Such adventures in customer “service” this weekend! It started, strangely enough, with my US bank deciding my ATM card was a victim of fraud. I used it for my first purchase during our 7-hour mall stint, and then it proceeded to get rejected twice until I just figured things out and didn’t try using it anymore. God only knows why I didn’t call my bank right then and there – the excitement of buying clothes was obviously too much for me – so I just kept using my credit card, with its 3% commission. Then I saw today that it looks like my ATM card, despite charging me $5 for ATM withdrawals, has no commission or fees for international point-of-sale purchases. I am an idiot, may I have my 3% back please? Anyway, the real idiocy of all this belongs to my bank since, when I did finally call them after realizing I had 500 pesos to my name and wanted to take a taxi home, they informed me that my card was not set for travel to Chile. Oh really, 7 months of ATM withdrawals plus using my credit card in Chile PLUS an e-mail last week mentioning that I’m in Chile didn’t tip you off? Slash why now, the day that I want to buy things, must you decide that this is fraud? Anyway, it’s all sorted out now, and it only took about 10 minutes (again, why did I not do this as soon as I had a problem?), but I just felt like it was sort of a dumb move on their part.
Sunday brought adventures in exchanging items. First I had to exchange a bath mat we bought last weekend since the backing was coming off in chunks. For the record, Easy (a cross between Ikea and Home Depot) is not easy. I of course did not have my receipt – honestly, would you save a receipt for a bath mat you had no intention of exchanging? – which got me “oh, no, we can’t exchange without a receipt, do you see this sign?” “Yes, I see the sign, and it also says that I should return my item in condition to be resold, which I cannot do because it has a problem, and that shouldn’t be my problem.” “Oh no, we completely agree with you, but you need the receipt.” I went off into a tirade about how I could hardly be expected to keep every receipt in case something went wrong, I had trusted in the store, it wasn’t my responsibility, etc. At which point the customer service man went off to get the head of the kitchen and bathroom department, who showed up after 10 minutes, at which point we had the same conversation. She finally asked to me, as though she was doing me some super secret favor, “do you get points?” (ie. use the reward card). Since I do, I was able to go upstairs to Jumbo and get the record of all my points, so that I could then come back down to Easy and reprint my receipt. No clue why, since they share the same points program, Easy couldn’t print out this record, but such is life.
Up the escalators to Jumbo, where I actually had to go anyway to return the Brita filter I’d bought the day before for a different one. I’d bought the filter at a different Jumbo, and I was actually nicely surprised that they had no problem with me returning it there. But wait, it couldn’t be that simple or I wouldn’t be blogging about it! Because I had paid with a credit card (damn you, 3%), they couldn’t give me my money back in cash, but I did expect a reverse charge on the card or a gift card of store credit. They gave me a piece of paper. Literally, a piece of paper with the amount of my credit written on it and told me that if I spent more I’d just pay the difference. “But what if I spend less?” I asked, since the filter I actually wanted cost less. “Well, you can’t,” came the reply. “We can’t give you change or keep the rest of the money as credit.” Apparently this is actually illegal here but everyone does it, and since I didn’t know better I made up the difference with always useful things like Ziploc bags and yogurt. I was still 500 pesos short, but I just didn’t care. The cashier ended up throwing in a pack of gum to make it only 200 pesos short, but at this point seriously, it was worth 200 pesos to me to leave and not have to find something else to buy. Next I had to get my point summary, which was again very easy until the woman said “oh wait, this transaction took place at a different Easy – you’ll have to go back there.” Apparently the stores aren’t all linked together, so they can’t reprint my receipt in any other store. But this woman assured me that with the piece of paper she gave me I’d be able to go to customer service, they’d print my receipt, and I could exchange the bath mat.
Rodolfo went on Monday – it was not nearly that simple. Basically he ended up waiting for about half an hour insisting that YES they could reprint his receipt, until finally someone said “well yes, of course we can, that’s really easy, why have they been giving you problems with this?” We now have a working ATM card, water filter, and bath mat, after about an hour of fighting the people who are supposedly there to help us, the consumer. Customer service, what a concept. That’s why I’m especially glad about this!