Sometimes a Fine Trade is anything but a fine trade, especially when it comes to returning an unwanted item.
I’m ready to spill the beans over this one.
We received a Keurig K55 coffeemaker as a gift for Christmas. The generous giver included the Amazon receipt, which was handy, since a certain someone in our house (the only one who actually drinks coffee) decided we didn’t actually need this item.
The product package is still sealed and unopened. We assume the item is not defective or damaged in any way.
I tried to return the coffeemaker.
Usually, Amazon returns go through without a hitch, especially as we pay to be Amazon Prime customers. We have done so for several years.
OK, so I went through all the right motions on Amazon. Within a week or so, I received the approval code for the item return. But it did not include an accommodation for the shipping.
I contacted the third party vendor (a company called Fine Trade).
Something’s brewing here, but it’s sure not coffee.
Checking the order number on the item return, I discovered that the buyer had purchased through this particular third party vendor on Amazon, probably because this seller advertised that a small amount of the proceeds of the sale would go to a chosen charity. That all sounds good.
But their customer service and return policies leave a lot to be desired.
Here’s how this still-unresolved process has unfolded (quoting directly from correspondence I have on file).
December 30th – from Amazon.com
We've accepted your return request. Once Fine Trade receives the return, we'll issue a refund to your Amazon account.
The gift sender will not be notified about your return.
I am attempting to return a gifted Keurig K55 Single Serve Programmable K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker, Black. I have received your approval for the return. However, the shipping label and instructions do not indicate how to arrange pre-paid / credited shipping or which carrier to select. This is a large item, and (particularly as an Amazon Prime customer), I am not satisfied with paying for shipping to return an item we do not want. Please advise. Thank you.
January 2nd – from Amazon.com
Here is a copy of the e-mail that you sent to Fine Trade. Please allow 2 business days for the seller to respond.
January 3rd – from Fine Trade
Thanks, please provide Amazno [sic] order number so that we can assist you accordingly? Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Two weeks later, I still await your reply on this matter. Order: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx. Return authorization: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx . The package has been ready to ship for weeks. Awaiting your shipping code/instructions. Please advise ASAP. Thank you.
January 15 – from Fine Trade
Thanks for getting back to us. I'm very sorry to hear that you have returned your item but yet to receive refund. I apologize for the inconvenience caused. I've gone through the details of this order and found that you have returned this item on your own. So please provide me return tracking number as soon as possible so that I can forward to our return department for refund. Please let me know if there are any other questions. I'll be glad to help.
Still trying to resolve this issue and awaiting a satisfactory response from your company.
Order: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx. Return authorization: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx .
The USPS quoted a price of nearly $50 to ship this Keurig coffeemaker back to you for a refund that is supposed to total about $75. I am extremely unhappy about this and unwilling to pay this shipping.
I am a professional journalist, and I routinely do plenty of product /service reviews. I have never seen this problem with a vendor before. Please advise immediately about how this situation may be resolved properly.
As of January 24, I have received no response to my latest missive.
Does Fine Trade actually expect me to shell out $47.50 to return an item that will credit my Amazon account with about $75? And that assumes that they will actually follow-through on the credit. Based on their track record with me so far, I am not feeling so sure about that.
The item was purchased in early December. Their return policy goes for 30 days. Sure, I made the initial return request long before that period elapsed. But who knows?
I’m not steamed at Amazon over this. But this third party vendor gives me grounds for growling.
Count me out as a potential Fine Trade customer.
And look out. Somebody we know is gonna get a brand-new coffeemaker for an upcoming birthday.
Lesson learned: Not all Amazon vendors hold to the same customer service standards, return policies, or business ethics. It pays to check them out before ordering. (Of course, all bets are off, when items are received as gifts from well-meaning senders.)