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Khorax Tanuki
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Just a simple Hypnotanuki, interested in RPGs and board games.
Just a simple Hypnotanuki, interested in RPGs and board games.

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Never EVER do business with Colorware.
It's unfortunate that I have to follow up a post about great customer service with a post about terrible service, but such is life.  To sum it up for anyone who doesn't want to read the entire post:

If Bowers & Wilkins is the pinnacle of great customer service, then Colorware is the antithesis.

Let me explain.

Back in December, having saved up for months, I dropped $1500 on a pair of Sennheiser HD 800 headphones from Colorware.  They were price competitive with other HD 800 vendors, allowed me to custom paint them to my liking, and still had Sennheiser honor the warranty on the headphones themselves (Which, for $1500, was kind of mandatory for me).  I placed my order for them on December 30th at 1:21pm, and they were processed by Colorware the next day, with a shipping date of "about four weeks" (read: 3-5 weeks).  With that date in hand, I expected them by the end of January.

On January 28th, the end of the fourth week, I hadn't heard a peep out of Colorware about my headphones.  I wasn't too concerned, since the order slip clearly stated "about four weeks", so a fifth week of production was an unlikely, yet not unexpected possibility.  Still, I called their phone line, and was connected to a guy named Tim (or Tom. I can't quite recall).  I ask him about it, give him my order number (#134440), and he informs me there's a three day delay.  Bummer, but I chalk it up to the Christmas order rush still being resolved.  No worries, I'll check back in a few days.

On Friday, February 1st, I use their Live Chat feature to check on my headphones again, since their site still shows "In Production" with no customer service notes.  The rep I'm connected to says they told me it was a week delay when I called on Monday.  I corrected them, saying I was specifically told three days.  They countered again, saying their notes specifically stated I was told a week, and that I'd need to wait that full week.  I realize text is difficult to convey tone with accurately, but the quick responses of the rep made it seem as if I was being a nuisance.  They ended the chat after stating that if the order isn't shipped by Monday, to call back.

You can guess what happens.

On Tuesday, February 5th, I use Live Chat again to talk to a rep.  They say my order is shipping "any day now", and that it's been completed but just awaiting shipping.  I ask for an ETA, and they offer none, only that, again, it'll ship "any day now".  By this point, we're in the middle of week six of my order, and I'm a little upset.  Why?

1) Colorware offered a ship date of "about four weeks", meaning any time between January 14th and February 4th would've been a valid/acceptable shipping window (three to five weeks).
2) When Colorware encountered a delay, they never bothered to inform me of it.
3) When they did inform me of the initial delay on January 28th, they either misinformed me or lied in their (internal only) notes after the fact.
4) When I used Live Chat on February 1st, they insisted I was the one in the wrong, still did not provide an accurate status of my order, and gave me a date that was wrong, and really just felt like it was made up to placate me at that time.
5) When I used Live Chat again on February 5th, now in the sixth week since my order was placed, I was told it would ship out "any day now", again with no date or detailed status given about my order.

It bears repeating that, for this quality of service, I'm spending $1500 with this company.  I've gotten better quality of service from Amazon over a $15 DVD, and I'm pretty sure most of you out there can also think of several better experiences with far larger, far more complex companies over much more comparatively minor squabbles.  It gets better, though.

You see, I got an e-mail today from Travis Spaag, the Director of Internet Sales for Colorware Inc.  It was very...succinct:

"Hi Justin,

I'm sorry to inform you that your order is not scheduled to leave from our facility until this coming Monday, the 11th of February.  I have upgraded your order to overnight shipping so you should be able to receive your order on February 12th.  Thank you for your patience with us."

Hooray, a free shipping upgrade!  That'd be all well and dandy if I didn't know that it really amounted to a paltry $25 upgrade on a $1500 order.  See, I already paid $25 for insurance and three day shipping on my order at checkout, because I didn't want to pay the $50 for Overnight/Next Day.  I figured at the time, "I can wait four weeks, what's another three days?"  So an overnight upgrade after stringing me along for almost seven weeks is kind of a weak apology in my eyes, especially considering the e-mail that made it to me regarding said upgrade.

It's also worth pointing out that Mr. Spaag never mentions the multitude of delays regarding my order, nor does he apologize for them.  He also didn't care to explain what took so long with the order in the first place, or why I wasn't contacted sooner about these delays.  If he should see this post, I'd also like an explanation as to why your site says these headphones ship in three weeks on your website currently, and have said so for the past three weeks on your website, yet my order (placed earlier) has taken six (and by the time it arrives, entering its seventh) week to make it to me.

I get it, custom coloring is a very complex, expensive, and detailed procedure that can take a few weeks to get done.  I knew and accepted that going in.  I'm not upset with the time it's taking, quite the contrary: I'm upset that no communication was sent out proactively by Colorware at any point in time, until Mr. Spaag's e-mail today.  I'm upset that I had to call on three separate occasions to get an answer about my order, only to be given vague answers clearly meant to placate me temporarily without getting into any detail about the status of my order.  I'm upset that, after spending so much money with that company on just one order, nobody seemed to give a fuck about it except me.

To me, it's not about compensation. I don't care that they upgraded my shipping, I don't care if they send me a gift card or refund my money.  I care that, at every conceivable turn, I was treated like nothing more than an order number, and never as a customer.  I'm upset that the company took my money, and gave me a date that held no meaning to them.  I'm upset that, with an order several weeks overdue, I had to spend hours of my time cobbling together evidence to submit a charge back if the need arose, because I genuinely felt that my order would never arrive and that Colorware didn't care.

I may finally get my headphones next week, or I might not.  For all I know, they'll drop the ball again and I will have to file a charge back after all, adding to the stress I've already endured over what should've been a happy, well-earned purchase.  If I do get them, what should've been an epic piece of hardware tied to a future of fantastic memories will be forever tainted by the stench of failure that saw them dropped into my hands weeks overdue.  Either way, I really can't see a way Colorware can make this up to me.  It's not a matter of money, or compensation, it's just that I cannot see any way anyone, any person, can apologize for such a colossal failure at every possible turn.

Headphones or not, I don't think I can do business with these people again.  

And I recommend you don't either.

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