I've just finished four days of hell, trying to order from Newegg. Newegg has made it clear that they don't want my money, so I think it's important to share this experience with others. This is a bit long, but I'm trying to capture the reasons for my frustration and ire.
First, my bona fides: I am a computer professional, working in IT security for a multinational corporation. I founded and organize a local Linux users' group. I make lots of purchases online from many different vendors. In short, I'm technically savvy, connected to the community, and deeply concerned about issues of security and privacy.
A number of months back, I made a purchase from Newegg as a test, some flash memory, as I recall. The purchase went fine, and I received the product in a timely fashion.
With the able advice of the Tom's Hardware forums, I've been putting together a new build. I started research back in February, and now (in May) I was ready to make the purchase. I purchased some of the items from my local Micro Center ($230 for an i7 920, what a great deal!) and placed an order for the rest with Newegg.
Based on the recommendations from these forums (and my own experience) I went into this purchase feeling a lot of excitement and a lot of goodwill for Newegg.
On Saturday evening, just before midnight, I tried to place the order. The order was placed using the information that Newegg had saved from my previous purchase...all I had to enter was the CVV code from my Visa. After completing their forms, though, I was redirected to "Verified by Visa". This is an incredibly stupid, poorly-conceived system that Visa is pushing whereby your order process is redirected to a completely different website, hosted at "verifiedbyvisa.com". This program is theoretically opt-in, but there is no way to escape from their screens.
The Verified by Visa program has been lambasted by the security community, as it is a bogglingly dumb idea. See, for example this piece at BoingBoing or this one at The Register. As the site I was directed to wasn't even visa.com, there was no way of telling if it was legitimate, even if I were willing to participate in the program.
I opened a new tab and checked the order. It was listed as 'Submitted', and the order had a status of 'Processing'. This looked promising, but there wasn't much information there. I resolved to check with customer service when the line opened on Monday to make sure everything was OK.
On Sunday morning, I was awakened just after 8:00 AM by a call from my credit card provider, asking me to verify an $1100 charge from Newegg. I did so. I was not much pleased to be awakened on one of the few days I could sleep in, but it seemed like the order was proceeding appropriately.
On Monday, I used the IM chat customer support feature of Newegg to inquire about the status of my order, and to make sure there wouldn't be any hold-ups. All the representative could tell me was that the order was with their "verification department", and that it would be 1-2 business days. Not particularly helpful, but fine.
I checked my order frequently, expectantly, as I was really looking forward to receiving the rest of the parts for my build. Nothing for the rest of Monday, which wasn't a surprise. No change on Tuesday morning, either, until just before noon, when the order status changed to "VOID".
I immediately contacted customer service. They informed me that the verification department had determined that my phone number was invalid. I was gobsmacked. I've never provided my phone number to an online retailer. Ever. I had filled out Newegg's field (when I placed my first order with them, mind) with my area code and all zeros. I don't wish to receive calls from any businesses, and I most particularly don't want my phone number sold off and shared around. This has never been any sort of problem with any other online merchant I've dealt with. I was polite but definite.
Newegg's policy is completely inflexible on this, apparently...they won't sell to you if you won't give them your phone number. It doesn't matter that they have no use for the phone number (and it would be a very bad way of trying to get in contact with me), and that it doesn't increase the security of the order at all (if someone can steal my address and credit card number, they can steal my phone number just as easily.) Their payment page lists 'cashiers check' as an option. Do you need to provide a phone number for that? Anyway, the credit card company had already confirmed the charge. The agent ended the conversation with an unpleasantly sarcastic "Have an Eggsellent Day", quite ironic given the effort that Newegg had gone to in order to make my experience with them extremely frustrating.
Unhappy from the stupidity of the interaction, I was completely surprised to find the following message in my email box when the conversation ended.
We are happy to inform you that, upon further verification, your billing
and shipping information are now confirmed. Your order will be processed
shortly. If there are any other delays, you will be notified immediately
I was nonplussed but happy. They had seen the light! Perhaps a manager had been monitoring the conversation with the representative, realized that losing an $1100 order and the goodwill of a customer for such a moronic reason wasn't good business, and approved the order.
Ironically, this is the only communication to me that was initiated by Newegg, and it turned out to be completely false. When I checked my account the order was still listed as VOID. Why VOID? Why not HOLD? I mulled this over lunch.
After lunch, I tried contacting them again, interacting with an equally obtuse (though politer) agent. She informed me that there was no way for a customer to talk to the verification department. My order is cancelled. There is no recourse.
When I got home tonight, I logged onto Newegg to look at the items in the order, to start comparing prices with other vendors...or rather, I tried to log on. My account has been "suspended".
I am incensed at being treated like a crook simply because I value my privacy. I am frustrated at the bureaucratic stupidity that ensures that no human thought enters the decision-making process.
Well, Newegg has just paid the profits on an $1100 order (and all my future orders) to make sure I didn't give them my phone number. It has lost ANY goodwill they had with me, and I went into each interaction saying, "I WANT to give you my money". They have also ensured that not only will I not recommend them to others, I will actively steer anyone buying computer parts to other vendors.
Many people have had good experiences with Newegg, and I'm happy for them. I am not one of them.
I agree that the store is run by a weird group with a mentality not even fit the 15th century. My international visa card was rejected several times. But what other online computer stores would you recommend especially those that accept international visa cards.
I can't speak to the international aspect of things, but I purchased all the components for my build from Micro Center, Amazon, and Buy.com (depending on which had the best price). All three experiences were great.
Yeah, you are part of a VERY small group of people. I've used Newegg since 2002 ordering thousands of dollars worth of equipment and have never once had a problem. I've switched to ordering more stuff from Buy.com within the last couple of years simply because they've had better prices and equally as good customer service.
I had exactly the same problem with them today (May 16, 2012). Placed order and went about my business only to receive several e-mails from them voiding all my purchases. No reason was given in either the e-mail or a chat with a rep. The order was simply dead and that was that. The rep suggested I redo the order and insinuated that they had just started a new order processing system and it was voiding a lot of orders. I too have an issue with the phone number as my card company has the wrong number somehow and I've been attempting to change it for several weeks. But NewEgg is the first online retailer to ask for my phone number. Why is that so important that they would rather lose me as a customer than bypass such a stupid request?
Anyway, I did the entire order over again and was voided a second time. Talked to a real person this time and was informed once again that he didn't know why the order was voided and that I should either send them a check or use PayPal. Not exactly the words I wanted to hear from them so I cancelled all the orders (over $1400) and bought the same stuff from Amazon for roughly the same price. No more NewEgg for me ... I hate being treated like I'm either stupid or incompetent. Their verification system sucks and is losing them a lot of money. They also need to train their reps to be more sympathetic and to work with customers to solve problems ... not piss them off.
newegg uses stricter verification measures then alot of other online retailers. this isn't a bad thing due to the high number of identity theft cases relating to online purchases. if you fix your credentials to all match up there shouldnt be a problem.
i wouldnt be suprised to see more etailers adopting similar systems. too many consumers aren't concerned at all when ordering online despite the risks. at least newegg is looking out for your security even if you dont seem to care.
sympathetic? they gave you other options for payment. i'm not sure but newegg might also take phone orders. it isn't their fault you havent solved the issue with your card company yet.
I read through about half of the opening post, its long and im tired, if I completely missed the point im sorry and feel free to ignore me.
I also had problems with visas security protocols, its rather annoying to have to enter your info 3+ times. However newegg requires all your info to match (billing address/shipping address, if you want to change these it takes extra steps, I don't mind this)
What I personally do to bypass this situation. (if my info doesn't match) is just buy a gift card.
Why are you trying to hide all your info anyways? its there so that newegg doesn't have to deal with stolen credit cards and lost profits.
Just because they are using security measures you don't find helpful doesn't mean it is useless.
Grab a green dot card and order stuff from ebay, no verification needed there at all.