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Tower Records Web launch confuses UK customers

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Tower Records has had to relaunch its UK Web site using its US parent's code, with the unfortunate side-effect that all the prices are in dollars and the shipping mechanism is all over the place.

That's right, now matter what you want to buy at Tower Records.CO.UK you will have to buy it in dollars. Apparently there is a currency converter somewhere but we couldn't find it, and we went up to entering our credit card details.

Is this the most stupid thing you have ever heard? Well, no, but it isn't very bright either. However, there is a good explanation behind it. "Basically we had to sack our fulfilment people - a lot earlier than we wanted to," said a spokesman. Why? "Because they were shite. The site was a dinosaur and it was just getting worse and worse."

And so, with the fulfilment team dispatched, the Tower Records US team has taken over the show and simply tacked on a few UK items onto the US Web site code. "We've got much better search and navigation now, but there are problems with the database. By November, we will hopefully have it in pounds," the spokesman said. "If was either a choice of the site going up now or waiting until it was sorted out."

We have a certain amount of sympathy, but then we reckon it would have been wiser to stay down. At no point do you get the price in anything but dollars (what's the exchange rate?) and the shipping costs are totally awry since the site (if not the people) assumes you are buying direct from the US. With this kind of setup, who will head back to the site?

Is this not all asking a little too much of UK customers? That said, we did do a quick check on prices for Radiohead's (them again? -Ed) new album Kid A. Sadly, Tower Records was off the mark (still beats ever-costly HMV.co.uk though). The award for cheapest CD incidentally goes to CD Wow at £8.99 including p&p. Not bad that. ®

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