TALES FROM THE FRONT
Not so sunny service
A Multichannel Merchant reader ordered a solar outdoor spotlight from the Solar Illuminations site in late March. The customer was not happy with the light but kept it because the site charges a 20% restocking fee on returned items; she also had missed its 14-day return policy period. The customer voiced her dissatisfaction in an e-mail in early May. A rep from Solar Illuminations responded quickly with a terse e-mail declaring that “14 days is not unreasonable for a return request requiring a refund. That timeframe is plenty of time to decide to keep or not.” Further, it said, a 20% restocking fee is not unreasonable for returning goods that require a refund. The customer should “blame the credit card companies for being so greedy that they charge retailers such high costs to not only charge a credit card but refund a card too.” As far as the spotlight’s limitations, the e-mail said, “…we do not exaggerate the description for this product and if you take the time to read it through and then click on the ‘more info’ button you will see that if we were to be any more derogatory there would be no point in offering this product….” Finally, the e-mail says, “Our policies are printed and displayed throughout the check-out process. … We have nothing to hide like so many other web sites….” Solar Illuminations might as well have said, “Your opinions are wrong, you were stupid for overestimating product quality, and if you don’t like our policies, don’t order again. In fact, you really shouldn’t have ordered in the first place.” Call it service with a snarl.
Twin elephants in the mural
A Multichannel Merchant staffer was paging through the Midnight Velvet catalog and stopped on one spread selling home decor. She noticed that in the Manhattan Lights wall mural, the Twin Towers from the World Trade Center still appeared in the skyline. It was more than a little creepy to see the towers that had been demolished by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks nearly four years ago. We’re not saying that the towers need to be airbrushed out of every photo as though they never existed, but we do feel that Midnight Velvet was remiss in not even acknowledging that the mural depicts a pre-9/11 New York. It might even have been used as a nostalgic selling point.