The one thing I can't stand is poor customer service - as regular readers of my blog will know, last year I wrote a lot about Talk Talk Broadband.
Well this month its Amazon in the firing line. I few months back I signed up to be notified when the PS3 console would be able to pre-order - launch date is March 23rd.
After Sony announced the final pricing recently I have been waiting for Amazon to let me know when I could order and watching with interest whilst other stores both online and in the High Street launched their offers. Finally, last Saturday, I received an email which said:
"Dear PlayStation fan,
The PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system is set to unleash a brilliant, high-definition entertainment experience when it's released in Europe on March 23. Whether you're into gaming, Blu-ray movies, music or online services, the PlayStation 3 will change your digital lifestyle. You can pre-order yours at Amazon.co.uk from February 15, during business hours (9am - 5pm GMT). We will stop taking pre-orders once we've pre-sold all the consoles Sony have allocated to us for release day. Order early to avoid disappointment! If you're not lucky enough to get hold of a PlayStation 3 in our initial pre-order window, we'll email you when we get more stock in. "
So, anticipating strong demand - as they must have emailed that message to thousands of eager gamers like me - I set my calendar to alert me at 8.45 this morning to be ready to place the order. From about 8.55 onwards, I started refreshing the product page to get the Preorder option and place one. Come 9.15, no button, so I waited some more. By 9.30 I was getting a bit cross and wondered if I had a page cache problem - so I rebooted my machine - still no button.
At 9.30, I thought I would send an email to the Amazon customer services - not really expecting a quick replay - but I fired one off anyway. I then had several friends check the site from their PCs - still no preorder button.
From about 10am, I have been going back to the page every couple of minutes and refreshing the page - still no button. Then I received an email response from Amazon - at 11.02 about 90 minutes after my email - so 10/10 for the quick reply, but 0/10 for the answer:
"Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.
Sony PlayStation 3 Console (60GB Premium Version) is currently not available to pre-order.
Please note that the console will become available for pre-order during UK business hours (9am to 5pm) today, and that we are unable to specify an exact time.
In the meantime, keep checking back on our site to see if Sony PlayStation 3 Console is available to pre-order."
Very similar, but subtly different from the email sent on Saturday. The big difference being that I, like many other customers, thought that the first email made it clear it would be available to order from 9.00am onwards - not at some unspecified time during the working day!
The email then goes on to refer me to the FAQ that Amazon has about the pre-order, which states:
When will I be able to pre-order my PlayStation 3 console?
From Thursday, February 15, 2007, during UK business hours (9am - 5pm GMT).
Not clear at all that it will be a some undetermined point during the day.
Overall, a poor experience and as I have more important things to do today - like work - I don't think I will be ordering my PS3 from Amazon