Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Shopping the Easy Way (Sometimes)

I buy a lot of stuff from the internet. It's fast, convenient and delivered to your door. And all that bull about people stealing your credit card information is, well, bull. You stand more of a risk handing your credit card to a real person at a restaurant or store or where ever. And even if you have to return something, it's fairly easy if it's from a reputable place like where you get return shipping labels and there's no question you're going to get a refund. So ninety-nine percent of the time it's a great way to do things if you don't have to actually see or test a product. It's that one percent of the time when things go wrong that it's a royal pain in the rump. For example just recently I purchased a piece of software from a company I had never heard of. The product was highly recommended by Macworld Magazine and I've found them to be reasonably reliable. I checked out the product on Amazon and it was a tad cheaper but what caught my eye were the horrible reviews by previous buyers. It wasn't the product that was the problem. It was customer service. People complained of a poorly designed website and unresponsive customer support. But I figured as long as there wasn't a glaring error of some kind, I could figure it out. So I bought it. When I went on line, they give you the choice of downloading it so you can have it immediately or get a CD. I opted for the download. Everything went OK until I got an email giving me a link to click on that provided a key component to the rest of the software. Well, guess what? It didn't work. So I attempted to contact customer service. No luck. About an hour later I was totally out of gas. Not a single one of their links to contact support worked. But I did have their address so now I'm typing a letter the old fashioned way and mailing that. That will be several days getting to Utah and probably ignored. Then I emailed Macworld and told them what happened and that they screwed up. Then I had to contact VISA and let them know that the charge may be contested. And on and on it goes. So here I am with no feedback from the company and a partially functioning piece of software. These are the times when I kick myself for buying a download rather than a CD. That will be the last time I do that. I'll keep trying to contact the company but I'm not optimistic. Another lesson learned the hard way but then aren't they all?

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