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  1.    #1  
    Why HandSpring Customer Relations Blows Goats - A True Story

    Short Version:
    Don't ever buy from the Handspring.com website. They will screw you everytime. Their damn website can't even calculate the tax on demand so you can see the full and complete price you'll be paying when you order. For a supposed technology company, that's pretty damn shoddy workmanship. Handspring.com wouldn't rebate me $22.89 for misleading me that tax would not be added later to my Texas shipment. I asked them to rebate the $22.89 to save me the trouble of returning the Visor.


    Long version:
    Warning! Sorry, this is long. I considered waiting for this whole this to be complete, but I'm still ticked off so I thought I'd write this in a bit of warning to those contemplating buying a Visor from Handspring.com itself. I'll clean this up and send it on to the upper management of Handspring as well. On second thought, I'll just send them this posting. No sense wasting more of my damn time with them.

    On September 7th, I finally decided to buy the Visor Deluxe vs. a Palm device. I pulled up the Handspring.com website and started filling out the information. I also pulled up Amazon.com and started to fill out the information there as well. I ordered off both websites: a Visor Deluxe and an additional serial cradle (both Ice colored for the curious). With shipping included, Handspring.com priced it out at $277.50; whereas, Amazon.com priced it out at $284.99. A difference of $7.49. However, there's a bit of fine print on the Handsping.com website. And this is where the problem occurs.

    It says in fine print in the shopping cart and the various check out pages thereafter: "*Tax will be assessed at time of shipping in CA, KY, MA, TX, UT, and Canada." I live in TX. So I'm pretty sure that means I'm going to have to pay tax. (Please note the page has since then changed to "*Tax will be added at time of shipping in CA, KY, MA, TX, UT, and Canada.") Either way, I'm pretty much guessing that they were going to add tax but I wasn't absolutely clear. I called to double check since that would be a serious price difference.

    I got a sales rep, Tammie, on the phone and asked her about the price. I specifically pointed out the wording on the website and that I lived in Texas. I asked her specifically if $277.50 is all I would be paying or would there be an additional tax cost added later. She said not that she knew of. I asked her to please check with her supervisor and to let him know that I live in Texas. She came back a few minutes later with the supervisor agreeing with her. I said great, then go ahead and place my order since I was on the phone with her.

    Lo and bloody behold, the next day I get emailed a receipt from HandSpring.com for $300.39. They had added on tax of $22.89. I was damn upset and called to cancel order, but they had already shipped the thing. I was emailed that I could reject shipment or get an RMA number for return. I hung up and then figured out why not try and get Handspring.com to rebate me $22.89 which would solve everything. I talked to another sales rep that day and she gathered all my information for a supervisor to investigate. I have yet to hear from that "supervisor." Next time I'll be sure to get the name. I tried calling again and talking with a supervisor but they were usually busy.

    I finally got a hold of a supervisor, Trevor, on this past Sunday (10th). He basically told me that there was nothing he could do. He was unwilling to rebate me the $22.89. It is federal law to tax items.. blah blah. I know that it's federal law, but I also know you can bookkeep the damn $22.89 under a special one-time, one-person discount. I wasn't asking for the damn thing for free, just the $22.89. I was starting to become upset at this point. I even suggested they send me a backup module since they caused all this extra hassle by screwing up in the first place. (Looking back, not a real viable option since they were unwilling to discount $22.89). Finally I said fine, I'd return the damn thing. I questioned him about the return policies. I was told that an RMA number for return would be faster in getting my money back than a reject shipment. For those who've ever lived in an apt complex, return shipments are a *****. He said he didn't know but that if I didn't reject shipment, then I would be liable to pay for the return shipment. I cried out, "WHAT THE F***?" I pretty much lost it there. I cursed twice. I have to give him credit that he actually stayed calm and asked me to not curse else he'd end the conversation. I give myself even more credit for not blasting him some more before he would hang up. He finally offered to send a waybill (sp?) after I received the shipment. I apologized for cursing, got his number and extension and hung up.

    I'm still waiting for the damn thing to arrive so I can get the waybill to send it back. So basically for $22.89, Handspring.com has pretty much pissed me off, had me rethink of Visors as a PDA, tell people this story so they would rethink about getting one, and it costs them more money to have the thing returned to them. I really have to wonder about their customer service if any of the Visors really have problems if they can't even fix one of their simple mistakes.

    ["Language" edited by MarkEagle]
  2.    #2  
    Sorry I forgot to complete the short version.

    Short Version:
    Don't ever buy from the Handspring.com website. They will screw you everytime. Their damn website can't even calculate the tax on demand so you can see the full and complete price you'll be paying when you order. For a supposed technology company, that's pretty damn shoddy workmanship. Handspring.com wouldn't rebate me $22.89 for misleading me that tax would not be added later to my Texas shipment. I asked them to rebate the $22.89 to save me the trouble of returning the Visor. They wouldn't do it. A pain in the *ss.
  3. #3  
    Umm. no sympathy for you from me. It's sorta obvious that your going to have to pay sales tax if the site says that your going to. You even read the message that said that tax would be assesed (meaning that if you live in Texas and the page says that TX is taxed then your going to get taxed. If you didn't live in one of the states that was mentioned, then the assesed sales tax would be nothing).

    As a side note to this I would like to add that if you live in TX then you probably know that the Tax would ammount to about 20 dollars. I live in Massacuetts, and knew that the sales tax would amount to about 20 dollars also.
    After your shipment was shipped, you asked for the sales tax to be refunded? That's like buying a car, and then asking to car dealer to refund the tax. Like Handspring they are also going to think that your insane. No company will refund the sales tax because a customer doesn't want to pay for the sales tax.
    Teh you ask for the back-up module, a forty dollar module for in exchange of a 28 dollar refund. At this point I'm astonished that you even though that they were going to do this. If they were not going to refund 28 dollars, then what makes you think that they're going to refund you 40 dollars?
    Afte you have done all of this you start to curse at a customer service rep? I learned in 6th grade that getting aggrivated at people is not going to get them to do what you want. How can you give yourself credit for not continuing to curse, you should be ashamed of yourself that you were yelling at this guy who didn't have the power to change anything in the first place.
    My advice to you is to return the Visor, and, if you still want a Visor, go down to your local CompUSA. They have them, and you will know exactly the sales tax that you have to pay.
    MY final note on this message is that Handspring is a great company. They have come a long way from where they were a year ago, and though they have a way to go, their customer service deparrtement has been very qualified when I have ahd to call them. They have always been curtious and professional (as they were in an extreme situation with you) in their business, and I would reccomend them to anybody.
    BEN
  4. #4  
    So I'm straight here.....you complain about being charged a tax amount you know will be assessed ahead of time. Did you ever think to use a calculator to confirm that the web price did NOT include said tax? Then you go on to both acknowledge swearing at the CS reps and repeat the foul language here. Sheesh

    HS- 1
    Grayson26- 0
  5. #5  
    I have an even shorter story..

    Once upon a time, mrknowitall read a story about a guy who doesn't want to pay tax.

    "This is a foolish story," he thought, "I was hoping it would go somewhere."

    mrknowitall remembered the last time he went to the grocery store and saw tax on the labeled shelves beneath the tins.....A strange revelation, he hollered "Oh my God.. Never." mrknowitall was charged tax when he went to the register. he knew that he shouldn't have to pay for his coco puffs until the transaction was processed.

    the moral of this story is.... pay your taxes. They put kids in school, and doctors in hospitals. the other moral is.. read the fine print.. homonymically (?)speaking, the print is not so 'fine' if you don't miss it, and should be fine if you don't miss it.

    It's a shame that you don't want to pay your tax. Shoot.. I've been paying for tax since the bazooka joe days.
    ... and despite the cynicism i wear on my sleeve, I've lived happily ever after.

    mr.kia in '00!
    "The Greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge." -- Daniel Borstin
  6. #6  
    I have to take Grayson26's side.

    He's not complaining about paying taxes, he's talking about internal departments and services within a major technology company not sharing information and accomodating their customers' needs.

    This is nothing new. Over the past two weeks I've had the exact same experience with Wells Fargo, Sprint and National Rent-A-Car. These are MAJOR corporations where CUSTOMER SERVICE should be the # 1 priority. These companies then spend millions of dollars to create websites, but zero dollars to inegrate the web site with exsiting information systems within the company. Hell, half of these company's employees have never SEEN their own company's web site!

    And, I also had a bad experience trying to purchase products from Handspring.com. It IS unforgivable. It boggles the mind as to how these companies survive without such poor inter-departmental communicatons and integrations.

    Should Handspring customer support give you your taxes back? Probably not. Is it their fault? Probably partially. Should they do something to remedy the situation? YES! And they could...very easily...just as Donna Dubunisky did HERSELF when so many of us had problems early on.

    What IS incredibly stupid is that they can't calculate the taxed online. Who in the hell did they hire to develop their ecommerce system? Kinkos? Did anyone at Handspring ACTUALLY try to use their OWN web site to order something? Probably not.

    I understand your frustration.


    [Edited by homer on 09-14-2000 at 09:58 AM]
    We're all naked if you turn us inside out.
    -David Byrne
  7. #7  
    First off...the "fine print" at the site indicated that you would be charged Tax. Definition of "assessed:"
    as·sess (-ss)
    v. tr. as·sessed, as·sess·ing, as·sess·es.

    1.To estimate the value of (property) for taxation.
    2.To set or determine the amount of (a payment, such as a tax or fine).
    3.To charge (a person or property) with a special payment, such as a tax or fine.
    4.To determine the value, significance, or extent of; appraise. See Synonyms at estimate

    To call Customer Service to verify you would be charged Tax after it already stated you would is overkill. However, the fact they indicated you wouldn't be charged is rediculous if this is exactly what happened.

    Something to keep in mind...Handspring outsourced their Customer Service (or at least they did at the time they went live almost a year ago). This Customer Service base was in Canada, which means that some of the folks they hire may not fully understand the whole Tax business. That isn't an excuse, but if you went to the trouble of verifying you would be charged tax when you didn't need to, then you should have made sure that you took down names and direct numbers of who to call if the information was wrong so that you could properly report the issue and have it resolved - but not ask that the Tax be refunded.

    I'm from Taxachusetts...er Massachusetts. Frankly I'm stunned when I'm not charged Tax for anything. I always expect to be charged and plan accordingly.

    My advice to you is expect to pay Tax no matter what. That way you won't be disappointed when you find it on your receipt. And next time, do a little more comparative shopping and INCLUDE the Tax YOURSELF when you find the pricing.
  8.    #8  
    To Ben, Dequardo, and MrKnowItAll: I apparently didn't write it as clear as I wanted because you missed my point entirely. I don't mind paying tax (well I do, but that's another thread), I accept it as part of day to day life. I was ticked off at how HandSpring.com handled the situation which was easily rectified. I don't know of any supervisor of a customer service group that DOES NOT have the power to fix a problem, even if is to pass me up the chain. I believe that's why they ARE supervisors.

    Homer, sorry to hear you had such problems with Sprint. Back before I switched LD companies to keep up with my miles program, Sprint had been pretty good with their CS with me. I've had a few bills completely credited because of an account problem on their behalf. And I didn't even have to explain myself a lot.

    Shadow, yes it happened exactly how I posted it. I know it was overkill to ask, but I figured might as well ask a stupid question then get screwed. Apparently, I got screwed anyhow.

    To all: This is the e-commerce age. Buying via the web allows most to escape the age old sales tax. 99% of the websites I visit and order from are able to do simple calculation. I just wish a particular "supposed technology company" would get with the program and fix their bloody website. If what they represent now is good, I shudder to think what y'all went through in their early stages.



  9. #9  
    Grayson:

    First of all Handspring doesn't make the systems that run their web site. Last time I check they make only a Palm OS device. I really don't see what the "problem" is. The web site clearly states that there is tax for Texas. The fact that you called CS and an incompetent agent told you "not my knowledge" is irrelevant. You admitted that you saw the "fine print" so what's the rub?

    I agree with Ben, Desquardo and others...Handspring owes you nothing.

  10. #10  
    Yardie:

    Retail companies DO owe their customers something...that is GOOD service. I think people forgive companies way too easily for shoddy service. We give them money. They should appreciate that.

    First of all Handspring doesn't make the systems that run their web site.
    And FORD didn't make the tires that blew up on their cars, either...but they took responsibility for it. Handspring HIRED someone to build their system. Therefore, Handspring IS responsible. Calculating Sales tax is a no-brainer. The fact that this isn't a part of the site really scares me. It shows that no usability tests were performed on the system. It's unforgiveable.

    The fact that you called CS and an incompetent agent told you "not my knowledge" is irrelevant.
    It's relevant in that Grayson had a bad customer experience. It's relevant in that Handspring hired an incompetent agent. This agent speaks on behalf of Handspring, therfore, Handspring is incompetent. I'd be pissed too.

    When I first ordered my Visor, I had to place 3 separate orders, and wait 8 months before I received my Visor. During that entire time, customer support was in the dark. They had NO CLUE as to what the status of my order was, how many orders I had, how to cancel an order, why the web site mangled my orders, or who I could even call to get those answers. I took careful notes as to who I spoke to. At times I was told outright that 'there are no supervisors at this location" or "I am not allowed to transfer you to that supervisor". I finally had to email the CEO of the company who remedied the entire situation herself in a span of about 2 hours.

    The fact that people are still confused by their web site is NOT the person's fault...it's the web site's fault. The fact that information on the web site is not communicated with the support staff is HANDSPRING's fault...not Graysons.

    I'm really just perplexed at large companies that go online these days. I've had so many bad experiences with companies lately all do to poorly implemented web sites, a lack of internal training about their own web sites, or an outright incompetance about their own web sites. It's scary. And sad.
    We're all naked if you turn us inside out.
    -David Byrne
  11. #11  
    I honestly don't understand the point being argued.
    Grayson26 all of a sudden thinks he has the crown and should not be charged tax because it is not calculated at the time the order is made.

    I think that's why it says "Tax ADDED at time of shipping".
    To get your tax back because you asked for it is hilarious. Just ask the government. To say that we are in a e-commerce age and anyone can cheat taxes is a cheat. Handspring are not a penny-any company. They pay taxes too. Respect your Government.

    To ask for a FREE back up module (considering the foul and profane language used) is even more uproaring.
    To curse and scream is just immoral and UNACCEPTABLE.
    These people deserve respect because they even bothered to take your call. Grow up.
    anyways,

    [QUOTE]Originally posted by Shadow
    This Customer Service base was in Canada, which means that some of the folks they hire may not fully understand the whole Tax business. That isn't an excuse.

    Ok, let me get this straight. Canadians don't know anything about tax? it that correct? I'm not even gonna start with this.

    Have piece of paper and pen will travel.
    Visor on. Love thy neighbour.


    "EVERYBODY'S GUILY"
  12. #12  
    :-)
  13. #13  
    I honestly don't understand the point being argued.
    Grayson26 all of a sudden thinks he has the crown and should not be charged tax because it is not calculated at the time the order is made.
    Yes, I think you don't understand the point. He's not upset that he has to pay tax, he's upset in how Handspring's web site provided incorrect information, their customer support staff provided incorrect information, and that they refused to escalate his concern.

    It started BECAUSE of the WAY they applied the tax, but that is not what Grayson is upset about. This thread is about poor customer service, not whether or not someone should be taxed.
    We're all naked if you turn us inside out.
    -David Byrne
  14. #14  
    i'm in cs and grayson created bad cs by not knowing what he was paying for and then demanding(in foul language with an hourly operator-no excuse) more than he deserved.

    reminds me of the time we promised a 60.00 refund to a customer for a price match on a product and didn't credit her account in time(def. our mistake). we offered to pay any interest charges, she loudly demanded the $600.00 product FREE!!!!

    paying customers deserve good cs, but morons usually get what they deserve
  15. #15  
    This thread _is_ about $7.49, and an honest mistake**, blown out of proportion. This thread is about an individual who may have assumed that this would be the only tax free purchase of his life. That is my opinion.

    By providing a tax amount ahead of time, an online seller subjects itself to the dynamics of possible tax increases. Governments control sales tax. Not Tammie nor Trevor. I could for example place an order on Sept 30, have my government raise the tax the next day Aug 1, and then have the order charged and sent the following day Aug 2. Would it then be fair to me (consumer) if a company tells me that I will pay 5% tax and then find out that it is 7%? Then who's at fault? Well that depends on how you look at it. I would be a fool not to stay updated on current events. I know that it is my responsibility as a consumer to be aware of taxes that apply in my area. As a price conscious consumer, I estimate taxes ahead of time, and accept them as a fact of life. It'd make more sense to me that the company not risk losing any money, and/or infuriate it's end users with confusion over totals. Bear in mind that they must turn around and pay the tax that they collect from us.

    Had you said that the rep told you that your order total was half of what it was, and then you found out that it was not, I would then think you have a valid gripe. At the same time you should expect to pay whatever rate of tax on whichever amount stated. Good luck in your taxless ventures

    ** Misinformation does not always walk hand in hand with incompetence.

    May the farce be with you...always.
    "The Greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge." -- Daniel Borstin
  16. #16  
    This thread and his overall tone is 'much ado about nothing'. He's got himself all lathered up over the $7.50 he would have saved by going through Amazon. THEN he wants to return the thing over this alleged slight on him personally. Amazing. Now he's going to jump through hoops to return the thing which will cost him much more than the lousy $7.50 in time, aggravation, and expense. All this even though he READ that the tax WOULD be applied AFTER shipping

    Hey, get over it. Life's too short.

    Methinks he doth protest too much.

    Mike

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