Living in Mexico. EVERYTHING you need to know (and then some)
my worst online shopping in mexico experience…ever
January 21, 2021
One of the living in Mexico survival tips I shared a while back was online shopping. When I very first moved here, it simply was not possible to get your hands on common everyday items like good bed sheets and cooking gear.
At times when I did find bed sheets and cooking gear, they were never what I was looking for in the way of quality, so I either did without or paid for a sub-quality item I didn’t really want. To solve this dilemma, I learned to shop online here in Mexico.
It was a lifesaver because not only did it open up a whole new shopping world of quality and choices, the items were already in the country, which meant no import fees and a fast shipping time.
I still stand by my online shopping lifestyle for living here, now more than ever with the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. In saying that, I have a sad story to share about the negative side of online shopping here.
I share this because I have had either product, vendor or delivery issues with every online company I deal with on a regular basis, and NONE have been so difficult as this…
At the beginning of the whole Covid thing, our state was quick into lockdown. During our first official weekend in the ‘red zone’ of lockdown with non-essential stores shut and police out enforcing our new nighttime curfew, my television died.
While not the end of the world, I made due with my laptop and a good book. The next morning, though, I was out the door waiting my turn to go inside the nearest store to buy a new television of equal size and quality.
They only had one brand of the same large-size screen, and since it was a brand name, I snapped it up and ran home with it. For me, the only downside was that it was a smart tv, my first, but since beggers can’t be choosers, I was just happy to have the replacement. I was in and out of the store in 20 minutes.
All was well until seven months later when that (new) television also conked out. After four days of agonizing over what the hell the problem was, turns out it was a firmware issue. The company offered to fix it as long as I repacked it (properly) in its large-screen box and sent it to their service centre in Mexico City.
First of all, I ditched that oversized, over stuffed box of styrofoam the moment I unpacked the television (seven months earlier). They also never made any mention of my being given a receipt for sending them this television, nor was I given any sort of possible “return” date. For me, all red flags, brand name or not.
One thing I know from experience here, repairs can take months, and in some cases, a year before your item is returned (refurbished?). No one actually knows how these electronics are repaired or if there will be a charge, something else that was not clarified.
In knowing this ahead of time, combined with all the unknowns, I decided to just buy another television of better quality and save myself the agony that I was sure was going to come hand-in-hand with this project.
The first feature of my new television — it was not to be a smart tv. I spent days searching online for both new and used non-smart tvs and finally found one. It was being sold by Walmart online via their main warehouse in Mexico City.
I tried to place the order online but could not. Their system was having issues, so I printed the order sheet and went in-store to pay instead. The girl had a bit of trouble locating the tv on their Walmart system, but eventually did. She printed out her copy. I paid cash, got my receipt and left after being told the television would arrive in 10 days.
Six days later, FedEx is at my door with my order, which turned out to be an envelope. Since it was obviously not correct, I rejected the package and refused to sign for it. I took two photos of the package (at the suggestion of FedEx). The FedEx man left with the envelope and I immediately got online with Walmart and told them what happened.
She replied no problem, asked a few questions and said I would be getting a refund email from them in five days. I was to take that email back to the Walmart store to be refunded in cash. I said thank you.
Five days later, nothing, so I contacted them again. The guy I got said the last person did not report the problem properly and we had to start again. I spent nearly one hour with him before he finally repeated what the first person told me — it will be about five days before you get the refund email from us.
I said thank you.
Five days later, nothing, so I contacted Walmart customer service again. I was basically cut off and abruptly told that now, it’s a 10-business day wait. This time, I did not say thank you.
On day nine of waiting, I sent an email to their customer service with the photos I had taken of the FedEx delivery and the clearly visible order number, explaining that I’d had enough of waiting and they owed me either a television or 10,000 peso. At this point, I just wanted my money back.
That was a Saturday. On the following Monday night, I finally got my email refund. Wanting to have this nightmare come to a close, I went to the same store (where I paid cash) and presented it in its printed version. I was met with a scowl, which in turn, caused me to make one.
Turns out that once you are sent this email refund — which is just permission for you to be refunded — you, the customer, needs to wait five days (yes, another five fricken days!) before you can go to the store.
That was not specified anywhere in my email, something the online shopping Walmart customer service girl confirmed in-store. She tried calling Walmart Mexico City, but to no avail. Now she needed permission to be able to give me the refund because according to policy, I was four days early.
She was not able to get through their phone or chat line. She never did, but someone in-store told us that she had to confirm with the warehouse manager in Mexico City that indeed, a television had NOT been sent to me.
Unbelievable! (and a little insulting)
Well into hour two, I was finally told they would be able to give me back my cash since their warehouse confirmed that the television was never sent. But, I still had to wait for another 15 minutes while the customer service girls (yes, plural) ran around to empty the tills of enough cash to refund me.
It was such a nightmare that I caution you about buying online Walmart. In the event something goes wrong, getting your money back is way more effort than the worth, and calling it a nightmare doesn’t even come close to describing the real-life ordeal.
In the end, I did some online research and purchased a brand new model smart tv from a local Mexican company that I am very happy with. I was even more happy when I learned the television, which was the last one, was discounted 40% (in the end, a MUCH better product and price than Walmart) because the store lost the remote (which rendered all the smart features useless).
The moment I got home, I researched the remote model number that matched my new brand-named television and found it being sold online new for 549 peso. I made the purchase from, you guessed it, another Mexican store and had it in my hands 48 hours later.
As for Walmart, I have since deleted my online account with them and unbookmarked their website. I also avoid their brick-and-mortar shops. I consider myself a fast learner. Never again!