Since I left Google I’ve been on the move a lot, I travel around very often and I became a heavier user of VOIP and mostly any kind of communication that involves Internet connection and a laptop. I use these services either to talk with my family or to conduct business and catch-up with anything I need to from anywhere I am. I have a very nice pair of Sennheiser PXC350 headphones I use to listen to music, but I don’t have a decent pair of VOIP headsets, so around the end of March I decided to go and purchase a pair of headsets on the Skype online shop (the Brasilian version), I found a set I liked and I decided it was a good purchase, I went with the Plantronics Audio 648 priced at R$67 (around $32 USD) in the Brasilian Skype shop, mostly all the headset brands are sold by a company that goes by the name of Chat and Vision (which I won’t link here for obvious reasons); since I was on the Skype store and they have “recommended partners” I didn’t bother to research at all before I buy, after all Skype was endorsing them — this would later prove to be a fatal mistake.
The purchase with Chat and Vision
Their system was a bit wonky and annoying to fill in the details but nevertheless everything went well. I entered all my personal and payment details and all seemed to work fine. The purchase was made on the 30 of March and I received an email on the 3rd of April confirming my order had been processed and would ship soon.
The email I received was an auto-translation to portuguese in which they thanked me for the purchase, confirmed my delivery and billing address, and stated my order should arrive in “a few working days”. They state on their site that deliveries can take from 7 to 10 working days from the receipt of the order.
Now all I had to do was to wait… So I waited… And waited… Oh, I forgot to mention, their orders don’t have a tracking option.
The emails with Chat and Vision
We were now on the 18th of April, and no signs of my order, so I wrote an email to their support asking for any kind of information that could give me a hint of what was going on. At this time I had also tried to contact them trough their Brasilian support but I didn’t get an answer, confirming the fact they do send auto-translated emails and have no local dedicated support… So I went with English.
The next day (19th) I received an email back from Chat and Vision:
So, 12 working days since the shipping of my order, and as you can read on their email they tell me:
If your parcel has still not arrived within 7-15 working days from the shipping date maximum time for First Class Deliveries, please contact us again and we will be happy to investigate further into this matter.
OK so 3 days more and it would hit their maximum delivery time. I thought I’d give them the benefit of the doubt and waited until they had no more excuses. We were now 17 working days since they claimed to have shipped my order.
Three days later I receive their email, basically stating I should wait some more time and excusing they don’t have a tracking number… Let me go ahead and say that, if you are a business selling online and you don’t offer a way for you or your clients to track their orders, you’re likely asking for problems like this one.
We are now on the 29th of April, and almost a whole month passed since they first claimed to have shipped my order on the 3rd of April. Nevertheless I kept waiting, in fact all this waiting thing is almost at the ridiculous level where neither me or them know where is the package. Of course if I don’t nudge them they won’t do anything proactively so on the 10th of May I sent them yet another email, this time being a bit more harsh and telling them they have to investigate what is going on. We are now 1 month and 7 days in since they claimed to have shipped my order.
Probably by now they thought that answering “wait a bit more” would sound too much so they went with the neighbor/delivery guy option.
Once again, I promptly answered their email and quickly blew away the “maybe you were not there” theory, because I used the office as delivery address, so basically there is always someone here, except on week-ends — when there is no postal service operating either.
After this email they finally decided to ask the delivery address confirmation so they could launch an investigation… Like it’s not in their system already.
Of course once again, I promptly replied to their request, sent them an email and so far since the 17th of May I haven’t heard anything back from them.
I already asked for a refund from them, not that I have any hopes it will happen. What really bothers me is that a company like Skype endorses this kind of services. Also I should have known better and I should have researched for feedback before I trust a company, even if Skype says so. As I said I have lower expectations on a positive outcome from all this, but I know two things:
- I won’t be buying from Chat and Vision, EVER again and I will not recommend it to anyone;
- I will not trust Skype business partnerships and always be on the lookout;
Overall customer experience with Chat and Vision
To save everyone some trouble I did some research on what people have to say about Chat and Vision and mostly all I found was negative feedback from frustrated customers that either didn’t receive their orders, or received broken stuff when it finally arrived. A prime example is their feedback on Skype Community Forums, right under Skype’s nose. Endless threads of people complaining about Chat and Vision. Also a Google search brings other sites where people post their complaints:
The funny thing is that on their website the even claim to meet Skype’s stringent quality requirements (highlight is mine):
Who is Chat and Vision, and why should I choose to shop here?
ChatandVision is Skype’s Global Partner Merchant; as such we meet Skype’s stringent quality requirements so you can be 100% confident that these products will deliver a good Skype experience. Our aim is to give you the best audio and visual experience when communicating online.
So you meet Skype’s stringent quality requirements, and yet you fail to deliver your merchandise to your clients. That makes me wonder how stringent are Skype’s quality requirements, if at all.
I’ll be happy to update this if I ever receive what I ordered and paid for, but like I said my expectations are really low. Bottom line, lesson learned for $30 USD.
Update: On May 23rd after Jennifer’s comment on this post I received an email from Chat and Vision support asking me if I wanted a replacement of my order or a refund… I went with the refund.
Update 2: On the 30 of May I was contacted again by Chat and Vision support mentioning I would be receiving my refund on the following days, and I received their refund just on Friday 1st of June according the my Credit Card statement.