See the end of this review for an update.
I really wanted to like EliteCarSeats.com. In fact, I expected to. Their prices were good, the web site was easy to navigate, they responded to the email I sent to their on-staff certified technicians about the Sunshine Radian, Sally from the company has commented here on my posts about the Radian, and they offer $1 Return Shipping Insurance. I was so sure that I would like them that I was even looking forward to signing up as an affiliate once everything was settled with our new car seats. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
At first, everything seemed to be going fine. I bought two Sunshine Radian65s from them a couple of weeks ago, and I happily paid the extra dollar for Return Shipping Insurance. I have no complaints about that transaction – at least, not yet. Hopefully, my refund will processed without a problem next week. (I’ll update this post at that time.)
But everything went downhill with my second transaction. Because I had to send the Radians back, I ordered two Britax Regents – again from EliteCarSeats.com, and again with $1 Return Shipping Insurance. I ordered on Sunday, and on Tuesday, I received a call saying they’d canceled my order because the color I selected was out of stock and for whatever reason, the computer didn’t reflect that. Okay, these things happen. But when I asked if they’d upgrade my order to expedited shipping if I placed another order for a different color, my request was refused.
That means I won’t be doing business with EliteCarSeats.com anymore, and I can’t recommend them to you. It’s terrible customer service to make a mistake and not offer anything to the customer to make up for it. And even if I’d been inclined to brush off the error, I can’t wait an extra three days for the new seats, which is why I asked for the upgraded shipping. The EliteCarSeats web site says free shipping to where I live takes four to five days, which would have the Regents arriving early next week. The car is supposed to be fixed by then (fingers crossed), so I can’t wait that long. (And I’m not paying for shipping – since it’s calculated by weight, any savings from ordering online would be negated by the shipping costs.)
So all of this also means that I’m very grateful to Camille, Quirky Mama, and easytocheck, who left comments praising the Graco Nautilus. We bought one at Target last night and will try installing it later today. I’ll let you know how that goes!
By the way, if you’re wondering why I didn’t just pick up a Regent at Target, they only sell it online. And Babies R Us and Toys R Us are considerably further away than Target, especially in rush hour traffic. If the Nautilus doesn’t work out for some reason, I will probably throw in the towel and pick up two Marathons.
Update: I got my refund for the Radians without a problem. There’s also an explanation from EliteCarSeats.com in the comments that expedited shipping simply would have cost them too much. I’m sure that’s true, but they’ve still lost my business forever since I no longer trust their their web site or customer service not to leave me hanging and costing me more money.
In the situation above, I could have ordered Regents from Amazon and paid the same price that I paid EliteCarSeats.com. Because of the time constraints, by the time EliteCarSeats.com canceled my order, I could no long buy the car seats online. Buying Regents at the store would have cost an extra $50 apiece. Because I had to buy the Nautilus at Target, I ended up paying an extra $40 apiece. Fortunately, our car insurance covered the cost of the new car seats because the replacement was necessary due to an accident, but that hopefully won’t be the case the next time we have to buy new car seats. And I won’t give EliteCarSeats.com the chance to put me in a bad spot again.