|Incorrect Transcript 1876 Michigan|
To summarize events - Using the VitalChek service, I ordered a rather expensive ($70.25) 1876 marriage record for Barney and Maggie McGinnis from Michigan. It arrived but Julie Cahill Tarr found the original image online and pointed out several errors in the transcript, including the wrong witnesses.
If you want to read about what happened, see
Disappointment of a Michigan Marriage Record
It took 48 hours before I had a response. That was much faster than I anticipated! The email began with the fact that they had reviewed my order. The process of creating the transcript was explained
"Unfortunately, our searchers made an error when completing your request. They actually have to photocopy the pages in a very large journal so that they have the information for our keyers when they transcribe the record. They make the photocopy and highlight the information; however, in this case, they highlighted the wrong line on the second page."
Whoever wrote the email (there was no name included in the email) went on to say that they were redoing the transcript to show the correct information and would courier it to me at their expense. I understand why they would not offer a refund. The fact that the original image was online and I overlooked it is not their problem. I ordered a transcript (although I confess I thought I was ordering a copy of the actual image) and they were willing to correct their errors and send me the transcript I paid for.
It was disappointing to learn that the items that were omitted on the transcript (Barney's occupation and the church where the marriage occurred) are not part of what you pay for!
"Also, the name of the church where the marriage took place and Barney’s occupation are not issuable items on a transcribed marriage record."
The unsigned email ended with this apology
"I apologize for our error in processing your request. We always try to provide good customer service, but sometimes we don’t always do that. Please accept our sincere apologies, on behalf of the whole staff."
What gave me a chuckle was the added notation that "...we are including a self-addressed stamped envelope with your corrected record and ask that you put the incorrect record in it and return it to our office so that we can dispose of it properly. "
I had to laugh for two reasons - I think I can throw out a piece of paper either by crumbling it and tossing it in the garbage or shredding it in my shredder! Second chuckle was that I had a feeling that Michigan Vital Records didn't have loose Canadian postage lying around and the "stamped" envelope would arrive with an American stamp. Does everyone see where this is going?
Sure enough the corrected transcript arrived yesterday and yep - one American stamp on the envelope for me to return the incorrect transcript. Problem is that last time I checked Canada was not (yet) part of the USA and an American stamp doesn't cut it with Canada Postal Services! In other words if I mail something from within Canada I have to use a Canadian stamp!
It's mind-boggling to me that an official organization such as Michigan Vital Records doesn't realize that every country has its own postage and that the sender of snail mail must use postage from their own country. Since they were issuing me a new transcript they had my address and must have seen that I live in Ontario Canada.
And being a bit of a nit-picker I didn't like that the follow-up email from Michgan Vital Records didn't start with my name (it had no salutation, it just jumped into the body of the email) and had no signature of the person writing it. Just my 2cents Canadian (that's right, I'm not using American money) opinion that a business or professional email or letter should begin with Dear xxx and end with Sincerely yyy