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[ The PC Guide | The PC Buyer's Guide | Purchasing PCs and Components | Vendor and Order Problems and Solutions | Common Vendor and Order Problems ]

Order Not Shipped On Time

It is all too common to experience delays when ordering items by mail order. You should always ask for an estimated ship date at the time you place your order. However, don't be too surprised if your package doesn't actually go out at the time it is supposed to. As with overcharges, this usually is not an indicator of anything ominous. Many companies just experience problems with their shipping departments, especially during busy times such as when the company is running a promotion, when new products come out, or during the holidays. Some though just like to make optimistic promises...

It's certainly reasonable to give a company 24 hours or even 48 hours to send out an item before suspecting that "something is going on". Again, this is especially the case during busy times. However, if the company said it would go out at a certain time, then it should. You should expect honesty regarding your ship date. If you feel that the customer service person you are talking with is "dancing around" or doesn't seem to know what's going on, ask to speak to a supervisor. Confirm that the item really is in stock and tell them you want a realistic ship date.

A particularly irritating situation is when you are in a hurry for a product. You order from a company that has it in stock and promises immediate delivery, and then they sit on it for two days. If they promised same-day shipment, follow up no later than the next morning and ask for a tracking number; if they can't give you one, the item probably has not shipped. If their delay is going to cause you inconvenience, ask a manager to give you a free upgrade to a faster shipping method; better companies will consider this a reasonable request. If the company is behaving belligerently, cancel the order.

The longer that a supposedly "in stock" order is delayed before shipping, the greater the chances that the company is playing games. They may not in fact have the item in stock, or they may be waiting for it to show up from a distributor because they don't carry any stock themselves. If you feel you are being jerked around, cancel the order. And if you do cancel, make sure the company doesn't try to charge you for the order anyway--it happens.

Next: Credit Card Pre-Charge

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