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Online supplier of retro equipment for the Commodore Amiga.

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      08.06.2012 17:36
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      Keeping the Flag flying for Commodore's Dream Machine

      Back in the Olden Days (as Mrs SWSt would say), the Commodore Amiga was THE computer to have. Its graphics, sound and cost made it an ideal machine for gamers and the massive amount of games released for it confirmed it as the spiritual successor to the Commodore 64.

      Despite the bankruptcy of Commodore in 1994, the Amiga still has a massive fan base with thousands of Amigas still in regular use. Of course, the problem with obsolete computers is that when things go wrong with it, getting hold of replacement parts can be tricky.

      This is where Amigakit.com comes in, specialising in equipment to keep your Amiga going (or even to upgrade it), it stocks everything from replacement disk drives to simple connecting leads, memory upgrades or new hard drives.

      Nor does Amigakit take advantage of their position as one of the few remaining Amiga suppliers. Their prices are pretty reasonable and the quality of the products very good. Just to give you some idea, there are people charging more for second hand equipment than Amigakit charges for something new which comes with a guarantee. Prices, of course, vary according to what you are actually buying, but there was nothing on the site that made me squawk "HOW MUCH???!!"

      Postage costs are also variable, depending on the size and weight of the item ordered. Although the actual postage costs aren't calculated until you place your order (discounts applied for multiple purchases), a table allows you to view approximate postage rates, so - unlike some websites- there are no nasty shocks come the order confirmation screen. Indeed, the first time I used the site, I was pleasantly surprised since my actual delivery costs were lower than those quoted in the table.

      The Amigakit website is not the easiest to browse and it doesn't really encourage browsing. It's quite busy with dozens of products and images scattered across the full width of the page, making it quite tricky to pick things out. You can navigate by category, using a menu on the left hand side to make things a little easier, but even within a single category, there is often a bewildering range of products. This is definitely a site aimed at the knowledgeable enthusiast, rather than the casual browser.

      Thank heavens, then for the Product Finder which might be of some help to the novice. This allows you to select the model of Amiga you own and will then display all products available for that machine. It still means there's a lot of stuff to browse through, but at least you can be confident that you won't accidentally select an incompatible item.

      Thankfully if you can't find what you want, help is at hand from the superb customer service. Bewildered by the endless array of seemingly suitable products, I emailed their Customer Service desk for advice. I was astounded by their response. I emailed them around 3pm on the Sunday afternoon of a Bank Holiday weekend so didn't expect a reply until the Tuesday at the earliest. Wrong. Within an hour, I had an email giving me details of the exact product I needed, a link to the page I could find it and the product code so that I could find it easily using the site's search option.

      Impressed by their customer service, I decided to order the item and found the process to be pretty straightforward. The checkout process was fairly generic (registering an account, filling in some basic details and paying), but it was simple and efficient and it was good to see that the site accepts Paypal as well as major credit cards. At that point, I sat back and waited for delivery.

      Once again, Amigakit.com excelled themselves. I placed my order on the Sunday evening and the Monday was a Bank Holiday, yet the item still arrived on the Thursday. At every point of the order process, I was kept up to date via email, so I knew exactly when my order had been dispatched and roughly when to expect it..

      Nor was the company finished showing me how good their customer service was. Part of the product I had ordered included software on floppy disk for the Amiga. This had an intermittent fault so it would sometimes work fine, but other times would report that the disk was corrupt and refuse to load. I emailed Amigakit and once again experienced excellent service.

      Rather than faff about insisting I return the floppy disk and wait for a replacement to arrive, they just sent me the relevant file via email so that I could copy it to a disk myself. Not only did this mean the problem was resolved with minimal inconvenience to myself, it also means I now have the file so that if the disk ever becomes corrupted again, I can just make another copy.

      Amigakit are very much a niche-market company, but they clearly recognise this and want to ensure they keep their customers happy. Whenever I need anything for my Amiga now, I don't even bother with the over-priced stuff on eBay, I just head straight for Amigakit. Even if I don't really understand what I'm looking for, I know that their excellent customer service will help me identify exactly what I need, get it out to me as fast as possible and sort out any problems quickly and efficiently.

      Amigakit might only be small, but there are an awful lot of bigger companies out there who could learn a thing or two from them about customer service.

      Contact information
      ---------------------------
      Leaman Computing Ltd
      Units 10-11 Ely Brewery
      Wroughton Place
      CARDIFF. CF5 4AR.
      http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/catalog/?currency=GBP

      © Copyright SWSt 2012

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