Usually we have pretty decent customer service here in the U.S., but not always. Recently I had one of the worst--actually maybe the worst--experience I've ever had. And the timing is interesting, because having learned about TrustSwap recently I found myself wondering if it, or a similar service, could help solve this problem.
TrustSwap is aiming to do quite a few different things I won't go into here, but among them are time-released escrow-like payments. You can learn more here.
So what happened?
Back on June 22, I ordered a water filter from an online store that specializes in such things. I had expected it to ship within a within a week or so. About that much time had passed when I got an email from the company saying the filter was on backorder, and that it would now ship around July 9. "Okay," I thought. Not ideal, but not really a problem either.
July 9th came and went. No water filter, no shipping notification either. A few more days go by and no shipping notice, no filter and no communication from the store. I give it a few more days and then start emailing them. No response.
I tried again, and no response. I tried a third time with a "HELLO?!! Anybody there?!!" message and finally someone says "How can I help you?" So I explained the situation and they simply ignored me. Well, we are in the midst of a global pandemic which has affected many businesses, supply chains etc, so I have been extra patient, but there is simply no excuse for no communication. If there is a hang-up due to Covid, then they can easily take one minute to explain that, but instead they have nothing to say.
Finally I told them this is my last attempt to communicate before I file a dispute with Paypal, which I used to make the payment.
It has always bothered me a little that online stores take your money before you actually get the product you order. If they ship it right away, this really isn't a problem. But sometimes there are occasions where they accept your money immediately but ship your product maybe a few weeks later. Some businesses will actually wait to charge you until your item ships. In my opinion this is absolutely how it should always be, but most businesses charge you immediately even if they will ship much later. Imagine if you go to a "brick and mortar" store and pay for a product, but you don't get to take the product home and have to pick it up later...maybe...if they have it in stock! Kind of strange right?
Cryptocurrency opens up a new possibility. With crypto you can "program money" so that it only becomes available when certain conditions are met. For instance at a particular time and date...or perhaps the funds only release when UPS or FedEx verifies the product was delivered. This is one of the ideas behind TrustSwap. Time-released payments.
So in my case, I could have set up a sort of payment escrow via TrustSwap with the water filter company for $58.00. I have at least $58 dollars worth of crypto in my wallet. I sign a "conditional" contract with the private key to my wallet for $58 to be released to the company upon either shipment or delivery. If these terms aren't met, then I still have my money.
This improves my life in the sense that now I don't have to go log in to my Paypal account and figure out how to file a dispute. And go through all that mess. I had to submit a copy of the order etc. A bit of a pain in the ass when life is stressful enough as it is. With time released payments, I don't have to do any of that. I don't have to take on the burden of someone else's mistake and negligence. If they don't ship, they don't ever get paid in the first place!
**I wrote this story earlier, and have just now got a message from Paypal that they've sent a message to the seller, who is given a chance to respond before....get this...I can "escalate" the matter to a "claim" instead of a dispute! And even then I may not get money back for 30 days! That would be mid September. They've had my money since mid June. What a complete mess!
Honestly it's amazing that after all these years, over 20 years now that online shopping has been common here...we still we have this archaic system where people have to file disputes and whatnot when a business fails to meet expectations.
Trustswap is being built on Ethereum, and right now Ethereum has its own issues with network congestion, and huge fees what would not currently allow it to be a suitable solution to this problem. But hopefully by the time Trustswap has its product more fully developed, Ethereum 2.0 will have launched and that will no longer be an issue. Of course, this is just one of many problems TrustSwap is aiming to solve, but I thought I'd share my thoughts in regard to a very recent and negative personal experience, and how TrustSwap or a similar service could possibly solve it.
What do you think. What possibilities about TrustSwap or other crypto start-ups get you excited?