Was the US Mint’s apology to soften the blow?

We highlighted the American Eagle silver coin 25th anniversary ordering problems in an earlier blog post. We also included the text of the US Mint’s apology and proposed next steps to fix their ordering issues in a post earlier this week.

Now, though, US Mint customers are beginning to receive a message of a different kind.

Was the US Mint apology email sent to soften the blow of all the rejection letters they would be sending?

People who “successfully” ordered the five-coin set for the American Eagle Silver Coin’s 25th anniversary are now beginning to receive cancellation notices from the US Mint.

The orders were “successful” in that they navigated through the US Mint’s ordering system and received a confirmation email with their specific confirmation number included.

To most people, this would equate to a “successful” order, especially since the US Mint’s ordering system’s confirmation response did not indicate the order was wait-listed.

This latest US Mint email states:

Dear US Mint Customer,

Thank you so much for your interest in the American Eagle 25th Anniversary Silver Coin Set.

Due to overwhelming demand, the product reached its production limit in sales quickly and the United States Mint accepted a limited number of orders on a waiting list in the event that products became available due to order cancellations.

Unfortunately, based on the time your order was taken, we can now confirm that your waiting list order will not be processed. Please note you will receive an order cancellation notification confirming this when your order is cancelled from our system.

The United States Mint

In responding to the customer frustrations, the US Mint’s earlier, “apology” email mentioned, “Accordingly, we recently selected a contractor that will develop and implement our new system—one that will be modern and comparable to other top-rated retail Web sites.”

The US Mint’s current system exhibits a lack of concern for their customers’ interactions and their customers’ expectations. As such, their contractor should have significant knowledge of the US Mint customers’ buying habits, understand the buying psychology of the numismatist or investor and have a positive track record building fair shopping carts for limited edition products.

Of course, we all know the stories of how the US government selects contractors – from $500 hammers to multi-million dollar IT systems that get paid for by taxpayer dollars but never implemented (e.g., FAA and FBI).

For the US Mint’s new system, we dream of a state-of-the-art ordering system that is fair to everyone – not a system made by the lowest bidder which turns into the highest cost and doesn’t work much better than the old one.

We can dream, and sometimes dreams come true…but, we won’t know for sure until sometime in 2012 (or 2013 or…) after the US Mint’s new system goes live.

In the meantime, it looks like people will be receiving their “expect a cancellation” email from the US Mint and experiencing further frustration in addition to their disappointment.