Companies can make clever ads, they can get "engaged" in social media, and they show how much they CARE ABOUT THE CHILDREN [insert Sally Struthers emoticon], but none of that builds real trust. "Trust" isn't a silly marketing buzzword - it's a business's greatest bond with its customer, and it's developed, strengthened and broken during real interactions. And it's trust that caused FedEx Canada to lose precious little me as a customer.
But let me back up, because this story actually starts with something pure and good. It started with this:
I love that damn show, as does my dear husband. This husband that I love
almost as much as Community had a birthday in July and because I am a clever, thoughtful and pop culture-obsessed wife, I ordered two of these mugs from the NBC store as a birthday gift:
$12 a pop for mugs is a bit much, but whatev. Birthday, right? Troy and Abed, right?
The package was received by our concierge and the mugs were in perfect and wonderful working order. Total state-of-the-art liquid containment. Husband was happy, the birthday was splendid, and I retained my position as Patrick's Favourite Wife.
On August 12th, I received an invoice from FedEx, looking for their "Advancement Fee" - which is supposedly the charge that's meant to cover duty and "managing customs" on account of this being a cross-border shopping experience. YOU'RE WELCOME, AMERICA:
I think it's rather strange that I'd get charged HST (a tax on goods and services provided in Ontario) on a product from the US, that it's all kinds of fun that FedEx's total charge for something worth $24 was $14.29 (60% of the product cost. Splendid!), and that you have no idea what the charge will be until long after you make your transaction - but that's not even what this blog post is about.
This blog post is about the fact that I paid it. That day. I called the little 1-800 number and paid that ridiculous charge without complaint. Aren't I a good little drone? YOU'RE WELCOME, CAPITALISM.
|A screen shot from my bank account. It's really small. |
But you can click it!
|I should get a pre-inked stamp, right? I love stamps. |
I especially love having a legitimate excuse to get a stamp.
This is where the story should end, with FedEx Canada humping its pile of money and Patrick and I pouring
But it doesn't end there.
On October 6th, my mailbox greets me with this letter from FedEx:
You know, I might be the kind of person who gets a sick thrill from embarrassing my husband while he's on business calls, I might have no idea how to open a coconut, and I might be that lady who strips her clothes off on the sidewalk - but I am NOT the sort of girl who gets Past Due notices.
So I was kind of stunned. What was this about? The letter gives no information about the services rendered, only an invoice number. I order things now and again from across the border, so I'm not sure exactly what it's for. And so, to the '90s I went, and I dug up the info from my file folder.
I was quickly able to match up the invoice amounts, see that I had called to pay, saw the reference number, went online and confirmed that amount was indeed charged. Some people would see this and feel mad. But you know how I felt? Relieved. As I was digging up my info, the entire time I genuinely felt awful that I might have skipped out on paying something that I owed. Because, like I said, I'm not just a drone, I'm a good drone.
So I call FedEx Canada.
There's zero need to get all uppity and crazy with the poor schmuck who happens to answer the phone - it's not his fault. And mistakes happen, right? I was just glad that I had the information I needed to correct the situation.
Oh, speaking of which - you know those reference numbers I mentioned earlier - the ones a company gives you that most of us don't bother saving or writing down? FedEx does the exact same thing with them. They're just like us! The number I quoted meant nothing to guy I was on the phone with. Neato.
But since FedEx clearly charged my credit card in the amount of gee-what-a-coincidence-that's-how-much-is-on-the-invoice, they've got to have a record of that somewhere, right? So I give the guy the last few digits of my VISA and he says he'll take a look at the transactions, have it straightened out and agrees with me that there must have been a miscommunication between departments.
"Thanks for calling and thank you for choosing FedEx."
Technically, NBC chose FedEx, but whatever ....
So, then I make my trusty note on the letter and file (!) it.
Today I'm up to whatever shitty thing I do between meals when:
SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.
The letter is dated five bloody days AFTER I called FedEx.
ARE THEY KIDDING ME!?!?!
I felt a Troy Barnes-style Nosebleed of Rage coming on (no quicky linky on that reference, you'll just have to go watch Community to get it. YOU'RE WELCOME, YOUR BRAIN CELLS).
The letter threatens to transfer the balance to a collection agency where "all related costs will be your responsibility and your credit rating may be affected."
Here's a zany fact, kids: credit ratings are somewhat important to adults. It impacts our ability to do things like get mortgages and rent apartments, get a business loan or establish a line of credit. They're not the sort of thing you should be screwing with.
But FedEx will! Over $14.29. That you already paid in August. And already called them about. Oh, tra la la.
I again took out my file folder, which is now marked "SERIOUSLY?!", and called FedEx for a third time.
I'm told it's now "resolved".
But do I trust that FedEx has made things right? Do I trust their data management? Their customer service? Their ability to send a message from one department to another? Am I confident that they won't "accidentally" keep escalating this to a level of harassment that is completely unwarranted, unnecessary, and potentially financially damaging?
Nope. I don't trust them at all.
And I don't do business with companies that I can't trust.