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3 Reviews by Michael

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Hotels.comimage coming soon


On my hotel said "book now $115" so I did. Then in the confirmation email I received separately it said that fees and taxes added another $148. In other words the rate jumped by 137% instead of the 10-20% taxes would normally add. But to make matters worse there was also $117.50 "cleaning fee" that would be charged (what next, an "oxygen fee" or "toilet paper fee"?). I have never in my life seen a hotel charge a cleaning fee that was more than the supposed room rate. All of sudden the $115 plus taxes I though I was paying had become $380 - more than triple!! The ethical and non-tricky thing to do would be to list the hotel as $300 plus taxes. In which case I would never have booked it. Unlike some other booking sites wants to take 30% even if you cancel days ahead of time. On this occasion I was not penalized as I contacted them within 30 minutes of making the booking but it still took time to get the full refund. I then went to a different booking website and booked a different hotel, and on that website it actually said the room rate of "XX was not including taxes and hotel fees of XX". This was much more transparent and is why I would not use again.

OpenSkyimage coming soon



I ordered contact lenses for a Halloween costume on October 15th. Shipping estimate was for October 22nd which gave me a full five days for unexpected delays. I contacted OpenSky on the 23rd and they then said delivery may not happen until 29th. Had I been advised of that I would have cancelled earlier and ordered somewhere else. And of course Halloween came and went and still no delivery. I got a refund of the purchase price after they told me they could no longer find the item, but that doesn't compensate me for not being able to have my costume on the day. I would avoid and stick to Amazon because in dozens of deliveries they have never been late by more than two days and often arrive early.

EverythingButTheHouseimage coming soon



Without doubt, the most unethical and exploitative American company I have ever dealt with. Ill start with the main issue and then outline, how, no matter what happens or what Everything But the House does wrong, it always wins and the customer loses. This review will also explain why a more accurate name would be Everything But the Customer.
I placed one bid on an item via my mobile phone. It was the winning bid for an item located in a warehouse about two hours from my home that I intended to pick-up. Despite what would unfold later, when I placed my bid I was not asked to nominate shipping or delivery, or get a shipping quote, to place my bid. I received an invoice after the auction and it had the item cost and tax and N/A for shipping. There was no reason to believe I could not pick up the item as I had arranged previously. Three days later out of the blue, I get a UPS notification in my email. To my surprise the item I just won (it had three components) was being shipped to me. My credit card had also been charged for shipping (at 5 times the cost of the goods) despite the fact I had never received notice of the charge.
So I contacted Everything But the Customer, thinking it was a simple error to be fixed. No harm, no foul. Instead, they were extremely unhelpful. It turns out that there are important differences between their PC site and their mobile site. The PC version does not allow a bid to be placed without nominating a delivery method (pickup or delivery). So you know BEFORE placing a bid if you are not able to pick-up the item and how much shipping will cost, or alternatively if the item cannot be shipped and must be picked-up. That does not happen when you use your mobile. You may bid and think the item can be picked-up and then unexpectedly incur shipping fees at 5 or 10 times the price you paid for the goods.
The fact the mobile version does not require selection of a shipping method is distinctly different to the desktop version. Mobile devices have no pop-up, no message saying this item is not available for pick-up. In fact Everything But the Customer actually acknowledged that they were aware of this and were working on it. So there is a known issue that EBC is aware of and apparently wants to fix. Should make taking ownership of the issue and resolving in a way satisfactory to the customer a no-brainer right? Nope. Absolutely not. Hours of arguing and a dozen emails and EBC continued to insist that they had no responsibility for this issue. Apparently it was somewhere in the fine print. Hardly a responsible ethical strategy for a mobile platform, especially when the PC site goes to such lengths to make pick-up/shipping arrangements clear. Never mind the fact that in 20 years of using eBay, Amazon and other online auction sites, I had never before been surprised by shipping charges.
The options presented by EBC, in lieu of them being responsible and assisting the customer, were to either forfeit the item (in which case I would not pay shipping but would not be refunded the purchase price) or pay the shipping. EBC loves it when a customer forfeits, not only do they keep the purchase money, but they can re-sell it and get even more money. Should the next person use the mobile site and forfeitthe profit just keeps growing. Standard practice for auctions houses in such circumstances is to sell and give the owner the proceeds minus sellers costs. But not Everything But the Customer.
So why not just use the shipping service, USPS and UPS are pretty reasonably priced, right? Instead, think what UPS would charge and then double or triple it. I have had furniture delivered from Canada for the same price that EBC would charge for delivery from one city in Ohio to another. So eventually after repeated futile arguments and being continually frustrated by nonsensical arguments, I told the EBC rep that she was an idiot. Well, they hire such precious snowflakes down in ETBC that that was sufficient to result in my account being cancelled. Even though all the pick-up information for other items I had purchased was in that account. Lucky I did not tell them what I was really thinking - they would have called the SWAT on me. Eventually when we finally got our item, we found that ETBC had lied. They said they had to charge for shipping because the item had already been packed yet when we got it, there was not even so much as a plastic bag wrapped around it. Just plenty of dead bugs inside it.
So in closing, heres why Everything But the Customer always wins at the customers expense.
1. If youre selling an item, they will take a whopping 40% commission on the sale.
2. They add a large margin to all shipping. Items are not shipped at cost even though they just made 40% on the item.
3. If you unknowingly purchase an item that carries huge shipping charges and forfeit the item, EBC will take your money, and then resell the item and keep that money as well.
4. They provide very small windows of time for items that can be picked up, like three hours on one particular day. That not only makes like easier (and cheaper for EBC) and more difficult for the customer, but increases the chance that the customer will forfeit the item.
On the bright side, if you live next to an Everything But the Customer warehouse where something you like is held, you can pick up some okay deals, but anything that cannot be picked-up or posted interstate in an envelope? Forget about it.

Michael Has Earned 31 Votes

Michael D.'s review of OpenSky earned 3 Very Helpful votes
Michael D.'s review of EverythingButTheHouse earned 28 Very Helpful votes

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