There have been, and I imagine always will be, many posts regarding the sponsors and companies giving away the amazing amount of swag at BlogHer conferences. As I mentioned in my BlogHer recap post, it really amazes me that very large companies purport to respect bloggers enough to give them free items, coupons, and gift certificates, but yet not enough to send representatives to the conference who are knowledgeable about the company or products.
Or, apparently, treat a blogger with respect when redeeming said coupons or gift certificates.
I am going to name names here because I believe if a company commits to inviting me to experience their online store by giving me a gift certificate at a blogging conference, they have invited me to comment on that experience on my blog. And I don’t just deal out the warm fuzzies up in here.
Soap.com is a new offshoot of the popular Diapers.com online store. I had ordered from Diapers.com in the past and never had any issues. However, it has been about a year since I made any Diapers.com orders because they mostly carry things I don’t use (like disposable diapers).
At BlogHer 2010, I was given a Soap.com gift certificate for $20.00 plus free shipping.
I went online, selected my items, and applied the gift certificate with no problem.
When I went to check out, the Soap.com web site kept saying my card was declined because the address didn’t match. I had the exact same address for billing and shipping, which is also the address on my credit card. I work from home, so there is no other address for me. Yes, we moved, but that was over a month ago, more than 30 days that the address had been changed on my credit card. This was a different credit card than the one I had used on Diapers.com over a year ago.
I called Soap.com and they blamed the credit card company, but admitted that they had attempted to charge the card 4 times and now my card had 4 potential charges on it. Nice.
Total call time: 7 minutes
I called the credit card company and they said they showed 4 approvals on their end. This was apparently a problem with the Soap.com end.
Total call time: 11 minutes
I called Soap.com back and they continued to blame the credit card company. They finally agreed to conference call with the credit card company. While everyone was on the phone, the credit card company approved the transaction both digitally and verbally for the 5th time while Soap.com continued to come up with “address does not match”.
At this point I had been on the phone for almost an hour. I had been missing work.
The nanny had to stay overtime because I was unable to leave the phone.
My child was beating on the door and crying.
Soap.com came back on the phone after another series of being on hold and said they were sorry but they can’t process this transaction. I am not making this up, they actually had no good excuse to give me except that they couldn’t do it. Their only suggestion is that I start an entirely new transaction and pay via PayPal.
My child was with his father at this point and wailing his head off in the other room.
No dinner was being cooked and everyone was starving.
I am pregnant and starving and talking to someone on the phone about an online transaction that should have taken 10 minutes.
The supervisor on the phone at Soap.com finally had to manually re-credit me the cost of the gift certificate and I had to pay via PayPal.
Total call time: 26 minutes
Total time it took to order 2 items on Soap.com, including when I was searching for the items online and going through the initial checkout process which didn’t work: over 1 hour
Even the next day, upon reflection, I still think this is ridiculous. I realize that credit card transactions must be somehow amazingly complex and that this person on the phone at Soap.com couldn’t figure it out. However, I have been buying things online for at least 10 years now and never had a company tell me that they just can’t figure out how to charge my card. I buy things online with this same card somewhere between 1 and 3 times a week. In fact, this was probably my third transaction online in the last 7 days online.
I would almost expect this from a brick-and-mortar store that had just gone online. But Soap.com is an online only store, and since they are an offshoot of Diapers.com, I would expect them to have some experience with charging credit cards.
I think the other thing that still bugs me is that the guy on the phone from Soap.com (who was a supervisor) acted the entire time like I was being completely unreasonable in expecting my card to work at all. Like it was my fault for moving 30 days ago and that really just screwed everything up.
Am I just completely insane to have the expectation that I should be able to use my card in an online store?
Does it seems strange to anyone else that Soap.com was on the phone with my credit card company and still couldn’t figure it out?
I thought those things were weird and I have a really bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing. I will most likely not be purchasing anything else from this web site. Which is fine, because honestly I could find hardly any items in their inventory that are deemed safe by the Cosmetics Database. They have plenty of items with phthalates, PHO’s, and things that are disposable and do not biodegrade, if anyone is looking for any!
Just don’t try paying with your credit card.