Case #1: The Sanguine Gryphon. I buy a pattern one evening. I go through PayPal, order placed, paid, fine. I get back to the page, and it tells me I need to log in to get my pattern. Which is a problem since I didn't make an account - just checked out as a guest. I make an account; pattern isn't there. Okay. I e-mail them.
This is evening, so I don't expect an immediate response, and I'm not cranky when I don't get one (still frustrated, but not pissed). But they do contact me the next day, saying the pattern should be in my account now - and apologizing. The guest checkout is new, I found a bug, go me. I go to the website, and there's a banner in red across the top advising people of the bug and that they're working on it. This impresses me. Unfortunately, the pattern is still not in my account. I e-mail them to this effect, and they e-mail me the pattern immediately with another apology. I thank them.
Case #2: Knit Picks. I buy some yarn and three patterns. Patterns should be downloadable within an hour of purchase, they say.
Spoiler: 17 days later, they are still not available.
What happens is that I click "download" and get, not the pattern, but "DownloadPattern.cfm". I use their contact-us form to inform them that this problem exists. Website says I should have a response via e-mail within 24 hours, which is reasonable.
And it doesn't happen.
I repeat the message two days later.
And four days after that, this time demanding patterns or a refund, I no longer care which.
At some point they call, instead of e-mail. They leave a voicemail saying they'll e-mail me the patterns. They do not e-mail the patterns. Yes, I have checked my spam filter.
I e-mail again yesterday. Same message, but closing with "since it seems you will not provide the items I paid for, please refund my money."
They call today, before 10am, which is unprofessional anyway. The message is basically "this is how to download your patterns". They follow it up with - finally, 17 days later - an e-mail. I respond saying ONCE AGAIN that the patterns are not there.
She says "log in", I say yep, they're not there.
She says "I see them when I'm logged in with your order number and phone number."
I say "Yes. I see the pictures and the names. But when I click to download, the pattern files are NOT THERE."
Since it seems they are not technically capable of making their patterns downloadable, I closed with my first request to e-mail me the patterns as attachments or refund my money today. If they don't, I have to contact my credit card company and report this as fraud, and I don't want to, because I don't have time and it feels piddly because it's only $6, but at this point it's the principle of the thing.
So to recap:
Sanguine Gryphon handled things quickly, actually read my e-mail and understood the problem, advised other customers that the problem existed, and fixed it with an apology.
Knit Picks took 17 days to respond, has clearly not read any of the messages, denies that a problem exists, and is giving me "customer service" along the lines of "Have you tried turning your computer off and back on?", and I may have to report them to my credit card company to get a refund.
Customer service, people. There's a right way and a wrong way. It's a shame that Knit Picks is shitting the bed so hard here, because I like their yarn, but it would take a lot for me to shop there ever again. Whereas now, next time I have some spare yarn money, I am inclined to give Sanguine Gryphon a whirl - not because they're devoid of problems, but because they've shown a willingness and ability to fix them and communicate.