How to lose a customer

I have recently had the pleasure of having needing to contact the customer services department of three companies. Two will be getting my custom again, one will not.

Firstly I had to phone Dell about my broken XPS M1330 laptop. Apparently nvidia hadn't counted on their graphics chip getting hot, so when it does it basically expands, pops its solder, and no more laptop. Despite being a year out of warranty, all I had to do was mention the Sales of Goods Act 1979 to the Dell chap, and before I knew it I had an engineer booked to come the next working day, for free, to fix my laptop, for free. They might make shoddy hardware, but they have great customer service. Happy customer, will buy again.

The next company was Amazon. Well, I say Amazon - it was actually one of those random companies who sells through their market place. I ordered a cheap headset for my desk phone, and when it arrived, it was not "Condition: new" as advertised - it was covered in detritus consistent with it having been previously inserted into someone's ear. Two short e-mails later, and I'm keeping the device and getting a partial-yet-significant refund - they must have lost money on postage alone. The pressure of keeping a good rating in Amazon's marketplace seems to ensure good customer service. Reasonably happy customer with device now sitting in bleach, will shop in the marketplace again, and have even left this particular company good feedback.

But the third one was Ebuyer.

I last bought something from Ebuyer in 2005. My experiences with them back then were dubious and limited, and since then I have only heard bad things, so I usually buy my computer bits from either overclockers or amazon. Having said that, I do try to shop around and get the best deal, so when it came to buying a cheapo stick of ram for my netbook, I figured it would be worth giving Ebuyer another try, given they were nearly £5 cheaper than Amazon, and I didnt need the memory for a week and a half.


Three times they told me the product was in stock, but three times they then changed their mind and told me they couldn't deliver it. Twice customer services told me it would be sorted. When they missed the delivery date, they told me they'd push it through and give me free next-day delivery. Finally when I complained on twitter that it should have been here yesterday, they promised me a phone call.

Even after their relentless incompetence they could have still saved the situation at this point, and turned me into a repeat customer. If a company screws up repeatedly but then apologies and does everything in their power to get me my order as soon as possible, I'd totally forgive them. I'd probably sing their praises to anyone I could for the rest of time, like I did and do for Amazon and Dell. Especially if the company did it for a trivial order and made a £1.91 loss due to having to switch from a discontinued line. I'm not expecting free stuff or compensation, I'm just expecting good customer service, and to receive what I ordered.

This is what I expected from my phone call, but it seems I expected too much - at least from Ebuyer.

Firstly, the phone call never came - they only rang after I complained on twitter for the third time. Sure enough, they fell on their sword and admitted that they had been out of stock all along, but then they told me that they have cancelled my order, and as compensation have added a free next-day delivery token to my account - regardless of the fact I'd already been given a free next-day delivery token the day before, but it had done me no good.

I expressed my disappointment at the delay in no uncertain terms - which is quite unusual for me - and she gave me some line about how the customer service girl was new. I'm not sure exactly how is that an excuse, it just means their training and systems suck. She finished the call by saying that she wouldn't want me to think that it's representative of their normal level of service.

Well, it might not be, but I'm never going to find out. Even though their memory is still cheaper than anywhere else, I've ordered it from Amazon. I refuse to give Ebuyer another penny.

Next time you are looking for some computer hardware, may I recommend Amazon or the ever-awesome Overclockers - even if they are £5 more than Ebuyer. At least it'll arrive.


The Prince of When

This is why I let William go to the lagoon.

Just thought I'd let you know, that EBuyers process of incompetence doesn't end at the ordering phase.

I ordered a motherboard from them just under a year ago, it arrived and has been working until October 11, whereupon the broad refused to boot correctly following a routine system restart for an update.

Twice the board went back to them, and twice came back "No Fault Found" on the second return, the board which was only partially damaged when returned to them would now not even attempt to start let alone go into the post phase.

After yet one more return, and several phone calls to their 10p per minute support line, I have now been accused of damaging the board myself and they are using that as an excuse, unless I can prove they damaged it.

Needless to say I will not be dealing with these charlatans again.

Ouch, that's pretty nasty - you have my sympathy!

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