eCost – no longer a partner of mine.

15 08 2005

It’s a wonder these companies can function at all.
I have a convention in Florida this week, and to make things a little smoother, I was planning on having a pair of flat screen monitors shipped to the hotel. It was time for some upgrades to my home systems anyway, so a pair of new monitors would come in handy.
I got a call back from eCost saying “Sorry, we don’t ship to hotels.” (this a good 5 hours after I placed the order – so this conversation started at 8:05pm. I get on a plane tomorrow morning at 10am).
“Why not?” “It’s not our policy.” “But I’m going to be there, just ship it.” “It’s not a valid shipping address.” “Why not?” “It’s not on your credit card.” “So?” “So we can’t ship to it.”
*pause* *deep breath a few times*
“Okay, so how can we solve this?” “You have to add this address to your credit card.” “WHAT?” “Yessir.” “I’m not going to do that, this is a one off shipment.” “That’s our policy sir.” “I’d love to see that in writing.” “Sir?” “Never mind. I’m a guest at that hotel, I arrive tomorrow night.” “Then we can use a signed letter from the manager of the hotel stating that you’re a guest there. It has to be on the hotel letterhead.” “You’re joking! It’s 8:30 at night, there’s no way we’re going to get that in time for this shipment. Why don’t you just call them? Want the number?” “No sir, I ahve it.” “Good, call them, I’ll wait.”
*10 minute on hold*
“Sir, they won’t verify you’re a guest there, since it’s just a reservation, you’re not there yet.” “Oh for petes sake. This is absurd. Who are you trying to protect here?” “We’re trying to prevent fraud and stealing sir, we’ve had problems with hotels before.” “And who are you trying to protect?” “Us, from being stolen from” “Okay, listen carefully…”
(by this time, btw, we’ve escalated to the ‘supervisor’, which I suspect wasn’t a supervisor at all, someone in billing) … “Listen carefully. The only person you’re protecting is me. You don’t want someone using ‘my’ credit card to ship items and have them stolen. I’m the owner of the card, I authorize you to ship it. Ship it please.” “Yes sir, as long as you update your credit card with the appropriate information” “I’m not going to alter my credit card information for a one off purchase.” “That’s our policy sir.” “If tha’ts your policy, why did you change it 3 times in the last half hour?” “…” “I’ll put this bluntly. Unless you take me, an existing, well established customer of yours, and help me solve this problem, I’m cancelling this $600 order, and never doing business with you again.” “We will help you, sir, but you have to do something for us. Alter your credit card information.” (this really got my goat. Quid pro quo? WTF?).
“Fine. If you won’t make this order work for me.” “You jsut need to alter your credit card sir” “No.” “That is, of course, your choice.” “Fine. Cancel this order. I want a mail within 1/2 hour confirming that this order is cancelled, and there will be nothing billed to my account.” “You will have that sir.”
And that’s the end of my business relationship with eCost. I’d council others to take this story into account when doing any business with these folks. It’s now 25 minutes after that conversation, and I still have not gotten the mail. We’ll see.
Update I just got a message from the ‘Credit Card Processing’ group at eCost saying she has ‘removed the authorization’ for this transaction. I’ve specifically asked for the section of their policy where they state they will ship only to a hotel when getting a signed letter from the hotel manager on letterhead.

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3 responses

15 08 2005
Lisa

That sucks. I’ve run into that before shipping stuff to not-my-address. Did you end up ordering the monitors and having them shipped home?

15 08 2005
dbs

No, unfortunately. I was really uninterested in continuing this conversation, and the monitors at home would not have helped my need at the event. I cancelled the order, and I’ll seek a different supplier from now on.
By the way, I’ve sent them 2 letters so far requesting the stated policy they repeatedly referred to regarding “We do not ship to hotels or resorts.” So far, no answer.

16 08 2005
dilletante

fwiw, they’re not protecting you at all, they are protecting themselves, as they said. if you later say your credit card was stolen, your personal liability is limited to something absurdly small; they eat the cost of the lost monitor.
and, if they get too many such “chargebacks” whoever does their credit card processing may dump them altogether.




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