There are a lot of benefits to buying directly from someone who is a sole proprietor of their own online business. You know you're probably going to get a more personalized customer service experience when dealing with the company. It's also pretty cool knowing that you're helping a small business out and if you like bespoke, crafted items that could definitely be seen as a win-win scenario.
However there is a very big flip side to that coin and it's that there are sometimes benefits, from the consumer's end to shopping with a major corporation. Big companies can also tend to get in big trouble if they mishandle a customer's order, especially if word breaks out on social media about such a massive failure.
Let's say you order something from Amazon, it shows up broken, and then you chat with customer service only to get a refund or replacement and the person on the other end tells you to bug off, well, all you would really need to do is a screenshot that and blast it on social media and it'll probably get the attention of someone at the company.
And while that sounds extreme, that's pretty much what happened with a woman who purchased a candle from an Etsy retailer.
A TikToker by the name of Elisabeth (@elisabethmanente) detailed the "worst customer experience in the world" she received after buying something from an Etsy store. She says in the clip: "OK I just want to preface this video by saying that I was on Etsy last night because I wanted to buy a birthday present for my cousin and she loves Harry Styles so I was like oh why not get a Harry Styles prayer candle."
She continued, "So I had two prayer candles in my cart and it was late I accidentally ordered the wrong one and then requested a refund today. So I just said to the company Cleaver and Blade I think they're called I just said hi I'm so sorry but I accidentally purchased this by accident and do not need it I would like a refund if possible thank you."
She was probably thinking that because it was only a few hours since she placed the order that it wouldn't be a problem. However, the company came back at her with this, "You know it costs us money when we refund customers."
Not exactly the best portend of a positive customer service experience.
Elisabeth went on to say, "And I go well I'm very sorry but I do not need the product and then they said I refunded you and I highly doubt that you accidentally ordered have the day you deserve. So I didn't really love that response so I said wow thank you so much for your wonderful customer service I appreciate the kind words. See ya on TikTok."
"And they say perfect see you where you will accidentally make a fool of yourself. And then I say why are you attacking me I requested a refund for one of your products that I ordered last night simply because it was an accident and I got the wrong one. There is no need to be rude."
The company then told her how much money it cost them to process that refund her, "Cost me $5.00 to refund you," but it appears to have occurred in a different chat box. Cutting to her other conversation, the company went off on Elisabeth, saying, "Didn't you just threaten me to shame me on TikTok when you didn't even spend a penny on us?"
The business continued, "As a matter of fact you costed us $5 because you 'accidentally' ordered an item. Lady, here in Etsy we are doing business transactions and you are here accidentally costing us money. #dobetter. And then I go if you don't want people returning your product you should have a no return policy because then that would be my fault but you don't #dobetter."
Their argument went back and forth, with the company writing that the return policy was for customers who actually make purchases and then threw additional shade asking why she wasn't dancing on TikTok and attacking the company.
The company then accused Elisabeth of making a purchase after smoking weed and only realizing her mistake after sobering up in the morning. They mentioned again that they had to pay $5 for a return and then looked up "Big Weenie" on TikTok, took a screenshot and then sent it to her.
"I cannot believe I had this actual conversation with someone from the company — this is ridiculous," she says at the end of her video.
Several users in the comments section stated that they were Etsy sellers themselves and that they were horrified by the company's behavior.
Another speculated as to the reason why they were charged $5 to process a return: because they weren't actually creating the products themselves and had to fork over a $5 cancellation fee as they sent the order to a printer.
Were you ever called a Big Weenie by a company before?