WARNING! Total Action's U.S. prices can't be trusted

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael Reuben, Jul 4, 2001.

  1. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    There's an existing thread on the problems that many of us have had with Total Action Universe, but I thought this latest development deserved its own topic.
    When TAU switched to their new website in early June, they stopped accepting orders in U.S. dollars, even though they list separate U.S. and Canadian prices on their site. They accept orders in Canadian dollars only, and then your credit card company does the conversion. TAU assured me that the conversion shouldn't vary by much.
    Well, I've just seen my American Express card statement with the listing for the new Kubrick collection. My pre-order price from TAU was $160 Canadian, with a special one-time discount on shipping of $8 Canadian, for a total of $168.00. Using the conversion figures reflected on TAU's site should result in a U.S. dollar charge of $105. Indeed, TAU's current listed price for the Kubrick set is $169.99 Canadian or $106.24 U.S.
    What showed up on my Amex card was $8.75 higher -- and both Amex and TAU disclaim any knowledge of why. Amex says the charge came into them in U.S. dollars; TAU insists they put it through in Canadian dollars. Who knows what happened? But it's pretty obvious that the U.S. dollar figures advertised on TAU's site are rough calculations at best, and that TAU won't stand behind them.
    Now, I'm still getting the set at a good discount, but I've also had to wait weeks to get it (and, in fact, I'm still waiting). The moral of the story is that it's never good to order items where the vendor takes no responsibility for the amount you will ultimately be charged. U.S. customers should purchase from TAU with caution. Shipping will take longer, customer service is problematic, and that big savings you were expecting may be a lot less than you thought.
    M.
     
  2. MatS

    MatS Screenwriter

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    Michael, I agree with all of your frustrations and will probably not be using TAU again in the future. From past posts I know we are both waiting on the same item. I did call Amex myself before I actually placed the order to find out about the convertion of Can funds to US funds. The Amex rep did tell me that these fluctuate from any given day and that he could not give me an exact quote as the rate could change from the day I called to the day the product actually shipped.
    anyways, as you stated TAU shows a price on the Kubrick set of 169.99 Can or 106.24 US. I do not know what day this was listed but if you check the exchange rate today using the following ...
    http://www.exchangerate.com/200plus_calculator.html
    ... you will see that 169.99 CAN works out to 112.3420 US
    if you do math for the Kubrick collection with shipping
    160 CAN (preorder price) - 5 (coupon) + 13 shipping = 168 CAN
    this using the calculator amounts to $111.0268 US
    on 6/29 the product finally shows as having shipped and my card was billed 113.75 for the item. Close enough for me to accept allowing for any slight rate fluctuations. Problem is like you I am still waiting on an order placed on 6/11. (** note, the delay is mainly due to TAU's underestimation for demand of this item**). Still a nice savings but not worth all the frustrations to all.
     
  3. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    Dont blame TAU, blame your bank or credit card company.
    TAU quotes USD prices based on current exchange rates. It is your financial institution that will actually "pick" the rate for your tranaction. One of my CCs actually also charges a foreign currency transaction charge on top of their foreign exchange rate which is already 3 % over market.
    FWIW,
    Gregg
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  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Gregg, it's not that simple.
    First of all, as explained above, Amex says they didn't do the conversion. Their records are consistent, because Amex typically includes the original currency figure when they do convert (I've seen this many times on orders from Europe). The TAU charge on my Amex account does not include a Canadian dollar figure.
    TAU has faxed me their original charge, and it's in Canadian dollars. So it's something of a mystery. There may be a charge card processing entity in between TAU and Amex, although that's more typical of Visa and Mastercharge.
    quote: TAU quotes USD prices based on current exchange rates. [/quote] No, they don't. If you look at the currency site that Mat listed (which appears to be fairly current), the conversions listed on the TAU site are fairly far off. I assume there was a time when the conversions were accurate, but they're obviously out of date as of today.
    If TAU can no longer accept orders in U.S. currency, perhaps they should add a disclaimer to the U.S. prices they list -- something like "based on a conversion rate of X on date Y; conversion rates may fluctuate".
    I've done plenty of mail order from Canada, and I'm used to slight variations in the final U.S. price based on fluctuating exchange rates. But I've never seen a swing as wide as this one. I don't know where the problem lies, but the bottom line remains the same: The U.S. prices posted at TAU can't be relied upon.
    M.
     
  5. Gord Lacey

    Gord Lacey Cinematographer

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    For currency conversion I usehttp://www.xe.net/pca/
    It's updated throughout the day with the currency values. Living in Canada I often do a US$ to CAN$ exchange. Of course, if you're preordering DVDs then you really have no clue what the price will be since the chances of the CAN$ being worth the same amount now as when it ships is next to nothing.
    Oh, and thankfully the CAN$ has been going up lately (guess that's a bad thing for you Americans).
     

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