I admit it – I do not like to shop at Future Shops stores. The sales associates are pushy and assume that you don’t know what you want (no matter how hard you try and prove that you do) and you often do not get the best deal at a storefront shop.
I am an online purchaser and I tend to prefer it that way.
Futureshop.ca had this great offer – 1GB USB Flash Drives for $20! Wonderful! That is cheap enough that you are going to want to get them because even if they don’t work well it is an inexpensive enough cost that you are willing to try.
Only problem – trying to buy them.
As I said, I do a great deal of online shopping and I have never seen the level of over-securitizing incompetence that I got when I made the, in hindsight foolish, decision to buy from this company. What is worse (for them, not me) is that the purchase I was making was not for my personal use but for my company. And as the process required more than a few hours of attention from both myself (as principal technology buyer) and our company accountant – which clearly made this ‘economical’ purchase one that was WAY more expensive than necessary – I can guarantee that the next time I (both personally or for business) am called upon to make a quick, small, technology purchase… Futureshop.ca will NOT be where I go.
Heck, seeing as Best Buy now owns Future Shop, I will not be going to them either because, frankly, tarred with same feather.
As I said, I wanted to make quick purchase of a couple USB flash drives. Logged on to Futureshop.ca and found a deal (yeah!) so went forward with purchase. I put them in the shopping cart and head to checkout. Oh, did I want to pick them up at a store or have them shipped? Nope, need shipping. How much would shipping cost to you location? Enter postal codes, get answer. Okay, fine with that, can I now please check out? No, you have to have a Futureshop.ca account. That’s okay; I do so let’s get this order finished…
I hadn’t purchased from them much recently so when I logged in my user ID worked but passwords didn’t. No problem, ask them to send me a new one. It arrives, and I log in. Because I haven’t logged on in a while it needs verification that I am me. Either call the 800 number or enter a previous order number. I chose the latter. Woohoo! I’m in.
First it asks me to update my information. I do. It thanks me. But that is all it does. No indication of where to go from there. Personally, I think it is a pretty basic thing for a site to ask you if you want to return to your order basket or something to that effect at that point – multitudes of other sites can do it… why can’t a major Canadian technology retail company’s?
The next button down on the left hand column is update shipping info. Okay, perhaps that is where I am supposed to go next. Go there, update that.
“Thank you”. End of conversation.
Sigh. Back to the trying to figure out where to go next… Next is fixing your password, which I was going to have to do anyway because the temporary password they gave me was just that: temporary. And certainly not something I want to have to try and remember. So I update it. Again with the thanks. It takes a while (hey it was late at night) before I notice the teeny button for shopping cart up top. I click there – yep there is my order. Only it wants me to start again with the whole ‘find out about shipping’ thing that I have been through at the beginning. Fine, I know how much it costs for shipping… lets move on. You want my credit card? Okay, here it is… NOW can we finish this? FINALLY we get to the ‘thanks for your order, emails on there way to you’ window.
It’s over 45 minutes later but at least I am done…
HA! Not even close. The ‘thanks for order’ message comes through. It says how much the items cost, but no mention of the shipping or final costs. Hard to give that to the Accounting department – Heck it’s hard to even figure out whether or not it will be shipped! Call me crazy but no mention often means ‘not happening.’ But, at least I got an email… so it is a start.
But wait!The next day I get an ‘unable to process order’ email:
“Thank you for placing order number XXXX with futureshop.ca.
As part of our extended customer service, you will receive a telephone call, at the number provided as your bill to phone number, providing further instruction to verify your order.
Please note that we can only discuss these matters with the credit card account holder in person.
We will send you 2 more email reminders during the next 5 days but if we don’t hear from you in that time, we will automatically cancel this order.
For your convenience you can view and edit order information as well as check the status of your orders 24 hours a day through via our website… simply click on the link futureshop.ca!”
Fine. A phone call to verify. Okay… despite the fact that I had asked for quick shipping… just have to wait.
24 hours later I get tired of waiting and check the site. I can log in this time, however when I get to the ‘you need to verify yourself’ page I does not recognize the order number that was given to me. Okay. So I enter the other, older, order number that I used before. Now IT isn’t recognized. Only solution is to call them.
The 800 number is on the ‘order number cannot be verified’ page of the site so I dial it. According to the message it can take 3-5 business days for the order information to be put up on the site. Strange when you consider that according to their email you have only 5 days to let them know that you did in fact place that order. Okay, they are idiots… move on… talk to Customer Service person.
And now more gets revealed: YOU have to call them from the phone number that is attributed to that account and tell them that “yes, I did make that order. Now could you actually start the process of getting it to me?” How foolish of me not to know that from an email that:
- says they’ll call, and
- doesn’t even include a phone number you for to call.
Frankly, at this point my call to them is not to verify that the purchase is going through, it is to find out what the hell is going on because if they have decided that they are “Unable to process your futureshop.ca order” (the subject line from their second email to me) then just let me know so I can go walk up the street to The Source by Circuit City and just get it there. The Customer Service Rep I am talking to is very put out that I don’t understand their process. After all it is ‘for your security”. I say that they are going to ‘for your security’ themselves out of business, but clearly he doesn’t really care (though I am obviously a fool for not being overjoyed at their determination to keep me secure).
He takes my info down, and tells me that he is now sending the order forward and that they will get around to shipping it in 24-48 hours. I mention that if I hadn’t called when I did it would, even including my request for quick shipping, have been middle to end of next week easy before I saw my order. That is not his department – that is now shipping’s concern.
Honey, it IS your department because if I had sat around and waited for someone from your company to call me (as they hinted they would do in their email… but didn’t bother to) then we would still be stuck at the order processing stage…
I say again that I am horrified by the length of time it takes to get an order through and get the same ‘you are an idiot because you just don’t understand that you are so freaking secure ordering through their site that all of your troubles will be over forever’ speech. I tell him I am still not impressed and that I doubt I will be purchasing through futureshop.ca again. He responds with ‘do you want to make a suggestion about how to improve it?”
“Here is the address.”
Address? I want an EMAIL address.
We can only give you an address. Or a fax number.
(Snort. Yep, really they really are a technology company…) Okay give me those.
He gives address and fax number. “It is for our head office in Burnaby, BC”
Is there someone I should direct it to?
“No, just send it there.” CLICK.
Clearly any mail I send them about this situation will be paid as much attention by head office as it was by this Customer Service Rep.
So let’s recap:
- If I had purchased in-store it I would have gotten the item, been told I didn’t actually want what I got from an overzealous condescending sales clerk, argued that I did and was going to take it to cash to pay for it so back off, gone to cash and paid for it and walked out in about 10-15 minutes.
- If I purchased online I will select the item, wrestle with the shopping cart, finally complete process, get ‘thank you for your order’ email, wait 24 hours until get the ‘unable to process your order’ email, wait another 24 hours before I get fed up with waiting for the promised phone call and then try and get into my account on the site, be unsuccessful but finally find a 800 number I can all to get answers, verify my identify with officious, could-give-a-care (okay, not my original word but there are children present – by which I mean Future Shop may be watching) service reps, listen to him rant about how I should bend over and show my extreme gratitude for their over-protection of my online experience, and then be condescendingly told where to stick my complaint. And the product will still take another week or so to get to me. (Just so it is a fair comparison that is 48 hours and counting).
(Oh and I pity the fool who doesn’t have time to follow the process as closely as I did because who knows if they would ever get their item).
Look, I know that if you purchase online you need to have protection – I only shop at sites which offer password protection and SSL protection and all of that. I shop on sites run by considerably larger organizations than Future Shop, and I buy from people who are way smaller. And I have never had a security problem – though if I did I can guarantee I’d be all over that immediately.
Statistics show that the majority of Canadians (companies and individuals) have made purchases online, and that there is a large minority who (again, companies and individuals) are extremely online purchase savvy (colour me part of that minority).
The system Future Shop has in place is clearly not geared to protecting my security; it is designed to ensure that I never shop online with them because the hassles, hurdles and time wasted it will not make the experience worthwhile to me.
It is the only online retail site I have ever come across that punishes you for using it!
(And as someone who recently made a $20k+ online purchase quickly, securely and effectively… making a purchase of under $100 and getting two days of trouble… not conducive to me wanting to return).
But not to worry, Future Shop, because I will not be using your site again.
Nor will I be using your owner, Best Buy’s site (feathers… tar… remember my earlier comments?)
Heck, I doubt I will be purchasing in your stores. After all, just like there are other online retailers who can meet my needs without all the bullcrap you have in place… there are other storefront retailers who can meet my needs too.
Oh, and I need some more tech stuff right now – mouse extension cords and such. Where are my shoes, I need to walk over to the computer store up the street…