Our home is user friendly. We love to host visitors and guests. So it was a no-brainer to redo our backyard with a nice sitting patio. But the expense didn’t end there.
Next was the patio furniture. With a tight budget we went searching online for those great deals everyone talks about. Then we saw it. A website called Overstock.com. My critical thinking skills all but disappeared when I read that name and immediately assumed they were offering great deals on “overstock items” that they could offer us at reduced prices.
I haven’t researched their internal business practices, and they may very well offer some fantastic deals. But that wasn’t our experience.
One of the items we purchased was their “zero-gravity” lounge chair. Cost around $99.99. Don’t you love when they leave off that one penny so you feel you’re getting a great deal by paying under $100?
Eight months passed and the exposed metal parts began to rust and the elastic cords that hold the chair material to the frame started to fray and the chair became useless. So we turned to customer service. Their response, “ship us the chair (at a cost to me of around $12) and we can evaluate it to see if there is any residual value and we will see what we can do.” Residual value? I thought that was the idea of purchasing a quality product. Aren’t chairs supposed to last at least one year? We requested they simply send us new elastic cords and we will fix it ourselves.
The email response was, “We have been advised by our warehouse that we are unable to complete a parts request for an item that is more than 45 days past the return time frame.”
With this in hand I re-contacted customer service and requested to speak with a supervisor and mentioned that I also write for ScamRaiders, and want to see if this issue can be resolved before I write my next article. Well it took some time, but I was finally connected to a supervisor who was more than willing to offer a $40 refund or a $60 certificate for our next purchase with Overstock. I haggled a bit; name dropped “ScamRaiders” again, and received a $50 refund.
This seems like a happy ending, but there is more. I started to wonder how anyone would fix a broken chair like this and why we simply couldn’t get new elastic cords. That would have been the easiest solution. My research of the internet discovered that some companies offer an “elastic cord repair kit” for $19.95!
Personally I want a product I can rely on and not worry about repair kits and a tedious customer service experience. So I bought a new chair from Bed Bath and Beyond for $65 after their 20% discount and an in-house warranty that allows me to return the chair anytime if I’m not completely satisfied.
Lessons to be learned. Writing for ScamRaiders has its benefits, and the ease of purchasing on the internet may not always prove to be that easy unless you take the time to really check things out.
BZ Kravitz is a crisis counselor and chaplain for several police agencies. He is proficient at scuba diving and martial arts, and is also a certified firearms instructor. He is the founder of www.Be-True.org and www.JewsforJudaism.org, non-profit organizations that promote critical thinking in response to deceptive cults and missionaries.