Monday, June 15, 2009

Buyer Beware!!


It may not be considered the polite thing to do but I do believe that people need to know if there is a problem with customer service. Let me first say that I have found 99.9% of vendors and designers to be not only fair, but generous when they have made mistakes. They are prompt to rectify them and often provide heartfelt apologies, and it isn’t unusual for them to send a little something extra – which they have no obligation to do.

However, I want to warn you about the customer service at two particular stores. Kiko’s and JM Mai. Both are skin stores and was the reason for my visits. In both incidents I purchased a large number of skins from their stores and brought other customers to them. Concerning Kiko’s – there is a card in place that we were encouraged to buy – having enough points to earn us another skin. We paid the extra money, went to purchase the other skin and the card would not work. The gentleman was standing right there, observed us buy the original skins, buy the card, and attempt to purchase the free skin. When we explained we had not received the skin, he suddenly was unable to understand us and he refused to honor the cards. We left after wasting more time than I can say there. A letter to him formerly requesting our money back was not replied to.

With JM Mai, I purchased a skin, checking and double checking which one I wanted, selected my choice, checked again, and clicked to buy. I accepted the purchase, and later that day when I went to put the skin on, I realized it was the wrong skin. I went back to the store to double check the one I clicked on was clearly the one I wanted. It was – it read one thing but the skin I got when I clicked on it was not the skin that was delivered to me. I sent a letter to the owner explaining and she conversed quite well with me until about half way through the exchange when she claimed to again not be able to understand English well. In fairness to her, she had that same note on her profile at the time – even though that has now been removed and replaced with an elaborate statement which is most likely intended for me concerning this incident. (if it isn't .. she obviously has a lot of customers who are not happy) I knew I had not chosen the wrong button because I have done that in the past and am so careful about making my purchase now, checking and double checking before I click AND I went back to the store to check again. Even if it was my fault – after myself and my four friends had purchase some 14 skins between us it would have been good customer service to at least have been polite to me, and even provided me with the skin I was missing. We are talking about $3.50 here – not a lot of money to keep a happy customer. She could easily see from the records I personally had purchased 8 or 9 of her skins, so how much was I trying to rip her off? Even when I wrote her that I would not be shopping there again and I would not encourage others to support her, there was no attempt to apologize or rectify the situation.

Let me be clear that it is not the quality of her work I am complaining about – she is a talented and gifted designer and I loved her skins, but unfortunately her beauty does not seem to apply to her personal integrity.

It may not be that big a deal to consider the money I lost in these transactions as it is equally small on my part – however there are a goodly number of people who are in SL who don’t have money to waste and for them it would be a huge loss. She had no way of knowing which I was, but she could verify I had only been on SL for a few months at the time. I guess the old saying stands – BUYER BEWARE.

Wanting to end on a positive note – again let me reiterate that this is not the case with most of the designers and store keepers, and you should always contact them if you have a problem. Often these things are something they are grateful to know about and to rectify – such as a product not being delivered or a glitch in the system. They usually prefer you to send a notecard as they are busy people and their mail often gets capped easily. They will need to know the date, the transaction number, and the name of the item purchased as well as a brief outline of your concerns. Give them a little bit of time – remember not all of us live in the same part of the worl. Always read their profile information as it often gives important info on how to deal with problems – they may even direct you to a different person who handles customer service.

I also advocate dropping a notecard once in awhile to compliment those store owners and designers you admire and appreciate - sometimes it is all they need to brighten their day and keep them going. It takes such little time and can mean so much.

Happy Shopping.
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