[This response is for the thread at DIYGoKarts, copied here on BD for reference]
Thanks for the welcome in guys. I always struggle for the best way to approach negative reviews, it's a different deal each time. Since I'm new here, I'll start with a bit of an introduction (as short and relevant as I can make it). I founded BD back in 2005. Before I sold my first part, I setup a feedback and reviews forum on BD (back then it was SpiderboxPerformance.com). I still maintain and update the reviews forum, these days I grab and re-post every bit of public feedback (both positive and negative) that I can find on the internet, and I respond in long-form if I feel that it will help. Our aggregate self-rating is tougher than the BBB and Google Reviews, who rate us 4.56 and 4.6 out of 5 respectively. Adding up all our reviews across platforms, our self-rating is 4.22 out of 5 (now 4.17 if Joe considers this transaction a 1-star experience). I can't claim to be personally unbiased, but I hope it says something that I rate BD lower and with tougher criteria than both Google and the BBB.
In line with that tradition, I've copied this complaint over to the BD reviews forum, which also shows directly on the homepage of BuggyDepot.com for our everyday traffic to see, read, and consider until the next negative review. I mention all of this to hopefully show my intentions when handling complaints and negative feedback. It's not a "sweep it under the rug", or "deny the problem and defer blame" kind of thing. I've spent 6 hours so far today looking back at the history of this order, and interviewing support staff to get a clearer picture of what happened. What I find isn't always what I want to hear... and sometimes it's not what the customer wants to hear. But the hope is that my approach is perceived as an effort in good faith.
Also, the BBB is useful, but I actually found this complaint thread by Googling "Buggy Depot". This page was the 8th result on Google. We haven't been served anything yet from the BBB related to this order. Also, I'm glad I found this thread quickly enough to be able to participate in the conversation, as there is a previous thread here on DIY from 2015 or so that I found too late and had closed before I had a chance to reply to the concerns.
So with all of that preamble out of the way, I'd like to address each of the concerns mentioned. Joe, you've been very frank in your comments above and very clearly spoke your mind, I hope you'll understand me doing the same as I go through each issue raised.
Concern #1: Delay on Spindles (Noted in the listing)
Since May 2017 we've only made spindles on Friday. And also since May/June, we've had a note at the very top of the spindle listing description to make buyers aware of this up front. I made sure to place a giant bold header pointing attention to this at the very top of the description so that everyone's eye catches the delay notice first before looking at the rest of the page.
Here is the spindle page if you'd like to confirm.
https://www.buggydepot.com/product/138/ ... ation.html
When you called on Jan 2nd and spoke with Sami, she was right to repeat that information. Her training is to read the listing for any important notices and repeat/pass the appropriate information verbatim to the customer. She did well in this. I have the ability to see how far down the product page a person read. Joe I can see on the order record that you scrolled down fully through the listing before adding it to your cart, thank you. But I think you must have missed the delay notice at the top.
I'm relieved to see that you scrolled down. People hitting "add to cart" before reading the listing has become a huge problem, it got so bad that I ended up coding a popup that stops people from adding an item to their basket if they only scroll down 30% or less. This doesn't really apply to your situation, but I feel it's important to highlight some of the measures that I take to make sure that the right information is available and understood
up front. Reading the listing thoroughly is the best way to make sure that expectations match the reality of the situation as closely as possible at the very beginning. That way there are no surprises later on.
Reasons behind the delays...
The history behind the spindle delays goes back to an article I wrote in May 2017, going into detail about why my spindles are getting produced on a limited basis (every Friday). In short, it's mostly due to low volume.
Full May 2017 article:
https://www.buggydepot.com/tech-center/ ... -overhaul/
Full May 2017 article:
https://www.buggydepot.com/tech-center/ ... -overhaul/
Fast forwarding to January 2018, I was asked on our feedback forum why certain products seem to have stock accuracy issues on the site, the answer is the same as May 17, and my reply to his post goes into more detail. The root problem is sales volume on these items is too low to keep a steadily production flow. My inventory tracking system doesn't have a good way to handle items that go in and out of stock constantly.
January 2018 post "Re: Lightning deals in stock issues"
Here's the TL;DR most relevant excerpt:
The updates problem affects certain items that don't fit very well within the inventory system (logistically, not physically). I call some of these "stop and go" items, because there isn't enough sales volume on them to keep a steady flow of production. The system doesn't really have a good way of keeping track of this.
I can improve the inventory system to better handle these items. The update will take about 5 - 7 days of dedicated time to code, then some time to reprogram how our scanners function. It's on my ongoing list of improvements. 5 days of coding time translates to about 1 - 2 months of juggling to fit it in. Priority on each issue depends on the amount of feedback. So you're doing the right thing asking questions and letting me know this is an issue for you. The more articulated and frequent response an issue gets, the quicker I put resources towards making changes.
... [also,] delays more than 2 days from the order date affect about 13% of orders right now. That 13% usually consists of the items I talk about in the article, stop/go stuff. I feel that it comes down to volume as the root issue, making sure there is enough flow of each item that they can stay on the shelf and can go right out.
That last part leads into the concern over our stated shipping timeframes...
Precision matters: We always say "should ship by", never "will ship by"
It's frequent in reviews to hear that our site promised that the order "will ship" on a certain date. But that phrase is something that doesn't exist
at Buggy Depot. We never
post definite ship dates on the site. We never ever
ship out" unless it's an emergency order, or a rush order with a guaranteed shipping method. We always on every
product page say "should ship by [date]", and all shipping timeframes are given as "E
"ta's. They're stated as estimated, because they are estimated. The difference between "should ship" and "will ship" is critically important, one is an estimation and the other is a promise. I don't think "should ship by" is ever misread on the page, and I don't think its perceived wrong or needs adjustment. It says exactly what I intend to communicate when a person is ordering. I feel that projecting the claim that we said something "would ship by" a certain date is something that occurs on an emotional level during negative reviews, IMO to stretch things a bit and give more weight to the complaint. Joe, I'm not saying you're being dishonest about this. I'm just saying that the misrepresentation of our E
TA precision, and mixing up our estimates as being a "would ship by" promise just seems to be a common part of the complaint process. But it's not real.
More importantly, I've posted actual real shipping stats throughout our Checkout process, that expose our real world shipping performance statistics, accounting for average delays, so you know what to expect when ordering from us.
The screenshot below is exactly what you see on our shipping calculator, and on our checkout page. It is placed to take up a big portion of the screen and front-and-center, I don't want anyone to miss this when placing their order. I don't know of any competing companies who do this, but I think every one of us should.
My point isn't to be pedantic or to try to slide out of shipping on time. "Should ship by", plus the chart below, is an exact representation of what to expect from us. Plus the delay notice on the listing description.
Concern #2: 5 calls over 3 business days to get a refund
You initially requested the refund on Jan 2nd, and it was processed on our end Jan 6th. This is normal, and would have happened with or without the followup calls. The 3 to 5 days may seem like an arbitrary and unnecessary rule, but it's essential to us keeping the doors open in the dead of winter. This practice also isn't unusual. Amazon takes up to twice as long, 5-7 days to process refunds. Yours was processed in 3 business days.
I'm thinking about putting a notice of the 3-5 day refund processing timeframe on each product listing. Right under the warranty section would probably be the best spot. Although I know most people won't read it, at least it will be there.
Concern #3: Refund was initially outright denied? (I think is what you're saying?)
"Refund won't happen". This is what I was referring to some statements being directly against training. I have a difficult time believing that anyone would have tried to outright deny a cancellation request. I'm not hearing anything like that in the recordings, and my staff say it didn't happen. If it did, can you clarify who specifically told you that a refund wasn't going to happen? Is it possible something was misheard when my people explained that a refund wouldn't happen immediately?
Concern #4: Wanting you to pay an extra $63 to ship.
I have a very strict "No overnighting" rule unless there is a grave mistake on our end. We'll cancel the order if it comes down to it, but I can't possibly pay half of the price of the spindles in shipping alone
, without an incredible reason. Especially over delays that were stated to be expected up front.
I don't have a recording of the $63 conversation (only incoming calls are recorded, callbacks bypass my normal system). Based on training and seeing my people deal with this kind of request before, I believe the explanation given was that we can't overnight a heavy set of spindles to you, and that if you truly wanted to upgrade to overnight, the option is available for $63 but it's not something we can cover in this situation. However, if it really is critical
that the part arrive over night, this kind of conversation usually leads to us agreeing to cover half of the costs of overnighting if there is a planned event you'll otherwise miss. But again, only if we really screwed up.
Concern #5: No order confirmation email. No refund confirmation email. Backdating the refund(???)
Your order confirmation (receipt) was emailed to you at the time of purchase. This happens automatically on every order. Please check your inbox for Dec 28th again, and check your spam box. 9 times out of 10 when someone didn't see their receipt, it's sitting in their spam mail box.
Your refund confirmation was sent directly from PayPal on Feb 6th. IMO, no follow up was needed on our end.
About backdating.. that's a new one. There isn't any way we can "backdate" a refund. The refund was issued on our end on the 6th, and funds were taken out of our account immediately. It looks like your original payment through PayPal was by eCheck, which has its own set of delays and hassles. It sounds like the delay that you perceived as some kind of backdating was actually the eCheck return delay between PayPal and your bank. This isn't something we can control at all, and something I wish PayPal would do away with altogether.
Concern #6: Multiple (random) people answering the phone
It's normal to have multiple people who answer the phones, and I feel that's a pretty normal practice for any company. I don't think this is any kind of negative issue except for the temp stating that she's "answering because no one else is available" is bad presentation, but otherwise exactly true. The entire reason she's called in on a particular day is specifically to cover calls during times when everyone else is fully loaded and we need some extra capacity on the phones. "I'm answering because no one else is available to take calls" is the exact and literal definition of her job. I see this as a training issue and clarifying with her exactly what her role is, but still... multiple reps are not an unusual or bad practice. I'm happy to have the help.
Concern #7: Good reviews everywhere else
I feel that speaks for itself... still, everyone's experience is different. Overall, while I disagree with much of your review as-stated after looking into the details, I do appreciate your feedback and I understand the underlying frustration and need to vent.
Our self-review is now 4.17 out of 5 stars after adding this complaint as a 1-star experience. For every 1-star review, I have to convince 10 or more customers to leave stellar 5-star reviews (just to get back to 4.22 rating that we had this morning). That's not a simple feat. The closer we get to 5 makes every 1-star review hit even harder. I've gone through this before, and have to make a seriously dedicated effort to give "7-star" service in order to for a person to feel motivated enough to write a good 5-star review. In reality since there are limited hours in the day, this ends up pulling support attention that would normally go to other customers, risking more 1-star reviews, "robbing Peter to pay Paul". IMO it's a flaw with review models like the BBB and Google. It just not a natural reaction for perfectly satisfied customers to leave a review (of any kind). In the best case scenario, if the order went as expected, there's really nothing perceived special enough to report or review. I'm guilty of this as well. The last review I left for a company was years ago. I accept that it is what it is.
Negative reviews are a major deal for me and absorb entire days to address depending on the gravity of the claims and how much history there is to comb through. Besides being able to vent frustrations I don't think it's too pleasant for the customer either. If anyone ever has an issue with an order, or wants to know why BD does things certain ways (that might otherwise seem arbitrary or inconvenient), please reach out to me directly. It can be in public, and you'll get a public explanation. It'll be easier for both of us, and you'll probably end up with free stuff if we're legitimately in the wrong.
A lot has been said, and a lot more can probably be said on both sides. To resolve this in a way that benefits us both, I'd like to offer you the price of the spindles as a store credit on your account ($120). You can use it to give us a second shot when you're ready, and gives us a chance to salvage the relationship.
If anyone wants to see our reviews forum to confirm that I do cross-post and rate all of our reviews (both positive and negative), and that I encourage public conversation about experiences, please see here: