Don’t Take My Order for a Product You Don’t Have

There’s nothing worse for the perception of your company than when a customer of yours feels cheated or tricked – it’s hard for your brand to recover from that. Case in point: on October 1st I was (as always) keenly following Dell’s Days of Deals and they happened to have a Sony Digital Voice Recorder on sale for $69, a full $40 off the normal price of $99. Sometimes I have do to interviews for my Web sites and I thought it would be a decent solution for the price. I placed the order on October 1st at the special price. On November 1st, a full month later, I still didn’t have the product. I had been checking my order online every week or so, expecting it to say it had shipped, but no such luck.

Today I phoned Dell, and 35 minutes, one customer service agent, and one pause-prone (is that a cultural thing or a Dell sales thing?) Indian salesperson later I was told that the product was going to be back in stock in seven to ten business days. So if I’m lucky, it will be somewhere around the six to seven week mark after ordering that my product will show up. Seven to ten business days sounds suspiciously like a generic “I don’t actually know” answer, but I suppose it’s better than what the customer service agent suggested I do: cancel my order and re-place it, trying to get the same discount from online says.

I’ve seen Dell deals be sold out before, which is why I always check them first thing on the morning when the Day of Deals are on. If Dell didn’t have the product in stock, why take my order? It’s certainly not normal for Dell to take a month to ship products – the last product I ordered I received the very next day. I had been hoping to use this voice recorder when I went down to New York (I figured I had 20+ days for it to show up), but Dell betrayed my trust when it never arrived. Come on Dell: you’re supposed to be the master of the supply chain, can’t you show “out of stock” on a promotional deal when you don’t have any more to sell?