Very poor experience with Decent customer service over defective Simple Scale

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johyphenel

#1: Post by johyphenel »

General PSA: Right now, Decent considers COVID shipping constraints to be the customers problem when they send you a defective product.

I recently ordered a batch of Decent accessories, including their Simple Scale. The Scale arrived in non-working condition (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NME2NyS6_vY), when I contacted customer support they offered me a replacement scale if I was willing to pay the shipping cost...

The background is that, right now, the only shipping available out of Hong Kong is expedited through FedEx / UPS. I had already paid for expedited shipping on my original order, and now I was being asked to do one of:
  • Buy more products from them, pay shipping on those items, and they would send me a new scale with that batch.
  • Pay shipping for the replacement scale
  • Wait an indeterminate amount of time to get the replacement scale from them via normal shipping whenever it becomes available again.
These options bother me for a few reasons: first they consider it the customers problem that COVID shipping constraints exists and expect me to pay to get the working product I should have already had; second, I already paid for expedited shipping, even if COVID constraints were not in place, I would expect to receive my replacement at the same shipping speed I had already paid for. If a company doesn't want to spend extra money on shipping to replace defective products, they should do better QA before they send the product initially. Especially for a product that has had similar QA issues in the past: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyBBEdmjyo0

When I brought up the idea of a refund with Decent, they offered me a 4th option, I could pay for shipping the defective product back to them and get my refund... So to summarize, upon receiving a defective $30 scale from Decent, I was offered the following options:
  • They asked me to buy more products and pay another $30 in shipping to get a working $30 scale.
  • They asked me to pay another $30 in shipping to get a working $30 scale.
  • They asked me to wait for an indeterminate amount to time to get a working scale.
  • They asked me to pay return shipping (probably $30+?) to get my $30 refund for the scale.
Others may feel differently, but this is a "big oof" for me - definitely not the customer service I was expecting based on other accounts on this forum. Imagine this was a broken espresso machine*? .. On that note, I think this experience has talked me out of buying a DE1XL, which I think is the thing that bums me out the most since I had finally decided on that as my next machine, and now I'm back to the drawing board :(

Sorry for the rant (and hopefully this is the right forum to share this?), just thought it would be worth sharing in case it saves someone else this experience. I'll keep this thread updated if I get any more responses from Decent.

* I know they have a more explicit warranty for their machines (which, by all accounts, is much better than the experience I've had here), but, IMO, I would have expected them to stand by all their products, not just their flagship.

Coffcarl

#2: Post by Coffcarl »

That seems like a customer support training issue to me. Why don't you just pm John on HB here?

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HB
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#3: Post by HB »

johyphenel wrote:Sorry for the rant (and hopefully this is the right forum to share this?), just thought it would be worth sharing in case it saves someone else this experience. I'll keep this thread updated if I get any more responses from Decent.
Please check out the Public complaints about customer service in the site's Guidelines for productive online discussion. You've covered step 1 and Coffcarl has covered step 2. I have no doubt that we'll have others fill in for step 3 and 4, then John (decent_espresso) will round out step 5.

Rather than wait for the pile-on, I'll close this topic for now and flag it to John via PM, who for those who aren't aware, is nearly an omnipresent poster on just about every coffee related forum on the planet. :lol:
Dan Kehn
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#4: Post by HB »

John's reply via PM brings us to step 5. I believe this will close the matter to the OP's satisfaction.
decent_espresso wrote: I looked up the conversation thread you had with my employee Paul, so I could read the full exchange.

Bottom line:
my employee erred in asking you to return the defective scale, in order to get a refund. We ask for the product to be returned for a refund, in cases where there's nothing wrong with it, they just "don't like it" but no return is necessary when the product is demonstrably defective.

Since the customer provided a very clear video showing the defect, my employee should have offered you:
1) I can issue you a 100% refund right now, no need to return anything
2) I can send you, for free, a replacement scale, in a future order, with other items.

Note that because of COVID, we only can send items to the USA via UPS (international USPS is cancelled), which costs us a minimum of $45. It makes no sense to me, to send a $29 item from Hong Kong to California, via overnight UPS for $45.

That's why we ask to delay sending the replacement to the customer, until there are several items in the package. FYI we currently charge $30 for this shipping, and we eat the additional $15. That's what my employee was trying to say.

But regardless,
- the load cell is clearly defective, as you showed in your video. As it happens, on our scale webpage, I have a video performing a similar test that you did, except that the scale is performing as expected http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVwBCn-q2Eg
- you should have been offered a full refund option in reply to your first message, no conditions attached. Sorry about that, and I'll talk to my employee Paul, about that.
Dan Kehn

mdreuben

#5: Post by mdreuben »

And so many thanks to Dan for facilitating the quick resolution to this problem. He was right about avoiding the "piling on" effect that occurs on virtually every internet forum.

Pressino

#6: Post by Pressino »

I'm quite impressed with the response the OP got from Decent (and of course HB). Way to go!

johyphenel (original poster)

#7: Post by johyphenel (original poster) »

Just noticed this thread has been unlocked - I guess that means it's time for me to complete step 6 of my rehab program for posting outside the HB guidelines :oops:

John & I have been in contact directly via the Decent customer service channels, so I won't comment directly to him here - aside from a public apology for not reaching out to him directly first, I supposed I'm not used to having "reach out directly to the CEO" as a customer service option.

Perhaps also worth mentioning, in case others do the same, is that I had initially misunderstood John's offer:
decent_espresso wrote:Since the customer provided a very clear video showing the defect, my employee should have offered you:
1) I can issue you a 100% refund right now, no need to return anything
2) I can send you, for free, a replacement scale, in a future order, with other items.
John clarified to me that this offer was an "and", not an "or" as I had originally assumed - he's refunding the scale, and planning to send me a free scale if/when I make a future order.

Obviously I'm very happy, I'm also a little embarrassed for not refreshing my memory on the rules before posting, so here's a few more appropriate emojis :oops: :oops:

Thanks to Dan for expediting this process!

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decent_espresso
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#8: Post by decent_espresso »

Note that because of COVID, we only can send items to the USA via UPS (international USPS is cancelled), which costs us a minimum of $45. It makes no sense to me, to send a $29 item from Hong Kong to California, via overnight UPS for $45.

That's why we ask to delay sending the replacement to the customer, until there are several items in the package. FYI we currently charge $30 for this shipping, and we eat the additional $15. That's what my employee was trying to say.
As of today, these postal fees I referred to no longer apply, because cheap airmail postal services have been restored after a two year hiatus.

More info: Low cost & free shipping from Decent, comes back to US, AU, NZ, FR, CA.

dsc106

#9: Post by dsc106 »

IMO they should still send a working scale to you even though it makes no financial sense to them, it doesn't matter the logistics. Perhaps I am saying that from the perspective of someone who is often after ordering one important object and a few accessories to make the order more efficient, and I would feel like "well what I am suppose to do now? I need the scale, and it's not my fault it came defective. Am I suppose to wait months for this to resolve? pay out the nose for shipping? Buy a more expensive competitor scale or a cheap knock off?"

Isn't this the cost of doing business? Isn't this a tax write off for them to ship it you, making it 40% cheaper or so? And does it matter? It's not like you ordered one small object at normal free shipping and now they are stuck needing to send it again at expediated. You ordered multiple things and paid expediated.

As it is now, even with a refund, the only way for you to get the scale you paid expedited shipping for is to wait a long time or buy more items?

Perhaps a better solution would be a more open dialogue ie "hey customer, here is the situation, but want to be fair to you. How important is this scale to you? We can offer you a refund + store credit if you wait until normal shipping is back; we can refund your your expedited shipping cost in the order in addition to the scale; or, if you really need it now we will bite the bullet and send. If you take one of the other options it would help us out more."

I've had enough CS experiences in my life to know the trend tends to be at the company's expense when stuff like this happens. I once ordered a $10 part for a camera thing and it came busted. I called and they overnighted me the $10 part for $40 and didn't require me to send the other back. I once ordered a $30 coffee piece from Clive and they did similar.

I don't think it's really your concern what the shipping situation is. A piece comes busted, you should be given the option of a 100% refund or a free replacement shipped out expedited to you ASAP. That's just the cost of doing business.

Well, my 2 cents. To be clear I freaking love decent espresso and their team and products!

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decent_espresso
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#10: Post by decent_espresso »

Just to say that my ability to engage on this topic (and any other) outside of the "Marketplace" is extremely limited, as I need to abide by HB rules. So, I cannot and will not comment further on the discussion here. If you want to move this discussion to the Decent thread in the Marketplace, I can engage.