I purchased a DSLR from SimplyElectronics.net on Saturday using PayPal (with whom I have a verified account and have used for many years). On Monday, SimplyElectronics contacted me by email, requiring a scanned copy of a recent utility bill and, optionally, copies of my passport and/or driving license (or similar ID). Obviously, this is material that could be used for identity theft or other forms of fraud and not something that I would be willing to send in response to an unsolicited email. I rang SimplyElectronics to verify that the email was genuine and to ask why they required said documentation, as I have a verified PayPal account and the money had already been transferred to them from my bank account: they stated that this was "normal", ignoring my counter-statement that I had never previously been asked for such information for similar online transactions. After taking advice, I declined sending any sensitive personal information to an overseas company that I had no history of dealing with and cancelled the order, both verbally and by email. I was told by a SimplyElectronics representative that the order would be cancelled (confirmed by email) within 24 hours. After 28 hours I rang SimplyElectronics again to ask why I hadn't received an email or return of my money and was informed that the order had been cancelled, that it would take 3-6 days to return my funds and that I would definitely receive an email within 20 minutes. After another hour, I rang again and, this time, was told it would take 14 working days to return my funds and that an email had been sent and was probably delayed by internet traffic. I have not, to date, received any emails from SimplyElectronics and I did check to ensure that they hadn't been blocked or diverted to a junk folder. Both of the latter SimplyElectronics operatives were rude, talking over me and refusing to listen to or respond to my concerns. I did state that I had no personal argument with either of them, but with their company's processes: it made no difference. I gave up in the end and contacted PayPal, who took all of the details and said they would resolve it within 10 working days: PayPal actually returned the funds to me within 24 hours and I've been able to order the DSLR and a lens from another company, without any problems and without the awful worry that I had somehow been "scammed" for a considerable sum of money. I am now very glad indeed that I use PayPal for such transactions. Consequently, I would not recommend purchasing goods from SimplyElectronics. I now intend to contact the Trading Standards Institute and report their unacceptable behaviour. I note that others have experienced equally, in some instances identically, poor service and encourage them to do the same.
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