I’m not sure if it’s justified though. My husband says it’s 40% justified. My staff say it’s 100% justified. Either way, justified or not, I’m irritated and spending entirely too much time on a $160 problem.
We faxed a Purchase Order to a vendor and requested “Fed Ex” shipping. Previous orders from the vendor had all shipped Fed Ex Ground.
The next day, we had our 25 kilos of very low grade clay at our warehouse in Bellingham. We were surprised to see that the vendor had overnighted 54 pounds of product from New Jersey. Ouch! That’s an expensive shipping charge!
So, we wrote them a little heads up and expected a friendly mea culpa back with a discount on shipping. Instead, the vendor refused to take any responsibility for the overnight shipping mistake, stating that we should have specifically asked for “Ground.”
I’m not sure if they’ve missed the press releases but Fed Ex isn’t just an overnight service company. Fed Ex ships five different ways. 95% of the packages Bramble Berry ships go out Fed Ex Ground. And, previous orders from the vendor shipped Ground. Why would the vendor assume that Fed Ex meant Overnight and not that it meant Ground?
Additionally, good customer service would have been phoning for clarification before the $200 shipping bill was tacked onto a $645 order.
So, I wrote back and explained our position about the prior shipping history and Fed Ex not being synonymous with overnight shipping and questioning the common sense of overnighting 54 pounds of product. I politely suggested that we split the difference in shipping so that Bramble Berry paid for part of it and they paid for part of it.
This is the note I got back from the CEO of the company.
I am sorry that you are not pleased.I have attached a copy of the PO that we received. It does not designate ground shipping anywhere.Please be specific with shipping instructions on any future orders.
I am not loving this response. But, I’m not entirely sure that I’m justified in being irritated or upset about it. I know what Bramble Berry would have done. I also know that I don’t like doing business with companies that I don’t feel share our values system. I also feel strongly that the CEO of the company was too terse with her response.
I’m in the process of crafting my reply. I’ve done the first draft and now I’m sitting on it for a few hours to make sure that I am entirely professional and clear headed when I finally hit that “Send” button.
Either way, you can be sure that we will “be specific with shipping instructions” on future orders to other companies.
The vendor in question has sadly lost our business.
Still, their response was unacceptable, as was the 3-month delay. I hope you have ceased doing business with them. Clearly they were not interested in keeping you as a customer. I think the CEO’s response was a long way of saying two short words, to you–you know the ones I mean! 😀
(I agree with your staff and you were completely justified in your irritation.) Splitting the “oops” 50/50 seemed like a reasonable resolution.
So what happened? I couldn’t find a follow up post!
They ended up refunding the difference in shipping rates about 3 months later – I was really relieved! At the time, the $245 shipping was such a huge hit for us!
I was waiting until the end of Monday to post so that the CEO of our clay company had appropriate time to write me back from my Friday missive. Unfortunately, they hadn’t written back or acknowledged our email so I don’t have any resolution. I’ll keep you posted in an official post on the blog when I do get a resolution! Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for a positive outcome.
Joanna Schmidt says
Ann-Marie, I would be furious. I, too, have policies about fairness and I do my best to “right” any miscommunication in business and in life. I would feel the same as you have described. They would have lost my business, too. They should have eaten the difference. That’s just good business.
Good grief. Nobody ever expects Overnight to be the standard shipping method. Nobody in their right mind, anyway. And nobody overnights anything that heavy without prior approval. Nobody who wants to keep customers or stay in business. 🙂
Now that I think about it, I do remember an FO reseller who did have overnight as the standard shipping method for a while. That didn’t last too long though. And at least it was shown before you clicked “order”, although I’m sure a lot of people overlooked it.