Although a recent article in the New York Times leads me to believe that complaining about a bad experience with a vendor may actually help that vendor in internet search engines, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/business/28borker.html?src=me&ref=business, I've got to share this miserable tale. In late September, I went looking for a new sink online. I found it at Homecenter.com and immediately submitted my order, using my Visa card to pay the $584.60 charge. Nowhere was it mentioned that the item would be on back order or that Homecenter.com would not be shipping the item to me themselves. When I hadn't received the sink over a week later, I contacted them by email on Oct. 6, asking about my order. I received a note that said they'd keep me updated by email. On Oct. 12, I asked for an update. I received an email that said the sink would ship on Oct.18.
On Oct. 19, I got an email that said shipping would be further delayed until Oct27! I called Homecenter and told the "Customer Service" (a misnomer if ever there was one!) representative that I wanted to cancel the order. She said I couldn't cancel on the phone and must send an email. I did that as soon as our conversation concluded. At that point, I made the assumption that it would be OK to go ahead and find the sink at another vendor, which I did. Later that day, I received an auto email from Homecenter, telling me "not to consider my order cancelled and not to order the item from anyone else! I also received an email from the representative, who said Homecenter would put the order on hold so the sink would not be sent to me while the order was in the process of being canceled. That was a lie.
Two days later, on Oct. 21, I received a note from the same representative, saying she would discuss this with her manager! I responded, saying "what is there to discuss I have canceled the order, following your instructions for doing so". She contacted me the next day, saying my order couldn't be canceled and would be shipped to me on Oct 27. She said there was nothing she could do. A week later, the sink from Homecenter arrived via UPS. I refused delivery and told the UPS man to send the item back.
I called and told Homecenter that the sink was on its way back to them. The representative said she would do an RMA for me. Three weeks later, on Nov. 22, I received another note from them: "You refused the package. It was sent back to the NY warehouse. It was suppose to be returned to Kohler. When requesting a RGA you are not allowed to refused the package. The package has to go to travel form NY to Wisconsin. I have to inform Kohler of the shipment". This semi-literate note obviously wasn't helpful and contradicted the conversation I'd had with the representative who had told me she would handle the RMA for me.
The Homecenter representative who was handling my order did not treat the matter seriously. If she had started the cancellation process when I submitted my email, I believe this situation would have been resolved. Also, since the sink was not shipped directly to me from Kohler, Homecenter could easily have stopped the shipment at their facility in Uniondale, NY, which it passed through before coming to me!
According to Homecenter's return policy, I am now responsible for paying a 25% restocking fee. Since the sink in question was priced at $594, this fee is not small! I sent an email asking that the restocking fee be waived but have not heard anything back. It's now late December and they have had my money for three months. They're not communicating with me and they haven't responded to a letter from the Better Business Bureau of New York, where I submitted a complaint.