Evetech customers have complained about delivery delays and a lack of follow-up support since after shopping was permitted to resume in the middle of May.
Online tech stores have told MyBroadband they recorded a substantial increase in orders after the government’s announcement that ecommerce would be allowed to operate fully.
Like many online retailers, Evetech continued to allow customers to make orders in the initial period of lockdown during which ecommerce delivery was restricted to essential products.
However, these purchases would only be delivered once restrictions allowed for it.
Since Evetech resumed delivery, customers have flooded the company’s social media channels and the MyBroadband forum with complaints claiming major delays in delivery times.
Two customers who recently purchased laptops from the site told MyBroadband they were not receiving further updates on the progress of their orders despite payment being confirmed more than a week ago.
One MyBroadband forum member claimed he received no correspondence from Evetech after he placed an order on 1 May. On 12 May, he said he was told the product was out of stock and that he had to pay an additional R2,600.
Another customer said he had originally ordered a router and was informed after a week of payment being received that Evetech did not have stock. He said he was then given the option to pay R1,800 more for an alternative router.
Delivery times stretched
Under normal circumstances, Evetech aims for component orders to be dispatched two to three days after payment is received, while custom-built PCs are dispatched in four to five days.
However, since it has resumed operations, it gradually increased the indicated lead times for different categories of products.
For example, the lead time for components has been increased to 7-8 days, laptop lead time is 8-10 days, and desktops can take 10-12 business days.
Lead times are the time from which the customer makes an order to when it is dispatched for delivery.
In addition to the lead time, 2-4 business days should be allowed for delivery, Evetech states. This increases to 3-6 business days for regional and remote areas.
This means that from confirmation of payment, customers in favourable areas can expect component delivery to take between 9 and 12 business days, laptop deliveries from 10 to 14 business days, and desktop computers between 12 and 16 days.
Evetech confirms delays
Evetech confirmed to MyBroadband that it was experiencing delays in getting parcels delivered to its customers.
It said regulations allowing only for reduced staff affected both the company and its courier service, resulting in a significant delay in processing orders and payments.
“Due to this, the courier service could also not adequately collect and deliver our orders as they were short of essential personnel,” Evetech explained.
“At first, we could only issue products to those who had the appropriate documentation as essential service workers,” it added.
The company said its management had discussed closing all new orders during the lockdown period.
“At the end, it was concluded that should we close all new orders, the disappointment to customers would be worse than an extended lead time on delivery.”
“It was also discussed that closing orders temporarily would leave us with the same predicament once we open orders again that we were in before closing the orders,” the company added.
“It was a difficult decision to make, however with input not just from management but also from the staff, we decided to rather process all orders to the best of our abilities than to have incremented periods of backlogs over an extended period,” Evetech stated.
Sales over Black Friday levels
Evetech said it consistently monitored its online orders and invoices requested via its email sales channel.
“Orders during the initial lockdown were well below average, as expected,” the company said.
“Confident that we could manage the order totals as they were then, we opened almost two weeks before the implementation of lockdown level 4 to ready all the orders for dispatch once it was allowed and to dispatch the orders to essential service providers before moving over to the level 4 lockdown,” the company said
However, when it announced it would be able to resume delivery, online orders skyrocketed, the company said.
“We did expect an increase in orders but we never anticipated the rate at which they would occur,” Evetech said. “Once we opened to the public, the order quantities exceeded even those of Black Friday,” it claimed.
This together with the reduced number of staff led to the extension of lead times.
While it was currently still experiencing a “slight” backlog, it said order and delivery times should be back to normal shortly.
“Orders are roughly 2-3 days behind our normal lead times. However, we are closing the gap on that almost daily and some orders are starting to dispatch within our normal lead times.”
Responding to the issue of support over this period, Evetech said it attempted to keep customers informed via its website and social media.
While sales lines were restored with the implementation of lockdown level 3 as it had increased staff on hand to assist with incoming calls, support numbers remain suspended.
Customers are currently only able to get assistance via Evetech’s [email protected] email address.
This measure was continued to allow the support team to focus more intently on emails.
Evetech claimed as a result of this, its support team’s response times have increased drastically.