How Not to do Customer Service

If you’re like me, you’ve bought into the whole “t-shirts are the new bumperstickers” thing. For one, I can spend $15 on a t-shirt and not have to worry about breaking out the acetone and blowdrier later if I change my mind. There’s no risk to my paint job, and I don’t have that low-level fear that someone will key my car because they disagree with me about “CRUSH ALL HU-MANS.” Sum total: I love silly t-shirts. I especially love geeky shirts because yes, I buy into geek pride.

But I hate Nerdy Shirts. I made the mistake of ordering two shirts from there as a present for my boyfriend for working so hard to prepare for finals. I’m not one to write about customer service (I’ve done it just once before), but cool t-shirts are a topic near and dear to many of us and I want to save you the money and strife.

I ordered on December 6th. I sent three emails to them inquiring as to when I’d receive the shirts, seeing as I wanted them by a certain date (I’d ordered two weeks in advance — fairly reasonable, if you ask me). Since the initial receipt/email had no personal message, no ship time, no info whatsoever, I was starting to feel uncomfortable. I got no reply until I threatened to contact my card company and reverse the charges. As far as I could tell, I’d just been had.

Finally, on the 19th, I got a nasty response:

If you noticed the haduken shirt you ordered is on backorder and wont be able to ship until later this week. You were informed of this before checkout. Jacob

Well, no. I hadn’t noticed, obviously, or I wouldn’t have been emailing them three times. My emailed receipt said nothing of the sort, and I sent that along with my third inquiry. I wrote back and asked them to cancel my order. But did they? Of course not. After coming home after my surgery, I found out that they went ahead and shipped my order 5 days later. I wish I had gone ahead and reversed the charges instead of giving them a chance to screw me again.

What’s more, it turns out that “haduken” is misspelled. And the (men’s) t-shirts which were purported to be XL are actually no more than your typical medium size. The tag may say XL, but they’re not even as big as my (men’s) L shirts from Thinkgeek. They won’t fit my boyfriend, and I’m just so utterly disgusted at this point that I don’t want them either.

So, I’m out $42.72 for two shirts and priority (ha!) shipping. I feel so used. Moral lesson: Don’t let this be you, when you get a bad feeling, call your bank. And definitely don’t let my story be the story of your customers—you don’t want to be on either end. I’m still thinking of a way to get them back. Can I just ship them back and demand a refund/reverse the charges? Stay tuned to find out.

No Comments

  1. null says:

    I am not an expert, but I would call my credit card company and tell them that you were not satisfied with the quality of the shirts. I don’t think you even have to return them for the charges to be reversed (why pay shipping if it’s not your fault?).

  2. null says:

    I am not an expert, but I would call my credit card company and tell them that you were not satisfied with the quality of the shirts. I don’t think you even have to return them for the charges to be reversed (why pay shipping if it’s not your fault?).

  3. James says:

    I had the same problem last year with a different company and it wasn’t T-Shirts… Only when I threatened to get Credit company involved did I get a response. Then I tried to cancel, and they shipped it out a month and a half after I ordered, only to find out I didn’t get exactly what I ordered.

    Learned my lesson from that. Only order from highly reviewed sites.

  4. James says:

    I had the same problem last year with a different company and it wasn’t T-Shirts… Only when I threatened to get Credit company involved did I get a response. Then I tried to cancel, and they shipped it out a month and a half after I ordered, only to find out I didn’t get exactly what I ordered.

    Learned my lesson from that. Only order from highly reviewed sites.

  5. Dan says:

    The bottom line is that you cancelled it and they still shipped it. It was their mistake, so why should you have to pay for it?

    Contact your credit card company and explain this, and the charges will more than likely be reversed.

    9 times out of 10 the credit card company will side with the consumer, especially since you can produce emails proving that you cancelled the order 5 days before it shipped.

  6. Dan says:

    The bottom line is that you cancelled it and they still shipped it. It was their mistake, so why should you have to pay for it?

    Contact your credit card company and explain this, and the charges will more than likely be reversed.

    9 times out of 10 the credit card company will side with the consumer, especially since you can produce emails proving that you cancelled the order 5 days before it shipped.

  7. Sean Bryant says:

    Well Amy this is exactly why I don’t buy t-shirts off the internet. Other than the occasional <a href="http://www.jinx.com/" rel="nofollow">Jinx</a> shirt. Which I’ve never had a problem. But I vow to never buy from nerdyshirts.

  8. Sean Bryant says:

    Well Amy this is exactly why I don’t buy t-shirts off the internet. Other than the occasional <a href="http://www.jinx.com/" rel="nofollow">Jinx</a> shirt. Which I’ve never had a problem. But I vow to never buy from nerdyshirts.

  9. I used to do all my computer shopping through NCIX (www.ncix.com). They’re in Canada (just like me) so I don’t have to pay duty or brokerage fees, and even after paying for shipping the prices are still far better than anything I’ve got locally.

    Then I ordered something I needed in short order, so I selected the ‘Express Shipping’ option for "Next Business Day Delivery", (Another big plus is that they’re on the west coast, so they can generally accept orders later in the day and still ship same day). I dutifully waited for the package the next day, and the day after that to no avail. I contacted NCIX asking where my stuff was, and I was informed in an equally rude manner that "Express Shipping" only reffered to how long it took to ship, there was still a 1-3 day processing time associated with the order. I replied, and stated that if it wasn’t shipped that day, I didn’t want it, and to cancel my order. They replied that it hadn’t shipped, and that if I wanted to cancel I needed to phone them and tell them so, so I did.

    The next day they shipped it.

    I’m a computer guy, that was like two years ago, and i’ve never bought anything else from them since. Up to and including that incedent I’d probably given them about 4K over 3 years.

  10. I used to do all my computer shopping through NCIX (www.ncix.com). They’re in Canada (just like me) so I don’t have to pay duty or brokerage fees, and even after paying for shipping the prices are still far better than anything I’ve got locally.

    Then I ordered something I needed in short order, so I selected the ‘Express Shipping’ option for "Next Business Day Delivery", (Another big plus is that they’re on the west coast, so they can generally accept orders later in the day and still ship same day). I dutifully waited for the package the next day, and the day after that to no avail. I contacted NCIX asking where my stuff was, and I was informed in an equally rude manner that "Express Shipping" only reffered to how long it took to ship, there was still a 1-3 day processing time associated with the order. I replied, and stated that if it wasn’t shipped that day, I didn’t want it, and to cancel my order. They replied that it hadn’t shipped, and that if I wanted to cancel I needed to phone them and tell them so, so I did.

    The next day they shipped it.

    I’m a computer guy, that was like two years ago, and i’ve never bought anything else from them since. Up to and including that incedent I’d probably given them about 4K over 3 years.

  11. Amy Hoy says:

    I think you guys are right… I canceled, so I shouldn’t haev to pay. If they want their shirts back, they can pony up for shipping. I’m going to call my bank today. Probably I should only purchase these things on a real credit card instead of a check card, since I imagine Visa itself would be more useful than my bank, but I guess we’ll see.

    On the flip side, I also ordered some t-shirts as Xmas presents from Diesel Sweeties (http://www.dieselsweeties.com/) and they were shipped lickety-split and sized properly. Very happy with my order from them.

    All in all, I’ve ordered from all sorts of random places, and only had a couple problems ever. Most people seem to be sensible — I don’t understand why the rest of ‘em go around figuring they can be so customer-hostile and still stay in business.

  12. Amy Hoy says:

    I think you guys are right… I canceled, so I shouldn’t haev to pay. If they want their shirts back, they can pony up for shipping. I’m going to call my bank today. Probably I should only purchase these things on a real credit card instead of a check card, since I imagine Visa itself would be more useful than my bank, but I guess we’ll see.

    On the flip side, I also ordered some t-shirts as Xmas presents from Diesel Sweeties (http://www.dieselsweeties.com/) and they were shipped lickety-split and sized properly. Very happy with my order from them.

    All in all, I’ve ordered from all sorts of random places, and only had a couple problems ever. Most people seem to be sensible — I don’t understand why the rest of ‘em go around figuring they can be so customer-hostile and still stay in business.

  13. For some karmic reason I seem to be jinxed when it comes to ordering online. Whether it’s an iMac (which almost got delivered at an entirely different address, had they accepted the parcel) or a second-hand headphone through eBay (turned out to be a replica). Tremendous shipping delays, invoice hassle, damaged, wrong or incomplete goods; you name it, I’ve been there. I guess I’ll let my wife hit the ‘Confirm’ button next time around.

    Anyway, playing the devil’s advocate, their FAQ excplicity tells you to check out their size chart before ordering. Also, the FAQ states you can exchange shirts but will not get a refund. So I’d say you’re screwed, unless you’re fine with exchanging the shirts for a size that does fit. Should you choose to do so, I suggest you write something really nasty on the inside with a marker :)

  14. For some karmic reason I seem to be jinxed when it comes to ordering online. Whether it’s an iMac (which almost got delivered at an entirely different address, had they accepted the parcel) or a second-hand headphone through eBay (turned out to be a replica). Tremendous shipping delays, invoice hassle, damaged, wrong or incomplete goods; you name it, I’ve been there. I guess I’ll let my wife hit the ‘Confirm’ button next time around.

    Anyway, playing the devil’s advocate, their FAQ excplicity tells you to check out their size chart before ordering. Also, the FAQ states you can exchange shirts but will not get a refund. So I’d say you’re screwed, unless you’re fine with exchanging the shirts for a size that does fit. Should you choose to do so, I suggest you write something really nasty on the inside with a marker :)

  15. Steven Ross says:

    Hi amy, I enjoy reading your stuff on rails and webapps. I’ve been working on learning ruby and rails at the same time as well and have appreciated your cheatsheets. I just thought you may want to link to my regex cheatsheet since I believe you have to know regex and rails/ruby. Hope it helps someone else out.

    sorry to post off topic…

    here is the link:

    http://www.zerium.com/zerium/index.cfm?mode=cat&catid=D3DE8AA6-F94C-CCCC-8FEDFE0814E6F3E0

    -Steven

  16. Steven Ross says:

    Hi amy, I enjoy reading your stuff on rails and webapps. I’ve been working on learning ruby and rails at the same time as well and have appreciated your cheatsheets. I just thought you may want to link to my regex cheatsheet since I believe you have to know regex and rails/ruby. Hope it helps someone else out.

    sorry to post off topic…

    here is the link:

    http://www.zerium.com/zerium/index.cfm?mode=cat&catid=D3DE8AA6-F94C-CCCC-8FEDFE0814E6F3E0

    -Steven

  17. Amy,

    Congrats on being accepted for a Canada on Rails speech! Ordered my ticket last night. It should be lots of fun for all!

  18. Amy,

    Congrats on being accepted for a Canada on Rails speech! Ordered my ticket last night. It should be lots of fun for all!

  19. Joel says:

    Don’t buy shit from web sites that are ugly as fuck.

  20. Joel says:

    Don’t buy shit from web sites that are ugly as fuck.

  21. This is an aside, but I am intrigued by this notion of being so into bumper stickers, that the practical similarities and benefits of the adver-shirt thus become so much more appealing.

    Personally, I can barely stand to wear anything with overt messages or symbols, especially well-known marks, even when I’m sitting around in my PJ-pants. Thus, I almost never do. It’s only out of laziness that I haven’t expunged all the advertising from my wardrobe.

    I am reminded of a surly ex-boss I had saying, "I remember when Coke had to pay YOU to advertise for them!"

    He makes an excellent point, and even if it’s not Coke or the like, it’s not like there aren’t enough messages thrown in your face already, eh?

    P.S. Sucks about the ordeal and stuff..

  22. This is an aside, but I am intrigued by this notion of being so into bumper stickers, that the practical similarities and benefits of the adver-shirt thus become so much more appealing.

    Personally, I can barely stand to wear anything with overt messages or symbols, especially well-known marks, even when I’m sitting around in my PJ-pants. Thus, I almost never do. It’s only out of laziness that I haven’t expunged all the advertising from my wardrobe.

    I am reminded of a surly ex-boss I had saying, "I remember when Coke had to pay YOU to advertise for them!"

    He makes an excellent point, and even if it’s not Coke or the like, it’s not like there aren’t enough messages thrown in your face already, eh?

    P.S. Sucks about the ordeal and stuff..

  23. Casey says:

    Amy, I really appreciate your writings on Rails. I am a web designer put in charge of working with the software guys and I had to learn it so I could understand what I was integrating. You really put it in a language that I could understand and not lose interest (that ADD again).

    As far as funny shirts are concerned you should checkout Vintagedge (http://www.vintagedge.com) . I saw one on campus a couple of months ago and had to have it. "Vermont – spooning with New Hampshire Since 1791". Pure gold. I’ve ordered a couple of shirts from them and have been pleasantly surprised with their service.

  24. Casey says:

    Amy, I really appreciate your writings on Rails. I am a web designer put in charge of working with the software guys and I had to learn it so I could understand what I was integrating. You really put it in a language that I could understand and not lose interest (that ADD again).

    As far as funny shirts are concerned you should checkout Vintagedge (http://www.vintagedge.com) . I saw one on campus a couple of months ago and had to have it. "Vermont – spooning with New Hampshire Since 1791". Pure gold. I’ve ordered a couple of shirts from them and have been pleasantly surprised with their service.

  25. Jimy Neutron says:

    I had and the fix I found.

  26. I had and the fix I found…

  27. Video says:

    Thanks for the write-up.

  28. Thanks for taking the time to do it…

  29. Just thought I’d make a note about a problem :(

  30. I thout to do it in my local version.

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