I'm sick of companies marketing like this. It's spineless, at best, dishonest at worst, and is insulting to me as a consumer either way.
As if that wasn't enough, my first attempt to purchase this item was canceled because my Visa Debit card showed up in their fraud system and they took their sweet time letting me know which delayed my order. They finally reached me on the phone and told me that I'd have to submit my order again, but if I "did it right now, it will be processed today", meaning that same day, yesterday. So I did, with another card, and again I received an online order confirmation just like the first time, one that made it appear as if they'd confirmed payment and the order was getting ready to ship.
Imagine my surprise when I got a call today telling me that my order had be further delayed because they needed to confirm some information (which was IDENTICAL to my first order so clearly it wasn't a mistake). When I sought to clarify that my order still hadn't been processed and would be further delayed, they told me that was the case and in fact the item was on back-order and wouldn't ship. That's something that any company with an e-commerce presence could tell you during checkout. If not then, in the email confirmation is reasonable and easier for them. Either way, I had been mislead the day before this last phone call because it had been said that my order would process the same day when in fact it couldn't process because the item was on back order.
When I asked how long the delay was expected to be, the person I was speaking with couldn't tell me and eventually she had to transfer me (to sit on hold for far too long) to someone who could say.
Lexar needs a serious audit of their order fulfillment system and how customers are informed. I'm very disappointed that such a large company performs so poorly.
UPDATE 2011-01-23: I've been contacted by Lexar with a request for my phone number as a result of this blog post. I've responded and am waiting to hear back. It appears they'd like to clear the air or perhaps do something to improve my opinion. I'm already impressed to some extent just because my post was found and someone is seeking me out as a result.
UPDATE 2011-02-23: Due to a significant personal loss, Jeff wasn't able to get right back with me, but he eventually did and he left an impression. The short of it is that he agrees the non-free shipping because the product was priced a couple pennies too low (to make the free shipping threshold) was silly. He's speaking with the appropriate people to see about getting free shipping for these drives. He also apologized for the experience I had. Though I'm not swayed much by apologies (I much prefer to see change), the fact is that he did find this blog entry, contact me, and in doing so, show that he was concerned at the least with the companies image. That's FAR more than most companies would do these days. More than that, he's compensated me for my time in writing the original entry to bring my experience to his attention. The compensation was an impressive new product they've introduced. It's called the Echo ZE and it's basically a 32GB USB drive that must be as small as a USB drive can get. Any smaller and you would have nothing to grip to get it back out. Just what I needed for my Exopc tablet project (porting Gingerbread over) to get another 32GB storage on board without a "thumb" drive sticking out that would get broken off or fall out. I want to thank Jeff and congratulate him making the most of a bad customer situation and showing that Lexar is far from typical where customer appreciation is concerned. Now if we could just get the other 1,000,000 consumer companies to think along similar terms.