A lesson in customer service – I’m trying to give you more money!


I’m not one to complain a lot. I count my blessings every day. I also understand how business works (most of the time). However, sometimes I run into a situation that boggles my mind. You may remember my review of the HyperMac External Battery a few weeks back. As a matter of fact I bought it for the trip that I’m on right now. Although my initial calculations seemed to suggest that I would have enough battery life for the long plane ride(s), I wanted to make sure by going with the next model up ($100 more). 

By the way, the battery did last the whole trip! It’s amazing!


Don’t you want my money?

I emailed the customer service guys over at HyperMac and explained that not only did I like their product, but I liked it so much that I wanted a larger one. My hope was that since I hadn’t really used it yet (other than the one day of testing), that I could simply exchange it for the next size up and pay the difference. I ordered it on 7/24/09 and sent the request to trade up on 8/15/09.  I was actually kind of shocked by the response:


Your return period lapsed. We can allow a trade up if the product is still in the original shrink wrap.

Thanks and regards,

Customer Care


Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that companies have limits on returns. I also understand that since the battery had been used, they couldn’t sell it as new to the next person. However, I wasn’t trying to get my money back, I was actually trying to give them more money for the next version up. 

No option to pay a restocking fee 

No option for a discount on a second one

No options at all other than for me to not spend any more money on this item. 

Oh well. Life goes on.

18 Replies to “A lesson in customer service – I’m trying to give you more money!”

  1. CS is certainly at a premium these days. It’s funny how really good or really bad CS sticks out in a persons mind. Companies spend millions on advertising, hoping for word of mouth. Yet CS reps, those who have amazing influence on the customer, are on the bottom end of many companies pay scales. I find that food companies tend to have great CS. Tech companies have a long way to go.

  2. I am amazed that some people/companies just to not get it when dealing with customers. This could have been a profitable deal for them AND for you. You get more of what you are looking for and they get more income. They should have come back to you with SOMETHING. You could always say no if you did not feel the deal was worth that much to you. I can understand saying no to a return if a certain amount of time has passed. But to upgrade? come on. I can take my used car to any dealer in the nation looking to buy a new one and each dealer will offer me SOMETHING for it.

  3. Wow, that customer server really needs a lesson about sales. Could be the whole company strategy to reconsider too. I understand that they can’t just take back every item customers ask and actually I believe this is what customers have asked from the markets all the time: cheaper products. When company cuts it’s costs this is what happens in the end, no individual service. It is more costly to consider individuals personally than just to say buy a new one, it’s cheap.

  4. I had another unpleasant experience when I purchased a Drobo. The day I received mine in the mail, the Firewire version came out. I immediately contacted them about it and was told I could not exchange it for the new version because I had opened the box. I had merely cut the tape to open it, but never got it out of the box. Not a good policy in my opinion

  5. I don’t know Terry. They may not have a solution that is good for you.

    The only solution that can make business sense, once the battery is used is … Take back the battery and offer you pennies on the dollar. Then have it sit on their shelves for a while, ’cause no one wants to “used” battery.
    You are not going to be happy with that, after all you’ve only used it once. There is no “restocking” fee on this one because they can’t simply put it on the shelf.

    Jonathan’s note may sit with their policy and may be accurate, albeit not friendly.

    Yes I do run an internet company.

    1. Andrew, while I don’t doubt that selling used batteries would be tough, the response was that “Your return period lapsed.” It wasn’t that I couldn’t return it because it was used. So that being the case, I was stunned that there was not even a “paid” way to do it. Companies usually handle this with a restocking fee to offset the money they’re going to lose by not being able to sell the item as new again. No option at all was given here and I wasn’t trying to get a refund, I was trying to buy a bigger one.

  6. I wonder if this was a ‘canned’ response? I notice that when I do things via the net (which I prefer, btw), I tend to get responses that let me know that the ‘person’ at the other end hasn’t even read my message. When I reply back, though, I get a response that makes me think someone actually took the time to read the message. I’ve always suspected, based on years in the CS industry and their penchant for trying to ‘weed out’ the things that take up a lot of the CSR’s time, if they don’t send a canned response to initial contacts and only after you send in a follow-up does an actual person read and respond to you message. It might be worth a follow-up email to see if you can get more information on their policies…or at least a friendly ‘no’. G/L!

  7. Customer Service in this country has taken a huge drop.And, this whole you can’t upgrade approach has always baffled me about the iPhone as well. I have a 3G and love it. But should I want to get a 3GS I have to pay full priced even tho I am willing to extend my contract the length of a new one. You can’t tell me they couldn’t recondition and sell/use my current phone. I could find dozens of high school skids who’s parents just won’t pay for a new one. Who knows maybe it’s more complicated than I understand. I know if someone came to me and said “I bought a 16×20 print but I really need a 24×36 can I upgrade?” I would just seriously discount the new print just to make sure they come back. But, Apples and prints I know (couldn’t resist the corny moment please forgive me).

  8. Or try to get UPS to hold a package for you on the 3rd day for pick up instead of delivering on the 4th day – they must attempt delivery. Ask them to take ownersip of an issue and work with customers, forget it. That takes actual care about the customer and their needs

  9. If at first you don’t get a helpful response always ask to talk to a supervisor. Chances are you’ll accomplish what you were seeking once you find a person who has judgement and authority.

  10. Somehow I feel that you won’t need to contact them again – I bet you will hear from someone higher up the ladder there pretty quick now that you have posted your cs review. Things just get around on the net – like the United Breaks Guitars video that went viral as soon as it was posted.

  11. I also bought a Hypermac, found the battery indicator to be not working and have had to return it ($40.00 postage). So far I am not impressed with their quality, I think for something that is that expensive it should have been checked better before it left the factory.
    I would not recommend them if asked, I wish now I had just bought a couple of Laptop batteries instead.

  12. Please look at it from the retailer point of view. Is this totally within the return policy of the store? As you mentioned the product is now used. How does the retailer deal with it. It is not defective so it cannot be returned to the manufacturer. If the retailer does not deal with used merchandise how do they sell it and for how much? I will assume you had the original box, warranty card (not filled out), and other accessories. If not, the product value is even less.

    As for the customer service aspect, did you understand the retailer’s return policy before you bought the item? If you were outside the return date who is at fault? So now what? If you tried to Ebay it, how much could you honestly sell it for? The margin of profit for retailers is often overestimated. The retailer / customer relationship should be viewed as a 2 way street. A valued customer is someone who understands the policies, knows what they want, and is happy to order the item for the asking price. The retailer knows his merchandise and knows what type of returns to expect and when. They track returns carefully. Yes, some retailers will go the extra out of policy step to make you happy. It is up to you to find them and give them your business if it is that important, but expect the item to cost more if not MSRP.

  13. William,
    Looking at it from the Retailer’s Point of View:
    There is a return policy that doesn’t preclude you from returning one that has been used, so that means that they must have some way of dealing with used ones even if it were used the day after it was bought and returned the following day, it’s used! So what do they do with the ones that come back used WITHIN the return time limit? This kinda kills your argument about not being able to deal with used items.

    You’re absolutely right in that if I didn’t return it within the given time frame, that they don’t have do take it back. Yes, that is clearly on me and not them.

    My point here is that this was a missed opportunity to not only make more money but also make a customer happy. This is why companies charge what they call “restocking fees”. It’s to cover those situations where they take something back that is now of lesser value. Also like I said in the post above, there were NO options given. Let’s say that taking it back was out of the question. How about a deal on a second one? My point here is that I wasn’t looking for something for nothing. I would have happily paid not only the difference between the cost of the first model and the bigger model, but I would have also paid a reasonable fee to have them take back the first one (which is now used). Yet, I wasn’t given any opportunity to do this.

    So let’s recap the situation:
    A) the company lost the chance to have a happy customer
    B) the company lost the chance to make MORE money
    C) their return policy was adhered to, good for them.

Comments are closed.