I’m a reader. I use an ereader, and more often than not, I purchase the books that I read. I like having a digital library for a variety of reasons, mostly so that I can go back and reference things.
A few months ago, I tried to purchase a book through Barnes and Noble for my Nook app on my ipad. When I hit PURCHASE, I got a notification that there was an issue with my credit card and I couldn’t but the book. But at the same time I got this note, I got an alert that my AMEX was charged for the amount of the book and the charge was from BN. (I have an alert every time my card is used- I find it convenient on many levels)
I call AMEX. They see the charge, but tell me that it’s “pending” which means it won’t actually hit my account for 3 days. But they see it, and there’s no issue with my card.
I try to contact Barnes, but it’s late and their customer service is closed.
Next morning I get a rep, I explain the problem, I get switched to like five different people, and they get me my book.
Two days later I see a book from my TBR that is on sale as an ebook. I go to purchase the book and the exact same thing happens- denied buying a book, yet pending charge is there.
Call the rep- repeat the process- yada yada- get book…
A few days go by- I have book club- find out new book…
I repeat the entire process. Except this time I add:
Can you have a manager call me back and explain why this keeps happening and how can we fix it?
To which I got the reply:
No. Management is instructed not to call people back.
How do you think I reacted to this little nugget of information?
Well, if you guessed: LA emailed the CEO and the top five executives at Barnes and Noble you would win a prize…
I actually wrote in the email: I’m trying to buy books from your company. Is Barnes and Noble interested in selling books?
Amazing how someone from “management” called me back without twenty minutes of the email going out…
It turns out, that the issue I’d reported had been reported by a bunch of other customers. But because people are 1) working remotely and 2) no one is looking for a pattern, no one at BN had been aware that there was a problem. And this computer glitch was so involved the fix could not be executed till the end of the month when the big patches go through.
Two weeks later the issue was resolved, and I no longer needed a personal assistant at Barnes and Noble..,
I must wonder though, with all these customer satisfaction surveys, all this tech…how could an issue this large, an issue impacting selling books, could have gone unnoticed until I hounded people? I received an email thanking me for being vigilant, because this could have been a massive problem- but really, while I appreciate the note, when did it become the responsibility of the customer to be the vigilant one?