Saturday, March 6, 2010

YourMusic & CDUniverse

A while ago, I decided I wanted to start buying alot more CDs, partly because I wanted to broaden my music horizons, and also because I 'borrowed' some music that I ended out liking and wanting to pay for and subsequently own a physical copy of. Since I hate shopping and love online shopping, I looked around for the best place to buy CDs online (that is, the best selection for the cheapest price). I came to a site called "YourMusic". The deal was that you build a 'queue' of CDs, and every month on your 'music date', you're charged $6.99 and the CD at the top of your music queue is shipped for you. In addition, you can buy CDs you want at any time for just $6.99 - no extra shipping and handling required.

Sounds great, yeah? That's what I thought. I mean, looking anywhere else on the web, finding CDs for $7 is next to impossible, and with no shipping? Freakin sweet. So without much investigation, I joined up. Then as I was looking around, I discovered that their selection was.......sub sucked. I was looking for Regina Spektor, and although she seems like a fairly well known artist, there were no CDs from her for sale. Or Damien Rice, or Vertical Horizon, or any of the CDs that I had joined the site to buy. But I though, "Oh well, I can still broaden my music taste by buying music I'm not familiar with."

So anyway, my first music date comes on December 29th, right toward the end of the year. And YourMusic.....well, here's my PayPal complaint I filed below:
My Music Date was December 29th. According to YourMusic, "In-stock items usually ship within 72 hours of Your Music Date." I'm a patient man, and I realize that the CD in my queue is fairly popular right now so I waited a few days. But then I became concerned so I contacted YourMusic via the form on their website asking where my order was on Jan 6. They say to allow 2 days for a reply, so I waited 2 days, and no reply came. I again used the form on Jan 10, asking them this time for either an explanation or a refund if my item was not shipped soon. I even stated that I would open a Paypal dispute if they did not at least reply. I've waited two more days for a response to EITHER of my two inquiries, and neither have come. Now it's getting close to my second Music Date, and my first item has not even shipped yet, although I was charged the day of my Music Date. I've been very patient, and I tried to contact them multiple times, just looking for an explanation, but there has been absolutely no effort on YourMusic's part to answer my questions. I do realize that if the CD was out of stock it could take a while to get a copy to ship, but again, I DEMAND an explanation. If the item was out of stock at the time of my Music Date, YourMusic should've let me know that it would be a few weeks before they could ship it or could've even offered the option to choose a different CD. Instead, I've waited two weeks without so much as a word. I am a patient guy, but YourMusic is just being incompetant. I expect items I buy online to ship closely adhering to the time stated by the site ("72 hours"), and I expect websites to let me know if an shipment will be delayed. Instead, I've waited 336 hours (almost 5x what they promised), and received not even a word from the customer support (whom I *know* got my messages since I got an autogenerated reply). All this time, all I've wanted was either a refund for a CD that is never coming, or an explanation. Is that really too much to ask?
Basically, my whole thought process behind the ordeal was that upon joing, "This seems too good to be true." As time passed after the 72-hour period, I began to wonder if I was right. I mean, there are scam sites out there everywhere, who's to say I didn't just get scammed? But the most troubling thing was that they never ever replied to me. At all. Right after I joined, I sent them an e-mail asking about whether or not they'll ever have artists like Regina Spektor or Damien Rice, and I never got a response. Then I sent them three messages wondering where my order is, and a PayPal dispute that I actually won, and they didn't evens respond to me getting my money back.

Finally, after I get my money back and am ready to quit, they ship my CD. Then, on the 26th/27th, I finally get messages in reply to my earlier inquiries about my order. The first acted like nothing ever happened, saying when my order was shipped, how long to allow it to get there, etc, the obvious autogenerated response. The second actually responded to my questions and said "Due to a processing error your order was delayed..." Well that's great. There's four words I wanted to hear. "Your Order Was Delayed." Was that really so hard? All you had to do was send me those 4 words in response to my first request, and I would've been more patient. (By the way, even the e-mail I got was most likely autogenerated.)

So to sum up my opinion of YourMusic, they are grossly incompetent. Business websites have two basic responsibilities: (A) Deliver what you promise, and (B) Fix it when you don't (AKA, customer service). Yourmusic really doesn't have either. If they delivered my music on time, I wouldn't have had to deal with their crappy customer service. If they would have replied to my e-mails (I mean really reply, not autogenerate responses literally a month later), I would've been ok with the late music. The thing that's the most ironic is that they sent me the CD after my refund. They're either too incompetent to realize that I just got free music, or they're trying to say "Sorry!" after being a jerk to me. Either way, it's extremely amusing to me.

You take a gamble when you sign up with this site, that's all I'm going to say. I'm going month by month right now, constantly watching as every music date draws near. My second music date went off without a hitch, and my third one was a tad slow, but it says it's shipped. It's basically the crappiest customer service I've ever had, which is saying something, cause I've dealt with Dell numerous times.

If you want an alternative to YourMusic, I highly recommend CDUniverse. Why? Let me tell you:
  • WAY better selection than YourMusic; has almost every CD I've searched for, plus Deluxe Editions and the like
  • Good Prices; I've bought large quantities of music from them multiple times, and even with shipping, I averaged on about $11 a CD on one order, which is pretty good considering I got a few Deluxe/Special Editions.
  • AMAZING customer service; I did have a fair amount of trouble receiving a pre-order, because apparently you have to pay for shipping as the pre-order release date draws near....but (huge but there) CDUniverse's customer service was more than excellent. They literally e-mailed back within one business day, without auto-response. They even gave me free shipping on my second pre-order since it took a few weeks to get my first one sorted out.
So basically I've had problems with both YourMusic and CDUniverse. The difference is CDUniverse handled it alot better. I had more money on the line with CDU ($13 for a pre-order) than with YourMusic ($7) but I still felt more safe with CDU, partially because I'd ordered from them before and they always came through. Yourmusic, on the other hand, messed up my first order, which will forever taint my view of them, and they made no visible effort to change that view. CDUniverse responded back immediately, and YourMusic ignored and autoresponded me. CDUniverse offered to refund me some money, and YourMusic made me charge after them for a refund. CDUniverse has a ton of CDs, YourMusic has next to crap. I'll let you decide.


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