Politeness goes a long way to resolving complaints

Be sure to document your situation before speaking with merchants

Young kids may be watching for a sleigh drawn by eight tiny reindeer. I’m on the lookout for a square-wheeled Red River cart drawn by a wheezing three legged ox. What other mode of transportation could take more than three weeks to deliver from Calgary a replacement part no bigger than a cell phone for my treadmill? A dog team of starving Chihuahuas?

I placed the order August 18 after a repairman serviced my machine, ending its groaning. Facing another winter when poor walking conditions might curtail my outdoor exercise, I invested in this replacement thinking if I could clock my steps and mileage, I might make better use of the equipment.

The console left Sears’ Calgary parts warehouse the third week of September. But as of October 13, it has not yet arrived, though at the time of ordering the supplier assured me it would be “delivered to my mailbox September 3.”

Even then I figured a delivery date of September 3 was pie in the sky. I wasn’t green enough to expect Sears stocked their warehouse with consoles for every model treadmill they sold in 1996. Who knows from where Sears itself might have to order the part I needed. Ontario? That’s the address on the warranty, though it was printed in the U.S.

I waited patiently for the day my six-ounce repair would drop into my mailbox.

My patience ran out when I received instead a lengthy statement covered with fine print ending with “New balance $144.90, minimum payment $20 due October 23.”

Interest at the rate of 29.9 percent has been charged since September 28 … for a product I haven’t yet received. Included in what Sears claim I owe is $32.42 for bedroom slippers I picked up and fully paid for with cash August 7, 2014.

As never fails to happen, though my files cover many years, the one receipt I needed (but had tossed) was the one from August 7.

After spending the better part of a fruitless Thursday afternoon on the phone with various Sears departments about this foul-up, I visited Sears’ local office October 10 where it was pointed out to me customers are under video surveillance, which would reveal if I had indeed made the August 7 payment. Except the video erases after 30 days. Likewise for their computer records; my payment would be long lost in the company’s computer files.

No matter how busy the Terrace outlet may be on weekends, I was in no mood to be put off by their offer to photocopy my statement and check back with me Monday or Tuesday. (While I held a lengthy exchange on the outlet’s phone with a Sears office, twice borrowing the manager’s ballpoint to jot down details including a phone number, only one customer walked in.)

I could have slunk out without a satisfactory conclusion to my visit. But I’ve dealt with too many similar situations, and read many advice columns on how to seek a remedy for less than satisfactory service. Advice always boils down to several commonsense rules:

File your complaint sooner rather than later. Do your homework. Take along receipts and other documents. (Never toss paid bills as I did. Gather them in a shoebox; they become critical.)

Note the names of whoever you speak with, any phone numbers used to reach them and a brief summary of your conversation with each.

If the first person you speak with is no help, go higher. Speak to a supervisor. Persevere.

Never use offensive or abusive language. A polite, firm and never-say-die attitude usually will get you through an obstructive customer-service department.

I’m still waiting for delivery. Maybe to lower feed costs, the ox pastures as he travels.

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

College buys a yurt to boost student success

Round tent-like structure part of college instructional shift

Soup kitchen sees “groundswell of community support”

Donations toward looming tax bill push non-profit back in the black

Terrace husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

BC Ambulance presented each a Vital Link Award for separate incidents of CPR

Council supports lobby for fair share of cannabis tax revenue

The City of Terrace is throwing its support behind a West Kelowna… Continue reading

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read