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18 June 2004 @ 08:46 am
Take My Money -- Really!  
Some days, no matter how hard you try, you can't get people to take your money.

So, after much thought I decided to order a Toshiba laptop. Their website seemed to be the best place to order through in terms of price versus customizability. I want a DVD burner on the laptop and that's not in any of their standard configurations -- though it is an option on their site. Great, perfect. I customized it, ordered an additional coverage warrentee and some anti-virus software, and settled down to wait patiently.

This was Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday morning I found e-mail giving me the "track your purchase" link. I bopped over there to see if anything was happening on my order yet, and was surprised to see that the status was "waiting for credit card verification."

???, I thought. Everything's electronic these days, so it shouldn't take that long to verify my credit card. So I decided to be pro-active and called my credit card company to see if there was a problem, and if so, if I could clear it up. They were baffled, and said that Toshiba hadn't tried putting a charge through yet. I figured that Toshiba was waiting until they had the computer assembled and ready to ship before putting the charge through, and settled down again to wait.

Wednesday afternoon I get home and notice that there is a new message on the answering machine. Toshiba Customer Service called and said that they were having trouble verifying my credit card, and could I please contact them ASAP.

..., I thought.

So, I picked up the phone and called them. The problem was that I was shipping to an address that isn't my credit card billing address. Well, duh. My credit card billing address is in San Francisco, and I am certainly not sending a laptop to an address in SF where no one is home during delivery hours. So I'm having it shipped to my roommate's work. Well, Toshiba won't verify the credit card unless the credit card company has a note in their file saying that I've authorized the alternate address.

This does not entirely thrill me. The address it's shipping to isn't one of MY addresses. And on top of that, it's an address that within the next several months even my roommate is not going to be at. I don't really want to have my credit card company saying that it's cool for stuff charged on my card to go somewhere where no one I know is at. Maybe it's a little overly paranoid. Or maybe it's just taking appropriate care against any potential for fraud.

Unfortunately, it sounded like that was the only way I was going to get my laptop. So, over my protests, I did it. Toshiba had told me to call them back after I did. So, I called them right back -- only to get a recording that they had closed for the day. Feh. Nice of the customer service rep I talked to to mention that detail.

The following morning (Thursday, for those who are keeping track), I called Toshiba back and told them that the charge should go through fine now. The rep called my credit card company while I was on the phone with them, and said that it was authorized. Woopee, that sounds great, thanks for all the help. This was a little after 8 AM, my time. Once again, I settle down to wait. (A little more peevishly this time. I had hoped to have the computer by next Friday, but the delays with getting the charge through coupled with a "customizations take 7-10 days to ship" meant that the possibilities looked pretty much nil. So much for following Rally Turkey. *sniff*)

Friday morning I waltz into the office, expecting to have a peaceful, Toshiba-free morning. Alas, it was not to be. Waiting in my e-mail was a message from Toshiba stating that they were having trouble verifying my credit card.

!?!?!, I thought, and picked up the phone. The nice person on the other end of the line (Monica, for my records, should it become pertainent...) said that she had no idea why I received the message. Her records said that the charge had been approved -- and in fact, the additional coverage policy and anti-virus software had already been shipped to me. I pointed out how completely amusing it is that they are sending out a warantee policy for a laptop which their accounting department claims that they can't get money for. She appologized, and I went on my not entirely merry way.

In a fit of paranoia, I called my credit card company. The balance very much did not reflect the charge going through. Rolling my eyes, I dialed to talk to a rep. The rep had no idea why there would be a problem -- and in fact, the charge had already gone through! I scritched my head in perplexitude. Eventually I decided that all seemed to be well (if, perhaps, not in order), and hung up.

I remembered that I hadn't checked my order status yet, and opened up my e-mail to get the link. In my e-mail, there was an invoice from Toshiba, stating that they have shipped my extended warantee policy. Under "shipping method" it stated that it was being shipped overnight delivery.

Whoa, I thought. I have no problem with paying twenty bucks to get my laptop here quicker. I do have an issue with paying twenty bucks for getting a warantee policy here faster for a laptop that I don't even have. And what on earth are they shipping, anyway? It's a warantee policy. No physical component included. So whyfore the shipping charge??

And while we're on the shipping charge issue, I really don't need to get the anti-virus software FedEx'ed to me, and particularly not since I don't actually have a computer to install it on -- and won't for at least 7-10 days. They can slow-boat it from China for all I care, and skip charging me an extra twenty bucks.

So, back on the phone to Toshiba I go. I got Melanie, the unlucky rep once again. She claims that they are only charging me once, even though they are sending out three seperate shipments. Or, er, two? See, there really shouldn't be anything to ship for the warantee policy. Which, um, makes sense. (Though given this whole strange escapade should probably be regarded with suspicion, since it's woefully out of place in this transaction.) Seeing no option other than to take her word over what I was seeing on the invoice, I hung up.

Some strange, demented urge reminded me that I still hadn't actually checked the status of my order. I pulled up Toshiba's page and entered my order number. There are now five items on my order, two of which claim to have been shipped.

I'm not going to ask. I'm just going to wait and see what I eventually end up with. Hopefully at least some of it will include a functional laptop.
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Steffan Thomasrhylar on June 18th, 2004 05:31 pm (UTC)
*stares at envelope from Toshiba*

*shakes envelope from Toshiba*

(clunking noise, like a CD inside a box)

Well, it's not a laptop. Er, I'm going to assume that you don't want me to haul this to autocross tomorrow, but that it can stay in my office until monday?
Sandpanthersandpanther on June 18th, 2004 05:42 pm (UTC)
*scritch* *scritch*

That should be my nifty-cool extended warantee policy. Which I wouldn't expect to go "clunk"...

Either way, it shouldn't be a problem leaving it at your office until Monday.
Leighlucifie on June 18th, 2004 05:44 pm (UTC)
I just love dealing with computer companies. The only time I've purchased a computer that didn't involve periods of wanting to rip out my hair was the Dell... and for all that they're a solid company their stuff is... well, boring.

Hopefully it will all work out in the end.

And hey, once the new laptop shows up all will be good right? (so jealous of the DVD burner... need one of those very badly...)
SnarkyLlamallamabitchyo on June 18th, 2004 06:09 pm (UTC)
For my own curiosity, did you put the piggy on Spot before it died?
Sandpanthersandpanther on June 18th, 2004 06:15 pm (UTC)
Scarily, yes. I did it maybe a week or two before Spot died. I worry about putting a piggy on the new laptop.

On an unrelated note, I need to order more piggies. How many did you want?
SnarkyLlama: Kree!llamabitchyo on June 18th, 2004 07:25 pm (UTC)
It's the sticker curse! Like when my car caught on fire a couple days after I put a bumper sticker on it. (I think the new laptop will be safe, though. My truck has survived several bumper stickers, convincing me the sticker curse strikes each life only once.)

I think I have enough piggies at this time. Thanks :)
Paul Meyerweregamer on June 19th, 2004 01:44 am (UTC)
The one non-evil computer company
I actually have had a trouble-free, as-expected, genuine satisfactory experience with a computer order. Once.

If you are ever in the market for a desktop with a gaming touch, or an all-out gaming monster, I heartily recommend Falcon Northwest (http://www.falcon-nw.com if I remember correctly). Sadly, they don't do laptops, so when I decided my next gaming rig and next laptop were going to be the same machine I had to go (and suffer) elsewhere.