No Problem, You Can Keep It!

By Ron Rosenberg

It seems that any attempt to resolve a service issue leads to hours on the phone and mind-boggling levels of frustration. But sometimes, just the opposite is true, and when that happens it's a welcome break from the norm.

I really like our refrigerator. It's a Samsung model with "French doors" - that means the freezer is on the bottom and slides out like a drawer, and the fridge section is on the top with two doors that swing open like in the picture.

From a design perspective, this makes perfect sense since people tend to use the refrigerator section much more than the freezer compartment, so it's accessible to you standing up.

The other benefit is that there's lots of storage space on the inside of both doors for condiment jars and other small items.

Oops - the Shelf is Cracked!

We happened to notice that one of the plastic shelves had developed a crack on its side - probably because we had loaded it up a bit too much. Upon closer inspection, we saw that another shelf had a similar problem.

Now, in the grand scheme of things, this isn't a huge issue, but it was something we needed to take care of at some point.

A quick Google search led us to where we entered the model number of the fridge and were able to identify the model numbers of the two shelves we needed to replace.

The problem was that the schematics they used were a little confusing, and the images didn't seem to exactly match the parts we were replacing.

They had an online "chat" option, so I engaged in a 15-minute conversation with the representative to make sure we were ordering the right two parts, and placed the order.

One Out of Two: Not Bad, Right

A few days later, the parts arrived. One shelf fit perfectly. The other...not so much. Oh, it was one of the shelves used in our model;  it was just the wrong one.

I felt a little annoyed that I had spent the time on the chat to make sure we had the right parts specifically because the diagram was so confusing.

So we called the customer-service number, and spoke to a "live" person this time. He was very helpful; he understood how this could have happened; and he said he would place the order for the correct part.

What about the "wrong" one they had sent us? Were they going to issue a pickup order to have it returned?

"Oh, no," he said, "why don't you just keep it at no charge in case you need it at some point."

It Makes Sense to Do the Right Thing

I really like it when vendors take the sensible course of action, especially when the issue is their fault.

They could have asked us to return the other shelf, which, even if they had it picked up at their expense, would have taken us some time to package, seal, and prepare the label.

Instead, they took the correct action which was to ship us the right part, and let us keep the other one to have as a spare.

From their perspective, this was really a no-brainer; they would have had to pay the return shipping, restock the part, and update their inventory system. And all of this for an item that probably only cost them around $10.

But by letting us keep the extra shelf, they accomplished three things: first, they made us happy; second, they got me to write about the experience (including their website in the article); and, third, they basically guaranteed that we'll use them for any other appliance-part purchases we ever have to make.

Do your return policies build this kind of customer loyalty?