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FW: Harbor Freight problems

To: "''" <>
Subject: FW: Harbor Freight problems
From: "Dodd, Kelvin" <>
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 08:35:08 -0800

I'm surprised that Harbor Freight doesn't have a tracking system.  They may
be using a freight carrier, such as US mail that does not allow easy

14 days before a lost order search is pretty typical in the business if the
company has no provision for storing and using tracking numbers.  If they
shipped via mail, then there is no tracking system, one of the reasons why
UPS is prefered over US Mail.

On regular ground shipments, there is no set delivery time period.  Just
because a package normally takes on 2-3 days to arrive, there is no
guarantee that the package may not sit in the system.  Anything over 14 days
is judged to be abnormal, and the freight company will then take the time to
try to locate the package in the drop out areas of the system.

If the freight companies had to search for every parcel that was delayed for
a few days, the system would come to  a crunching halt, hence the 14 day
"grace" period.  This time of year, if a parcel is shipped by the cheapest
method, I would expect some major delays as priority packages fill the

Charging for a backorder, is more a systematic decision rather than one
indicating reputation.  Purchasing, Sales and Inventory control is a very
complex system.  Completion of an invoice is one way to ensure that the
system understands that the part is spoken for and should not be posted to
free inventory.  There are other ways, but billing for a backorder is pretty
standard.  The old system at Moss used to bill for backorders, now there is
a $1.00 back order charge that keeps the invoice open, so incoming inventory
goes to the open invoice before showing as free inventory.

The important thing is that the system knows that there is a real order for
the part and that Purchasing automatically increases quantity to make sure
both backorders and anticipated demand are covered.  Back orders are very
important in areas where there is only one source, and re-supply may take
some time.  This is always an issue with British parts as sourcing becomes
scarcer and more production run oriented. 

I think the better statement is that reputable companies let you know when
an item is backordered, and are able to process prompt refunds if you choose
to cancel the backorder.

all the best


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Paul Root []
> Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2002 7:25 AM
> To:
> Subject: Harbor Freight problems
> Has anyone had any trouble ordering from Harbor Freight?
> We ordered a few things from them in November, and nothing has
> shown up. So we called, and they had charged us the full amount of our
> order on Nov 25,  when they said they shipped 2 of the 3 things. They
> also won't  do anything to search for a lost package until 
> after 14 working
> days.
> I think 14 working days isn't until next Monday. It's pretty 
> frustrating. Especially,
> considering they just opened a store in N.E. Minneapolis just a few 
> miles from
> my office. It opened after we ordered. We got the grand opening flyer 
> like the
> day after our order.
> You know, reputable companies don't charge you for backordered items
> until they ship.
> -- 
> Paul T. Root                    E/Mail:
> 600 Stinson Blvd, Fl 1S               PAG: +1 (877) 693-7155
> Minneapolis, MN  55413          WRK: +1 (612) 664-3385
> NIC:    PTR                     FAX: +1 (612) 664-4779

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