Monday, February 2, 2009

Dealing with Adorama... Partial Win

So when I got my LX3 a few weeks ago, my plan was to the do the Ricoh Lens Cap hack for the LX3. First requirement, LX3, check. Second requirement, Ricoh lens cap.

The only place that seems to sell it is Adorama, which unfortunately wants to charge me $50+ to ship it to Canada (reasonable on a $1000+ piece of camera gear, not so much on a $17 chunk of plastic). Luckily I have a friend who lives in California, who agreed to let me ship it to him (at no cost) and he'd then send it up to me for the price of a stamp (or at least far less than $50).

So far so good. On January 9 I select free shipping (7-10 business days), checkout, done!

Wait. Look at the tracking page which just says "shipped January 9". Wait some more. Refresh tracking page. Wait even more. Look at calendar and realize that it's now Jan 23 which is technically 10 business days. Email Adorama support with my order number and say basically "WTF?".

I got an email back within a few hours saying they can either re-do my order or cancel it, or put a trace request into the US Postal Service to see where the hell it went to. I figured why not, and asked if they could.

A week later I got notification that my order was cancelled, so I emailed them back and said basically "since it seems that the trace through USPS resulted in my part being lost, how about re-doing the order for me and bumping the shipping up to the non-losing the package level?"

Surprisingly within an hour I got a phone call from them saying they could do that no problem, confirming I wanted the same shipping address and details, and asking if there was anything else they could do for me. Thirty minutes later I got an email with my new shipment details in it.

Adorama, you have restored my faith in you. While I probably won't be ordering that much from you due to the cross-border costs, you went from the "had a shitty experience" pile into the "redeemed themselves" pile. Personal attention, fast response, and being perfectly reasonable in terms of giving me a little upgrade in shipping for free. Thank you!


Helen Oster said...

Dear Alan

Thank you so much for your kind words regarding Adorama's recovery of your order.

I do appreciate your reluctance to purchase from us. The question of shipping options to Canada comes up regularly, and we have revisited this issue frequently to see if we can improve options for Adorama customers in Canada.

When shopping with Adorama for shipping to Canada, you can choose from: FedEx International Economy, FedEx International Priority and UPS Express.

With UPS Express, there should be no additional brokerage charges for customs clearance, as these are included in the shipping fee. The same holds true for FedEx International Economy and FedEx International Priority. I understand that back in February 2008, there was a class action lawsuit filed in Ontario against UPS for hidden fees.

Sales taxes and duty (if applicable - most photo items are duty free because of NAFTA), are additional and (unless you have an account with FedEx or UPS), are payable upon delivery. Duty may have been paid on the item entering the USA from the originating country if there was no FTA in place. But in any case, photographic equipment items between the US & Canada are duty-free.

However, if your purchase requires a tariff (eg paper products, storage media) this would typically be less than 0.5%. You can download the Customs Act on line to find out how your purchases would be classified and from that, estimate the tariff.

Many customers have reported that USPS online package tracking is not very good, and if a package is mislaid in transit (as happened in the case of this order), that the customer must wait 45 days before submitting a lost parcel claim.
Conversely, experience has shown us that UPS's online package tracking is excellent and if a package is mislaid, that they are much more responsive.

Our Canadian customers tell us that UPS is fast and reliable, and that packages are handled efficiently when they arrive into Canada.

If you are not already a member, you might want to think to join one of the Flickr groups for your area, to 'meet up' and consider sharing the cost of shipping from the US.

I hope we can continue to offer you great service - but do let us know if there is anything we at Adorama Camera or at AdoramaPix could do to make your shopping experience even better.


Helen Oster
Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador

Alan Bailward said...

Many thanks for your reply Helen!