So, I’m patiently waiting for the Playstation 3D Display I ordered from Amazon to arrive. I’d placed my pre-order back on September 1. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, by pre-ordering, I was guaranteed to receive the game Resistance 3 as a bonus. Sony themselves promised this on their blog.
This is what my invoice looked like on September 1:
Everything looks fine, right? So, the Playstation 3D Display finally launches on 11/15/11. I’m literally waiting by my door to receive it. And then I get this email.
My jaw dropped to the ground. So I call Amazon’s customer service number (it’s 800-201-7575 in case you can’t find it hidden on their site). I miraculously get a guy with an American accent named “Bill C” and I explain the situation.
He explains to me that when I ordered it on the site, it was marked as $4.99 and then as $49.99. I explained to him that no, when I ordered it it was $499.99, and I have the original invoice to prove it. I tell him I just want the product I ordered at the price I ordered, with the bonus game I was promised.
At first he sounds pretty sympathetic to my case, but he says sorry, he’s not “authorized” to make any decisions regarding a product that costs that much money. He says he has to “check with his manager” and we hang up.
Minutes later, I get this email.
At this point I have steam coming out of my ears. After all, I CLEARLY explained to “Bill C.” several times that I did NOT want to product at the “incorrect price” which I never saw in the first place. I just wanted to system at the price I paid ($499.99) with the bonus Resistance 3 game. But he was of absolutely no help. I wasn’t about to place an order now that I’m at the end of the waiting list, and to add insult to injury I wouldn’t get my Resistance 3 game because I’m ordering after October 1.
My guess at what happened is that hundreds (if not thousands) of us ordered at the correct price. At some point, some boneheaded employee at Amazon typed in the price without a decimal point, and that triggered all our orders to be recalculated based on their “pre-order guarantee”. But now that it was a price mistake, Amazon couldn’t honor it and cancelled all the orders. What galls me the most is that I understand that mistakes happen, and I understand that people pounce on price mistakes all the time trying to take advantage. But in this case, all of us who pre-ordered ordered it at the CORRECT price.
At this point I consider calling back, but instead I decide to go to the Gamestop Home Page and go to the upper left-hand corner to look up a store near me. Lo and behold there were two within two and a half miles. I drove to my nearest one, and happily, they had them in stock. Not only that, they have a promotion where the Playstation 3D Display comes bundled with Uncharted 3 that runs until 12/20/11. As much as I’ve heard cool things about Resistance 3, I’ve played the first Uncharted and would much rather have Uncharted 3.
Since I live in New York, the system with tax costs the same at GameStop as it would have at Amazon. And I had it in my hands that day.
For all the hype that Amazon has built up around its “pre-order guarantee” and its “release date delivery”, this incident has shown me one thing. That there’s nothing like a good old fashioned brick-and-mortar store to assure that you’ll get it.
As a last ditch shot, I’m going to reach out to Sony to see what they intend to do about Amazon breaching their promise for hundreds, if not thousands of customers. As for Amazon, I’m going to think a few times before buying another pre-order game from them. Sites like Gamestop and Toys R Us have pretty good deals of their own, and the tax advantage that Amazon has in most states may be going away soon if the Congress gets its way. Amazon would do best to stop the slide in its customer service before that happens, or they may be in for a very rude awakening.