JCPenney–Customer Service

The other day I saw a story on the news about how angry people get over customer service.  It was about how unhappy people are over what they feel is a major decline in customer service.  Now I understand that companies and their employees can make simple mistakes, so I’m not talking about how often we get bad service.  What I’m talking about is how companies go about fixing their mistakes once they make them.  How I rate a company’s customer service is by how they solve problems that they caused themselves.

I’m a guy that doesn’t like to shop, so I buy online.  Buying online is convenient unless you have to send something back, and I hate to send things back.  So I try to always order exactly what I want.  I’m not one of those people who order three different digital cameras and send the two back they don’t like.  I especially hate buying something and then discovering it’s a returned item.  When I pay for new I expect new.

If I do take a chance on ordering something sight unseen and I don’t like it, I’ll just give it to Goodwill rather than take it back.  With clothes I tend to find brands and styles that don’t change and order them time and again, expecting that what I buy online will be just like what I’ve bought before.

I like undershirts with long tails, so I buy Stafford Vneck Tees that are X-Large Tall from JCPenney.  I like to get them in a six pack.  Recently I ordered another six pack but I received three tees in a plain plastic bag with a computer label slapped on it.  The three tees looked new, but I was grossed out by the idea that someone probably bought a bag of six and returned them and some flunky in shipping threw the three shirts in a plastic bag without counting and sealed it with a computer label which clearly says Pk6.  There wasn’t even a cardboard photo of a guy modeling a tee shirt like you’d expect with a new package.

You’d think they’d have a law against selling returned underwear?

But anyway, I believe it’s obvious that JCPenney made a mistake.  I called them up and my options are to send the shirts back at my expense or return them to a JCPenney store.  They offered to immediately send out new shirts, but to bill my credit card.  I would only get credit when the others were returned.  I believe that is horrible customer service!

At best I would have been impressed if they had said, sorry, we shouldn’t have sent you returned underwear, so throw those away, and we’ll send you an unopened new package right away.  Next best, because I understand they can’t trust customers not to cheat them, would be to send me shipping bag with automatic postage so I could just leave it for my mailman or UPS guy to pick up.

It’s their mistake, why should I pay for it?

I can understand telling customers to pay for return shipping for items the customer didn’t like.  That’s not JCPenney’s fault.  But when a company makes a mistake they should do everything to fix it at no cost to the customer.  That’s good customer service.  Evidently JCPenney feels that it’s more profitable to have a certain level of customer dissatisfaction over bad customer service than to spend the money for good customer service.

My final choices are:

  • Throw the shirts away and never shop with JCPenney again and lose my money
  • Assume the three shirts are okay and wear them and actually pay twice as much
  • Take them back to a store and get credit and quit shopping at JCPenney

In none of the three options does JCPenney end up paying for its mistake.   I either let JCPenny rip me off, or spend the money and time driving out to the mall to take the shirts back, or wrap them up, drive to the post office and pay to send the shirts back.  I got 90 days, so the easiest thing to do that would get my money back would be to wait until I need to go to Best Buy and then run the shirts back to JCPenney.

JWH – 12/5/10

11 Responses

  1. “I believe that is horrible customer service!”

    And you are correct, it is. I encountered a similar situation with Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago. I usually order books from Amazon and, although at least half the time I have to send them back for replacements because they are damaged due to poor packaging, their return policy is very user friendly: simply get online, quickly request a replacement, and the replacement will be shipped immediately. In the meantime you print a return label and have 30 days to mail it back to them, via UPS, at THEIR cost.

    Enter Barnes and Noble dot com. I ordered a book from them, it arrived damaged due to shipping with no protection at all. When it came to return it, I searched far and wide for what I thought would be a similar policy. I finally went to the shipping label inside the package which insisted I had to send the package back within 14 days and that I best use someone like UPS. I emailed customer service for clarification. When it was apparent that I was running out of time I went ahead and sent it back at my own expense…about half of what I paid for the book. That same day I got an email from customer service assuring me that their process was something similar to what I was used to with Amazon, just that I had to jump through the hoops of actually conversing via email with a person, get a return number, etc. Ridiculous!

    Now I’ll have to fight with them about reimbursing me for shipping, despite the fact that I followed their printed directions to the letter.

    That is bad customer service. Like your situation with JCP, it is designed so that you, the consumer, will decide that it is too big a pain in the butt to return the item and will just keep it, while they keep your money.

    In my opinion, customer service is one of the first things that was sacrificed with this latest financial crisis, if it even existed before then.

    • Wow, I think that’s the fastest reply I’ve ever gotten Carl. I think a lot of people are pissed off over the current state of customer service. I’ve had great service from Amazon, so I’ve never tried B&N. And I guess I’ve been lucky. I’ve only had to send something back once. I got an audio book CD set with a bad CD and Amazon shipped a new one immediately without charge and let me return the bad set at their expense.

  2. I’m watching football and alternating between reading (and enjoying) Starman Jones (page 144 now) and reading and responding to blog and book club posts.

    The Amazon warehouse in this area does not believe in packaging for safety unless you’ve sent something back a few times. At least this is the case about 90% of the time, and I am not exaggerating. My wife ordered things from Amazon for me for my birthday and Christmas. She had to send back things twice before they were packed and arrived un-damaged. I’m always getting books from them that have crushed spines or bent/ripped dust jackets because they are packed in boxes that are way too large and they have a couple of those air bags thrown in…not packed “around” the item, but just thrown on top. This helps keep the book from being crushed from the top down, yet it slides back and forth during transport, banging against the sides, causing rips, tears, crushings, etc. It is annoying, but since they are so cheap and because it takes about 5 minutes to pack and ship and get a replacement (I have a UPS store just down the street), I keep buying from them.

    • Wow, I’ve easily ordered hundreds of books, movies, CDs, etc. from Amazon and never had anything hurt in shipping. I wonder why I’m so lucky?

      One area that does piss me off, and it’s not really Amazon’s fault, if ordering used books and not getting what was described. I normally never buy paperback editions when ordering used books. I always go for the hardback, but several times I’ve gotten paperbacks. Because Amazon is only arranging the sale with a private used book dealer, I don’t blame them much. I wish Amazon had a way to police their used dealers though.

  3. I’m sure it is just this local distributor. Sad, but true. I don’t generally get angry any more. I expect it. How sad is that?

    I know what you mean about used items. I generally go with Half.com for those as they seem to have a good policy for disputing things if the item you get wasn’t as described. Out of ordering hundreds of items over the years I’ve only had something arrive once that wasn’t the quality that it was described, and the seller quickly worked with me to take care of it.

  4. Verizon is the worst. I’m so frustrated with the complexity of the company. There are so many departments you never know who to call. So you can spend a half an hour going through the complex phone system pressing this number for this problem and that number for this department, then you wait on hold and then have the operator tell you you called the wrong department. And if you don’t have your bill in front of you so you can read a special code, they won’t help you do anything. Well, I was calling because I hadn’t received my bill, so why would I have it in front of me?!!

  5. How about going to a JC Pennys where you buy your shoes because they always have plenty to choose from. Only to find out that the kind of shoe you like is not available at the moment. Even though they usually carry them. But now, as they say, are having to wait on periodic shipments?
    I mean, doesn’t that sound like they’re saying two different things at the same time? Yeah, we usually carry them, but call ahead before coming down?
    So for me, that’s lousy customer service. Because if they’re usually available, then they’re usually available without double talk. So that it would have been better to hear them say that they’re keeping their stock low for the moment. But we’ll call you when these shoes become available.
    And so, after arguing this point with a sales manager, she offered to call me when they come into the store. But fat chance, considering their non-performance style. And time to call it quits for this JC Pennys.

  6. I want to cancel my credith please I can not by phone no s.s. number

  7. I am very disappointed with JCP costumers service… I had to call you five times… I wrote uncountable numbers of emails to you… and still no one can answer where my order is?
    I am writing to you since 2nd of March… I was calling 5 times, I made two orders, one finally came, but where another is?
    I made this order for my vacation… I will have to go without swim suit.. thanks to JCP terrible service… my mood is awful, thanks for destroyed vacation.

    I made my order on 24th of February first time we have to cancel it because of my visa… I can’t insert my good visa number in the website. Then my order was canceled by you without any explanations…
    reodering again…
    the week of silence…
    then the week writing emails and calling to credit card service, because they can’t separate shipping address from billing address and need some kind of my bank letters with address confirmation…
    then waiting for the shipping because some items became back ordered and they have to find them in different shops…
    and finally after delaying for a moth I will receive a part of my order today.
    So can you tell me, why items after ordering aren’t put in shopping cart and after paying aren’t sent to customer immediately like in all normal shops? why I had to wait a week to pay than a week while you will find items in different shops… some of them became back ordered!

    The order 2012-0725-8009-5645 is missing, why? who is responsible for that? mistake again?

    too many mistakes, don’t you think so?

    It’s not the first time, but the last, I am buying in your shop…
    I am waiting from 24 of Feb… it’s 4th April…

    I want to complain about such terrible service.


    Jurgita Rynkeviciene

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