Tuesday, May 3, 2011

An (Almost) Unbelievable Story about Customer Service

The following story might seem like 'a yarn,' 'a stretch,' embellished, or just plain not true. Yet, sadly, it is a 100% true story, with my opinions checked as much as possible. Seriously!

First of all, look at the nearest calendar. Find February 26th. That's the day it all began...

Seth and I went for our yearly eye exam at our local (in network) optometrist's office to have our eyes checked. I needed a renewal on my contact prescription, and though Seth has 20/20 vision, still needs his eyes checked, even if only for their health. So, we went, Oldest in tow, one got examined while the other waited in the sea shell-full waiting room. (You would not believe the number of sea shells in this office! pictures, actual shells, etc..!) Anyways...

I got my new prescription (which was different from last year), and went next door to Pearle Vision (they share a wall) to obtain my samples. (They always give you a sample for each eye that you get to test out before you actually purchase new contacts. It's to make sure they're correct.) I went home with one for each eye. I got a call about 5 days later, however, saying that the samples they sent me home with were incorrect (they never stated in which way they were incorrect) and that I needed to come up there to pick up my new samples. I did. I didn't notice anything different between the first set of samples and the second set. I must note that I hadn't kept the original packaging for the first set of samples, so I have no idea what the difference was. Knowing what I know now, I doubt there was any difference. But I'll get to that in a bit.

About a week went by with me using this second set of samples when I realized that I didn't think my left eye's prescription was correct. It seemed too fuzzy to be a brand new prescription. Then we went on vacation.

It was March 26th (exactly a month since my first appointment) before I could go back to have the Dr. re-check my eyes and tweak the prescription. As I had previously done, immediately following the exam, I went next door to pick up my sample. It was explained to me that they never carry samples of my type of lens (I have astigmatism) in the store. This was contrary to my experience over the last two years and I stated so. I was abruptly cut off and told that I must certainly be mistaken. This is when things started to seem "funny."

I was called about 5 days later and told that my new sample was in, so I drove up there to get it. Now, I know this location is about .8 miles from my home, but to get a then 5-month old loaded up, out of the car, into the store, back into the car, back into the house for what seemed the millionth time, for a sample contact, was starting to push my patience. I, having started to get the feeling of being jacked around, kept the container for this new sample. After about a week, I concluded that it was perfect, and called PV to have them order me a box for each eye, using the new prescription for the left eye. About a week goes by.

I get a call that my contacts are in and I can pick them up. I go up there (again, hauling kiddo around as previously described). As soon as I get in the door and tell the 'receptionist' my name, she pulls out the tray labeled with my name (you know those flat, plastic trays eye Dr. places always have?) and starts groaning. Oh! OOh! ugh. ah! Once she pulls out the tray, she moans and groans for a good 30 seconds, never once explaining to me what's going on. She goes in the back and talks to someone. Further gasping and groaning occur. She comes out and says "Your contacts aren't here." I reply that I'm confused because there are two boxes in the tray, the tray with my name on it, she's holding the tray, what does she mean? It literally takes me asking Yes/No questions for 5 minutes before I finally understand that yes, contacts were ordered for me, but the wrong ones were ordered. No apology. I'm told that she'll personally re-order my contacts and call me when they're in. !

A week or so later, she calls. I go back up. Now toting a 6-month old as previously described. I pay for the contacts and come home. Immediately I check the boxes with the sample container from my second, left-eye sample and realize that they ordered me an incorrect prescription for my left eye. They ordered the original prescription. ugh.

I call the Dr. office, and that receptionist walks next door to tell the PV people that there's been a mistake, they've given me the wrong contacts. After talking to pretty much everyone in the store, they agree to order me another box, and... you guessed it, they'll call me when they're in. While on the phone with them, I explain the story from the beginning, that I couldn't understand how one business could get a single customer's order so completely wrong and never once apologize about it or offer a consolation of any kind. I proceed to ask if they could get an extra contact for each eye for me given all my hassle. They agree.

So, a week later when I go to pick up my correct contacts, they hand me a box plus a single contact container. I hand over all the previous incorrect contacts, and come home. I didn't even once look at what they were handing me! You might be thinking what I am now.. why didn't you check the contacts while in the store!? I guess I can only blame it on having a baby in tow, and my simmering anger which when the two are combined causes me to not think completely logically. Because guess what happened....

I get home and notice that the contact box looks different than normal. Then I notice that it says "3 lenses" on the packaging. I rip it open to find indeed, there are only 3 contacts inside. So, instead of getting 7 for the price of 6 (because of all the hassle), I got 4 for the price of 6. I literally screamed! I couldn't fathom that they had once again inconvenienced me to this degree. Seriously!? I call, shaking, trying to maintain my composure and a somewhat-even voice and explain to the manager what happened. (I must also add here that I've been speaking to the 'manager' each and every time I called since the very beginning.) I explain that the box only has 3 rather than the typical 6, that I couldn't believe I have been further hassled by this place and I'm still not done dealing with them! She agrees to order three more contacts, and mail them to me. "Would that be helpful?" "YES!" I shouted back.

Well, last Tuesday I got my envelope from Pearle Vision containing 3 contacts. 3 INCORRECT contacts. They're the original, aka wrong, prescription. I'm trembling with anger as I call and immediately ask for the manager. The chick answering the phone says "Ma'am, we mailed you your contacts." "yes, and they are the wrong ones." click. "Hi Ms. Spofford, Yes, I just got your contacts in and mailed them to you the other day." "I know. I just got the package. They're the wrong ones." silence. I then go on to say that they are the first prescription, the wrong prescription, and that I couldn't believe that they have been messing with me since February and not once had anyone apologized to me. Her response!?!? "Well, ma'am, I can do that, but you see... blah blah blah." She never once apologized!!!!! She did, however say she'd re-order my contacts and mail them out to me. Well, it's 8 days later and I still don't have them.

Though, once I do get them, I feel like I still need to make a trip up there because what am I going to do with three contacts that are wrong? Hold onto them? No. Throw them away? Seems like a waste. So, once I get my correct contacts in the mail, I plan on making a visit up there, alone, and speak to this lady face to face. I pray I hold my temper in check!

Side note: After receiving the 3 incorrect contacts in the mail, Seth suggested I call corporate to complain, asking for a regional or area manager. (He's very familiar with that process as he deals with high-level managers at Michaels all the time. I thought it was a brilliant suggestion!) Well, I did that, and guess what? There isn't one! This store, along with 2 others, is privately owned which means no regional manager, and the guy promised to forward my complaint to the owner and that I'd hear back from the owner within 2 days, and a week later I still have heard nothing. Seriously. ugh. Actually, double ugh.

Guess where I will NOT be going to have my eyes checked next year???? (And for my neighbors reading this, please also spare yourself and your family by going elsewhere. Please.)