Customer Service, Marketing 101

How does a Spa website transaction become so very stressful?

UPDATE: Four days after $2,000 was taken out of my account, Spafinder.com was able to return the funds, and I was able to get any overdraft protection fees refunded. They offered me a 20% off coupon, but my intention was to just get my money back. I will deal directly with any spa in the future.

Dear Spafinder:

I sent you an email on Friday but wanted to follow up. After unsuccessfully attempting to purchase a $350 gift certificate on Friday due to an error message after each attempt with those encouraging words of “try again” in the message, I contacted your Customer Service department twice. The first time, the female told me to include my middle initial. So I did. The same error “Your card was declined. Please check your number, blah. blah. blah.” After several more attempts, I contact my bank, thinking it was an error on their part. They indicated at that time that there were $2,000 in charges pending on my account from you folks. As you can imagine, I was outraged, not too many people have an extra $2,000 laying around in case an e-commerce company’s process fails so completely and utterly.

Wells Fargo suggested I put in a fraud claim, which I did immediately. This did not, however, prevent the charges from hitting my account and causing an overdraft over the weekend. I know that Wells Fargo will reverse the charges because they understand excellent customer service. It’s Spafinder that I want to address.

When I contacted your call center again, after speaking to my bank, I spoke to a male with a completely nonchalant attitude toward the entire complaint. He said that the money was just being held and would release later that evening, which is clearly not the case. He also said I should try using a different credit card as your “website doesn’t like some credit cards”. Finally, he decided to try and look me up in you system. He could not find me with my email and didn’t bother asking for any other information to do a more thorough search. His response was “I don’t find you or any transactions”.

As someone who works in e-commerce and does everything from web content, customer service, product development, etc., I can tell you, first hand, this is not the way to handle a serious customer complaint. He should have been empowered to research the transactions and correct the problem, on the spot. Your Web folks need to be made aware of this issue ASAP. If your Authorize.net account gets many of these fraud complaints, they’ cancel your account. I could go on and on, but why am I concerned with what your issues are?

I want Spafinder to investigate this blatant error, fix their website and return all my funds, along with a promise to return any overdraft fees that were caused by this horrible event. I have been posting this on my blog Dear Spafinder.com: Why is it impossible to give you money (an open letter)? and will continue to do so until this is rectified.