How A Tweet Made Me A Satisfied Customer

The original title to this post was “A Case Study in Poor Customer Service” in which I was just going to write of my frustrations trying to get what I thought was a positive outcome to a blatant problem. But then I decided to do an experiment. I am new to the social media world. Armed with about 100 Twitter followers, I decided to test the theory that social media is making a difference in the impact of the consumer.

My experiment involves PayPal, and it all started before Christmas as I was attempting to buy a Mike Wallace jersey for my 12-year-old son. After much research I finally found one in his size at a reasonable price. I was confident in purchasing it online because I was paying through PayPal and I knew there were buyer protections in place. I received the jersey in time to give it to my son for Christmas but not in time for me to send it back or get a replacement. You may not be able to tell from the picture below that this jersey was definitely not “authentic” or “licensed by Reebok” as claimed on the seller’s website.

Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Wallace jersey

As so the journey into resolving the issue of a fake jersey (I might even go so far as to say fraudulent) began. First, I attempted to work with the seller directly. Their website promised “We’re committed to your total satisfaction. If, for any reason, you’re not completely happy with your purchase”… blah, blah, blah. I sent an e-mail and filled out the Contact Us form. Twice. I got no response.

So then I turned to PayPal for help, armed with the power of a buyer protection policy. I did not have an account with them, so I started the process by filling out their Contact Us form with all the details. That was January 7, 2012. The next day, my “claim” was escalated to a “dispute.” Dozens of e-mails back and forth over the course of a full month resulted in their decision: “we have concluded our investigation into this case. Unfortunately, at this time we are unable to decide this claim in your favor.”

What? They never even asked to see what I bought! I was now an unhappy customer, but what could I do? They had no appeal process and I did not want to waste any more time by asking Reebok to investigate the misrepresentation of their brand.

A few weeks later, I read this article: “10 Ways to Deal With Upset Customers Using Social Media.” AHA! I decided to conduct my experiment. So I tweeted the article to PayPal’s main and customer service Twitter accounts. It took only two Tweets over a five-hour period to get a full refund deposited into my bank account.

Now THAT is the power of social media. And a win for the consumer!

Any other similar stories out there?


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