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I ordered a 10 pieces cookware set in one of Williams Sonoma NYC store on 12/21/12, not only was I delight in having finally make the purchase after years of deliberation, Williams Sonoma was having a promotion at that time where I received some cash-returned voucher for the amount spend on the order. However, the former turned quickly when the shipment arrived on 12/27/12; what was shipped was a completely different set of cookware and this is where the whole ordeal begins:

12/27/12, called Williams Sonoma customer service and spoke to Janice whom told me that the cookware set is now on back order, the earliest available date was 02/16/13. I explained that I would be out of the country for a few months during that time and only then did she transfer me to a Specialist to help locate a set from one of their store. Donna from the Home Purchase Department found a set in Ohio but could not process the order due to some policy unclear to me, they had to reissue me a Merchandise Credit Card, hold the items for me and I have to call the store to place the order when I receive the Merchandise Credit Card on Monday 12/31/12. I agreed to the arrangement because she said that they would expedite the card and send me a tracking number, pick up the wrong package all in the following day. The worst for me is a phone call and wait another week to receive the pots!

12/29/12, UPS came to pick up the package a day earlier but no notice on the Merchandise Credit Card. Spoke to Clara at customer service whom apologized that there is a security issue with reissuing me the card for an over the phone order but was able to straighten the problem after putting me on hold for a long while. Great! And I received a tracking number that evening for the card that was now due to arrive next Tuesday.

01/02/13, UPS - “unable to deliver, wrong shipping address”, another customer service associate James was also apologetic. He straighten out the shipping address with the carrier but offered no assistance when asked if the store would continue to hold the items for me, instead, he kindly ask that I call the store myself. No big deal, made the call, explained the whole situation, done.

01/03/13, finally with the Merchandise Credit Card at hand I called the store to place the order, confirmed the shipping address, requested that the package be ship 2nd business day and to forward me the tracking number.

01/05/13, no tracking number. Called the store in Ohio again and was given the tracking information, but through the conversation found out the items were shipped via ground shipping! I told myself that it is OK; at least it is on its way…

01/10/13, the doorbell rang close to the end of the day. Ran to the door to see the UPS guy through the side light with an uneasy look on his face, looked down and there was a pot handle sticking out from the side of the carton box! Further examination found that the handle and lid to the pot was damaged. What happened was that the items were loosely packed and they had only use a single wall outer carton box to hold a set with a combined weight of around 40lbs.

Went on-line to check their return policy for a single item from a set before calling the store when an associate came onto the online chat to offer some help and after I had explained everything in writing she gave a number to call for further assistance? She comforted me by assuring that the issues and instruction has been noted on the order and the customer specialist would know what to do.

I then called the customer specialist, waited for 35 minutes to speak to a condescending agent whom took my order number, read the notes and asked, “ so, what do you want me to do?” I explain the situation to her again, she then claim that she’ll have to speak to her supervisor, put me on-hold and 30 seconds later the line was dropped to the back of the wait line!! “ your call is important to us, please wait for the next available agent…”

Another 55 minutes past and finally got to speak to yet another associate Deborah; she was patient, kind, sympathetic and apologized for everything. With limited stock to that particular item, inventory issue of replacing a single item from a set and the time constrain. She got around the problem, found the item in Arkansas, called the store, gave me a name to speak to, offered several solutions to get me the replacement as quickly as possible, ordered a pick-up for the damaged item the next day and even offered to send me a gift card for all the inconveniences. The only catch is that I’ll have to place a separate order for the item and assured me that she could pull up the order based on my address, refund me the whole amount thereafter without me having to do anything else. But never mind, I trusted her and was starting to feel confident with customer service again.

01/12/13, the damaged item was packed and has been sitting near the door for 2 days. Called customer service again, Tom looked up the order and had no idea or record of who Deborah is; he spoke to his superior and was confident that whatever Deborah promised could not be done! He then offered to “do me a favor” by calling the store in Arkansas to straighten this out. Not much later, an associate from Arkansas left a message asking for me to return her call and to clarify what her colleague was talking about.

Thanks to Rebecca at the Williams Sonoma store in Roger, Arkansas. I got my refund on 01/14/13 and UPS came to pick-up the pot the same day, she even call back to make sure that all is in order. This would seem like a good place to end my little experience with William Sonoma but do you remember the cash-return voucher? I walk into a store here a few days ago and bought a thing based on a wrong decision, the voucher covered for much of the cost but I had to pay the outstanding tax of $7.67 with cash. Took the item back a day later for an exchange, an associate whom was helping me approached a floor supervisor to double check the process; she took a look at the receipt, verified that the item was neither a final-sale or special order item, look at us and said “Can’t exchange, you could return the item and we’ll give you $7.67 back.” Turned and walked away…enough and I sincerely hope that I never receive ‘the’ gift card!

Product or Service Mentioned: Williams Sonoma Cookware.

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