In a previous post titled Ordering on the Internet I discussed the saga that I went through just trying to purchase a DVD player from the USA and have it shipped here to me in Japan. Well, I feel it is now time for an update.
I ended up using a company called Provantage, based in Ohio. They were clear with their international shipping requirements, accepted credit cards for international orders – and shipped to Japan – the three things I was looking for.
The problems arose after I placed my order…
For reasons known only to American Express, my credit card keeps getting flagged as stolen because I am trying to use it out of my home country (see rant about that here). Because of this my transaction did not go through with the Provantage accounts department. They sent me an email – which both my mail server and my mail client flagged as Spam, so I didn’t see it.
After a week, and with their mail still sitting in my Spam box, I emailed them again. This time their reply came through (because they were replying to an already established conversation). They informed me that their system was unable to process my card. At this point in time I was curious as to why they had not tried some other means of contacting me – they had my phone number, and even postal address. I didn’t really expect them to post me a letter, but – a customer trying to buy $US300 worth of equipment surly should at least get a phone call? Shouldn’t they?
So, over two nights I scanned images of my cards and two forms of photo ID and sent it to them so they could process my payment. Which finally got completed on July 26th
The item was in stock, well not just in stock they had over 70 of them according to their processing system, so I looked forward to shipping details, and getting my DVD player before I had to do some international travel for work. Things for me however never seem to go smoothly…
A day or two after my payment was processed, I logged back into the site to see what my shipping details were, and at that time it informed me that they had to ship it from one of their regional warehouses to Ohio, to ship it to Japan. I didn’t have a problem with that, until I saw the date they expected it to hit Ohio to on-forward to me – August 2.
I sent them an email, and as I do with all emails that are probably going to end up as a rant, I put delivery and read receipts on it. Now I know these are pretty much useless, but it is a good indication that it has at least hit their mail server. The thing that has really irritated me is that I got a read receipt for my email – and no response… nothing.
On Monday, I decided to try and chase them up again, so I sent them another email asking for the consignment note number and delivery details. I got a read receipt, then shortly after details of my DHL AirWayBill.
A few hours after reading that email, I got a call from DHL - asking to confirm my address. I was impressed – at least my DVD player had made it to Japan. Don’t get me wrong, I was exceptionally disappointed at the lack of communication – and the complete disregard of customer service that Provantage had shown, but at least the player was here.
Yesterday morning, first thing, I called DHL and gave them my address at work to deliver to as I would not be home again. That was fine, and after a few initial language issues it was all sorted. I even emailed DHL shortly after the conversation to make sure they had the address correctly in writing (which they confirmed as completed a couple of hours later).
Watching the AWB tracker on DHL’s site, I saw my package leave one depot, and arrive at the one for the area my office is in. At about 3pm, wondering why it was still sitting at the depot, and getting concerned that it may not make it to my office before I had to leave – I got one of the people I work with to call and speak with them in Japanese
After a lot of very polite discussion and checking of parcel locations, it was confirmed that they did indeed have the correct address, and that it may or may not turn up in the afternoon – possibly tomorrow.
This concerned me… I leave the country on Sunday, and have to take delivery personally (according to DHL). I waited until about 6 and called DHL again myself, this time I was going to put the hard word on them to sort out the delivery. I honestly don’t understand why they can get a package from one side of the world to the other in a day, but can’t get it from one area of Tokyo to another (12 minutes by train) in that same time. Eventually I gave in, and we agreed that it would be delivered no latter then 10am today.
I emailed Provantage again last night, appraising them of the situation, and informing them that if it is not here by this morning, it will have to get sent back because I will not be in the country. Not surprised, two read receipts from the two emails I sent them last night – but no response at all.
So, it is now 9.30 – DHL have another 30 minutes, and I don’t think I will hold my breath – but hey – I have been surprised before.
Out of all this – I have come to the conclusion that there is no company in the USA that can ship technology to the outside world and provide a positive customer service experience in the process.