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Woot’s Crappy Customer Service

For those of you who have never heard of Woot.com, there's an entire culture you have been missing.  Woot is notorious for selling random electronics, household items, and well… junk.  They only sell one item per day, and about every month or so they have a Wootoff where items are continually sold until sold out for a period of 24-72 hours.

The significance of the Wootoff is that one of the items will be a "bag of crap", which is a mystery bag that could contain just about anything they have been selling.  You get three items generally (it really is random) and these get sold out within a matter of seconds because loyal Wooters buy them up in hope that their bag of crap will contain a flat-screen, iPod, or something valuable.

All of this is great, until you want to return something.  I don't mean the bag of crap, because, well you just take a chance on those.  But the regular items.  I have purchased two things from Woot (aside from the bags of crap), and it's been a miserable experience both times.

The first time I bought a hand held Dirt Devil Kurv vacuum.  The thing never worked right from day one.  The suction was weak, and what little it did suck in (small dust pieces) it spit right back out from the air vents.  Vacuuming essentially meant wearing the dust from your floors. Dirt devil
So, I wrote to Woot, explaining that the product was defective.  Woot tells me to go talk to the product manufacturer.  Of course this is difficult, considering the manufacturer simply told me to return it to where I got it from.  Woot then said, if I really needed to return it (no duh, I just love emailing you because I think you guys have great writing talent which shine the most through emails), I could pay for shipping back again, and then they could take another two weeks to process and refund me my money.  No thanks.  It's going to cost me half the amount of my return just to ship the stupid thing, plus weeks of my time.  I just let the issue go, and threw away the vacuum.

Many months after this, I (against my better judgment, bought another item off Woot).  The day I did this, I found the same thing for much cheaper somewhere else.  So, I once again emailed them (just one day after placing the order) asking them if it would be possible to cancel the order since it hadn't shipped yet.

Woot's reply:

"We have already processed the order to ship this morning. We will not be able to cancel." -Bob

So, you're telling me it's impossible to unprocess something you just processed?  No wonder returns are so difficult with you guys then.  It's pretty clear Bob just doesn't want to be bothered to cancel an order, and it's much easier to just send a curt reply than to actually do the work to provide customer service.

I then checked my credit card statement.  They had billed me twice for the purchase, amounting to close to $600.  I emailed Woot again.  Their response? Because I entered the wrong 3 digit security code initially, the order went through twice (once for the wrong security code, and once for the correct one).  The initial transaction put the funds on hold in my account.

So, it's my fault I entered the wrong number, which caused their system to charge me twice.  Well geez, if I had shaky hands, their system could have charged me thousands from all the errors!

Here's what I believe: the customer is always right.  I have worked in customer service before, and whatever the customer wants, I do my best to make it possible.  If Woot doesn't really have a legitimate return policy, they need to just make that clear by saying don't expect to be able to return anything once you buy it.  Instead, they just make it as difficult as possible for you to return it, and hope you give up.  That's not customer service, that's just being lazy.  So Woot, be nice to your customers, and then they won't write long reviews of how bad your service is. 

(Photo courtesy of Target).

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  1. I have to comment on this because I absolutely love Woot. I’ve used them several times and never had a problem.
    The security code issue is not good, though. I don’t understand how they can charge you if you put in the wrong security code. Isn’t that the reason for a security code in the first place? That doesn’t make any sense. I hope they get that figured out.

    Posted by: Clayton | March 4, 2010
  2. I love woot, I have bought many things on their pages. I know when I purchase something I don’t expect customer service but usually the lowest price. I always read the comments to know what the reviews are for the products.
    Woot does play off of the low service/low cost model. In their FAQ they are very direct about it. You can reference their site here:

    Posted by: Ron | March 4, 2010
  3. From Woot’s website:
    “Will I receive customer support like I’m used to?
    No. Well, not really. If you buy something you don’t end up liking or you have what marketing people call “buyer’s remorse,” sell it on eBay. It’s likely you’ll make money doing this and save everyone a hassle. If the item doesn’t work, find out what you’re doing wrong. Yes, we know you think the item is bad, but it’s probably your fault. Google your problem, or come back to that product discussion in our community and ask other people if they know. Try to call the manufacturer and ask if they know. If you give up and must return it to us, then follow on to the next FAQ entry.”


    Posted by: Sean | December 16, 2010
  4. Actually it is amazing that so many people don’t mind taking it up the woot.. how can people accept a company that gives you the middle finger every time you throw your money their way? Consider this company is owned by amazon and compare their customer service policies. Competition is fierce. Woot doesn’t seem like a wise choice. If amazon would back these purchases with their policies, woot’s profits and traffic would soar. If I want to buy something from someone that doesn’t stand behind the sale, may as well hit up a garage sale. Otherwise I demand some protection from large retailers

    Posted by: Donn | July 22, 2011
  5. Ordered a digital camera from Woot, my second order with them. Product NEVER arrived. I contacted customer service and ALL I got was a complaint number, NO tracking, NO credit, NO reship, NADA. They have NO customer service phone number, but I did find a number for them through the Better Business Bureau, but don’t bother calling it, they don’t answer and if you try to reach customer service it will hang up on you! Wish I had seen their BBB rating of C- before I let them have my money! And Fed Ex SmartPost? Not so smart. They too will NOT do a thing if the package is lost in transit. So much for their “money back guarantee”. Someone with sticky fingers at the Garland Texas Post Office has my darn camera! Imagine the post office telling you they did not get your package, only a LABEL! Yea, right ….

    Posted by: FedUpTxn | April 24, 2012
  6. Woot is … well, a joke. They don’t even have their PayPal set up right. The first time I used my regular credit card … ironically, fraudulent charges started 2 hours later. Thanks woot! After getting my credit card fixed, I used PayPal … once because my wife really wanted something from Woot … I wanted to use my credit card via PayPal instead of my Bank Account for instant transfer. Well … unlike every other merchant in the world that uses PayPal … Woot sent me to the PayPal login … then said “Instant Transfer” complete. WTF! I immediately told woot to cancel the order as soon as that happened. Woot replied “Your order is processed and cannot be cancelled. You need to change your Instant Transfer options at PayPal from Bank to Credit Card.” Woot, you idiots, PayPal does not let you do that! And then Woot charged me twice resulting in an overdraft fee from my bank. Again, Woot’s customer service replied that although it was their glitch “Woot is not responsible for the resulting overdraft fees from your bank as a result.” Woot said to tell my bank to drop the fees because they weren’t going to pay them (even though it was Woot’s fault.” My bank said that Woot should pay them, because they caused the overdraft and the bank’s policy is not to drop overdraft fees ever. And PayPal said they are just the middle person and for me to work with Woot or the Bank or just pay the overdraft fee. Won’t be ever buying from Woot again. No customer service and the consumer is always at fault with them even for their mistakes.

    Posted by: Betan | July 8, 2012

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Monday, January 22, 2018