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 Odd backorder experience

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Dodge

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Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2009-09-20

PostSubject: Odd backorder experience   Tue Sep 29, 2009 5:43 pm

I apologize if this topic is in the wrong forum, please feel free to move it.


On the 23rd of this month I placed an order with www.smokingpipes.com for a bunch of various tobacco tins and a pipe, the last time I ordered from them I received delivery 3 days later. Today makes the 6th day so I shot an email to their customer service department to make sure everything was okay and I was just sent a reply back.

Apparently one of the tins I ordered is not in stock, so they asked if I would like to wait 2 weeks for it to come back in stock and than ship the order or if I'd like them to refund me for this item and ship the remainder now. Pretty strange backorder policy, I was never informed that this item was on backorder so I would've waited nearly a month before hearing anything? Told them to go ahead and just ship what they have and refund me for the one tin but thats a pretty strange way of doing things from my experience with various online retailers. Just venting, thanks for listening.
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Herzl

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Age : 65
Location : Oklahoma
Registration date : 2009-05-17

PostSubject: Re: Odd backorder experience   Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:31 pm

I had a series of orders with them where I was called to ask whether I wanted to substitute, wait, or be refunded. On a couple of occasions I chose to substitute. I then adopted the practice of calling in advance to attempt to make sure that what I was ordering was in stock at the time of order. A substitution on that phone order was made without my being consulted. The substitution was repeated on the attempt at correction. Then I learned that what I was trying to order just wasn't available. I closed that order as satisfied though I'd received two orders of something I hadn't ordered. I tried not to be the ungrateful Dr. Frankenstein complaining about the a b normal brain to Igor lol!

The order after that, I was sent a message that I was being refunded, which did occur as represented. At first, I thought it was the post SCHIP crunch. I interpreted their decision to refund me without offering me the option to wait as either an indication of long-standing difficulty with supply, or a decision that I wasn't a desirable customer, perhaps due to a developed reluctance to substitute, preferring to wait. There are many enthusiastic supporters here so perhaps my hundred dollars every two weeks orders were too small. Trust me, I'm small potatoes: TAD/PAD firmly capped at $200 a month. Control! Perhaps a more important customer (big spender) made an order after mine, and they decided to exercise their own appropriate loyalty. Otherwise, for whatever reason, their website and internal stock status seems not to be updated in a timely manner. Policy? I don't know. Perhaps it's cultural.

Where I had attempted to be a loyal customer, I too find this a difficult situation.
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Carlos
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Age : 60
Location : Chestnut, IL
Registration date : 2007-12-10

PostSubject: Re: Odd backorder experience   Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:17 pm

I do not think I have ever had them not have something listed on the website. Must be a sign of the times. Always fast shipping.

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Centurian 803
Long Arm O' The Law
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Age : 67
Location : Oak Ridge, TN
Registration date : 2008-09-10

PostSubject: Re: Odd backorder experience   Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:31 pm

My very limited experience with them has been good. Everything I ordered was shipped in a very reasonable time. Maybe I was just lucky. That's usually not the case for me. Laughing
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Doc Manhattan

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Age : 39
Location : Land of Steady Habits
Registration date : 2008-05-26

PostSubject: Re: Odd backorder experience   Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:05 am

I've never had a bad experience with them--they've jumped through hoops for me, actually--adding stuff to orders before they shipped, delaying shipping on orders when I realized too late I'd be out of town--and that's all on orders they were shipping for free.

Their newsletters of late have made mention of the site being slammed by volume, and some stopgaps to accommodate the trafic... not to mention one of the principals having bypass surgery earlier this month. If there's been a slip in customer service--which I hope is temporary--those factors might be the reason.
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puros_bran
Nightrider
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Location : Brandenburg, Ky
Registration date : 2007-12-10

PostSubject: Re: Odd backorder experience   Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:48 am

As to the post regarding loyalty:

I seriously doubt that is the case. They simply can not cater to the 'big boys' and stay alive. Word would get out very quickly and the hundreds or thousands of guys that just barely make min free shipping orders would go elsewhere..
High Dollar-Low Volume simply isn't sustainable in todays market. Considering they are one of the largest etailers in total sales, surviving off of High Volume, I can assure you they do not do business in this manner.

I'm not suggesting Customer Service didn't fail in these two scenarios..that's business, it sometimes happens regardless of how tight the ship is run. Its an unfortunate truth.

I am nowhere near the point of $200 a month,its probably closer to $200 a year, and yet they have never failed to treat me like royalty.
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Hermit

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Age : 64
Location : Ascension Parish
Registration date : 2008-04-22

PostSubject: Re: Odd backorder experience   Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:42 am

I just looked up my order history.
Twenty-eight orders - no errors.
(and I never paid shipping.) Wink
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nate560

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Location : land beyond the stars
Registration date : 2008-11-19

PostSubject: Re: Odd backorder experience   Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:06 am

I have placed many orders with them no problems. I have been told at times we only have 5 tins of this blend on hand and will send along the rest when it comes in at there expense this has happened with union square twice. I think they do a good job with all the orders they process.

Steve
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mark
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Registration date : 2008-07-02

PostSubject: Re: Odd backorder experience   Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:26 am

Two thumbs up from me,,,ten orders, ten 3 day arrivals,,, Very Happy

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ftrplt

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Age : 71
Location : Split between Raleigh, NC and OKC, OK
Registration date : 2007-12-15

PostSubject: Re: Odd backorder experience   Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:47 am

No problems for me either!! And I'm far from a big customer; maybe four orders over the last two years (albeit...large orders!!), and never paid shipping. Their volume has increased substantially ( I talked to Elaine? the other day; said they were being "slammed" with tobac and pipe orders.) FWIW....FTRPLT
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PostSubject: Re: Odd backorder experience   Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:48 pm

I've never had this problem with smokingpipes. I recieved orders that were incomplete, so I call. They tell me that some items were unavailable and that they mailed me a check (because I pay with a check) for the item. The check arrives a few days later.

I have had worse problems with Pipes and Cigars. I placed an order one time in May and had not recieved it in mid August. So I decided to call. The Stokkebye's Proper English was out of stock and they were awaiting for an order.

So I was allowed to substitute a different bulk. Problem I have with P&C is that they will not 'hold' an order. so for someone that writes a check, when my check arrives they have sold something that was in stock (you have to phone in for check orders). I talked to Scott when someone in the other forum went crying to them that I had made a malicious post, and we worked out that he would pack and hold orders until my check arrives.

HOWEVER, I tried to order cigars recently and was told by the nice lady that she couldn't ensure that they would be in stock when my check arrived.

I order from Cigars International now....
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PostSubject: Re: Odd backorder experience   Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:52 pm

I'm on a 100 dollar a month tobacco budget, usually order my pipe tobacco from them.

The only issues, and I dont consider them issues, is what I described above. I have talked to some of the employees, and I think they are very nice and care about their customers.

One of the fellas, I've become friends with.
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Strongirish

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Age : 63
Location : Lake Conroe, Texas
Registration date : 2009-04-03

PostSubject: Smoking Pipes   Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:52 pm

I have never had a problem with them either and they have the best prices especially with the free shipping. I'm sure with the owner being on a Europe trip and then having heart surgery accounted for a few mistakes and I am glad to hear that their business is picking up big time, all to many scream the opposite.
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Dodge

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Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2009-09-20

PostSubject: Re: Odd backorder experience   Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:45 pm

Well I can chalk it up to being a fluke, I just wanted to verify everyone else has positive experiences before I order from them again. I'm new to the pipe scene, I know who to order from and who to avoid in the cigar world but I have no clue when it comes to retailers for this stuff. Thanks for the reassuring replies, I really like their prices and the fast shipping on that first order I placed had me coming back.
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