I wanted to share my experience with an AD in the UK. I will not name him unless there is a good reason to do so.
The story starts about two weeks ago. I was browsing the web (and of course this forum) when I came across the BALL brand. Interested, I took a look at their homepage, ballwatch.com. There were quite a few models that I found interesting and when I was curious about the prices, I started to look for an AD.
Living in Austria limits the possible ADs down to a few that were close enough (I prefer having the AD closer to where I live, just in case...), and I found a rather large AD (who is also an AD for many other and well known brands) in the UK. This AD had a BALL that I couldn't find on the BALL website, and since I had to ask them if they would ship to Austria anyway I simply dropped them an email inquiring for this model.
The watch I was interested in, that was listed on this AD's website but not on the BALL page, was the Conductor GMT Limited Edition.
So I first inquired about if they shipped to Austria, to which I got the reply that they would need to know which brand/model I was interested in because they were limited to some brands that they were not allowed to ship outside the UK.
When I said that I was interested in the BALL Conductor GMT LE, I've been told that it was possible to ship to Austria but that they would need the approval of BALL to ship their watches to Austria as well.
Meanwhile I searched the web for the GMT LE not found on the ballwatch-website and finally found it on the ballwatchusa-website.
It was (and still is) listed there as "sold out". I found it interesting, since it was listed on this AD's website. But I thought that the AD might have one in stock, so I went on inquiring for it.
Lucky for me, BALL permits them to ship to Austria. The support person from the AD asked me if I had any other questions, and I mentioned that the model I was interested in was listed as sold out on the BALL website.
I got the reply that "BALL have one in stock" and that it would take about 4-7 days to deliver to the UK if I wanted to place my order because they have to order it themselves.
I wrote an email back to the support person asking him if it was possible to place my order via email, to which I got a positive reply.
So I sent them all the details: the watch I was interested in (including their Refcode in the shop), my name, adress and payment details.
All this happened on Friday, October 31st. I did't get back any confirmation on Friday, but since it was already around 5 pm in the UK I wasn't too concerned.
On Saturday, November 1st, I sent another email to ask for my order status (they claim their online hours to be Saturday 10:00am - 6:00pm as well), but still, no reply.
I received the order confirmation in Monday, Nov 3rd. I was informed that they ordered the watch with BALL this (Monday) morning. I then asked them to send me a short email when they receive the watch so that I had an estimate on its arrival in Austria. My expectations were somewhere around the 11th/12th.
Today I got an email from this AD (but another person) that they were informed today (!), Nov. 13th, that this was a discontinued model and that they were unable to order it themselves. They offered me another BALL, the Conductor Arabic LE, as a replacement. Still a nice watch, but I initially wanted (and still want) the GMT version...
And the best part is: my credit card was charged the full amount already on Friday, Oct. 31st, when the actual order was placed on Monday, Nov. 3rd.
So basically my question is: what happened here? This AD lists a no longer available watch on its website, on inquiry they say that BALL has one in stock, then nothing happens for almost two weeks, and then they tell me that the specified watch was no longer available?
How could something like this happen? I don't think that BALL is to blame here, and I don't think this AD did this on purpose either.
Sorry for the lengthy post, but I think to fully understand my frustration, you have to know everything from the beginning.