Deep Discount DVD & The Shrinking Service of Online Discount DVD Retailers

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Timeline:

June 24:
I order the two movies on Deep Discount DVD – The Last Hunter and Who Can Kill A Child.

First Week of July
I get Who Can Kill A Child in the mail with no mention of why the other movie I ordered isn’t with it.

July:
I look on my account at various points and The Last Hunter shows in process. I’m a bit confused as others that I know have gotten this DVD no problem. So it doesn’t seem to be an issue of shortage as to why I haven’t gotten my DVD.

August 9:
I finally feel I’ve waited too long and contact Deep Discount DVD off their website trying to find out if I will be getting The Last Hunter anytime soon?

August 10:
I get an e-mail back saying they can’t find my order in question and if I can please provide them with all my contact information and related info in the purchase I made. I guess Deep Discount DVD has a system that isn’t sophisticated enough to look up customer order information by name, e-mail address and order number. Hmm. Ok. I respond back with as many details as possible. Later that night I get an e-mail saying they are sending out a replacement DVD for The Last Hunter and an apology for the delay. I still get charged for the full amount and only a slight sorry. No offer of free shipping on the next order or anything. Not that I expected that but it certainly is nice when a company realizes it was their fault and makes such an offer.

August 20:
I check my mail and a package from Deep Discount DVD is in it! I breath a sigh of relief… only to discover the package contains – Who Can Kill A Child. I immediately e-mail Deep Discount DVD with the previous e-mail (that has all the contact details) and state this latest mishap.

August 22:
I get an e-mail this morning from Deep Discount DVD saying: “Our records show that your original order was for the DVD “Who Can Kill A Child“. Please provide us with the order number for “The Last Hunter.” Hmm. Ok. I just sent them an e-mail with all the contact information and details on Monday. Hope dims. I send an e-mail back taking the e-mail I sent on Monday but detailing it out like I’m having to explain the situation to a 4 year old. I have no idea if I will ever get this movie from them. I’ll give it until the end of September and at that point I will have to cancel my order completely.

Summary:
These “discount” retailers online seem like a great bargain. They promise cheaper costs and reliable service. Often times these companies do not seem to be set up to handle volume. If you order something with them at a peak time your essentially screwed. With the home video market having exploded with increasing DVD sales there are more and more companies trying to exploit this craze with minimal operating costs through online sites offering great “discount.” It sometimes works out great for us consumers when we can buy a DVD without having to pay a premium. Though the rub is that as the consumer buying has escalated these companies seem to have cut back on service and looked at more ways to cut operational cost while trying to meet increased business volume. Just look at eBay! Have you ever had an issue there? There customer service is an entirely automated non-human system that really makes you feel like your dealing with HAL from 2001.

With companies like Deep Discount DVD I can honestly say at times I feel like I’m buying from two college kids who are running the business out of their apartment with the movies kept in several closets and their mom out on the balcony handling packaging. No wonder then that one order in every thousand might be messed up.

In summary a discount is surely always a nice thing for most of us consumers. The shrinking service associated with getting that discount isn’t. As much as I like to buy things cheaper I have to say having been burned several times this year is “reliable” is the only word I’m now going after when I buy a DVD online. With this in mind if you have online DVD retailers you buy from that are reliable please post a comment and let me and others know who they are. Lets get the word out about the ones that understand providing service. Give me a discount? Great! Though I have to say getting the “actual DVD” is even better!

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