I recently posted about finding the exact ceiling fan I wanted for an awesome price at a particular website. I had seen this fan listed plenty of other places and most all of them said “Unavailable”, ”Discontinued”, or “Out of stock”. But not here. At the time I first found this website, I was still wondering if I could mount the fan on my sloped ceiling. So I sent them a question through their website asking about mounting options.
The next day, when I learned from the installation manual that I could install the fan on my ceiling, I returned to their website and placed the order.
Oddly, I didn’t get an email confirmation right away. I thought that was really weird. So I went to their Order Status page, but I need my order number before I can check the status. So I fired off a quick email to their service department. Then I had the idea that I should just call – it’d be quicker. So, while on break, I called. The lady was pleasant and gave me the order number I needed. She also emailed me a copy of the sales confirmation.
Later in the day, I got a second email with my sales confirmation. I’m not sure which was from the CSR and which was from the website, but a picture was starting to form in my mind and I didn’t like it. This company has human review of every order before confirming an order is valid. That’s pretty old-school and I don’t like it. Mind you, my credit card had been charged immediately.
Later on yet in the day, I got another email. This one said the products I ordered are discontinued and can’t be fulfilled. Mind you, my credit card has been charged already. So I immediately called them and cancelled the other items on the order, the downrods.
Then I get an email from my original contact with the company asking if I could mount the fans on my ceiling. They replied that the item was discontinued and couldn’t be ordered. Then after that, I got an response on my other request about my order number saying that they have resent my order confirmation. Holy shit.
Look at the disaster that happens when you try to have an old technology website/business operating as a real-time/modern business. It completely falls apart. And the end result for me is that I felt very betrayed. They didn’t have any product availability status on their website. They didn’t have any stock status (because they don’t keep stock, they just order from the manufacturer when an order comes in). They charge your credit card before they confirm they can get the product. Their customer service, while not bad at all, is still not speedy enough.
This experience damaged my impression of all other resellers in that industry. I browsed around looking for alternative sellers and couldn’t bring myself to try any of them. Where did I end up? Amazon. I relegated myself to buying the maple blades instead of the black blades (for now). The seller showed a specific quantity in stock, so I had faith that I would get my product. The price was a bit higher. $194 instead of $134, but still not $260. And the product should be here within a week, instead of 4-6 weeks.
Just one more reason Amazon is taking over the world.