What You Should Know About Shopping at Kogan.

I’m not a terribly picky consumer. I mean there are particular shops and sellers I’ll favor for particular products (I get nearly all of my PC equipment from PC Case Gear, for instance) but if I’m looking for an one off item I’ll usually go wherever I can find the best price from a reputable seller. If I don’t get a recommendation from a friend this usually has me shopping through sellers on eBay or through price aggregation sites and for the most part I’ve never been lead wrong with this. My most recent experience, one that involves the Australian retailer Kogan, wasn’t a particularly bad experience but I feel that there’s some things people need to know about them before they buy something through this online only retailer.

So the item I was looking for was a Canon 60D to upgrade my ageing 400D that’s served me well for the past 5 years. I did the usual snoop through Ebay and some other sites and found it could be had for around $900, shipping included. After doing a bit more searching I found it available from Kogan for a paltry $849 (and it has since dropped another $20) and even when combined with the shipping it came out on top. The rest of the items I was looking at (namely a Canon EF 24-105 F/4L lens, Canon Speedlite 403EX II and a 32GB SD card) were also all available from there for a pretty good price. All up I think I got all the kit for about $150 less than I would have gotten it through eBay which is pretty amazing considering that I’ve struggled to find cheaper prices before.

I hit a hurdle with them when they requested a land line phone number they could call so they could verify the credit card information used in the transaction. I have a land line number but it’s not hooked up to anything (the only phone I’ve got seems to be broken as it doesn’t ring when I call it) as its just used for the Internet connection. I offered to forward this to my mobile if they needed it but they instead just called me on my mobile directly. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of people getting asked for land lines to verify things (I gave a reference for a friend and they insisted on being given one) so I don’t know if they can do some kind of verification on the back end that that number belongs to me or something, but even if they did then the same tech should work for mobiles as well. Anyway it was a small snag and it was just unfortunate that it meant my order didn’t get processed until the following Monday, no big deal.

Now since I ordered everything together I expected it all to come as one package but that’s not the case with Kogan. I received my 4 items in 4 separate deliveries through 2 different shipping companies. Now I’m lucky and my wife was at home because she is studying for exams but at any other time I wouldn’t have been there to pick up all these different items. This wouldn’t have been too bad if they all arrived on the same day but the delivery time from first received to last spans just over a week and a half with the last item arriving yesterday (I placed the order on the 01/06/2012). Considering that I’ve ordered similar items from Hong Kong, the 400D being one of them, and have managed to receive them all at the same time I found this piecemeal mailing approach rather annoying as I bought all the items to be used together and it wasn’t until yesterday that I had the completed package.

Looking at Kogan’s website you’d be forgiven for thinking that all their products were Australian versions until you get to the fine print at the bottom of the page. I’m not going to blame Kogan for this, they’re quite clear about the fact that anything that doesn’t carry the Kogan name will come from their HK branch, but it certainly does give the impression to the contrary. I’d like to think of myself as an observant person and I didn’t pick up on the fact that it would be coming from HK until I saw where it was being delivered from. This isn’t a bad thing per se, just something you should be aware of when you’re comparing them to similar sellers on eBay and the like.

Realistically had they shipped everything in one lot, even if it was a little late, I don’t think I’d be feeling as sour about my Kogan experience as I do now. I bought the items figuring that shipping wouldn’t take more than a week as I had an upcoming trip that the camera was intended for. Thankfully the trip was cancelled so I wasn’t left with half of the items that I wanted to take with me, but it could have just as easily gone the other way. I can probably see myself going back there for single items, possibly an extra battery for said camera, but for anything else I think I’ll be going elsewhere. This isn’t to say that you should though, but do take these points into consideration before making your purchase.

UPDATE: You should read my latest post on Kogan here as they’ve really improved the whole experience since I wrote this almost a year ago.

22 Comments

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  1. It’s a quite common problem with online vendors. You have to read the fineprint. You also take into account the good may not arrive when said. I get around your home address issue by getting any goods sent to my work. Which is only a problem in XMAS holidays when the office is closed.

    I’ve used WowHD (previously CDwow) and they send everything in different packages too. You check the box and it’s because it’s sent from different countries. Generally they all came in said timeframe and was pretty good for the price. Except once they didn’t come at all and with numerous correspondence they resent the items. Which arrived on in a week. Four months later the original goods arrived! Lost in transit!

  2. Yeah I definitely should have done more reading rather than assuming which is why I wrote it more like a “what you should know” rather than “OMG don’t buy anything from Kogan”. We’ve got a delivery dock here at work and they have a tendency to forget things for weeks at a time so I don’t particularly like having things delivered to work (although that is a good way to get around the issue I had).

    Heh I haven’t had a shipping mixup in a while but I have had things like that happen to me before. Can’t really know when it’s going to happen, just have to wear it when it does ;)

  3. I ordered a Samsung Galaxy S3 on Oct 5th, 2012. I haven’t got the shipping confirmation till now. (Oct 16th, 2012) Processing is too slow. I guess there are better online stores to order than going for Kogan. Thumbs down. :(

  4. I’m wondering if they do it in batches in order to get the prices they do as some items come lightning fast with others taking ages, just like you say. They might do a lot better on their Kogan branded stuff (which I believe they warehouse in Australia) but since I haven’t ordered any of that gear from them I can’t really comment on that.

    Would be nice if they were a little more transparent about how long their processing would take, though (that’s one thing I couldn’t find searching through their website actually).

  5. 2 weeks and 4 emails to Kogan’s Technical Support but still no response on a warranty claim (Samsung Ultrabook).

    Can’t say I find that acceptable.

  6. I just recently bought a mobile phone from Kogan, it hasn’t arrived yet but i am disappointed in the payment for shipping. I bought a Samsung Galaxy S2 and a case, and a screen protector, each thing i had to pay SEPARATE shipping for !!! WTF!! That’s just ludacris! Now after reading these comments i sure hope i don’t receive the packages separate times because that will annoy me!

  7. It’s likely that they’re coming separately as I’m pretty sure that they do bulk lots of shipping for items. I had the same issue with my camera and accessories with the first and last part turning up almost 2 weeks apart. That’s part of the reason I wrote this post hoping to catch people before they ordered so they know what they’re getting into (and are thus not surprised by it) but unfortunately I seem to only get everyone after they’ve completed their order >_<

    Ah well, can't win em all.

  8. Your guess is as good as mine Jack. Shipping times seem to vary wildly from under a week to over 2 depending on what you order and when you order it. Anything Kogan branded is actually in Australia (or at least it was when I last read their terms and conditions) and would likely ship quicker than other brand name products which they source from China.

  9. Anything you’re looking for in particular? I’ve got stores for certain types of products (camera gear, supplements, etc.) but nothing like a general electronics store like Kogan.

  10. The Kogan credit card verification procedure sux – No warning of extended delay, no ‘transaction amount’ two days after order placed for Australian delivery address using Australian credit card and now I find out it could take a week to receive the ‘transaction amount’ before the order is even processed. Rude Kogan phone staff who couldn’t care less. This is no way to run a business….

  11. You’ll get no argument from me about the verification process, never had to go through that for other similarly sized online vendors.

    Have you tried hitting them up on Twitter? They seem to be really responsive and friendly on there.

  12. Same issue with the credit card verification process. In case you don’t know, Kogan say they have charged a random amount to your credit card and you need to tell them what it is before the order is processed. This is on a $500 order of a lens, I’ve never had this happen before for anything. 5 days after placing the order nothing has appeared in my account, the order is not being shipped but apparently my account has been charged.

  13. Ugh, I’ve had transactions like that delayed for weeks because they’ll trip up the analytics the credit card fraud teams use. It was usually limited to taxis (for some reason) but I’ve had a couple online charges like that not appear for ages.

    I can understand why they want to do it from a verification process but they could at least give you another option if the charge doesn’t show up after a couple days.

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