Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I would say that most of the time I do the right thing.
And when I happen to not...I can pretty much get out of anything.

Well, not this time.

Last year around 'the wedding' (which I have come to describe as a very traumatic time in my life) I wasn't in my right mind. I had an extremely warped sense of what I 'needed' 'wanted' 'could afford' etc.

You have to understand that on a regular basis I had to make DECISIONS that cost more money than I had ever spent in my whole life. ON A DAILY BASIS.

Money became a weird, strange, oh so wrong, non-object.

So I bought some sandals online at Piperlime. You know, because I 'needed' them to match potential outfits surrounding the time of the wedding and honeymoon.

These sandals cost $170 dollars, they were made in Italy.

I know, it's a lot, right?

Of course, they didn't fit.

The normal response and action would have been to return them right away. But you have to understand that I was sooooo consumed that normal responses were not an option. To make you feel better, it has taken me six months to figure out the results from the trauma of having a wedding. Don't worry about me though. I have a life coach.

Anyway. The other day, in a fit of getting stuff done that I have been putting off for months, I dug out these sandals and found some packing tape and Jake and I drove over to UPS. You see, they actually make it really easy to return something. They give you a return label and all you have to do is drop it off at a UPS. And there just happens to be a UPS about 5 blocks away from our house. But that is not the point though.

Also, there was another pair of shoes that I was returning. But they were only $34 dollars and quite the deal. Of course, they didn't fit as well.

Okay, so where are we? Oh yeah, at UPS. Of course I had looked up Piperlime's return policy and it was a 60 day return. Grrrrr.

I was not happy but I returned them anyway. Within a few days I got an e-mail from customer service saying they had received the $34 dollar shoes and were crediting my account. Great!

A few days later I get this, "Recently we notified you that we processed a Return or Exchange for Order ####. The shoes were returned more than 60 days from the
return by date posted on your invoice. However, as a one-time courtesy, we returned them."

Okay....thanks, but what about my $170 sandals????

So I wrote them an e-mail -- saying something about how my tardy return was unintentional and how I assumed incorrectly that their return policy was similar to other online shoes stores like Zappos and Shoes.com --- which have a 365 day return policy! I am a loyal customer and card member....blah blah blah.

Yeah, that didn't work, because I got this is response, "Thank you for the message to Piperlime. We apologize, however, order #### is past our 60 day return period. As a result, it is not returnable nor exchangeable. Again, we are sorry for any disappointment this may cause you. We are sending the shoes back to you."


I reply to this e-mail within minutes and let it be known that I am extremely disappointed and that I hope they would reconsider. I also say, "Why were my other shoes returned then? I sent both of these packages back on the same day, both of which were past your return policy. To me, as a customer, it is very unnerving that you "reconsidered" with the $34 dollar shoes but not the $170 shoes! This is a HUGE discrepancy! If at all possible -- switch your choice for your "one-time courtesy" and credit the $170 shoes --- send me back the $34 shoes instead. Please!!!!"

I woke up this morning to this reply, "Thank you for your reply. We are sorry for the disappointment caused by our previous response, and 60 day return policy. We are constantly evaluating and re-evaluating our business, and feedback like yours is a
vital part of that process. Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.

We appreciate your business, and hope you will continue to shop with us.
We have a wonderful selection of merchandise just waiting to be added to
your wardrobe."

Are you fucking kidding me????

So I respond saying this, "Are you a real person replying to my messages?! "We have a wonderful selection of merchandise just waiting to be added to your wardrobe..." Why are you saying this to me?

Did anyone read my e-mails?

You can call me if you want to respond any further --- my phone number is ####. Only then will I believe that a real person is actually reading my e-mails."

I haven't heard anything back yet.


Most recent response from Piperlime, "Thank you for your recent email. Please accept our apologies for any confusion regarding our return policy. Once received, our returns are processed in the order that they are received. In this case, the return
from order #### was received and processed prior to order ####. To remain fair and consistent with all of our customers, we are unable to make any exceptions to our policy. Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause."

HOW INCONVENIENT for me. Thank you Piperlime. FOR NOTHING.

I haven't mentioned this but all of these emails I have received have been from different 'Customer Service Representatives' --- first Brett, then Shelly, and now Amanda! And I keep addressing my emails to whomever just sent me a reply....but then a new person responds! Nobody cares about me.


Dear Amanda, Shelly, and Brett and any new 'Customer Service Consultant or Customer Loyalty Representative' who is about to read this,

Sure, I accept your apologies.

But I am still upset about your return policy discrepancies. Because let's face it, $170 is a lot of money to spend on shoes I am NEVER going to wear because they do not fit.

With that said, thank you for some good blogging material - http://anneschitchat.blogspot.com/

Sincerely, Anne


"Someone" from Piperlime just called me. I want to puke. She just wanted to make sure that I 'understood' the return policy and that the one 'exception' was given to the first package that arrived. I don't even think she read ALL my e-mails --- she probably just got passed down my number and a one liner that said, "Customer confused about return policy."

Oh, I understand.

I understand that I made a mistake and Piperlime SUCKS.


Received another e-mail, this time from Dana, "Thank you for your e-mail. We regret to hear of your dissatisfaction with our return policy, and we do apologize for the inconvenience and frustration this matter has caused. Hearing about your disappointment is an incentive for us to continue looking at ways to improve the
service we offer. Let us assure you the details of your complaint will be included in our next service review meeting.

We appreciate the time you have taken to share your concerns with us and
hope you will give us another opportunity to serve you in the future."

Of course, I reply:

Dana --- or whomever will read this;

Thank you for all the replies to my emails.

If at all possible, during your next service review meeting, print off my blog post to share with everyone (http://anneschitchat.blogspot.com/2009/02/i-hate-robotic-customer-service.html). I would appreciate that very much. It tells the story from my perspective (as a real person and customer) but of course reflects your companies responses --- which, I do admit are very professional and appropriate (except for the line of: "We have a wonderful selection of merchandise just waiting to be added to your wardrobe." Obviously, this is not something to include in an email response about a complaint).

Regardless, I appreciate this situation. But know that Piperlime is NOT an online shoe store I will visit in the future. I will take my business to Zappos or Shoes.com or just go to The Mall of America.

Sincerely, Anne


I am done now.


Guess what arrived today???

Matt Bernson Sandals


Just me said...

Sadly, the "real live" cutomer service most companies provide isn't any better. After a long and frustrating conversation with an employee of Delta's customer service dept, where I clearly (and probably bitchily) expressed my great displeasure, the women on the other end of the phone ended our call with the scripted question "would you like to book a hotel room or rental car through Delta?" I literally said to her "did you just really ask me that?!?" grrr

Matt said...

Zappos has a sick return policy that likely kills their margins - making them much less profitable. Regardless, their model is working and with the policies they have in place, they likely save money on CS complaints/claims in the long run.

Companies large and small can lose big sums of money on return items if they have to jump through hoops to re-sell them, or if the item's seasonality has a short shelf-life. In the case of your shoes, Piperlime could likely argue a pretty good case that it's going to cost them way too much money (marketing and otherwise) to re-sell your $170 shoes at $170... 6 months after they were "in style" (assuming they could still move them at $170/pair). I don't know shoe shelf-life, but I'm just guessing that's why the return policy is 60 days.

You have to figure that this company is competing directly with two online behemoth's in shoe sales - Zappos and Shoes.com. So for them, taking a potential $34 hit, in Feb 2009 (re: Economy in Crisis), as a favor to you, is actually a very nice gesture on their part. I'm not trying to seem attacking... just wanted to try to give Piperlime's potential perspective on the issue.

Regardless of the monetary outcome, I completely agree that CS should be personal. One thing you could do is try reaching the marketing department, as they usually keep a close eye on online feedback. If they have a twitter account, message them directly, etc...etc...

The CS team probably gets paid $7-$11/hr, which for those employees, probably isn't enough to warrant any kind of personal response to you.

Sorry for the novel.

Krae :0) said...

Wow Anne...

I had an experience with a $30 rebate that did not get sent to me. I had purchased a 5 speaker surround system for my computer from Staples (in Canada). The next day, after seeing these speakers, a family memeber bought the same set of speakers. I got the rebate form together, mailed it in and waited. The next day my family member sent in his rebate form. Weeks later.... a rebate cheque comes in the mail addressed to my family member... nothing for me. I called the rebate center and found out that only 1 rebate can be awarded for the same address on the same item. I complained as I bought and sent in the form first. The customer service rep rattled off the same "it is the way they were processed" speech.

After a bit of time and me complaining, I was told the rebate center would send me a rebate for the same amount. Sweet.... not.... it never arrived in the mail.

It would have been nice to get that money!

In a response to Matt....

Matt said, "Piperlime could likely argue a pretty good case that it's going to cost them way too much money (marketing and otherwise) to re-sell your $170 shoes"

What would be the difference if her shoes were exchanged for a different size, at least then Anne could get use out of them. They would still have the sale. It cost them money to resend the original ones back. It would still cost them the same if they exchanged the sizes.

Anne, I hope you find a resolve to this issue.


Matt said...

@Krae :0)

Sucks you never got your rebate.

And you're right, if they had the appropriate shoe-size in stock, they shouldn't take any issue with an exchange. I would imagine that if this scenario was an option for Piperlime they would've offered it to Anne. No company likes to give customers their money back.

anne said...

Just me -- That is hilarious! Why do they have to say those things?!

Matt -- Very good points, interesting to think about.

Kelly -- Oh my goodness, that totally sucks. Jake is big on rebates and they usually always work out for him. We always have $20 dollar or $15 dollar checks to cash :) It does make a difference!

I was also surprised that they couldn't offer an exchange. I didn't press that point to them...anyway, I got the sandals back today and am fighting the urge to try them on again. Who knows, maybe they will fit! Then I guess I will have to wear them with pride! OR just burn them.

Just kidding. I could never do that to Italian leather ;)

Allison said...

I just found your blog while searching since I am on the phone with piperlime customer service right now. Similar story with a return.

They sent me a pair of shoes printed on an OLD invoice that still had the 365 return policy. When I went to return them, they gift carded me. I called to ask about it "Sorry about the old invoice going in your shoe box, but the new return policy had been on the website so too bad."

The lady was nicer than most customer service and sent me a coupon, but COME ON! You have to honor an incorrect price tag on items in the store, why not on a receipt?!?!

That is what companies do during a sh*tty economy, but silly since screwing the public is likely to lose you business, and not gain it. DUH! Wish they would make the connection. Also i can't stand it when robotic customer service calls me ma'am 10 times in every sentence. I wanna kill em. haha.

Thanks for the blog. Hope you grew into the sandals??? :-)