Last November I finally decided to build a website that would offer for sale pcbs that I was developing. After careful consideration I decided on a hybrid site that allowed me to document my experiences and yet still provide a small online store to sell. WordPress is the premier blogging software currently available today and is regularly updated. It has thousands of plugins, including several e-commerce plugins that turn the blogging software into a virtual online store. I settled on one that seemed to offer the best options for what I wanted to do. WooCommerce. It too was regularly updated. It too has it’s own extensions numbering in the hundreds. Best of all both were free.
I never expected to make a living doing this and so free was a good price. But I didn’t want to roll my own plugins and extensions. I was prepared to pony up money to companies/individuals who did make their living writing plugins and extensions for these two programs.
So I went looking for plugins and extensions that gave additional features I needed that were not included in WordPress and WooCommerce originally. A webstore needs the ability to determine shipping costs at checkout so the customer is able to make an informed choice as to how much his total bill will be. Faster – more expensive, slower – cheaper. etc.
Initially I settled on WooCommerce’s USPS Shipping extension since I only planned to ship USPS and I figured that as they upgraded WooCommerce their extensions would be the first to be compatible with the newest versions. Simple thinking right? They weren’t the cheapest by any means, but you get what you pay for right?
Now I’ve ordered on hundreds of websites over the last few years and have come to expect that if I am buying software that can be downloaded that it is available immediately and if a license is required that it is either immediately available too or a email is sent to me within 24hrs with that info. So I am confident that a website that is offering ecommerce software for sale is going to follow that experience to the letter, particularly if that license is required to activate the extension. Right?
$79 later I have the software but only a confirmation that they are processing my order.
24hrs later no change. Now legally and functionally I can’t use the software without the license. It’s irritating, but as I am busy with other parts of developing the website I let it slide.
48hrs later no change. Now I am peeved. I am ready to setup my shipping and test the plugin to make sure it will work on my site. So I open a ticket to find out why my order is showing processing and no license info still with the money pulled out of my bank account . There’s an acknowledgement and a ‘sorry’ and ‘I am forwarding this to my billing department’ then nothing.
72hrs – 1 week later no change. I have left several updates to the ticket. No response. Finally I decide enough is enough and demand my money back. I have a useless extension without the license to activate it and I needed it last week.
1 week + 48hrs no change. Now it comes home how dangerous the web can be. I am out almost $80 and I realize that the website is not in the US. I don’t want to think that this is deliberate. It doesn’t make sense from a business stand point. It has to be that I’ve dropped through the perverbile crack and my order is just hung. I mean this company is not just a flybynight operator. The problem is that the only method to contact them is with their ticket system and I’m not getting any response. Not even when I demand my money back. I contact my bank to see what options I have and am advised that I can fill out a dispute form with the website info and history of the exchange. So done and done.
2 weeks later My bank sides with me and replaces the money. They then take it to the business. Woocommerce finally updates the status of my order to reflect the refund and everybody is happy. Right?
WRONG! My faith and trust in WooCommerce is severely damaged. I am out time and energy chasing their problem with their website and I am now a week behind on getting my own up and running. When it became apparent that I was not going to get the license I had to go with another company offering a USPS shipping extension. Now comes part II of this saga