11/22/07: on a USAirways flight I placed an order through SkyMall. Flight attendant said I had to fill out a paper form on board, which I did. I was worried because I had to fill in credit card number, fold over the paper and seal a tab, which left the sides open to view if someone were interested. She assured me that all would be OK, done all the time, etc. she would put the order in a 'locked box' and then SkyMall would receive it, and send out a confirmation email immediately.
11/26/07: called Sky Mall to ask where is email? A customer service rep told me that they haven't received the order yet from USAirways, that sometimes it takes THREE WEEKS for someone to go to the 'locked box' to retrieve the orders. He said he'd check and call me back that afternoon. (No one called.)
11/29/07: called Sky Mall. 'Your call will be answered in approximately 17 minutes.' I hung up.
12/05/07: called SkyMall. Told rep I wanted to cancel order. She replied that there WAS NO order yet to cancel! I asked to speak to someone else. She said she'd be glad to transfer me, but the wait time would be 82 minutes!
12/06/07: I received an email confirmation of the order! As if that weren't enough, SkyMall had not honored the promotion that the catalog had pitched, which was $30 off ANY item over $100. They charged my credit card for the full price, plus tax, plus special shipping charge ($184.79)! I immediately called and said please cancel - do not ship. The rep said OK, he would try. (He told me the discount didn't apply to that particular item.)
12/07/07: I received email that the order had been shipped! I called immediately to protest again. The rep told me I should refuse delivery of the item, and return it directly to the vendor, who would issue a credit through SkyMall. I sent item back.
01/19/08: Received email acknowledging receipt of the item, saying: 'Thank you for shopping with SkyMall. Our records indicate that the item listed below was returned and acknowledgment of the return was received from the Merchant on Sat, Jan 19, 2008. A credit for this return is being processed. If you purchased by credit card, the full merchandise amount will be credited to your card within 3-5 business days. '
01/31/08: Eight business days later I called. The rep told me that the accounting department had made a mistake. She would submit info to them again. The amount was not what I expected. She told me I had to pay original shipping charge! Said I should wait 3 to 5 more business days.
02/11/08: No refund yet. Called and rep said it was being processed, they only have a couple of people in the billing department, they are doing the best they can. She said I should check again in 3-4 days.
02/18/08: Another week has passed. I called and asked to speak with someone with authority to do something. I was transferred to another rep who gave me the run-around again. She insisted that it could take TWO BUSINESS CYCLES, 30-60 days, more to show up on my account! When I questioned the validity of this preposterous idea she became testy. She was trying to tell me that even if they submitted the credit, my credit card company might not post it to my account for another 'one or two billing cycles'!
Either they are astonishingly ignorant or astonishingly arrogant to think a person would believe that. This isn't the old days when you had to wait for a paper credit card statement to arrive by mail. With online access to your account you can of course see the date the charge is submitted.
The last time I was in an airplane I took out the SkyMall catalog and wrote warnings all over their pages. It's not satisfying enough.