Monday, December 10, 2007

My "naughty" list: companies that screwed me this year

As my regular readers have noticed, I haven't been blogging at all in weeks. My apologies, but as you can understand, I'm pleasantly busy.

Well, it's time to start creating a "naughty" list of companies that have screwed me over. We'll begin with FedEx, who I had used a number of times for overnight documents. But those imbeciles lost my trust and business three years ago, when they couldn't even make a simple ground delivery within nine -- NINE! -- business days. I had ordered an important Christmas gift from BlueNile.com, who at the time offered ground shipping at no extra charge. I was assured that it would arrive by Christmas.

So there I was on Christmas Eve, waiting at the office until 6 p.m., with no sign of my package. A FedEx truck had made deliveries that morning, but my package wasn't among them. A call to FedEx assured me that "It's on the truck, just a different truck. Don't worry, it's scheduled for delivery today." At 5 o'clock, I called their number, frantic with the realization that I wasn't getting the delivery, and that I'd have to pray a decent jeweler at the nearby mall was still open. The FedEx representative was incredibly rude and hung up on me.

After that, I swore I'd never use FedEx again. Their records later claimed that the truck showed up at 7. With it being Christmas Eve, everyone was gone by then, of course, even the security guards. BlueNile was very apologetic and told me to refuse the package when FedEx delivered it, so I wouldn't have to pay for the return, and I will say that they refunded my credit card reasonably quickly. I later checked out BlueNile some more and discovered that they're known to engage in very shoddy business practices, which some would consider borderline fraud. That I didn't get the package might have been a blessing in disguise.

I never used FedEx again for any type of delivery: overnight, standard or ground. If it was a shipping option, I'd pick another. How pathetic is a company when I'd sooner trust the USPS? In the rare case that FedEx was the only option, I'd ask the company for another option, or else I'd give up the order. I'm willing to pay more elsewhere so that I'll know the package will arrive when expected.

By the way, six stars out of five for Amazon and UPS, whose "Free Super Saver Shipping" alliance has always gotten me a package within an amazing three or four days. And it's only ground shipping!

Well, earlier this month, I ordered a couple of items from Buy.com and paid extra for "3-5 day shipping," as opposed to ground. It wasn't until the day my order shipped that I discovered, you guessed it, the shipper was FedEx. They were supposed to make the delivery last Friday but unsurprisingly managed to screw the pooch. When I called Friday evening, the phone rep explained that they thought they were delivering to a residence, not a business. I had given them the full commercial address of a relative's small business, where I have packages delivered during the day. Yet somehow they got the cockamamie idea that I was shipping to a residence, and when I had never specified either way! Didn't "_____ Plaza" at the end of the address give them a clue? Since they were clearly in doubt, was it really too hard for the truck driver to take a few minutes to park in the spacious parking lot and inquire inside?

Yes. He apparently turned right around and didn't even try. The phone rep was as nice as she could be, to her credit, and apologized. She said she'd send a message so the truck could deliver on Saturday. Not surprisingly, it didn't arrive Saturday. Should we be surprised that it didn't come today, either? The second rep said, "But we don't deliver to residences on Mondays." What kind of goddamn morons are these, that they're still insisting that they're delivering to a residence, after I've now told them twice that it's to a business? The rep was rude, holier-than-thou and incompetent, so I blew back, "You can all go to hell, just shut up!" and hung up.

Buy.com shares their guilt by association. This is my second experience with them, and they're not doing well at all. Tomorrow will be the fifth delivery day, still within the specified timeframe, but at this point I'm going to insist on a refund of the slightly expedited shipping charges. I could have chosen ground shipping at no additional charge, and at least I'd have known it would take a while.

I previously had ordered these XFX headphones from Buy.com. They were a good deal at $19.99 with a $10 mail-in rebate and free shipping. (Come to think of it, was it FedEx? It was only ground shipping and so took a while.) I wanted to try them as full-sized headphones, and the "shake" feature sounded really neat. I have to say, it is, on top of the excellent sound: explosions and other deep-bass sounds will make the headset vibrate, adding a little realism. The microphone is a bit tinny in quality, but more than adequate for online gaming.

XFX sent me a postcard claiming that I didn't include the original serial number, and that the receipt I included was not sufficient. So after I did send them the serial number, clipped from the packaging, what am I supposed to send them now? And if the original packing slip, plus the "Please print for your records" Buy.com receipt, don't qualify as receipts, what do? After a bit of Googling around, I found that I'm not the only one taken by XFX's rebate scam.

I had always done well with rebates, like with Verizon's "free" cell phone upgrades that mean paying $50 now with a $50 rebate. But now there's this scam by XFX, and recently Symantec ignored my $20 upgrade rebate on one of their products. What I truly wish is that each of their employees involved would get nothing but lump of coal in their stockings.

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