I buy a lot of stuff on the internet. Living in a small town, finding what I need or want can be hard. So, from the consumer point of view, I am an expert when it comes to ordering online. I know what works and what information a vendor needs to give me.
- I want a clear interface. I want to know all the details on what I’m buying and when/how it can be shipped.
- Once the order is placed, I want an e-mail listing what was ordered and the costs and when the cost will be charged to the credit card.
- I want an e-mail when the order is shipped that outlines what was shipped and their cost including shipping and tax. If anything is back ordered, about when those items will be shipped.
- I would really like to be able to track the order.
- I don’t want my credit card charged until the item is shipped.
- I want my order to show up in the “Account” I had to set up set up to order. (Helpful if I want to re-order.)
On May 25th, I ordered a CPE course through a company I hadn’t used before but I’d received mailings from for years. They offer a course that included net operating losses (NOL). From their limited description, this wasn’t exactly what I was looking for but it was the only one I had found. To order, I had to set up an account with them. The order process was a little confusing because of the number of ways the courses can be taken (printed, e-book, DVD...) but I thought that I had ordered the printed course to be mailed to me. I received e-mails about the account set up and a barebones acknowledgement of the order (course and price). And the delivery wait began. This afternoon (6/7) I noticed that they had charged my account on the day I ordered but I hadn’t received anything yet. Looking around “My Account” I found the course listed under “My Downloads” and tried to download it thinking I had made the wrong selection when I ordered. But I was told that I wasn’t authorized to download. Time to contact the company.
I did get a quick return call. The representative could tell me that I ordered a printed copy but she couldn’t tell me when the order was shipped. There was no tracking number because they use USPS to ship the courses. But their system couldn’t even tell me when or if it had been shipped. I ended up canceling the order because I didn’t have any confidence in the company’s systems and I wasn’t that excited about the course in the first place. (A side note; the representative e-mailed first and offered to give me a link to the e-book but this wasn’t mentioned in our phone conversation.) It will be interesting to see how long it takes for my credit card to be credited for the canceled course.
Continuing education is a big deal in the tax business right now. My inbox and mail box are full of course materials from dozens of companies. I’ll never know how good this company’s materials are because I’m not happy with how they handle ordering and getting materials out to me. (BTW, if anyone knows of a CPE course in NOL’s that includes completing Form 1045 and carrybacks, let me know.)