Tuesday, June 05, 2007

eCost.com: "Customer service is not our business"

On June 4th, I ordered a camera and a memory card to go with the camera from eCost.com.

The memory card was a 2GB High-Speed 133x Secure Digital (SD) Card for $12.

The camera was a 7.1 Megapixel EasyShare C743 Digital Camera for $89. That's a pretty low cost for such a camera, and I found it on the eCost "Bargain Countdown" section. At the time I ordered it (about 2 pm) the "Countdown" showed 3 left.

Shipping was under $11 for both items. So, I thought, the shipping adds $2 to the card and $9 to the camera. "That's reasonable."

When I arrived home, I had received two emails from eCost.

The first told me that the camera order had been cancelled. The second told me that the card was being shipped for $12 + 9.44 shipping. OMG! That's unreasonable!

I called them that evening, but, of course, their office is closed. So, I called them on June 5th. I spoke to a representative who told me they could no longer cancel the order for the card, since it was already being prepared for shipping.

Apparently, they had run out of the camera. I was intrigued. While online with the customer service representative, I checked their website. It still showed 3 items available. And, if I opened the item page, it showed 9 items available.

As of 2:30 pm Eastern time June 5th, their website still shows they have three "on hand". DHL, the shipper of the card shows no record of their shipment number.

He checked, and more of the camera are due to arrive on June 20th. I suggested they order one of those for me, and either waive the shipping cost of the camera, or the shipping cost of the card. He couldn't do it. So, I asked to speak to a manager.

After being on hold for a while, I spoke with her. I explained the situation to her. She denied they chose to cancel part of the order. I explained to her that I had no choice in the matter, therefore they chose to cancel part of the order. I suggested they call someone to stop the shipment. But, apparently, the shipment is already out the door. I asked several times what they could do to appease a customer who, as I put it, felt "abused" by their system. She said they could do nothing. I asked to speak to her supervisor. She would not only not give me the name, but explained he is not in the building for the rest of the day, and besides, he couldn't help me either. Eventually I did get her to blurt out the name, something like M. J. Hee, but she refused to give me a phone number.

What she was willing to do, is to send an internal email with the request to forgo the shipping charges, although she told me she had done several of these requests in the past, and all of them had come back refused.

Not too much later I received the following email:

============ begin ================
Date: Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Re: Return Authorization

Dear Xxx Xxxxx,

Thank you for contacting us in regards to your request. After speaking with you I have carefully forwarded your information to the appropriate department. Please allow up to 24 hours for processing. During this time Xxx Xxxxx I ask that you visit our easy-to-use Help Desk for further details regarding our policies.

After your information has been processed, you will be contacted via email with the status of your request. Carefully review the email you receive and if you have any further questions Xxx Xxxxx, please do not hesitate to contact us for additional assistance.
============= end ================

Needless to say, I'm not amused. It is not a return authorization. And, I'm not really expecting them to change their policies.

More to follow, later...



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