Saturday, July 16, 2011

I may not know all the ammendmants, but I know my rights...

The other day I was online and saw that Victoria's Secret was having a sale.  I went to the mall, where the brick and mortar store is located, quickly tried on a bra and purchased it.  I'm not a big fan of malls in general, hence why I like to get my shit and get out as they say.  When I got home, I went online to order more of the same style bra and did so successfully.  But, after giving it some thought I decided that $11 for standard (5-8 business day) shipping/delivery was ridiculous!  I purchased 3 bras and 2 pink mini dogs and they calculate that to be $11 shipping?  What the fuck!  I E-mailed the company BEFORE my order had been processed, so that I could cancel the order.  I called the local store to see if they had the same styles and size in stock and they did, hence the cancellation request.  This afternoon I went back to the website to check and see if maybe I had missed the "cancel" button...I am a ditz and it has been known to happen.  No "cancel" button and no reply via E-mail, I called the company to ask them to cancel my order.

Over the phone I was told that my order had been processed within 2hrs. after I had placed the order and that once it was processed I could not cancel or modify my order.  Being that I have never had this sort of a problem ordering anything off the internet and being that this was my first time making a purchase from VS online I scoured their website for the cancellation policy and couldn't find one.  I'm an avid fan of Borders, Amazon and Barnes&Noble's websites and often order from them; the shipping for stacks of books, video games, DVDs and even CDs has never cost me more than $6 for standard 5-8 day shipping and they also allow customers to cancel their orders within 3 business days.  With this knowledge I used Google to look up laws/rights for online shopping and stumbled upon the FTC's website, particularly where it states that a consumer has the right to cancel an online or catalog order within 3 business days if the order is over $25 and not made from a permanent store location.  I know my math isn't Stephen Hawking level, but I do know that between the 14th and the 15th is 1 day and 1 day is less than 3 days and that Friday(the 15th)is a business day.  I also know that 2hrs.(the length of time it took for VS to process my order on the 14th) is a hell of a lot less than 3 days.

I was told by both a customer service representative over the phone and via E-Mail that there was nothing they could do for me, except tell me to not accept the package when it came to my door.  I'd still be charged the $11.  And the fact is, most delivery guys/gals don't wait for you to answer the door, they leave your package(s) on your doorstep and speed off.  Plus that isn't cancelling my order.  The E-Mail I recieved sites the company's reason for such quick processing; to get your items to you quicker. and this to them is seen as phenomenal customer service.  But is it really customer service at all if the company is willing to infringe upon a right set aside by the FTC?

I replied to the E-Mail, making the customer service representative aware of the right and the fact that I do a lot of online shopping and know my rights as a consumer.  The next step, if I do not hear from the company via E-mail tonight will be calling the customer service hotline again and speaking with a supervisor tomorrow.  And on Monday, as I saved the E-Mails and can prove when I ordered the items and when I made first contact with the company to cancel my order, I will be going to the bank to stop the payment or see if there is anything I can do to have the money placed back into my account.

So, today (Sunday July 17th 2011) I called Victoria's Secret's customer service hotline again.  I first asked to speak with a supervisor and the representative asked me my name, confirmed my address and asked me what my issue most call centers reps. need to know what the issue is, before they hand you off to a supervisor.  I asked the rep. what VS's take on the Federal Trade Commision's (FTC) "cooling off rule" was.  For those unfamiliar with the rule, it basically states that a consumer has the right to  cancel their online or catalog order within 3 business days.  I explained the right to the rep. and she seemed a bit flustered.  She asked to put me on hold while she asked a supervisor what to do and I'm fine with being on hold for a short amount of time.  When she came back she seemed more flustered and explained to me why they process orders so quickly and what the process was.  And then she told me that VS would credit the $11.65 in shipping charges back to my account. 
Keep in mind...this was not next day delivery, this was not same day or even 3 day delivery.  This was 5-8 day delivery.  Had it been same day, next day or any type of express delivery I would not have the same right.  This was standard delivery.  I don't do express delivery and on every website, which I have previously ordered from, I have always received an E-mail explaining the cancellation procedure and on other sites the window of time is 3-5 business days for a cancellation.  Other sites also wait to process the payment; they don't remove the funds from your account/credit card until your order has shipped.  VS took the funds from my account BEFORE the items were shipped. 

With anyone out there who has had or is having similar problems, don't be afraid to let a company know that you know your rights as a consumer.  And if something seems off, don't be afraid to go seek information.  Personally I doubt I will be ordering from VS online anytime soon.  Most companies, especially online stores do not expect consumers to know their rights and they attempt to take advantage of that in any way they can.   

Friday, July 15, 2011

Went to a salon today...

Tried going to Holiday Hair salon today with mom.  I went in first to check on the wait time; when I first walked in the secretary greeted me and smiled, I asked about the wait time and she said it would be a few minutes.  Now to me “a few minutes” is the equivalent of up to 5 minutes, but I know that most businesses don’t think that way, so I asked her to specify about how long the wait time was and told her that my mother who is on oxygen would be coming in.  The girl seemed completely taken aback when I told her that my mother is on oxygen and I got the “Oh…um…someone will be right out.  Yeah, someone will be available.” In an almost freaked out and confused tone.  Thinking that someone would be right out I signed both mom and myself in, then went back to the car to let my mom know that a stylist would be right out and would take us momentarily.  Mom went into the salon first, as I was getting my handbag and grabbing a full tank of oxygen. (just in case the one she had been using ran out.)  I sat down and saw the secretary chit chatting with a stylist…neither of whom bothered to acknowledge my mother or myself.  It takes very little to look up and say “I will be right with you, let me just get squared away here.  It has been one heck of a day.”  But they ignored us.  While they were chit chatting I started flipping through a magazine…we had already been waiting for about 5 minutes, so I figured I might try and find inspiration from the pages of Allure.  After about 10 minutes mom and I decided to leave.  It wasn’t until mom had gotten and walked out that the stylist finally called my name. I politely corrected her, by letting her know that my mom’s name was before mine and the stylist gave me an almost deer in the headlights look, before saying “Oh what I meant was I can take you both at the same time…”  By then, mom was outside and getting back into the car.  I called out to her and let her know that our names had been called, but she was fed up with having to wait and the attitude of the salon workers.  As I turned back to let the two salon workers know that we were leaving, they gave me a confused and repeated that they were ready for me.  I just told them that we had to run home for something and left. 
This wasn’t the first time we had visited this particular salon.  I’ve been there a few times and up until today I had gotten great service and the stylists always listened to what I wanted…granted I normally go in for thinning out, but still they have never once argued with me about how thin I want my hair and they have never thinned it out too much.  I’ve been to salons where the stylist took one layer off and told me that was all she could do and another where the stylist thinned it out so much that it looked like someone had glued stringy extensions to a wig.  I’ve also never had that much of a wait time before in that salon…I think the longest I’ve ever waited in that salon was about 5 minutes and the only reason the wait time was that long, was because a previous transaction wasn’t going through properly on the computer.  So I was incredibly disappointed by the service today; the odd looks and the snotty attitude.  And it wasn’t until we were in the car that mom told me, that the stylist had walked out, looked mom over and grimaced, then looked at her oxygen tank and grimaced. 
To those like me, who generally work in a service industry, be it retail, salon, food…etc. IF you have a problem with assisting those with disabilities, or do not wish to deal with people who are disabled then please do the rest of us who have no qualms or reservations about helping them and find another industry.  You’re giving the rest of us a bad name. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

zkids NOT allowed...

I found this article on Yahoo and found it interesting.  Let me start by saying I don’t have children and I don’t want children.  It isn’t often that I actually go out to a restaurant, but when I do I don’t want to hear brats screaming, see kids running around or come up to me and start playing 20 questions; when I go out to eat I want to relax!  The fact is that most parents are afraid to discipline their children in a public forum…they fear that if they even tell their kid to sit down and shut up someone will call child services on them.  This can result in restaurants losing money. (a restaurant is a business, businesses like to make money and turn a profit.)  From a business stand point I can definitely understand the ban on children; customers will complain and even walk out if the atmosphere is not to their liking and someone ends up having to be the “bad guy” who has to ask the parents to quiet their kid down/control their child and no parent likes being told how to parent, so they may end up complaining to management and walking out on the check.  From a personal stand point I think there are already too many businesses that cater to young kids and that it’s difficult to find something to do or someplace to go that is strictly for adults…minus porn, night clubs, bars and strip clubs.  There aren’t many restaurants that cater mainly to grown folk, cruises have become family affairs…etc.  I don’t have kids and I don’t want to have to put up with other people’s brats!  
Let’s see…there’s McDonald’s with the play place, there’s Chuck E. Cheese and most casual dinning/fast food places have coloring pages, crayons and some even give the kids a “free” toy.  If you want a kid friendly restaurant, then take your pick of the thousands of other kid friendly restaurants out there. 
Then there’s the complaint many adults are making about the noise from the bar.  You know there’s going to be a bar and you can deduce that the bar is going to be noisy.  If you don’t want to hear the noise coming from the bar, then ask to be seated as far away from the bar as possible.  Yes this means you might have to wait a while, but if you want to eat there and don’t want to hear all the noise it might be worth the wait.  Or, I have a better idea.  DON’T EAT AT THE FRIGGIN RESTAURANT WITH THE BAR!!! 
The ban is completely legal.  Here’s what a lot of people either don’t understand, or don’t remember: Businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone they see fit!  If a business refuses to cater to people with small children, then that is the right of the business.  Each business has its own clientele…each business has its own target market and demographic.  If someone had a restaurant that was black tie and I walked in wearing a pair of Daisy Dukes and my pink halter top I would expect them to turn me away.  There are areas of cruise ships where those over the age of 18 are not allowed, but no one complains about that.  It’s not my fault these people just had to have kids, so I shouldn’t be punished for what they did.  By this I mean, I should be able to go to a restaurant, go to a store, go on a vacation and NOT be bothered by screaming kids! 
More and more companies are cracking down on minors being in their stores past a certain hour.  I’m perfectly fine with that.  After a certain time grownups want to go and relax and not have to deal with someone else’s unsupervised brat running around and bugging them.  I wish more companies would place these bans, make parents responsible for their kids again, get parents to actually teach their kids how to act in public.  Bring back actually doing stuff without kids.  Kids shouldn’t be allowed in bars…that to me is inappropriate, but it happens.  There are kid friendly places, now let’s make adult friendly places…other than adult only stores, strip clubs and night clubs.  Those of you with children: Stop trying to muscle in one the things those of us without kids like to do.  There’s a reason we go to certain places, because they cater to adults, stop trying to make every establishment kid friendly!  Get a friggin babysitter!  You don’t need to be with your kid 24/7.  My parents left me with babysitters, they also taught me how to act in public and weren’t afraid to discipline me.  I wasn’t allowed to run all over a restaurant be it The Olive Garden, McDonald’s or any other establishment, my parents didn’t take me into bars.  I was taught that it’s rude to walk up to another person while they are eating and stare at them, or ask them a bunch of questions.  If you don’t like the ban, then either go to the kid friendly establishments or teach your kids how to act in public.  I would have no problem with places being kid friendly, IF kids sat with their families, ate their meal and didn’t scream! 
For anyone interested in the article, you can find it here: