Buyer beware (Toolbarn.com)


I ordered a Bosch jigsaw through Toolbarn about the first week of May '06. On May12 Toolbarn deducted $140.85 from my credit card. Stephanie of Toolbarn said it was out of their hands, up to Bosch to tell me when it would be delivered. Michelle of Bosch said there were no availble tools in the warehouse and no date when they were expected. I told Stephanie to return my money and cancel the order 5/25... she replied that she would, today is 6/8 and I still don't have my money. I complained to Bosch a few days ago about tools not being available and they said that the saw(only).. #52324B that I ordered was not always available... and >"I checked with our corporate offices and was informed that every order that we had in >our system for the 52324B has been filled and shipped. There is only one open order, which >was placed 2 days ago that hasn't shipped yet. There was no order in the system for "Tool

suggest that you >contact Tool Barn to find out what they did with the order. Please write back if you have any >other questions. Toolbarn has posted a number of testimonials praising their site but there is no forum to refute those testimonials.. This is the first site where I have experienced the vendor taking posession of the money before the product was at least shipped. In fact, many sites make it a point to say they will not bill you until the product is delivered or shipped?
A CNN article says Toolbarn is owned by Tighten Co of Omaha but I can find a listing for them to complain, online or in the Omaha phone book.
I'll cancel the charge to my credit card.
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Have you filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau? (bbb.org) I sometimes check there before doing business with an internet company I've never heard of... Thanks for the warning - I'll avoid them. Andy
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paol wrote:

suggest that you >contact Tool Barn to find out what they did with the order. Please write back if you have any >other questions.

following message for them: vvvvvvvvvvv There is a posting on the newsgroup rec.woodworking which brings into question your business practices. I think you should be aware of this posting and encourage you to respond therein, especially in regard to the accusation that you charge a credit card without shipping the merchandise.
John Poole ^^^^^^^^^^^
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In the U.S., it is _illegal_ (federal law) to charge the card before the item is shipped.

Gory details at: <https://www.nebraska.gov/sos/corp/corpsearch.cgi?acct-number 43074>
The proof of the relationship is that the corporate secretary is the registered owner of the toolbarn.com domain-name.

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I believe I would contact the appropriate Federal agency about this. FTC, USPS, ICC might be a good start.
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paol wrote:

suggest that you >contact Tool Barn to find out what they did with the order. Please write back if you have any >other questions.

Paul,
Hello, I am Matt Griffith the Director of Information Technology for ToolBarn.com (and I have spent time in pretty much every aspect of the company in my 5+ years here). I'm here to address your concerns and answer any questions any of you have about us. We are a sister company of Tighton Fastener & Supply in Omaha, but are a separate corporation. We are a privately held corporation and are an Internet Retailer magazine Top 500 company.
I have issued the refund, in full, today. I apologize for the delay, and, at this time, I have no reason for why it had not been done on the 31st of May, when I show the order was canceled. We have obviously made a number of mistakes on this order, which I will be addressing with the call center staff, their supervisors and our corporate officers. From the days I spent in the call center on the phones, managing it and now supporting it technologically, I can tell you this is nowhere near the experience we expect to deliver (and usually do) to our customers.
We deal with Bosch several times a day. I am not going to give specifics on how we place orders with our vendors, for security reasons.
We do ship a fair amount of product directly from manufacturers and we charge credit cards upon turning the order over to an outside entity. Any items that do not explicitly state in stock on our product page (ships in 3-5 days, for example) have the potential to be shipped by a vendor. We do this for a few reasons, the primary reason is that we try to offer a very broad selection of power tools and there are some which we just cannot afford to have sit in our warehouse until they sell. Bare tools, for the most part fall into this category.
To the individual who mentioned that charging credit cards before shipment is illegal is incorrect. If the policy is not stated by the company, it is against Visa regulations (which are not laws, but regulations made by credit card companies). We state this policy in our FAQ / Support section, the URL to the specific page is http://www.toolbarn.com/cgi-bin/support.cgi/5#6 . This is a very common practice, and most people do not notice it due to the fact that generally most vendors ship products in a timely fashion.
I'll be checking out rec.woodworking from time to time, as my other duties allow, so if you have any questions for me, please don't hesitate to ask. You can also email me at newsgroup(at sign)toolbarn(dot)com (just replace the parts in parenthesis, you all know the drill).
Matt Griffith - Director of Information Technology www.ToolBarn.com www.ToolPartsDirect.com
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Now here's a graduate of the Lee Valley school of Customer Service........
Bob S.

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BobS wrote:

I'm impressed...
But I still think a link between the manufacturer and TB would be nice so that the CC didn't get billed until they shipped it.
Great response to a customer issue though.
-jtpr
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jtpr wrote:

Hello,
We've been trying to come up with a better system since I have been here. The issue is that almost without exception (Milwaukee Electric Tool being the exception), few vendors are really willing to step up to the plate and communicate with us on a daily basis on the status of all open orders. We do our best to be pro-active, but unfortunately it is difficult to run "mean and lean", provide courteous well-informed staff for processing orders, helping people with existing and new orders, and spend hours every day calling into to our 70+ vendors for open order updates. That said, I think we owe it to ourselves and our customers to strive to let them know the status of their orders before they think of asking.
Thanks for reading my response, and if anyone has any suggestions, my email address again is newsgroup (at sign) toolbarn (dot) com.
Matt Griffith - Director of Information Technology www.ToolBarn.com www.ToolPartsDirect.com
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Damn, an internet guy who actually answers his phone.
Will wonders never cease?
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Hi Matt,
Thanx for looking into what happened and giving your attention to what ever fixes are necessary.
My account hasn't been credited yet but I don't consider that unusual because there are often delays of a few days in showing both payments and reimbursements. I expect it will show on Monday.
As for your defense of the practice of taking my money and depositing it in your account before the goods are at least on the way, that is not acceptable for me, If someone else knows it beforehand and agrees to it, that is between you and them. My experience has been that over and over vendors have made it a point to say that they don't charge until.. I'm not sure of the wording.... it's on the way, or signed for? It may vary from company to company. Anyhow, the point is that the companies consider that policy important enough to emphasize it. I've seen it enough to have generalized it in my mind as applying to all companies... so this is a wake up call for me.
I feel like I should offer a little more information to help explain what happened here, why your best plans went awry, in part. (awry? is that a word?)
I came to Toolbarn because you offered the best price (not always my practice) on a Bosch cordless jigsaw 52324B "tool only". That is, it comes without the battery, which was ok with me 'cause I have an extra battery that came with my drill. This tool is advertized in a number of places but when I enquired, they didn't have it. It appears that no one stocks it, they all depend on it to be available from Bosch when they order it, just like you did. It wasn't available according to Bosch, but Toolbarn pocketed my money, assuming that it would be delivered.. probably a safe assumption with most tools but not this particular one.
Anhow, I'll be interested to see what conclusions you reach about your business practices and how they are recieved by consumers.
thax for appearing here to answer questions.
Thanx tothe paritcipants here for their contributions, and for inviting your participation.
Paul
Matt Griffith wrote:

suggest that you >contact Tool Barn to find out what they did with the order. Please write back if you have any >other questions.

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paol wrote:

...
Paul,
I appreciate the follow up, and do not hesitate to contact me if anything else comes up. I also second your thanks to John Poole for taking the time to let us know about the situation, so I could do what was possible to remedy it.
Matt Griffith - Director of Information Technology www.ToolBarn.com www.ToolPartsDirect.com
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Most say "when shipped" but you can be sure, that product did not leave the building until the charges are made. If it was on the way, and the CC bounced, the seller is out of luck.
As for Toolbarn, they do let you know their policy in the FAQ http://www.toolbarn.com/cgi-bin/support.cgi/5
Reading your first post, I'd be cautious of ordering from them. Reading Matt's reply, I'd feel confident ordering from them.
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That's why it is so important to use a credit card to protect your purchase. A company that charges your card before the item ships should not be in business. Thanks for the heads up.

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Phisherman et al,
I am no longer in retail (but was for 20 years), but I would wonder how long a company would stay in business if they did not check the customers ability to complete the transaction before actually shipping the goods. Perhaps the correct stance is "charge when available and ready for shipment", but certainly not after it has shipped - thats just not right.
The initial post and concerns are valid, completely. The response is good, albeit belated. A solution is available in the IT world, with packing slip advices available for electronic transmission back to order placement source, and vice versa for the payment approval and the release order. If the source supplier (tool) does not have the facility for the Internet ordering company - pressure should be brought to bear to bring them into the 1980's. (at least)....
Interfacing multiple IT solutions, stock and order management systems has been around pre-internet, prolly pre-computers. The best result for the end user, will create the most profitible company and product pipeline..within reason.
Looks to me like there is too great a reliance on the Manufacturer to follow up and ship - when that responsibility clearly lies with the company taking the order (And the source money). Hopefully, even if it is a paper trail only - the system is being improved. My main point before I commenced waffling, is the pay after ship vs pay when ready...
Peace,
Mike Brisbane Aus.

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Phisherman,
And btw - absolutely agree with use credit card to pay. The one time I was definately ripped off (via the old Fido-net days), was using a credit card - one call to the bank, they snatched the money back, until I was able to verify supply - which never subsequently happened - but I was not out of pocket.
Cheers Mike Brisbane Aus

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