Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Beware: Woot Sent My Mom Dying Flowers, Doesn't Care

I just wrote the following email to Consumerist, CC'ing Woot. If you're considering buying something from Woot, you might want to read this first.

Dear Ben and Co. at Consumerist,


I'm wondering if you can help me out here, or if at least, you could help me by sharing my story with others.

On May 4, the "one deal per day" online store Woot had this neat little rose bush for sale for $29.99. They guaranteed that it would be shipped to my by Mother's Day. I had ordered about once per month from Woot and I thought this was a neat idea, and I was a big fan of Woot, so I ordered one for my mom. ( http://www.woot.com/Forums/ViewPost.aspx?PostID=3172889 )

They did indeed deliver it on May 8th. She thanked me for it and said she liked it. Problem is, I found out later that it arrived sick and dying. It died somewhere around a week after she received it. She didn't tell me at first, but I found out after that it was unwell the entire time, and that the roses never bloomed, and it ended up dying. My mom is a very savvy gardener, so she knows how to take care of a
rose bush.

She didn't tell me that it died until about May 17th or 18th. It took me a few days to follow up, because she left me a voice mail, and we live hundreds of miles apart. When she did tell me it was dead, I looked up and found that I wasn't the only one who received a dead or dying rose bush (see the last page of the discussion thread on this Woot item -- see
http://www.woot.com/Forums/ViewPost.aspx?PostID=3172889&PageIndex=11&ReplyCount=433#post3188368 ).

So, on May 20th, I followed up with Woot, asking them to refund my money. The wrote back telling me to call NuDell at 678-730-0701. I did and they said sorry, they can't help me, these plants only have a 7 day warranty. I thought to myself, hey, that's a bit odd, and we're not talking about closeout electronics, we're talking about a plant.

And it did indeed seem to die within about a week of being received. Since NuDell told me no, I went back to Woot. I explained the situation and asked if they could refund my money, or if I should file a credit card charge back. Riley from Woot responded with, "Unfortunately, we do not have the item on hand. If the item was dead upon receipt of it, why did it take you so long to contact us about it?"

At no point did I say the item was dead upon receipt, but I did politely reply and explain that my mom lives 300 miles away and it took me some time to understand what had happened and follow up. Jordan from Woot responded with a one line reply instructing me to call NuDell again.

I wrote back, again, and explained that NuDell told me no, and that I'm asking Woot to make it right for me, because Woot is who I bought the item from.

All the correspondence is below. (Not included in this blog post.)

I'm wondering if there's anything you can do to help, if Woot will notice this and help, or if I should just give up and file a credit card charge back. I'm not paying for a diseased plant, it's not right. As I explained in email to Woot, I realize that I'm a nobody, but I've spent an average for $50 per month with Woot for the past four months, which is when I first heard about Woot. That, plus the theory of me
continuing to buy more stuff from Woot in the future, makes me wonder if perhaps a little bit of support and customer service would be appropriate here. I like ordering from Woot. Wine.woot in particular is awesome. But, if I have to be worried about getting screwed over because somebody is going to ship me something other than what was promised, I guess I can't feel comfortable ordering from Woot in the
future.

I was a happy Woot'er until this happened. One of my friends turned me on to Woot, and I've turned on my friends to Woot. Yes, I know that iPods only come with white headphones. Yes, Woot did mention the "7
day warranty." I wondered what warranty there could be about a plant when I read that. Something's wrong when you get a plant and it dies within 7 days, or within 8 days, or within 9 days. And knowing that this happened to various other Wooters too is disappointing. I see multiple reports of dead and damaged plants, or plants arriving late, or not at all.

Like you often do, I'd welcome any public statement or response from Woot, if they'd care to make one. My communication with Woot hasn't gone so well. It looks like they're just copying and pasting the same info back at me and not reading what I'm writing.

Thanks for taking the time to listen to my story. If you decide to post this, please edit it as desired.

Best regards,
Al Iverson

5/29/2009 Edit: Yesterday (5/28), Woot sent me a one line reply to the long email above: "A complete refund has been issued." Thanks, Woot, though I'm still a little bummed that this is what it took to get that refund. Since Woot didn't CC Consumerist on their reply, I forwarded it on to Consumerist, in case they decide to publish my letter. (Woot also seemingly forgot to apologize for screwing this up, and not making it right, and not actually reading what I wrote. They also left out the bit about how they care about my business.)

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