Kogan’s penchant for PR has backfired with his latest grab for customers blowing up in his face. Brazenly claiming to be the “first in the world” to sell the iPhone 5, angry customers lured by the promise of cheap iPhone 5s delivered early are discovering the discount and delivery dates are bogus.
Regular online headline Ruslan Kogan‘s endless thirst for a quick buck has blown up with his latest iPhone 5 campaign. Within hours of the Apple iPhone 5 announcement on 12 September, Kogan.com.au announced that not only would it be the first retailer in the world to sell the iPhone 5, but customers would also save $100 off the Apple RRP.
The Kogan blog post dated September 13 reads:
“Just hours ago Apple unveiled their hotly anticipated new smartphone, the iPhone 5, at an event in San Francisco. We’ve been working very hard here at Kogan to be the first retailer in the world to sell it, and can confirm that they are now available for our customers to order at unbelievable prices…
“Apple Australia will be taking orders from the 14th (tomorrow). We’ve beaten EVERYONE to the punch and are already taking orders today.”
However, Kogan’s blog and forums like Whirlpool are awash with angry comments from customers smelling a rat. First, the phones were advertised with $100 in savings over the Apple store price – that price is still being advertised today on Kogan’s Facebook page, but isn’t available on their site. Overnight, according to customer complaints, the discount changed to $50, which when coupled with the shipping charges from Kogan (Apple doesn’t charge for shipping in Australia) makes the total discount no more than $31 (less than four percent of the $799 Apple price tag on the 16GB iPhone 5). At the Kogan site, the bullish original promise of dispatch by 21st September has been replaced with the more contrite message:
“Now taking pre-orders. Expected dispatch date is October 22nd.
Please note Apple products may be subject to strong demand on launch, and availability of stock may be scarce or delayed. The “Expected Dispatch Date” is not a guarantee, and may be delayed (or brought forward) without notice. Orders will be filled on a first come first serve basis.”
Customers who fell for the original deal are furious, and venting their frustrations. According to the complaints, those who jumped on the compelling iPhone 5 deal early were sent an email revising the original dispatch date (September 21st) to a minimum three to four week delay. Complaints include:
“What a lie!!!!!
Just got an email from Kogan saying they are not going to deliver my phone for at least another 3-4 weeks! I bought the phone almost immediately when it made available on your website and it was showing est. dispatch date 21 Sep. Then a few days after that, the dispatch date quietly changed to 28 Sep. Now, for whatever reason I have to wait up to 4 weeks.”
“I made the pre-order at first day when they started to do the pre-order thing. Now I receive an email , which informed me the estimate dispatching day will be 4 weeks later. My cousin’s iphone5 pre-ordered at official apple website has arrived home already.”
If a Kogan deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. He continues to arrogantly push the boundaries, but has been known to honour promises when the company screws up, like he did when a technical glitch resulted in a false promotion last year.
However, messing with the minds of iPhone fanatics could be the most dangerous territory yet for the brash online upstart.