Tuesday May 25, 2004

Saga of the Shredder

Rich and I have had a crosscut shredder for many years. We'd been using a Royal CX7000, a $99 model that worked well but was noisy and had some trouble with more than 3 to 5 sheets of paper (although it laid claim to 7). We tend to want to shred a few more sheets at a time, possibly without unfolding them. For example, my credit card company keeps insisting on tempting me with cash-advance checks. These are not something I will use and not something I can simply toss into the recycling bin.

So back in January of this year, we decided to look for a model that could do more, maybe even one with a hopper to hold a lot of paper. Our web search turned up a terrific unit that would do everything we wanted it to do, with a hopper and everything! However, for $8000, we thought perhaps we should keep looking ;-)

Then we found the Royal 5000X, for $90. It had a sheet feeder and said it coould do up to 50 sheets so we ordered one. It turned out that the model had been recently discontinued, but they had some factory refurbs so, OK, we bought one of those. It arrived, we assembled it... and I simply could NOT make it work. I kept getting paper jams.

Then (duh) we discovered the "paper tray". OK, so now it didn't jam as often. Unfortunately, the "feeder" was meant to feed one sheet of paper at a time (not several) and it preferred those sheets of paper as perfect, flat, never folded, 8.5 by 11, white printer paper arranged in neat stacks. I actually fed about 30 sheets of perfect white printer paper through it (an early inspection printing of my tax forms). Then I got overly optimistic, unfolded a bunch of credit card checks, flattened the stack, put them in the tray, started the shredder...

vrooommm whirrrrrr chatter rattle CRUNCH grrrrrrrrunch

Why would a shredder trying to eat paper sound like a disposal with a fork caught in its throat?

Rich turned it over and peered at its blades (it doesn't come apart). The teeth seem to be jammed. We contacted the company we bought it from (mailorder from a place in NYC) and told them they story. At first, they tried to recommend we consider getting it repaired. I wasn't happy with this idea; after all, we'd only used it 4 or 5 times and had fed maybe a total of 50 sheets through it. This was a buggy shredder. We complained more vociferously and were eventually sent information on how to return the shredder (it's amazing how threatening a vendor with a complaint to the CC company will oftentimes shake loose an RMA number. :-)

All of the above, from delivery to death of unit, to RMA, took some time but on April 15 I packed aand addressed the shredder (now in a different box) and shipped it back to Royal Returns via UPS. It cost me $37 to ship. Sigh. Then I emailed the tracking number to the company in NYC along with my expressed desire that I might be able to get a refund from Royal on the shipping costs as well (although, personally, I didn't plan to hold my breath for that one). Then I waited to hear that the refund was being processed.

Finally, on May 12, I recieved a telephone message from Julie at the vendor in NYC; the gist of the message was that Royal Returns was claiming they never received the shredder. Odd. I dug out the tracking number from the email I sent in April (by this time I had misplaced the receipt) and checked it on the UPS web site. UPS says that delivery was made and signed for on April 21. So why does Royal claim it never arrived? I called Julie back and told her the latest installment in the story and she promised to check into things in the morning. She also told me that Royal might be willing to refund my shipping charges if I could show my receipt. Oh. My receipt. Yes. Well, I can't seem to find that...

However, for a possible $37, it was worth trying to recreate the receipt. First, I tried calling UPS. After all, I had the tracking number of the shipment; they must have a record of how much I paaid to ship it! But no, apparenty they can't look that information up. (How is that possible? Perhaps they simply cannot share the information with me, or perhaps Customer Serice can't access that part of the database?)

Then I got onto the UPS web site and calculated an approximation, based on my memory of the dimensions of the box (approx. 30 x 15 x 15). The total came to $32.30 for that (and, of course, there was a service charge aat the Packaging store). But that was only a guess and I still needed proof.

So, the following day I went over to the Packaging and Shipping store. The most excellent proprietor was able to pull up my transaction in his computer. I asked for a copy. Hmmm... lots of information on the screen but no print button or menu. How do you print the screen from Windows? Neither of us knew... Then we found a menu that would print differeent types of labels. We tried several options, none of which was quite right. Finally the proprietor excused himself and went into the back room where he performed some mysterious magic and soon the printer began printing and I had wasin receipt of a receipt (albeit printed on label stock :-).

I went home and left a message for Julie in NYC telling her that I now had a receipt. I still have that receipt and haven't heard anything more about a refund but... well, at least I have a receipt.

Now things get weirder. Let's return to the evening of May 12, the day that Royal Returns told NYC that they never received my return. On that same evening, when Rich returned from work, he brought in a package that UPS had left on the porch (it was delivered after I got home that day but they didn't ring the bell). The package was a brand new Royal Shredder, yet a different model from both the (discontinued) model we had returned and the original model we were replacing. This box was labeld "10 sheets" (the broken one had laid claim to 15). But... why did they send us a shredder? We asked for a refund, not a replacement?. And why did they claim that the return had never arrived? And what are we supposed to do with this new, unwanted, shredder, still in its original box, that we did not ask for and did not want?

Once again, I called Julie in NYC. She asked me not to call UPS and refuse the shipment. She said she would contact Royal Returns and get them to issue a Call Tag for a pickup. So, I waited. And waited.

On Thursday of this week (just over a week after the unwqanted "replacement" shredder was delivered) I arrived home to find a sticky on our front door from UPS. The driver had attempted a pickup for "Royal Returns" and would try aagin tomorrow (Friday). That was odd, as I'd never been notified to expect the return but, OK. So on Friday morning I set the "replacement" Royal shredder on the front porch at 8:00 before I left for the day.

When I got home on Friday evening, the box was still on the porch. There was also, once again, a sticky on our front door from UPS stating the driver had attempted the pickup for "Royal Returns" and would try aagin on Monday.

But...? But he stood next to the box he was supposed to pick up while he wrote out the sticky aand attached it to the door. How could he possibly have missed it?! I phoned UPS. I told the Customer Service rep the whole long story. She promised to find out what had happened and have someone call me back.

An hour later I got a phone call with an explanation. The Call Tag had apparently not been left on the drivers clipboard and that's why he hadn't come by on Friday... Wait a moment. He did come by. He came by and left a sticky. "Oh!", she said. "I'll get back to you".

Half an hour later I got another call. The driver had not been sure this was the correct box. The return address on the box did not exactly match the return address on the Call Tag. (Couldn't he have written something of the sort on the sticky?!). He'll be back on Monday; leave the box on the porch.

As of Monday evening...
The box is gone; a recipt was left on the door. I wonder what interestng chapter will be next?

Saga of the Shredder ( in category Trivial Pursuits ) - posted at Tue, 25 May, 23:32 Pacific | «e»