Corporate Misbehavior

The Article

Scammers and spammers annoy us in our modern world and our fight with them is often fruitless.  But when we have to wage the same fruitless battles with well established and known companies it means that the corporations are misbehaving.  I have recently encountered two different companies that are proving to be a hassle.

Staples

I wanted to update my business cards but my color printer is out of ink and not working well at the moment so I set out requests for bids from a few local stores.  Staples had the better price and seemed to have the quality I was looking for (it turned out not to be true when I received the final product).  The issue I encountered here is that the local store employee took the information that was on my business card and decided to enter that information into his system.  I never agreed to this, was not informed of this, nor did he ever ask me for information to input anywhere.  Had he done that I would have given him my business contact info for vendors which is different than my customer-facing information presented on the business card.

The problem became manifest a day later when a third party that I certainly did not agree to have information shared with sent me an email with a survey (it was attached to a Staples ID number).  So now I have two different companies sharing information back and forth with whoever their third parties are on contact information that is ONLY intended for customers and has not even been released to customers yet!  It was like Aslan in The Magicians Nephew telling Digory let the witch into Narnia.  Aslan says that before the sun has set on the day of his new country, an evil was already introduced.  This careless sharing of information is how scammers and spammers create their call sheets, and I never consented to any of this data being shared to their partners nor did I agree to have this data entered into their system.

The problem was complicated when I went into the store to talk to the manager.  The store manager was informed of the information and then just blamed corporate policy and said I would have to talk to them.  She never even apologized and was totally apathetic to the whole situation.  At that point I decided to stop doing business with Staples for a while.

I called the corporate number only to be routed to department after department of people that could not ‘do anything’.  I finally called back and asked to speak to legal, which is what usually will get you results.  The operator is trained to not send people to legal, so the next best thing is their ‘Office of the President’ which is their version of Executive Customer Support.  The nice lady at The Office of the President was able to remove my contact information from their site, but not from the third party.  I have another email into the office to remove the contact information from the third parties as well.  I have not yet heard back.  It has only been about 5 days, but I hope to hear something soon.  In the mean time, I hope that Staples learns to stop misbehaving.

Amazon Seller Central

The next misbehavior I have experienced in the last few weeks has been a challenge with Amazon Seller Central.  I had a client who used my email on an Amazon store but then hired someone with Amazon experience, but now I regularly received store updates.  There is no way at all to remove myself from the account.  There is a link at the bottom of the emails, but that leads to a login screen.  The help section leads to the same login screen.  I have only found a customer support phone number full of people who tell me to login to the account….that I DO NOT HAVE!

This is the problem.  If I add an email to an Amazon account, that person does not have any recourse in removing that contact.  I tried to send in a message through their email system.  My message was very clear that the address is receiving emails from a store, but does not have a login.  The incompetent response I received was this:

Greetings from Amazon Seller Support,

Unfortunately, I was unable to relate a selling account for the e-mail address from which you sent your message, [my_redacted_email]. Kindly write us back mentioning the e-mail address that you believe is associated with an Amazon Seller Account , for which you are receiving e-mails.

We understand that people use multiple e-mail addresses, but for account confidentiality reasons we cannot release account information to an e-mail address other than the one associated with your Amazon.com account. Please re-send your message using that e-mail address so that we may assist you better.

If you no longer use the e-mail address associated with your account, we ask that you update the e-mail address on file for your account.

As a security precaution, we ask our sellers to change their e-mail addresses directly on our website. This ensures that the user requesting the change knows the current login credentials for the existing seller account, preventing any uninvited changes.

To change your e-mail address please follow these step-by-step instructions:

1. Log into Seller Central.
2. In the Settings section, select “Login Settings.”
3. On the Login Settings page, in the Password Settings section, click “Change.”
4. On the Password Settings page, enter your old password and new password, and click “Submit.”

This is the misbehavior: I was very clear with my problem – I have no login, no seller central account, but I keep receiving emails at the address I gave them…but they do not have a seller account with that address.  But I cannot reach a human being that can understand the issue, and I have only the choice to block Amazon emails.  This is corporate misbehavior!

We need to hold companies more liable when they misbehave.  We have the power to force better customer support by voting with our feet.  Amazon?  Are you listening?  How can I stop the emails?  Staples?  Do you care?  What will it take to stop corporate misbehavior?

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