mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Friday, December 15, 2006

FedEx Ground plus CompUSA... my personal axis of evil..

So back in September, CompUSA had this great deal going. They had a router for $10 after rebate, with a whole shitload of stuff free - a bluetooth headset, a print server, a modem, and some software. So I showed up at the store right when they opened - to find out that half the stuff wasn't even in stock.

So a few days later, CompUSA changed the rebate so you could sub a different bluetooth headset. So I ordered all the crap. I had the stuff shipped to work, out of force of habit - I used to live in the middle of Baltimore city and got in the habit of having stuff shipped home so the crackheads in my neigborhood would't steal it and sell it for a vial.

So a few days later I get an email that they couldn't ship my order because the billing address didn't match the shipping address, so I needed to either call my credit card company and email them, or email them and have them send it to my billing address. I do the latter. A few days later I get another email saying it was still on hold. So I call Amex, then email compusa. A few days later, they ship two of the five items. I keep waiting for the other 3 but they never come, and the rebates expired. So I was still able to send for the software rebate (with some help from a UPC database - it required a copy of the router UPC) and figured I'd eat the cost of the print server. I use the little form on Compusa's website to cancel the rest of the order, and while I'm disappointed to not get the deal, I'm only out $25 for the print server, and I can probably sell it and get part of that back. I figure I'm done with this.

Until I get an email at the end of November that they were shipping my order, the order I thought I had cancelled two months earlier. So I end up having to call and get an RMA to return it. Luckily, the woman is pretty good about it.

So a few weeks later, compusa has another decent deal - eHome router and network card, free after rebate. Great hamfest fodder. I figure I'll pay the $5 for shipping, and this time I'm smart - I have it shipped to my house. None of that crap about billing address not matching shipping address this time.

So last Thursday I come home around 9:30 from my night MBA class to find a FexEX Ground tag on my door. There is a check on the box suggesting that the package was left at the apartment office - which is odd, because I live in a townhouse that I own and thus don't have an apartment office. The check is above "left with neighbor" and an L, though, so I figure maybe they left it with my neigbors on the left - who are drunk college students, but that's besides the point.

So the next day, I roll back from my traditional Friday dinner at Field's to find another tag. Call FedEX saturday morning. I can't have them send the package to work - that can only be done at the request of the sender, ie Compusa (who is closed on Saturday). I already had plans for the day, so I go tour the clipper city brewery with bsom and then hit the Patapsaco Flea Market, since we're right around the corner. And come home to another door tag.

I call FedEx ground on Monday. They will hold the package for 10 days, but I can't pick it up until Tuesday and I should call back to make sure they are holding it. So I call back Tuesday, and they tell me I can pick it up - in Dundalk, and they are only open until 5pm.

So finally today I used my lunch break to drive down to Portal Street, convinently located near several check cashing and fried chicken outlets, to pick up my package. I ended up spending $4 in tolls, getting there and back, plus gas and wear and tear on the truck. The irony is that the items I was going to buy were $10 cheaper online than instore, but I had to pay $5 shipping. So with the costs of picking up the package, it would have been cheaper and easier just to drive to the damn store.

Do I think CompUSA or FedEX are evil? Not really. I do think they managed to have a perfect storm of policies that made things very inconvinient, however. I understand the billing + shipping thing, as credit card thieves will often have stuff ordered with a stolen card shipped to a different address. However, CompUSA managed to lose two emails from me, which suggests that could use a little work. More importantly, it's stupid of CompUSA to require a signature IN PERSON for $100 worth of shitty home networking equiptment. At least let me sign the little signature release form and leave it on my door if I want to - I asked FedEX when I called them if I could do this and they said that CompUSA forbid it, that it had to be an in-person sig. See, lots of people have these things called jobs, that they go to so they can have money to buy stuff online, and thus can't sit around waiting for the fedex dude to drop by. It took me almost an hour and a half to drive to and from the FexEX depot, plus tolls - which is exactly what I hope to avoid by buying stuff online.

The other thing that annoyed me about FedEX was that I couldn't reroute the package - I've done that in the past online with UPS packages - had them shipped to work. I understand that FedEX doesn't want people stealing door tags and rerouting packages willy-nilly to themselves, but like the credit card billing thing, it's a pain for legitimate consumers who aren't home to receive signature-required packages.

I do have to admit that everyone I dealt with at FedEX and CompUSA for both these issues was pleasant and cheerful, and I wasn't on hold with either company. The person I picked the package up from was pleasant and fast as well. Still, if things had gone the way they should have, I wouldn't have had to talk to any of them.


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