Screen and Shout

Buy.com monitor mishap irks Netizens

Because Buy.com would not comment, I can't say whether the situation is as bad as disgruntled customers claim online. But the accounts of customer-service hell are so pervasive it's natural to suspect there's some truth to them. And certainly those customers who ordered a monitor, were told the sale was canceled, and still had the purchase price charged to their credit cards are entitled to be furious. (Sodikoff admits that "most if not all" of his plaintiffs did receive refunds eventually.)

This kind of anecdote is not unique to Buy.com. A Jupiter Communications survey released earlier this month shows that e-commerce firms suffer a huge gap in customer service; more than half the firms contacted failed to respond to customer-service inquiries within five days.

But people who get shafted by a company's customer-service reps know what their recourse is: never shop there again. There's no worse punishment for a company than denying them your business until Satan is ice-skating in hell. And it's not like Buy.com is the only game in town: you can buy music at CDNow, books at Amazon.com, computers at Egghead Software and about a zillion other places. It's the punishment of the open marketplace: Buy.com will either fix what's wrong or go under.

And for those of you who are petulantly kicking the table leg because you didn't get your monitor and screw Buy.com out of several hundred bucks, Momma's got her spank ray fully charged.

Get in line.

Complain to Wyn at machineage@mediaone.net.

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