TERRIBLE Experience with WCE. Our order was also part of a Peace Corps grant, but then added two other NGOs to it. I hope WCE either goes out of business or revamps its volunteer base.
1. Late Computers - took a year (literally) for them to come.
2. Disorganized management - multiple invoices, packing lists, etc.
3. BROKEN COMPUTERS - Like another review, 40% of our shipment showed up NOT WORKING
4. CRAP COMPUTERS - The developing world is not a dumping ground for crap, but that's exactly what came. Most computers were more than 10+ years old. Laptops were obsolete. The only good thing were the projectors.
Whatever you do, DO NOT USE THIS CHARITY to source computers. What a headache. If I only would have known...
PEACE CORPS - DO NOT USE THIS CHARITY as you have hard deadlines for your time in country and you must report back on what is usually grant money. You will be very sorry.
NGOS - DO NOT USE THIS CHARITY as it sounds like a good deal, but for what you get, the quality, and the hassle you end up with (you do most of the work) it is not worth it. And there is no value for these computers in the end since half arrive broken, you still pay duty on them, and the other half are older than your organization.
We have worked with WCE on two different shipments. The first was in 2007-2008 when we were serving as US Peace Corps Volunteers in the Philippines. It was a 40' shipping container where we purchased about 90 computers for our Peace Corps project, and the provincial government took the remaining 300 in the container. I was the main point of contact with that one, working personally with the president of WCE and the provincial treasurer's office. The second shipment was to Tanzania in 2013, where our non-profit organization purchased about 30 units but "piggybacked" in a container coordinated by someone else. The types of computers that we purchased were quite different in these two cases. The first was a mix of Pentium I's, II's, III's, and IV's, along with monitors, keyboards, and mice. The second was all Pentium III's with monitors, keyboards, and mice.
In both cases, the computers functioned better than expected. WCE literature notes that one can expect about a 10% attrition rate. In the first shipment, we observed a slightly higher attrition rate than that for the Pentium I's (mainly because the processor speed was too slow for our application), but for the more modern computers and other parts the attrition rate was much less than 10%. In the second shipment, everything worked perfectly. We have been very pleased.
As for timeliness, my opinion is that WCE is as timely as can be expected given the vagaries of international shipping and customs. I am extremely impressed with WCE's knowledge and capabilities (and patience) in navigating the challenges. For the 2007-2008 shipment, there was a very long list of obstacles that we had to work through to make the shipment happen. So, while things didn't happen as quickly as we would have ideally liked, they happened as quickly as one could reasonably expect. The second shipment had fewer challenges but even so, it wasn't without issues. Again, WCE took care of things. For future clients, I would definitely suggest including extra time in your schedule for the unforeseen.
One problem we did have with the second shipment was a disappearance of a box that had the mice and most of the video and power cables. Thankfully we were able to find a supplier locally but it was an extra expense for us. I would say that can be a drawback of piggy-backing on someone else's shipment -- we weren't there when the container was opened, and thus we weren't able to help identify the items that were part of our purchase. If at all possible, you should arrange to have someone there when the container is opened to identify and claim your portion of the shipment.
In short, working with WCE has been a positive experience. Shipping computers internationally probably will always bring challenges, but there aren't many alternatives in our business if we actually want to execute our mission. Working with WCE definitely was helpful in navigating the challenges, and we would certainly consider working with them on future purchases to support our projects. There are so many nuances to shipping, and being able to rely on an expert is a huge help. We have appreciated WCE's continuing service as well. We recently needed computer memory for some units in the Philippines, and WCE graciously sent us a boxful for our use.
Review from Guidestar
My name is Majaliwa Mbogella, a Chairperson of Children Care Development Organization (www.envaya.org/ccdo) and a Director of Hope 4 Tanzania (www.hope4tanzania.org), actually I feel very honored by the World Computer Exchange Incl since we established our partnership on November 2011 up today, we never experienced any problems concerning their customer care, really, they are a good service provider and customer care oriented, this is because during the year 2011 and 2012 they donated their computers to us and we are still using their computers up date. Our orphans are still enjoying their computers aid and always they still remember and pray to them based on their giving. I strongly I appreciate their excellence service they provide in Tanzania since all our partners in Tanzania we connected to them they are acknowledging us to identify this partner. And also we are very happy on that and we expect to apply another computers for our center. We say welcome and see how their computers are working http://www.envaya.org/ccdo
Review from Guidestar
I'm a Peace Corps volunteer building a computer technology center on the Haitian-Dominican border. Since my budget is limited, I sought out World Computer Exchange so that I could get the most reasonably priced computers possible and save money for other aspects of the project.
HORRIBLE experience. After months and months of waiting, the computers I reserved and paid for where evidently given out to other groups. I contacted the organization's leader and sent several e-mails to be met with total silence. Another Peace Corps volunteer that I work with never received his computers either--computers he also paid for. In the developed world, this is known as THEFT.
There was one volunteer who did receive her shipment of PCs, but 33% of the computers arrived non-functional. Her e-mails were also met with total silence.
In short, I'm going to do everything possible to make sure Peace Corps never works with WCE again.
Review from Guidestar