How Long is Too Long?


As the title suggests, the question here is “How long is too long?”  No, I’m not asking about dolphins, weiners, sausages…I’m asking about how long is a wait for your online purchases until it’s become *too long* a wait?  I never thought I would ever post something on this topic before, but it seems like customs charges aren’t my only problem with online orders these days.  Here’s a brief summary of what has happened in the month of January:

  • J-List: Ordered and paid for Konata Figma (I’ve been calling her Kotona for some reason “orz), waited for three weeks but nothing happened, no status update on the order.  Item was listed as “In stock” when I ordered, and I was never notified about any changes to this order.  I emailed them on the fourth week and they told me “Sorry, but your order was on backorder…etc, etc…” and issued me a refund.
  • Toyslogic: Ordered and paid for GSC Amami Haruka and Lala Satalin Deviluke that were listed as “In Stock”, and waited for 2 weeks but nothing happened.  Status on the order was “Ready to ship” for both weeks but was never shipped “orz.  I finally emailed their sales department, but waited for three days without a reply.  Went on their site and used the contact form to contact the info department and got this reply “Sorry, but the GSC Amami Haruka is no longer available due to an error on our site…etc, etc…” and issued me a refutnd on Haruka.  I thought problem was solved and Lala would be shipped out…One week later, still no update on my order status so I emailed their sales department again.  Three days later, no reply from them AGAIN!!  I can’t help but think their sales department (probably consisting of one person like the “marketing department” at the computer store I used to work at) have me on their ignore list or just ignores all the emails asking about their order’s status.  Finally, I emailed info department and got a response that my item will be shipped today.  *sigh*
  • Otakufuel: Ordered and paid for Alter ChuaChuram, and Nendoroid Hatsune Miku.  Got an email a couple days later and was told ChuaChuram was “sold out just before you placed your order…would you like a refund or buy something else?”.  I replied them with what I wanted to do, but it took them nearly two weeks and another inquiry before they finally shipped my order.  Not entirely their fault as I did change my order later, but still very slow in replying.

Just a word for all the online stores out there (and maybe future owners of online stores): “Let the customers know if something is not available or if there was a problem with their order instead of waiting for customer to contact you!” 

LEGO is one of the best online stores that I have ordered from, and other online stores can learn a lot from them.  Their stock availability is up-to-date, meaning they know what they have in stock, what they don’t have in stock, what they can still get with an estimate on backorders.  If your order is somehow backordered AFTER you’ve ordered, they’ll notify you through email, and send you a letter of appology in the mail with an estimate on when your order will arrive.  They don’t charge you until the order is ready to ship.

I’m not saying that every online store should be as professional as LEGO, but providing correct information and  proactively informing customers of any problems with their orders guarantees customer satisfaction.  I would rather be told that my order cannot be fulfilled, than having to ask to find out that my order cannot be fulfilled.  You’ll lose a sale if you tell them their order cannot be fulfilled.  But you’ll lose a customer if they have to inquire about the order and than be told that their order cannot be fulfilled.

HLJ is the only online hobby store that I have experience with that comes remotely close to my experience ordering from LEGO.  I’m not sure if HobbyStock/HobbySearch or any other online hobby stores are similar since I don’t have any experience ordering from them, please let me know if you got recommendations.  HLJs system is very nice because the items’ stock level is colour coded, and you only pay when you’ve received verification from them that the items have been reserved for you and ready to ship.  But they’re not perfect as I’m starting to have my doubts about the accuracy of the item information on their site, better cross-check with other sites ^^;

I will start a new subsection to talk about my experiences with different online stores under “Figures” by the end of the month, so keep your melons peeled for that if you look forward to buying online.  By no means will I judge any stores by just one experience, so I will order from a store at least twice before I blacklist them on my “dark-list-of-infinite-death”.  If you do find me bashing any store on here with only one order under my belt, by all means stay away from them ^^  You can find something similar on fellow blogger meronpan‘s page, it is quite informative.  Feel free to let me know if you’ve got store reviews so we can share information with the masses ^^

So today’s poll question is:


2 Responses to “How Long is Too Long?”

  1. 1 Rin 02/11/2009 at 21:50

    Well, I say that Hobby Search is a great site to order from too…
    They have a user menu that tells you of your order and I think you can track your order too!!!!!
    Sadly, all orders uses EMS as shipping. Still, it’s a great site and basically my regular hobby online store I use. HLJ, I use too but not as often sadly…

  2. 2 theinfernoproject 02/18/2009 at 21:15

    @Rin I think I’ll give Hobby Search a try when they have something that HLJ doesn’t have…doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen :) I should’ve ordered my second Kagamin Figma with them since the end cost is pretty much the same as buying from J-List. Too bad I didn’t realize that when I ordered her.

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