Gray Watson Personal Thoughts 2000.06.19
uBid.Com Sucks -- A User Review


The following page is a quick synopsis of my treatment at the uBid.com site. They have some good deals once and a while so I thought I'd bid on a pair of HP/AMD boxes.

I submitted my bid and got an ASP error from the uBid server. Typical NT message that usually means that the servers are overloaded. So I reloaded the page and got the same error. Oh well, I thought, they lose my business if they don't know how to run a service which can handle the load. But then I got 2 acknowledgements in the mail which seemed to indicate that I made two bids. The messages have no tracking or bid ID number in them and uBid's mybid page is obviously updated every week or so, certainly not in realtime, so I had no way of confirming how many bids I had actually made.

My Request

In a fit of anger I filled out the following comment submission form and sent into their technical support. Notice the order number field. Nowhere either on their bid confirmation page or on the mybid page was anything about order number. Nice touch.

Tracking Number : WSP20000619000009751158402
Pool            : WebSite problems
Sent to         : help@ubid.com
Date            : 6/19/00 4:54 PM
Lot #:852816
Comments:No idea where my order number is. 

Got an asp error from your site.  Was stupid
enough to assume that an error meant that your
site was busy.  Reloaded the page.  Looks like 2
orders each for 2 systems were submitted in
my name.

Believe me I'm not going to accept both of them
if they come to my door.

Please cancel 1 of the 2 immediately.

Not too bad considering my frame of mind at that point. You will notice that I say that there was an ASP error on their site. Anyone with an ounce of technical ability will know what this is. But I guess the following idiot doesn't have the ounce.

uBid Customer "Service" Reply

Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2000 11:29:12 -0500
From: help@ubid.com
Subject: RE: Other Site Problems [WSP2000061900000975]

Dear Mr. Watson,

Thank you for contacting uBid, where you set the price.  I am sorry for
any inconvenience you had with lot number 852816.  I have researched the
inquiry on your recent bid.  Unfortuantely, we cannot cancel any bids
while the auction is still open.  uBid does have a non-cancellation
policy.  If these bids are shipped and refused upon delivery there will
be a 15% restocking fee with no original shipping back.  I do apologize
for the problems with your computer.  There are server problems all over
the world right now.  This is not uBid's site that is at fault.  Again I
apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

If you have any further questions, please contact us through our help
pages via this URL : [removed]

Have a nice day :-) !

Erin W.
UBid Customer Care

I really like the "there are server problems all over the world right now" line. And the "have a nice day" is a cute touch to a rude message. This person obviously doesn't know that an ASP is a server error and that it is a uBid server error. Also, in this case the customer (me) was never right. There was no attempt to determine on which end the error actually was and I never got the benefit of the doubt.

I "Won" :-(

This morning I got confirmation (of sorts) that I had placed a winning bid for the AMD hardware so now we will see how [bad] their delivery systems are. Here's the the message I got from their systems. Notice the missing fields -- I didn't blank them out, they came empty.

FROM: "uBid, Inc." <info@ubid.com>
SUBJECT:Win Confirmation from uBid!
DATE:Fri, 23 Jun 2000 01:56:57 -0800

Congratulations, Gray!

On , you placed a winning bid for:

Lot #: 852816
Description: Hewlett Packard 
Quantity:  of 
Price: $ each

Please print and save this e-mail message for future reference, 
as it is your receipt.

Auction information:
	Your order number: 241XXXX
	Lot number: 852816
	Auction close: 6/22/00 5:00:00 PM, Pacific time

Product information:
	Description:  Hewlett Packard 
	Quantity:  of 
	Price: $ each
	Applicable sales tax and shipping charges will be added to your final invoice.

  PS  W H A T  D O  Y O U  T H I N K  O F  T H I S  M E R C H A N T?

	BizRate.com is a free online service working to make the Web a
	Safer, Better Place to Shop by independently surveying actual
	customers to rate the service quality of on-line merchants.

	Please take 3 minutes and evaluate this merchant by visiting:

Believe me, I have filled out the form telling BizRate what I thought of the merchant. The missing fields are yet another example about how bad their technology is.

Latest Crap

In case I need another example of their stupid technology, here is the piece of mail that I got today. First off it sounds like I didn't win at all.

FROM: "uBid, Inc." <info@ubid.com>
SUBJECT: You have another chance to win
DATE:Mon, 26 Jun 2000 10:26:01 -0800

Thank you for bidding at uBid. If you didn't win what you
were looking for recently, keep in mind that another auction
with the same or similar item is probably open now.

Every day, auction winners are saving up to 70 percent off
retail on quality merchandise. Today is a new day - and a
new opportunity to win the right product for your budget.

Go to uBid --> [ URL deleted ]

Everyday auction winners are saving but having to put up with tons of bad technology and a customer service department that needs training. Can't they at least do a database lookup and send two different emails based on whether you won or not. Bleah.


So, in uBid's defense, I did received my 2 (not 4) HP systems on schedule and I'm very happy with them.


I will certainly never use uBid again and I encourage you to do the same. I've had plenty of good experiences with Ebay. Any net companies that are taking customer service seriously will get my traffic. As an aside, I've just gotten wonderful service from Amazon.com when my wife and her brother decided to see if the "One-Click" shopping actually worked (it does) and my DSL provider Speakeasy.Net gives excellent customer support.


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