July 10, 2000
Onvia has undergone major restructuring and this review pertains to the company before this restructuring occurred, things are most likely different now.
I have made many orders from Onvia. Every order has had some aspect screwed up by them to some extent. I initially ordered from them because they had good prices and product selection as well as free shipping and the benefits of no PST. Problems with the website: At first they didn't have inventory tracking, they now do, however it is very unreliable. I have ordered products which are "in stock" and turn out to be infinitely back ordered. For about a 3 day period, some idiot decided to put up a new non-functioning website for Onvia. The overall design of the webpage is poor, major sections have minor billing on the front page and other pages. Order tracking is one thing that is hard to find, even the product listing pages aren't emphasized on the main page. Problems with shipping: I have now determined that Onvia Canada is pretty much a web storefront for a distributor, Supercom Canada. So basically anything you order from Onvia usually gets shipped from one of the Supercom warehouses. Usually you will get multiple shipments, one for each item on your order, rather annoying. The packing lists are different every time I have gotten one. Some even list the seller as Megadepot.com (Megadepot seems to have been the predecessor to Onvia maybe 2 years ago). The packing lists are also very inconsistent with each other, the website and any other information. Part numbers, order numbers, back ordered, shipped status all can vary wildly on these packing lists. However shipping is fast if the product is actually in stock and they decide to ship it right away and shipping is free. Usually in this case I would get the items within 2 days. I have had them screw up my address on the label as well. Problems with email contacts: They send out an initial receipt of your order, but no order status or shipped status emails. These emails are also problematic. Often having problems with the pricing or current sales or coupon usage. And usually not listing stock or backorder status correctly. Problems with support: Email support is lame. It takes at least several days to get any response. No toll free number is listed on the webpage, however a number is sent in a response email after you email support (1-877-367-6342). Since I have had so many problems, I have had to email support all the time. Usually problems are not resolved to my satisfaction for about a month after my order. And often since it takes so long to resolve, time limits on returns and refunds etc. have expired and support options become even more limited, also prices change and again limit options. Talking to them on the phone seems to be a little more cheerful and get things moving a little faster as it should. I'm kinda amazed with the amount of traffic I have put through support that I didn't raise flags of problems with support at Onvia earlier than I did. For my last order, a customer satisfaction representative had contacted me to help resolve problems. Problems with products: Well there isn't a lot here you can screw up as a reseller. I have been shipped an OEM model when I ordered a retail boxed model. But the products are well packaged and arrive in good condition. (BTW: most products at Onvia are white box or OEM products, at least make this assumption unless it is clearly stated any other way) Problems with billing: Many inconsistencies arise in billing. First off it seems their accounting system is completely inadequate. When I have asked for printed receipts after settling disputes, items are missing, totals are incorrect, prices are incorrect, actual charges are missing from records, credits are also often missing, taxes, coupons, sales are often miscalculated. During disputes I often needed price adjustments or credits, these were almost always calculated incorrectly or not applied as credits. The billing department doesn't seem to have records of lots of the information they should have. In regards to my orders I've seen them charge my credit card and not have records of it. I've had items missing from orders on receipts. Strangely I've had extra credits applied to my account sometimes. When they bill an order they will usually bill an item only after it has been shipped, so you end up with a bunch weird charges on your credit card. The biggest concern is that their billing department has no detailed records of money going out or coming in, nor proper records of orders. In addition, simple math seems to elude these people, amounts of credits and charges are often wrong. Summary: It is pretty hit and miss at Onvia. And usually a miss of some kind. For some orders you might get away with it. You might place the order, it might be in stock and they ship it right away, getting it to you in a couple days. The product might be exactly as advertised, be at a competitive price and work fine. And several days later they bill the proper amount to your card. I'm pretty sure the packing list will be a little out of whack, but nothing to be concerned about if the product is correct and the billing is done right. On the other hand, you might get misses all over the place. The product might be "in stock" and not show up for over a month and contacting support will reveal that the product was in stock and was never shipped, and is now back ordered, at least after 2 weeks of talking to support they might tell you this. Then you'll probably argue with them and suggest a very reasonable fix to the problem such as a replacement or refund, which they will hmm and ha over for another 2 weeks before reluctantly agreeing. So 2 months later you either finally have something or maybe even nothing, and even then you probably have an incorrect charge sitting on your credit card which will require another 2 weeks to get resolved. I've given up on these guys. The hassles drove me nuts, as my friends can attest. While the selection is good, prices are good, and if everything goes good, its fast, fairly simple and convenient. Problem is, there is a overly high chance something important is going to go wrong.
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