A bit over two months ago we told you guys about a 7 inch Android tablet that could be had for quite cheap. It was the Matrix One, a 7 inch Ice Cream Sandwich device that didn’t boast gaudy specs, but definitely turned some heads with its attractive $59 price point (which eventually ended up selling for $110 after the pre-sale period).
As sweet as that deal may have sounded back then, the risks of trusting a small, unknown company hit some people in the worst way possible. Unfortunately, it looks like the headaches won’t stop.
One reader of ours — who still doesn’t have the devices they paid for — told us their story about the rather non-existent customer support they’ve experienced. Nine Matrix One tablets were ordered for a grand total of $600 two months ago, and that was the end of it. The customer’s card was charged for the aforementioned amount before receiving so much as a confirmation, and no shipping details were given when the devices eventually went up for sale.
The “inexperience” bug
Companies make mistakes, but it’s the shoddy customer support that’s ruffling feathers. Trying to contact them via phone is a dead-end as an automated system immediately hung up on us after a short message stating they’re not available. The Facebook page associated with the company has been shut down.
It’s worthy to note that the Twitter account is still active, but the last Tweet was from November 9th, a message informing customers that orders will be shipped November 20th. We could get no response from them on Twitter, and neither could many other paying customers.
Today, the company’s website has been completely shut down and replaced by a rather long statement explaining what happened. Long story short, the initial shipping time of two weeks had to be extended to four weeks due to problems with manufacturing. It turns out there was a back-order for the glass used on the Matrix One. If that’s not enough, even when the glass came in the devices were being outfitted with the wrong circuitry, causing even more delays to get things right.
The merchant claims to have issued refunds to anyone who requested it due to the extraneous delays, but that wasn’t enough for Google (the manufacturers used Google Wallet/Checkout to take orders). The search giant suspended their account due to all the complaints consumers sent in regarding the delays and lack of customer service.
Unfortunately this happened so abruptly that the Matrix One team had no way of knowing who still had orders being processed or needed refunds. After pleading with Google they were able to get low level customer information, but that was about it. Thankfully Google has taken it upon itself to begin refunding customers.
This action should have taken place automatically beginning this week, but those who haven’t received refunds should contact Google Wallet’s support team with all the information they can — including your full name, email address used to purchase the tablet, and order number — to make sure that it gets processed.
Many are beginning to label the Matrix One team as scammers, and we urge you to put that label down for now. The company certainly has shipped out many orders since the device went on sale, and with its latest statement it has shown that they truly are sorry for how things have turned out.
If their story is true then the issue of unfulfilled orders certainly was out of their hands, but that doesn’t make up for shoddy customer service on their part. For starters, if you know you have a legitimate issue on your hands then shutting down your phone system, your social networking accounts (or some of them, anyway) and taking your entire site offline is not the way to go about handling it.
It did initially sound like a “take the money and run” scheme, and customers have every right to be angry. The aftermath of such poor planning and execution is only uglier because of all of that, and if the delayed manufacturing and shipping process wasn’t enough to completely drain your customers’ trust then the nonexistent and borderline fishy customer service certainly is. We love to support and encourage small companies who aim to deliver what the masses want, but when it comes to logistics amateur hour should be saved for Showtime at the Apollo.
Again, if you were affected by this unfortunate episode then do not panic. Check your bank and Google Wallet accounts for refunds from Google, and if you’re not seeing anything then be sure to contact the Google Wallet team to get it all straightened out. In the meantime we want to know how many of you actually received your orders, and for those who did we certainly wouldn’t mind hearing about the tablet itself in the comments below.
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