Caveat emptor or "Let the buyer beware"

Ok, this is a new one for me.  I love to give good reviews of products and services, and generally hate to give bad ones. 

For years, one of my favorite places to go for things electronic was CompUSA.  I could usually find what I wanted at a decent price, get it quickly and had no problems with customer service.  Ok, sure, there were times that a competing big-box store had a better price, or an online retailer had a fantastic price that made it worth the 3-day shipping wait........... 

However, by and large CompUSA got most of my business.  And then CompUSA closed their retail stores and went online only.  Not a big deal, prices were still good, if not a little better and I can usually wait the two or three days to ship something.

Now, one of my kids wants a new MP3 player, and he's willing to pay for it himself.  Ok, not being rich, he decides on a refurbished Sansa e280.  CompUSA's web site says this product has a 90 day manufacturer warranty, and there is an extended service plan available.   So I ordered the Sansa player and the extended service plan.  

Now, about 70 days after receiving the player, the display dies.  I called Sansa, and they helped me troubleshoot the problem and decided the player needed to be returned under its one year warranty.  I truthfully told the rep that it was a refurbished device and only had a 90 day warranty, but it was still within that 90 days.  I was then informed that Sansa doesn't warranty refurbished items, at all!  Another call, an hour later, with another tech gets me the same information.  Ok, no sweat, I'll just call CompUSA.

My call to them took an hour of explaining, multiple times, that yes, I had called Sansa and was told refurbished devices had no warranty, despite CompUSA's statement to the contrary.  They finally took my information, and told me a sales manager would be in touch on Monday.   Well, that was a week ago, and I still haven't heard from CompUSA.l

This really isn't that big a deal, as I can get it replaced under the extended service plan, in a few days.  Its just that this is another example of how poor customer service is getting.   The CompUSA customer representative should have simply resolved the issue, and cross-shipped a replacement, since their web site's information was inaccurate.  But she didn't, and their sales manager never called to follow up on the issue.  They will be hearing from me again, tomorrow, and they'll be informed that they've just lost a customer of many years.

Let the buyer beware!

Posted on Oct 05 2008, 09:48 AM by dougknox
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  • that is really bad.. CompUSA should have dealt that in a diffrnt way. whats the update now? have you got a replacement?

    I too had a bad customer service issue with dell :( .. and that too in a pre sales enquiry... After that I went ahead and brought an HP laptop :).

    Awsome service...

    December 3, 2008 11:38 PM
  • dougknox said:

    I should have responded to this sooner.  A few weeks after I posted a similarly poor review of another Sansa player on their web site, detailing the lack of a warranty and poor customer service from CompUSA and Sansa, I received a refund, via PayPal of my purchase price for the Extended Warranty.  A few weeks later, I received a check from the extended warranty provider for the purchase price of the Sansa player.  However, at no time did I receive an e-mail, phone call or any other communications from either party.  

    But with that said, they must read the reviews on their web site.  The only information that they had to go on was my e-mail address, and apparently they looked up the order based on that.  So, a successful resolution?  Yeah, I got my money back.  But still pretty poor customer service.

    February 24, 2009 1:24 PM