Newegg has long been my favorite online retailer. As a computer hardware geek, and the Director of IT here at AI, they’ve always sold stuff that I’m frequently purchasing. Whether I was looking for a new motherboard for a system build for a friend, or even something as simple as buying some Ethernet cable for the office, Newegg has always been the site I go to first.
Newegg sucked me in as a customer really early with spectacular customer support. Two specific instances stick in my mind. I believe these both happened back in 2001. The first was replacing a motherboard after it stopped working after just a week. It was a super smooth process; they replaced it quickly without a ridiculous RMA process.
The second incident was a broken front panel on a computer case I bought. They didn’t even make me return the original broken case. They simply grabbed a replacement part from a case at their warehouse, and shipped me just the broken part. I was able to get on with my system build without any delays due to the damaged part.
People always ask me where to buy computer stuff. Countless times, I have said, “Buy it from Newegg. They may not always have the lowest price, but their prices are always very competitive and you can’t beat their service.” Regrettably, I no longer feel this way.
Once again, it comes down to 2 incidents. The first one was a 3 years ago. I was trying to get some extra remotes for my Nintendo Wii, and I found some for sale at Newegg. I bought 2, thinking I was all set. A few hours later I got an email from them saying that they didn’t actually have any in stock and that they were cancelling my order.
I was pretty annoyed, so I emailed them a complaint. They said they would give me a few dollars off of my next order. I can’t recall the exact amount but it was at most 20 dollars. I think it was 10, but I want to give Newegg the benefit of the doubt here. I was not happy so I emailed them back. I never received another response from them, and I certainly didn’t get that discount.
I wrote this incident off as an oddity in my years of positive service with Newegg, and I ignored it. But then, this past Friday, the same thing happened. For the second time, I had completed checkout at Newegg, and I was sent an email after the fact that my item was out of stock and my order was being canceled.
In the interest of full disclosure, this new incident involved a black Friday special. But honestly, in the 3 years since this last happened to me, I would have expected that they invested time and money into their system to prevent this type of thing from happening again. After all, according to their Facebook page, they are the 2nd largest online only retailer. They can afford to fix these problems.
In any case, I emailed them 3 times and haven’t heard back from them yet. From my perspective, this is now enough to form a pattern of a website that breaks down during the holidays, and a pattern of a poor customer service response to the people who are affected. Patterns I intend to avoid by giving other vendors my business from now on.
Between my business and personal accounts, I spent around 10 grand there last year. Sure, those numbers aren’t huge, but they aren’t insignificant either. And if they lose other long time customers from incidents like this, those numbers can add up. In addition to the fact that they risk losing the excellent word of mouth that made them so big to begin with.
Where will I shop now? Well, I’ve already got a couple of vendors that I consider reliable. I’ve got account managers at CDW, Dell, and Apple. They aren’t the cheapest vendors, but I like having a direct line to somebody who values my business, and there are situations where that is worth spending the extra money. I buy my memory direct from Crucial these days. There’s plenty of stuff I can get at Amazon, a vendor that has never failed me. For more urgent purchases, I can walk 3 blocks from my office to the local Best Buy.
For the items that I traditionally have purchased from Newegg, I’m going to give zipzoomfly.com a try. They have been recommended by a fellow hardware geek a few times. They don’t seem to have the vast selection that Newegg has, but their prices seem fair, so it’s time to give their service a try.
I miss the Newegg of old. I congratulate them on their enormous success, but in my opinion, they’ve had to sacrifice a chunk of their brilliant customer service to get there. I, myself, am moving on for now.
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
It seems Newegg’s big thank you to their customers is a $10 gift certificate. No thank you.
8:08:39 PM System says, Hello my name is Angelique. How may I help you today?
8:08:49 PM Joshua Rusch says, hi there
8:09:18 PM Joshua Rusch says, I had an order for a black friday deal canceled due to stock issues, even though I checked out on the site successfully
8:09:44 PM Joshua Rusch says, I’ve seen a few reports that you are honoring the deal on alternative colored laptops for people who checked out and had their order canceled
8:10:01 PM Joshua Rusch says, I’ll paste the exact message somebody sent me…
8:10:24 PM Joshua Rusch says, I was actually able to get a hold of an escalation rep @ 5pm, pacific standard time, via phone (800) 390-1119
Once talking to a live person, I insisted on being transferred to the escalation dept.
There, I spoke with a Becky and an Ivan. They gave me the blackfriday price on the exact same netbook in a different color. There are reports of other people doing the same as well online:
8:11:29 PM Angelique says, I would be glad to assist you. We are offering $10.00 off your next order with Newegg for the inconvenience.
8:12:01 PM Joshua Rusch says, What about the people claiming they got the same deal on the same laptop in a different color?
8:12:08 PM Joshua Rusch says, are they lying?
8:12:43 PM Joshua Rusch says, do you have customer service reps named Ivan and Becky, if so I’ll try talking to them on the phone….when your phone lines actually start working again
8:14:50 PM Angelique says, There were many customers that were inconvenienced by the stock situation, as such we have decided to offer $10.00 off a future order with our company.
8:15:17 PM Angelique says, We are not able to honor the sale price for all customer’s that were inconvenienced.
8:15:38 PM Joshua Rusch says, I have given this company over 25 grand in business over the past 3 years
8:15:43 PM Joshua Rusch says, you really don’t want my business any more?
8:15:51 PM Joshua Rusch says, http://www.alexanderinteractive.com/blog/2009/11/dear-newegg-so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-fish.html
8:16:09 PM Joshua Rusch says, I suggest you check with your boss, I’ll give you the other account number I buy under
8:17:39 PM Joshua Rusch says, Look at account #XXXXXX, also under my name
8:17:56 PM Joshua Rusch says, you REALLY want to lose all that business over 120$ or whatever it was?
8:19:28 PM Angelique says, We definitely value you as a customer, and that is why we are offering the 10.00 discount off your next order. There is nothing that can be done to honor the original price or else I would definitely take care of it for you.
8:20:32 PM Joshua Rusch says, hah, OK, well I’ll be adding this conversation to my blog post. 10 dollars does not say you value me as a customer.
8:21:43 PM Angelique says, I apologize that we were not able to offer you more in this situation.
8:22:23 PM Joshua Rusch says, It seems like a no brainer to me…give me the discount, and get another couple of years of business, but its your loss, I have other vendors.
8:22:27 PM Joshua Rusch says, Bye
I thought I’d include a link to the facebook posting in which newegg said it would be contacting the people that experienced the stock problem on their website. Click here. As you can see, there are many complaints there. Not all of them are about successful checkouts, but there are enough.
Also, here is the netbook that they sold me, before they canceled the order:
Here are two of the exact same netbooks specwise, just in different colors. They refuse to substitute them in for the deal they originally sold me.