Update on my status with BeagleBone Black delivery
May 20, 2013
Well, almost a month ago, Mukund showed me the BeagleBone Black over on facebook. Then, I was considering buying a Raspberry Pi and a Freeduino Uno, and since the company was located just 30kms from my home and had next day shipping facility, I was pretty happy with it. But Black had an appeal to me. It was both a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino Uno and better at it than the combination of both. All this and the fact that it was cheaper at that time, I persuaded both myself and my parents to buy it. Then started the problems
The only provider close enough to me and providing it at decent rate while being in stock was element14. So naturally, I bought it from them. However, in India they ship only to companies and ship to university students and hackers if they show themselves related to some reputed institution. I tool a long time to figure this out (well thanks to bdk6, I made that call that showed me how to deal with it). I do have 2 bank accounts but since I'm a student, and don't have any income, I'm not allowed to maintain a credit card. All my family and friends have debit cards because that's sufficient for their needs. So, as a result, I couldn't pay them. I was then told to send a demand draft over (banker's cheque to those who know it that way) and so I did but I got late at doing it and the product went out of stock, despite my buying it when it was in stock.
What has happened since is my guess based on facts. Initially, on the day the black went out of stock, I was told that the day the payment was received, I'd be shipped the product from Bangalore. This was last Tuesday. My payment was delivered the next day(I tracked it), and the Black had gone out of stock. Then, the call was transferred from the teleshopping executive to some other person. She called me and said that the Black was out of stock, and there was a backlog of 10 days. I called her back and told her that I had already placed the order, and she told me that it's fine, and they'll ship it the same day. This was on last Friday. Today, when I called them to get a tracking number of my shipment, I'm told that they contacting their UK counterparts and, in the pasting, I was told that their shipment was stuck at the Indian customs.
What I conclude from all this-
The Black was initially in stock and in Bangalore at the time of my placing the order. Well as I took more time to pay, the board was given to some other company, and profit earned. Then, when I demanded my Black, they first tried to put me off by saying that it was out of stock. Then when I told them I had placed the order before it went out of stock and was well within my rights to ask my about the status of delivery of my order, they delayed me by giving me false hopes of shipping the same day while trying to find out alternative stories. Today, they came up with the story that the shipment was stuck in the customs and that I have to wait while they contact their UK counterparts as a way to give an excuse for their back order. I can't ask for a refund and cancel my order as I sent them the payment at my risk, and they don't do refunds anyways. So, waiting for it will be like waiting for the mail to arrive from the slow boat from China even when I paid $4 for shipping. So accepting the board when it comes is my problem. I'm not saying their customer service is not good. It's the best it can be. But it's not backed.
My Advice- Whatever you do, don't buy a BeagleBone Black from the guys at Element14, at least, not now. Maybe this will improve and I'll be wrong but those extra $10 you'll have to pay otherwise (or the 2-3 week wait) is well worth it. This applies to India only.