I don’t care what the excuse is, the reality is that I’m not getting service I expect from a vendor. I’ve been told that it’s just something I have to adapt to. That it’s the way things are done. That it’s a cultural difference. I’ve encountered a variety of these aspects since first arriving here in Costa Rica. I’ve dealt with the indifferent, the incomprehensible, the insolent, and the indescribable.
But no matter how bad that service is, nothing excuses you from lying to me.
This is not a language barrier thing. This is not a “you’re living in a different country” thing. This is not an issue of price, being a gringo, or anything else. This comes right down to nothing more than the nature of people to want to please and being caught in a bind.
So, I need computers. I need software. All of this is necessary for our company to function. (We build websites, so computers are mildly necessary.) Very early on in the process, I personally met with representatives of this company, who came to our office and we spoke to them at length in both English and Spanish (and I had Javier — a completely bilingual person — in the room the entire time).
The net result of this meeting amounted to the following:
- The specific types of PCs I want for desktops
- Information on the laptops I would possibly have to buy in the near future
- That most of our people — including the Ticos we hire — want English configurations, not Spanish
- We do not want AOC monitors (the colour reproduction isn’t very good), we want to keep with the Viewsonics we already received)
- We need a considerable amount of software (to ensure correct licensing) for both PC and Mac platforms
- We were told that they could get Apple hardware and software
- If we gave them approximate order numbers, they’d make sure this stuff was in stock so we could get it when we ordered it
Well, after this meeting, I was pretty darn happy. Why wouldn’t I be? This one vendor could supply everything that I needed, and we’d be off to the races in no time. It couldn’t possibly get any better, right?
Sadly, that was as good as it got. From there, it went right downhill. It started with the very first email I sent — a hardware order. Nothing fancy: a simple desktop computer, 2 GB of RAM, a 120 GB (or larger) hard drive, capable of running two monitors (also included in the order), and running English Windows XP.
What I got in return:
- A more expensive model than the one I’d requested
- 1 GB RAM
- 340 GB hard drive (quite a lot more than I needed)
- Support for only 1 monitor, which was specified as an AOC monitor
- Windows Vista in Spanish
They might as well have specified me an Arabic Linux box for the differences. When I asked them why I didn’t get what I ordered, the response was:
We don’t have it in stock.
I don’t care if it’s stock, or if you have to fly to Miami to bring this stuff in yourself. Give me what I asked for and tell me how long it will take to get!
It got worse.
Macs? Don’t keep in stock, so if it’s an “emergency”, go to another vendor. It was a TWO WEEK lead time. That’s not an emergency, that’s advanced notice.
Then several software ordered I put in went unanswered. I never got any information back regarding Adobe software, which I needed rather urgently. The Microsoft orders came back wrong — different licenses were being specified instead of the ones I had carefully detailed. (One order request went through 5 variations until it finally came back correct.)
Back in July, we ordered an APC SURT10000XLTRM UPS for our server room — a rack-mount version to fit into the rack we were buying at the same time. They delivered the XLT version — no RM. When I followed up with them, the kit was missing entirely from the order, even though it had been specified repeatedly. When the kit showed up (a month later), they didn’t bother send out someone to install it.
Duplex-enabled printer was missing the duplexer. I have yet to see any sign of it.
Deliveries appear without warning for hardware I didn’t order. Only for the delivery truck to reappear a few hours later to collect the mistaken hardware and then leave me something else unidentifiable.
Oh, and that PC that was out of stock? We ended up buying one from Office Depot because we didn’t want to wait any longer.
I know this is not a cultural thing — in case you’re wondering — as our Apple supplier seems right on the ball. We got our hardware when it was promised, and we are told when something isn’t in stock and how long it will take. Exactly what I expect from a good vendor.
I honestly have no idea how this company is surviving with people who can’t do their job properly. And worse, outright lying to their clients. Yes, lying. Telling me you have something and then telling me it isn’t in stock is lying. It’s not a misunderstanding, it’s not a case of “well, I thought I had it”. If you’re not absolutely certain you have something, tell me that. I don’t want to year “yes” only to be told “no” or “but”.
I can’t wait to hire a systems administrator who’ll handle all of this. I haven’t the time or patience for incompetance.