city, state zip
November 7, 2013
Barnes & Noble
76 Ninth Ave
New York, NY 10011
Dear “Customer Service”:
I use that term loosely. I will bullet this letter for ease of chronological order, and hopefully you will understand my frustration and fix it. Don’t empathize for the awful experience and try to placate me, I just need it fixed.
• November 4, 2013 – I placed online order #####3249 at 3:37pm for eleven items.
• November 4, 2013 – I received my confirmation order indicating two items will be shipped on November 5, 2013 and the remaining books are scheduled to ship on December 31, 2013. Two of my items are to be published on December 31, 2013, which I understood. However, there is no reason the other seven would be delayed seven weeks for a member with free express shipping. After spending the evening thinking about it, I decided I will cancel and order each book individually so shipping is not contingent on anything else in the order.
• November 5, 2013 – I manually cancelled the nine remaining items through the Barnes & Noble website. I waited the 60 minutes instructed before checking back, they were not cancelled.
• November 6, 2013 – I emailed Barnes & Noble to cancel the remaining order of nine items through a representative. I have not received a response (it is over 24 hours).
• November 7, 2013 – I attempted to start a chat with a live representative. All IE windows failed.
• November 7, 2013 – I called “Customer Service” approximately 9am to cancel my remaining order through a representative. I requested she cancel, she indicated she would email the warehouse to place the request but it wasn’t guaranteed as the order was in process, but I would receive an email. As the items are not scheduled to ship until December 31, 2013, I questioned why this would not process in seven weeks. I questioned why the other four venues to resolve did not work. I questioned what would happen if I didn’t receive an email like she indicated. She said she could not answer my first two questions as they are rarities, but I would definitely receive an email. She became snide in her responses when I doubted the quality of the system, I disconnected as it was a waste of time. I have not received an email.
• November 7, 2013 – I came home from dinner to find that I had my Barnes & Noble order on my porch, in two boxes. I open box one, both of my shipped books are in the box. I open box two, and find order #####2472. It was shipped to me, with GM’s invoice enclosed.
• November 7, 2013 – I called “Customer Service” to question if my cancellation went through and to report the receipt of someone else’s order in addition to mine. I inquired on mine first, and she said she would email again but it wasn’t guaranteed. At least she wasn’t snide. She tried to explain that, since my order was In Process and they are getting it ready (for shipping in seven weeks), it may not cancel. I said that was fine, I will return and Barnes & Noble can pay for shipping both ways. I provided order #####2472; she said she would make a note on the account but that the other customer wouldn’t be issued a new book until she called. She asked that I print out a return mailing label and return it. As that email was for the benefit of Barnes & Noble, I received it within three minutes of hanging up.
I emailed GM regarding order #####2472 so she will be calling today to discuss that you sent her order to the wrong address.
Ultimately, I want the remaining seven items that are not waiting for publishing to be received by the end of next week. There are two resolutions:
• Cancel my order. I will order each item individually with free express shipping as a Member so that there will never be a possibility of waiting on other books.
• Ship the other seven items now.
I have nine years in financial services customer service and a BS in Business Administration, but that background is not required to know the challenges Barnes & Noble faces in this economy and the competition it faces. The only selling point your company has is the customer interaction, and that has been abysmal in a system that does not work.
The timeliness that I resolve your mistake with GM’s order will be directly reflected in the timeliness and efficiency in which you resolve my request. I have listed the two resolutions above. My decision to remain a Barnes & Noble member on March 2, 2014 will be based solely on this experience. Prior to this experience, I have never questioned if I would remain. I like a physical bookstore, I like the discounts, I have never had a poor experience. My first questionable experience is quickly escalating daily.