People and processes don’t always cooperate

August 26, 2019

We all know, or have learned the hard way that human communication is not an exact science. The old adage is that’s why there are lawyers! Today, I’m going to relate a situation that I experienced regarding a transaction on EBay. The whole interaction went from a misunderstanding to bad then to worse. Then it got ugly! Sometimes people and processes just don’t go as one might expect.

 First, let me say that my perspective on EBay is pretty laid back because it’s not my main business; it’s very much a hobby and a casual one at that. I sell stuff to get it out of my closet and if I’m lucky, I get a few dollars for it. So what’s my story? I offered a beautiful designer red silk dress for sale at a fabulously low price plus shipping. The woman in question, whom I will call “The Buyer”, sent an offer. What I saw on my end was “an offer to buy at $50” which I accepted. I’ve been doing EBay for about 8 years so I don’t question offers. I just look at the figure and either accept the bid or not. Usually people pay within a day or two. My listing clearly states that non-payment after 48 hours will result in a cancelled transaction. If someone made a mistake in pushing “buy”, then an email to me indicating such will solve the problem. I’m not out to force any sales, so if there’s a mistake, I’ll cancel the transaction.

I accepted the offer and the EBay system put the offer in as a sale and sent the Buyer an invoice for the price plus shipping. No response. Several days go by. I sent a nice note with a reminder invoice – “is there a problem, I ask?” No response. More time goes by.  The EBay system opened a non-payment case against the Buyer automatically, which when she received the notice made her furious resulting in her sending me a scathing email stating that I hadn’t read her offer. What? I never saw any email or further detail about her offer. Apparently, she writes that she’s retired and doesn’t have the money. (Why buy if you don’t have money??) At this point it was very confusing to me because she referred to 8/30 which I assumed meant August 30, but it was August 20. I had no idea what she was talking about. Rather than calmly explain to me that she’d get money at the end of the month which eventually I realized, she raved at me that I hadn’t read the offer details (that I’d never seen) and basically was saying how stupid I was for causing this problem. As it wasn’t an auction item, just a fixed price, make an offer, she could have waited a few days until her pension check arrived. Rather, she chose to expect me to make the system work according to what was best for her. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.

It became obvious to me that she had anger issues and was venting at me for other situations where she hadn’t been heard. I was just the one getting her venom over these frustrations in her life. I kept trying to write to her calmly explaining that the system was automated, that offers are translated into purchases, and that non-payment cases can be opened without me doing anything. She insisted that I cancel the transaction at this point which was impossible according to the EBay system even after I tried calling them directly. I wasted so much time over almost a week for a non-sale with this woman. I had packed this gorgeous dress with tissue paper in a strong box so that it wouldn’t get wrinkled… basically for naught. After 2 days of her insisting that I cancel the transaction, I find that she paid. It was the night before the payment was due or a negative mark would go against her. I figured that she paid to clear the case so that I could cancel the transaction. So I went into the transaction, which was now clear, and cancelled it. I thought this was what she wanted. She had not sent me an email to tell me that she changed her mind about cancelling the transaction and now she wanted it. So what happened next?

The next morning I got a wailing email, “oh, I’m going to cry. You cancelled the transaction after I paid for the dress!”  Well, yeah, after receiving email after email insisting that I cancel and no communication indicating otherwise, what else could I do? Then I get more communication about why did I do that? It’s like being in Wonderland! Ok, so I thought about it and my final email to her was my best attempt to be spiritual, “I’m sorry that you’re not happy with this transaction. Sometimes people and processes don’t go as one might want or expect. Rather than directing anger at me, a bit of patience might have been a better idea. It would also be a good idea to find a healthier channel to vent your frustrations that to direct them at me”.

The moral of the story is that when crazy interactions occur like this story; take a moment to reflect on the situation. Chances are there’s more going on than the immediate reaction. Usually, there are related experiences that the person is reacting to in this lifetime or a prior one. It’s easy to ignore the person but just a bit harder to consider how you can be a guiding light. Just consider that she needed to be reminded of her behavior and it took me going beyond the physical to tell her about it.

Although I had planned for this to be the end, there’s more. The woman wrote back telling me that “You’re a fool!” Well so much for being a messenger of light. I thought about her response a lot and I truly believe that I was guided to write back to her what I had to give her a chance to reconsider her self-righteous position. Unfortunately, she failed the test. Now the universe takes over and karma steps in. I believe that she’s really in scarcity and has a lot of hatred, anger and hostility built up over being in a compromising financial situation. But what got her there? Meanwhile, I live in abundance and reap the rewards. Comments are always welcome.             


How to Drive Customers Away

May 30, 2012

Anyone who has ever been in a sales, service business or even had client customers knows the importance of “customer service”. So why is it so hard to find quality service when interacting with people representing a company these days? Here are some possible reasons:

People are underpaid. They don’t get paid enough to deal with the issues at hand, so when they get irritated by the already irate customer, this individual hangs up. Nice way to handle the problem, right? Of course, wrong. But it’s happened a lot to me lately. This type of behavior only infuriates me more since I have to call in again only to wait in queue.

People just don’t care. They are underutilized in the job they are in. Perhaps their real profession was a higher skilled one and they are doing customer service merely to pay the bills. Their heart isn’t into it. Another version of this comes from improperly trained people. The result is that the customer gets treated poorly.

People aren’t skilled enough for the job. When I recently bought a new computer, I had to deal with a myriad of technicians who were supposed to know more than I did (should have been really easy with my level of computer savvy) only to find that they couldn’t help me solve the issues at hand. Mind you, it was a brand new computer so it should not have had so many issues. That’s another side of the problem. For now we are looking at the issue of trying to get service. I called and called only to find the person I was talking to had no clue about the particular software problem that the company I had bought it from (third party sale) sent me. I finally had to send the software back and use manual transfer of my data from my old system to the new one after I got hold of one technician who knew what he was doing. I was on-line with this guy from 9:30 pm until 3AM. It took that long to set up a new computer that I was told wouldn’t be a problem. Again, not the real issue here, but a tag along one. Sales over sells and service has to take the ball from there. I guess service is thrown some curve balls, but people should be properly trained. I also want to add that I had paid for upgraded priority service for three years on both hardware and software.

The company’s operational rules and policies are broken. I’ve just completed a 10-year line of credit with one of the huge banking/mortgage firms. After 8 of the 10 years on the program, I decided to actually use it to buy a heating and a/c system rather than take money from my investments due to the large sticker price. After all, the whole idea of the line of credit is so that the payments can be made over time, the interest rate is very low (3.25%) and the interest is tax- deductible as part of my mortgage. That’s the concept anyway. I barely got started with the loan only to find out that I had to pay the full money back within two years since the LOC was ending. Ok, so I had to make large payments which I figured I could do over my bank’s bill pay system. I was surprised to find that these ACH payments were converted to physical checks (part of this company’s policy requirements) and went into the mail. By the time the company actually got my $14,000 payment now in the form of a check, 6 weeks had gone by, I was nearly crazy making phone calls trying to track it down and I learned a lot about where the money could go along the way. I learned much more than I should have ever had to deal with. Every person I worked with gave me a run around until I finally drove over to a local branch and spoke to the branch manager who promptly helped me. After that, I physically went to the branch and made transactions. In this age of automation how bad can a system be that I can’t go online and make payments with full confidence. Just today I tried to resolve an issue with the final balance on this line of credit and again they drove me crazy until after the fourth try I got a woman who resolved my issue right away.

So in the end, if the first person doesn’t help you, hang up and call back. Eventually, you’ll get someone who knows what they are doing, is responsible, and actually cares. There are some good customer service people around. But you have to look hard to find them. Make a list and share it when you do.

 


%d bloggers like this: