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User Journal

Journal: Someone who gets it right 1

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Since the Ritz Camera fiasco, I've tried B&H.

It is such a relief to see someone get it right.

  • If something isn't in stock, you can't order it, only put it on your wish list and sign up for an email notification when the item comes in stock.
  • If the item for some reason is not available when your order is processed, they will give you the option of splitting the shipment.

So far, I'm happy with them, their system was designed to avoid all of the issues that RitzCamera just couldn't seem to handle!

User Journal

Journal: "Customer Service" at RitzCamera

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I just want to do a quick journal entry to warn fellow photographers not to waste their time doing business with RitzCamera. What follows is my experience with them:

I ordered a Nikon D80 from them in December 2006. My order arrived quickly, and I was happy. Unfortunately (or as you will see, probably fortunately), I didn't think ahead and order any accessories to go with the camera and lenses.

So, on January 4, I submitted an order for a couple of skylight filters, a polarizing filter, a filter adapter, and a spare battery.

Over the next month, I received automated emails assuring me that they had my order, and they had not forgotten me. Checking my order status on their website indicated that the filter adapter was holding up the order. On February 6, I sent them the following email:

Thank you for your frequent reminders that I have "not been forgotten".

While it is nice to not be forgotten, what I really need is to have my order delivered. The entire order is being held up by a single item! I realize that you probably prefer to send the whole order at once to keep shipping costs down, but I have been waiting over a month for this order, and could really use the rest of the items on the order, now. I think it is only fair for you to deliver what you can, now.

I believe I have been very patient, but my patience is reaching its end. When I placed this order, your website stated that every item I ordered was "available for immediate delivery". But when I submitted the order, suddenly all of the items were on backorder. This feels like a classic "bait and switch" situation.

Please, send me the items that are not on backorder. I need them, that's why I ordered them. I don't think that it is fair for you to hold up my entire order for over a month because of a single backordered item which was originally advertised as "available for immediate delivery".

Their response:

Thank you for providing an opportunity to be of assistance.

We would like to inform that as per the latest update from the manufacturers, all the items of your order are expected to arrive in 2-4 weeks. We will ship the order as soon as we receive the next shipment. You will also receive a confirmation email once the order is shipped.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Please feel free to get back to us for further assistance.

OK, 2-4 weeks, I figure I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, and take them at their word. In fact, I waited until April 10 before I sent this:

I placed this order on 04 January. I have been waiting over 90 days for this order. I have received 14 emails advising me to please remain patient.

On 06 February, you assured me that you would be shipping the items in about 4 weeks. That was over 8 weeks ago.

I requested partial shipment of whatever items you actually have in stock. You refused.

I would again request that you immediately ship any of the items on my order that you actually have in stock. According to your status page, the only item you don't currently have in stock is the polarizing filter.

Up to this point I have been extremely patient, however my patience is reaching its end. Are you ever going to ship any of these items? I think I deserve an honest answer.

Their response:

We understand your anxiety to receive your order and we sincerely apologize for the delay in shipping the order.

Please note that we, as retailers, are completely dependant on the manufacturer for receiving the merchandise. We can only inform our customers regarding the tentative date.

We are sorry to inform that all the items in your order are currently on backorder. We shall ship your order within 1-2 weeks as these would be readily available by then.

Please feel free to get back to us for further assistance.

But a check on their website over the next day showed that the battery was "in stock". At this point, it sounds like they are not being totally honest with me. Also, it sounds like their "customer service" is a script. So I sent them the following response:

> We are sorry to inform that all the items in your order are currently on backorder.

According to your web site, the Nikon En-EL3e Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery, Stock # 541530283, is currently in stock.

I am having trouble believing in your assurances.

You already misled me once before when, on 06 February, you assured me that all items would ship within 4 weeks. Now I am expected to believe your assurance that these items will ship in another "1-2 weeks"?

What happens when they don't ship within that time frame, do I get them for free?

I ordered these items because I needed them over 3 months ago. I still don't have them. I am getting very frustrated, and your empty promises are even more frustrating.

As a show of good faith, I respectfully request that you ship the Nikon Battery immediately. Otherwise, I simply cannot accept any of your assurances regarding availability and delivery of any items.

Please try to see this situation from my point of view. I have acted in good faith, but it seems to me that you haven't.

Their response? Not encouraging:

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused due to the typographical error on our website. Our technical team is currently working on this. Our website will be updated soon and this will be fixed shortly.

Please note that all the items on your order are currently on backorder. We are expecting the next shipment of these items within 1-2 weeks. We will ship your order as soon as we receive these items from the manufacturer. You will receive an email once the order is shipped.

We understand your concern and we once again apologize for the inconvenience caused.

Please feel free to get back to us for further assistance.

Now, I checked their website daily for a week, it continued to show the battery as "in stock". So much for "typographical error". Sounds more like RitzCamera are liars at this point. But, being the generous sort that I am, I give them the benefit of the doubt (more rope is more like it!).

On May 1, I sent this message:

OK, it has been two weeks since you sent this message. Today I received yet another "Order Status" that says that my order is not going to be shipped.

I placed this order on JANUARY 4. Today is MAY 1.

Please take a moment to review the history of this order and look at it from the customer's standpoint. What are you going to do for me, besides offering more empty reassurances?

And what do they offer? You got it, more empty reassurances:

We understand that your recent experience with our service has not been satisfactory and we sincerely apologize for this service lapse.

We are sorry to inform that all the items on your order are currently backordered. As per the latest update from the manufacturers, the items are expected to arrive in another 1-2 weeks. We will ship the order as soon as we receive the next shipment from the manufacturer.

You will also be sent a notification email once the order is shipped.

Please feel free to contact us for further assistance.

I know, I'm a naive fool, but I can't help myself:

Again, I must ask, if -all- of the items on my order are currently on backorder, why does your website list the Nikon En-EL3e Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery as "In Stock"? Is that not false advertising?

Also, what happens in "1-2 weeks" when "all items on my order" are still backordered?

What happens in 30 days when this order reaches the 6-month mark, and I still haven't received a single item?

Have you actually looked at the history of your communication with me regarding this order?

At this point, you have no credibility. The only reason I haven't canceled this order is that I am curious to see how long you are willing to string a customer along with empty promises.

I must say, your company has a unique approach to "customer service".

OK, I'll admit that naivety is giving way to cynicism. Here's why:

We understand your anxiety to receive your order and we sincerely apologize for the delay in shipping the order.

Please note that we, as retailers, are completely dependant on the manufacturer for receiving the merchandise. We can only inform our customers regarding the tentative date.

As per the latest update from the manufacturer, the items are expected to arrive in another 1-2 weeks. We will ship the order as soon as we receive the next shipment from the manufacturer. You will also be sent a notification email once the order ships.

However, we are so sorry for the typographical error on our website about the Nikon En-EL3e Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery. Your feedback has been a pointer for us to rectify the same.

We are sorry for any inconvenience.

Please feel free to contact us for further assistance.

Hmmm, their site still shows the battery as "in stock". RitzCamera are liars and false advertisers with a shitty little "customer service" script that seems to have gotten caught in a loop. They clearly do not care about their customers or telling the truth.

My final message to them:

Your website still indicates that the Nikon En-EL3e Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery is "in stock". Clearly, you are either not being truthful with me, and you are not being truthful with the rest of the world.

Please cancel my order. It is clear that you have no intention of delivering any items. I am tired of communicating with your customer service script.

On the up side, I have plenty of correspondence to put in my photo blog so that I can warn others to avoid doing business with Ritz Camera.

Be assured, you have not just lost one customer, you have lost many.

Thanks for nothing.

And that, folks is why you should stay away from RitzCamera.

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)

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