Just thought I’d share my experiences from trying to buy an MP3 player from a crappy, online store called ComputerWebstore.
I’ll start with the shopping experience, in chronological order this is what happened:
- I placed an order on August 4 for a nice little MP3 player. I got an email confirming my order almost immediately. They estimated I’d have the player in 3-10 days.
- On August 8 they charged my credit card.
- Between August 8 and August 17 I went back a few times to their web pages to see what was happening. There seemed to be no progress with the order whatsoever. I did notice however that their web site didn’t work properly with Mozilla Firefox. It’s even mentioned that the browser you should use as a customer is IE. Yuck!!
- On August 17 I was fed up with waiting and wanted to cancel the order. Since the item still wasn’t shipped I thought there’d be no problem doing that. Except of course that their web site doesn’t allow cancelling orders. I found no telephone number, only a couple of email addresses and a promise to respond to emails within 24 hours. I sent an email requesting that my order be cancelled. I also did some digging and found out that the address to ComputerWebstore is actually a mail box rented from MBE Liverpool (they even replied to my email and confirmed that this was the case).
- 24 hours after the first email I still had no response, so I sent a second email reiterating my whish to cancel the order.
- On August 20 I had given up on ComputerWebstore and called ConsumerDirect to see what help they could offer. Quite impressive really that they are open on a Saturday! They sent me some template letters to send to the company.
- On August 22 I received an email from ComtpureWebstore, not as an answer to any of my previous emails, but they were saying that the model of MP3 player I had ordered was no longer available. They hadn’t even read my previous mails since they asked whether I’d like to order another model. Yeah, right, like I was going to do that! I replied asking them to cancel my order, again.
- The day after I received a letter saying that my order would be cancelled, and that I would be refunded.
- On August 24 the order was actually cancelled.
- On August 30 I got tired of waiting for the money and sent them another email asking why it took them 4 days to charge me and more than a week to refund me.
- On September 2 my credit card was credited with the full amount.
I’ll never order anything from ComputerWebStore again. Arguably they didn’t behave really bad, but their behaviour is not the kind that should be supported by keeping them in business. Anyway I did learn a few things from this:
- Don’t order stuff from a web store without researching a bit first. I quick search on Google gives a link to reviews of ComputerWebstore on PriceRunner.
- Don’t order stuff from a web store that don’t give out proper contact information. The lack of phone number and the fact that the address is a rented mail box is a bit dodgy.
- ConsumerDirect is a good resource to have! Thank you DTI for providing it!