More Wonderment From NHL.com

TORONTO (Jan. 23) — Perhaps you recall a blog I posted here (http://bit.ly/2haII1s) back on Dec. 8, detailing a horror–story while shopping on–line at NHL.com for a Toronto Maple Leafs item.

To summarize: On Nov. 19, I purchased a Mitch Marner No. 16 road–white jersey from the National Hockey League’s official shopping website. It was a 20th–birthday present for my son, Shane, whose milestone occurred on Dec. 6. Given a guarantee that the item was in stock and would “ship within three business days”, I figured there was plenty of time for the jersey to arrive in advance of Shane’s celebration.

As it turned out, I figured wrong. Very wrong.

Ten days later — on Nov. 29, and with no Leafs jersey in sight — I contacted NHL.com to determine the whereabouts of my order. After an excruciating, hour–long sequence of conversations (entirely detailed in the Dec. 8 blog — please read if you haven’t yet), I was assured of a full refund to my VISA credit card, which is against NHL.com policy, but waived in this instance because a supervisor admitted the Nov. 19 order hadn’t even been processed — let alone shipped. So much for the three business days “guarantee”. To its credit, NHL.com issued the refund the following day, Nov. 30. I went down to Real Sports Apparel at the Air Canada Centre; was treated royally by the staff there, and bought Shane a Leafs jersey for his 20th birthday.

In my view, it was lesson learned and case closed.

Perhaps I should have known better.

The arrangement made over the phone on Nov. 29 with a lady named Consuela was that I had 15 days to return the NHL.com jersey to its holding center in nearby Burlington, Ont. If not, my credit card would be re–charged for the item. Very fair, and quickly agreed upon. The jersey arrived at my apartment on Dec. 7 (18 days after placing the order). One week later, on Thursday, Dec. 15, I took the item to a Canada Post outlet at 2482 Yonge St. here in Toronto — one block north of where I live. I paid $12.15 to have it sent Xpress Post to the return–address in Burlington and was told it would be delivered the following day… or by Monday (Dec. 19) at the latest. Dec. 19 would be 12 days from when the item arrived, well within the 15–day window.

Here is a copy of the Canada Post receipt, with a tracking number for the package:

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If you care to log onto CanadaPost.ca and enter the tracking number at the bottom, you will see that the item was indeed delivered — and signed for — the following day (Dec. 16) at 11:43 a.m. EST. If you’d rather not log on, here is the proof–of–delivery receipt… and a legal Delivery Certificate with an actual copy of the scanned signature from the person that accepted the package in Burlington, Ont.:

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Again, and as you can plainly see from the top document, my NHL.com package was received and signed for at the holding center on Dec. 16, just before noon Eastern. In fact, Burlington is so close to Toronto (36 miles/57 kilometers by car) that it took the Canada Post truck only 51 minutes (10:52–11:43 a.m.) to make the drive upon being sent “out for delivery”. No wonder the process required less than 24 hours.

The last time I thought about this wacky episode was on Dec. 15, while making the five–minute walk back to my apartment from the Canada Post outlet. Nothing else could go wrong, I assured myself.

Oh yeah?

Early this morning — 39 days after sending the package to Burlington; two months and four days after initially placing the order on NHL.com — I received the following email (I’ve covered my home address):

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So, a package that was received and signed for (with legal document of proof from Canada Post) on Dec. 16 has now miraculously arrived “beyond our 60 days return policy”. Also, it’s the first I have heard of the “charity” element, which — on the surface — is rather praiseworthy. But, if you are wondering, as I, why this vital subsidiary of NHL.com cannot get its sh– together, please form a line to the left. Also victimized while attempting a routine purchase last month was my pal, Ian Mendes, who covered the Ottawa Senators for Sportsnet throughout the 2000’s and now does so for TSN–1200 all–sports radio in the nation’s capital.

On new year’s eve, Ian sent out the following message via Twitter: “Ordered Christmas gift for our nephew on shop.nhl.com in November. Gift never arrived. Never using them ever again. Just awful.”

As of today, Ian was still awaiting a refund. “No, our nephew didn’t get the item,” Mendes told me. “They blamed it on a shipping issue — said the package was ‘undeliverable’. But, nobody contacted us. Nobody asked for verification. And, they never held the package at a post office or at [Federal Express] for pick–up.”

To this point, there has been no re–charge from NHL.com on my credit card. And, I would politely suggest there’d better not be. I therefore haven’t called the league’s on–line store to inquire as to why my package arrived on Dec. 16… and then again more than 60 days after the website’s return policy. Remember, there was only one package. And, I’d rather bounce up and down on a bed of sharpened nails than subject myself to another round of “alternate facts” (suddenly, a popular phrase) on the phone from the NHL.com people.

Filling a website order doesn’t involve rocket science. And, it is vitally important because many purchases are intended as a gift. You cannot delay someone’s birthday, and Christmas happens only once a year. An item arriving on Dec. 26 or 27 completely spoils the pleasure for the buyer and receiver. If the NHL.com processors are overwhelmed at holiday time, more should he added so that no one is disappointed.

It’s about customer service.

And, integrity.

SOUR GRAPES

You will look far and wide to find a bigger Don Cherry fan than yours truly. The iconic host of Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night In Canada has been terrific to me through the years; absolutely wonderful to my children, and we all know what he’s meant to the families of Canadian servicemen and women killed in action.

The man has a boundless heart.

As such — and, really, for the first time — I was disappointed in Cherry for belittling HNIC colleague, Paul Romanuk, during his segment on Saturday night. Romanuk was calling the Buffalo at Montreal game. When the siren sounded to end the opening period at the Bell Centre, Paul invited viewers to stay put “for a busy first intermission.” When Cherry and Ron MacLean appeared on camera a few minutes later, Cherry mimicked Romanuk’s “busy first intermission” plug. Clearly, the coach was offended — or, at the very least, annoyed — that Romanuk had not specifically plugged Coach’s Corner while throwing to break.

“Where’s he from… who’s that guy?” Cherry asked MacLean, as if he didn’t know Romanuk. “It’s 34 years [for Coach’s Corner] and this guy comes from over in Europe. Can’t make it there so he comes on our show.” Cherry was referring, rather callously, to Romanuk moving with his wife from Canada to England between 2005 and 2014, where he worked as a freelance sportscaster after nearly two decades at TSN, Leafs–TV and the ill–fated Team–1050 all–sports radio venture here in Toronto. Rogers hired Paul as a play–by–play broadcaster upon signing its 12–year deal with the NHL for national TV rights in Canada.

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DON AND RON THIS PAST SATURDAY ON HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA.

It was Cherry’s prerogative to be put off by Romanuk’s apparent oversight, but he could have done so more gracefully. Don hardly needs an introduction in this country; millions of people habitually tune in each Saturday for the longest–running segment in the history of sports television. It’s difficult to envision the “busy first intermission” plug by Romanuk creating panic among viewers wondering if Cherry would be in his usual perch. There was no reason for Don to insult Romanuk by suggesting he “couldn’t make it” in England. It was a petulant remark; hardly commensurate with the “sin” perpetrated by his broadcasting colleague.

For the record, Romanuk did not acknowledge or react to Cherry’s put–down when play resumed in the second period. When the middle frame ended with Montreal leading, 2–1, Paul threw to break by saying “we’ve got a good third period coming up [but] before that, a busy second intermission.”

I’m not sure if there is any hostility behind the scenes involving Cherry and Romanuk.

But, I consider Don a much–bigger man than he appeared on Saturday night.

EMAIL: HOWARDLBERGER@GMAIL.COM

One comment on “More Wonderment From NHL.com

  1. That is a shame that NHL.com and Fanatics cannot seem to handle the customer service aspect of online sales. As a small business owner who works in that industry. We appreciate the business much more and do our best to ensure any purchase, especially for special days and events are handled much better. Maybe giving the little guy a shot would make for a better shopping experience?

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