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.
The GOOD (definitely use these vendors)
Amazon.com – 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.
LeeValley.com – Oh how I love Leevalley.com, 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).
ArtisticHobbies.com – Good, prompt service and friendly staff. They bailed me out when bananahobby.com (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)
Bananahobby.com – 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 ArtisticHobbies.com above instead(note that Artistic Hobbies is not paying me and I am in no way involved with them).