The good, the bad and the ugly (online vendors)

Every year I do most of my holiday shopping via online vendors, and this year I think I did 100% of it online.

I always have mixed results with online stores, with some exceeding expectations and some failing miserably.  This year, I thought that I would post a few results to possibly benefit the good vendors and encourage the poor ones to improve.  After all, if enough if us post the poor vendors, maybe they will come up in searches and warn away other victims (I mean customers). 

These are not all workshop related vendors, but several are included in the list.

For 2009….

The GOOD (definitely use these vendors) Year after year, Amazon has provided me with good service at good prices.  This year was no exception.  Many orders, many good results. They also carry many tools (mostly power tools), and I have purchased both full-size floor-mounted shop tools through Amazon as well as smaller tools all with good results.  Sure, they advertise on this site, but this review is still the truth. Oh how I love, let me count the ways.  Great tools, great people, good prices, fast shipping…buy stuff now! (I get no advertising or any other support from Lee Valley, although I should). Good, prompt service and friendly staff.  They bailed me out when (listed under bad, below) left me hung-out-to-dry with 5 days till Christmas.  Buy from here, not from Banana (the name should have tipped me off).

The BAD (Do not use these vendors)  – I knew nothing about this hobby store before I placed an order…never do that.  They came up in a Google search for a particular item that I wanted to buy my son for Christmas (radio controlled vsTank...super cool and highly recommended!).  In stock and ready to ship with more than two weeks to go till Christmas.  Soon after I placed an order, I got an email from UPS saying "manifest received" and looking like it was shipping…so, I happily assumed that it was about to ship.  It did not.  5 days before Christmas, I got an email saying that one item in my order was back-ordered.  Did the rest of the order ship?  Couldn't tell.  The 1-800 phone number says that they don't answer the phone during the Holidays, web-chat support only.  Wait on web chat for 30 minutes.  Find out that, no, they had not shipped any of my order and now I had to pay for expedited shipping if I want anything to arrive before Christmas…I paid it only reluctantly since it was Bananahobby's mistake, and not mine.  I also paid for expedited shipping at another store's website to get the item that was not available at Bananahobby in time for Christmas.   I did a search on Banana Hobby complaints too late to help me, and found out that my experience with them was typical. 

Finally, when the item arrived, it was broken and had obviously been opened before shipping. I am still fighting with them to resolve.  They do not respond to emails or to chat messages.

Do not use!

If you want a vsTank, buy from above instead(note that Artistic Hobbies is not paying me and I am in no way involved with them).

About mattsanf

Matt Sanfilippo is the Chief Partnership Officer (CPO) for the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Co-Director of its Engineering Research Accelerator. In this role, Matt coordinates and enables strategic and sponsored research opportunities across the college, and stewards the development of proposals for major research opportunities along strategic themes. Additionally, he enables collaboration among the college's research institute/center executive directors, and industrial and government relations personnel in the pursuit of opportunities with industry, federal and state governments. Before becoming CPO for the College, Matt was the Senior Executive Director for Research Initiatives, the Executive Director of CMU's SII (Smart Infrastructure Institute) and ICES (Institute for Complex Engineered Systems), and Associate Director of PITA (Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance) and RAMP (Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania). Before CMU, Matt was Managing Director of Applied Technology for Michael Baker Corporation, an engineering and energy services firm. Matt managed Baker's technology division including Geographic Information System (GIS), software and web development, multimedia, virtual reality, visualization, Global Positioning System (GPS), mapping and surveying services. Before joining Baker, Matt was an Innovation Director for Redleaf Group, a Venture Capital/Operating Company focused on information security, supply chain and mobility solutions. While at Redleaf, Matt managed technical due diligence for seed-stage investments and coordinated relationships between Redleaf and their partner companies. Prior to Redleaf, Matt was CIO of GZA GeoEnvironmental Technologies, an infrastructure engineering firm, and operations manager for their Internet start-up that focused on web-technologies for health and safety and manufacturing metrics. Matt is on the board of Larson Design Group (LDG), past Chairman of the Board for the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, current board member of the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF), current Vice President of the Sewickley Heights Gun Club (SHGC) and former member of the Information Sciences and Technology Advisory Board for the Pennsylvania State University Beaver. Matt is also former Vice President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Association of Internet Professionals and former Vice President of the Board of Trustees for Baker Combined Charity of Pennsylvania.

Posted on January 4, 2010, in Woodworking. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on The good, the bad and the ugly (online vendors).

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