One of my favorite consumer advocacy blogs, The Consumerist, has a chilling tale of a retail roundabout in which a customer makes a return to OfficeMax, is given a gift card, and is then unable to use that gift card to buy anything. Rinse, repeat: the cycle continues for SEVERAL gift cards:
I’ve had this gift card for over six months now. Or should I say multiple gift cards from OfficeMax for over six months now. Let me explain.
After I received the card I looked on their website and didn’t see a monitor that could replace my 24″ screen so I found something else to buy with it. I purchased a laptop using the MaxAssurance gift card. About a week later I get an e-mail saying that the laptop isn’t available for purchase anymore. Hmmm, that’s strange. No biggie I thought, stuff happens, so I called up OfficeMax who then issued me a new gift card. I asked if they could refund to the MaxAssurance card to which they told me no, that they’d have to issue a new gift card.
TWO WEEKS LATER, I get a new OfficeMax gift card in the mail. I check the amount on it and see that it’s the right amount. I keep it on my desk a while until I see something that catches my eye on OfficeMax.com – a computer this time. I go through the checkout process and purchase the computer (which was IN STOCK, like the laptop was). I get no e-mail from OfficeMax this time so I figure it went through and I’d be getting in the computer in a few weeks. A week later, I still have not heard anything so I login to my OM account and check my orders.
This time, it says that the computer has been “discontinued” and that it would not be shipped out. Gee, thanks OfficeMax for letting me know. I check the Gift Card balance — which was $0.00 — and immediately called up OM and talked about the situation. Once again they couldn’t refund the money to the card and said that I’d have to wait for a new card to be re-issued to me.
TWO WEEKS LATER, I get yet another OfficeMax gift card in the mail. About a month goes by before I see anything else that interests me. This time it’s a computer again.
Any guesses what happened?
If you guessed anything other than “OfficeMax was once again brutally incompetent”, then you obviously haven’t been reading this blog enough. This level of ridiculous customer service is just one more reason why I advocate using a trusted, reliable retailer. More to the point: this is astoundingly bad customer service. Even if I weren’t in the industry, I would be ashamed of OM’s behavior.