JCPenney–Customer Service

The other day I saw a story on the news about how angry people get over customer service.  It was about how unhappy people are over what they feel is a major decline in customer service.  Now I understand that companies and their employees can make simple mistakes, so I’m not talking about how often we get bad service.  What I’m talking about is how companies go about fixing their mistakes once they make them.  How I rate a company’s customer service is by how they solve problems that they caused themselves.

I’m a guy that doesn’t like to shop, so I buy online.  Buying online is convenient unless you have to send something back, and I hate to send things back.  So I try to always order exactly what I want.  I’m not one of those people who order three different digital cameras and send the two back they don’t like.  I especially hate buying something and then discovering it’s a returned item.  When I pay for new I expect new.

If I do take a chance on ordering something sight unseen and I don’t like it, I’ll just give it to Goodwill rather than take it back.  With clothes I tend to find brands and styles that don’t change and order them time and again, expecting that what I buy online will be just like what I’ve bought before.

I like undershirts with long tails, so I buy Stafford Vneck Tees that are X-Large Tall from JCPenney.  I like to get them in a six pack.  Recently I ordered another six pack but I received three tees in a plain plastic bag with a computer label slapped on it.  The three tees looked new, but I was grossed out by the idea that someone probably bought a bag of six and returned them and some flunky in shipping threw the three shirts in a plastic bag without counting and sealed it with a computer label which clearly says Pk6.  There wasn’t even a cardboard photo of a guy modeling a tee shirt like you’d expect with a new package.

You’d think they’d have a law against selling returned underwear?

But anyway, I believe it’s obvious that JCPenney made a mistake.  I called them up and my options are to send the shirts back at my expense or return them to a JCPenney store.  They offered to immediately send out new shirts, but to bill my credit card.  I would only get credit when the others were returned.  I believe that is horrible customer service!

At best I would have been impressed if they had said, sorry, we shouldn’t have sent you returned underwear, so throw those away, and we’ll send you an unopened new package right away.  Next best, because I understand they can’t trust customers not to cheat them, would be to send me shipping bag with automatic postage so I could just leave it for my mailman or UPS guy to pick up.

It’s their mistake, why should I pay for it?

I can understand telling customers to pay for return shipping for items the customer didn’t like.  That’s not JCPenney’s fault.  But when a company makes a mistake they should do everything to fix it at no cost to the customer.  That’s good customer service.  Evidently JCPenney feels that it’s more profitable to have a certain level of customer dissatisfaction over bad customer service than to spend the money for good customer service.

My final choices are:

  • Throw the shirts away and never shop with JCPenney again and lose my money
  • Assume the three shirts are okay and wear them and actually pay twice as much
  • Take them back to a store and get credit and quit shopping at JCPenney

In none of the three options does JCPenney end up paying for its mistake.   I either let JCPenny rip me off, or spend the money and time driving out to the mall to take the shirts back, or wrap them up, drive to the post office and pay to send the shirts back.  I got 90 days, so the easiest thing to do that would get my money back would be to wait until I need to go to Best Buy and then run the shirts back to JCPenney.

JWH – 12/5/10

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