Thursday, March 15, 2007

Studica Fulfillment Considered Poor

Well, it could have been worse ...

I recently attempted a purchase from Studica.com. It did not go smoothly.

2007.01.30

Late in the night of Tuesday January 30, 2007 I placed an order with Studica for an Edirol UA-25 USB Audio Interface. Studica duly sent me a confirmation and I expected that all would be well.

2007.02.06

Checking on it over the next few days, I noticed that the order remained "In Processing" so Tuesday February 6 I gave their customer service a phone call. At that time I was politely informed that the UA-25 was still on order from Roland that "It usually takes 10-14 days." This was disappointing, but I supposed was my penalty for getting it from them for $40 less than the $239 market price.

2007.02.25

I resolved to be patient. After two weeks I wanted to call again, but their customer service phone number is only open M-F 9am to 5pm Eastern time. Fair enough, but being in California I'm either sleeping or at work during those hours. Finally on Sunday February 25 I decided to send an email requesting a status update. I didn't have much hope, so I was pleasantly surprised when I received a polite email back the next day, "Hopefully we will get our shipment this week sorry for the delay."

2007.03.07

Well, nothing happened. So about ten days later, on Wednesday March 7 I sent another email. I received another prompt and courteous reply, "Unfortunately we still do not have an exact ship date. Hopefully it will be soon." No further explanation was provided.

2007.03.14

By Wednesay March 14, my patience was about done. I sent Studica a somewhat testier query insisting on a ship date or an explanation. The next day I received another prompt and courteous reply, "We are expecting them in soon. Sorry for the delay."

2007.03.15

Jennifer seems nice, I hate to be annoying. But this shows no sign of coming to an end. I knew the UA-25 was available from stock elsewhere. Sure it would be 20% more money to buy from someone else, but what good is it to save $40 if you never see the merchandise at all? So finally on Thursday March 15, more than six weeks after I placed the order, I wrote to them and cancelled it.

I immediately placed a new order with Musician's Friend (Zzounds also had the UA-25 in stock -- I tend to alternate between the two). Now we'll see what comes next.

Conclusions

I have no idea why Studica couldn't or wouldn't deliver my order. It's a fact that they had not updated their online catalog and were listing UA-25 too cheaply at $199. The competition were all asking $239 and shortly after I placed my order Studica raised their price to $239 as well. These are facts.

So I don't know if that affected their fulfillment, since I never received any explanation from them. I can only speculate. But what if somebody there realized that when they accepted my order at $199, they would lose money if they actually delivered it. They couldn't raise the price, and they couldn't cancel my order, so what if they decided to just stonewall? What if their game was to wait indefinitely and "starve" me into cancelling my order? Well it worked!

But I don't know if that's the truth of the situation. It could also be that they just have chaotic supply channels and c