Update Nov 24: Turned out I indeed was too optimistic. Updated the timeline
Color me lucky. I’ve done my fair share to support the online economy, but very rarely have I had experiences that have made me regret a purchase decision. I think before this summer I’ve only had to cancel or return two purchases during the decade I’ve been shopping on the internet.
With the aforementioned background, the first truly negative online shopping experience was even more unpleasant, courtesy of Shopping4net.com.
I order toner cartridges for my color laser and some contact lenses from Shopping4net. All items are marked to ship within 1 week in their online store. The order confirmation states July 8 as the expected shipping date. My credit card is charged immediately for the whole amount.
I receive an email saying that the shipment is delayed (without explanation) and that the new expected shipping date is July 13.
I receive another boilerplate email stating that the order is delayed, again without any explanation about the reason. This time the expected shipping date is July 17.
This is the last proactive communication (well, not quite, but more on that later) I receive from Shopping4net.
I’ve finally had enough and I send an angry letter to the company, where I threaten to cancel the transaction with my credit card company unless I hear more from them, soon.
I get a prompt response to my email where they explain that they had been waiting for the black color cartridge, but now that they checked with the distributor, that whole product is discontinued. The black toner is thus removed from the order and my credit card is credited with its price. This remains about the only thing that Shopping4net manages to handle somewhat well.
The shipment arrives—without the contact lenses. On top of that, the package slip is for a completely different order and client, so now I know that a guy in Western Finland ordered a Barbie overnight survival kit from Shopping4net.
I send another email to S4n explaining what happened.
Customer support replies to my emails and insists that the lenses were shipped within the shipment. They ask what kind of package I received and whether it seemed opened.
I reply with the details and tell that the package certainly seemed intact. I repeat that the invoice was addressed to a wrong client and for a wrong order.
I never receive a reply to my email.
I send another email to the customer support asking whether someone could even reply to my email.
I receive a reply the same day:
From some reason the lenses were returned to us so it seems that our shipping staff has packed your order incorrectly and sent the lenses to a wrong client.
It seems? No kidding.
We will send the lenses to you again and hope they will arrive soon.
They never do.
I send yet another email asking what the status of the lenses is, given that it’s been almost another month and I haven’t even received a shipping confirmation.
I finally receive another correspondence from Shopping4net. They acknowledge that
there has been a technical issue with the order and it has therefore not been sent. The issue is now fixed and the lenses shipped to you this morning.
A technical issue? Seriously, what the fuck?
Later that week
The lenses finally arrive. There is an invoice within the shipment, which I ignore since I already paid the whole order with my credit card in July.
I receive a reminder invoice from Shopping4net for the contact lenses. I send yet another email stating that the whole order was already paid by CC and asking them to cancel the invoice.
I hope the story ends here, but based on the history so far, I won’t be holding my breath.
[Updates, November 24th]
Everything seems fine. I get a reply from the customer support:
Tuon korvaavan lähetyksen linssejen summa ei jostakin syystä ollut sama kuin ensimmäisessä lähetyksessä ja summat eivät siksi ole automaattisesti kuitannut toisia vastaan. Olemme todella pahoillamme! Olemme tietysti poistaneet muistutuksen ja kaikki on aivan ok asiakastililläsi!
Kivaa alku viikkoa sinulle!
You need to understand Finnish to appreciate the comedy in the quote. Here’s a translation, sans the broken language, of the relevant part of the message:
The sum of the replacing shipment didn’t match the original so the sums didn’t automatically cancel each other. We are terribly sorry! We have of course removed the reminder and everything is in order in your customer account! (emphasis mine)
I wish it was.
I receive reminder invoice #2:
The following invoices from Shopping4net are past due date.
We have already previously notified you that your invoices have not been paid…
Geez, is this never going to end?
I write another email to the customer support. Stay tuned for more…
What should I (and you) have learned from this?
In a nutshell, here’s Shopping4net for you based on my saga:
- They don’t have a fucking clue about how to run a retail business.
- They lie about what items they have in stock.
- When your order is delayed because some item is unavailable, they will never tell you about it and after it’s delayed enough, they won’t even bother to contact you anymore.
- Even if the items you ordered were unavailable, they will charge your credit card right away.
- They will implicitly say you’re a liar unless proven otherwise.
- They will not respond to your support emails until you remind them several times and/or threaten them with something.
- They don’t have the guts to admit how they fucked up your order. Instead, they come up with ridiculous explanations like technical issues.
- When they ship backordered items, they either out of dishonesty or pure incompetence send you another invoice even if the items were part of an already paid order, which brings us back to the fact that
Shopping4net doesn’t have a fucking clue about how to run a retail business.
So save yourself from what we went through and order from someone else. Their cheaper prices won’t come close to making up for the shitty experience.