Halloween Special! Surface Pre-order Nightmare

[sc:hardware-category ]I pre-ordered my Surface RT tablet back on the 16th, the first day pre-orders were available and I was looking forward to getting my hands on it on the 26th.  This is the story of the mess that followed.

To start at the beginning on October 16th, Microsoft opened pre-orders with a tweet that contained the URL for them.  This URL at first didn’t work for Canadian orders but a few minutes later properly redirected me to the Canadian order page.

Pet peeve number one was the price, the Canadian dollar is currently above parity with the US dollar but the tablet still costs more in Canada then the US.  This really shouldn’t be the case these days, but alas it is so lets move on.

Ordering the Surface was easy enough and I bought the Type keyboard as well.  Once completed and reviewed my order page and pet peeve two cropped up, the order page has the following description in it:

Surface with Windows RT
Price: CDN$519.00 Quantity: 1
Status: In process
Pre-Order Boxed Shipment
Language: 32 GB without Black Touch Cover
Pre-Order Pre-order now for delivery by 10/26

I’m sorry “without Black Touch Cover” is just bad grammar, there’s no need to indicate the lack of Touch cover, that should just be assumed.

Now note the last line in the above “delivery by 10/26”, that means it should arrive before the 26th technically but I’ll give them the 26th as well.

And finally note the “In process” as the status, when this was still the status on the 25th I was just a little bit concerned as the Type cover had switched over to “Completed”.  The net had several stories saying Canadian shipments had been delayed.  Likewise on the 20th I had received a tracking number for the Type cover but not the tablet.

So I decided to call Microsoft and see what the story was.  Service was quick and I didn’t have to wait on hold at all.  Talking to the agent I was assured the order would arrive on schedule for the 26th and I would receive an e-mail in the morning with details on it.

I was tracking the Type cover via the UPS site during the day and I had to wait until almost 6pm before it arrived.  When they didn’t deliver the Surface as well I called Microsoft as second time.

Once again getting through was easy and again I was assured it would be arriving that day.  They still could not provide me with a tracking number and the status on the web site was still listed as “In process” so I waited until 7pm.  7pm is important as that’s as late as the delivery companies will deliver to residential addresses.  When that time passed I call Microsoft back and this time received a “we are closed, call back during normal business hours” message.

Having no other recourse, I left it for the night.

In the morning, I placed another call with MS.  This time the agent was apologetic but of no real help.  They still didn’t have a tracking number and didn’t know when the tablet would arrive, but assured me it had shipped.  I was escalated to their supervisor and he assured me he would investigate and get back to me by end of day.  I asked specifically for a telephone call and when 5pm rolled around and I hadn’t heard anything back I called in for the 4th time. I was quickly moved to a new supervisor who said they would escalate the issue internally as there should have been a tracking ID.

Once more I was assured he would get back to me within 24 hours, however no response was to be found.  Just before 4pm on Sunday I decided to call back and see what was going on.  This time the agent tried to once again say that I would be seeing a response with 24 to 48 hours and the tablet should arrive within 5 to 7 business days.  That was clearly not acceptable and I escalated to the supervisor,  after being pushed for more detail the supervisor finally let slip the truth.  There was an issue with shipping and a batch of tablets for Canada had not shipped yet.

There was a team working on getting new shipping information and $50 vouchers out to these effected orders and I should be seeing an update by end of day with delivery by end of the 29th.

Having at least found out the truth, I let the shipping date go and waited to see what would happen.  Sure enough at 4:10 I received a new tracking number, which UPS didn’t think was valid yet.

I didn’t accept the $50 voucher though, there is no point in getting a voucher you will never use or that you have to spend more money at the store to use it.  The supervisor escalated to the third tier support and said they might be able to do something for me and I should expect them to contact me within 72 hours.

Now at this point I have to bring to your attention that each time I called in to Microsoft, they lied to me.  Yes that’s a strong statement but none the less it’s true.  To be clear, the agents themselves may not have known the truth either, but Microsoft as a whole did:

  • On the first call on Thursday they knew there was a shipping issue when I didn’t have a tracking number and the internet already had stories of the $50 voucher.  When I was assured it was on track for delivery on the 26th, that was a lie.
  • On the second call on Friday when they said it would be delivered by end of day, that was a lie.
  • On the third call on Saturday when they said it had been shipped, that was a lie.
  • On Sunday when I called they lied right up until I pushed hard enough to get a real answer.  And even then they knew the 29th was not going to happen as they had just created a shipping label, it wasn’t until the 29th that UPS even had it in their system.

The shipping label sat without an update until finally on the morning of Oct 30 at 3:16am UPS finally picked it up off the dock.  Clearly at this point Microsoft had sprung for air mail as it quickly moved to Canada and was through customs and out the door for delivery by 9:51am.

The next issue I was concerned about was the delivery itself.  On the 26th I had worked from home to ensure I would be there to get the parcel, however on the 30th I couldn’t work from home and so I called UPS.  It turns out they didn’t need a signature so it was left at my door and when I arrived home it was waiting for me.

On Sunday the 28th when I was on the call with Microsoft I had them escalate beyond the supervisor as I indicated I was not happy with the $50 voucher (after all why would I want to buy something from their store again?).  They indicated I could expect a call back within 72 hours.

I’m still waiting for that and we’ll see what they’re willing to do.  I don’t want a voucher, I expect a discount on the order I already placed or something useful for free.  I expect a response by end of day today, but I’m not holding my breath and expect to have to call back in yet again.

I’ll post a follow-up to this once my escalation is complete.

The good news is though that I now do have my Surface and that is a whole nother post all by itself!


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Greg is the head cat at JumbleCat, with over 20 years of experience in the computer field, he has done everything from programming to hardware solutions. You can contact Greg via the contact form on the main menu above.

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Greg is the head cat at JumbleCat, with over 20 years of experience in the computer field, he has done everything from programming to hardware solutions. You can contact Greg via the contact form on the main menu above.

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