- Complaint tablet to Ea-nasir
- 3767 year(s)
- Iraq (Babylon)
The oldest written customer complaint is the "Complaint tablet to Ea-nasir" and is 3767 years old, acquired by the British Museum (UK) in London, UK, in 1953.
The tablet was discovered in the ancient city of Ur (southern Iraq). The tablet describes the complaint to the merchant, named Ea-Nasir, from a customer, named Nanni. The complaint is in relation to the wrong grade of copper being delivered to Nanni and suggests the feud between buyer and seller had been going on for a long time.
There is a translation of the tablet in Letters from Mesopotamia: Official, Business and Private Letters on Clay Tablets from Two Millenni by Assyriologist A. Leo Oppenheim. The translation states the following:
"Tell Ea-nasir: Nanni sends the following message:
When you came, you said to me as follows : “I will give Gimil-Sin (when he comes) fine quality copper ingots.” You left then but you did not do what you promised me. You put ingots which were not good before my messenger (Sit-Sin) and said: “If you want to take them, take them; if you do not want to take them, go away!”
What do you take me for, that you treat somebody like me with such contempt? I have sent as messengers gentlemen like ourselves to collect the bag with my money (deposited with you) but you have treated me with contempt by sending them back to me empty-handed several times, and that through enemy territory. Is there anyone among the merchants who trade with Telmun who has treated me in this way? You alone treat my messenger with contempt! On account of that one (trifling) mina of silver which I owe(?) you, you feel free to speak in such a way, while I have given to the palace on your behalf 1,080 pounds of copper, and umi-abum has likewise given 1,080 pounds of copper, apart from what we both have had written on a sealed tablet to be kept in the temple of Samas.
How have you treated me for that copper? You have withheld my money bag from me in enemy territory; it is now up to you to restore (my money) to me in full. Take cognizance that (from now on) I will not accept here any copper from you that is not of fine quality. I shall (from now on) select and take the ingots individually in my own yard, and I shall exercise against you my right of rejection because you have treated me with contempt.”
Main image courtesy of the British Museum.