I’ve spent a long time ordering parts from all over… while my #1 choice is always Digi-Key, I’ve used many of the others. Newark is often cheaper so I’ve done my share of ordering through them, but probably about 25% of orders have some sort of issue. This blog post is basically just a summary of those issues, as I’m curious if others have come across them too. Or maybe I’m just spoiled with Digi-Key, and everyone else fails to live up to them.
It’s possibly worth noting I’m ordering moderate amount of stuff ($6K-$15K/year for past two years from Newark) directly, so don’t think issues are only because I’m ordering a few resistors/capacitors. It’s far from a nice large production customer, but I’d think it might be enough volume to vaguely care.
Website Issues – Login, Cart Changes
For some reason there’s always been issues with the carts. When I login after adding stuff it seems to sometimes empty the cart, sometimes it adds a bunch of old parts into it. Most recently they dropped a discount code which cost me $60. So be sure to carefully double-check cart contents, as I’ve also accidentally ordered higher quantity than anticipated since it doubled-up (oops).
Like Digi-Key, Newark likes to claim they will ship stuff out same-day before some cut-off. Unfortunately for me Digi-Key’s shipping is always 2-day to me (I guess due to location of Fed-Ex depos), but Newark’s is often 1-day. This means I’m forced to use Newark when I need stuff tomorrow, despite my love for Digi-Key.
But that’s not as easy as you might think. To begin, submitting an order before the deadline doesn’t mean it will ship that day. I’ve been told a few times (after calling to figure out how orders don’t appear to be shipping in time) that it has to be processed, meaning your credit card or account is charged before the cut-off. How does that happen? I have no idea. Basically after submitting an order you’ve got to ensure you get the final confirmation (not the auto-confirm email). Many times I’ve had to call customer service who tells me the credit-card processing was delayed for unknown reasons, which causes you to miss the cut-off even if the order is submitted several hours before it.
Newark also decided to change default shipping at one point. They used to only offer next-day shipping, so when you checked out you’d get the order the next day (pending issues I mentioned before). But then they changed the default to “UPS Ground” shipping to Canada which takes several days (3-5). Initially you couldn’t even pick air shipping online, and had to call in(!). They’ve fixed that issue so if you’re careful to select “air” it should work, although you still don’t get a price quote on shipping until the order ships (even though it’s normally a reasonable flat-rate of like $12-$20). So it’s all a bit of a gamble… unless you want to read through every time, you’ve got to hope Newark hasn’t changed their shipping policy on every order, and when they do you find out because your parts are late.
Newark’s packing is always interesting. They shipped my Metcal MX5210 (~$1000 CAD so not something you want damaged/lost) in the original unsealed (but closed) cardboard carton . Basically the friction fit was keeping the cardboard flap sealed, as it tumbles through UPSes various belts:
Note I’d also ordered a METCAL unit from Mouser (so almost same box) – they had taped the internal METCAL box closed, and shipped it inside of another box.
Most of the time orders are shipped without a lot of sense put into things. Crystals were just in a bag (as shipped from manufacture – so it’s not like someone repacked them) inside the main box for example, but then some pin-headers will be put in a bag in a padded envelope.
They managed to nick this ATMega328P when (I assume?) cutting a tube to length:
For the most part it’s just cost I eat – nothing was enough to really matter long-term, but it’s clear a lot of their cost savings come from making customers eat these costs (who the hell is going to waste their time RMAing a $5 chip?). I guess I collected enough hassle to make a blog post at least.
So there you go – a quick run-down of some stuff to watch out for. Sometimes items are only stocked at Newark, so I don’t worry too much about it. But it’s always frustrating as Newark is so close to being good, but then has a few easy-to-fix issues that hold it back. Maybe one day it will improve, until then I’ll keep with old reliable Digi-Key who has never failed me!