24 January, 2013

Oh, The Joy of It All

Living outside of the US presents challenges and opportunities. Lots of opportunities and even more challenges, such as the following exchange with Tiger Direct (http://www.tigerdirect.com).

About a week ago, I had made a purchase through Tiger Direct. I was able to complete the purchasing process with minimal problems - mostly me forgetting to enter some item regarding my credit card correctly, in short, the usual. It was shipped the following day and received shortly after by Nena, at Roy and Sons Trucking, the shipping agent we have used almost exclusively since we moved down here about six years ago.

I wanted to make another purchase a few days later, so I went online with Tiger Direct once again, expecting the same easy process. That was in the morning. I checked back with them the following day or so later as I had not received a notice of shipping as I did with the earlier purchase.

When I went to the customer service page of their website, I entered the order number and received a message that this order had been placed on hold and that I should call an 800 number (actually an 888 number - same difference) as "they may require additional information to finish processing and shipping" the item.

So, just this morning, I spent the better part of an hour-and-half on the phone, on hold, with Tiger Direct. I was trying to find out why a hold had been placed on an online purchase I was making or that is, trying to make.

I spoke to a young man (Christopher) who placed me on hold initially so he could check the messages related to this order. After three or four minutes, he was back on with me. They were concerned that I was having the item shipped to a third party and that the third party was a shipping company.

On hold again, and again, more questions... How old I was, and could I call them from some phone number I had never heard of. I gave Chris my age and told him I was unfamiliar with that phone number.

Once again, on hold. Then, could I call them from a phone number that we hadn't had since before we moved down here to Belize. "No, can't do that one either." I answered.

Back on hold. Ok, next effort... They could ship to the address of record for the credit card company (basically, our permanent state-side address), and I would personally have to sign for it. I told Chris that I was sorry, but I couldn't do either one. I did get to thinking the next time I was on hold, that even if I could, when was the last time a FedEx or UPS driver actually checked an ID to make sure the person signing for the delivery was who they signed as.

This time, Chris wanted the customer service number from the back of the credit card. I gave it to him. He explained that he was going to try to talk to them so that he could release the purchase. I was then  back on hold, but not before I explained to Chris that we actually lived in Belize, but that we had US bank accounts and US credit cards that we have had for twenty-some years, and it wasn't like I was trying to steal thousands of dollars. I merely wanted to purchase a refurbished laptop that was on sale for less than $400.00 US.

Guess what? Back on hold. By now, we're passing the hour-and-a-half mark. I had impressed myself with how well my temper was staying in check and that Chris really seemed to be going the extra mile to help me instead of just blowing off another disgruntled customer.

Eventually Chris came back on the phone. During the interim, I had become so worried that my phone's battery was going to run out, I asked Dianna to fetch my charger, which I plugged in and hooked to the phone all without losing the connection.

As Chris started speaking, I was sure he was going to say something about they were sorry, but they'd be unable to process the purchase. Instead he said the purchase was approved and that it would ship today. Wow. I was impressed.

I asked him if his conversation with the credit card customer service folks had cleared things. He said no, that they had never answered. I laughed out loud and told him that was really good customer service on their part.

I thanked him for his help and for going the extra distance with us to complete our purchase. Chris wished us a good day, and we hung up. Miracles do happen now and then. Not very often, dealing with international intertubes purchases and shipping , but now and then. It's nice when it does.

All just part of the adventure of living in paradise.

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