>RitzCamera – OH SNAP!

>Call me crotchety in my old age, but I’m a stickler for good customer service. Consequently I will NOT be making any more purchases from RitzCamera, a.k.a. Wolf Camera.

Below is an email I sent yesterday to customer service for RitzCamera and to Andre Brysha, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer of Ritz Interactive (the holding company for RitzCamera).

I am a very frustrated consumer. Before I tell you about my experience, please consider this quote from your President and CEO Fred H. Lerner:

“From the very start, we have been committed to providing our customers with a world-class online shopping experience. That means consistently delivering on our promises – all the way through the selection, purchasing and fulfillment processes. Sure we benefit from our well-known, trusted brands, but it’s the ease of use, savings, and superior service that keeps customers coming back to our sites.” 5/13/2009 [I have added the underlines for emphasis.]

I personally purchased a blu-ray disc player from RitzCamera on 2/21 (order # XXXXXXX). The player does not work properly. I called customer service in order to return the player. The friendly customer service rep told me there would be no problem in returning the product, that in 24 hours I would receive an email with an RMA #, and then in 3-5 business days I would receive pre-paid mailing information to ship the player back to RitzCamera. I hung up happy that, at least, I would be able to return the faulty product RitzCamera sold me.

MORE than two weeks went by and I received nothing.

I called again on 3/19 and spoke to another customer service rep who informed me that I could not return the product to RitzCamera because it is a non-returnable item. This was completely different information than that given to me previously by RitzCamera. At no time during the period since I was told returning the player was “no problem” did I receive either an email or phone call informing me the information I was given by the first customer service rep was erroneous. No correction, no new information, no apology, nothing.

I then asked for a supervisor. I was told by the supervisor that maybe there was something that can be done – he would make no promises except to get back to me. He told me I would have to wait up to 48 hours to receive an email with the answer. Although more waiting was more trouble for me I had no choice.

FIVE DAYS expired and I did not receive that email. Nothing.

Today I called AGAIN and was told there is nothing RitzCamera can do, but that I can call a corporate number to hear the company policy again. Again, no apology for anything up to this point. In today’s highly competitive world what does this say about RitzCamera’s policies? While many other companies are striving to deliver exceptional customer service where truly is RitzCamera?

As a consumer of electronics, a student of business, and as someone who knows what good and bad customer service is, there is no doubt that RitzCamera’s fundamental company policy is not dissimilar from taking customer’s money, not standing behind the products they sell, and treating their customers poorly.

Consider me not only an upset FORMER CUSTOMER of RitzCamera, but also a passionate advocate of looking elsewhere. There are many other vendors besides RitzCamera.

Consider as well the cost to me of a mere $135 blu-ray player (which I have already replaced via Costco – which I confirmed will take it back anytime, no questions asked, and give me cash if I request) compared to the cost to RitzCamera of a poorly treated customer. It would appear that, at least in my experience, customer service from RitzCamera takes all too lightly the quote above from Mr. Lerner.

I merely wanted was to return a defective product back to RitzCamera and get a refund. I was told this was possible and easy to do. That turned out to be a lie. If only I had been contacted within a couple of days of that first phone call and told that a mistake had been made and that I would have to return the item to the manufacturer, but that a refund was not a problem I would still have been mostly happy. As it stands now, however, I want RitzCamera to send me the free mailing label and refund my money.

Conflicting information, broken promises, and lack of basic respect for your customer has driven me away.

Yes, I tend to be wordy, but I would rather have it all out there in an email as a record of the saga. As of this posting I have noticed only one attempt to contact me via phone – I googled the number and it came from RitzCamera – but no message was left. Andre Brysha has not bothered to make sure someone got a hold of me, nor has he decided to contact me himself. In all it is the same story, and hence a continuation of the same experience for me. But at least I can let you know a little something about RitzCamera.

Finally I got a kind of update from RitzCamera late 3/25 in the form of an email:

Thank you for providing an opportunity to be of assistance.

This is with reference to your order number XXXXXXX.

We express our profound apology for the complexity you have experienced during the purchase process from our online store. We are sorry; it was purely unintended.

We would like to inform that we have already forwarded a request to our shipping and handling department to have a check in this issue. We will get back to you as soon as we receive an update from them.

Please feel free to get back to us for further assistance.

We’ll see where this leads.

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