I thought that buying online would lead to a smooth experience by avoiding the chaotic high streets during the festive season. But shopping in the digital world proved that it can be as stressful as the real world with my recent purchases with bee.com and theHut.com.
Bee.com are relatively new and still growing company and I’ve ordered from them before without problems so I didn’t think I’d have any problems making a pre-order with bee.com.
They did what?
So anyway, two days after release date, my item hadn’t arrived. My account indicated the order was still “awaiting for despatch” and the product page showed they were out of stock – so I assumed that was the reason why my item is not here yet.
On the third day I still hadn’t received my item nor have I heard from them so I decided to contact them. It took them two days to reply with a short email – please confirm your order number so I can investigate this for you. I thought that’s fine and replied with my order number. They then took 5 days to confirm what I had already assumed and gave me the choice of either waiting until they have stock or cancelling the order. At this point, I was annoyed, but they ran out of stock, so what can you do? Having seen the product page claim they had stock ready to be shipped in 24hrs, I replied promptly with my decision to keep the order. I expected a response a response; a follow up of some sort. Nothing came back. No reply, no item, nothing. I gave them the benefit of the doubt that they sent my item and just forgot to update their website. But no. I went to my “support ticket” and realised that my last email has not been recorded! This is strange because I replied in exactly the same way as I had with previous conversations yet they were all recorded.
Patience finally grew thin so a call to their customer service team is required (actually, I should’ve done this in the first place) but I found myself listening to a pre-recorded message – their staff are too busy to answer the phones during the festive season, so please email them instead! This is the first time I’ve heard of this. They actually shut down one of their communication channels to customers. However, the next day I signed into my account to found that they had changed the date of my order without telling me! It still had the same item, the same price and it was still “waiting for despatch” but the date of the order was different. After some investigation work, it turns out that’s the date they took payment for the order! A package from bee.com finally arrived on 14th December 2011, but imagine the disappointment to find that they had delivered the wrong version (I can’t use/play that format)! An email was immediately sent to their ticketing system requesting for a full refund. I didn’t want to just send it back as the item doesn’t match the invoice. In fact, I have still yet to receive a reply… for all my emails/enqueries.
Would I use them again?
I ordered my item from somewhere else two days ago and it’s now with me already. Granted that had I placed a normal order with bee.com instead, I might not be typing this right now. But my problem with bee.com is the lack of support available for their customers. Yes, it’s close to Christmas, it’s a busy time of the year but I don’t think they should let that compromise their customer service. When everything is working as it should be, bee.com do what is required of them. But when something bad happens, you have to keep on chasing them up, nothing is communicated back to you, you get slow updates. I don’t know if it’s a one off thing as it’s close to Christmas right now but I didn’t enjoy that experience at all. I think there’s a 30% chance at most that I would be using bee.com again in the future.
I’ve used theHut.com quite frequently because of the low cost of their items. I haven’t had any big issues with them before so built some confidence I had in them. This is also another pre-order disaster.
They did what?
For some unexplained reason, theHut.com changed an item in my pre-order that I placed back in June 2011 and they didn’t bother telling me! In the original order I placed, I had 3 Xbox 360 games in it. theHut.com thought it’d be fun to change one of them to a PS3 game! I’m sure I chose xbox360 games because I don’t visit the PS3 section (I don’t have a PS3) and I even have the email confirmation of the pre-order which lists out the 3 Xbox 360 games.
The game that was changed to a PS3 version has had it’s release delayed till February 2012, which is what I wanted to check (the date) and led me to discover that theHut.com changed my order. I contacted their customer services expecting this to be a simple exchange of emails and boy was I wrong.
The first email I sent over, I explained the error they have made. This fell on deaf ears (or blind eyes?) as I just got a short response confirming that I “have a PS3 game in that order”… That was it!? Err… thanks for telling me a small part of what I told you! I replied asking him (customer service agent) to read my email properly and that I simply wanted them to correct the mistake theHut.com have made. I then get a reply apologising that I received the wrong item and that I have a choice of exchanging it or a refund. Again, I had to explain that they’ve got it wrong on their system and that I haven’t received the item yet as it’s due to be released NEXT YEAR (‘next year’ was highlighted to them). His reply is that he can’t change orders, he can only cancel them! So he offered to cancel the order for me and then I could just make another pre-order for that item.
Now, that sounds very trivial but actually isn’t. theHut.com states that if you pre-order with them and the price is reduced at any time after you’ve placed the order, you will be charged for the lesser amount. At this point, the price had already risen! Which means I wasn’t entitled to the lower price I originally had because the records would show my order date as something that was recent and not 5 months ago. So in my fourth email I pointed out that I’d lose my current low price if I have to place my order again. Yet again, he reiterates he can only cancel orders and his reply to my point about pricing was “prices on TheHut.com are subjected to change to availability”. I felt like an idiot for trying to talk sense with them.
My fifth email was a demand that they fix everything at their end and I shouldn’t be the one sorting out their errors! I did nothing wrong yet I am being penalised for it! How ridiculous. The customer service agent then stopped replying. As if to say “just cancel the order, I’ve had enough with you”.
Throughout all of these communications, all I got were hollow “sorry for the inconvenience”. I say hollow because how can you be sorry for something you’re not acknowledging nor are you doing something about? It feels like theHut.com is calling me a liar! So I sent a sixth email to them to cancel all of my orders with them. I’d rather spend more money somewhere else that will actually put in the effort to understand what the problem is and try to fix it.
Would I use them again?
100% NO! I have no idea why they changed the order (maybe to force people to pay more for it?) I feel they don’t value their customers and I have yet to receive a proper apology from them and they still haven’t told me why the order has changed. Absolutely one of the worst online shopping experiences I’ve had.