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Shameful service at Dive Sports with Phil

Discussion in 'Non-Diving Related Stuff' started by DirtRider, May 4, 2007.

  1. DirtRider

    DirtRider Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: NW suburbs of Chicago IL
    I know that many people on this board and another have been helped very much by Phil at Dive Sports. I haven’t posted here a lot but I have read a lot and his name is spread all over many threads as having given great advice, prices, and customer service. I am not too afraid about buying anything online when I know the dealers are authorized, have done business long term, and have a good reputation among the community they service. Dive Sports surely met my criteria and I had one flawless order with them middle of last year. I returned at the end of last year/beginning of this year to place a tank order to take advantage of the $158 deal Phil was offering on the 40 cubic foot AL. I planned on getting into tech diving and would be taking a class beginning of March. I should have had the pony ready to go well before the class. That was not the case though because the tank took 10 weeks to reach me and about a dozen calls and a few emails for me to receive.

    I placed the order either 12/30/06 or 1/1/07. I received an email at 1:46pm on 1/2/07 saying that my cylinder was delayed 10-12 days. No problem I thought. I was being very proactive about having all my gear ready well before class and I had left plenty of time. To my surprise Phil called me 2 hours later and said it would be delayed between 1-2 weeks. Wow I thought, those guys on scubaboard and deco stop aren’t kidding when they talk about great customer service. Email and phone call and assurance of shipment as timely as possible. I had no worries. Unfortunately the good feeling proved to be without substance.

    I sent follow up emails since I didn’t received the tank in the specified timeframe. These emails were sent to all 3 of their contact emails including “phil”, “order”, and “staff” at their dive sports domain. I emailed on 1/31/07, 2/3/07, 2/6/07, and 2/7/07. Not a single email was replied to. Don’t worry, I am a web developer and know how to send an email. They simply didn’t reply.

    In between that time of sending emails I had called twice already. Once I got a sales rep other than Phil but he said he’d have Phil call me back and that never happened. The other time I got Phil directly who promised a call back after figuring out what happened and this I never received. I didn’t bother sending more emails after that because it was obviously a futile endeavor. I called no less than 8 more times to follow up on where my tank was at. I got different stories every time. Every time except the first time I talked to Phil himself. I got the possibly true statements of a count being off and they needed to order a new palette and wait until it got in which would be only a couple days. That it was the distributors fault because they were shipping direct from WI and that it should reach me in IL in a couple days. Obviously those are mutually exclusive statements so one is a flat out lie. Then I got other stories like the tank was shipped to me twice and one of my neighbors must have it (I live in a single family home and never had shipping problems before – even verified address). I got another story about there being another person with my same first and last name in Pennsylvania who got my tank on accident. This just got very tiring and when I called in the beginning of march remarkably I still didn’t get irate with Phil but told him my communication with him had proven fruitless and that my strategy would be changing. I told him I was going to post up the details on the forums and dispute the charge with my cr card company. He asked for my IDs on both this site and another and said he would be writing a formal apology letter there as well as giving me a $200 gift card AND making sure my tank got to me this time within a week. He assured me this wasn't his normal business practice. A fair threat about posting the truth which would hurt his business was enough to get that tank to me in a few days whereby it finally arrived on 3/12/07. I called to say I got it and he said that he was going to credit my card the $158 for the tank. I guess he forgot he said he was going to give a $200 gift card instead but at this point I’d take the credit for the tank and get over the experience. I wasn’t going to waste more of my time writing on the boards. Unfortunately that credit has proven to be a lie and as of today – 5/4/07 – I still have not received my $158 credit on my card. I am sick and tired of trying to follow up with Phil and receiving empty promises. I should just dispute this with my cr card company but then again I did get what I paid for. I just got it two months later than promised, never received restitution or the promises he made to make up for his mistakes, and made over a dozen calls to get resolution on a simple order that has of yet not come to final resolution.

    I’m not trying to bash Phil personally but I have stated the facts and I clearly received shameful customer service in this case. If he wants to dispute it I have all my email confirmations, detailed cell phone calling statements, receipts, and shipping information available to prove everything I have said. I would like to be compensated what I was promised but at the minimum wanted to post this here to let others know what they could be getting themselves into. Maybe others have received such bad service as well and were too fed up to post it. Maybe things are changing and we’ll be seeing more of this. Whatever the case I did my part to look out for my fellow scuba board members. You know what they say…caveat emptor.

  2. booth22

    booth22 Instructor, Scuba

  3. realdiver7

    realdiver7 Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Coastal North Carolina
    It's too bad you had an experience that didn't live up to your expectations. I have only had great buying experiences with Phil, shipping has been prompt, and customer service has been excellent.

    It may be difficult to gain support for your cause if your experience turns out to be an isolated one, but I hope you guys can work it out. You can always post feedback for each other in the feedback section when it is finally resolved.

    Best of luck to both of you.
  4. ReefHound

    ReefHound Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Houston, TX
    I think his whole point is that he has repeatedly tried to handle it privately for the last 4 months and it has proven to be an exercise in futility.
  5. GreenDiverDown

    GreenDiverDown Instructor, Scuba

    Get a rope...
  6. DirtRider

    DirtRider Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: NW suburbs of Chicago IL
    Exactly right.

    I will post any future feedback I get from Phil but I'm not holding my breath.
  7. PhilEllis

    PhilEllis Guest

    I agree with Dan. Shameful is a good way to describe how his order was handled. I don't think I could MAKE UP a story that would describe the comedy of errors that happend with his order. If I listed every mistake we made on this order, it would sound too much like I made it up.....stuff like this cannot happen in real life. In fact, the entire "AL40 Cylinder for $158" Hot Deal was anything but flawless, due to my errors and no one elses. I expect some others of you could testify that it didn't go really good for you. Lots of people waited too long for these cylinders.

    Dan got his cylinder almost 10 weeks after he originally placed his order. He also got a $158 credit on his credit card, the amount of the FULL TRANSACTION COST. In other words, he got his cylinder for free to partially repay him for the cluster*** that occured on the order. Today (Monday morning May 7) is the first that I have heard that he has not seen a credit on his card for the entire cost of the transaction. I clearly issued the credit to SOMEBODY, but to be honest, I would not say this morning that I issued it to the RIGHT somebody. I will need to look into this.

    I use AJV Express Software as my point-of-sale software and inventory, customer, sales information, and all customer history is kept in the various data bases on this program. I expect that many, if not most, scuba stores in the US use this same program. It has a feature that allows us to "consolidate" two different "customer accounts" when it is found that we have created duplicates. We use this routine on a fairly regular basis. This routine was run on January 21 (I was at the store doing routine paperwork on a Sunday morning) and on that day I consolidated about 20 issues of "duplicate accounts". When we run this routine, it asks lots of questions about what to do with "previous sales to the customer", what do do about "mismatched phone numbers" and, most important, which record to merge the others into. On the morning in question, I merged three customer accounts into two existing customer records. As it turns out, these three customer records were really three different customers. They should not have been merged at all. But, that certainly is now water over the dam.

    I am not a computer expert, but I do understand enough to allow me to manage a successful, but amateur looking, website and I know enough to understand how our point of sale programs work. Up until last month, all of our databases were MS Access databases. One of the pitfalls of the Access data base (as I am informed by the designer of our point of sale system) is that it occasionally experiences "write failures" when closing an invoice or doing other maintenance tasks in the database. Occasionally, when we run our End of Day reports, it will print out a page showing the invoice numbers of the "Lost Invoices" for that day. This doesn't happen every day, but it does happen a couple of times per month. In most cases, a lost invoice only affects the Customer History, as the sale is already completed, the customer has his/her merchandise, and all is well. But, you guessed it......on the morning I merged these three customer accounts into two, it showed 2 "Lost Invoices". Unfortunately, lost is lost. When an invoice is lost, ALL details of the sale disappear....the item detail, the details of the financial transaction, and any notes (order filled, item shipped, item backordered) on the account do not get written.

    This situation gets even worse....two of the customers with the same name (two that were merged) had BOTH ordered AL40 cylinders. Many times when I was talking to THIS DAN (the OP), I was thinking that I was talking to a totally different Dan.

    When I am talking to a customer thinking he is someone that he actually isn't, using only the computerized customer order history as a memory jogger about what was purchased and what has transpired, it gets a little confusing. Much of what Dan says here, which I have agreed is basically correct (I assume), is the result of my UTTER confusion everytime we had a conversation. No wonder if it sounded confusing and contradictory from his side. When I finally realized what had happened (not until a march conversation with Dan), I was able to get his cylinder shipped and I issued a credit for the ENTIRE transaction. NOW, it appears that it is possible that the credit either went to someone who didn't deserve it, or something was punched in incorrectly. Maybe the DAN who lives in PA, who got a cylinder shipped to him that he never really ordered also got a credit to his credit card. Researching it TODAY doesn't yield much usable infomation, because I merged three Dan ****'s information into a single database. I can't even contact Dan from PA! His information is also screwed as a result of the merger. (Dan from PA, if you are a ScubaBoard user and got a cylinder that you didn't order and later had to return it, please call me!)

    Bottom line? Shameful, just as Dan (DirtRider) says. I would be pissed to the max if it had happened to me. I don't blame him for being mad. Unfortunately, I can't unring a bell, and I can't UNSCREW an order that I totally SCREWED! Maybe in time, DirtRider will forgive. Thanks for listening.

    Phil Ellis

    Another Note: I use a commercial credit card processor just like every other merchant. When you CHARGE a customers credit card, the system verifies ALL kinds of information before issuing an approval number. On a CREDIT, it doesn't verify anything. It simply transmits the information at the end of the day when I batch out. If we have input a number incorrectly, put in the wrong expiration date, attempted to credit an amount that does not match a previous invoice approval, or the card has been cancelled.....we get no verification of this, nor do we get a call or letter from the processor. They simply put the transaction into some sort of holding pattern and wait for us (or the customer) to notify them that the transaction was never seen (but, they do take the money out of my account). I assume they are perfectly willing to wait until NEVER because it GIVES them money instead of TAKING money. This, also, is shameful. But every credit card processor does it the same way.
  8. DirtRider

    DirtRider Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: NW suburbs of Chicago IL
    Phil - I do appreciate the fact that you responded. I also appreciate the fact that you are taking ownership of the problems because as you pretty much said yourself...the mistakes on this order were at an absurd level.
    However, I cannot believe you were ignorant about which Dan I was. Once I got wind of the utter chaos going on with this order (after the 3rd or so call) I always referred to myself as Dan from Schaumburg IL. I always left my phone number for you too and usually gave you my entire address so you could personally get it shipped for me because of your computer problems. I can only assume you wrote it down or were creating a shipping label for me while I was giving you my address. Once when i didn't give you my address you said yourself the street name because you heard it from me so many times. You knew exactly who I was. You really can't blame this on a computer problem. That would have been remedied in one call or at most two. When we get to 8+ calls there is not a computer problem. As we say in IT there is a "user problem".
    It is as it is though. You can't change what happened but you can follow through on your word of issuing a credit.
  9. Karibelle

    Karibelle Contributor

    Phil - any chance you have a backup of your access db from prior to this mixup?

    and if not, any chance you're doing backups now?? :)

  10. Divin'Hoosier

    Divin'Hoosier Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: South Florida
    Phil is human and he certainly isn't perfect. Mistakes do happen and occasionally a cascading series of "who'd-a-thought" mistakes like what happened in this instance. But in my experience he's always worked very hard to make me happy if issues arise. In this instance it certainly looks like Phil admitted his mistakes and has gone to extraordinary effort to make things right. Yes you got your tank late ... really late ... but assuming he straightens out the CC credit issue (which I have no doubt he will) ... you now have a FREE AL40. Not many businessmen out there would go to that extent to make a customer happy.

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