Morpheus on… “Channel Advisor”

I have just ordered a DVD from Ebay. It’s “The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes” – the American version.

It may be in that country’s 525-line NTSC (Never Twice The Same Colour) standard at 60 Hertz, instead of the European (and Thai, where I now live) 625-line PAL standard at 50 Hertz – but my equipment can handle it and ONLY the U.S. version has the BONUS FEATURES – including some of the legendary “lost footage” – but that’s another – and probably far more interesting but never mind – story.

And it took me THREE WEEKS. Huh? Well, I have ordered a number of similar items from Ebay during the last year – most from U.S. traders – and had no problems at all. Until three weeks ago.

It TOOK me that time to unravel the mess created by a ROGUE COMPANY. I’ll spare you the tortuous route I followed to obtain the following information, suffice to say that my mistake was to click on “buy it now”.

You see, the traders I tried to purchase this epic from – ALL claimed to SHIP TO THAILAND.

But when I clicked on “buy it now”, I was DIVERTED to a service called “Channel Advisor” (THEIR misspelling). And when I filled out THEIR form, where it came to my address, I scrolled down the list of countries – to find Thailand was MISSING. Again – huh? Yes. So I put “THAILAND (IGNORE the following…)” and hit Hong Kong.

The next day, I received an e-mail (which turned out to be a “standard” one).

It purported to have come from the U.S. trader and said that “under their stated terms”, they could not ship to Thailand. Yet again – huh? Well of course, that was just plain WRONG. But then I noticed it hadn’t actually originated from the TRADER – it had come from CHANNEL ADVISOR. Damn CHEEK – and as it later turned out, MISREPRESENTATIONAL.

I then tried another trader and since it was attached to the first, had a similar experience. Then I tried a third, but they CANCELLED my order – because they were out of stock. Finally, I found a FOURTH trader who connected me DIRECT to “PayPal” – who took my order, no problema.

But then, my curiosity piqued, I journeyed BACK to the two original traders and looked closer. And what I discovered was interesting. If I had scrolled WAY DOWN their sites, I would have found THEIR OWN “shipping” sections – which DID include Thailand. Hah! (Well, it’s different from huh).

So what have we learned? Well, if you are in a foreign country and you purchase something from Ebay – do NOT press “buy it now”. Instead, scroll DOWN the listing until you find the trader’s OWN shipping details – then go from THERE.

Provided you use PayPal for the transaction (any LEGITIMATE trader will accept them and PayPal will COVER you – at least for the price of the goods) you’re PROTECTED from dubiosity (I bet the Spellchecker’ll love THAT one!)

But speaking of dubiosity (it SHOULD be a word) does give one pause to wonder about the role of Ebay in all this. They claim that Channel Advisor is a “third party” outfit. I.e., not attached to Ebay or the trader – thus Ebay has no control over them. But they damn well SHOULD have.

I mean, here are traders with the capability to send goods ANYWHERE in the World and their customers are being SNATCHED by Channel Advisor – who doubtless CHARGE for their “service” and – apparently without the knowledge of said traders – CANCEL any orders which THEY, Channel Advisor, are INCAPABLE of shipping to.

Thus Ebay needs to get RID of Channel Advisor, post-haste. They are RUINING their business, pissing off their customers and wrecking the relationships between said customers and the traders.

And one other thing. Whilst Channel Advisor eventually refunded my money – as did the company who were out of stock – the money from a refund turns out to take a LOT longer to RETURN to your “Cyber-account” than it did to LEAVE it. This meant I had to BOOST the funds in said account to PAY the fourth trader.

Cyber-banking and online purchasing work fine when the systems do. But if a system falls over – like when a company cannot fulfill an order, because it ran out of stock (even though it was still ADVERTISING the item) – or was using a DODGY company like Channel Advisor – everything turns to sh*t!

Altogether, the farce created by Channel Advisor has caused me no END of aggro. Umpteen e-mails – and problems with my BANK. I only hope this piece gives others forewarning of the potential perils of Interweb shopping – particularly when it involves CHANNEL ADVISOR.

They are not CROOKS – just OPPORTUNISTIC INCOMPETENTS.

Oh, and talking of incompetents – FORGET about AMAZON if you live OUTSIDE of The West. They are a TOTAL waste of time. Stick to Ebay – unlike crappy Amazon, most of their traders will ship ANYWHERE and they have much the same stuff that Amazon has. And NEW – not just used.

Forewarned is forearmed!

[Update: Using ONLY Ebay and PayPal (once I had paid more money into my Cyber-account to replace that being held, thanks to Channel Advisor and the company advertising something they had run out of) I finally RECEIVED the U.S. DVD of “The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes” – it was WORTH the aggro.]

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