Gross PointBlank

I've got a place for those "sorries."

I recently had to deal with customer service representatives of two very large companies and I am amazed at the difference in outcomes from both situations.

In the first case, I had a rather expensive purchase through In that situation, I ordered a very large, very fancy sports team themed duffel bag as a Christmas gift. The very same day I ordered it, it turned out I needed to cancel it.

Through, I'd made the purchase from I knew I was in a conundrum over having spent roughly $100 and knowing I'd have to figure out a way to return it.

When I signed up for shipping, I had given a post office box number. Turned out to save my bacon.

The next day, I got an email from a customer service rep of the company I bought the bag from. It wasn't a form letter. He addressed me by name and asked me if I could give him a physical address, which would increase my chances of getting the item before Christmas.

My response was, "Um, is there any way to cancel that order?"

The guy at was great about everything. I talked to him on the phone, we emailed back and forth, he canceled the order and immediately refunded my debit card.

When I called to thank him, I told him they must be a small company in a small town because they handled this in a friendly, personal manner. My problem had become his problem to solve. He said no, actually they were a large company and in a big town. They just believe strongly in customer service.

If only my dealings with Dish Network went so smoothly.

When I moved from Grandview to Prosser in November, I was forced to switch from Dish to Charter, which has been nothing but a series of headaches.

To add to that particular problem, I overpaid Dish in November by $52.99. Because of where I live, I cannot go back to being a Dish customer unless we put the satellite dish in my front yard.

Fat chance.

On Jan. 1, I called Dish and asked to speak to a customer service representative. They actually asked me if it was about getting a refund from the overpayment made on Nov. 3.

I wanted to say, "If you knew you owed me money, why didn't you refund it by now?" Instead, I simply said yes.

The guy told me it would be seven to 10 days before the refund would show up on my debit card.

On Jan. 12, I called again because no money had come.

The Jan. 12 customer service rep told me that an error had occurred during the process, so no action was taken.

At this point, I became obstinate. "An error? What kind of error? And if you know there's an error, why am I having to call to start the whole process over?"

He wouldn't answer me. I asked to speak with his supervisor. When his supervisor got on the phone, I told her she needed to explain how it is that they didn't handle this on their end. She said the employee made the error, but it was up to me to call back to get the ball rolling again.

I told her I had no intention of waiting seven to 10 days when this was their mistake. She said no problem, she would immediately credit my debit card.

I had to ask her why, if it can be done immediately, would one have to wait seven to 10 days?

I had to call back on Jan. 14. because it never appeared in my account.

It was never even processed. Again.

The supervisor I spoke with on Jan. 14 said the earliest they could credit my debit card was three to five days.

As you can imagine, I had a million questions, like why I'd been told it could be done immediately, etc. All she could keep saying was, "I'm sorry you had this experience." If I would've asked, "Is the sky blue," her response would've been the same: "I'm sorry."

Though she sounded sincere, I wanted to tell her to put her sorries in a sack and start answering the questions.

I didn't. And it's now Jan. 18, and I have yet to receive the money.

When I compare these situations, the only thing I can come up with is that Dish Network doesn't have to be as concerned about excellent customer service because television programming is a service everybody seems to think they need, whereas has to sell items that people don't necessarily have to have.

I don't know. At this point, I'd rather have the $100 duffel bag, so I could use it to stuff all those useless "sorries" in.


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