When I used this blog to complain about Bank of America much of the feedback I received was about how I should not expect anything better from a bank. I get that. Big banks are bad. We all agree on that.
But this next rant takes me into sensitive territory. Microsoft did so much to change computing and make incredible technology available to the lot of us who probably would have been fine feeling the height of sophistication with an electric typewriter. The company really has changed the world. In an earlier version of my life I did maintain a steady seething for the company because I worked for Novell. My complaint in this case is personal, and it’s one I could have with any retailer, such as Sears or Spencer’s Gifts, should I ever shop online with them.
Where it gets touchy for me is that I know what a difference Microsoft has made in the Seattle area in diversifying the economy and I am legitimately impressed with what Bill Gates is doing with his money now. Bravo, I say.
On Black Friday Diana went with Sascha to Wal-Mart to see if they could get one of the Xbox gaming consoles the store had on sale. Big mistake. Diana, a shopper’s shopper, a market maven, came back saying “Never again.” Sascha went to bed disappointed, though saying the same thing Diana said about Black Friday. Diana went online. She found an Xbox with the Kinect sensor for $325. That was just what Sascha wanted.
Diana tried to order it twice and received an error message. So she went to Amazon and found it for about $100 less and ordered it there without a problem. On both orders she used the debit card from our checking account. We weren’t buying this on credit. (Not that I’m anyone to preach about that. We’ll be going to Vegas more or less on plastic.) In the end she thought the only sale that had gone through was the one with Amazon.
Thehe next day I went over our checking account. Diana had made several purchases on Amazon and she told me the story, but I couldn’t remember where the breakdown was. I saw the $325 purchase from Microsoft and it didn’t register right away that it shouldn’t be there. When I told Diana about it, though, she remembered. She called Microsoft and the operator said the console had already been shipped, that we would have to send it back and then five-to-seven days later our account would be credited.
This bothered me right away. This was Microsoft’s mistake. Had this happened in a retail store it would have been nothing to walk back to the store with the product and get the refund immediately. I’m thankful we had enough cushion in the account to go without $325 for a while, but that’s not always the case. Microsoft is hanging onto money it is not entitled to while we’re forced to wait for the company to account for its mistake. The IRS would charge interest on that kind of error.
What was worse was the company did not refund the money when it promised. The console was returned to Microsoft on Dec. 12. We still don’t have our refund more than two weeks later. An operator told us the company is behind, but because we called he said he would get the money authorized sooner. So we will get money the company held onto for about a month for something we thought we hadn’t ordered.
Some of the technology Microsoft has created allows for companies to issue returns and credits quickly, yet the company doesn’t deem it important enough to implement that technology itself.
UPDATE: A few hours after posting this we received our refund. While I’m glad to have our money back, my message is the same. This took far too long.