Newark Electronics’ order fulfillment/invoicing/logistics is deeply broken

It has always been a weird experience dealing with Newark as their order has always come in ridiculously wastefully packed shipments, like ONE standard size jiffy bag FOR EACH pack of 5 resistors (I got like a dozen of jiffy bags after unpacking). It resulted in oversized boxes that could have been expensive to ship as it’s charged dimensional weights. Then they split shipments whenever and whatever way they feel like it without consulting me at all.

I had multiple deliveries of jiffy bags by UPS/Fedex that packs a feather each when Newark could have waited a little and consolidated them in one box/bag. I never complained because the shipping they charged me was as if everything were packed sanely in one shipment. I always wondered if they had deals with Fedex/UPS that will allow them to be this wasteful.

However, after my most recent order (early 2019), I had enough with Newark. Apparently over the years the operations management avoided addressing their messy web order, logistics, fulfilling and invoicing infrastructure and used the savings to cover the overhead losses. This time, they screwed up the invoicing so I got overcharged, and on an unrelated issue, randomly made pay one of their stupidity overheads for the first time.

When I called customer service, they initially said I shouldn’t be charged more for extra shipments caused by Newark breaking the order into a few installments. It’s not special order or back-order or even direct-ship order. It was a pack of zener diodes is from UK warehouse, which Newark stated it’s going to take longer but they won’t charge extra to ship. In fact, I was not charged extra shipping for the other two packs (also from their UK warehouse) that was EACH shipped separately through UPS. Stuff from UK warehouse was never charged extra shipping for my past orders either.

Nonetheless, once I pull up the credit card records showing I was charged $10.22 for shipping a $0.19 pack of zener diodes, the customer service representative changed stance and said that Newark charged me exactly what UPS scanned and charged them AFTER the item was shipped. Basically they are saying that you gave them a blank check for shipping if you ordered from Newark. This is where I decided to stop doing business with Newark. The distributor has all the weight and size data that customers have no access to. They are responsible for quoting how much shipping will cost (at least within ballpark) before we agree to order from them, so we know the actual costs for comparing it with a different distributor.

They also screwed up the web pricing for the Molex tool that I ordered. Everything I was told until I completed checkout said $50.15 (web-only pricing), but the invoice I received says $59 (normal pricing, which is higher than everybody else). They credited me the difference back, but I observed they cannot do it easily and not until the order has shipped, so I had to call back later. This means if you order from Newark, they can stealthily charge you full price when your web-order should have been charged web-only pricing, unless you catch them in the act.

My second last order with them was actually in a hurry, but 3 days is fine so I picked USPS Priority (which is guaranteed to be at most 3 days). The ordered ended up arriving more than a week later because they stealthily shipped with UPS Ground and charged me USPS Priority price because their system has a glitch that prevents them from using USPS. They didn’t put the information anywhere on their webpages (now they do after I called and complained) and nobody told me about that. Apparently they didn’t realize that despite Newark pays more to ship with UPS ground, I got my order slower than the cheaper USPS priority I asked and paid for.

Newark electronics’ system is deeply broken. After leaving them the worst feedback possible with their survey engine, the customer service followed-up with this:

Thank you for your feedback.  I apologize for the frustration which you have experienced with our company regarding your orders.  Please allow me to address the situations as they are listed.

  1. The listed shipping at checkout is an estimation, and the final invoicing is lists the shipping charges based on the scanning of package by UPS with current rates.
  2. Orders may be in separate packaging, as our warehouse is the size of several football fields and putting parts from different sides of the facility into the same box is not a workable solution.
  3. Unless otherwise chosen as “ship complete” on the website by the customer, orders may be shipped in installments as product is available.  Backordered portions will be shipped separately.
  4. In response to UPS shipping as opposed to USPS, the Postal Service’s software has a glitch that does not allow it to communicate with our system.  Updates are being installed and upgrades implemented to resolve this situation.

None of that admits their faults. They ‘addressed’ it by pointing fingers and citing illegitimate excuses, which I am the most upset about:

  1. HOW are we supposed to know how much will it cost to ship something if your ‘estimation’ can be way-off and you are not responsible for even staying in the ballpark?
  2. WHY are we supposed to pay for your logistic problems? The orders I received from Digikey/Mouser/Allied were packed nowhere nearly as wasteful. Yours can’t be the norm. Fix it!
  3. WHEN did you tell me that I’ll be charged for the separate shipments for the installments you decided on your own? Until the order is shipped and I’m stuck with the charges!
  4. WHO did you assign to tell me when you switched to a slower and more expensive shipper because of your software problem (that Mouser/Digikey was able to get around if it was USPS’s fault), and threw my plans off because my order arrived very late?

WTF Newark!

Newark’s operations are completely dysfunctional. I don’t think Newark even intended to bill me for shipping the tiny bag of zener diode separately. I was pissed because the customer service gave me the ‘policy’ bullshit because they don’t want to do the hard work getting to the bottom of it because Newark’s billing jungle is so daunting. I know it’s bullshit because if they could legitimately charge me extra for one separate shipment, they would have done it for the other two separate shipments, which could be much more.

At the end of the day, if I had not caught Newark shortchanging me, I would have paid more than Digikey/Mouser just to get the same parts shipped late. It’s not worth the hassle to get just $10.22 back by spending hours on the phone digging through their accounting nightmare (their billing is kludgy: I got 5 invoices for 1 order, yet I received 4 shipments), but I chose to spend the time to blog about it so others won’t have to deal with this kind of structural incompetence across the board until Newark gets their act together.

I was worse off in every way ordering from Newark.

They make you pay more for less by not telling you the deviations from your original order that Newark introduced for their own convenience until the order has shipped and everything set in stone.

Newark didn’t get more money by making their customers worse off. The company paid a fair share of the unnecessary overheads too. To put it more bluntly: the entire infrastructure is falling apart and nobody gives a shit. I’ve seen more motivated people working at the post office.

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