Last November Apple admitted that it was having "several implementation issues" with the Apple Store after upgrading its logistics systems in July.
At the time Macworld readers hinted that some of the delivery problems being experienced were due to TNT, the courier firm with whom Apple has been working for over a year.
Further problems with TNT have been highlighted by a number of UK resellers this week, with many admitting to having experienced misdeliveries and lost or stolen items. Not one reseller wished to be named.
One reseller told Macworld: "We have had issues with TNT. There was an incident before Christmas when an order of G5s was misdelivered because the courier didn't read the address labels. He delivered our G5s to a customer who was supposed to be getting an HP printer. We got the printer."
Another reseller told Macworld: "We haven't been happy with TNT for some time. A few years ago I witnessed a TNT courier throwing Apple CRT monitors from the back of his lorry on to the ground – and with CRT monitors it only takes a slight knock and they don't work."
And it isn’t just the apparent carelessness on the part of the TNT couriers that has concerned UK resellers. One said: "It seems to me that anything of value doesn't get delivered."
Whether products have allegedly been lost, stolen, or sent to the wrong place, delivery problems are a serious problem for all UK resellers.
One reseller told Macworld he had a whole consignment of PowerBooks stolen, but it wasn't just the fact that the products were not delivered that caused problems. "It took us six months to get compensation because TNT insists that it needs twelve weeks to track down the lost items, but of course that is no good for us – in 12 weeks the products could be obsolete, or due to price changes the consignment may not be as valuable as it was when it should have been delivered."
TNT's apparent inability to deliver products is proving costly to resellers and they have already highlighted the problems to Apple. One said: "TNT is dreadful. We have £160,000 worth of shipment discrepancies from them. Products have been delivered to the wrong address, we have received deliveries meant for other resellers, and goods have been delivered damaged."
In another example of what could be incompetence one reseller explained a recent incident with a customer’s build-to-order Mac. "We had problems tracking down a build to order for one customer – first we were told it was shipped, then that it hadn't shipped, then that it was lost, then that it wasn't lost – in the end Apple advised us to order a new one."
And with the popularity of iPods it is perhaps not surprising that for one reseller: "Recently an order of 100 iPods vanished."
However, the problems are relatively recent according to one reseller, who said: "It is a far cry from what it was like just two months ago. Then the whole process was a breeze."