Why is buying things so difficult?

Recently I decided to do some solid research into an e-commerce system called Magento Commerce. It’s an open-source system which has gotten some very positive feedback with regard to being extremely customisable, although possibly quite difficult to learn and find your way around initially.

As this is quite an important thing to research well before deciding to really invest the time becoming familiar with a product, I decided it would be worthwhile to not only follow various user guides and watch some screencast tutorials, but also to purchase a PDF book which was recommended over on stackoverflow.

Following that recommendation I proceeded to PHP Architect and, without thinking too much about the purchase, went ahead and bought the book. At the end of the payment process I was greeted with a message saying:

Thank you! In order to help protect against unauthorized transactions, your order requires manual verification from our staff; no further action is required on your part at this time.

Your order number is #xxxxx. We will notify via e-mail, usually within one business day, about any further steps required to complete the order.

I thought, oh, that’s fine, I’ll get an email looking to verify my email address or some such.

Thanks for buying, can I just get some DNA?

Today I checked my email and lo and behold there was an email with a subject of:

Order Confirmation #xxxxx—Documentation Request.

Documentation Request? Pardon. That seems a little weird. Reading the email did not make anything seem less strange.

Documentation Request

PHP Architect Documentation Request

The email is displayed above. The main thing that amazes me is apparently, in order to complete this order, I have to print and sign the email, and make a photocopy of the front and back of my credit card and fax it to them.

There is no future, the now is 15 years ago

Em, perhaps I’ve missed something, but I was fairly sure that the internet was meant to make things easier, not more difficult. I wish to purchase a digital version of a book they have published, yet to do so I have to find a photocopier (which I don’t have), and a printer (I don’t have easy access to one of those either at the moment) AND a fax machine!! Hello?! A fax machine? I definitely don’t have a fax machine. Is this the 90’s? Nope, we’ve lived through an entire decade since the 90’s and thankfully I can get through my life without faxing things.

And why the hell do I have to send you a copy of my credit card front and back? I can’t think of a single other internet based purchase that has required this of me.

I’m going to email and cancel my purchase. This is one of the most retarded purchase processes I have every seen (only topped by our mammoth and incredibly woeful experience attempting to buy Adobe CS3 last year).

Sorry phparch.com (I’m not even going to give you link juice here), but you’ve instantly lost a purchase here. You could almost swear that they don’t want to sell you anything.

Comments

  • steve

    my house gets phoned by fax machines all the time. so they're obviously still out there.

    • For sure they're still out there, but totally besides the point. I got a reply from the company saying we've cancelled your order, but not even a word about my misgivings with their covoluted ordering system. Woeful.

  • So I got a reply from phparch.com. They said:

    "Thank you for your feedback, your order has been cancelled as requested."

    No response here or with regard to my wondering why they were using such a bafflingly complicated approval process to place an order.

    We're so strict on security that we'd like you to send a detailed replica of your credit card to this fax number of which you have no prior trust/relationship and we're asking this of you in an email, which, according to us, is a completely insecure system (meaning perhaps someone could have intercepted your communication and replaced the number with one of their own).

    Nice.

    • Nice. Now I appear to have been added to a mailing list with no option to unsubscribe. Thanks guys, overwhelmingly stellar experience I had with you.