Aria cancelled PC order - has it happened to you?

  GaT7 11:23 29 Jan 2007

Couple of weeks ago I helped my neighbour order a PC from Aria. It had received a review in a popular PC mag a few weeks earlier, winning the 'Best Buy' award. I recommended it to her & helped make the order.

Last Friday, 10 days later they called to say the order had been cancelled & money will be refunded (it'll take 5-7 days according to an email). There was no apology & no alternative offered.

OK, it doesn't sound too bad, does it? But, we're concerned about a few things as it's a first time occurence for either of us.

The PC was paid for by debit card, & the amount (£400) taken from her account the same/next day. I've never come across this practice before - i.e. don't they all debit your card only when the goods are shipped? Having £400 out of one's account for 15-20 days for no goods isn't a joke (especially for someone who's disabled & living on state help). Should she claim for compensation? Is it worth it? Is it normal for them to take 5-7 days to return the money (considering they took it immediately initially)?

How can a company as big as Aria not source these components - or, alternatives at the very least? Incidentally, all of them (or equivalent alternatives) are actually available on their own website at the moment! See screenshot click here (done last Friday).

As you can see from the screenshot, the PC will cost £80 extra (incl del) to build if the parts are purchased individually. She cannot purchase anything from Aria (or elsewhere) until the money is returned anyway!

OK, it probably wasn't in their best interests to offer an alternative to an already disappointed (& possibly irate) customer over the telephone. But an apology would've been nice, wouldn't it? (My neighbour was very polite by the way).

Another thing I found odd at the time of ordering was that if the system was paid for by credit card they would add a 2.5% surcharge to the order total (she paid by debit card to avoid this). I can understand if a ordinary seller on eBay had this practice, but not Aria surely! The transaction was carried out over the phone - the only way this particular system could be ordered.

After finding it impossible to call Aria customer support, we've put in a formal email complaint. When they'd initially called about the cancellation she was at a bit of a loss what to say, so told them that I'd like a word with them when I returned. I tried calling them several times over the last few days but keep getting cut-off after 10 minutes of holding, or get 'the extension is busy' message each time.

I suppose the easiest thing to do is to forget about this & just order another PC when the money is returned. But we're curious to know if anyone else has ever had such an experience, & some answers (even probable ones) to my questions above. G

P.S. After reading this post by Sic click here, I'm not sure if they'll make the refund within the time promised. I'm hoping the differing circumstances will be in our favour.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 12:24 29 Jan 2007

Never, never, never, never pay for items ordered over the net by anything but a credit card. There may be a 2.5% surcharge but you will be well protected and £12 extra for peace of mind is well worth it. best thing to do is forget about it and hope the refund is speedy.


  Smiler 12:31 29 Jan 2007

Lessons to learn here
Paying by credit card can incur a surcharge because the company is charged by the cc company for the service.
As GANDALF <|:-)> states the extra payment is worth it because in the end if you get a problem you can ultimately contact the cc company as they are jointly liable.

  spuds 13:25 29 Jan 2007

Taking instant payment is not illegal, and some companies survive by using this process, and their customers money. Returning money back to an account could take upto 30 days as per law.

Regarding another purchase, perhaps PC World or Dell can offer a better deal. And as others have stated, credit card payment is the best method of doing business, especially over the internet for a computer. If the computer as a problem, or the company ceases to trade, then protection under Section 75 is available.

  GaT7 14:17 29 Jan 2007

Thanks for clearing up some of the issues guys. That's what I told her too about the credit card, but she was adamant to pay by debit card. Yes, I also told her that by law it could take upto 28 days (30 actually - I stand corrected) for the money to be refunded.

Perhaps, paying by debit card may not have been such a bad idea going by this discussion started you spuds: Debit Cards v Credit Cards click here? See Stuartli's post at the bottom - her card is also a Halifax Visa. What do you think?

Another benefit I could see with using a Credit card in this case was that the money wouldn't leave her bank account until she paid the balance owed (preferably the full amount before the due date to avoid interest). So, as long as she had enough credit left couldn't she make buy another PC from someplace else, without having to pay for 2 computers at once? Of course, this is assuming Aria refunded the money to her credit card before the balance payment due date.

We've considered Dell & Novatech as well. Someone on another forum spotted a similar PC (to Aria's) on Tesco's for the same price - an Acer L100 reduced by £100 click here. She won't be upgrading the graphics. But that is a very tiny case indeed - just 20x6x25cm (DxHxW)! G

  spuds 14:55 29 Jan 2007

Crossbow7, thanks for pointing me to that previous posting (forgot to tick as resolved). The point was in that posting still stands, it is the debit card provider who will apply certain rules, and in some cases like the Halifax, they seem to be more customer friendly on this issue of protection for their customers, than other debit card providers.Still best to check with the card provider.

As you rightly say, if Aria returns the funds in sufficient time, then there would be a possibility of using the credit card for a further purchase. But if the funds are not returned (been known) in time, or the statement 'resting' periods are cut fine depending on purchase date, then a high interest rate could apply if the money is not paid in full on the required date, and the person goes overdrawn.

Regarding the Acer product choice. Acer have a good reputation for build quality and competitive prices, especially through Tesco promotions, but searches on this and other forums usually point to a poor aftercare for repairs. I have a friend who purchased two Acer laptops from Tesco last year. The products would be covered under consumer law by Tesco, but any support and after-care would actually be provided via Acer arrangements with Tesco.

  Rayuk 19:19 29 Jan 2007

Best Buy award in a magazine,if its a current copy have you been in touch with them about it,as like PCAdvisor they may have certain Terms for companies to receive this award failing which the award is taken from them

  GaT7 20:19 29 Jan 2007

Thanks again guys.

spuds, I understand what you say. But not wanting to miss another PC she's gone ahead with the Tesco purchase. Yeah, debit card again - she says she's 'covered'. She's not going to be too pleased if Aria don't return her money as promised within 7 days.

Rayuk, no it's not a current copy any more - it came out in the Dec06 issue I think. Of course, it was still available when we ordered it, though they did say to expect a lead time of 28 days because of heavy demand. I've posted my concerns in the mag's forum below the review on Saturday (27/01). No response so far. G

  GaT7 22:02 06 Feb 2007

To their credit, both C-S & Aria have issued an award retraction click here & apology click here.

My neighbour is satisfied with her Acer L100 & received her refund from Aria today. Thanks again for all your replies guys : ) G

  Totally-braindead 23:51 06 Feb 2007

Well at least you eventually found out what it was. Not very well handled though.

  spuds 00:46 07 Feb 2007

At the end of the day Aria took instant payment, and I would perhaps suggest that a contract to supply had been agreed at that point. The matter as now been closed, but in the foreseeable future, I wonder how this issue would have been dealt with, if someone had decided to take legal advice or possible action.

Aria may have possibly lost money (as they appear to suggest) due to a supply problem. But alternatives should have been made available considering they had taken the necessary steps in offering this product via a computer magazine agreement.

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