So I decided to buy a Xiaomi Mi Notebook. They’re classy. They enjoy long battery life. And they have that USB type-C that can do everything.
After I realised it isn’t that easy to import, I decided to buy from the only retailer who brings international products to Kenya at reasonable prices. That’s Avechi.com. I placed my order back before the year 2017 ended and was called and told unit would be delivered two weeks later, that was to be around 2nd Jan 2018. I was taken aback. Why had they said 24hr delivery?
3rd January, nothing had been communicated. And I gave up on that order, telling myself maybe they didn’t manage to get the stock from China for that item.
So I placed a new order for the Dell XPS 13, the best Ultrabook ever. And they called me and told me the item was available, and that I would receive it in 24hrs provided I paid in advance since high price items have to be paid for before delivery. I asked for an invoice with the means of payment and made my payment on 4th.
Honestly, I was excited that I’ll be receiving my item on 5th Jan. This was never to happen.
First of all, the Avechi website on mobile is problematic as hell. The new UI is bad, the search button when touched on Chrome reloads the website, the search results can be off at times, there’s no proper breakdown of categories. It can be a frustrating experience at times. But anyone looking for items that aren’t in Kenya will be willing to ignore all that to buy that item. And I did.
When you place your order, you receive an email with order number and since website says 24hrs delivery, you get excited. Nowhere is it stated you should pay for this item before delivery is initiated. Nowhere are you told that you’ll be called before your order goes through. Nowhere are you given the MPESA paybill number for payments.
I spent the whole day on 4th Jan planning for how I’ll upgrade the Dell XPS 13 on 5th Jan once it is delivered. Plans for dongles, upgrading the SSD and such stuff. Only to get a call at around 6.30pm that the item isn’t in their store and that they have the 4GB RAM version which is a lot cheaper. But this isn’t what I wanted. This isn’t what I ordered. Plus who wants 4GB RAM in 2018?
Naturally, I got angry and quarrelled. Why had I been lied to? Why did someone tell me they’d confirmed the item was available right before I made payment? Why did they tell me in the morning that the item would be sent out via G4s and that I would receive it at 10am the next day only to call me the same day in the evening with an unremorseful sorry that the item wasn’t in stock?
Someone literally hang up on me while I was asking for an explanation. I was also demanding for a refund. The major excuse for hanging up was that they were closing down and the senior management wasn’t around. I was boiling in anger by this time. After being hung up on, no one was picking my calls anymore. Tried calling five times, no one picked up, so I gave up. I told myself I would call them the next morning and demand my refund from the management.
But then at around 7.30pm someone calls me and introduces himself as the management. He says the usual sorry lines and tells me they can offer me two laptops that are available in the store, both of which are not what I wanted or ever considered. I am bewildered. An eCommerce site that had lied to me about the availability of an item, asking me to pay before dispatch, is here now offering me the choice between two devices I had not planned on buying.
But because I needed a laptop, I settle. I mean the HP Spectre 13 is in similarly spec’d with the Dell XPS 13, and even more beautiful anyway.
Though, these people (Avechi) don’t seem to know that when one seeks for an item they want that particular item, not any other item. I even asked myself if this was their ploy: lie about items and offer others when you’ve disappointed the customer.
As I write this post, the compromise laptop hasn’t arrived. They said it would arrive tomorrow 6th Jan by 10am (that’s today. Laptop arrived at around 3.05pm). I will publish this post when I have in my hands the HP Spectre 13, which is of course a really nice ultrabook but not what I had set out to buy. Since it is more expensive than the Dell XPS 13, I’ll need to top up the difference, but I insisted on paying only after device arrives.
So here are some takeaways from my experience with Avechi:
Don’t order online
I’ve gotten the OnePlus 5 from them before. But I walked to the physical offices in Nairobi and got it from there. The process was simple, fast and smooth. Order online and you’ll suffer. Or worse end up with what you never wanted in the first place. I doubt you’ll get a refund if they make “the mistake” of lying to you that an item is in stock and you need to pay first.
Avechi don’t understand e-commerce
They promise the best and fastest shopping experience, and to a good extent they deliver on that. Which isn’t bad but things can’t be smooth when the person handling social media accounts doesn’t know shit about the process of shipping or the items in stock or anything that happens in Avechi.
The people verifying stock on the other hand are clueless about what the social media team may have said online. They don’t know that the website doesn’t have the paybill number for payments or that the website isn’t explicit on items that can’t be paid for before delivery.
Each time you’ll call them you’ll find a different person who’s clueless about your case. There are no complaint tickets. So I made a point to ask the name of the person I was speaking to every time.
Don’t pay before receiving your product
Don’t dare pay before receiving your item. Unless you want them to hang up on you and offer you excuses and compromise items you’d not planned on buying. Unless you want them to lie to you that stock was cleared just before you paid and other lies. You risk losing your money from what I’ve experienced.
Avechi don’t necessarily have what’s listed on the website:
If you see a cool item on Avechi.com don’t believe it is available in their store. That’s why it is better to walk in to their Nairobi office and pick it up rather than believing they have it. The Xiaomi Mi Notebook wasn’t available though it appeared to be “in stock”. The Dell XPS 13 with 8GB RAM isn’t available. That’s what I wanted. But even now it is still listed as “in stock”.
Avechi needs teamwork
The team that maintains the website needs to work with the team that replies weeks later to queries on social media. The team that handles orders needs to be part of the social media team. There should be a streamlined process to know what’s in stock, what isn’t, process for ordering, payment, cancellation, refund etc. There should be tickets for complaints so that you don’t get a different Irene, or Miriam, or Christine each time you make a call to follow up on an issue. Because what the hell?
Avechi.com packs a lot of promise. I’m sure the vision is to be better. Their delivery timeframes or rather promises of delivery are already good.
But they can come out to some as a bunch of scammers. Honestly, how do you describe to someone that you made an order for something but you received another item because people hung up on you and refused to refund you? That sounds really bad, doesn’t it?