calmly said I would not be paying any restocking fee, the representative started to bargain with me and suggested that she would go to half of the fee back and I could keep the product. I also refuted that offer and said I would like a full refund. The product does not do what it claims to do, I shared. She said how did I know if I didn’t use it? Trick question! I said because it looks nothing like the product I thought I was purchasing. Then a wave of anger appeared, and I asked to speak to her manager.
She nicely said that her manager would tell me the same thing. That was when I said I would not drop the call until I received a refund. After 30 minutes of arguing, I was put on hold and when she came back on the call, she did indeed agree to give me a full refund. I also did get an email confirmation of the said refund, and hopefully in 5-7 days it will appear on my credit card.
Lesson learned. Take responsibility for your purchases. It’s critical to use common sense and these five recommended tips for buying online.
1. Always check you are shopping with a secure site.
2. Shop at sites that offer easy returns.
3. Research the product and the website before placing an order.
4. If the product seems too good to be true, it probably is.
5. Be aware of cookies and behavioral marketing.
“Caveat emptor—let the buyer beware”