Two days ago I wrote about trying to get a replacement for my D Link DNS-323, and the customer service nightmare that I encountered. Today I’m writing about a problem one of my customers had in terms of getting new UPSes for his three computers.
This customer had purchased UPSes from a company called APC in the past and was generally happy with them (plus he had listened to what I had to say about getting a UPS in this article). But they were starting to show their age and he wanted them replaced. I did some research on his behalf and found that his best bet was to upgrade to the APC Back-UPS ES 650. Plus I also discovered that APC has a trade in program that allows you to trade in your old UPS for discounts on a new one, and the old UPS is disposed of in an enviornmentally responsible manner. So armed with my recommondations, he went about ordering his new UPSes direct from APC using their website and got them within a day. That’s when things started to turn negative:
- Of the three UPSes, only two worked. One was DOA. When I did some troubleshooting with APC, it was determined that the battey was dead. That struck me as odd as one of the reasons why I recommend APC is that they print the test results of the UPS right on the unit itself. That’s supposed to give you the confidence that everything is working as it should be when you receive the unit. It was unlikely that it was damaged in shipping as the box showed no physical damage, nor was anything inside the box damaged. Therfore, I suspect this slipped through their QA process at the factory. The APC rep comitted to sending a new battery which he would receive in 3 – 5 business days (it actually took 2 days to arrive).
- The next problem was the shipping labels to return his old UPSes. Since he ordered directly from APC, he should have been able to print them out online. But he was never able to. Instead, he got this error when he tried to do so:
He therefore had to call and spend almost half an hour with an APC customer support rep to remedy the situation. APC is going to send him three new labels by SNAIL MAIL which he should receive in 8 to 10 days (the rep never said if he was refering to business days). At this time of year, that really means about 2 to 3 weeks.
- He received the replacement battery for the DOA unit yesterday. I went over to his house and installed it as well as hooked it up to his computer. Everything went fine in that regard. However, there was only a return shipping label in the box for the USA. Too bad we are in Canada. Oh, by the way, the battery was shipped from a Canadaian address (much like the UPSes that he bought). So there should have been no reason why the proper label should not have been in the box. So, he sent an e-mail to APC last night and got this response this morning:
Thank you for contacting APC’s email support on 12/17/2008 09:01 PM. I would be happy to assist you.
[Name Redacted], I am sorry for the inconvenience. I have submitted a request for the Return Shipping label. You will receive the Return Shipping label through mail. Please allow 10 days to process this request. When you receive the return shipping label, you can send the old unit to APC.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me by responding to this incident. It would be my pleasure to ensure that your issue is quickly resolved!
So, the net result is that he has three UPSes and a battery that are awaiting shipping labels. All because APC was unable to either supply them to him online or pack the proper ones in the box. Not only that, one of the UPSes that he ordered was DOA. Now to be fair to APC, when he did contact them to deal with each issue they did resolve the issue (or at least committed to do so as my customer hasn’t received the shipping labels as of yet) in a timely manner. But of the three times that my customer contacted APC, two of them didn’t need to happen. But they did because APC has some gaps in their processes. These gaps created a slightly bad taste in my customer’s mouth and mine as well as I had recommended APC products to him.
Now, this won’t likely stop me from recommending APC products in the future as they make great products. Nor will it likely stop my customer from buying them in the future. But I would recommend that APC look at their processes so that events like I have described don’t happen to other customers. Otherwise a company with great products might get a negative reputation.
I’ll update you as to what happens next.