Here’s a letter I recently wrote to the president of Office Max. Still waiting for a reply!
January 2, 2007
Mr. Sam K. Duncan
Chairman and CEO
Office Max Corporation
263 Shuman Blvd.
Naperville, IL 60563
Dear Mr. Duncan,
Most customers have little recourse against large corporations. I, on the other hand, having published three business books, have a decent following, and make my living speaking to audiences all over the world about sales and customer service. Ironically, OfficeMax has recently provided me with some excellent content for my next book, called “how not to deal with customers.”
I have been a loyal OfficeMax customer for years. Even though the local Staples and Office Depot stores are equidistant from my office, we have literally purchased all of our office furniture, equipment, supplies, and technology from OfficeMax. Having spent hundreds of dollars per month, sometimes thousands, I should add that we have never had a problem.
Therefore, when it was time to buy a digital camera for my daughter for Christmas, the first place I thought of was my beloved OfficeMax (store #1122).
Before purchasing I asked, “What is your return policy on these cameras?” The answer was, “You have 14 days after Christmas.”
When I unboxed the camera, I’m no digital expert, but I am fairly adept at detecting poor quality. So, I carefully packaged everything back in the box and drove back to the store.
“Do you have your receipt?” the clerk asked. I did. She quickly radioed a manager who came over. He asked, “Why are you returning this?” I explained that when I got the camera home, it was clear that it was not the quality I expected. “You can’t return a digital camera once it has been opened,” the manager on duty said. I explained that the other manager (not there at the time) told me, “You have 14 days after Christmas.”
This is where the story gets interesting.
“It doesn’t matter what you were told,” he explained. “Our policy states that a digital camera that has been opened can only be exchanged for the same item if the original is defective.” “Where does it say that,” I asked. He told me that it was printed on the back of the receipt.
The manager dug in and took the position, “There’s nothing further I can do.”
When I asked for the CEO’s name and address, the manager relented and offered a store credit in the form of a gift card…mostly to get rid of me. He was obviously not happy with the outcome, and he even went on to explain that OfficeMax would probably lose money by breaking policy.
Like most customers, I have better things to do than argue with an indignant OfficeMax store manager on the day before Christmas Eve. If he had just issued the credit back on my American Express card, I would have happily continued down the path of purchasing everything from OfficeMax.
Maybe your store # 1122 should have an “easy” button.
Thank you for the time.
Thomas A. Freese