Angel helps not for profit recover money for merchandise not received

A short time ago Consumer Angel offered our assistance with a consumer complaint. We received our first assignment from a small not for profit here in New York. Last year they had ordered tee shirts for their annual conference from Staples. They had only received half of their order and both Staples and UPS blamed the other for the problem. Neither would take responsibility for the issue.

We received the request for help with this a week ago Sunday along with the specifics. We sent an email to several executives at Staples including the CEO explaining the problem and requesting help. The email was:

Senior Staples Executives,

Last August we ordered T-Shirts for an event from Staples and only half of them were delivered. We have been pushed back and forth between Staples and UPS. Since we purchased the product from Staples and we have never received it, I believe it is only reasonable that we receive a refund from Staples.

A summary of the issue is below. Is its Staples practice to decry responsibility for delivering products purchased from them? What do you propose to do if anything about this issue? Please feel free to contact me directly.

Here’s the bottom line: A single box was delivered to the person who was to receive the package at his door. He happened to be getting married that day. Each year the order is the same, one box. The customer did receive one box and put it aside to prepare for his big day. He did not open and inventory the box. He did not sign for the shipment.

He brought the unopened box to the conference and it was then he discovered only half the shirts ordered were delivered.

He contacted Staples. He was told he had to take it up with UPS. He took it up with UPS (see fwd’d claim dated November) and they referred him back to Staples. He took it up with Staples over a lengthy series of emails. Despite these efforts, there has been no resolution to date. He stopped pursuing this in December because he felt it was useless and would only get the runaround.

Staples has said they had a ‘ record ‘, that the box was signed for (but cannot tell him by whom). They also suggested he ask one of his neighbors if they took the other box of 60 t-shirts. Not impossible, just highly unlikely.

Attached is a copy of the order.

Your speedy response will be appreciated.

Sincerely,

Consumers Angel

The Angel received a call from a Staples’ executive who said she would look into the problem and have the person who handled the account get back to us. After an hour we received a call from the person at Staples who handled the sale. She was not happy. She said she remembered the problem and had eventually passed all the information along to her boss so it would take some time for her to get all the paper work together. We told her that this was no problem and we understood that some time had passed and we appreciated her efforts.

We received several emails over the next few days each offering a reason why it was not Staples’ fault and suggesting our client was at fault, should ask his neighbors if they had taken the box and that the UPS web site showed that the two boxes had been delivered. We continued to respond with an email like:

XXXXXXX,

What I see is a delivery but no signature. Is that correct?

Also, why do I see a second tracking number in the section called Packages in this shipment which you can see in my prior email?

Sincerely,

Consumer Angel

I did not go that far in this time to see who signed for it.

Since 2 boxes were delivered and XXXX received the one they would be together.

You can click on the details to see that information.

That second number is when the inquiry is made for a tracer. Thanks!

Sales Coordinator,Staples Channel Support

After several emails like this where we just insisted on discovering who signed for the delivery we finally received this email:

What sizes were missing-the 2X and 3X are a different price than the smaller sizes.

Do you want the tees replaced or a credit issued? Thanks!

Sales Coordinator,Staples Channel Support

We sent the specifics to Staples and they issued the credit.

What is important to note in this whole process is that we needed to be persistent; we made sure top management had been notified; we always maintained a civil attitude; and we had a legitimate position to defend. In this case, our position was that the boxes were never signed for and that only happens if the shipper, in this case Staples, has checked the box that says no signature is required. This was not authorized by our client. Staples knew all this but hoped we would not pursue the issue persistently. Once they saw we would they were ready to settle. We started this process on a Sunday and it was resolved by that Wednesday, it took 4 days.

Most companies automatically reject your claim even when it is legitimate because they know that many people will give up. We are happy to have recovered $349.50 for our client. Unfortunately Staples has lost a customer because they took the position of not being responsible in the first place. We believe it is good business to treat your customers fairly and when an issue arises be fair because they will remember that and keep coming back.

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