Lack of lenses

Warning: the following tail of woe involves some serious spleen venting!

Having finally made up my mind up that I would go for the Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, I placed an order with Warehouse Express on Tuesday evening hoping that, with next day delivery, I would have it in time for the Easter weekend. I also added the appropriate lens hood and threw in the Canon 50mm f1.8 whilst I was at it as there seems to be a general consensus that this is well worth the little money that you have to pay for it. It then wasn’t until late Wednesday afternoon that I checked my e-mail and discovered a message saying that part of the order wasn’t in stock. I phoned Warehouse Express and was told that the lenses were currently on order from Canon. When I asked when were expecting a delivery I was told: “Err, maybe sometime in May?”. Why oh why don’t online retailers advertise stock levels on their sites? Is it incompetence or is it because they would lose business that way? Somehow I’d taken the fact that the “We’re having trouble getting hold of this lens” message had disappeared might mean they actually had them.

A quick check on the web and a phone call later I had moved my order to A J Purdy who had both lenses in stock. Their next-day delivery is free so I was probably only going to be paying an extra £10 to get the lenses a month earlier. Unfortunately they didn’t have the lens hood in stock so, when I went back to Warehouse Express I just cancelled the lenses. However, I was then told that, although they had two lens hoods in stock, they have 20 orders on a strict first come first served basis. This seemed to be regardless of whether or not those 20 orders aren’t actually going to be fulfilled until May! Anyway, I can cope without the hood so I just cancelled the whole order.

So, I’m sat at home this morning waiting excitedly for my delivery. Midday comes and goes and I start to worry. Realising that I ordered over the phone this time, I think to check my voicemail. Arghh – a message left yesterday saying that my credit card was rejected. I rang A J Purdy and they said they would call me back within the hour. In the meantime I phoned my credit card company. It seems that whilst unsuccessfully trying to register my card with an online payment provider (Nochex) they had succeeded the number of authorisation requests permitted, causing the card to be blocked for 24 hours. Anyway, an hour and a half later, A J Purdy finally answer the phone again (I suspect a pre-Easter pub lunch) and they agree to put the card transaction through again. Apparently even if I had ordered online I wouldn’t have found out immediately my card was blocked – they still put the credit card transactions through by hand offline.

Of course, by now it’s Thursday and, with Good Friday, next day delivery means the lenses will arrive on Saturday when we will have already gone away for the weekend. So, maybe I’ll get hold of them on Tuesday… No one company was particularly at fault but the combination proved a nightmare! Sometimes you just can’t beat walking in to a shop and walking out again with your purchases!

3 Responses to “Lack of lenses”

  1. andyp says:

    What a gutting story 🙁
    FWIW I’ve had great experiences with WE, but this doesn’t sound so good.
    I’ve read statements about “worldwide shortage of Canon lenses” but hadn’t realised things were like this.

    Hope you enjoy the glass when it eventually arrives.

  2. martyc says:

    I’d agree with andyp that WE are generally pretty good, but they really do need some form of stock check on their site. Come to think of it, their website as a whole needs a good rework, as the navigation can be a pain.

  3. Dave says:

    Strange you should say that. When I submitted my order I added a comment about never being able to navigate back to a page I’d seen before. As predicted, I got home Monday evening to discover that they had tried to deliver first thing on Saturday. Looking forward to having a play this evening!