While I don’t usually complain about bad merchants (partly because I seldom encounter any), this one really got me pissed.
You know how recently a lot of startups or inventors will come up with a great idea, post the idea online and get early buyers to “invest” by paying for the item in advance. With that, the inventor gathers the necessary funds to manufacture the item and the early buyer typically gets a small discount. Back in Dec 2010, I read about Iain Sinclair coming up with this great credit card sized LED flashlight called the EON on a couple of tech blogs. The specs were good, and being a gadget sucker, I took the bait. Pay £25 instead of £50 if I pay for it then and they promise to deliver by Mar 2011, else full refund. Seems like a no-brainer, since there is even a full refund.
Fast forward to Mar 2011 … the torch din quite arrive. Instead, I received this email from them.
Many thanks for being one of very first customers to place a deposit for one of our exciting new products.
We received many thousands of orders from all over the world and had to rapidly design and implement a new, super robust, cloud based online store to handle the staggering demand and subsequent traffic to our server(s).
Our new online store is now complete and ready to accept full payment for your order(s) and we have instructed Paypal to refund your deposit immediately. We have also implemented the highest level of age verification software to help control the supply of some utility products in certain territories.
Please click here to complete your order process using the new system.
And guess what? When I click on the link, I was now told that now I need to pay £40 for the torch! Hey, what happen to the promise of £25? I immediately emailed them, and this is what I got.
Out of the blue, the early reservation payment now became just about to “secure place in the order queue only”. And basically what Grant Sinclair was saying is … it’s a great deal, great product, take it or leave it. I’m already giving you a £10 discount, stop complaining. What a horrible way to treat your customers? In this case, customers that believed in you, gave you money in advance and you took them for a ride. I have no idea how many people ordered and paid in advanced like me, but if there were a good sizable quantity, the early funds essentially became interest free working capital for them.
Yes … technically they did not cheat since they gave a full refund. But they certainly broke a promise. Bad way to do business. So beware, and decide for yourself if you want to support bad merchant like this.