Adventures Of A College Parent-3
A couple of weeks ago, I shared what we purchased for my son’s dorm room. I mentioned that the bedding deserved its own story. What follows is that story.
About a month before classes were to start, on a Thursday, I received two envelopes in the mail from Our Campus Market. I almost threw them both in the trash right away because it was obvious they were advertisements. But, curious, I opened them. One was for complete bedding sets that included two sets of sheets, pillows, a comforter and throw blanket, two complete sets of towels, a bedside organizer, and a foam mattress topper. I was thrilled! Here, I thought, was the solution to the bedding situation. I looked at their website and it said they could deliver directly to the campus. Even better! We wouldn’t have to stuff the car with blankets and towels. My son picked a color scheme and I promptly placed the order.
Oh, my friends. Never place an order with an unknown company without checking online for reviews. Usually, that’s the first thing I do, and I am very cautious, but I was feeling overwhelmed and maybe even a bit desperate by this time. This ended up being the biggest disaster in getting him to college yet. I would say it was even worse than trying to figure out how he was going to pay for school because at least we had some control over that.
When I received the confirmation email for my order, I noticed that it had my name in the “ship to” field instead of my son’s. Now, I know what you’re thinking; I thought it too. Maybe I didn’t pay attention and that’s how I submitted the order. That’s not what happened. I triple checked the address with my son since I definitely wanted him to get his blankets on time. I made him look at the screen before I clicked that final button and verify that everything was correct. It was such a simple error that I thought a phone call to customer service the next morning would fix it.
College parents, there is one thing I have already learned and that is there is no such thing as a simple error or a single phone call. What followed that fateful evening of spur-of-the-moment order placing was over a month of frustration.
I called Our Campus Market the next morning, explained the situation, and was told that the order wasn’t fully in the system yet so they couldn’t make modifications. I would need to call back the next business day. I sent an email to their customer service department, just in case, and then bright and early Monday morning I called again. I explained the situation to the new representative, and she placed me on hold several times before telling me that it was fixed and the name had been changed to my son’s. I thanked her and hung up, believing it was over.
Naturally, my son was curious about the shipping status of his bedding, so on Wednesday, I logged onto the website to see what was happening. To my horror, my name was still listed for the shipping address. I emailed customer service (by the way, I hadn’t heard back from my first email yet), and then called as soon as I could. I know I sounded more abrupt and upset than before, but the customer service representative was very kind and she worked with me and her supervisor for over an hour before telling me that she fixed the issue and the box should arrive at the campus the first day of the move-in week. Perfect!
Oh no, it doesn’t end here!
Friday evening, I received a reply to my second email. Our Campus Market said they would have to call FedEx to get the name on the label changed because the package had already been sent. Uh, what?! At this point, I realized there wasn’t anything I could do but wait and hope it arrived. I asked my son if he wanted me to buy him some sheets and things just in case, but he said no. I got the impression that he didn’t want me to spend any more money on him, and that he wanted to try to take care of himself. I definitely respected him for that.
At the start of the move-in week, I checked the tracking number again and FedEx showed the package was merrily making its way across the country. The day my son arrived at college, I saw that FedEx had delivered the box and it was signed for by someone at the school. I thought everything was going to be fine. Due to other schedules, I was unable to take my son to college the day he wanted to move in, so my mom took him on her way to visit my sisters. My husband and I had already decided to drive down that weekend to make sure he was settled and didn’t need anything else. It was a good thing too.
That box was delivered, but then returned to FedEx. I only found out because my son kept checking with the mail room and was told there was nothing for him. My husband called FedEx to find out if we could route the box to his work since the shop is only an hour or so from campus. He was told there was a “situation” with the package and someone would call him back. Situation?! What kind of situation?
Imagine, if you will, a mother who wants nothing more but to ensure her son has a comfortable room to live in while at college. This mother is unable to provide that due to circumstances beyond her control, and is getting angrier as time goes on. I firmly believe my husband called FedEx that day in an attempt to save some poor man the wrath that I was feeling at this point.
So that Saturday when we drove down to see our son, we took him to the store to buy a set of sheets and towels. He had been without linens of any kind for three days! He said his room was hot, and he had a throw blanket, so he didn’t want anything else at that time. My sweet boy is very conscientious of the amount of money we spend on him, and he does not like to take advantage of it.
The next business day, I called FedEx because no one called us back. I was told the package was already on the truck heading back to Our Campus Market. The lady at FedEx apologized but did confirm with me that my son’s name had been on the label but the box was returned because the address was unknown. This was a new development in the story. Armed with this information, I called Our Campus Market and demanded a full refund. The customer service agent apologized, and after asking some questions, said the refund would be processed in two to three weeks. I was not content with this time frame, but of course, had no control over it.
It was a waste of my time to tell the agent that their customer service was terrible and I wouldn’t be able to recommend them to any of my friends; I don’t think she cared. But, curious, I did a search on the Better Business Bureau’s website only to discover that all reviews but one or two detailed a similar horror story. I definitely should have done that before entering my credit card number.
Immediately I jumped on Amazon’s website and ordered my son a full bedding set, similar to the one from Our Campus Market, and had it shipped to him. Later that same afternoon, FedEx called me and said they pulled the box off the truck and they wanted to know where I would like to have it sent. I felt like pulling my hair out and screaming, but then laughed over the absurdity of it all. I politely told FedEx that they could put it on the next truck to return to the company as I had already requested a refund.
You would think that I would get the refund and that would be the end. Ha! I thought that too, but apparently, life likes to give us many surprises. It turned out that the refund of the price of the items was processed separately than the refund of the tax on said items. At this point, I gave up and filed a dispute with my bank to let someone else deal with it, because I was exhausted. Oh, and I was pleased when the boxes from Amazon arrived safely at my son’s dorm only two days after ordering. My son’s bed now has comfortable sheets and blankets, while his roommate is still waiting.
The moral of this story is to not waste time with ordering from unknown companies without first checking the Better Business Bureau or other sites for reviews. It is much easier to just visit Bed Bath and Beyond, another big box store, or order from Amazon. Trust me.