Disclaimer: This situation was probably isolated but it did happen.
Last week I wrote about a recent purchase I had made from Vitamix. I mentioned a customer service situation that at first had me outraged. We’re talking serious annoyance.
Let’s first take a look at Vitamix customer service history. Historically, it looks like people have been very well received and have been happy with the customer service. Yet, I had a terrible experience at the beginning of the build.
Let’s go through the timeline.
When you purchase something over the Internet, the general rule is that unless the seller has a brick & mortar store in your state, you are not charged sales tax. The seller usually absolves this responsibility to the consumer. Look at Amazon. Sales tax is only charged in the states it operates in. Not so with Vitamix. They charge sales tax in all states and have a break-out for state and county tax. If you don’t know how this works, be prepared to be confused like I was.
I seriously would love to see the accounting books to see if that money disappears and ever makes it to Uncle Sam’s coffers. But that’s a whole other matter in itself. If you’re used to seeing the sales tax as one single state percentage, be prepared to floored. I was, and the customer service at Vitamix was of no help. They told me to call my Councilperson. I called both Forsyth County and City of Winston-Salem, where both didn’t know what I was talking about until I got to the state level. Apparently counties get their cut but the states do the distribution of funds. The tax departments at the local levels just deal in real estate. Fun stuff.
Oh one more thing. I assume it was coming off of Labor Day weekend, and the lady was groggy or something, but she was pretty rude about the whole thing. Talk about bad first impressions.
So got that figured out. No problems now right? Wrong.
My next issue came when it took about two weeks to build the machine. I called customer service and they told me that it takes 14 days. The website (when I ordered it) said 7-10 days, but has since been changed to reflect 10-14 days. And for those that are Google freaks, no the cache date was a day or so after I had reported to them that the build was taking a pretty long time.
Fine, whatever. At least this lady was nicer than the first about everything.
This one really perturbed me when I saw the shipping notice go out. After everything above, you would think that for something that is SO expensive, there would have been a check done before they went online with a shopping cart service on the corporate web site. I had a billing address that was different from my shipping address. So lo and behold when I found that they were shipping it to my billing address.
Wait one second here. One would go back and check the orders to make sure right? So I did. I checked every single confirmation email (which I still have) and what not. Everything up to the “we have shipped your product” email had the shipping address. Go figure that one out. I had to again call customer service, and at the beginning, they even told me that it would cost $10 to change the UPS shipping. Talk about nickel and diming. I had to explain my situation and explain that their code was screwed up and that they had to fix it. I even made screenshots and assisted them with their code. Maybe I should get paid to help them troubleshoot their site.
In any case, I didn’t have to pay the money and they got my product to me. Finally. Two customer service ladies helped me with this one (not the same as the ones before) but the whole thing was an ordeal. Nothing like the situations mentioned online about how great their customer service was or could be. I have to mention that the end part of it and they had apologized profusely for the screw-ups and did pay for the UPS change.
OUT OF BOX:
When you read the product description, you’ll note that you get a few things. Guess what wasn’t packed? Yes, I didn’t get my cooking DVD. A $25 value apparently too ( we won’t go into inflated bonus values here). Alas, this was just not worth the customer service call after everything above.
I didn’t get the same customer service as what many other received. Perhaps the corporation has PR people that write that stuff on product reviews. I don’t know. I will say that the overall experience was pretty negative, although the customer service representatives that helped with the shipping were very apologetic and tried to get me everything I needed to get it fixed. They even did a call back when I wrote them an email almost right away. That’s a good response time at least. Between the order date and the product receive date, was a total of seventeen days which was still outside the fourteen day period.
For the sake of Vitamix, I hope that my incident was an isolated one at worst. Many of my family members all have Vitamix machines and all have praised the robustness of the actual product. But then again, none of them bought it direct like I did. My suggestion for this all? Fix the website, and explain the breakout of taxes or change it so that state tax is one single percentage. In fact, it would probably be good to even explain why you’re taking state tax at all in states you don’t operate in. And I truly hope that someone else that buys the product with different billing and shipping will not run into the whole wrong shipping address issue. They never did get back to me on if it’s fixed.
All of this to get a blender. Geez. The pot at the end of the rainbow? I’m a smoothie machine now. And hopefully I’ll never have to call them again.