Overall Rating: 1/5.0 store rating
Ease of Ordering: 3/5 stars
Customer Service: 3/5 stars
Selection: 3/5 stars
On-Time Delivery: 3/5 stars

Do Not Do Business With OfficeMax!

A review by customopinions written on May 4, 2005
Full review

April 28, 2005

Mr. Sam Duncan
President & Chief Executive Officer CERTIFIED MAIL
OfficeMax Inc
150 Pierce Road
Itasca, IL 60143

Re: Request for Reimbursement for wasted time
and annoyance
Detailed Report of Problems with Customer Experience at OfficeMax

Dear Mr. Duncan,

I’m a writer and I tried to spend a hundred and fifty dollars recently through your OfficeMax website but instead got severely annoyed and disgusted. I was told conflicting things by different parts of your company. I would like to request reimbursement of $200.00 for the wasted time and annoyance of this experience. I would also like to point out the things I experienced so you can fix them.

I understand that there is some kind of merger between OfficeMax and [another company in my state] but a lot of my experience was with your website, so it still holds.

Night before last, I went online to locate some needed office supplies. I came to your site and it looked like you had what I wanted and I could order it online and get it delivered from your local store within a short period of time. This was perfect for me. I ordered the items. The website said they were all in stock. Great. Mission accomplished.

1) No Indication of Usual Delivery Times.

I had wanted to see a statement reassuring me that the items would be delivered within one or two business days. Something like, orders made before noon will be delivered the next day before 5:00 p.m. As I recollect I searched the site but found nothing like that. Uh oh. The lack of this began to worry me, like I’d gotten into a swamp (which I had). I think I was told that delivery information would be emailed to me later, which was not satisfactory. I mean, I’d given you all my personal info, credit card number, money and you aren’t even telling me if the stuff will be there within a day or two or much longer. The emails I subsequently received had cryptic codes was I supposed to figure out (not acceptable) and still were not specific. You need to be able to truthfully make a statement like, items in stock in your local store which are ordered before noon will be delivered by 5 PM the next day. The vagueness around this right now is unacceptable and possibly could indicate that you are not really equipped to provide delivery service. I have a lot of things delivered to my apartment and companies that do this offer specific information such as I’ve described here. Coyness is not a facet of pick up or delivery services.

2) Oversight On Website Causes Problem.

While filling out the order I indicated that mine was a personal account. Even so, a space for a business name appeared. I tried to input my unlisted intercom number into that space to help the delivery driver. Later, it seemed that that line didn’t appear on my address at all. You need to remove that blank from personal accounts if it will not appear later, to avoid confusion.

3) Problems Processing Credit Cards Through Your Website

After I submitted my order, there was a notice onscreen that there was a problem processing my credit card. I had to submit all my credit card info again. I got really annoyed then. That it not a good time to annoy a customer. It went through the second time but I started to regret my purchase. I’ve experienced that problem before at other companies’ websites. I’ve noticed that this happens with companies that screw things up. There seems to be an association.

4) In Stock Items Had Delivery Date A Month Away
Then I noticed that most of these “in stock” items had a delivery date a MONTH away. Huh. Some were ten days away. I felt totally deceived and annoyed. I would never have gone through all of that for that result. Not acceptable. At that point I hated OfficeMax. It’s possible these dates appeared before I completed my order but like most people, I feel that “in stock” means “in stock” at my local store for delivery within a few days. Do not use the term otherwise.

At that point I had to spend a lot of time perusing your website to find out what was going on. The information on product availability and delivery times seemed cryptic and less than truthful. Use plain language and commonly understood terms to describe availability of products. Waiting six weeks for office supplies to be shipped on a boat is not “in stock.” This whole part of your website needs overhauling.

5) Make A Way For People To Edit Their Delivery Instructions
6) Your Credit Card Processing Fails Twice More

I tried to change my delivery instructions to add my unlisted intercom number but found no way to do that. I spent a lot of time trying. Make a way to do that, at least for future deliveries. I even tried to submit a small order to get access to that screen. That was when your credit card processing failed again, twice in a row. So three failures within a short period of time. You are losing a lot of money over that. People are going to get annoyed and say, forget it.

At this point I sent an email asking that my order be canceled if it was going to take so long. First thing in the morning I also called the local store in _______ and was transferred to the “telemarketing” department. I told the lady there what had happened, and she said that in view of what I had been told, the items (all common office supplies) were being sent from the manufacturers by boat. I asked her to cancel the order and she said she would.

7) All Your Competition Had All the Items You Said You Didn’t

Calling around I found that all the large office supply stores and office supply delivery services [in my county] had all of the items I wanted in stock. I went to Office Depot in person. They had every one of the items I wanted, and they had a scooter which I was glad of because I have limited mobility (which is why I tried to have the stuff delivered).
Was I done with OfficeMax? No, not by a long shot.

8) Had to Cancel A Bunch More Times.
9) OfficeMax Had Stuff In Stock Locally After All.

That night you sent one or two emails informing me my cancelled OfficeMax order was coming. I replied back canceling again. Today I got another email telling me that it was being sent. I sent back another email saying cancel it. Depending on how you look at it, this was my third or fourth cancellation. Then today at about 3:00 pm [my] time, DHL was downstairs at my building with a package from OfficeMax. I refused it saying I had cancelled the order three times. So apparently you had some or all of the items in stock after all. All your competition had all of the items. You just felt like telling me they were a month away on your website. That’s gotta be bad for business, don’t you think?

10) Correct Gaps In Communications. Correct Missing Information On Shipping Labels.

Although I had tried to provide it, DHL did not have my . . . intercom number. They didn’t call me, but had the resident manager call me, so maybe they didn’t have my phone number either. I did put my phone number in the delivery instructions. These instructions may have been reduced to one line from the three or four that I typed. If so, that must change. Both UPS and DHL have a poor history of knowing my intercom number, phone number, or delivery instructions even though I nearly always provide this. The last DHL package that was sent to me ended up getting sent back before I could get it. The email that you sent me so many times had all the items I ordered and my mailing address but it was absent the bulk of my delivery instructions, my phone number and my . . . intercom number. Maybe this is the same incomplete information you provided to DHL. In general, these lapses are a HUGE HUGE HUGE problem with shipping/delivery/freight companies these days. This wastes a lot of everyone’s time. It makes delivery/mail order purchases stressful and uncertain for no reason at all.

Make sure that all packages are clearly printed with the recipient’s
a) phone number(s)
b) intercom number
c) any special delivery instructions
d) any directions needed to find the property
(unless of course someone declines to give some particular piece of information). Leave lots of room for detailed instructions or multiple phone numbers, etc. Test this yourself a lot. It is a HUGE problem. And it’s kindergarten stuff.
In general a lot of very simple errors are stressing out customers these days. I would check on these things yourself a lot. Never assume anything. For instance, look at the labels from sample deliveries of office supplies you get your friends to order and see what information was there for the delivery person, etc. Be alert for gaps in communication like those indicated by my letter today.

I felt the need to call the OfficeMax store again to make sure my debit card wasn’t being charged for the rejected order. I called and of course spent a lot of time on hold waiting for a manager. At my insistence, the manager, _________, said he would make sure OfficeMax didn’t charge my card, or would credit it back if they did. Of course, I’d heard something like that the morning before when I was told the order was cancelled. Right now OfficeMax is in the screw up company category and I still feel that I need to check with my bank in three days to see if I have been charged. So I’m still working on my cancelled OfficeMax order. That will make a week, for one canceled order, if I’m lucky.

11) Unpaid Rebates Blackening Your Good Name Online

That first night when my order went bad I went online to look for others with problems with OfficeMax. I would not have thought to do this except for the problems I had. I found a lot of people complaining about missing rebates. I’m familiar in general with the fake rebate thing. It stinks. You don’t want to be part of such a thing. It erodes confidence in you and builds ill will among people who might have been good customers. I know all about how companies make impossible obstacles courses for people trying to redeem these things, and then roughly 50% of the time, they don’t get the money. You should stop doing that. Don’t have complicated rebates. Reduce your prices, when you do, without any requirements of any kind. Promptly honor all the rebates have out right you have now.

12) Decide What You Can Do Well.

Consume your products and services a lot in the guise of an ordinary customer to see what’s going on. If my experience is common, then delivering office supplies or online ordering sounds like too much of a challenge.

As a consumer I would value a company that can deliver office supplies without a lot of stress or nonsense. If that’s not possible, then I might like to order and pay for them through a local, in-store, phone number and pick them up at a Will Call desk. If these services can’t be given for free maybe I could pay a reasonable charge. I would pay this if the service was reliable and relatively free of stress, free of being put on hold, free of centralized 800 numbers, etc.

It seems unlikely that you could have an accurate national computer system knowing exactly how many boxes of paper clips you have in stock in a particular store. If this is the case, stores could have a local number customers can call during business hours to order stuff. Have a friendly, helpful person answer it right away and take their order. Perhaps you do have this but your website diverted me from this, with unfortunate results. Again, if you can’t do delivery or will call pick up properly even for a fee, just have adequate staff in the store to answer questions and answer the phone and maybe a scooter to lend disabled people. Just don’t promise things to people you can’t deliver.
I think my time is worth something. I’m billing you by this letter for $200.00 (two hundred dollars) for the annoyance and time wasted by OfficeMax over this. I’m hoping you would take this opportunity to try and change these things.


[a customer]

May 3, 2005
Mr. Sam Duncan
& Chief Executive Officer CERTIFIED MAIL
150 Pierce Road
Itasca, IL 60143

Re: Got email today saying cancelled order being sent again.
Billing for $200.00 more via this letter

Dear Mr. Duncan,

Today, I got another email saying that my repeatedly cancelled OfficeMax order was being sent again. Presumably charged again too. This has generated hours more work for me in which I’ve talked to five OfficeMax employees. I found seven more gaps in communication within OfficeMax.

Upon getting today’s email I called the [local store]. After a considerable wait, I talked to a manager, ___________.

GAP 1: Although your telemarketing person at the ____ St. store previously told me with certainty she had cancelled my order (which turned out not to be true), today the store manager told me that he himself he didn’t know where the order was coming from, it could be from several different sources, and that it wasn’t through the store, he couldn’t directly access the information. This is two different things being told me by employees of the same store. He said he’d look into it.

I’d heard that before. . . . . I called your 800 number. In fairness, I was connected to a customer service representative fairly quickly, ________. She was concerned and had nice manners so I have to give credit for that. Based on how the website functioned, and my previous experiences with 800 service numbers, I was expecting something worse.

GAP 2: As far as being able to tell me the charges or credits to my account, this information didn’t seem to be available to _________, your customer service person at the 800 number. This is wrong. Other companies don’t work like that. I had to eventually go up three more levels. After looking in the system for quite a while ______ said that I had a credit for [roughly forty dollars] out of over a hundred dollars I was charged for. (This information turned out to be incomplete.) I asked to talk to this “vendor” who supposedly send out the orders, but she couldn’t do that. I was given to a supervisor, ______________. Again, giving credit where credit is due, Ms. _____ was conciliatory, responsive and attentive. After checking further she was able to tell me that I had been credited in two increments of [roughly forty and sixty dollars] for the merchandise but not [roughly four dollars] for the state tax. I don’t know why the original customer service person at the 800 number didn’t have that information.

Ms. _____ said, “They don’t credit back tax.” I know this to be illegal. This caused me to get angry and she kindly agreed to credit me for the tax. I asked to talk to this “vendor” again but was told that the 𤃵 Team” could put me in touch with them if I remember correctly. I was transferred to 701 Team member _________. Mr. _______ had a hard time keeping track of the information. . . . . He did observe correctly that the OfficeMax personnel working on this “this weren’t reading from the same page.”

GAP 3: Mr. ______ told me that today’s email about the errant duplicate order was “generated by an online mechanism for some reason” and that it would not result in a repeat delivery or repeat charges. He could not explain why this should be so when previously such emails had been followed by a charge and a delivery of items for a cancelled order. I probably asked to talk to this “vendor” again but could not. I was transferred to a supervisor, again. This was 𤃵 Team” supervisor ___________. Again to give credit, she had good manners and was concerned and conciliatory.

GAP 4: About the apparent lack of customer refunds for taxes, Ms. _________ said that the system displays a refund amount before taxes but she indicated that somehow the taxes were credited back. She said she had asked about that in the training class herself. From what else she said, it sounds like a lot of your customers are being made to think you are illegally keeping their tax money, and even some of your employees feel this is true also. Other companies do not do that.

GAP 5: Ms. ________ also thought that the email I received today saying my cancelled order was being resent was somehow generated in error. She seemed to think it originated from your website and she said she would follow up with the person running the website and see what had happened. I probably asked to talk to the “vendor” again and was refused. Ms. ________ seemed to care and have initiative. She said she would keep track of this situation. She said that her department was in charge of debiting cards and they would not debit my card. Although I no longer have faith in what anyone at OfficeMax tells me, she is obviously sincere and I hope she’s right.

GAP 6: In case it wasn’t sufficiently clear, OfficeMax personnel at various levels made me think that someone above them could put me in touch with this “vendor” but no one ever could or would. You should clear this up so everyone says the same thing. Perhaps you should let customers talk to whoever we want because you guys aren’t talking to each other enough.

Right now you have a company where the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. That is impacting customers in a bad way. I know that hours of my time have been wasted once again today. I may go down and deposit cash into my bank account today to cover any potential errant charges. I’m thinking of contacting [my credit card company] to block any further charges from OfficeMax. When you do this they require evidence, and they do an investigation, which takes time.

By this letter I am billing your for a further $200.00 for my time and energy over this. I’m hoping that you do not consider this to be an acceptable experience for an OfficeMax consumer and will want to make it right.

I’ve seen other companies behave like this in recent years. Verizon DSL is like this but, choices for high speed internet at a particular address are more limited than choices for office supplies. Verizon DSL is actually doing stuff like this deliberately in a lot of cases. . . . I hope that OfficeMax is not doing this deliberately.

GAP 7?: I think you should look for departments or persons whose short-term numbers might be boosted by double billing or billing for cancelled orders. I know that such behavior (refusing to let go of customers even when they cancel) is deliberate at Verizon DSL and some other companies, all of whom will pay a long term price. They way this is done, when it is done, is so obvious that the customer can catch it, but a formidable obstacle course is put in place to setting things right. Different departments seem not to communicate with each other, even in the most obvious ways. The people you talk to sound sincerely sorry and like it is an accident. Sound familiar? I’ve found out, that at these other companies that it is deliberate, greed hiding under a mask of innocent incompetence. Those doing it hope to be out and gone by the time the company has to pay the consequences. Have there been any management personnel transferring in from Verizon, dial up internet companies, AOL, or the like? Those are some companies that do things like that. You might want to audit suspicious areas and put fake customers through them a lot and see what occurs.

To compensate for today’s annoyances, please remit another:
$200.00 (by check, no store credits please)
For further time and annoyance to customer, _________.

I will wait (30) thirty days from the receipt of these respective letters for payment. After that I will bill the Board of Directors, if necessary. Hopefully it will not be.

Thank you for your attention to these matters.

Former OfficeMax Customer


May 4, 2005


Re: disputed charges being made repeatedly
Via Fax #: __________
Please help me. OfficeMax keeps trying to charge me for an order of office supplies that I cancelled shortly after I made it. I had cancelled it four or five times but they delivered it days later and charged me for it. I have hopefully had that credited back. Then yesterday they sent me an email saying that they were sending the same cancelled order. I have cancelled this order about six or seven times right now. I talked to five OfficeMax personnel yesterday about this, including two supervisors and one manager. I was told it was taken care of. Then today I got a duplicate email saying that they were sending out the same order again. I believe at this point this is fraud by someone there. I have also written two certified letters to their CEO. I could send them to you, preferably by email.

To confirm that I cancelled this order you could contact:
[contact info for five OfficeMax personnel]

There should be no charges from OfficeMax on my card and none in the future. I will NOT buy anything from them for at least one year, if not forever. As I said, the order I made on April ___, 2005, I cancelled shortly afterwards and rejected when it was delivered to me in error. I’m told that that was credited to me but please credit any other charges from OfficeMax and more importantly, BLOCK ANY MORE CHARGES FROM THEM. . . . .

Thank you for your cooperation.


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