photography customer service

Camera Chaos at XS Cargo: Guest Review from Kris Constable

Big apologies to Kris. I had wanted to post this ages ago but life got in the way. Thankfully, time doesn’t change the customer service experience he had and I’m thrilled he decided to share it on The Upsell.

I bought a digital camera from XS Cargo in Victoria about 6 months ago, before going on a cross-country tour across the U.S. I bought it with an extra 3-year warranty. Shortly after arriving in the U.S., the camera stopped functioning properly. The lens would take over 20 seconds to mechanically close when you turned the power off, not very efficient to say the least. Also, it took over 3 seconds from when you hit the button until a picture was actually taken, not so great for action shots.

The Exchange:

So I’m back in Victoria, and one morning I went to do the exchange. I got there just as they opened at 10 a.m. with a handful of eager beavers. As the others were there for shopping, I was first to the cashier asking about the refund/exchange program. By the time they were done explaining it to me, there were two people behind me in line. She told me it would still take a few minutes to process the exchange if I wanted to look at the other cameras. As she said that, the guy two people yelled over, “Well I need to pick up my wife, you tell me what you should be working on…” and before she could even respond he did for her, “That’s what I thought!”. I couldn’t believe the audacity of this customer, but instead of handling it what I would deem properly, she dropped what she was doing for me, and processed their transactions. Not ideal customer service, but not serious enough to react. (although in hindsight I should have spoken calmly with him…)
While this is happening, Steve the manager comes out and tells me I’m in luck, they have a floor model of the next camera up and he’ll give me 50% off the MSRP because of the glue on it from their alarm system.

Considering there wasn’t much camera selection, and I love to always have a digital camera with me, I agree. He attempts to charge me for another 3 year extended warranty, and after some negotiation he agrees to give me the 50% off, and transfer the warranty over. (He initially entered 2 years, not 3 years, as I happened to be shoulder surfing I corrected him). Again, not enough to really bother me, as it’s hard to prove this was intentional or not.

About 10 minutes later with the cashier and Steve the manager on the computer, they realize the process they were trying to do the exchange wasn’t working. Many huffs and receipt triple checks later, he asks for my credit card to reimburse me the $40 difference. At this point their system won’t allow them to reimburse me for some reason. He decides to take full control of the cashier, and spends another 5 minutes re-entering all of the data, and precedes to hand me the new camera, a receipt, and my Mastercard. This is where I enquire, “I didn’t see you use my Mastercard, did you re-imburse me the $40?”. “No, I wasn’t able to, the computer wouldn’t let me, so I just made it an equal exchange…”
Confused I asked him, “So because your computer wouldn’t let you refund me, you charged me an extra $40 without disclosing that to me? Isn’t that like ripping me off?” This is where he turns hostile, “You’ve already asked me and I told you, enough out of you already!”
I didn’t think asking two questions was crossing the line, considering the situation, and I responded as calmly as I could, “Don’t ever tell your customers to shut up, I was just trying to verify you were just intentionally trying to rip me off of a deal you just promised me.”
“I didn’t rip you off, it’s just some glue, you would have still saved a few dollars…”. “But you didn’t discuss it with me, you just made an assumption…”
Before I could finish, he grabbed the camera and receipt back, and processed a full refund, which I have to use within a year. This is slightly bizarre, as I have a three year warranty, so I’d be better off keeping the broken camera until they get new cameras in, instead of holding this refund slip good for only one year…

The Lesson:

Anyway, a few tips to anyone in retail customer service, that could have avoided all of this:
* Don’t let one customer bully another
* Keep to your word, if you have to change it for any reason, openly and transparently do so
* Don’t tell customers to shut up
* Make sure refund slips match the warranty period time.

Thanks Kris. Not that you had such a bad experience of course but that you shared it.  Customer service isn’t just about delivering a product or service in a satisfactory way but rather how a company reacts to certain situations. This one example, not so good.

The last time you had to return something, was it a good or bad experience? How/why?

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7 thoughts on “Camera Chaos at XS Cargo: Guest Review from Kris Constable”

  1. This is coming from the manager Steve. Here at XSCARGO, we don’t sell warranties. At XS CARGO we sell refurbished products that are a final sale and offer a protection plan in form of a credit for the amount of the product. If the product is deemed defective within 30 days, we will happily replace the item with the same product. Unfortunately at the time the customer bought her camera, we had very limited quantites (all we had were the display models). The replacement camera that I offered her was more expensive so I decided to drop it $40.00 because of what happened to the first camera. My initial plan was to sell her the camera with the protection plan and reimburse her credit card $40.00. Our POS system doesn’t allow us to do that so I told her because I am still giving her a more expensive camera than her original one that hopefully that would suffice. This so-called calm customer was repeatedly saying “What about my 40 dollars!” over and over again. I must admit that I did lose my temper after the umpteenth time that she said this and I am very sorry for doing so. It takes a lot to upset me and this lady upset me. I didn’t rip her off, I made a mistake. I shouldn’t have offered her a discount on the second camera. I decided that I would fully refund her money since the computer system wouldn’t allow me to both reimburse her credit card as well as discount the camera. After the customer left, I had numerous customers tell me how belligerent she was and they would have blown up at her as well.

    1. Hi Steve, thanks for the response. It’s always good to hear the other side of the story to a customer service experience, whether it’s good or bad. I wasn’t privy to the scenario so I appreciate your insight.

      Two things, however, I would recommend for future responses regarding customer service issues, online or off:

      1) It’s best to be more timely. Not knowing what kind of process you have to go to to be allowed to respond as a representative of your company…this post did go up over 2 months ago and the @XS_Cargo Twitter account was aware and engaging with me regarding the blog 2 months ago to today.

      2) Please, get the sex of the person correct. Kris is a guy. From your response, you have a fairly clear memory of the incident, but you might have remembered his gender too. Just sayin’

      Thanks again for responding and engaging on this topic.

      1. I was only made aware about this blog yesterday by my work, hence the delay in posting my reply. I didn’t respond on behalf of the company, I responded to give you my side of the story. Also I remember clearly the incident and it was a lady, not a man. Our cashier remembers this incident as well. Just because the person has the name Kris don’t assume it’s a man.

        1. Bwahahaha! Unbelievable that you’re even arguing about the gender of the customer you remember so “clearly.” I’m pretty sure I know Kris (as does the author and many readers of this blog) he’s definitely a man, and you, sir, have no credibility whatsoever.

          1. I’ve had runins with steve as well. Total blame displacing a$$hat. Kris is more of a man than steve could ever hope to be. I avoid all xs cargo locations as a result of him. Xs needs to fire this guy before he does any more damage to their good will. Better off to buy through ebay better prices and more respect.

  2. Sounds like a classic case of he said/she said. But, I don’t think there’s a she involved, despite Steve’s insistence.

  3. Interesting… You’d think XTS would try to do some damage control… My wife is a photographer at The Light Within Photo… I’ll warn her about it.

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