October 1st, 2009

grim reaper

By far, the worst Internet sales transaction I've ever had

Back on August 20, I ordered a $362 item, and was told that it would ship in 14 days. 14 days later, nothing had shipped, and there was no communication from the seller.

So I emailed the seller to ask about it. He said it would ship in 3-4 days.

Nothing for a week. I emailed him again. The response was that the item is ready to ship, I'd get tracking info soon.

Nothing for another week. I emailed again for a status update. The response is a song-and-dance about parts that were delayed, recalled, etc. Things had to be rebuilt, upgraded, whatever. No update on when the damn thing will actually ship, though.

Another week passed with no further word, so I emailed again. Please note, at all times I've being completely polite, saying "please" and "thank you" and not being a bitch at all. I was told that the item will ship at the end of the week.

Guess what... ANOTHER week went by with no further update. I emailed him again, and when I received no response, I decided I had better file a dispute with Paypal, because the 45-day limit for such things was almost up.

Yeah, that got him talking.

"I've sent you emails. ... Orders are shipping this weekend."

Then, a second, shortly after the first:

"im expected to recieve the final part this friday so ill be shipping the tricorders on monday. I wish you contacted me via phone if you had any concerns before you went to paypal. they now have a hold on the payment and I need it to be removed before I can ship on monday."

Playing my tiny violin now. Oh, but it gets better. In the Paypal dispute, he posts that he's going to ship the item on October 8, which is decidedly not this weekend or Monday or whatever. That's three conflicting statements from the same guy. WTF.

I decided that I would not answer his two emails, and I was sure as fuck not going to call him. I posted the following response to the Paypal dispute:
Hello [seller],

First, let me note that this is not personal. If I waited until after the 45-day mark and did not receive anything, I would have had no recourse with Paypal. Note that in our chain of dialogue since September 4- two weeks after the item was supposed to ship- I was told three times that the item would ship within the next few days. I have the emails to show this. You can therefore understand why I have been nervous about never receiving the item.

Second, let me note that I work in customer service, and I know what it is to have things get delayed that are out of my control. However, if I know that there is going to be a delay, I email my customer proactively to inform them of the problem, and I keep them updated without them having to prompt me. If you go back and check, I was the one who initiated all our conversations about updates, delays, shipping, etc., and I think I have been quite patient in this process. For your future business, I recommend that if you run into these sorts of problems, please take the initiative to let your customers know, and make a reasonable effort to keep them updated without them having to constantly ask for new information.

Third, at no point in any of the prior emails did you invite me to call and speak to you regarding the delays.

You have indicated October 8 as the ship date, so I will wait until October 9 before deliberating any further action on this dispute.

Thanks!

The dispute will stay open until October 21. Before that time, I may escalate it and have Paypal decide the outcome, which I am definitely going to do if this jerk doesn't produce by the end of next week. I don't think I've been rude or unreasonable here.

Blargh. That'll learn me to splurge on expensive doohickeys.