Exchanging a pair of pants
January 4, 2012 4:42 PM   Subscribe

Mail order question: Better to call or to send an email?

I recently purchased a pair of dungarees from a denim retailer who specializes in organic-cotton, US-made denim. Based on the photos and measurements they listed, I thought one of their pairs of jeans would be ideal for my height/build. They arrived today, and I can't even button them, never mind zip them up. The rise hits at a bad place on my torso, and because my waist/hip ratio is rather large, I will not be able to wear them.

According to their website, they accept exchanges and returns within 14 days, but because I have an inseam lower than 30", my pants were considered final sale. Given the amount of money I paid for them, I'd like to get a store credit, if I could. I work in retail, and while certain items are considered final sale, we have worked with customers to find solutions that work for both of us. (I believe in the company's ethos. They do offer custom-made pants, and I'd like to go with a custom-made pair if I can exchange these.)

The invoice they sent me includes both a phone number and an email address, along with the name of their head customer service rep. Obviously, the ideal situation would be to visit the store, but it's pretty far from me. Would it be better for me to email him, or to call him during normal business hours? The ideal resolution to this problem would be for me to exchange the pants I have for a pair of custom-made pants. Because they're a small business, I understand if they can't do that, but I'd like to give it my best try.
posted by pxe2000 to Shopping (6 answers total)
1. Get on the phone.
2. Be reasonable.
3. Be polite.
4. Say that you want to continue to buy from them and that you love the quality of the product, but this is untenable.
5. Don't do any cheap power tricks like repeating their first name back at them over and over. That only makes them angry.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 4:44 PM on January 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

We have some very special customers at the store where I work who do #5 a lot. Cheap power tricks like that suck no matter what.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:48 PM on January 4, 2012

Measure the pants. Are they as described? No matter what the site says, if they are not what you ordered, you should be able to return them.

When you talk to customer service, you are more likely to succeed if you are a nice person who wants to be fair. Explain that the pants not only don't fit, but cannot be worn at all. Point out that you will already lose shipping both ways. If you feel that you're striking out, offer to accept a re-stocking fee.
posted by theora55 at 4:55 PM on January 4, 2012

I would call them. Emailing may or may not work, but I find it people tend to ignore emails, especially hard ones that require thought. So, with an email I would say there's a 80%+ chance they won't respond within a week, and then you'll just have it hanging there frustratingly. You may even just have to end up calling up them in the end anyway.

I think if you just try to be nice about it, they will understand, especially since you haven't (and, in fact, physically can't) wear the pants. I would just make sure you don't accept the first person who answers the phone's answer (which may just be the published store policy). Maybe ask to speak to the higher ups if that's the case.
posted by strekker at 3:57 AM on January 5, 2012

Call. Sending an email means your request gets put into a pile, while calling ensures someone is looking at your case *right now*. There's also a chance they'll call you in response to the email, meaning you're on the phone one way or the other.

If you're looking for a store credit, make it clear that you like the company and you'd like to continue doing business with them. Hopefully they know how important customer retention is these days for small, specialized businesses. Toss in an "I'll tell everyone I know how awesome you are!" to sweeten it. Demonstrate that from a business perspective this extra expense will pay off in the form of a happy customer and positive word of mouth.

If they need a day or two to approve a resolution, this is okay. Don't let yourself get dragged around, but don't pressure them either.
posted by Smallpox at 9:17 AM on January 5, 2012

I called and spoke with the man whose name was listed on the receipt as being the head of customer service. I explained the position I was in and asked if there's anything I could do. He's offered to do an exchange. Hooray!
posted by pxe2000 at 2:25 PM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Awkward Ages to be an Orphan   |   ADHD diagnosis looms. What's next? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.