My letter to Satya Nadella on why I cancelled my Surface Duo order


The Letter:

Dear Mr. Nadella:

I am writing to explain why I cancelled my order for the new Surface Duo. I was eagerly looking forward to using this new device. I think that it has great potential. I pre-ordered the Duo along with Microsoft Complete and Surface Slim Pen on August 29, 2020. I received an email confirming the order and an estimated arrival date of September 10th. On September 2, I received an email stating that there was a problem with the credit card I used to place the order. I check my account and corrected my billing address. I contacted store support on the 2nd or 3rd to ensure that there wouldn’t be any problem with the order. I informed the sales support person that I was keen to receive the device on September 10 and wanted no hiccups. I was assured that the order was in order.

Yesterday, September 9th, I watched some Youtube creators saying that people had received notification that their Duo’s had received a tracking number and were set to arrive on September 10th. I checked my order status and it still claimed an estimated arrival date of September 10th. When I hadn’t received a tracking notification by the evening, I contacted sales service. The rep. was not able to give me any information as to why it didn’t ship or what its status was.

This morning, September 10th, I looked at my order status and found that my estimated arrival date was no longer listed. I wanted to see what date I was promised delivery if I ordered another Duo. I entered my specs and was told that I could receive my Duo as early as September 11th. I also checked to see when Best Buy could deliver a Duo and was told that if I placed my order within 2 hours and 30 minutes or so minutes I would receive it the next day. I contacted support again and informed them that I now had no delivery date and wanted to see if they could confirm the order status. I also informed her that I had a limited window to order it from Best Buy. I was told by the rep. after she had conferred with her team that they believed that I would be receiving my Duo today. I asked how that was possible given that I had no tracking number and further that my credit card had not been billed for the device. She advised me against cancelling as it may actually be being shipped but stated that I could always return the Duo if I ended up with two of them. I went back to Best Buy, but by this time despite the time limit I was unable to order the device with the previously offered next day delivery.

My Duo had not arrived until 5 p.m. Central and confirmed that my DUO was not coming. I contacted support again and was told the order was still being processed. An answer that was contrary to the information I had received that morning. I cancelled the order.

The fact that Microsoft’s ordering system stated I would receive the Duo tomorrow if I placed the order in the morning says that despite have a 10-day old order I was receiving no benefit from the preorder. In fact, I was in a worse position as I could have received a firm arrival confirmation if I had ordered it this morning and for the next day. Instead I was stuck in some unresolved limbo where I had no idea when I would receive my Duo. With some vague, unquantified, “its being processed” claim being my only hope.  I have spent over three hours communicating sales reps trying to ensure that I received my DUO today to no avial, yet if I had waited to order until today I would have it tomorrow.

I hate to say this, but the frustration has made me want to wait until the DUO is now discounted in the future or offered for purchased as a used device. I was looking forward to testing if the Duo could be pushed to be a sole device without the need of a phone or computer. However, the uselessness of the preorder system and lack of useful status information causes other concerns. The Xbox series X and S will go on preorder in just over 10 days. I have no belief that a preorder through the Microsoft Store will result in any benefit, but detriment instead given the track record. This is highly problematic for my trust in using the Microsoft Store. I will not be using Microsoft for the preorder.


Rob Myers

Comments (9)

9 responses to “My letter to Satya Nadella on why I cancelled my Surface Duo order”

  1. navarac

    Look on the bright side. You have $1400 today that you might not have had if Microsoft had been efficient.

  2. StevenLayton

    Paul’s site is great, but I’m not sure Satya reads it. You might want to pop a stamp on the letter and post it?

  3. bats

    With all due respect Rob, that is an absolute ridiculous reason to cancel the DUO. The fact is, things just happen. It's unfortunate you just had one, as I have had plenty myself, in the past for all different kinds of items and products. If you really want the DUO,.....then get it. If you are not going to get the DUO, are you going to drop dead all of a sudden? Look, all you have to do is have patience and bring your case to the MSFT reps in a kind and gentle way. Perhaps, you can convince them to overnight your device for free. One more....

    Satya is NOT going to read your letter......GAURANTEED.

  4. bkkcanuck

    Just order two pixel phones and tape them together with duct tape... half the price and twice the processing power (and the 'hinge' is replaceable)...

  5. RM2016

    The problem was real: Let me make it crystal clear. The problem was not that it might be delayed. The problem was there were no means to determine if the order was going to process at all, and the information provided was clearly false and contradictory. My concern was correct; the order was not going to ship. A very nice person from Microsoft contacted me today and told me that the ordering system has had problems that result in this happening. When you must change information about your payment method the system says there are no problems. That is why I was assured there were no problems when I contacted the first representative. However, the failure occurs at the time of processing. 

    Purchaser solution: Normally it would be quickly ascertained that it was not shipping.  In this case the problem is compounded with the delay is associated with a pre-order where the problem is dormant and unexecuted. It also appears that there is a missing feedback mechanism that allows the system to report that it is being processed when in fact it isn’t. If I had known of this potential, I would have cancelled the order and reordered after the payment information was updated. I think that is the solution from the purchaser’s end.

    Why contacting higher up the chain is helpful: While Mr. Nadella may not have read the email I sent to his corporate account, I was informed it was my sending of the email that resulted in me being contacted today. I also contacted Mr. David Porter who is the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Stores. I have received very polite and helpful customer service during this whole process given the lack of information to these representatives about this problem. I am thankful to Microsoft for reading and responding to my complaint about this issue. They are clearly trying to ensure the satisfaction of their customers and that should be commended.

    Mutual benefit: If the proposed solution is as it was given to me today, then I will be ordering the Surface Duo on Monday. You should politely reach out more directly when you do have a problem like this. It allows them to fix the problem as it concerns you, but even more importantly it allows them to fix the problem in general. The representative was interested in how my payment method was updated. He was surprised that it was the changing of the billing address. I believe that will be helpful to them.

    Why canceling has a personal benefit: I must disagree that is it “ridiculous” to cancel the order over something like this. The frustration makes you think how much do you really need any device or thing.  I really enjoy technology, but at what point do I let the desire rule the reality of the need.  The frustration allowed me to question my own desires. I think that type of self-check is important.                      

  6. Salvador Jesús Romero Castellano

    I bought my Lumia 950 three times before I finally got my hands on it. From different stores, not the MS Store. Similar cases of delays, cancellations, etc. The MS Store reps just delayed me for more than a month assuring me that they were still in production (they were not), and that they would be very soon on the store again.

    And you get annoyed because the system got silly when you changed your billing address. It's OK to come here to vent your frustrations. We all need it from time to time, and you have my support. It also gave me the opportunity to complain a bit as well. But come, on, life is buggy! Chill out for a couple of days and go get your Duo. You'll thank yourself later ;-)


  7. Greg Green

    This makes me appreciate how good Amazon is with orders, cancellations and returns. And many other online companies besides Amazon are quite good at this.