A Tiny Flare Of Mutiny

Actual e-mail exchange between me and a major online vitamin retailer.


Subject: I am having a problem placing an order on the site

I tried calling the toll free number and after explaining my difficulty to a representative stayed on hold until my neck was sore. I have been unable to place a Web order on your site for the past year if not longer because the site refuses to accept my credit cards, saying the address is incorrect. There is nothing incorrect about the address I enter. All other Internet shopping sites accept my Discover and Mastercard. No other merchant ever gives me error messages like this. I have tried once before to get this straightened out. Please fix it or I will just give up on being your customer.


Dear ****,

Thank you for sending an email to our Customer Care Center. We are reviewing your message now and will send you a reply within the next 24 hours.

We appreciate that you’ve taken the time to write in to us at  ****. We look forward to addressing this query to your satisfaction.

18 hours later:

Dear ****,

Thank you for contacting ****. We are not having any issues with customers using their credit cards on our website. If you cannot place the order then please contact us at 1-800-223-1216 so an agent can walk you through the process and see what could cause the issue.

It’s always a pleasure to hear from our valued customers. Thank you for your patronage with ***** and have a healthy day!

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to email us at the following address:

My response:

I did that, called the 800 number I mean, but after two transfers and waiting on hold until I had a crick in my neck, I decided I was better off walking into one of your store fronts for the one house brand supplement I like and taking my other needs somewhere else. Toyota didn’t know of any problems with acceleration either. I am really done with jumping through hoops for corporations who expect me to take time out of my day to wait for them to make it possible for me to buy their products. Y’all have a nice day too.

For all the good it will do.

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6 thoughts on “A Tiny Flare Of Mutiny

    • Thanks for the suggestion — it might be the answer, though my recollection is that when I first started having the problem over a year ago I checked the address against my credit card statement letter for letter and number for number, surprised that the same information which had been stored on the site for years was suddenly “wrong.” Whatever, I’m too fed up with this company right now to check again.

      If that actually is the problem, the real question is why this one merchant, out of all the dozens of places I do business with online, has a payment interface so sensitive that it will reject a payment over the +4 component of a Zip code. And if it does, I’d expect to hear that the problem occurs dozens of times a day. I’d expect the customer service people to suggest checking that field the moment I report the difficulty. Some people use the +4 routinely and some don’t. Some people probably don’t even know what their +4 code is.

      I just seems to me that we have a big, slick company — with retail stores, paper catalogs, a huge Website and a “points” reward program — which can’t keep its customer accounts glitch-free and doesn’t care. In that case, someone else deserves my business more.

      • I agree completely. It’s just that I can’t help myself — my first inclination is always to try to find a way around the problem. Anyway, your sentiments are not lost on me.

  1. I have a short fuse with lousy customer service. It usually means a firm is too cheap or lazy to hire people who can make the customer happy. I don’t demand perfection, but I don’t like hassles.

  2. Gee, I’ve never had my credit card rejected. I have had experience with a site that couldn’t process an order at all, the shopping cart would transfer to the final page as empty, but when I called the 800 number a friendly person took my order tout suite.

    I have a tendency to be very impatient with glitches like this and I would NEVER stay on hold until I had a crick in my neck.

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