June 5th, 2013

Courtesy email receipts

I'm not sure what's going on out there, but there seem to be a bunch of businesses that provide a courtesy email receipt but without any round-trip/handshake/wtf checking to make sure that the email really belongs to the person who ordered the item. With Apple, for example, you'll get a test email, but no actual information about the person setting it up if you don't get through the handshake, so no one's privacy is violated. Similarly with Amazon.

But I've gotten a _lot_ of email intended for someone else: Home Depot and lesser known. Here's the most recent one, which stands out for a couple reasons. First, they actually responded when I complained. Second, like RedBox, they basically disclaim any responsibility/capacity to prevent further emails. Which is a little startling, because there's frequently more than enough information in these receipts to identify the correct recipient (full name, address, details of the purchase, sometimes more), which would at least appear to have some privacy implications. But third -- and the real reason I'm posting this -- is that customer service at Celebrating Home seems unaware of how google email works.

"I just want to mention that, in looking at this further, we did not send this to your email address. We sent it to [myfirstnamemylastname]@gmail.com (w/o the period between your first and last names. Gmail actually routed it to you in error. So I don’t know why that happened and hope they do not normally do that."

Holy. Fuck.

I replied with the google help page on the subject of dots in the username. The previous email was no more helpful:

"... But unfortunately, we cannot edit the order that the information it already on, so please disregard anything on this order that you receive. This is only one order that has been entered so hopefully, it will not be an ongoing issue for you...."

But that's just like RedBox, so didn't really merit a blog post on its own. It was the second followup that really got me.

I'm now going to go back to trying to convince WieWasWie to cough up a birth record for Gijsbertus Abbenhuis.