Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sometimes bitchin' works

Not always, but sometimes if you make enough noise about a problem, it gets taken care of. Holiday Inn agreed to transfer the money I'd paid on one reservation to another and keep the room at the same rate for that night. So instead of losing the cash I'm making use of it. I can live with that.

I'm still not going anywhere near one of their hotels, again, if I can help it. I don't trust them.

Something else I should point out is, Amazon did repost my books on their site after removing them, just over a year ago. That took way more effort than was necessary, too, but they did agree my books were not pornography, despite the titles. And what's even better, when some twit in their company had one pulled, yet again, "for review," it was put back up the next day. But then, I'd already begun checking my titles daily because I didn't trust them to really keep their promises.

That's the problem with business in America, today...lack of spine. So many people just give up when a company yanks them around (something I've also been guilty of doing -- giving up, that is) and assume all companies are like that. And the truth is, many are. But if you yell and piss and moan loudly enough, many of the obnoxious ones will back down.

I think what finally made me see that was when UPS basically stole thousands of dollars from Heritage Book Shop. We'd sent a book to a client in Greece and he refused delivery on the shipment; he didn't want to pay the VAT on it...which totaled $2700. So I told UPS to return it. They refused to do so unless we paid the VAT. I told them it was not due because delivery had not been made, that all they had done was guarantee the VAT would be paid. Their Louisville office insisted they actually HAD paid the VAT on our behalf and we had to reimburse them for it or they'd destroy the book...which was worth $32,000.

After days of back and forth on this with people who insisted I did not know what I was talking about, I finally authorized payment of the money so we could at least get the book back. Then I contacted the Greek Consulate in Washington DC and the UPS office in Athens...and learned a) the duties did not have to be paid unless delivery was effected, and b) the duties were not paid; they had only been guaranteed. I told this to the Louisville office and they told me I did not know what I was talking about and refused to return the money. And were as obnoxious as they could be about it.

We had a rocking and rolling time of it for another four weeks before they realized I was not going away and actually WAS asking the Greek Consulate to have their Athens office investigated for tax fraud. Then they agreed on a refund. They said they'd overnight a check to me. It didn't come so I contacted them and they said it had been sent. So I asked for a tracking number, but they didn't have that. We went through another three days of this before the check showed the regular mail...and the accounting office asked me what it was for.

Prior to this fiasco, Heritage had used UPS for all its overseas shipments, to the tune of more than $10,000 a year. I cut them off and shifted to DHL. At the time, they were a good company; they didn't fall apart till they bought Airborne Express and stupidly fired all their own employees so they could use the non-stop incompetents at Airborne for half the price. Within a year, they'd lost half their business (and DHL is a German company, not American, so you can't say this sort of stupid is limited to the US).

This is also when I began to wonder at my ability to go balls to the wall for other people and not do the same for myself. Seriously, I can become an attack dog on behalf of others but honestly cannot do the same for my own needs or wants. Maybe I need therapy.

Except...I did make Amazon and Holiday Inn back down. So maybe I'm learning. Now I just need to figure out to apply that to my writing career.

No comments: