Great Customer

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I am an Amazon fantasy customer. I’m retired, partially disabled so it
is difficult enough to get friends to help with medical appointments
that I don’t want to also bother them for shopping, and well-off
enough that if there is something that I want—from an art book to an
appliance—that I can go online, browse, and have it delivered to my
door. I’m not proud of being a consumer but I also do my share of
tzedakah and recycling. I save on deliveries by being a member; they
get my business. The last four orders I have received have been
defective or wrong in some way. The first two were my fault: pressing
“buy now” too quickly and not reading the size details, and because
they were “no return” items I was allowed to keep them. The next two
were not as advertised and when I called to complain I got shunted to
a higher-level supervisor who questioned me I thought a little rudely. I
fell like I have been tagged in some way. How can I get my good
consumer name back and have the convenience I want and the
respect I deserve?

Great Customer

Dear Great Customer:

Generally speaking, the old adage “the customer is always right” still
remains a baseline for retailers. But in the age of long-distance buying,
consumers have both much more and much less information about
what they are purchasing. When we could stand in a store holding and
feeling the product and talk to a salesperson we could make bettetr
decision, though perhaps not as cheaply. In this age of knock-offs and
declining quality, it is easy to be disappointed with a purchase. As long
as a site’s shipping and return policies are reasonable, I think it’s
worth being loyal, but not to the point of paying too much or feeling
that you did not get the quality you paid for.

I would call and ask to talk to a customer service rep. Explain what’s
happened independent of a specific purchase. Ask if there is a way you
can learn more about products before you purchase, beyond the review
and questions section. Ask if they in some way tag you for too
many returns. Assuming you are treated like an adult, and not charged
to ship back defective items, I’d stick with a retailer you have trusted.
Remember, every time you buy from a new place, all you credit info
ends up being spread about the Internet. And each breach of security
is one more hassle to remedy and takes you one more step into the pit
of identity theft.