I occasionally purchase items from the German retailer Bike24.net as their pricing (hint: change your settings at the bottom of the front page to remove the German VAT from the prices) can be very good and/or they have items not easily obtained from other sources. However their customer service can be a bit hit and miss at times. This latest order from them is a good example of this. I think it is time Bike24.net put a bit of effort into properly packing their customer’s orders.
I placed an order for a number of items on Bike24.net for my Kinesis Racelight GranFondo Ltd build which I had planned to complete on my Christmas-New Year break. The history of this order is as follows:
Order placed on November 18, 2010. I made a mistake with the order which need to be rectified. This took a few days. Then Bike24.net found one item ordered couldn’t be sent via DHL and so the order had to be amended again. The end result being that the order was invoiced and posted on December 7, 2010 some 19 days after I placed the initial order. After all this I then had to ask Bike24.net to credit back to me the 20.00 Euro charged for postage of oversized items (the item they could no longer post) and the 19.95 Euro charged as the initial value of the order was over 600 Euro. Note that I had to follow-up and request the credit, it was not done automatically as it should have been! Also a second lesson learnt is to watch for the charge for spending to much money with Bike24.net! How bad is that?
The order was eventually received on January 10, 2011. This is some 53 days after the order was placed and 34 days after shipping. Bike24.net and DHL have tried to justify the delayed delivered because of the storms in Europe; interesting that others are reporting little hold-up for orders out of the United Kingdom and the order should have shipped before the storms where causing problems of any magnitude.
The end result of all this is that I missed my window of opportunity on the Kinesis build which is now being delayed.
Oh I still have a second order which was posted on December 7, 2010 still to come!
Now on to my second concern with Bike24.net. The packaging of the order.
The package as picked up from my local post office had “Delivery at Risk” warnings attached to. It appears that these where attached by the Australia Post at some point and reflect the state of the “box.” The term box is used loosely here as the carton is made of low quality thin cardboard. Not of suitable standard in my view for posting a customer order to the other side of the world.
This second photo shows the crushed state of the package at one corner. The question is should the box be crushed like this? Maybe but if the box was of decent quality and well packed I suspect the damage would have been minimal. It seems other overseas retailers can pack better than this.
The box where it had been poorly taped up had split open. I suspect this was the reason that the Australia Post staff had attached the “At Risk” labels as the box was effectively open at this point. How hard is it to tape a box properly? One strip of poor quality tape is really not sufficient and Bike24.net should have done a better job. There was hardly any tape going up the side of the box as well, again not providing a secure taping.
Now we go inside the box. The contents where “thrown” in the box, with one sheet of brown paper used as packaging material on top. There was no attempt to ensure the contents where well placed in the box nor was there any attempt to to fill the box up with packaging material to minimise movement of the contents. In fact there was no attempt at all to properly pack this order for international shipping!
This last photo shows the contents of the box, the items I ordered as I found them in the box when I removed the single layer of packaging material. As you can see the staff at Bike24.net appear to have just thrown the items into the box, with no attempt made to properly pack the box to protect the contents or to ensure they did not move around in the box. The outcome of this slack approach to customer service can be found in the other photos.
I was lucky with this order in that I received everything I ordered and paid for and nothing was damaged. However this was a lucky outcome, not one from good customer service. The delay in the delivery, the charging of surcharges for large orders and the poor packaging leaves a lot be desired. The “savings” are out weighed against the delays in posting and the risk of loosing items and/or receiving damaged goods.
Surly Bike24.net can at least pack their boxes better than this and maybe look to reward customers placing large value orders, not penalise them?
I have notified Bike24.net of this posting and have invited them to leave a comment reflecting their perspective.