Friday, April 22, 2011

My $15 headache

Coupon for $15 off any item no exceptions means no exception.

Went to a website, found an item that was $15, free shipping.  Pearl earrings.  I know that's not much for pearl earrings, but I expected them to be very tiny cultured pearls.  After all it said PEARL EARRINGS, not pearlized or "pearl look" etc.  Or at very minimum simulated pearls that looked like pearls.  (And before anyone thinks I'm living in a dream world, I bought some very tiny authentic pearl earrings once for $15 online.)

Placed an order, received my confirmation that my credit card would be billed 0.00

an about a week later these came in the mail:

Ugly.  Gaudy.  Big.  Definatley not anything that resembled pearls.  And clip ons.  (I ordered pierced)

But I thought for free, my 4 year old niece might enjoy playing dress up with them.

Then this week I open my credit card bill.  $15 charge for these.  I googled and saw this happened to a number of people.

I have my invoice where they were free.

I called the company.  I got hung up on.  I was being very nice because usually the nicer you are the more willing people are to help you.

I call my credit card company.  I was told I couldn't file a dispute beacause the item had to have cost something and they couldn't put 0.00 in their system. (Didn't think at this point to mention they were not real pearls or pierced earrings.)

So I call the company back.  The man got snippy with me.  You know sometimes how it's not what you say but how you say it?  Precisely what happened.

At different points in the phone conversation he told me I had been charged $15, $6.95, and $8.95. 

He told me I used two coupons.  (Not true.)

He told me that because I gave my credit card number when ordering (required even though it should never have been charged -- I've done this with other companies with no problem) -- he said since they had my credit card number, that was giving them the authorization to charge it in any amount they desired.  (I think not!)

He told me I could return the earrings at my expense and the $15 be credited back to my credit card within two billing cycles.

I called my credit card back, told them what happened.  They said that since they were not real pearls that was enough for "item not as described".  Also I was told there was a limit of 60 days from when the charge was made to dispute it.  I was told to return them ASAP and if the credit wasn't made quickly, call the credit card company back.

I wonder how many people they charged the coupon amount to and they never noticed it.  I know I am not the only one, and this time, while $15 is a nice chunk of change, it's the principle behind it.  Unlike what the customer service rep said, just because I placed an order and they had my credit card number did NOT mean they could charge it for an amount I didn't authorize.

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