Lyle's Blog

Shopping for Christmas Online

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I am not one who shops alot online but this year, I decided that it might be the best place to find a good deal. Boy was I wrong!

I started off by purchasing a laptop for my youngest daughter. I found a good reconditioned "like new" laptop from a group calling themselves "Laptop Group" on ebay. They had pretty good feedback for the most part and seemed to know their stuff. I gave myself plenty of time to get it in time for Christmas. In two weeks, when he had not arrived, I called the company. I was told that they were out of that particular type but they could upgrade me to a machine twice as nice for another $150. I was now over $400 but from their sales pitch, it sounded pretty good. A couple of weeks later, I received a beat up old HP laptop with a broken switch and dead batteries that would not charge. I called and they said that I could send it back if I wanted less any charges that the business had entailed such as shipping and handling or let them hand pick me out an even better Dell laptop and send it to me. I had to pay all shipping charges for sending mine back however. To get it back in time, I sent mine two day for over $50. I was now pushing $500. In the mean time, I found a Gateway with twice the stuff in it at Walmart for $400. The Dell that I recieved just before Christmas was a 6 yr old model but it does work. I then discovered that I could have purchased a brand new one from Dell for a little over $400.

I then went to purchase my other daughter a camera. I went to a site called ShopUSA which claimed to screen website companies for the best buys. I found a very nice buy of the one that she wanted from Budgetphoto. ShopUSA gave them a five star rating with over 5000 glowing reviews. I purchased the camera and was sent a email asking me to call the company to verify. I was first left on hold for around 15 minutes. While on hold, the voice told me that they strove to have the best customer service around. They said if you have any problems, please let them know as customer satisfaction was their job one. The voice at the other end of the line said, "Yea, can I help you?". I explained about my purchase and my email. He then said "hold on". This happened twice more until he said that he was having problems with his computer. He had no personality that I could tell. He then asked me for my order number. I gave it to him and he said that I needed to verify what was in the order. I went over the package item by item and when I got to the last (mp4 player), I asked him what an mp4 player was. Only then did I realize that no one was on the other line. A phone started to ring. It rang for around 3 minutes. I was then put on hold again for about 10 minutes. Since I had placed the order, I did not want to mess it up, so I patiently waited. A voice came on saying "how can I help you?". I told him I was not sure how he could and explained in detail how my phone call had been going. uncaring, he said "I'm sorry, can I verify your order. I said, certainly and gave him my number.

He went over the order with me and then said, "Would you like to order batteries?". Shocked, I said, "you mean it doesnt come with batteries? It comes with a case, two lenses, two tripods, a cleaning kit, and lens protectors but no batteries?". "You bought the cheap set." he explained, "What do you expect?". "Batteries.", I returned. "Well, the cheap set does not come with them." I asked how much and he said $160 each (I later discovered that they could be bought from the manufacture for $40. He then asked me if I wanted a charger for another $160. I now had had enough. I told him how I felt his company had baited me. He merely said, "If you don't like to deal, cancel it." I promptly did. He said, "Fine, your cancel order number is the same as your order." He then hung up.

I was fit to be tied. I went on the ShopUSA site to put in my own review. I signed up to give reviews and had to go through a few of those pages where they try to sell you stuff until I was finally allowed to give my review. After I had finished and posted, I went back to the site only to find that my review had been ignored. They had the same 5008 glowing reviews. I then relized that the sites were in business with each other.

The moral of the story. Don't shop online unless you know for a fact that the company is a reputable one and know exactly what you are ordering.

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