Adventures In Customer Service: Loose Screws
When Lain was born, our parents chipped in and bought us a pretty nice crib from Graco. During the process of moving from House #1 to House #2, the screws to said crib got misplaced. Since we weren’t going to stay in House #2 for very long, we didn’t really sweat it. Our first house out here in the east, on the other hand, we will be in for at least a year and perhaps longer. Plus, baby turned 1 a few days ago and we’re going to need to start moving her over to her own bedroom instead of the playpen/nap-pen by our bed.
The screws hadn’t turned up, so I contacted Graco. Graco, in turn, said that even though it carried their brand name, they didn’t actually make the crib and instead it was made by a company called LaJobi. LaJobi couldn’t help me until I tracked down some information from the crib. That took a while because the crib was still in a mountain of boxes. When I finally did, they told me to call them.
Here is how I think the conversation went: I told them that I would like to purchase a screw set for the crib. They said “Let’s check and see if we have that in stock” which they did. They took my credit card information for the $35 the screws would cost.
I hadn’t asked how long it would take it to arrive, so I decided to give them the 6-8 weeks I consider to be the maximum. That came and went, and it still hadn’t arrived. I called them back to find out that this is how they thought the conversation went: I told them that I would like to purchase a screw set for the crib. They said “Let’s check and see if we have that in stock” which they did not as it was on back order. They may or may not have taken my credit card information, but they delete credit card information after 24 hours. I went back and looked and sure enough, the $35 had never been charged.
Basically, they said that the interaction was put into their system as a backorder. did I misunderstand them? It’s possible, though I am sure they took my credit card information and I certainly left the conversation thinking that my screws would be on their way. Anyway, they said that the screws were still on back order. However, they would open a new crib box with a set of screws and send that to me, since I had been waiting so long.
I was really impressed that they would do that, since that would mean that they couldn’t sell the crib from which they got the screws until they got more screws in. I almost felt bad since apparently this particular set of screws is such a hot commodity. And since it was our own fault for losing the screws in the first place. I was very appreciative, gave them my credit card number, and then waited the 7-10 business days it would take for them to get the screws to me.
Then, nothing. And I check my records, and once again we were never charged.
Now, as I say, it’s my own darn fault for not keeping track of the screws during the move. Neither Graco nor LaJobi have any obligation to offer replacement parts. But it’s been three months since they first (I am pretty sure) said that I would be getting the screws. If they can’t replace the parts, I wish they would have just said so and we could have made plans accordingly, instead of planning for the arrival of the screws.
In the end, it worked out. Over last weekend, when I was waiting to call LaJobi back and giving them a piece of my mind, the screws I had originally lost magically turned up. It’s possible that had LaJobi been straight with me, I would have purchased a new crib by now. It’s also possible that I would have gone on a blitz and located them. I can’t even boycott LaJobi going forward since we didn’t intentionally buy their product in the first place. We own a lot of Graco products and I had previously looked at their brand favorably. While they weren’t the ones that gave us the runaround, though, they contracted with the ones who did and that makes me less likely to buy their products in the future.
On the other hand, I will say these two things for LaJobi: First, the crib is pretty awesome. Good work on that. Second, the LaJobi people were very polite and pleasant and had they not been telling me things that were not true, I am big into customer service and the customer service would have had me buying LaJobi in the future.