On August 18/99 my husband and I called Universal at their 1-800 # we had founf on the internet. Universal had a website on the net and advertised affordable computers for people who didn't have a lot of money. They said that proceeds from every dollar funded the "Universal Vision Campaign" directed at helping the world's less fortunate and improving our children's hopes for a better future through improved education.
We placed an order on August 23/99. We were told that we would receive an AMD K6 II 350Mhz w/15' flat screen, 32MB SDRAM, 4.3 GB HD, 4MB AGP ATI, 56K PCI V90, 40X CDROM, ESS 3D Audio, Speakers, KB and Mouse, Windows 98 CD, all cables and wires, and a 1 year parts and labour warranty for $399.99 plus shipping handling and taxes. The total came to $490.18 and we were to send them a certified cheque. They gave us a confirmation number on the phone and told us that when they received the cheque they would put the order through and it would be assembled and shipped from Manitoba, (Canada) to Victoria, BC. We sent the cheque on August 25/99 to their address in Vancouver, BC and never heard from them again.
We phoned their 1-800 # and their long distance customer service line many, many times but were always put off by an answering machine that was usually full so would just hang up on us. We did manage to leave a couple of messages which were supposed to have been returned within five business days, so there answering machine said. We never heard back from them and the messages did get more and more stern. We finally left a message saying that if we did not hear back by such-and-such a date we would be taking legal action.
The Better Business Bureau said they had a few formal complaints about Universal, the main one being 'Non-Delivery'. Which was what we were now facing. We then encountered something even more frustrating. The numbers we had for the company began to have messages saying the number you have dialed cannot be accessed from your calling area. Just weeks before we had spoken to actual people on those lines and we had also left messages.
I proceeded to call local television staions and the telephone company. They wouldn't have lied about the address or they never would have recieved there money from us. The telephone company gave me a list of other businesses and phone numbers coming from that very same address. We called them all but to no avail. We also called the police which is when we found out that we were not the only ones. The local television station did do a story but by that time there was already so many of us that it was highly unlikely that any of us would get justice never mind all of us.
The culprit(s) were caught but who knows what will happen to them. The last I heard of this there was a lawyer from the Ministry of Attorney General building a case against the company. I just recently sent him my statement regarding these criminals and what they took from us. They didn't just take our money, they took our trust in human nature, they took our sympathy towards the less fortunate for granted, they took our trust in purchasing or donating anything through the computer. We will never purchase anything through the computer again. So much for the struggling business person who IS honest, you'll need to be established in a location we can physically visit before we will be your customers.
There address and phone numbers were as follows: Suite 708-1155 West Pender St. Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6E 2P4 E-mail: [email protected]
Cust. Serv. # 1-604-605-7016
Fax 1-604-605-7019 Order Line 1-877-977-8887 24 hrs.