Home » “Ya See, That’s What I Wanna Talk to You About”

“Ya See, That’s What I Wanna Talk to You About”

Product DetailsHow much money did you lose last year paying for fees that you could’ve not had to pay?

I almost spent $100 yesterday that I didn’t have to spend.  So, I guess you could say that I made $100.  How?  By writing a 3 minute e-mail.  You see, as we work on the final publishing stages of my daughter’s 2nd and 3rd books, I noticed a couple of mistakes in the finished product proof that Createspace (a self-publishing company,  subsidiary of Amazon) sent us.

When I notified the customer service area of the mistakes, they informed me that they would look into it and let me know.

Like most companies, in our work with Createspace we’ve found a sprinkling of differing levels of customer service.  Most everyone there has been very helpful, but we’ve run into a few employees who seem to think the bottom line of the company trumps a good reputation and good service.  The first person I spoke with via e-mail was very friendly, but the second, a lead person, not so much.  She sorta kinda nicely informed me that the mistakes were my fault and that she was “generously” offering to let us fix them for $100 instead of the regular $200.

Although I appreciated the discount, I couldn’t get past the fact that the things I was asking them to change were made very clear in the initial phone conversation with the design team.

My first thought was to just pay the $100 and let it go, but the more I thought about it, the more determined I was to not pay for their mistake.

I slept on it, and then kindly notified them yesterday morning that although I appreciated the discount, I wasn’t happy, considering I made our design specs very clear during the initial phone conversation.

A couple of hours later, I received a very nice note from a supervisor stating that they would happily make the changes, and any others I wanted,  at no cost to me.  And it was signed “Warmest regards”.

Not only did Createspace earn huge brownie points with us, but I once again feel totally confident in recommending them to others looking to self-publish their writings.  Surveys report that a good customer service experience is usually shared with 1 person, but a bad customer service experience is shared with at least 10 people.

A well-run business knows that customer service truly is one of the most important aspects of running a business.  You can have the best product in the world, but if your service sucks, you won’t last very long.  And most of the employees we’ve run across at Createspace have understood how important a business’ reputation is, and have always gone above and beyond for us.

The moral of the story is that before you pay a fee (your fault or not), consider calling the company to see if they’re willing to refund it for you.   I’ve used this technique of not paying fees in other areas too, for instance if I accidentally forgot to pay a bill (which rarely happens) or if for some reason it arrived late via mail.  I’m always honest with them, and in turn, most companies are very gracious.  So before you pay those fees, call the company and explain what happened.  Worst case scenario, they say “no”.    Best case scenario, you just saved yourself a fistful of dollars.






  1. Really good to hear that you got that all sorted out and that your daughter’s second and third books will come out soon. I think that when we follow-up on issues like that the important thing is to remain calm and professional like you did, and things worked out well for you.

    Many years ago I missed a crucial payment which cost us a lot. I phoned the company and tried to haggle with them to reduce the fee. They reduced it somewhat but it was my fault and we had to pay it. Big lesson learned there.

    • Laurie says:

      Oh, that’s a bummer when it turns out that you still have to pay. :-(. But at least you were able to negotiate a little bit on the fee. Better than nothing, right?

  2. It’s so true that people will very quickly tell everyone about a bad experience and very few people about a good experience. I find that when I’m honest, like you were, courteous and appreciative of their help, it can go a long way in resolving a situation to my liking. I’m glad it worked it worked out for you!

  3. “A well-run business knows that customer service truly is one of the most important aspects of running a business. You can have the best product in the world, but if your service sucks, you won’t last very long.” I could not agree more Laurie! I worked in customer service for years and you can have the greatest thing since sliced bread, but if you have terrible service it’s all for naught. So glad you could get it worked out! 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      John, I too worked in customer service for years. Don’t you find it amazing how much was accomplished when you put the customers’ needs first? The other thing I find is that after working in CS, I expect better service when I am the customer. My standards are higher now. But the good thing about that is that it makes me more aware when I’m servicing my own customers. Thanks for joining in the discussion, John!

    • Laurie says:

      You’re SO right Holly! Sometimes it feels easier just to let it go and pay the money, but in the long run, speaking up is often the best way to go.

  4. Good to hear you got that sorted out. We’ve made errors before and instead of paying charges called and explained the situation. We’ve yet to have someone say too bad. It’s worth it to speak up.

  5. AverageJoe says:

    One of the best traits a business can do is have a great “service recovery” program. Things might go wrong, but by fixing it, they can turn a problem customer into a vocal advocate.

    • Laurie says:

      I like that, Joe: Service Recovery Program. Createspace definitely turned us from problem customers into vocal advocates. Extremely wise business, if you ask me.

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  7. Pauline says:

    It is always worth a try, you were right to give it a go! We are dealing with a terrible contractor for a new window and he hasn’t presented the bill yet, but he “thought we would like it better that way, so took the initiative” to change our specs… I’ll take the initiative to change his check.

    • Laurie says:

      Good for you, Pauline! I’m amazed at how often service providers forget that the customer is in charge. Taking the risk of changing your specs without asking first? Now that’s gutsy.

    • Laurie says:

      Agreed, Kim. It’s just not worth losing a few dollars. Especially percentage-wise. Amazon made 97 million last quarter. For them to give up a $100 fee and potentially lose a customer over it would be ridiculous.

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