Sunday, January 13, 2008

No Soup For You!

I have a Lian-Li case, which features a unique hard drive mounting system.  This mounting system requires you to have a special sort of stand-off screw that mates with their mounting system and holds the drive in place.  My stuff is still in storage from my move, so I didn't want to try and dig through boxes looking for extra screws.  These are not very complicated parts, so I figured they couldn't be more than a couple bucks.  Boy was I wrong...

In my search for these screws I came across the site called "FrozenCPU" that sells these screws (  Note, the name of the product as well as the description are "Screws", not "Screw".  I thought that it was probably 4 screws (you know, enough to mount a hard drive), but there was just no way to tell since the site was poorly worded and gave no indication.  I was suspicious however, when I looked at the shipping charges and saw that the most basic shipping was $7+ that perhaps this was one of those places that makes up for low price by putting it into the cost of shipping.  After that, thoughts ran through my mind that perhaps they really were trying to sell one screw and trick people - turns out I was right as we will see.

Anyhow, at the time, I didn't know how many screws came in this packaging and it was impossible to tell from the site, so I decided to email them and ask.  The site doesn't look particularly sophisticated, so I also considered that perhaps they just couldn't show shipping prices for really little things that don't require packing.  Regardless, I thought I had better ask before placing an order.  Here is my initial email:

I am looking at these screws here:
Couple questions:
1. How many screws are included?  This isn't .50 per screw, is it?
2. What is the shipping cost for this since there is no packing
material needed for screws... don't tell me $7 for a couple screws.

Now, I don't consider my request rude.  I just generally write terse help requests since it seems to cut down on confusion with support.  Remember, I don't believe that this place will actually charge $7 per screw - so I am giving them the opportunity to tell me the good news that no, that is not really the price.  Here is the reply from Mark Jr., President:

Yes this 50 cents a screw. They are OEM Lian Li screws, They are not cheap.
USPS FC shipping is available for 3.50. Fed Ex is your option for 7.00
In the future when emailing a company questions, you may want to not be so
rude by voicing your disdain about prices that you dont agree with.
For Example- If you did your research on our website, you would have found
that these screws can be shipped for 3.50 not 7.
No offers this service for these types of products. We do.
The bottom line is perhaps you can choose to NOT shop with us but you will
NEVER find a shop that delivers in service, reputation and customer service.
Good Luck
Mark Friga Jr,
1.877.243.8266 (Office Toll Free)
1.585.425.2810 (Outside US)
1.585.259.0102 (Mobile)
AOL Instant Messenger- Skyjuice27
Yahoo Messenger- markfrigajr
Worlds Largest Selection of PC Modification Supplies and Services.

Wow, so this apparently hits a nerve with Mark.  Apparently questioning pricing (no matter how ridiculous) is considered rude now.  He really puts me in my place!  In the same snippy email, he tells me that his customer service is the best - I just don't think he gets the irony of that.

Naturally, I respond to Mark with a measured reply:

Thanks Mark -
Perhaps you can more clearly indicate on your site that this is per
screw next time and I won't have to ask.  There are really very few
people that would want to order 1 screw - so most times people sell
them in *multiples*.  Even your description notes multiples - "These
*screws* are used to mount your HD to the quick release rails on
V-series Lian-Li cases."  So, you can certainly read that as more than
one if you buy it - no?
If you think it is reasonable to mail 1 screw at $3.50, more power to
you, but most reasonable people will contact the company and ask if
that is a mistake or a limitation of the system before placing an
order - hence, again, my question.  My original email wasn't meant to
be read as rude, but more as wondering.  However, this email shows the
disdain that you were looking for.
As for your vaunted customer service that you extol... yeah, right.
After I get a snippy email back from the President, I seriously doubt
that you have any credibility to that claim.

To which Mark replies:

Your email was snippy. It really was.
Please try another vendor.

Mark Friga Jr,
1.877.243.8266 (Office Toll Free)
1.585.425.2810 (Outside US)
1.585.259.0102 (Mobile)
AOL Instant Messenger- Skyjuice27
Yahoo Messenger- markfrigajr
Worlds Largest Selection of PC Modification Supplies and Services.

The moral of the story here folks - make sure you don't ask questions about deceptively-labeled products or question the "you-gotta-be-kidding-me" shipping cost, or you will get the President all riled up and he will refuse your business ("NO SOUP FOR YOU!!").