Recently, I took my first foray into ordering music from a major online retailer. Normally I avoid online music vendors. Unlike books, where you can find sites offering up to 40% of the cover price, there aren't any good discounts on CDs at the major vendors like Amazon, CDNow, or CDUniverse. Sure, they always say you are geting a 10% discount, but that's usually off the mall-markup price where CDs tend to go for seventeen-fifty bucks a pop. I pretty much refuse to pay more than $13.50 for music, and even that's excessive.(a good rule of thumb: never pay more than a dollar a song)
Not following my own advice, during a dry spell at work, I decided to do some music shopping online. I figured the price of the markup would be equivalent to the cost of me getting to a record store here in the city. I found a couple of CD I wanted at CDUniverse and they were actually reasonably priced, sans-shipping that is.
The ordering process was simple enough. There was, however, a cryptic Hold for 3 Days dropdown bit that wasn't explained very well. I chose first class shipping, which was supposed to arrive in 2 to 7 days. This, I soon found out, was not to be the case.
Having ordered on a Friday, I patiently waited over the weekend, expecting my CDs to arrive on the following Monday or Tuesday. Neither of the CDs was on backorder, yet they held my order for 3 days waiting for backordered items to arrive!?! I guess that explained the Wait 3 Days dropdown I had no choice but to select. It appeared my CDs were to be shipped, rather than receive my CDs on Monday.
The bit about the whole transaction that really ticked me off was the fact that it then took 2 full weeks for the CDs to arrive. The reply to my complaint was basically that their orders don't take 2-7 days as advertised on their site, rather, I was to allow 7 to 14 business days. If I had known it would take half a month to complete my transaction, I would have just walked to the nearest mega-music store during my lunch break and just forgot about saving a couple of bucks.
The final blow in this ordeal was that when the CDs finally arrived, the jewel cases were smashed to hell due to poor packaging by CDUniverse's shipping department. Sure, they'll send new jewel cases if you request them, but wouldn't be cheaper for them just to put an extra sheet of bubble wrap around the CDs? Or how about just shipping your stuff priority mail. $3.50 would cover half a dozen CDs, and it would only take 3 days to be shipped.
CDUniverse, you SUCK! I hope you and the rest of the lame-ass e-Commerce scam artists are destroyed in the great dot com crush! If you are looking for music, support to your closest independent record shop and give the finger to all eMusic vendors.