Mistakes were made

New York City meets Munich

October 29th, 2001 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Wizards of the Coast, but not the web

>Conny, who lives in Germany, but who is visiting me here in New York, wanted to purchase a game from the Wizards of the Coast web store. She was going to buy it for me as a gift, but have it shipped to the apartment here in New York.

Ordinarily, this would be a simple matter.

But alas, Germany is not in the choice list of countries on the billing address. It’s not on the shipping choice list either.

So we called the customer service line, to see what we could do. The very helpful and friendly person explained that Wizards of the Coast, for some reason, cannot ship their product to Germany. There is no reason, however, which prevents them from doing business with Germans, if the product is shipped elsewhere. But, unfortunately, because of the shipping limitation, their entire order tracking system cannot handle billing anyone in Germany either.

The customer service person admitted this was pretty silly.

A matter of technical implementation dictates who they will do business with. The programming tail wags the world-wide dog when it comes to e-commerce at Wizards of Coast.

I’m a software developer, so I can appreciate that it may take some extra work to allow two sets of validation for entering the country, one for billing and one for shipping. Since this is about people giving them money for a product, I would think they’d be motivated.

But to just say “Our programmers cannot figure it out, ergo we will simply refuse to sell our product to anyone unfortunate enough to have a credit card from one of the largest economies in Europe” seems to not only be horrible customer service, but it’s a pretty stupid way to do business.

Needless to say, we are now forced to go elsewhere, instead of dealing with them directly. I assume this means they get less money. It also gives me a good cautionary tale to tell about a very daft web store implementation. I wonder if it gives them a warm fuzzy to think that their commercial web site was serving as a cautionary tale.

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