I got a call today from Abe’s of Maine that was quite disappointing. But let me start with a little background info…
At 1:30am on Tuesday morning (4/10/2007) I ordered a new $3,379 Canon XH A1 Prosumer Camcorder from Abes for two reasons.
- First, I’ve purchased from them in the past (about 2.5 years ago) and things went OK, although the extremely high end Sony Receiver I bought from them ended up having problems and needing service I felt I couldn’t hold that against Abe’s.
- Secondly they were offering the Camcorder for about $100 less than Amazon or NewEgg.
Now, the problem started today around 6:30pm CST when I’m shopping at a retail store and I get a call on my cell phone from a “customer service” (732-225-1777) representative from Abe’s “…just wanting to verify my shipping address”. He asks me if I’ve ever purchased from them before and when I say yes, he is surprised and “can’t find me in their system”. After he “verifies my address” he begins pressuring me to purchase all sorts of add ons. And remember, this is a three and a half THOUSAND dollar purchase.
First he tells me the camcorder only comes with a 90 day warranty, so I should buy a $200 extended warranty. When I say “no thanks” he says that because I’m a “repeat customer” he can give me a 25% discount and sell it to me for only $150. At this point I inform him that Canon clearly stated that the unit comes with 1 year parts and labor and that Abe’s claims that their products include the full manufacturer’s warranty, and that my credit card doubles it.
So then he tells me “technically” that’s true, but the “boards” in the camera are only warranted for 90 days. (What?!?)
After refusing a third time, he then proceeds to try to sell me an extra battery, telling me that the camera only comes with a 30 minute “demo” battery from Canon, when I know damn well it comes with a BP-950G that reportedly lasts for 4+ hours.
After multiple refusals, he moves on down the line trying to sell me a soft case, a hard case, a tripod, a 72mm lens filter, and tapes. I might be forgetting something, but for sure he offered – actually pushed – all of those things. I kept telling him repeatedly that I didn’t need anything else.
After saying no about 30 times, he asks me “so, you’re OK with not getting the camcorder for a few weeks then?” I say, “What?” and he proceeds to tell me that if I don’t pay for upgraded shipping he intends to ship the camera via the normal United States Postal Service, and it will take at least two weeks.
We should keep in mind that they sat on this order for 2 whole days by the time I got this call, which means that had I ordered it from NewEgg it would have been arriving the next business day (tomorrow) because of their free 3 day shipping, and Amazon would have actually delivered it today.
At this point I just want off the phone with this bitter little man. I don’t trust him, I think he’s lying to me, he is not being at all respectful or slightly grateful that I’ve given them thousands of dollars, and more importantly now I feel I have no reason to trust Abe’s of Main. After all, their web page says:
Condition: All products include every manufacturer supplied accessory and USA Warranty unless stated otherwise.
Well, this guy on the phone is “stating otherwise”, and if I allow them to ship this sub-standard product to me, then open it, they’ll claim I can’t return it because it isn’t “factory fresh”.
In addition to all of that, there is a $250 rebate on this camcorder which is only valid if it comes from an authorized reseller. I have to assume that if they are going to sell the product with a 30 minute “demo” battery and only 90 days of warranty that they are not indeed authorized and that will cost me an extra $250.
So when I get home I try to call Abe’s back to cancel the order, which I know damn well hasn’t shipped yet and I get the following message when I try to reach customer service:
Abe’s Customer Service
So, this guy calls from customer service to rake me over the coals after 7pm their time, but when I call customer service is closed at 6pm, thereby making it impossible to call back and cancel the order. I then try to use their online “Track Order” page to find out any information possible, but it literally yields nothing. All it does is pull up a copy of the receipt with no shipping status – or even area for it – anywhere visible. Nice racket they have going there.
By this point I have lost 100% of my confidence in their ability to deliver a $3,500 order as promised, so my intention is to ensure they cancel the order and do not ship it. I sent them an e-mail to cancel the order, then I called my credit card company to share the story with them and was told that the charge hasn’t even yet come through!
Wow! How is that possible? It was an e-commerce order placed online and it’s been 48 hours without the charge coming through?
Tomorrow I’ll call them as a follow up to the e-mail cancellation, and then my next move will be to order the camcorder from either NewEgg or Amazon. Most likely I’ll do Amazon and try out the free two day shipping via the Amazon Prime offer. I’ll provide updates to this story in the comments as things progress.