This article was not written to post libelous claims about “ASOS” but to show how Automated systems sometime don’t entirely solve the problem of Fraud (sometimes these systems make the whole thing a terrible experience for legitimate customers). I created this blog for the purpose of voicing my opinions on things that i see including those that give me displeasure.
UPDATE 1: A human going by the name Jean got back to me via email. Praise be to God in the heavens
UPDATE 2: I was also contacted by ASOS on this blog (see the comment below). It seems my message has been understood clearly. I appreciate that they got in touch.
UPDATE 3: I will send what they requested for.
This experience greatly reminds me of how MoneyBookers (Now Skrill) lists Nigeria in their country list but doesn’t allow payments from residents of Nigeria (who does that, i mean Paypal didn’t even include us in their list at all, you can check for yourself. At least PayPal was clear about their stance). See the MoneyBookers convo below
Online shopping has always been a minor part of my life (up until recently and by that i mean a year or two ago). So i’m very picky about the sites that i use. This is why i only use it for essentials services (Web Hosting from Namecheap and Godaddy, ordering food from Easy Appetite, buying products from our very own Whogohost (Web Hosting Provider and Domain Name registrar in Nigeria selling all our Nigerian top level domain names)…. The list of essential services can go on and on)
On Wednesday (4th of June, 2013), I decided to try ASOS to see if they had the kind of variety i was looking for. And behold, they did. I selected the categories i wanted to shop in (you know, the essentials) and i got an initial list of 1200 items to choose from.
After careful curation for about two hours and thirty minutes, i had my saved list of 128 Items. Finally the moment of truth came and i had to make a choice on what to buy. I had about 300 US Dollars to spend but i didn’t want to spend it all in one transaction because i had never used ASOS before. I can say it here that if i had all the cash, i would probably have bought all 128 items without a second thought. And if i had known what would happen next, I would have spent those hours doing something more productive.
Anyway, i first selected three items (because i wanted to spend just 100 US Dollars) but after about 10 Minutes, i changed my mind and decided to spend 200 US Dollars. This spurred me to take some items off the list and replace them with some other items. I then spent another 1 hour consulting friends, family and the online size guide on ASOS (its a great guide by the way) before finally hitting the “Pay Now” Button.
Once i was there and i initiated the checkout process, i looked over to the left to see the estimated shipping date. It was due to arrive my chosen Shipping Address on the 18th but there was another option neatly place underneath the ‘Standard Shipping” option labelled “Express”. And i saw that it reduced the shipping time by a whole week. However this costed 33 US Dollars and i asked the opinion of my colleagues whether it was worth it or not. They told me that since i was making an order of 200 US Dollars (208 to be exact), it was advisable to go for the express shipping option becuase it saved time and lifted the burden of having to wait too long. So i chose it, it slashed the estimated date of arrival by 7 days to the 11th of June 2013.
I then got to where i was to enter my Billing Address and thats where the problems came in. Due to dated UI Elements that had limitations on how long the address should be in terms of lenght, i was forced to split my address into two parts, placing each part in the two address line fields (Note, Both fields had similar but not equal lenght limitations). The same applied to the Shipping Address Section also. After getting past those daunting obstacles, i was finally able to enter my card details (ASOS asked for mundane details like Start date and End Date instead of the standard Expiry Date field), they also placed the CVV2 (Verification code) field on another page and to make matters much worse, i had to choose the type of card i was using (which was Mastercard). All these things could have been streamline into one form that would not have unnecessary fields.
I can’t tell them how to do business but ASOS need to be in touch with the times in terms of your business logic (This isn’t 1999 for crying out loud). At least they use some modern backend and frontend technologies for their website (PSA to Developers out there: They use Jquery 1.7.2 and Modernizr 2.6.1 as part of their website to ensure compatibility on all browsers) but they have an otherwise harmless but potentially dangerous flaw on their website (check here and scroll down to connection).
ASOS, don’t make an otherwise pleasurable experience a chore for your customers.
Before submission, i crosschecked all the data i entered making sure that my billing address matched what was on file for my Account in GTBank. Note that this is a card i have used without a hitch in many other places (at least 40 other websites including Google, Amazon and GoDaddy). And then i clicked “Finish”. Not too long after, i got an email about the order confirming that it had been made. I was happy and i had it in mind that my stuff was on the way.
Hours Later, just before i walked into Church (Covenant Christian Centre) for the midweek service, i got this email.
Dear Akinbobola, We are sorry but we have been unable to process your order, so unfortunately it has been cancelled.
When you place an order with ASOS, our system goes through a series of checks to validate the information you have provided. Before we can accept any future orders from you we just need to ask you for a bit more information to confirm your details.
Please could you send us the information listed below:
– A scanned copy of your Passport or Driving Licence – A scanned copy of your card statement dated within the last 3 months, clearly stating your name and billing address*Please blank out your card number however leave the last 4 digits visible. Confirm your relation to the delivery address and the full name of who will be signing for future orders (if this is a work address please provide the company name)
All you need to do is scan the documents, save them as a ‘jpeg’ or ‘gif’ file and send them to us by replying to this e-mail.
Please be assured that once the security checks are completed the information supplied will be destroyed.
We look forward to hearing from you. All the best, ASOS
They even had a fancy header to make it look very nice. Which online store asks for all that? None that i know of. Well i had to give them a piece of my mind because i felt that i was being unfairly discriminated based on my IP Address. They could have at least presented me with other options for Payment (Bank Transfer or something like that, even the Apple Store allows for that), i would have gladly obliged. They should know that i’d never send them the information they asked for (its not like they were going to give me a UK Visa or something)
Here’s my reply to them, I tried my hardest possible best to be civil in my rant. See it just below
First i would like to inform you that my first order on your website was cancelled for no concrete reason and it definately will be the last i’ll ever make on your website. I’m going to close my account. Asos came highly recommended from my colleagues at work who had used it and successfully recieved their items at office. Oh the joy we have when we are unpacking all the boxes labelled with “Asos”. I’m still baffled at why my order was declined (I pay for courses on Skillshare, Hosting on Namecheap and GoDaddy, and other online services including NSFWCORP). But what baffles me more is you asking me to send in a scanned copy of my Nigerian Passport and my card statement. Newsflash: They don’t give card statements in Nigeria, they give account statements so get your wording straight. Also i would never send you a scanned copy of my Nigerian Passport (never). You didn’t even have the decency to have a human contact me, you just allowed your bots do the talking via Automated Emails. Never ever ask for such over email. You say that you’ll destroy it after the check is complete. How can i trust you on that?
On a parting note, Mastercard is still holding the money for the order so please let them know that you didn’t fulfil the order so that they can give me back my money. Kindly get this done before i escalate it to the local business bureau in the United Kingdom.
Signed Akinbobola Akinola A Proud, Hard Working Nigerian
I now patiently await a reply from them. Will update you with their reply. *End of Rant, Drops Mic*
DISCLAIMER: I’m a critic.
DISCLAIMER 2: I couldn’t find the tweet i referenced above all by myself so i used Snapbird to find it.
DISCLAIMER 3: A foreign company has cheated me before and i had to leave them for another provider. For those who want to know, Mochahost is the culprit, don’t ever use them for your Web Hosting, they have shoddy services.
UPDATE: Here is their first Reply
Just to let you know that we’ve received your email and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
In the meantime, did you know we have a help section on the website? Click here to check it out – you may find the answer to your question there.
There’s no need to reply to this email, we just wanted to keep you updated.
ASOS Customer Care