This morning I went through an annoying formality which I hope most of you would also be willing to tolerate. A $45.00 item which I bought online has shipped, but the charge for it has disappeared from my bank record.
Initially, the charge was visible when I made a checking inquiry, and I thought everything was fine. However, after I went through something complicated with a different order placed with the same retailer, the charge disappeared.
I thought I’d get it cleared up this morning, by using the shopping site’s Customer Service chat feature. The person I communicated with was very courteous, and after I gave her the order number she assured me I was indeed charged.
I wasn’t in the mood to type a description of how the charge was documented once and then went missing, so I neglected to provide as many details as I should have. If I had, would her records have told her anything different? No.
If the charge doesn’t reappear soon, I’ll try to find a telephone number for Customer Service so it will be easier to communicate. Chat rooms have always made me less articulate than I should be, but if I’m stuck with the chat room again I promise to be less taciturn.
The issue here is that I agreed to pay for an item, and it’s my obligation to speak up if I see a problem with payment. It is not acceptable to sit back and giggle when we get something free due to an error.
No, I don’t feel morally superior to others. Not one of us knows for certain that we are above being corrupted. After I’ve been hurt badly by others, I haven’t always been able to say with confidence that I would help those people if they were in danger and needed someone to dial 911 or jump into the fray. Would I look the other way while so-and-so was attacked by an angry mob? Would my reaction be determined by whether I thought the angry mob had a good reason? I don’t know because I haven’t been tested that way, but I hope I’d do the right thing.
There’s an ethical question about this online transaction which deserves an answer, and I don’t have an answer yet: If the technical error isn’t resolved after I’ve made a second or third attempt to clear it up, is it worth pursuing?
Sometimes it’s best to give up after a while and accept when you’ve benefited from something that disagrees with your value system. Just don’t gloat about it. Oh, and save documentation of your attempts to right a wrong, in the event that someday the bastards accuse you of screwing them.