I placed 2 orders for 3 items with POTV Canada in November and had a 3 month long customer service experience that was the worst I've ever had in 23 years of online shopping. To make thing so much worse, this company that claims to pride itself on customer service ultimately did less than nothing to make things right.
Immediately after placing my orders I was sent an email telling me that there would be a slight delay due to the holiday season and warehouse upgrade and offered me a refund. I refused the refund since I could afford to wait a few weeks for the items. 1 of the 3 items that I ordered arrived in a timely manner, unfortunately this is the only good thing that I can say about my experience with them.
There were so many over-lapping failings on their part, what follows is a partial summary in non-chronological order:
They sent out the wrong item and only after I sent 3 emails over 1.5 weeks did they finally get back to me that they wanted me to return the item. More than a week after the returned item arrived at their warehouse (according to the tracking number on the return receipt) they sent me an email letting me know that it had finally arrived and they were preparing the proper item for shipping, which they weren't since I was later informed that they didn't actually have it in stock.
After sending the wrong item and further delays, I was informed that my order was being forwarded to the concerned team and I would get an update in a couple days. In the 2 months after this that it took to finally complete my order, the concerned team never got back to me, even after I sent further emails asking for an update.
After sending the wrong item they told me that they would have to do a warehouse sweep looking for my item and it would take up to 14 business days to complete. They never got back to me weeks after 14 business days had elapsed.
I asked if my orders would be completed prior to Christmas since part of my orders involved gifts. I never received a response to this inquiry nor did they even acknowledge my inquiry when I referred to it in 2 follow-up emails.
After inquiring 3 times about when I could expect to receive one of my items and receiving no response, I sent a fourth very angry email requesting a response. Instead of responding they started a new order with my item, sent me an email telling me that my new order was being prepared for shipment, and then took 3 weeks to finally put it in the mail. It arrived nearly 2 months after ordering it despite the item being available for purchase on their website the entire time and marked as on sale for a significant portion of my wait.
This practice of sending emails that the order is being prepared for shipment and then leaving the order hanging for weeks happened 3 times on 2 items with my orders.
I received countless empty apologies cut and pasted into emails without any follow-up action. They kept offering me a refund if I wanted, but when I refused there were further long delays with no contact. At no time did they ever suggest that my orders might not be completed. On a reddit post about potv's lousy customer service I added my 2 cents, giving a watered down version of my experience up to that point and included that I believed that POTV would eventually make things right. Mike from POTV Canada chimed in with another apology and explained that they take these things seriously, but despite there being enough info in my post to figure out my order and address my complaints, nothing more was done.
After receiving no updates after several inquiries on my last remaining item I stopped asking for updates and decided to wait them out. After waiting 2 ½ months since placing my order and 1 ½ months after I stopped asking for updates there was still nothing. I asked for an update and received a reply the same day at 7:17 AM that the warehouse had just informed them THAT DAY that my item was no longer available, despite being "prepared for shipment" for over a month. I was offered a refund or another item.
After waiting 2 ½ months on an item that they were never going to send, I was irate. Not once in their many offers for a refund did they ever mention that they might not be able to complete my order.
I pointed out that it was impossible for me to believe that they didn't know sooner, since the item was removed from their website 1 ½ months prior, and the completely unbelievable idea that MINUTES before I asked for the first update in 6 weeks they were just then informed by their warehouse that they couldn't complete the order. I also pointed out the lack of response from the concerned team and the lack of update on the warehouse sweep.
I also pointed out that after jerking me around for nearly 3 months a refund does not make things right. I proposed a solution of selling me the separate parts to build the vape that I had been waiting for, plus a little extra to give them room to bargain me down. Larry, their customer service supervisor got involved and convinced me that he was taking this seriously but after nearly another week of leaving me hanging he got back to me that a refund was the best that they were willing to do, or I could pay extra for the price difference minus 15%.
My proposed solution would have cost POTV less than 9% of the pre-tax value of the 2 orders that POTV mismanaged so poorly that they are the worst examples of customer service that I have ever experienced, and Larry said that POTV would not take this hit due to their margins.
After reluctantly paying the difference my order was handed back to the customer service representative that I had been dealing with since the beginning. The discount was not applied, nor was the payment option that I had arranged with Larry. Several more frustrating emails needed to be sent to fix this. I even ended up paying slightly more than the price Larry had given me because I didn't want it to drag on any further. Then, despite their policy of same day shipping on orders placed before 3PM (mine was completed at 11AM) and despite my request to see it finally completed that day, they sent me an email letting me know that my order had been given priority status and then was not put into the mail until the following week.
Too often POTV gets commended for their customer service by completing orders quickly, but this is their business, they wouldn't be in business if they didn't get things right most of the time. How they handle problems that arise is their chance to show true customer service. POTV screwed up my 2 orders in countless ways, when their screw-ups resulted in further problems they screwed up handling these problems too. They repeatedly ignored my requests for updates, and when I pressed them harder by sending angry emails, they responded to these even more poorly. Furthermore, a preponderance of facts indicates that they knew much sooner that my order was never going to be completed and that they were waiting for me to give up and take the refund. When I suggested that this was the case, they didn't even acknowledge my accusation. POTV Canada has been riding on the excuses of a busy holiday season and their warehouse upgrade since at least November, but most of the problems with my 2 orders cannot be explained by these 2 excuses.
No company can screw up 2 orders this badly and offer nothing more than empty apologies and continue to carry a reputation for excellent customer service. Through almost every step of this experience this was the worst customer service that I have ever experienced. Nothing else that I have ever experienced even comes close.
I live less than an hour from them and it took nearly 3 months and a 42 email exchange to finally see my order completed, only after I ended up sending in more money to get what I paid for because of their repeated screw-ups.