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flat4online experience

update: 2009-04-27

another (latest, i think) update

last week i got message from scott saying that he will refund the pulleys, and today i got message from bank confirming full 350£ refund.

that journey took almost half a year, i hope we all learned from that :)

special thanks to chris@cdf racing for being passionate...

update: 2009-04-17

scott replied on 9th of april, that he "will refund shortly". nothing yet, let's wait another.. month? :)

update: 2009-04-05

i wrote complaint in bank on friday april 3th, let's see. also i've discovered that there was some kind of reply to my post from someone claiming to be manufacturer of pulleys, to which i also replied. see here, on scoobynet forum.

update: 2009-03-31

parcel should be there for more almost two weeks already - see here. however, i did not get anything - no sign of love or caring - yet from flat4online, and they did not respond to my reminder email sent on 27th march. what a pity.

update: 2009-03-11

we've exchanged few emails and scott suggested refund; if i understood him correctly it would be 50% from what i've paid.. not sure if law in uk is as that, however, i'm tired and just don't care anymore. ahaa, reason why i've decided to ask for refund - one of pulleys broke and i thought it's not wise to risk with others.. photos of pulleys here - click on picture to see full-size (see different height of inserts, for example, also general quality - and judge yourself)


so here's a little (not so little anymore, actually) story about flat4online and reasons why i decided to post that stuff here to the web will be obvious, if you manage to read it to the end..

it all started when i broke my engine and started looking for some spares on the net. looked here and there and then from somewhere got link to, and then that pain in ass begun. i was looking for cam pulleys, and they had lightweight ones it for 350pounds, shipping included. not bad, i thought. before placing order i sent request asking for confirmation, that pulleys will fit my car, and on 14th november 2008 i got reply assuring that everything will fit. i added waterpump to my order, made a payment (400pounds in total) and sat on my arse, ready to wait.

on 21th november i got reply to my request assuring that my order would be dispatched shortly, so i relaxed and didn't worry (there was quite a lot to do on my car anyways, so why hurry? - that is how i thought about it). 29th november one more update -

"Your pullies should be in on Tuesday, I will have your order dispatched as soon as they arrive. I will update you again shortly with tracking info. Best regards Scott"

cool, i thought. i will have my pulleys soon! i felt great, and i was almost happy.

on 8th of december order status on my flat4online account page was finally updated, saying "Dispatched". great! shipping from uk to estonia - that wont take more than 2 weeks, i thought (as i ordered on ebay from uk sellers before many times, and never waited more than 2 weeks). and even in total that shopping would have taken a bit over 1 month - so what? those are last pieces, i can wait another week or so. i asked for tracking number, but scott replied saying that my stuff was sent with royal mail - not sure, why no tracking id was provided. however, i waited another week, and one more week, and in the beginning of january i sent one quite angry (i think) email. i think i'll copypaste it here:

hello guys, first of all, happy new year. now to something less pleasant. i placed my order on 14 november and paid same day all the money. today is 2nd january and i still don't have those bloody pulleys and water pump. i been told, that they've been dispatched on 8th of december. it's almost month ago. a month. i received ALL parts i ordered around the world already, even those ordered in _december_ from u.s. and japan. i have everything necessary to assemble my engine except pulleys i had bad luck to order from you. i been trying to get some estimates, and my emails were simply ignored. i been trying to be gentle and understanding and not pushing anybody, and just got no response. you advertize yourself as a customer-friendly webshop that does all that is possible to satisfy your customer. still, you don't even _look_ like you would like to keep me calm and patient (yes, you have checkbox "update me daily on my order shipping status" or smth, but i never received any update from you). in case i am not getting any estimates or at least reasonable response by monday evening i am enforced to take following steps: - requesting chargeback from my bank for this 400£ transaction, as your business is showing clearly fradulent behavior (collecting money, not providing shipping estimates nor tracking numbers, ignoring customer requests) - i will compose web page which would contain all emailing, and detailed description of my experience with flat4online - registering myself on as many car owner forums as i will be able to locate and posting link to abovementioned web page to make sure other people will find a bit alternative information to what you're posting on your website under "testimonials" section i really believe i do not ask TOO much. i just want something i paid for soonish 2 months ago. and i truly believe it's reasonable wish - to know, why the hell my order is still wankering around somewhere i-don't-know-where instead of being put where it belongs to (to my engine), don't you agree? i hope very much that i don't have to spend another 3 weeks (normal order delivery time from uk) waiting for pulleys from other shop, but in case there will be no reasonable reaction from your side that's the way i just have to take. even if i hate to do so. hope to hear from you, jaan, very disappointed customer - so far.

to this email i got reply, saying

"Hi Jaan I can assure you no one is ignoring you, we were off during the holidays and we had a lot or emails/orders during that time. I can tell you that your order was returned to us by Royal Mail as being undelivered, they said they tried to deliver it to you but were unsucessfull (weather there is any truth in that I dont know) I have sent your pullies via Fedex now to enure there is no further delay, the refence number is 790147862605, its due to be delivered to you on the 9th of this month."

i looked at fedex site to find out that my package weights 0,5kg. that's strange, i thought. did they send me my water pump? it can't be that light. and i sent email to scott, asking if it water pump was sent in the same package. guess what? no, they didn't send it:

6th january 2009 21:47:

"It appears the water pump has not been sent along with the pullies, I will have the water pump dispatched to you FIRST thing tomorrow morning, again appologies."

on 8th january 18:01 i got another reply saying:

"Hi Jaan I will arrange for DHL to collect this, I will update you again shortly with your tracking number."

on 9th january i got tracking number, which didn't work. i asked about it, and got this reply:

12th january 13:35:

"Hi Jaan im sorry but Fedex wanted £45 to ship that water pump to you, the delivery agent is royal mail, but they said it will be with you 2~4 days as long as there are no problems this time."

i got that bloody pump on 20th january, so i was ready to FINALLY get everything together and go for a drive... i thought so. 22nd january my car was assembled, we tried to start the engine, with no luck. here's email i sent to flat4online regarding this,

23rd january 8:13:

scott, yesterday after 6 hours of troubleshooting why engine doesn't start we've found the problem, and it was in your pulleys. they did fit physically without a problem, but the one which gives information to sensor is not working as intended. we've tried different ways, and seems that difference is in material - oem pulley has magnets there, the lightweight one i got from you just metal. we've tried putting sensor closer to the pulley, but then another problem appeared - those metal pieces are fitted into pulley with different height. as a result, i cannot get sensor as close at is needed to get thing work - pulley will just brake sensor. let me know if you are okay with giving refund for the "failed" pulley only or you expect me to send you whole set, i would then know if i remove all of them from engine or only one.. thanks in advance, jaan"

i got prompt reply, that scott will talk to manufacturer, and here's answer dated 23 january 12:24

"Hi Jaan From the manufactuer: Yes I understand the problem and am very sorry about this, please apologize to your customer for me. There is nothing wrong with the inserts themselves as they are made from steel and will trigger the sensor ....but yes, if they are in correct heights then they will not work. Is it possible for your customer to send me back the pulley to inspect? They can have a new one next week Let me know how you wish to proceed. Scott"

here's my reply, 24 january 08:29:

hey, i strongly disagree with statement that "there is nothing wrong with inserts as they are made from steel" - i found one oem pulley from knackery (place where old cars are disassembled, sorry about my english) and actually some inserts were magnetic (not all of them, though - those that are in a group of three inserts, and two of them are strong magnetic). the pulley i need is interchangeable with 98-00 2.5 legacy, the one i got from you would perfectly fit 2.0 legacy or naturally aspirated subaru's.. regarding new one - i fitted one from knackery now, it works very well and i do not need a new pulley (which may happen to be wrong again, leading to waste of time and money again). i would prefer getting money instead of that one pulley.. let me know, jaan

after a reminder, i was offered some sort of "solution" on 2nd february 20:56:

"Hi Jaan The manufacturer has offered to fix the problem and send you a new pully, or you can send it back to me, the refund amount will be £65. Best regards Scott"

to which i replied with following on the same day that is 2nd february, at 22:19:

"interesting i paid 350pounds, waited helluva lot of a time and got wrong thingie. let's forget for a moment that pulley we're discussing now is more complicated to manufacture than any other - 350 / 4 = 87,5 pounds. why the hell not that amount, but even less than that - 65? for some reason i don't believe that if i ordered the pulley with sensors on it you've sold it to me for 65... thanks in advance, jk "

i'm now waiting again for the "final solution", but i got used to it, heh :)

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