Online Holiday shopping joy rides………

 COVID 19 has been with us for some time now and I imagine for some time to come as well. The holiday season is a huge time for retail stores and COVID 19 has added a strange twist for them. They have customers who have no issues getting out and shopping but at the same time, there are those that stay home and choose online shopping. Has the retail world kept up with these changing times? I have done some online shopping over the past months and had far too many "Are you kidding me" moments and these are a few of them. 

I ordered some computer equipment recently and not to mention the name but fill in the blanks and you can figure it out........Bacon and _ _ _ _  Anyway I ordered some very pricey items that were in stock, indicated when shipping would happen and free shipping. The order was placed and right away I was sent a tracking number indicating the shipping label was made. Well 8 days later the status was still shipping label was made. It was way past the indicated online arrival day and low and behold on the site that date was nowhere to be found. I then noticed shipping was 49.00 not free. I have to give the company credit that they do have online chat assistance. I use the word "assistance" very loosely as when I contacted them and wanted my money back I was told because a shipping label had been made this was not convenient I thought. They sure did take my money very fast and a second later informed me a shipping label was made up to stop any refund. Now I have to wait 5 days until they decide what is going to happen. I do know the items are still at their warehouse with just a shipping label on them. 

I had ordered some shower products for a very good friend of mine. I wanted to ship it to them directly and the site indicated I was able to do so. I was never offered in the order process an alternate shipping location other than the address that was on my credit card. I called them and the computer recording told me to go back to the online site to the FAQ and all my questions can be answered there. Not so I ended up shipping the package to myself and then sending it to my friend on the other side of the country. Adding insult to injury this person lived in the same city where I ordered the product from and shipping was next to nothing but I could not do it.....oh but the site said I could. 

Now there is an Amateur radio company......well 2 of them that I will for sure mention their names DX Engineering and Radio World in Toronto. Both of these companies I recently ordered items from and they were outstanding!   Excellent communications, shipping on time with over the top packaging for a safe shipment. These two companies know how to handle this new exploding online shopping industry. Well, other companies I have dealt with get a failing grade. 

I sent a very new SDR radio down to the U.S for repairs a very straightforward process I thought and it went off without a hitch until it DIDN'T arrive at my home.  What arrived was a card from the post office saying I had to pay duty and taxes before it would be released! A long story short the SDR company filled in the paperwork indicating it was brand new radio and the full cost of the radio was included in the documentation. The cost was well over 500.00. I paid the amount thinking it would be a simple phone call for a refund.....nope! I got the runaround, excuses and no replies to emails I eventually gave up. 

These are just a few of my online dealings and sadly most have been negative and that's sad as this is a new and exploding frontier. Companies are not reaching to be over the top with most if not all aspects of online dealings.  I have had my fair share of unanswered emails, very annoying chatbot sessions and finally live chat that has no idea what to say other than their scripted lines. 

Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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