Expansys / MobilePlanet’s Lousy Customer Service

ExpansysLogoExpansys-USA / MobilePlanet: You didn’t care about me as your client and delayed the shipment of my device for weeks. You not only broke a record in customer dissatisfaction but you blatantly lied and for that, you lost me as your client.

At the risk of sounding like an grouchy old man, I have to ask the following question: What is the problem with good customer service these days? Doesn’t anyone care about the money us customers spend anymore? I would assume that with the economic/financial downturn the world is in right now, companies would make an extra attempt not to annoy customers away with bad customer service!

Let me get into the details and you be the judge.

December 1: I ordered myself a nice HTC Touch HD from Expansys-USA. The web site (Expansys-USA) indicated that they had 14 devices in stock and that it normally "ships in 4 days". I selected the device, I also selected a 2 day shipping option so that after their 4 days of processing, packing and handling, it would not take too long to arrive. I completed the transaction at night and didn’t make too much of the fact that right from the start it logged tracked the transaction in UK time. Not that this would mean anything, but it would create some confusion in the days to come.

December 2: I checked out their Order Status web page link, which I received in an email. The credit card transaction was going to be processed that morning, it all went pretty quick and immediately started showing a status of "awaiting stock". I figured this must be some intermediate status and it will probably be updated tonight after they run their nightly processes.

December 3: To my surprise, the web page was still showing "awaiting stock", and now it was showing 14 days as opposed to the 6 days that it was showing the previous day. I called them immediately. What was going on? why did they delay the process? On the phone one of their sales reps confirmed that it was in fact delayed two full weeks. There was nothing he could do and my HTC Touch HD was in fact being held hostage!

The following days the expected shipping date came closer. At some point it reset again and now it was saying "Will ship in 14 days" again!!! On top of this, the link that described the item in my order was now pointing to the unit’s European version, which of course is not on sale in the US. Whenever I would click on the item, I would get a very discouraging "Product not found or is not available in this region". ExpansysNotFoundSo there I went again, gave them a call and they explained that they were trying to fulfill all orders with their foreign warehouses in Europe. The person I talked to had the nerve to tell me that it was very simple, I could wait or else I could cancel and refuse to pay the charges in my credit card. I didn’t want to fight another battle, I didn’t want to have to argue with my credit card company if I wanted or not to charge over $800 dollars for a service I actually was not receiving. Just as I was about to start arguing whether I had any other options or not, he also told me that they had some back-orders and that they would fulfill all of them in the order that they were placed. At the end of the call, the sales rep mentioned that he was not supposed to say this, but that they were expecting a huge shipment of about 100 HT Touch HD to arrive on Friday December 12. Having heard that; I figured, I don’t want to wait, but I don’t want to waste any more time… I’ll just have to sit this one out and wait. With my 2 day shipment, I’ll be enjoying my new device by Monday 15.

Fast forward to Friday December 12, 5:30 PM. I’m getting ready to go home but I remember to check the status of my order before I leave. The web site still shows that the order will ship in 10 more days! Nothing changed! The Online Order Status page says that they close at 6 PM, I promptly call them up and I get the grim news that for some unfortunate reason the shipment that they received was not enough to cover the orders that they had pending, therefore I will have to wait … until the following Tuesday when they might, just might! receive another shipment.

December 13: Still showing that my HTC Touch HD usually ships in 10 days. I wonder if these guys ever learned the meaning of "usual" … Maybe I didn’t understand that "usually ships in 10 days" really means "we’ll ship it whenever we want to ship it to you"???

December 14: Again, my HTC Touch HD usually ships in 10 days… normally this number would automatically decrease every day. Last week it would even decrease during the weekend, but I guess that these guys have given up on their own system. If they don’t care about the customer, why even bother keep them updated and happy.

December 15: Still stuck at usually ships in 10 days. Maybe if I keep insisting, they’ll just send it to me to get rid of the guy that keeps calling for the status of his order! I called them again, and this time I finally got to speak with someone that really had the intention of helping me. Joe B. should be commended for his customer handling skills. He helped me out, gave me information on what and when it would be shipped. All of which turned out to be very accurate for once. I now have received an email indicating that the device was handed out to the shipping company. Hopefully that’s true.

December 17: I finally received my HTC Touch HD and I am very happy with the device… I don’t think I am going to buy from Expansys-USA unless I hear they have changed their business practices. I sure hope I do for their client’s sake. However, for now and until I am convinced otherwise, I will recommend anyone who asks about their service to try to avoid them as much as possible. I know I may end up getting a lot of comments of people that were satisfied with their service, but remember, just because it worked out for you, it doesn’t mean it will work out for everyone. In my case I know there were at least 200 people still sitting in the waiting list after my spot. So they mostly would go through the same lousy experience I went.

Someone once said that good customer service is demonstrated with actions that would benefit the customer; that’s what turns people into return customers.

About Diego Samuilov

Editor in Chief/Founder Diego Samuilov is an executive, consultant, IT strategist and book, e-book and web published author. Diego has worked in Microsoft’s environments since 1990. Since then, he has successfully filled many positions related to the Software Development lifecycle. Having worked as a developer, analyst, technical lead, project lead, auditor and, since 1996 a project manager, manager, director and VP in the Software Development, Server, Desktop and Mobile environments. Diego is very passionate about the software development process, which has played a great part in his skills development. Since the introduction of the first ever PDA (the Apple Newton MessagePad) in 1994 and Windows CE in 1998 he has pioneered and pushed the envelope in the field of mobile software development. He has developed many solutions used in mobile markets, desktop and server environments. He participates in public and private developer community events. He actively collaborates with the community at support forums and blogs. Diego is the author of "Windows Phone for Everyone" available [HERE].