Anatomy of a customer service failure

This sad tale starts six months ago.

Back in March, I entered a contest at (an Apple news/fan site) for a custom case from

On March 16, I was notified that I had won, and was provided with a coupon code for one case.  At the time, Uncommon had not announced their iPod Touch cases, and I didn’t have an iPhone 3G, so I waited.

In mid-April, they pre-announced iPod Touch cases for shipment in May, so I pre-ordered (using the coupon code) on April 21.

To my surprise, I got a shipping notice on April 21.

A couple of days later, I got a case.  An iPhone 3G case. Which I had not ordered… and my order was marked “Complete”.  I emailed Uncommon, and got no reply.  So I emailed iLounge and Uncommon.

On May 4, I got an email from “Ryan Lee” at Uncommon, advising that the iPhone case was a “free bonus” because the iPod Touch cases were delayed.  That seems fair, although a piece of paper stating such in the original package would have sufficed.

On June 3, they sent a $20-off coupon toward another Uncommon case as the Touch cases had slid again.  Nothing much happened until late August.

On August 23, I saw an item on iLounge indicating that Uncommon was finally ready to ship.  So I emailed Uncommon asking when my case would arrive. “Ryan Lee” advised that it would ship that week, and I’d get a tracking number when it did.

On August 24, Uncommon officially announced the availability of the long-delayed iPod Touch cases.

On September 1, with no case or tracking number, I emailed Uncommon.

On September 3, with no case or shipping number or reply, I emailed Uncommon again.

Today, Uncommon announced the availability of iPhone 4 cases.  I replied to that message asking, again, for status of my order.

Unsurprisingly, there has been no reply.

UPDATE: Later in the day on Sept. 14, I did get a reply from “Ryan L.” (presumably the same Ryan mentioned above) promising that he’d make sure the case went out this week.  It’s late Friday morning and there’s been silence since then.

I understand that *I* didn’t pay for the case.  However, iLounge provided Uncommon with advertising in return for Uncommon providing the cases.   Uncommon owes it to iLounge to get my order right.  And, if you think about it, the idea of running that kind of contest was – one would suppose – for me to tell everyone how wonderful Uncommon cases are, and generate business for them.

Well… Uncommon is clearly disorganized, unresponsive, and a company I can’t recommend that anyone do business with.

Guess that contest didn’t work out so well for them, or me… Smile

2nd UPDATE: The case finally arrived on Sept. 22.  And thus, the story finally ends… 🙂  The recommendation above, however, is unchanged.

Postscript: If you’d like the “bonus” iPhone 3G case I “won”, contact me on Facebook or through the email box on my About page.   It looks like this…



Author: Rob Hoffmann

Occasional blogger, slightly less occasional improv player/ref/tech, full-time computer techie, radio producer (basketball, mostly), generally nice person (if you ask me).

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