I work for an outfit that manufactures lumber dry kilns. I won't bore you with what a dry kiln is, since it has nothing to do with ham radio, except to say that not only do we build the structures and the control systems, but we provide replacement parts, new parts, warranty parts, and troubleshooting. When our customers call and order a part it generally ships the same day - overnight if requested. In fact, since dry kilns run 24 hours a day, overnight shipments are more the norm, rather than the exception.
I've placed orders with several different ham radio vendors in the past few months and I've been really pleased with the response times and the followup communication from each. With all the tools available, it's ridiculous for a company to NOT respond to their customers. For instance, before I bought my ZeroFive antenna, I wrote the builder with several questions and generally not even an hour had elapsed before he'd replied. When I placed the order, the antenna arrived 3 days later - on a Saturday, I might add. I didn't pay extra for Saturday shipping. When I recently placed an order from W4RT, I received several followup emails confirming the purchase, shipment confirmation emails, and the items arrived 3 days later.
So why has it taken 4 weeks to get a stinking TVI filter from ICE (Industrial Communications Engineers)? I'm still waiting. When I placed the order back in mid-January, I received an email confirmation, but why haven't these guys at least taken the time to update me on my order since? I don't believe ICE is a couple of guys working out of their garage (I could be wrong, I guess), I've seen their products all over, especially their bandpass filters. They seem to have a pretty diverse lineup. Someone's working, or at least they were long enough to build what I saw.
So this morning, I sent them an email, referencing my order number, politely asking what the status of my order was. As I was referring to the original order, I noticed a statement on the email they'd sent when I placed the order:
* Our products can be backlogged for 1-3 weeks or more, if we do not have the product in stock. PLEASE BE PATIENT. No credit cards will be charged until the order is ready to ship.
What kind of crap is that? Yeah, I appreciate the fact that you won't charge my card until it ships, but they're basically saying, place your order and we'll get around to sending it...eventually...maybe...if you're lucky. And, if it is backlogged, how about telling me that, so I can either cancel or buy from someone else? I understand, maybe you've gotta build some, maybe you ran out, just let me know something. And answer me when I write you.
If the company I work for operated in this manner, we'd be out of business. As expected, I've not received a reply, and I probably won't. 2 months from now, after I've bought one from someone else and received it in 3 days, I'll hear a knock at my door and there it'll be...a package from ICE and a charge on my VISA bill.