Sunday, June 08, 2008

Giving it up for ChainLove.com

On a local message board someone posted a message last week about ChainLove.com. ChainLove is a subsidiary of BackCountry.com, a retailer that also operates DogFunk.com, SteepAndCheep.com and other outdoor gear sites.

ChainLove, for lack of a better description, operates on a QVC model. They list one item for sale at a steep discount and sell them until they are gone. I am not entirely sure that the 'until they are gone' part is completely true; it seems like they have switched items with some inventory left, and I have seen the same items listed multiple times. SteepAndCheep, DogFunk and several of the others operate on the same model but specialize in different subsets of outdoor gear.

Here are some samples of what I have seen recently:
  • Pearl Izumi Men's Veer Short-Sleeve Cycling Jersey ($18.75/list $54)
  • Oakley Men's Compression Short ($12.50 / $84.95)
  • Northwave Kameleon 3 MTB Shoe ($49.00 / $139.95)
  • SockGuy Cycling Sock 4-Pack ($11.00 / $39.95)
  • Fizik Rondine MG ICS Bike Saddle ($22.86 / $83.30)
The shipping costs seem pretty reasonable as well. I purchased a couple of jerseys last week, and then I noticed that I was charged sales tax. I looked more closely and realized that not only is Backcounty.com a local Utah company, their main warehouse and showroom is right on one of my primary bike commuting routes to work. I rode out there and had them pull my order and they credited the shipping cost back to my card.

A Customer Service Story

Please note, I have no interest in turning this site into a customer service review site; but I have to share some of these experiences.

Saturday they were running a Bar Tape deal for something like $5.70, so I ordered two sets. When checking out I typed something like the following in the shipping instructions:
DO NOT SHIP
Hold for local pickup.
Around 1:00 today I got a notice in my email that my order had shipped, so I sent an email:


I appreciate the quick shipping service, even on the weekend.

I would have appreciated it more if someone had read the Shipping
Instructions that read "Hold for local pickup". Eight bucks is
expensive shipping to send my ten dollar order 40 blocks, especially
when I ride my bike right past your place every morning and afternoon
on my way to and from work.

What is the best way for me to make sure my orders get held at your warehouse?

About 30 minutes later I got a response back:
I do apologize for the inconvenience. I have given you a credit of $7.56 for your shipping. I recommend using Backcountry.com's Live Chat as the fastest and easiest way. Open up a Backcountry.com window, in the upper right of the screen there is Live Help button, click on that to chat with a representative. Then copy and paste your order number into the chat and you are good to go. You can also call Backcoutry.com at 1-800 409 4502.
I really didn't expect any kind of credit, just a hint on the best way to arrange local pickup. I still think that the shipping instructions should have been enough. But, money back and easy instructions for the future, that seems like a great way to 'fix' this minor gaffe.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well unfortunately from working with web processes, I doubt as a human really reviews those shipping instructions. Not a human at Chainlove anyway. No no, they are likely passed using some SOAP and XML onto UPS, for the driver to read, but for Chainlove/Backcountry they likely just pick your order and stuff it, taking no time to read shipping instructions that are generally going to be things like "Leave by back door" or "Ring call-box twice, sometimes I get lost in this compound I call home and it takes me a moment to find a phone."

GeekCyclist said...

True - I've found the best way to deal with this for Chain Love is to go to Backcountry.com, open a customer service chat and ask them to hold the items for pickup. This has worked every time.

Anonymous said...

Hey, for those of you that like Chainlove thought I'd mention a new similar site: www.blueplatevelo.com. It also deals in overstock bikes and bike goods with major discounts. They post one "special" per day, rather than one every 50 minutes or hour or whatever it is with Chainlove. Worth checking out. Today it's Zoic Ether Shorts for $30.

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Richard Bingham said...

Don't buy if you're shipping to Canada. I had a nice deal on a Sugoi RPM Jacket rain jacket ($40) turn into $64 with UPS shipping PLUS another $101 for brokerage fees which I have to pay the UPS guys BUT THEY CAN'T TELL ME WHEN THEY WILL BE DELIVERING THE FUCKING THING which is nice service for a $25 shipping fee, and it still took a week and a half to get here. SURE I'll just hang around my house all day on a weekday waiting for the UPS guy. And if I want to pick it up, I have to drive 2 hours into the suburbs to get it. So we're up to $165 not factoring gas and time, either for waiting around, or going to get it. I just told UPS to send it back. I'll have to pay for that bit of shipping too, but I still come out ahead. And that will be the last time I order anything from Chainlove. If they offered straight US Postal service this wouldn't be an issue.