Erica Goode’s boots, ordered from Saks Fifth Avenue online, don’t fit. She sends the footwear back, but the package is lost. Is her refund lost, too?
Q: I recently bought a pair of Ugg rain boots online from Saks Fifth Avenue. They did not fit. I returned them the next day using the company’s prepaid label.
Three weeks later, the tracking information showed that the package was still at a facility in New Jersey. I called Saks customer service and suggested the package might be lost and requested a refund. A representative said Saks would open an investigation.
A week later, I got an email saying that they had not approved my request. I called customer service again and a rep told me that the package had reached the warehouse but that the staff investigating did not have that information and he would start a new investigation.
But the next time I called, a representative told me that there was no way the first customer service rep could know whether the package had reached the warehouse. He promised to open a new investigation.
Two days later, a supervisor left me a voicemail message saying Saks could not refund my money because the package was still in transit. I called FedEx, and they said the package had been turned over to the post office but was most likely lost. After a few more calls, I reached a nice woman at Saks, who said she would open another investigation. She apologized for the trouble and offered me a $10 off coupon. Four days later, I called again. A representative said a supervisor would call me back within two hours. Nada. I would like a refund for $153, the price of the boots. — Erica Goode, New York
A: What a mess! I don’t understand why companies make it your responsibility to ensure the post office or FedEx works. If you sent the package back to Saks in good faith, and a certain amount of time has elapsed, they should just file an insurance claim for the boots and be done with it. They should not make you wait. Saks should have refunded you quickly.
But that would be too simple. Someone has to answer for the late package, and even though you used Saks’ prepaid label and followed all of its instructions, that someone was you.
I see companies doing this all the time. Just today, I dealt with a product return at Apple Computer, which was just as bureaucratic. In the end, the company apologized for the problem and blamed a vendor. But that’s not what I requested — I just wanted the company to fix the problem. And I blamed Apple for the problem, not its vendor. After all, I didn’t choose the vendor; Apple did.
When will companies understand that their excuses don’t matter? Probably never.
But I can hope that someone higher up at
Saks (or Apple) will read this and decide to put an end to the corporate excuses.
In the meantime, we have corporate contacts that can help. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the executives on
my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. You sent a polite email to Andrea Robins, the company’s director of customer service.
She wrote back immediately and sent you a refund and a $50 gift certificate.
consumer problem by contacting him at elliott.org/help
© 2021 Christopher Elliott