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UPDATE: Zune Originals order status & tracking system needs major work

After I received the plain platinum 32GB Zune HD from Amazon and had used it for an hour or so I went to the Zune Originals site and ordered my custom blue Zune HD with the FC Sounders logo on the back. The ordering process was straightforward with steps to select the color device and capacity you want, the art you want etched on the back, and any custom engraving you want. I completed my order that also showed me exactly what my custom device would look like and received an order number on the display. I was then sent an order confirmation and everything seemed just fine. However, that was the last I have heard regarding my Zune Originals order since I placed my order last week.

After I received the plain platinum 32GB Zune HD from Amazon and had used it for an hour or so I went to the Zune Originals site and ordered my custom blue Zune HD with the FC Sounders logo on the back. The ordering process was straightforward with steps to select the color device and capacity you want, the art you want etched on the back, and any custom engraving you want. I completed my order that also showed me exactly what my custom device would look like and received an order number on the display. I was then sent an order confirmation and everything seemed just fine. However, that was the last I have heard regarding my Zune Originals order since I placed my order last week.

As you can see on the Zune Forums the experience I described above is exactly what just about everyone else who ordered a custom Zune HD experienced. I understand that each of these is a custom job, but in today's world it is just unacceptable for a high tech company like Microsoft to not provide any sort of status update to those paying $300+ for a media player. Like many others, I paid extra for the expedited shipping which stated we would receive the Zune HD within 5 to 7 business days of ordering. At this time, the only thing that appears on the Zune Originals order status page is that my order has been received (see the screenshot to the left). Why can't Microsoft tell me more about my expensive order, such as if it has been engraved or not, when it is planned to ship out to me, when it is shipped (I am supposed to receive some kind of shipment notification), and if there are any issues with the order? I know they are trying to keep the costs down and there is no additional fees for customizing your Zune HD, but still it isn't that difficult to add a few more details and keep the customer in the loop.

One glitch I have already experienced was that my confirmation email showed I ordered the standard 10-14 business day shipping, but as you can see in the details of the order the full price for expedited shipping was paid. Unfortunately, there is NO phone number you can use to actually speak to anyone about your Zune Originals order and it took some hunting in the Zune Forums to find the proper email address (zuneorders@css.one.microsoft.com) to contact customer service. I contacted them about the shipping issue and received a response that they were looking into my order and they would respond in 24 hours. It has now been over 48 hours and I never received any kind of response.

Microsoft needs to make some significant improvements to the Zune Originals ordering and tracking (or lack thereof) system. At this time, it feels a bit risky to throw your money out there and just hope everything works out in the end. You also better make sure you have the engraving all correct because I highly doubt you would ever be able to get a hold of anyone to correct a misspelling or change the text you ordered.

I understand that we are a society of immediate satisfaction, but I am not asking for next day engraving and shipping. I just want to be in the loop a bit more about what is going on and have some expectations about my order.

Have any readers yet received a Zune HD Originals shipping notification?

UPDATE: See my new blog post where Microsoft responded and is taking care of the situation immediately. IMHO, they responded quickly and went above and beyond to fix the issues.