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Bad customer service hall of fame

I'm trying to learn Japanese on my own, and I borrowed some Pimsleur language tapes from the library. The Pimsleur tapes teach a language entirely by ear. I'm normally pretty bad at learning languages, but I tend to learn well by ear and I found this a really good method for me to get familiar with some of the basics of the language, although I'm sure I could never get anywhere near fluent with it.

Anyway, the library only has part 1 of the complete program of 6 parts. Pimsleur courses are extremely expensive to buy, around $400-$600, but I found an audio book company, Recorded Books, that rents the tapes. Because one of the tapes from the library was faulty, I ordered part 1 from Recorded Books. Although there was a backorder on it for a few days, I received it eventually, and listened to the faulty tape, and finished part 1, and all was well.

Then I ordered part 2 from Recorded Books. Again, there's a short backorder, but finally it comes. So I put the first tape in to listen to it. Uh oh. It's actually part 1. The box says part 2, but all the tapes inside are from part 1.

So I phone Recorded Books, and they are apologetic, and they say I should send back the tapes with a note inside the box, and they will rush me a correct part 2.

They do in fact rush it; I get the new package a few days later. I let it sit around in the living room for a week or so. Then I put in the first tape to listen to it.

It's part 1 again. And so are all the other tapes in the box. Even though the box says part 2.

I call up Recorded Books again, and I explain that this has happened twice, and can they please make sure to actually look at the tapes inside the box before they mail them to me this time, because there's clearly some problem with their stock. They are a bit confused, but eventually they seem to figure out what I'm saying, and they assure me they will send me the correct tapes.

Several weeks go by. I don't hear anything from Recorded Books and receive no tapes. I send an e-mail to their support e-mail address. I still don't hear anything. I put an item on my to-do list to phone them and cancel the order.

Today I receive another set of tapes from them. "Oh great," I think, "They surely must have gotten it right this time, and I can listen to this while driving to Mendocino on Friday."

I open the box. It says part 2. There are part 1 tapes inside. There is also an order slip with a note on it: Please check tapes inside box; customer has received wrong tapes twice.

The box and the order slip are now back in my mailbox with a lot of upset words written on them.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 15th, 2004 11:17 pm (UTC)
ooooh dear..
Sep. 16th, 2004 12:02 am (UTC)
That's... pathetically funny. Argh.
Sep. 16th, 2004 06:00 am (UTC)
Wow. That's quite an achievement!
Sep. 16th, 2004 09:04 am (UTC)
Yes, that's pretty much my take on it.
Sep. 16th, 2004 07:21 am (UTC)
Well... for what it's worth, for them to get the order wrong several times requires that all, or nearly all, of their stock has the wrong tapes inside, and they just didn't understand the notion that the packaging is wrong.

Or, if they did, they didn't manage to communicate this effectively. I can just imagine the person who got the note making absolutely sure that the box was labelled as containing the part 2 tapes. Probably said "Part *two*... no question about it," and then put it in the box feeling smug about having gotten such a simple thing right when it was gotten wrong twice before.

Sep. 16th, 2004 09:06 am (UTC)
I agree completely. Given the difficulty in communicating the problem, I think canceling the order is the safest recourse.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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