Second Chances

When it comes to second chances we all feel we are deserving to try again if at first we did not succeed. When and if we are offered that second chance pretty much depends on what we have done to prevent future failure and how bad the past failure was. There are those conditions that would not qualify for a second chance due to the severity of the initial failure. For example, suicide bombers do not deserve a second chance even if it were possible.

Normally when we consider the second chance opportunity we focus on individuals and their individual performance. How about businesses, vendors, banks, insurance companies, grocery stores, mail order firms and stores in general. When these institutions make mistakes, should we give them a second chance?

I guess that depends on what they did to make good on their transgression. Did they deal with the problem they caused in an efficient and decisive manner or did they try to hoodwink the victims of the transgression with legal BS and poor customer service? We might also want to consider if there are others providing essentially the same type of service or product. Perhaps it is time to evaluate the competition.

Companies do make honest mistakes, because people make honest mistakes and companies employ people. Even so, when an order gets screwed up, when the products are poor or defective, when full refunds are not offered, when companies are reluctant to right wrongs, we have to wonder if we want to give them a second chance. For all we know they might take that second chance as an opportunity to screw us again.

Most businesses who have real store fronts will also have real customer service and strive to correct situations which might reflect badly on their reputation. They have an incentive to do so. After all, we know where they live. On the other hand, mail order companies doing business in that virtual marketplace called the internet may not have the same incentives to do right by their customers. The fact that mail order takes place in a less visible store front makes the standards for such transactions higher and second chances less available. Especially when there are other mail order vendors dealing in similar product.

In short, there is no leeway when it comes to performance of mail order vendors. Nealy all of them will offer ‘in-store’ credit to customers dissatisfied with their products and services. However, such credit requires redemption at the place that caused the problem. Customers might well be reluctant to expose themselves to additional problems when they redeem the ‘in-store’ credit. Then there are also the shipping and handling charges which are not refundable and may be substantial. In the case of a product, we have to ask ourselves, if the cost of shipping the thing back added to the cost of initial shipping is worth an ‘in-store’ credit we may be reluctant to use.

If round trip shipping is more than 50 percent the cost of the item, we may be better off just to trash the defective product, save the additional expense, and take our business elsewhere.
This is nearly always the best solution when we have no reason to believe that future business dealings with the vendor will be any better than the disappointment we have already suffered.

So when it comes to second chances on purchases remote and local, our preference is not to expose ourselves to further harm.

Much of the need for ‘second chances’ can be eliminated by proper qualification of vendors before giving them that ‘first chance’.

Who recommended them in the first place. Search the internet to see of there are complaints regarding the vendor in question. A word of caution here. If you google ‘complaints’, you will get complaints. Some of them may not be valid or deserved. Consider the source. Some customers cannot be pleased regardless of what their experience is.

If you are attracted to a vendor through an ad, listen to what the ad tells you. ‘Not available in all states’ generally means it is some sort of scam. Fast talking legal speak at the end of the ad generally means they have been lying to you. ‘Not available in stores’ generally means that if you had a chance to see and handle the product you would not want it. If it sounds too good to be true it is most likely false. Any offers of ‘free’ anything means the stuff is not worth having. There is not such a thing as ‘free’ shipping. If you don’t believe me call the shippers and ask them.

Last but not least, the Better Business Bureau is an organization of Businesses. It is not a consumer advocate.

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