How not to run an eCommerce site

I bought a refurbished Dell Axim V5 PDA as a cheap replacement for one I broke.  It didn't come with a lot of accessories, so I went to Dell.Com and bought 4 items.  What follows is a description of how tremendously poor the experience has been:

- It took 2 hours to get an order acknowledgement (which in and of itself is odd.  Why send an acknowledgement before a confirmation?).

- Minutes later, the order confirmation arrived.  Again, why two messages?  And why so long for them to be processed?  The order(s) (more on this below) were placed around 11pm.  How inefficient is their order processing system?

- The next day, I checked on these order confirmation links.  Sure enough, when clicking on the links in the emails, they went to Dell, which responded, “we have no record of these orders.”  Repeatedly. 

- I should mention these were all next-day air orders.  So, for 4 items, I ended up with 3 shipments.  Including two coming from the same fulfillment center (I gather, based on order number) at the same time. 

- Once the orders actually showed up online, you couldn't click on the order number and get the shipping information.  No, that would be convenient.  Instead, you have to click on the shipment status field in the order status grid.  Since, of course, you wouldn't want to be able to see order info, such as payments, etc. and also see the shipment status.

- Except for the fact that even though the order detail screen showed an order as being shipped, if you clicked on the shipment status field, it told you no such order existed.

- I should point out that eventually, I got everything, next-day.  3 packages for 4 items, but still, got them all at once.


posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2004 9:31 AM Print
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