It was early December and we had friends coming in a few weeks to stay for Christmas. Ruth had told me that the table the TV was sitting on would be needed and that I needed to “sort it out”. Our friends have a small child, so there was no chance the TV was going on the floor or a low down table. That was when I hatched a plan; I’d buy a bracket and stick it on the wall.
After a few days of looking around I had some idea of what I wanted. It had to be well made with a nice sized wall plate to spread the load, and it needed to allow the TV to be moved around and pulled out from the wall as required. I did some web searching and found a few suitable looking retailers, some recommended by AVForums. I sent off some queries about dimensions, etc and awaited replies.
A couple of days passed and nothing. I was started to get a little frustrated. What sort of business model involves ignoring customers? Eventually, after some more searching, I came across the 123Brackets website. The bracket I found was the A45SLV, and it had all the dimensions listed on the product page. I had a few reservations about the site, but I figured not much could go wrong, it’s just a lump of metal. So I placed the order, feeling quite pleased that I’d managed to blag a free HDMI cable and next day delivery.
Two days later I hadn’t received anything. I fired off an email. Nothing. I fired off another email. Nothing. Again. Nothing. Eventually I got a reply saying there was a problem with my order and asking when was best to phone me. I replied with “now”. I waited. Nothing. I phoned them and explained the situation, but I was a little surprised when he said “which website?”. It turns out they have a few, including at least Brackets(R)Us, which seems to be their main one.
Anyway, he explained how the bracket was out of stock, and that he’d send me a free upgrade to the next model up. Fair enough – I’d looked at the specs online and it seemed fine, albeit a little bit larger than I’d needed. Two days later a package arrived and I dived in. A few minutes later the frustration was kicking in again – it was the wrong bracket and didn’t fit my TV (it covered up all the connectors). What made it worse was the fact that I’d told them what TV I had, so there really was no excuse for getting it wrong.
I was now running short of time before Christmas, so I decided to go elsewhere. I ended up on eBay and found Intecbrackets who sell a range of TV Brackets. I found a suitable bracket and contacted them to confirm sizes. I got a very quick reply and decided to order. It arrived next day and fitted fine – in fact, it had a better wall plate than the original one. And to top it off, it was about half the price of the 123Brackets one.
So, to cut out the boring part of the story, that bracket went on the wall fine, although I did need to buy some new rawl plugs to get the bolts to fit snuggly in the wall. Everything looked good, and a month or so later the TV still hasn’t fallen off the wall 🙂 .
This left me with the problem of what to do about the original bracket. I decided to send it back. It took me many emails before they finally agreed to accept it, and they sent me a returns form to fill in. I packaged it up securely with a completed form requesting a refund. Next was shipping – I decided to use Parcelforce and found an handy offer on Hot UK Deals that saved me a bit of money. I printed the label and then drove it up to the nearby depot. Sorted – I just had to wait for my refund.
A few weeks later I still had nothing. I dropped them a few emails with no success. Eventually I filled out their contact form and got a reply saying it would be sorted within a week. I waited two weeks and nothing. So I decided to write them a letter explaining the situation and asking again for a refund. It was my last attempt – next I would have been packaging up all the details and posting them off to my credit card company.
To my delight I received the refund the very day they received the letter. Finally it was all sorted.
I would like to point out that I don’t think 123Brackets are a bad company, I just think they’re badly organised. I expect when everything goes fine there’s nothing to worry about, but as soon as you get a problem you fall in to a process which just doesn’t work.
The moral of this story? Be careful who you purchase from, and follow you gut instinct if you think a site looks bad. But, more importantly, remember to check eBay!