I have to be honest after my experience with buying from Kogan last year I was pretty soured on buying from them as the hodge podge shipping and strange purchasing requirements didn’t endear them to me. It wasn’t bad enough that I actively told people to not buy from them, indeed I said as much in my post about it, but for some strange reason that post seem to strike a chord with a lot of people who had similar issues. Whilst I’ve always been a terrible judge as to whether or not a particular post will resonate with a larger audience having that one be so popular didn’t help Kogan’s reputation in my mind.
Then they went and started stocking GoPros.
So I’ve been a GoPro user for about 2 years or so, getting my first one (a HD Hero2) as a birthday present in the lead up to my first Tough Mudder event. They’re a great little unit being able to take a massive battering and keep on trucking without issue. I used mine for all sorts of things from snorkeling in Bali to taking time lapses of my backyard and I was quite impressed with the results every time I used it. Of course when the new version came out I was instantly captivated by its specifications, not least of which was the addition of WiFi which would open up quite a few new use cases for an intrepid user like myself. However the price of getting one in Australia, either by paying the outrageous shipping cost from GoPro themselves or the markup in retail stores, meant that it was put in the “nice to have” basket along with a multitude of other things I always have my eye on.
Kogan however were selling them for an incredibly reasonable price, some $150 below the RRP when I saw it, enough so that that with the few additional accessories I wanted the total price was actually cheaper than just the unit itself with shipping included. Now I’m not usually one to be suckered into a deal, especially from a place that had burned me in the past, but I figured that it was worth it given how much use I had gotten out of the previous unit and how long this one would remain current. So out came the credit card and I sent Kogan a chunk of change in exchange for the promise of a new GoPro and I anxiously awaited the multiple packaging spree that was about to occur.
Except, strangely, they sent me a single tracking notice with all the items on it. Score one point for Kogan.
Indeed not only did they actually ship everything as one unit despite their site stating that it would probably take 2~3 weeks for my order to arrive I received it bang on a week after I placed my order. This is in stark contrast to my previous transaction with them that required me to verify my identity through a landline phone and arrived piecemeal over the course of a 2 week span. The GoPro also came with all English manuals that weren’t reprints like my Canon manuals were, a small thing that has gone a long way to improving Kogan’s image in my books.
So there you have it, a year on since my last purchase from Kogan and I’m glad to say they’ve drastically improved their whole experience. Whilst I have no idea if anyone from Kogan ended up reading my previous piece it does seem like they’ve taken the feedback to heart and fixed up the issues that their customers were complaining about. If my last post on this had you wondering whether or not you should buy from them then hopefully this one shows you that you can, at least if you’re ordering a GoPro.
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.