Datavis sucks. What is Datavis?
So, I guess I should be writing about Tulsa’s season opening football contest against top ranked Oklahoma, but I won’t. Nor will I discuss how one of the best Tulsa players ever was arrested for embezzlement and will miss that game. I have a different, though perhaps more frivolous tale of disappointment to share with you today, and it involves a little company that goes by the name Datavis.
As you may know, two weeks ago HP announced they were going to pull out of the computer hardware business altogether, and would be liquidating their stock of the heavily promoted (yet horribly selling) Touchpad tablet computers at firesale prices, $99 for a 16GB model to be exact. Given that iPads start at $500 and HP spent over $300 each to produce these things, people went a bit nuts over the news. Black Friday type lines formed out of stores, and online sales systems of many suppliers went insane, many selling far more Touchpads than were in stock.
Barnes and Noble, Best Buy, and even HP itself oversold their actual supply in hours, while most of the Touchpads that did get picked up for $99 seemed to be resold pretty quickly at prices between $250 and $300 on eBay. After missing the initial rush to grab up the $99 items, I was alerted by a friend (and fellow internet entrepreneur/operator of the website FatDeals.net) to the existence of an eBay seller, Datavis_sales, that was offering Touchpads for $119, a mere $20 markup. I thought to myself that $20 didn’t seem that unreasonable to avoid all the nonsense, and it would be nice to have my own tablet so that I would be able to stop using Morgan’s iPad constantly. I pulled the trigger and made the purchase, one of 8000+ units “sold” by Datavis.
I looked up some information on Datavis (I had never heard of them and wanted to make sure I didn’t just send my money down a black hole) and they seemed to be a legitimate reseller of electronics with a brick and mortar store in New York City. Furthermore, their eBay store claimed that 99% of items sold shipped the next day. Good enough for me.
Two days pass, and I receive this email (feel free to skip it if you just want to get the jist of what happened):
We would first like to thank you for your purchase of the HP TouchPad over the weekend. As I am sure you saw, the item sold out almost immediately. This will be the first of a series of email notifications and status updates in order for you receive the latest and most up to date status on the order without having to phone or email our systems.As of 5pm EST on 8/23, we anticipate shipping these towards the end of this week.We have freight tracking # from HP with enough orders so that everyone will receive their complete order.For those that ordered 10, 50, or 100, they will be PARTIALLY filled this week, and the balance FILLED most likely next week. It is the only fair thing to do, as we are assuring that everyone will get their FULL order without any canceling.Currently the order process will be the following:-Over the next day or two, we will start the “Invoicing” stage. This is when our systems take your order status from “Active/Open” to the packing stage.-Following the Invoicing, a shipping label will be created, and emailed to you.*Please note, when you receive this email notice, it is GREAT NEWS, as it means it is almost out the door.Also, the tracking # will NOT scan right away, so please do not panic or get concerned.We have to start the order flow now, as the multiple shipping stations can only print invoices/receipts/tracking decals but so fast.Based on the timing, it is the best scenario for you to get your item(s) fastest.Thank you for your patience as we have been literally bombarded with calls, emails, and website hits.We are doing our very best to process each call and email, and apologize for any delay.In order for us to focus on order processing, we would kindly request you send emails if there are any urgent request, as we can handle them much faster.If you do need to cancel for any reason, we can certainly honor this request. Please reply with the following:Order #Payment IDuser nicknameemail addressName*If you have made a request to cancel already, you should see that process and refund in the next 12 hours or so.Thank you once again,**There will be future emails with updates. You may also want to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to see current statuses.Finally, we completely understand your situation in wanting this product as timely as possible. We certainly hope that once we deliver your TouchPad, you will take consider the fact we followed through on the order completely, as opposed to other retailers canceling orders with simple apologies.You deserve the item you ordered, at the incredible price paid, and we intend to deliver for you. All of our sites, and marketplaces received over 10,000 orders in total, and it has simply been overwhelming.Thank you once again for your continued patience, and please reply to this email only if you need to cancel.
This should be the 1st of what we hope are 2 updates today. Please bear in mind that several of our mail order employees have had to move out of low lying areas in New York, as Hurricane Irene approaches. Also, Mayor Bloomberg has ordered a halt to the subways and bus systems today, so we are unable to staff the phone systems today and tomorrow (Saturday and Sunday)
Please keep that in mind as we encourage few replies unless there is an emergency to this email, as nobody will be able to access it for several days, thus creating a “Hurricane of emails”.
This distribution list was the original buyers. Those that shipped, you may find some of the below interesting, especially if you wish to purchase more. If you have already canceled and would like to buy again, you may also want to read.
We are certainly aware of the update emailed last Monday about the ETA and the turnaround time on these. Certainly in a perfect world, everything would have held true to form. Many of you have already received tracking, and maybe even the Touchpad itself. The second batch of shipment tracking labels will be created starting on Monday.
For those who are not following the discussion on Facebook, here is a quick overall explanation of what has transpired, why, and what is going on this coming week. We will also address for those who have canceled, or even want to buy more down the road what we and HP have down the line.
If you have not joined, will certainly keep you updated as we know more onl, Facebook, and Twitter.
In regard to posting, we encourage productive comments only. The threats, colluding to unite negative feedbacks, and of the like will simply not be tolerated and will get anyone’s order processed faster. Thank you for understanding.———The way HP works for LARGE inventory is they allocate goods in distributor warehouses for US. We stock 99% of the items, including touchpads. The extended quantities are sometimes offered on hotter items as we have allocation and we can utilize their warehouse space. In a normal situation, including high volume shipping times like Christmas, we are certainly able to “drop ship” large quantities of items immediately without a hitch.When the floodgates opened on Saturday (with no notice from HP), we sold this massive # in a short time. When we went to pull our stock, the distributors did not want to ship, though our goods were PAID for and confirmed. It took longer than expected and letters sent from our legal team, but the money was deducted from our account x 9500 units, which COVERS ALL OF YOU, ebay and website orders. Touchpads are in route and we will post a copy of our Bill of Lading as proof hopefully today. (update, we still hope today, Saturday to post this). Lastly, with regard to more units after the committed batch. We believe we will get 1 last shot of them as HP is building more. YES they do cost more than $80-$90 and everyone that HP sold for $99 was a loss. You will get your item AT THE CHEAPER PRICE YOU PAID. The next batch will be considerably more. We do not know the higher price, but please also keep that in mind when complaining. Once again, thank you once again. This is one in a million $*#& storm that nobody could ever predict. Keep in mind we are a direct national HP Authorized dealer. HP advertises in our 5th Avenue window with a massive display. They are behind us in every way possible, are aware of the situation with all of you, and are working with us to resolve this as fast as possible.——I will also address some frequently asked questions:1. Why did you sell something you did not have?Again, this inventory was allocated to US and nobody else. When we went to pull it from distribution, we were not filled. This was simply out of our control, but we do have the units coming to cover the orders. See our track history on ebay, Amazon, etc. We fill 99.9% of our orders, are Top Rated Merchants on ebay and have 95% positive reviews on Amazon. Simply put, we deliver, we are authorized dealers, and we care about each customer.2. When will we receive our tracking number?We have freight tracking # from HP with enough orders so that everyone will receive their complete order.For those that ordered 5,10, 50, or 100, they will be PARTIALLY filled this week of August 29, and the balance FILLED most likely next week. It is the only fair thing to do, as we are assuring that everyone will get their FULL order without any canceling.3. What does the status mean?New and Active are actively in the shipment creation process.Complete, means it has been completed and shipped to you.4. Why is my card charged, and I have not been shipped yet?If you paid by a 3rd Party Payment system, (PayPal or Amazon Payments) you are initiating the payment. If you feel as though you would prefer a refund, simply let us know and we will gladly cancel.5. Can I change my delivery address?
We are only able to ship to the address provided on the order. However, we are able to refund your payment, take a repayment from the “new” correct address and you WILL NOT LOSE your space in line or order.6. When will your tablets be back on hand to pack up?They are coming in each day, however the bulk amount which will satisfy each customer has already been shipped. It was shipped from Florida, so we do not anticipate any extra delays from receiving the shipment due to Hurricane Irene. We will do our best to post later today a screenshot/tracking#/ or something of the like to show everyone we are not “blowing smoke” as well as give a more hard date.7. We ran a promo on thise piece at 3-4x the price many of you paid. Several of those customers did not want the Touchpad when they heard the news and are returning new, sealed, never opened units.As fast as those new sealed returns come back, they will reship to you. We anticipate another few hundred of those to fill to the pending orders as well. Honestly, $119 to surf the web, check mail, listen to music is a “no brainer”. You all certainly recogize a price point to make this unit worthy!8. Another option for some customers.We are also receiving a shot of 32GB versions. At this point we do not know how many, or the exact date. We will send this list an email when they are available to order, as we feel you deserve first crack.I would just like to thank each and every one of your for your patience. Many of you also deserve an additional thanks based on your sensidble, understanding, compassionate and supportive comments which have been posted on Facebook, Twitter, etc. In 22 years of retail, we have never seen anything like this.Many of you never heard of DataVision prior to this. We certainly understand this, and are doing everything humanly possible to make sure you all get your orders, are communicated as best as possible, and everyone is taken care of. There are many sellers out there simply deleting orders, feeling there is nothing they can do. Again, we are NOT canceling 1 order, unless requested by the customer. We intend to not only fill these, but come out in the end as someone you can trust, and depend on.We sincerely mean every word we say. We intend to follow through with every order. Yes, it will be delayed from when you expected it, but there were circumstances out of our control. I have seen public petitions for national retailers who canceled 20,000 orders. It is a disaster for many, but we hope not for us. Each of you will end up with an incredible 10″ Touchpad, at a rock bottom price.As an added note, though HP is discontinuing the tablet, they have just announced some App Discounts. Please see this here - http://blog.palm.com/palm/2011/08/6-pack.htmlIf you need to cancel for any reason, we can certainly honor this request. Please reply with the following:Order #Payment IDuser nicknameemail addressName*If you have made a request to cancel already, you should see that process and refund in the next 12 hours or so.Thank you once again,**There will be future emails with updates. You may also want to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to see current statuses.Finally, we completely understand your situation in wanting this product as timely as possible. We certainly hope that once we deliver your TouchPad, you will take consider the fact we followed through on the order completely, as opposed to other retailers canceling orders with simple apologies.You deserve the item you ordered, at the incredible price paid, and we intend to deliver for you. All of our sites, and marketplaces received over 10,000 orders in total, and it has simply been overwhelming.Thank you once again for your continued patience, and please reply to this email only if you need to cancel.DataVision Computer Video
Valued DataVision Customer,
You have been incredibly patient through the entire ordering process for the HP Touchpad, and for that, we are appreciative beyond what words can describe.
We received another round of unfavorable news today regarding the inbound shipments of the Touchpads. We can not express how sorry we are to have to share this news with you. While detailing the past week’s events below, we kindly request you read through them and understand the entire picture before forming an opinion of us.
To help rectify the situation, we will be doing the following:
-On Thursday, September 8, you will be receiving a coupon valued up to $50 directly from eBay for your inconvenience. The unique code will come from eBay directly to your email address registered on file within your account.
-On Wednesday, August 31, we will process all refunds for those that did not receive their product. We felt best option would be to refund each cusotmer as opposed to holding on totheir funds any longer.
-We received a few more Touchpads and will process those shipments on Wednedsay, August 31st.
-We still have plenty of units on order, and hope to receive more as HP produces them. We will of course email you directly when they arrive and give you the option to making the purchase.
We hope you consider our overall ratings and reviews which are “Top Tier” on the major marketplaces before you leave yours. A situation like this can be devastating to our business. Though we understand you were inconvenienced and product not delivered, we wanted you to know that this situation is certainly out of the norm, could not be expected, and we have attempted to communicate as much as humanly possible to you. Also, you will note we are going a few steps beyond the other major retailers that simply deleted orders, and moved on. Though this sale never completed, we still think of you as customers and we care about each and every one of you. We will not stop at the canceled order.
Thank you once again for your time, patience, input, suggestions, comments, and enthusiasm. We are so appreciative of all of you, and thank you once again for the chance, and the faith you had in us to deliver this item. This catastrophe was simply out of our control and could never have been predicted. We have never seen anything like this in 25 years of being in business.
DataVision Computer Video
Please read below if you would like more information on what has transpired over the past week.
On Saturday 8/20, our email box was flooded with requests for courtesy refunds for prior purchases of the HP Touchpad, based on a price drop. We sold approximately 500 units this month at the normal price of $399 each . After reading a few of the emails, we asked who was offering this price. Numerous replies were sent stating that HP had drop their price to $99. At that moment we contacted HP to find out how much they would reimburse us per unit, so we could immediately pass that on to our concerned customers. At the same time, we questioned the price on new units to purchase, as no announcement was made by HP of any price change to them. The price was not known at that point (approximately 11am EST) how much more units would cost.
There have been many comments claiming we knew in advance of this price drop. We will link below to a purchase order we had confirmed on 8/20, at a much higher price than the $99 price point. As you can see, this was unannounced to HP’s retail partners, and there was not even enough notice for the distributors to adjust their pricing. On the next link, you will see we were confirmed on 7000 units, at a price OVER retail. Click Here for a link to the purchase order confirmation and price. *We blocked out the distributor’s name and our account # for obvious reasons.
On Monday this same distributor wanted to hold our order, even though it was confirmed and our credit lines allocated. HP gave authorization for this distributor to ship the pending units, as you can see in the email below.
We found out later these units never did process.
Link to portion of the email correspondence. This email was from HP directly instructing the distributor to ship the units to us.
At that time, we realized the continued demand for the Touchpad, so we secured more units from every channel we could. Our second confirmed purchase was at the “second” distributor for a total of 4,000 units. The below screen shot is their confirmation. As you can see there were no back-orders. Again, I have omitted their company name for obvious reasons.
Our third confirmation of a 5600 units was on Monday evening as well.
Link to 5600 units
This is a 17 page confirmation document based on them needing to break up the payments in batches totaling under $99K each. I took a screen shot of 1 portion of the order, and the final confirmation page as well.
You will also see a copy of our credit card statement showing the money being charged.
Though we currently have over 16,000 units ordered, no significant number of units has been transported to us even after being promised several times by each company. We understand the position you are in, by unfortunately having your order canceled. We simply hope you empathize with our situation that we were literally lied to by three separate companies on the timing and confirmations of the shipments.
OK, game over, I get it. You never had a tracking number, you never had the units, and even though 99% of everybody else’s Touchpad orders were cancelled due to overselling, you decided to guarantee that you would not cancel anybody’s orders, possibly because you thought you placed magical orders that could never fall through.
Suddenly, I wsn’t feeling so generous about those things for which I had previously given Datavis a pass. Now they had violated eBay’s terms of service because they wanted to make a quick buck while hype was high. Now the delays seemed to be an intentional way to keep us from placing orders elsewhere and cancelling theirs, why else would they lie about the tracking number? Now Datavis was just another sleazy Nigerian advance fee fraudster, holding onto hundreds of thousands of dollars for two weeks and giving nothing in return. I know that doesn’t technically make this an advance fee scam, but I assumed they used the money they held to fund a company that deals exclusively in Nigeria-based advanced fee fraud, which is why I can make the claim.
But wait, weren’t they offering a $50 gift card for my trouble, didn’t they say “On Thursday, September 8, you will be receiving a coupon valued up to $50 directly from eBay for your inconvenience.” Turns out, the key words are “up to,” and instead of this being a gift certificate that you could cash in, it was a mere 20% off coupon for the very store that had just failed so spectacularly in satisfying the customers it was reaching out to.
I think Datavis knew how this looked, and the more I looked at it, the more their email read more like the pleas of a villain that had been caught at the end of a long action movie, only instead of begging for their life, Datavis was begging not to get 6000 negative feedbacks on eBay. As of this writing, they are only at 316 negative feedbacks in the last month, so they may have managed to dodge the bulk of the scorn they rightfully deserved, but there’s still plenty of time. If you want some inspiration for what to write in your negative eBay feedback, here is a screen capture of Datavis’ recent feedback from my iPhone:
In any event I am now obsessed with the idea of getting my own non-Apple tablet, and the ASUS eeePad Transformer caught my eye. I could use it to replace my current ASUS netbook (which I love, but at two years old is sadly showing its age in the amount of time it takes to write one of these posts) as well as serve as a tablet. There’s a new version of the eeePad out next month, so I may try to pick one up if I wind up missing out on the next shipment of cheap Touchpads that HP is producing to finish off their already purchased parts. I’ll let you know how that goes.