Customer service and copyrighted items, say what?

Have you ever purchased a pattern, book, “fill in the blank” copyrighted (i.e., non-returnable) item that you were very disappointed in?  Be certain you check/read the merchant’s policies prior to making your purchase because the copyrighted item (book, pattern, or digital media) is most likely non-returnable.

These days, virtually every merchant or retailer (whether online or brick and mortar) has a policy about non-return of copyrighted items (i.e., patterns, books, software, or CDs/DVDs).  Most limit the return to replacement of damaged items with the exact same item.

What can/should you do after you have received the item and discover your disappointment? 
You can and should let the merchant you made the purchase from know that you were
disappointed.  Depending on the item, the merchant will probably consider whether this is a personal taste issue or whether there is a real problem with the product.  In the end, the item is usually still non-returnable (unless there is a damage issue).  You could always re-sell it or give it as a gift to someone who might appreciate it. 

There’s no accounting for personal taste.  The truth is that for every person who loves “X” product, you can usually find one or more who will swear they hate it.

But before shooting off that nasty email to the retailer/merchant, please consider…  Will an angry or belittling email or letter reaming out the merchant really do anything? Did the merchant write the pattern, book, etc.?

Yes, of course, the merchant should be made aware so they can evaluate
whether there is a problem with the item and consider whether it should continue
to be stocked.  But, does being nasty to the merchant solve anything?

The critical person to contact
if you are truly disappointed in the product is the person who designed
the pattern, wrote the book, etc.  The designers, authors, publishers and/or manufacturers are the one who
really need the feedback from consumers/end users.  They are the only ones who can make their product better.

The best solution is to write a note (email or letter) to the product’s author/publisher/manufacturer AND make sure to copy (CC) the retailer/merchant you made the purchase from. 

Don’t know how to contact the author/publisher/manufacturer?  Check the book, pattern, video tape.  Virtually every product sold has author/publisher/manufacturer contact information.

Want to avoid this situation altogether?

  • Limit your purchase of copyrighted items to those you have seen for yourself prior to making any online, catalog or sight unseen purchase.
  • Don’t just accept the “rave reviews” of friends, associates or email lists.  What several people may love, you may hate. 
  • Check to see if any friends “have” the item and ask if you could look at it to decide if you want to purchase one also. 
  • Or, go to a library (or guild library) and see if they have the item  for you to check out first.

Most merchants truly want their customers to be happy.