Entries in the Category "Shopping"

Don't go for the discount - store card deals

Remember shopping at Gap, Macy's, Banana Republic, etc.? When you are ready to purchase your items, the cashier would ask you if you wanted to sign up for their store credit card and get 10 or 15% off your purchase and for the rest of the day.

Of course, they don't bother telling you that the APR rate is sky high!

ABC Carpets 23.99% 0% APR for 6 months**
Radio Shack 23.85% 0% APR for 2-12 months**
K-Mart / Sears 23.15% 0% APR for 24 months** 20 days
Bloomingdales 22.90% 10% off first purchase -
Macy's 22.90% 10% off first purchase 25 days
Saks 5th Avenue 22.90% 10% off first purchase -
Fashion Bug 22.90% - 25 days
Lane Bryant 22.80% 15% off first purchase 25 days
Express 22.80% - 25 days
Ann Taylor 22.80% 10% off first purchase 25 days
Abercrombie & Fitch 22.80% - 25 days
New York & Company 22.80% - 25 days
Design within Reach 22.80% 9.9% APR for 12-24 months -
Ikea 22.65% 0% APR for 3 months 25 days
Neiman Marcus 22.25% - 25 days
Bergdorf Goodman 22.25% - 27 days
Circuit City 21.99% 0% APR for 3 months 20 days
Target 21.99% 10% off with first use 25 days
Victoria's Secret 21.99% Up to $75 back 25 days
Toys "R" Us 21.99% - 20 days
PC Richard 21.98% 0% APR for 12 months** -
Staples 21.96% - 20 days
Average 21.96% - 25 days

Brooks Brothers 21.60% 10% off first purchase 26 days
Lord & Taylor 21.60% 10% off first purchase 25 days
JC Penny 21.00% 10% off first purchase 25 days
Home Depot 21.00% 0% APR for 6 months 26 days
Gap / Banana Republic / Old Navy 21.00% 15% off first purchase 26 days
Barney's New York 21.00% - 26 days
Nordstrom 20.90% $20 rewards certificate 25 days
J. Crew 20.99% 10% off first purchase 25 days
West Elm 20.75% - 25 days
Pottery Barn 20.75% 5% off for 90 days 25 days
Best Buy 20.40% 0% APR for 3 months** 25 days
Fortunoff 19.92% - 25 days
Crate & Barrel 19.80% - 25 days

**Special interest periods may vary based on the cost of the item purchased or speed of repayment.

Usually, I kept low balances on my Bloomingdale's and Macy's cards, but I finally closed them after seeing them raise my APR to over 21%.

It's not the $54 million pants lawsuit, it's the $54 million laptop lawsuit

I thought it was pretty friviolous when former Judge Pearson filed a $54 million lawsuit against a local dry cleaner shop on a pair of pants.

A $54 million lawsuit by Raelyn Campbell on a laptop may also seem ridiculous, but if Best Buy is going to lie to you for nine straight months, then something like this may prove useful in getting this company to treat their customers better.

The woman's damaged laptop was at her local Best Buy for six months for repairs, then she was finally told that it was lost. Then it took three months trying to settle some sort of compensation, and finally she had to file that astronomical lawsuit.

Campbell bought her new laptop at Best Buy in 2006, and she pay an extra $300 for an extended warranty. Fortunately, this was good for her when a year later, the computer's on/off switch broke. She took the computer back to the store, and she was given a repair estimate of TWO TO SIX WEEKS!

If it were 2-6 weeks for a business user, then it is clearly not productive and shows there must be very lazy techs working there. Honestly, I can send a IBM laptop with a broken screen back to their repair depot and get it back in roughly 2 weeks.

Anyway, it was alright for Campbell since she had to go abroad for a couple of weeks. When she came back from Asia, she did not hear anything from Best Buy.

Her Aug. 24 complaint letter to the firm was filled with exasperation.

“On July 11, I contacted the (store’s) helpline and was instructed by ‘Agent David Goodfellow’ that it would be ‘ready within days,’” she wrote to the firm in a letter dated Aug. 24. “I called the service line again on July 19, and was told by a female agent that the computer appeared to be at the ‘Louisville Services Center since July 4.’ On July 25, I called again and spoke to Brenda, who transferred me to Daniel. Daniel confirmed that a ‘part had just been ordered. It should leave Louisville soon.’ …When I heard nothing further, I called yet again on Aug. 7 and spoke with Ashley. When she could not confirm any additional information, I asked to speak to a manager. I was told the manager, ‘Marsha,’ was in a meeting. I asked her to call ASAP. My call was not returned, so I called again on Aug. 9. I explained the whole situation yet again to ‘Cicero,’ who indicated that there seemed to be a problem.”

The problem was severe: “It never appears to have left the store,” she recounted Cicero as telling her. A few days later, he called back and admitted that the computer had been lost. The way she sees it, the other company clerks had been lying to her all along.

* * * * * *

Of course, the compensation part was even worse.

Campbell paid more than $1,100 for the computer and warranty.

Best Buy's first offer: $900 gift card

She wanted $2,100 in cash. She got family and friends to write to the store in protest. It did surprise her when the store's general manager, Robert Delissio, replied back to the letters.

His response, in a sort of condescending way:

"For every customer that has had an unpleasant experience I can show you hundreds who have had a great experience. I have been in retail for a long time and the one conclusion I have come to is that not every customer can be satisfied," he wrote in an e-mail supplied by Campbell. "Does my store have opportunities? Absolutely! What I can say is that we strive to deliver the experience that every customer deserves to receive."

* * * * * *

A textbook answer. Of course we cannot satisfy everybody, but if your personnel lost a laptop and the person's financial and personal information, how can you treat it with less value? Your employees were totally at fault, not the customer. When you get that one isolated situation, why do you treat it with such disdain and ignorance? Imagine if you really took care of Campbell, it would have created a positive image for the company and its employees.

Best Buy did increased their offer, only after the Washington, D.C., attorney general called the store.

This time: $1,100 credit card refund plus $500 gift card

Then Campbell had a bigger problem than a lost computer - the potential for identity theft. She did have her personal information on the computer including her personal tax returns. So she had to enroll in a identity theft monitoring service. She also learned that Best Buy was in violation of the district's security breach notification law, which requires companies that have lost a consumer's data to tell them. To date, she has not received that notification.

Finally, she filed the $54 million lawsuit.

Best Buy increased their offer again: $1,100 refund, the $500 gift card, and $2,500 in cash. But she would have to withdraw her lawsuit and sign a confidentiality agreement.

* * * * * *

Why a secret agreement? To cover up their security lapse in the loss of a customer's laptop? To cover up the lies the customer service reps have made to Campbell?

Campbell knows she won't get the $54 million. All she really wants is a promise from the company that it will train employees on privacy issues and on procedures for preventing loss or theft of returned items.

= = = = = = =

I am sure we can all understand her situation. I have shopped at Best Buy quite often and pretty much got great service in return. Of course, I have not encountered a situation where I had to deal with Best Buy on returning a product for service or replacement. I guess it is always smooth sailing when buying something, but if you need something fixed or you need to return something for a replacement or refund, then Best Buy gets quite stingy.

Ahh, the Geeksquad... bunch of smartass techs. Perhaps even incompetent too.


Campbell's Blog

Walmart won't price match their own stores or web site

For the college student, Walmart can be a lifesaver if you want to buy cheap stuff or food in bulk, or whatever.

You know that Best Buy and other stores have this price match guarantee where if you find a store that has a cheaper price for a product, then the original store will match it. Some may even give you a price bonus too.

Consumerist.com tells us:

A Wal-Mart corporate spokesperson confirms Wal-Mart stores do not have to match their other store's prices or the prices on WalMart.com. Wal-Mart will, however, match the price of any local competitor's printed advertisement for an identical product.

* * * * *

According to some viewers, if you want to find a lower price, go to a Walmart in a poorer part of town.

Tulsa KJRH 2 news alert

CompUSA refuses refund for an empty camera box

compusa_logo.gifIt has been quite a long time since I've been to a CompUSA store. Compare it with Best Buy, Circuit City, and online stores, I don't think CompUSA has adapted quickly enough with the changing business environment. My brother used to work for CompUSA and he would come back with some crazy stories with customers and with the company itself.

But for Terry Heaton, it would seem CompUSA gave him and all of us one more reason why they deserve to lose our business.

Mr. Heaton went to a CompUSA store that was going through a liquidation sale (127 of their stores were being closed). He spent almost $3,500 including a digital camera for $269. He has long been a CompUSA customer and has made several major purchases in the past from them.

When he got home, he realised that the digital camera box had no camera! Now, I would admit there should be a slight weight difference, but even recent and new cameras that are on sale are pretty light. If the rest of the contents were in the packaging (i.e. CD, cables, battery charger), then it is possible that the weight difference would not be noticeable.

Anyways, upon realising this missing item, he went to a nearby CompUSA store to see about getting a refund. The manager there told him that, since a liquidation company technically sold him the camera, CompUSA is NOT responsible for giving him a refund.

Strange, I would have thought even for a store doing a liquidation sale, all the employees are still CompUSA employees, right?

So Terry Heaton wrote a letter to CompUSA CEO Roman Ross:

* * * * * * *

May 11, 2007

Roman Ross
President and Chief Executive Officer
14951 N. Dallas Parkway
Dallas, TX 75254

Dear Mr. Ross,

This is to bring to your attention an issue that I’ve been unable to resolve at the store level.

First of all, let me explain that I’ve been a loyal customer of CompUSA for 10 years. I bought my last two computers from your stores, along with hundreds of other items. It is because I view myself as a customer that I send you this letter.

On March 22, 2007, I went to the Lewisville store to buy a new computer (I’m writing this letter on it now). I wasn’t aware that the store was closing and was surprised when I saw the signs. I took advantage of the sale to purchase many other items. My total bill was over $3,300.00.

One of those items was a Canon A630 camera. It was purchased as a gift for my step-daughter, whom I would see in May, so I put the box away in my home office. When the day came, I handed it to her, as she beamed with joy. That didn’t last long, because the box contained only the peripherals and not the camera.

So I went back to Lewisville only to be told the store had closed. So I made the trip to Frisco, where I met manager Tommy Jackson. He refused to help me, telling me that, well, I really didn’t purchase the camera from CompUSA, but a liquidation company. I showed him the receipt from CompUSA, told him I bought it in a CompUSA store and that the salesperson was wearing a CompUSA uniform. He was adamant that it was my problem, not his. At this point, my frustration and embarrassment turned to anger, and he told me I would need to communicate with your lawyers.

How on earth can a company such as yours treat a customer in this manner? You sold me an empty box for $269.00, and over that, you tell me that all the money I spent with you over ten years means nothing. And you blame it on a technicality?

Mr. Ross, this reflects terribly on your company, and I ask you to make it right.


Terry Heaton
xxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxxx xxxxx
Grapevine, TX 76051

* * * * * * *

In response, the Escalations Department responded with a "not our problem, you are screwed" letter.

* * * * * * *

May 30, 2007

Terry Heaton
xxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxxx xxxxx
Grapevine, TX 76051

Dear Mr. Heaton:

Thank you for contacting compUSA regarding your purchase at our Lewisville store; we regret any difficulty you encountered or misinformation you may have been given.

The Lewisville CompUSA was one of 126 stores that was liquidated and closed on 5/7/07. The return policy for all merchandise, as printed on your receipt and posted throughout the store, clearly stated ALL SALES FINAL.

Keep in mind, new digital cameras are usually sold in a factory sealed box; if the camera you purchased was a clearance item, you should have inspected its content prior to purchase.

Although we apologize for any inconvenience this situation may have caused, we cannot honor your request for return or exchange.

Thank you,

Kevin Hain
Escalations Supervisor
CompUSA Executive Care

* * * * * * *

Basically, CompUSA wants you to check the contents of your purchase to make sure everything is ok. I guess they are telling me that their stock is "as is" condition, so they cannot possibly guarantee to me that their condition is 100% new. This is opposite to how Best Buy handles their customers. I went to a Best Buy Maryland store to purchase a Canon digital camera, and the salesperson opened up the box and inspected the contents to make sure everything was there. He even inserted the battery and memory card into the camera.

So it does not matter the technicality - in CompUSA's name, on a CompUSA receipt, $269 was stolen from Terry Heaton. Their reasoning is that since "ALL SALES ARE FINAL," Mr. Heaton purchased a $269 box with all the trimmings except for the camera. To them, they probably got a $249 profit off the transaction.

Therefore, CompUSA gets a "BUYER BEWARE" notice. Be sure to check your purchase since they are not willing to do so on their part.

Update 6/5/07

Good news for Heaton! His story was picked up throughout the blogosphere and was even on several news networks. To avoid further PR damage, a customer service rep from CompUSA called Heaton, apologised for the inconvenience and told him that he will get a $300 certificate. (Reported by Fox News)