Friday, December 13, 2013

Cyber Week Adventures

In the past I have purchased various things on line, but I have shied away from clothing.  One never knows just how something will fit, and it's hard to judge the quality of something from a picture online.  I didn't want to be out the shipping costs if the item needed to be returned.

 I have a favorite store where I've bought a lot of my clothes for many years. It used to be in the mall that I frequent in Ottawa. It seems the mall decided it needed that space for something else so my store disappeared. There are still a couple of other outlets for this store where I can go, but I'd have to make a special trip to get to them. My shop decided to get in on Cyber Week this year.

The Cyber Week sales were too good to resist. I do, after all, know my size at that store, so I jumped in and tried to buy a pair of my favourite cords for just $19.99 on Dec 4th.  These cords are normally about $65, though I would never pay that much for them, and usually wait until they go on for half price, or something.  I had already decided I wanted another pair this winter and was willing to wait until the big sales after Christmas. The problem with that is the colour I want may be gone, or the size I fit into could very well be sold out.  This Cyber Week sale was too tempting to pass up.

It went smoothly. I picked out a colour, after a bit of hemming and hawing, then chose the correct size and went to cash out my purchase. There I discovered that they were deducting an additional 30%, so I went back in and picked out another pair in a different colour.  By the time I had cashed out, the total came to $40.41 including the shipping and the taxes.  That's just fantastic, and I was all ready to mark my calendar to go shopping on Cyber shopping at the same time next year.

Then the invoice came in my e-mail and my VISA was being charged at the full price.  The total came to over $111 so I fired off an e-mail saying that I'd just made the purchase at their sale price and they could either send me a corrected invoice or cancel the order.

I waited for a few hours and got no response.  I checked my banking and saw that the full charge had indeed showed up on my VISA account.  I decided to phone them. The lady was very apologetic. She said the computer had a glitch in it and she was recalculating my total, even as we spoke. The final total, she told me, was $54.16.  I mentioned that that was not what I had seen when I put the order through, and she said, "But there is shipping."  I knew the shipping had been included in my total, but was relieved to have her at least get the charge down to a  more manageable amount.

The lady mentioned during this conversation that my address was a postal box, and she wanted a street address. I gave that to her, grumbling to myself that now I'd have to be at home to receive the parcel.  All my other online purchases come by regular mail.  I really hate being held captive by delivery people.

I went back in to the site and investigated.  That's when I noticed the 30% off was just supposed to be on regularly priced items, so that was another computer glitch, and explained why her total was different from mine. I admit I had not been expecting that extra 30% off anyway, but it did cause me to go back in to get another pair, and I will be bringing that up to their attention when this is all finished.

I decided to recreate the purchase, and was prepared to capture screens along the way so I could prove the final total I had been originally shown.  I usually print that page, but saw the confirmation e-mail arrive and foolishly closed the site before I opened the e-mail. As it turned out, the deal was so good that my colours and size had already sold out so I couldn't duplicate the order after all. I guess a lot of other people liked that extra 30% off too.

I put that order in a week and a half ago, and I have been watching the VISA charges ever since.  They were very quick to put the charge through,  but it took them over a week to correct it.  I never did get a response to the e-mail I sent the first day.  No new invoice arrived in my mail at all.  I did get an e-mail that the parcel had been prepared for shipment and that I would receive a further e-mail from Purolator telling me the tracking number when they were ready to ship. 

I saw when Purolator put a label on my package on Dec 10th.  I waited for it to show up all the next day. When it didn't arrive by the end of the day, I tracked it down, and saw that it was returned to them with a notice "Attempted delivery - incomplete / incorrect address provided."  I had personally given the address to the online order lady when I called about the original invoice, since she wasn't happy with the post office box number. Could she have written it down wrong?  Now I had to contact Purolator and find out what the problem was. You do that by way of an online chat, and it was now too late in the day to reach them. I made note of the time that the office opened in the morning and made sure I got online with them early enough to get the parcel back on the road that day.

When I asked what the problem was,  I was told, "We need a unit number and a buzz number."

I had brain fog for a moment there. I had no idea what she was asking for, and stared blankly at the invoice. I was just about to ask her where I should be looking when it dawned on me, they thought I lived in an apartment!  That's silly.  If the truck had come down my street, it would see there are NO apartments in the area. I told her that, and once again gave my address, going so far as to tell her I was at the east end of the street.  She said she would send it out the following morning...Dec 13th.  So getting online with them first thing in the morning wasn't going to help after all.  I was going to have to wait another day. But at least I knew I was being allowed to escape from the house for one day.

I don't know why I looked later that day, but it appeared, by the end of that day, that a total of four attempts had been made to deliver my pants. I still had time to get someone on the chatline this time though, and I did that.  She assured me that there had only been one delivery attempt so far, and that the other reports were because the warehouse scans everything on a regular basis. She asked me a couple of questions and I explained, once again, that there are no apartments here. I live in a single family dwelling.

So the order I put in on Dec 4th took until Dec 13th to show up at my door. The label on the package indicated that they didn't know whether to go east or west on my street, even though I had told them (but the driver must have called that in as there was an additional label that had nothing but the word "East" on it).  This is also foolishness, since my street is exactly 3 blocks long, and there is only one block west of the main street,  so my house number could not possibly have been in that direction. I think some of these drivers are getting paid to joy ride, wasting gas without actually looking for the address on the lable.  How else would you explain all this?

I just looked at the tracking site again and I see that the driver has entered the fact that he has now delivered the package. He did spell my name wrong though.  It's a wonder he found the street, let alone the house!

My first internet purchase of clothing has been quite the adventure.  It cost me more than I intended, and was very hard on my nerves at times. Still, I got a good bargain in the end.... even if I did end up with two pairs of pants instead of just one. I'm not sure if I'll ever try this again though. We'll see how adventurous I feel next year at this time. In the meantime, I think I'll stick to the actual stores, even if I do have to make a special trip now and then.

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