Why I hate online stores which are not Amazon

So, I’m trying to buy access to MyTechCommKit, an online service required for one of my classes this semester. The typical process for this sort of thing usually involves going to a secure web page (yay HTTPS), entering some payment and billing info, and checking email every ten seconds for a an automated confirmation.

Unfortunately, online stores hate me. The feeling is mural (although I make special exceptions for NewEgg and Amazon, for reasons which will become clear presently). When the time came for me to enter my credit card verification number, authentication failed. Which was OK; because my card was on the verge of expiring and I just got an updated card yesterday with a different security code. The system must not have updated for the new card. Merely trying the old code should work. Except that it doesn’t.

The priority of the issue suddenly jumped several levels on my internal bug tracker. This is An Issue.

I tried to contact support. For some reason, they decided that it was way too hard to maintain an 800 number, so they have live chat instead. Cheapskates. I spent several minutes figuring out how to classify my issue in their arbitrary category system, entered my name and contact info, double checked the hours of operation, and hit “Chat.” A window appeared, the chat interface popped up… and then it all closed again. A message informed me that my chat had been disconnected. Well, that’s just wonderful. I love you too, impersonal buggy javascript application.

Look, if you’re going to have a system which will randomly fail, either by your fault, your customer’s, or some random middle man, it’s good to have a backup. Like, a real person for your customer to sort things out with. Perhaps a phone number someplace? It really feels like you don’t want to talk to me and/or don’t care that I want to give you money. Work that out, ok?

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