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I recently made an online purchase. The delivery date displayed before I made the payment was for a couple of days from the order date. After I paid the order confirmation showed the delivery date some 7 working days after the initially displayed date. I wanted to cancel the order.

I replied to the order confirmation email and received an auto-response message informing me that emails to this address would not be responded to. In the email there was a link to a help page. Going through the help pages I eventually discovered that orders which had been paid for (i.e. credit card purchases rather than EFT or COD orders) could not be cancelled and that I would have to follow the returns process. Not happy with this option I then logged a case to complain. Shortly thereafter, I received an email saying that my order was cancelled. I did not get a choice of whether I wanted credit or a full refund – I was given a credit refund.

I have several issues with this. Firstly, if the vendor knew the actual delivery date just after my order was processed then they should have known it just before I submitted the payment. This was the first and main point of failure. If the delivery date was accurately reflected before I paid I would not be writing this.

Secondly, if already-paid-for orders can be cancelled by the support team why not allow the customer to cancel themselves?

Finally, instead of a simple email response process, why have a long-winded route to log a case using an online form? The reasons are clear. The first is subtle and cynical. Increased friction means there will be fewer comebacks. But perhaps at the expense of customer satisfaction. 

The second reason is to decrease human intervention and thereby costs by first diverting queries to a FAQ. This is a useful self-service feature. But it means more clicking around (and time spent) trying to find the knowledge-base article to address a query. 

The third reason is that it is more effective to have a structured query logging system rather than email. By ensuring that all queries are logged in a database they can be better managed rather than keeping track of them as emails.

However, it far less convenient than replying to an email. So why not enable auto creation of cases from emails? Although this can be problematic as it can lead to numerous cases being logged which are not actually cases. But in the case of replies to order confirmation emails we can reasonably expect these to be genuine queries so why not allow cases to be created from replies to order confirmation emails? 

All in all my query was satisfactorily resolved but a few enhancements would have resulted in a far better experience without the additional hassle and wasted time.