I seem to be dealing with an online retailer who has access to
parts that failed factory QC tests. His goods arrive with a note
saying if the part arrives broken, it's the fault of UPS and it's
the buyer's responsibility to contact UPS. Then he sends another
even if the buyer has repeatedly asked him not to, by phone and
email. As a result, he buys one part wholesale and bills the buyer
twice for his retail price and shipping. I'd like to know who to contact.
Here's what happened. Saturday, November 19, my house was cold
because the hot-surface ignitor in the furnace had cracked after
fifteen years of thermal shocks. If on Monday I learned I would
have to order one, Thanksgiving delays might leave me without heat
more than ten days.
I ordered one immediately online from a mom-and-pop business. They
advertised a sale on the model I needed, although the discount was
small. It would arrive the day before Thanksgiving.
Meanwhile, neighbors and I tried to figure out what the filament
was made of. As the ignitor was useless, I was not at all gentle.
Like an iron alloy, it was very strong and somewhat flexible.
On the internet I learned that the material is recrystalized
silicon carbide, known for its strength and resistance to thermal
shock. NASA uses it.
The package arrived the 23rd, covered with "FRAGILE!" stickers.
Inside, crumpled newsprint surrounded the manufacturer's box, which
had no such warning. In the box, the ignitor was surrounded by
foam rubber, a common precaution against being dropped on concrete,
for example. Heat marks showed that Quality Control had tested it.
Those unexpected "FRAGILE!" labels scared me. I carried it to the
table as gently as a thin-shelled hen's egg. When I opened my
hand, I saw that the filament was broken in three places. I was
certain a shock had cracked it before it arrived.
In the dealer's box I found a folded warning tucked in at the side
where the newsprint had hidden it. It wrongly called the filament
glass and said it was so fragile that the customer shouldn't touch
it. It said he'd broken a few himself, but very few were broken in
shipping. If one arrived broken, it wasn't his fault because he
had inspected it, and the customer should put in a claim with UPS.
It gave a phone number.
The warning then gave several reasons it would be the customer's
fault if the ignitor failed soon. I wondered why the warning had
not been on top, where the customer would see it first, why none of
this information had been on his informative website, why the
manufacturer had included no warning, and why he insisted that his
visual inspection guaranteed there had been no cracks in a material
with a gritty surface.
I emailed them to say it was broken and ask how soon they could
send another. They replied that they were sending another. I
replied to say I didn't want another because I had found a local
outlet. I phoned a few minutes later. The wife said she was
reading my message and would cancel the shipment.
It wasn't easy reporting the damage to UPS. The process seemed to
be for shippers, not receivers. Two days later, November 25, I
bought an ignitor and, after six days, had heat. UPS acknowledged
my claim. They seemed to think I was the shipper, not the receiver.
It seemed to me that the problem was really quality control, and
blaming UPS was unfair to consumers as well as UPS. November 28 I
emailed the dealer to say my new ignitor was working fine, and I
thought the broken one must have come from the factory with
invisible cracks. I said I thought the manufacturer could catch
such defects with a machine that would cycle ignitors several times
while monitoring current draw.
He replied that he knew UPS had damaged it because he had inspected
it. He was sorry for my trouble and would ship me another one. I
replied asking him not to send another one because I already had a
new one, but I thought the factory had a quality-control problem
that could be fixed easily.
I checked my email at 1:30 PM the next day, November 29. At 5:45
AM, he had sent a message informing me he was sending another
ignitor. I immediately replied, telling please not to send another
because I already had one.
At 4:30 PM UPS sent me a message that he had told them to pick up a
package he was sending me. At 6:30 PM I read the email and and
immediately phoned the dealer. I left a message on his machine
stating my name and telling him please not to send the ignitor
because I didn't need one. The next day, UPS tracking informed me
that he had given them the package two hours later, at 8:30.
In 48 hours they have not showed the courtesy to respond to my
email or my phone call. They sent me an item which I never asked
for and in two phone calls and at least three emails over a period
of seven days, I asked them not to send. I presume they have
charged my credit card without authorization.
I think I am dealing with crooks who have caused me a lot of
trouble, misused my credit card, told me to file a claim against a
company I don't think is at fault, and caused me to spend
Thanksgiving with my house at 48 degrees. What do I do now?