Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wormy Update

Well, PayPal ruled in favor of the worm farm, Best Buy Worms, the company that failed to ask me for a mailing address and then shipped my worms to an old address they got from PayPal. PayPal said the company provided "proof of shipment indicating that the item was shipped to you."
Well, the worms were shipped. Just not to me. I'm going to get back in touch with PayPal to point this out, but I don't expect them to force the company to refund me. My husband pointed out that according to most stories he has heard, EBay (owner of PayPal) is pretty lax on consumer protection when it comes to disputes.
Now the company has at least offered to send a new shipment at a discount -- two pounds of worms for the price of one. I dunno. It would be nice to get this worm thing rolling at a little less cost, but at this point I don't think I want to do business with these folks even at a discount. They've been exceedingly rude to me -- just look at the comments they've been leaving here.
I should have just gone through EBay, so I could check feedback. Maybe I'll order from this company, or this one. Both have better feedback ratings on EBay that Best Buy Worms. (While most of Best Buy Worms' feedback is good, they ony have 4 1/2 stars on shipping and handling. The negative comments they got were from buyers who never received their worms and got no recourse from the company. Not surprising.)
I'm working on a post for Wise Bread about this incident -- it has really taught me that although it's great to buy from small businesses online, you really need to be on your toes. Small business Web sites may lack the opportunity we're used to to doublecheck information, may not send confirmations or shipping info, and -- as I've learned -- when something goes wrong they may not make good. It may be a good policy to only do business with small merchants through a larger site, such as EBay or
The worst part about dealing directly with a small merchant, in this case, is how personal it becomes. If you ask Amazon for a refund because you never got your package, even in the unlikely scenario that they say no, Jeff Beezos is not going to get all mad and send you accusatory emails.
Imagine if you dropped a bottle of juice in a grocery store, and instead of cleaning up the item the store manager yelled at you and told you you had to pay for the item? That's how I feel right now. I'm going to drop a line to my local green living store not to recommend Best Buy Worms -- not so much because there was a mistake in my delivery, but because of the way they've treated me while I tried to get it corrected. Nobody needs to deal with that kind of "customer service."
Wow ... just got yet another email from this nasty company. Just had to share because I am in disbelief -- ever have a "customer service rep" call you the B-word?

You were the one being rude, unwilling to admit your mistake and threatening
with bad PR, excuse me, is your problem with ethics why you are NO LONGER a news
reporter? I can only imagine. Even Paypal found you WRONG. I'm not afraid of
your BIG 6 blog watchers. Admit it, you are just a bitch!
Rabbits, EtcMike
& Dee Blaha 16362 Wilson Blvd.Masaryktown, FL 34604-7335

352.796.0459 352.573.0166 352.573.0167


Helen said...

Holy crap, batman! I had to go back to read the comments. That is ridiculous. Talk about poor customer service. Full of typos and threats and accusations. Honestly. Granted, it is partly your fault for not changing PayPal, but you had said that yourself. And yes, they are required to ship to the address provided through PayPal. But this is just all so odd. Both sides have valid points, but that is not a way to conduct business. It's like watching those people on message boards who fight for their own way using ridiculous reasoning. Sheesh.

Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom said...

I agree, the Best Buy Worms comments were really over the top. I did notice a note somewhere when I was using paypal the other day about making sure your paypal address matches your shipping address so maybe it is some kind of non-intuitive policy... but if so then the company should have just apologized and left it at that.

Oh well! Isn't it funny how blogs can draw so much more attention than you expect? It happened the other day on Budgets Are Sexy when J Money posted about, and recently I accidentally drew the attention of Ramit from I Will Teach You To Be Rich when I twittered criticizing one of his posts. lol! Keeps things interesting, to say the least

Anonymous said...

i'd send your post to the consumerist ( as well. i think they'd get a kick out of your story and they have a wide readership.


Jess said...

I'll admit that I'd be inclined to call this your fault, since you probably should have made sure that your address was correct with PayPal, especially if you haven't used it for a while. And the company isn't required to make good on your mistake. That said, the worm people brought some serious crazy in their comments. I guess they didn't figure you for a repeat customer, eh. At any rate, if I ever buy worms, I'm not going to buy from Best Buy Worms, if only because of their behavior. They could have conducted themselves with a lot more dignity.

Katie said...

Regardless of fault, there is no cause for that sort of language in a customer service response. In these hard ecominic times, this is not a good business practice!

Becky said...

OMG, the original mess-up was one thing, but that kind of email is abusive. Jeebus! That would completely fry me.

Carrie said...

Believe it or not, I'm posting on my own comments again on this issue. I don't want to draw more attention to the whole silly story by making a new post, but this company has been telling folks who read about my experience some untrue things about me and what I emailed to them -- that I was rude, that I threatened to use my position as a former newspaper reporter against them. I'm posting our emails here so people know that what they are saying is not true -- I would never use a job in the media to threaten a company, and by the way those who read here know that I am still a freelance reporter; I haven't left the field for any reason, I just don't work at a daily paper anymore because I'm busy being a stay-at-home mom. You can see in the emails that my mention of being a reporter is not at all in the context the company owner is telling people.

When I look back at our email communications, I do admit that I probably came on too strong at first and didn't make myself as clear as I could. I wanted them to know that others would be reading about this, to encourage them to be on their best behavior. I probably sounded threatening. Otherwise, I feel good about what I emailed them and I still feel that their responses are offensive enough that people should be warned about this company.

1. Dear Mike and Dee,

I never received any worms. If they are still in transit, I'm concerned that they might have died by now. How did you ship them -- is there a tracking number? Are you sure you got my address right?
(address included)

Yes, Carrie, we shipped to the address you provide and the item was delivered 2 days later. Please see attachment. I am sure the new tenants are enjoying your worms, because they were not returned to sender.

Judging from your e-mail
Carrie xxxx
oak park, il

you have moved but did not correct your information on the order. Had the worms been returned we would have been happy to reship for just the cost of shipping, but they were not. Sorry.

Rabbits, Etc
Mike & Dee Blaha
16362 Wilson Blvd.
Masaryktown, FL 34604-7335

3. Mike,

I don't understand where you got this old address? Did your order form not contain an address blank? We haven't lived there for two years. I order things with PayPal all the time and have never had anything shipped to this old address so I'm puzzled at why it happened this time. I have never ordered from you before so it's not as if I had provided you this address at some time in the past.

This has certainly never happened to me before. I have never heard of a company not refunding a customer who did not receive the product.

I don't think the apartment where we used to live is occupied full time. If we can contact our former landlords and get them to send back the package, can we get a refund then?

Carrie xxxx

I sent attached a copy of the actual order form that we receive when you place the order straight from Paypal. There is no other form. You are right, I have no other information than what you provided.

Rabbits, Etc
Mike & Dee Blaha

5. Mike,

I don't think this is fair. Here are the steps I plan to take to pursue a refund. Should you change your mind and decide to fully refund the charges, please let me know asap.
I am going to start a claim through PayPal for a refund. I really think a company should provide a refund if the customer never receives the goods. I also think you should change your online form to allow the customer to input a delivery address, instead of just assuming that their PayPal address is current.
As I said, in all my years of ordering through PayPal, this has never happened to me before. Retailers are responsible for getting a delivery address, not just assuming the billing address will be fine.
I'm also contacting my local green living store to warn them not to recommend your Web site since it does not collect adequate delivery information and you do not refund customers who never received their order.
Finally, I'm going to let my online networks know about the way you treat your customers. I've been blogging about setting up my worm bin, and waiting for the worms, and hundreds of people are anxious to know whatever became of them.


You are really being unfair.
Most importantly, we DO NOT HAVE an online form, it is a direct connection to Paypal; we never see all your info; all we see is what is submitted by YOU. Did you LOOK at the form I attached for you on the last e-mail? It is unreasonable for you to think we should first assume and confirm that any/every address submitted to us is wrong or that you were not responsible enough to correct your address with Paypal. I understand from other customers that you even receive a notice of some sort after placing the order from Paypal that shows the ship to address, others have caught their mistake and notified us, you failed to do that.

Your bad mouthing us is way off base. It is unreasonable for you to expect us to expend the labor of harvesting, the cost of packaging and shipping and the perishable product a second time because YOU FAILED to correct your shipping address. I encourage to report to Paypal, they will find in my favor because we did EVERYTHING we were RESPONSIBLE for doing including shipping to the confirmed address provided by YOU & Paypal.There is no insurance for shipping live animals, so it's not like I can file a claim.

Perhaps you should take a step back and wait for PayPal's ruling before you begin a slander issue.

Rabbits, Etc
Mike & Dee Blaha
16362 Wilson Blvd.
Masaryktown, FL 34604-7335

7. You say that this problem has happened to other customers -- and fortunately they caught the problem in the confirmation email. This is why responsible retailers ask buyers if they want a package sent to their shipping address or another address -- to avoid the expense of redelivering if there is some misunderstanding. You cannot just assume that a billing address with PayPal is the buyer's delivery address.
There is no slander going on if I report exactly what happened. Readers can draw their own conclusion -- but my guess is that they will choose not to do business with a company with such a shoddy ordering procedure and no refund to a customer who never received the goods. I'm a former newspaper reporter so I know exactly how slander works; the truth is never slander. Here is my first post on this disappointing transaction. I didn't identify you yet because I was giving you time to do the right thing:
You'll be hearing from PayPal.


8. Carrie, We have the best prices around and have an excellent reputation with thousands of very happy customers, who knows, you could be doing some great advertising for us. I am being polite and professional and am not releasing your personal address, but there is enough information below for anyone to do their own research. Meanwhile check out our score and comments from other customers over the years at both our web sites and E-bay where they are posted. Look us up our seller name is bestbuyworms and direct farm order save even better shipping rates.D:) Rabbits, Etc
Mike & Dee Blaha
16362 Wilson Blvd.
Masaryktown, FL 34604-7335 352.796.0459 352.573.0166 352.573.0167
You just don't get it. We have NO WAY of knowing whether you have submitted a billing address OR shipping address. ONLY ONE address was provided and we SHIPPED to it. This, once again, is PAYPAL'S FORM and we ARE REQUIRED to ship to the address INDICATED by PAYPAL that's how their Buyer and Seller protection program works. I spoke with Paypal and they confirmed it is YOUR responsibility to provide us with the address you want the order shipped to. YOU unfortunately did not provide the CORRECT address. Please do file your complaint, you will not be refunded. I am not afraid of your threats. It is clear that ethics are out of your reach, condemning us for YOUR misdoing. There is no stopping you. You are right, let your readers decide. I think it's only right that others should hear the ENTIRE story unslanted, as it unfolds, so here they go. The best we know, the post office delivered the worms and you received them, and are scamming and using threats to get another order for free. They have not been returned to us as the tracking CLEARLY shows. Anyone can go to
PayPal's form is here:

OK to ship Payment Status: Completed
What should I do now?
Ship to the buyer's address on this page
Use a shipping service with signature confirmation
Save your tracking information and proof that the item was delivered
Tips to sell securely
Seller Protection:

Protection for items not received
When you ship to the address on this page and provide proof that the item was delivered and signed for, you're protected against claims for items not received. For complete requirements, see terms.

Protection for unauthorized payments
When you ship to the address on this page and provide proof that the item was shipped, you're protected against claims for unauthorized payments. For complete requirement, see terms.

Tips to sell securely
Ship to this address:
Carrie xxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxChicago, IL 60625
United States
9. After that, they stopped emailing me and left several nasty comments here. After PayPal declined to invalidate their transaction (Actually PayPal, while not requiring that merchants ship to the address listed with PayPal, guarantee they won't reverse the charge as long as the item is proved shipped to the PayPal address.), they posted here offering to send me 2 pounds of worms for the price of one plus shipping. I replied:
10. Thank you for your offer to ship more worms at a discount. After thinking it over, I just don't feel comfortable sending more money to a company that has treated me as you have. It's not just that there was a mistake, it's the rudeness in your emails and comments on my blog.I still believe I deserve a refund, but since PayPal isn't forcing you to I don't suppose you'll do the right thing. I'm sorry our transaction didn't work out, and I think as a consumer it's my responsibility to let others know when I have such a negative experience with a company.
You were the one being rude, unwilling to admit your mistake and threatening with bad PR, excuse me, is your problem with ethics why you are NO LONGER a news reporter? I can only imagine. Even Paypal found you WRONG. I'm not afraid of your BIG 6 blog watchers. Admit it, you are just a bitch!
Rabbits, Etc ...

Laura said...

You weren't kidding about poor customer service. I can't believe anyone would let themselves slip to the point of swearing at their customers! I'll certainly be avoiding this company in the future.