Nocturn's law to (IT) purchases
It happened to me again. I fell fool of the poor service quality of an IT shop.
I could have known this by applying Nocturn's law to (IT) purchases.
I was recently looking for a place that sold Linksys routers in my area. Unfortunately, these are not very common in Belgian IT stores so I could only order it from a local store which I previously had some problems with. I did this because I needed the router very urgently (before friday that same week).
I had mailed the company using their webform a week before (when I was considering to have it delivered from a store further away), but I got no response.
On a monday, I called them asking if they had that router (they did), and to have one set aside for me, which they said they did. They did not ask my name, instead I was told to ask for a guy, he would have the router set aside in his office.
So, on thursday, I walk into the store to get the router. After waiting in line, asking, being send to another line (where they guy I spoke with worked), I could ask for my router.
The guy started digging through stuff in his store-cubicle (not an office) but turned up empty. Started mumbling about not having a name on the order...
He went to check their supplies, but they were sold out. They only had a higher type of router (with speedbooster), a lot more expensive and the extra functionality useless to me.
So, that was it, no effort made to help me out, so I got very angry and demanded to see the store manager.
After a wait, the manager came, a rather shady looking figure. He was very rude even complaining 'does it really have to be *that* router'. I explained him that I wanted the product I ordered.
I got a lot angrier at this point and he offered to sell the higher type at a reduced price, but it was still a lot more expensive then the one I ordered. So I explained to him that I did not thought this was fair, as it was their mistake and the extra money was just wasted from my point of view.
At this point he got very rude and I remembered Nocturn's law.
Maximum Service after purchase = service before purchase / 2
I walked away, even though I really needed that equipment.
The reasoning is simple, if I ever have any problems with the machine, they will at least treat me twice as bad as when I wanted to buy it. Given the situation, this was a depressing thought.
The urgency of the situation made me neglect my own law, something I always apply otherwise and I paid for it this time. I got the router a week later from another store, who custom-ordered it for me. When I went to pick it up, it was taken from a shelf with an order sheet attached to it. This was a store that was only 1/10th the size of the other one.
There are some exceptions to my law. Namely companies that make the support after purchase their problem, offering compensations on late responses or accepting liability. For the other part, my law is overly optimistic, but it offers protection from what happened to me again.
The store in question is www.vanroey.be (from Turnhout, Belgium). I obviously recommend to anyone reading this to avoid it at all costs. But don't take my word for it, just mail them and time the response, see how long you have to wait when entering the store.
This applies to almost everything you can buy, be it a computer, sofware or a car.
Written by Guy Van Sanden
Licensed under a creative commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.