Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Walmart Online Photo Service Sucks

A little vent about using the Walmart online photo service.

I should start with that years ago it was great. The service was fast, the prices unbeatable and the products were good. It helped that the staff working at the one near us were decent people, they did their job well, but also looked after the customers.

Then some policies changed, like online ordering had you paying for the product with a credit card upon ordering. I "got that" as I am sure it was rather easy for a person to place an order and never bother picking it up since the old days, you paid for it when you picked it up. That wasn't such a big deal for me until I was in the group of how many thousands that had their credit card compromised through the Walmart online service. It was only 46 dollars if memory serves me correct and my bank took care of that odd overseas charge for me. The online service was shut down for some time because of this. When it started up again, I was still wary of using it again. I'd never been a victim of such a crime before and certainly never wanted to experience that again.

Of course time passes. I ease off on that unwariness. I had just missed a sale at Vistaprint about getting a canvas done for one of my Owl photographs. I check the Walmart site and they have an even better sale on. I go for it. This was just prior to this past Christmas. I order a canvas and half a dozen 4x6 prints. I'm excited for this canvas to be made since it was of a photo of mine that I love, and just rediscovered in my ten of thousands of photos I have saved.

A week passes and I get an email about some kind of error and my order cannot be processed. This is now just days before Christmas. I'm confused about what the error may be. I am disappointed that this Christmas present to myself will not be ready. Now with the weekend before Christmas, one we are busy with festivities, and two there is no way I am going near any stores, especially Walmart.

I try to phone the store but no one answers. I called 4 times over the weekend and never got an answer. I call the 800# and after a few attempts with lengthy hold times, I finally spoke with someone. They couldn't answer me what was going on. They put me on hold to call the store. What a surprise to have them tell me that no one is answering the phone. The person asked me if it was okay that I hang up, that they will get in touch with the store that day and call me back with some answers. I said "yes". A return call never came.

I set this all aside and enjoyed the holidays.

On December 27th, I visit the store and talk with someone at the photo desk. The guy explained to me that the canvas making machine has been broken for weeks now. He doesn't know when it will be repaired. He predicted that not until later in January. Apparently this was an issue at a few Toronto stores right now. He told me to call the 800# when I got home, tell them I spoke with the store, explain about the mechanical issue and demand a refund. He said "don't ask, they will give you the run around".

I call the 800# and go through the process. Yes, there was the run around. They even offered to bump my order to another store. I said "no" as I wasn't driving out of my way for this. There was no offer of getting it sent to my local store for pick up. They then told me I had to go back to the store and they would refund my credit card. We went full circle here now. I told them again the store said to call them. Now we went back to this person calling the store and figuring this out. Another broken promise to call me back.

I started sending emails to Walmart's "heretohelp" email. It was good for me to help keep track of everything that was going on, who I spoke with and when, what they said, sending reference numbers, etc. I would get general replies and advice on what to do next which wasn't anything different than what I was doing, calling the 800 service or going in store.

Next up was that this case was being escalated to a higher department. Oooooooooo, heads are going to roll now, right? No.

Finally, 4 weeks later, while I am on the phone with someone at the 800#, and my patience was beyond worn thin, I got through to someone in a loud stern but still polite manner. This person obviously was still a human being and helped me. We went through all the bullcrap like this was my first phone call to them. He told me all the same stuff like the first phone call to them. He also put me on hold and tried to call the store, to which there was no answer. He vowed to call me back when he got through at some point during that day. I brought up to him about these broken promises from others before. He assured me he would not be like that. He gave me his name, a reference number to this call and asked me to trust him. What choice did I have? I couldn't keep him on the line.

To my surprise, about 3 hours later he did call me back. He had a conversation with the store and I was finally going to be refunded the money. It was credited to my card within one week.

I emailed one more complaint to Walmart about this poor and frustrating service. I never heard back from anyone. No apologies. No trying to make things right again with the customer in any sort of way.

I am guilty of still shopping at the store a few times a month. If I can save money off our grocery bill, so be it. I will never use the online photo service again. I will forever warn others about this service, more so about the frustration of what happened to me, not getting my product and then having to fight for weeks to get my money back.

Be Warned.

This happened at the Stockyards Toronto, Ontario, Canada store but could happen anywhere. Especially with everything tying into one call centre somewhere in the world.

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