My buying nightmare with Buy.com

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UPDATE: Digg this story and let it be heard. UPDATE!: First DIGG got burried as a dupe. Re-digg. Link updated.

This is the story of one man’s innocent attempt to buy a new scanner for his computer. Sound simple? Turns out, not so much. Buy.com has COMPLETELY destroyed my confidence in them as a reputable place to purchase anything.

It all started last week when I decided to get a new scanner. I went with a Canon model that many had recommended to me. I chose to use Buy.com because they have hounded my inbox in the past about how they now take PayPal payments. I figured I would take them up on it since I keep money in there for just this sort of occasion. I have even purchased this way two other times through them to test the water. They had the model I wanted, and I had the way to pay. Simple enough….or not it would seem. Oh how I wish I would have just used Amazon or something.

Here is where it gets fun.

Stage One: Order Complete
I go through the process, like I have a million times in the past, and it says, “Congraduations and thanks for your order”, blah blah blah. I pretty quickly get an invoice from PayPal stating that the order was complete and that “This email confirms that you have paid Buy.com $78.51 USD using PayPal.” I think to myself, woot…all taken care of.

Stage Two: Bad news from Buy.com
I get the following email from Buy.com not long after I got the Paypal reciept.

Dear Buy.com Customer,

This is to notify you that you did not complete your order #XXXXXXX in which you selected PayPal as your method of payment.

To complete your purchase please:
1. Log into your Buy.com account (https://secure.buy.com/corp/support/login.asp).
2. Click on the order number for which you want to complete the payment transaction.
3. Click on the “Change payment method or re-submit to Paypal” link.
4. Select PayPal from the drop down and click on “Resubmit Information”.
5. You will be redirected to the PayPal site where you will log in.
6. Validate the amount, the items you are purchasing, and your ship to address, and then click “Pay”.
7. Once PayPal has received your funds you will be redirected back to the Buy.com receipt page. Congratulations, you will have completed your order.

Ok…so I figure, hey…its possible that I screwed up somehow, willing to admit that, and I went and followed the instructions to the letter. When I get to the part where I ask Paypal for payment again, already nervous that I am now paying twice, Paypal informs me on screen that “you have already paid for this item, click here to go back to the vender”, plus or minus.

“hmmm…” I think to myself. Very weird.

Stage 3: Contacting Support
I immediately emailed Buy’s support email about the problem. This is what I said:

I got an email for this order saying I had to resubmit the order to
paypal to pay for it, even though it said it went through no problem at
the time I ordered.

So I did as instructed, but Paypal reports that the payment was already
made and to go back to the vendor. Can you tell me what is wrong with
order XXXXXX? Never had this problem before with orders to Buy.com.

Thanks!

Scott Johnson

This is what I got back:

Our records show that you were unable to complete the entire process.
This is the reason why you were notified by email. All you need to do is
to return to the checkout procedure at any time within 3 hours to
complete your transaction. However, if you do not return to complete
your transaction within 3 hours, your order will be automatically
cancelled and you will be notified by email.

Please note that it takes almost an hour to update the status of a
completed PayPal order on your My Account. Kindly check the status
periodically to avoid any inconvenience in the future.

For more information, please visit our Help Page and click ‘What are my
payment choices?’ under Pricing and Billing.

We thank you for your patience.

Side note: Should I worry that they don’t know how to spell the word “canceled”? Anyway… (EDIT: I am dumb…turns out you can spell it either way. My bad.)

Stage 4: My Response
I decided to give them more to go off of so they could see I really was having a problem. I decided to call them on the phone, which I did, and was subsequently on hold for a total of 48 minutes and 34 seconds. I NEVER talked to an actual person, and had to finally give up because I have A LIFE TO LIVE!!!!!

sheesh….

Anyway, I emailed them back instead, not even bringing up the phone joke they put me through, and said the following:

I went right back to it and Paypal wont let me pay again…says that
the transaction was successful. Which it certainly was at the time I
made it. I followed all the way through like I do on all my Buy.com
Paypal transactions, and this is the first time this has come up.
According to Paypal, they have paid Buy.com. If this is true, I don’t
want to double pay for the item. Can you find out what I should do at
this stage?

Scott

Stage 5: A Reply
Here is what they had to say in return.

This is to inform you that we have not received payment from Paypal
since you have just placed the order today, 1/12/2007. We advise that
you wait for any update regarding this transaction within 24 hours.

Thank you for your patience and understanding in the matter.

In other words, big fat nothing. Canned answers, nothing more.

Stage 6: My Best Foot Forward
In the meantime I got this thing:

As we previously notified you by email, you never completed your order #XXXXXXX in which you selected PayPal as your method of payment. We regret to inform you that after three hours, your incomplete order had to be automatically cancelled because we cannot leave PayPal orders open indefinitely.

We apologize for any inconvenience. Your PayPal account was never charged for this order.

Note they say I was never charged. Oh, I was charged alright, just not in their little reality.

Did I mention the ultimate reply to me?

As we have checked our site, our system shows that no billing
transaction has been made to your Paypal account for your order
#XXXXXXX. We advise you to contact Google regarding this matter.

Thank you for your understanding in the matter.

Google??? Google??? What the hell does google have to do with any of this? Are these people participating in a bring a moron to work program?

It was now that I decided I needed to get detailed with them about what was going on and see if that would gain some sort of action. This was my reply to them: (note the continued restraint)

I received a notice that the order was canceled and that my paypal
account was NOT charged. According to both my paypal account AND a
paypal service rep, it was charged, and Buy.com confirmed the purchase
and took the money.

You can see what my paypal account says here:

http://kgls.com/completed-summary.jpg

http://kgls.com/complete-details2.jpg

You guys say to just reorder the item, but I can’t until Paypal says
that you guys never charged for it…which everyone but you says you
did. I need to get this resolved asap.

Scott Johnson

See? Still not being a jerk. Giving them plain case facts. Here’s the reply:

We apologize for the confusion caused you. Please contact PayPal
regarding this matter.

Not good enough folks, not good enough. That is where I got pissed. My reply to them? With all haste:

Thats the best you can do? Paypal says you took the money. The best
you can say is “Sorry for the confusion caused me”?

If you mean it when you say “my satisfaction is important to you”,
then you could do a bit more than just push me back to paypal.

I’ll have this story documented, posted on my 25,000 users a day blog,
and on DIGG.com by the end of the afternoon if need be.

Scott


Stage 7: The Bell Tolls

I am ticked. Bottom line is, they don’t want to help, PayPal says they took the money, and I have no scanner. I would like to make life a little harder for Buy.com today. Since they have placed no value on my 70+ bucks, or on my need to be dealt with in a fair manner, then I suppose the least I could do is out them a little for winning the ExtraLife 2007’s Worst Internet Retailer Award.