Freeipods Pt 7: The wait continues

Found this article today about freeipods.com. A few things to note:

“The wait is 100 percent due to Apple’s manufacturing,” said Gratis co-founder Peter Martin. “Apple is on back order. The delay is three weeks plus. They sit in the queue and when it gets to the vendor, it goes out the door.”

[Source: The Mac Observer]

Well, I’ve been going since 9/15 as “sent to vendor”. So lets see how long it takes. So far it’s been a week.

…As a result, Gratis is fast becoming the complaint of choice. Wired News reported complaints against Gratis are piling up at the Washington, DC branch of the Better Business Bureau

[Source: The Mac Observer | Link added by me]
I checked out what the BBB says about them so far, and it says:

BBB Customer Experience Record
The company has resolved any customer complaints presented to it by the Bureau. The company responded to complaints with an explanation of its advertising and reference to its terms of service, conditions affecting fulfillment of orders and rewards, and other information available on its web site.

[Source: BBB Washington DC]

Well, I emailed Gratis the other day via their support option on the freeipods site, and here’s what I found out:

When asked if the iPods really are on months backorder, as rumored around the net, I was told:

Yes, the mini’s are backordered (not necessarily for months). The HP’s are shipping out the fastest.

[Source: correspondence with Gratis Internet]
When I asked specifically about the 20 GB Apple iPod, I was told:

The HP’s are not on backorder. The apple’s are in high demand. I can not give you an estimate arrival time for them. Sorry

[Source: correspondence with Gratis Internet]

Which is interesting because while some people report receiving hp iPods (hPods) rather quick, others still are waiting for them. A popular place for people venting has been freeipodguide.com forum.

Another interesting note is that their supplier is eCost, which has been rather consistent, besides a small period the other day, with keeping the Apple iPod in stock. It appears the same as the hp iPod.

Moving on…

Customers have also reported an increased amount of Spam e-mail since giving their e-mail address to Gratis Internet. Mr. Martin and his partner Rob Jewell denied giving customer e-mail information to third-party companies, but admitted customers do receive a small number of messages from select parties.

[Source: The Mac Observer]

I’ve been keeping a close eye on this one: I’ve had 11 spams from them from 9/20 – today. I know they are from freeipods origin, since it’s an email alias I created on my mail system for the purpose. At least 3 were sent via a DNSBL (DNS blacklisted) mail server: a known source of spam. Most of a suspicious nature (start regrowing hair, “make today payday”, “become 25,000 richer”). Though they are right. It’s a ‘small number’. Most originate from the same sender. And it did say in the Terms Of Service they could do so. So they didn’t deceive.

So now the question is when will Gratis start shipping. Will they select a new vendor? CDW? Apple Store?

Any event, we will see.

As always, I will keep everyone posted with progress as I check this out. As you can see, I’m very willing to give all the info I can. I’ll be posting more information as soon as it becomes available. Keep an eye out.

Oh yea, if you want to try for a freeFLATSCREEN, I’m looking into that as well.

This is part of a multi-part story: First Post | Next

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