I recently made a purchase from an online store which shall remain nameless until I hear back from them, giving them a fair chance to explain/remedy this situation before I decide to completely write them off, that I wanted to vent a little about and get your opinions on. Late the night of the 31st of June/morning of August 1st I placed an order with an online store that had been suggested by another blog. The prices were great and the product list for what I was looking for was pretty good. I filled my cart, placed my order, and waited for an email notifying me my order had shipped.
When I hadn't heard from the company 4 days later and my order status on their site was empty, I emailed the company to make sure there wasn't an issue in my order. I thought perhaps there was some sort of glitch. I didn't receive a response. I waited a few more days and then today went to check the status on my order again. Still blank. I decided I'd try calling the company this time. Instead of the phone being answered an auto-message played at the end of the rings. Apparently the store closed from the 1st through the 15th due to a death in the family.
I hung up feeling aggravated. I completely and totally sympathize with the family that is now dealing with the death of a relative. I've had my share of deaths in my family this year and it's awful. However, as a business owner I feel it's your duty to at least notify your customers (especially those that have paid or are contemplating a purchase) of this fact. I don't know the details of why orders placed by the 1st weren't fulfilled, but I can only say that I don't think this situation has been handled very fairly. The storefront of the website still does not have a post notifying potential customers of the fact that the store is closed. The only place on the store I was able to find a notice was on the "info" tab for the store. If you close your store down, either close it down to prevent further purchases while you're gone, or at least put up a notice so that customers will know that shipping will take longer than usual.
I love and support small businesses and I think they're a necessary and wonderful part of our culture, however, I think it's important that small businesses work extra hard not to drop the ball when it comes to how they handle their customers.
What do you think? If you were in my position would you be frustrated? What do you think about this store not posting a notice on the home page or notifying customers that had already made a purchase that they'd be affected by this delay?
I'll update once I finally hear back from them...