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  1. #1
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    Dealing with Big Retailers / Customer Service

    Guys:

    Some related topics have come up lately. I have done some research, have posted some comments, and have some recent experiences...

    I purchased a Toshiba DLP HTDV recently from one of the Big Guy nationwide retailers recently. No need to name the company, however, it is one that seems to have a bad rap for sales practices and support. I had also been speaking with a small Local dealer, one that I actually know the owner quite well. He assured me he could beat any price from the Big Guy. Unfortunately, he was in Mexico when I had the itchy trigger finger to buy. When the Big Guy posted a $200.00 "Digital Coupon" promotion, that was it. I bought on price at the time, $2599.00 total. In the end, my Local guy offered $2555.00. However, I had already sent the order.

    Experience #1: The local dealers will have access to product at the same price as the big guys. They actually do. They may not be willing to sell at that price, but you may be surprised. Please do give them a shot.

    The Big Guy was very nebulous with regards to his "Digital Coupon" promotion. Surprise. Once the order was completed, there was no mention whatsoever that it ever even existed. The website had changed. It was not listed on the invoice. Originally, the website said "Digital Coupons" would be e-mailed out after 2/6/05. That date went by, nothing. I was getting concerned that I had fallen into a bait-and-switch trap and felt really, really stupid. I sent e-mails to the customer service link, and was told it would be 4 to 6 weeks for issue of the "Digital Coupons". At 6 weeks, still nothing. I was disgusted at myself. I sent another round of e-mails with no conclusion. Customer service by phone was a joke.

    At this point, I had reached the end. I saw that $200.00 slipping away and the word "sucker" written on my face. As a matter of principle, I was furious. I went to the NC Dept. of State and searched the database of Registered Agents. I found the Agent for this company in Raleigh and contacted them. In short, I wanted my $200.00 promotion and was not going to accept anything less. Need be, I would ask them (the Agent) to meet me at Small Claims in Wake County and a referee would decide. Wouldn't you know it, the next day I got my "Digital Coupon" in my inbox. One day after that, I got a phone call from the Corporate office of the Big Guy. The Agent had forwarded my correspondence to their legal department and he was calling to make sure everything was cool. The fact was, my contacting their Agent had nothing to do with the timing of my rebate, it was merely coincidence. However, I DID get an immediate response from someone with authority at this particular Big Guy retailer. No small feat, I had found a way to get their attention.

    Experience #2: Any company that does business in a State must have a legal representative in that State who is responsible for the actions of that company. Privately owned, it is the owner. Corporate, it is a Registered Agent. If you have a serious issue and are getting nowhere with the usual customer service, the Registered Agent for your State is someone you can lean on to leverage a response. The company must respond to your complaint, no matter how small, in the County of residence of the Registered Agent. They will not want to do so. Chances are, the Agent will have means to get issues resolved efficiciently as possible. This button exists for your benefit. Push it if you must.

    Warranties: If you want to see how warranties really work, read up on this.

    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs...bs/warranty.htm

    I found it very interesting. Your particular State will have a similar document, listing the rules and regs where you live. Bottom line, company policy does not necessarily dictate warranty obligations, the government does.

    Good Luck

    jocko

  2. #2
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    The problem is that all that sh$t went went through is just what i dont want to do. As soon as that 200 bucks didnt show up,i stop everything,regroup and go someplace else.
    Look & Listen

  3. #3
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Most of the time the big-box retailers lose me in the sales pitch when I start asking questions....If I feel more knowledgeable then the person I'm talking to, I run away...
    If I feel I'm being fed a pile of BS, then I run away mad.

  4. #4
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Talking Thanks, you've done us all a great service...

    I appreciate what you did and the fight you fought. Everytime "the little guy" holds the "bait and switchers" feet to the fire... they have to think twice about their tactics and deeds. Perhaps they'll hesitate to do this again. I've personally given up on rebates, eletronic or otherwise. If it's not an "instant rebate" I don't want to hear it. I'll go to ebay instead. Also I really would like to know the name of the chain. Naming names is helpful, cause if I know who it is I'll definately avoid them. That being said, thanks again for your efforts and more importantly, your recount.

    Da Worfster

  5. #5
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Dead link. Can you post one that works? I'd like to read it.

    Thanks for the info.

  6. #6
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    We'll try this...

    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/...s/warranty.htm

    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/...s/warranty.htm

    This is a guide for business owners. There is a myriad of other info there as well.

    jocko

  7. #7
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    The retailer that uses "Digital Coupons" by name... That was Best Buy.

    In the future, I will only consider actual price at the time of purchase. No exceptions. The rebate thing is completely out of control.

    jocko

  8. #8
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    I concur with Worf: you have done us a great service by informing us of a layer of protection that I, and probably others, were unaware of.

  9. #9
    DIYaudiophilehack
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    Typically rebates are nothing other than a means of obtaining private information about people so they can be added to a database and farmed for solicitation mailings. Believe it or not this is the primary objective of the dreaded "Perfromance Service Plan" or extended warranty, at least for the above named company. Aside from the "pure profit" revenue generated by the PSP sale, there is a market that is willing to pay good money for such a database. Read ALL of the fine print on those agreements. I used to be a manager for Best Buy and am well versed in their tactics.

  10. #10
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    I tried to access the linkyou posted and it now does not exist. The agents must have decided that they did not want all of the attention and so moved their location. A moving target is harder to hit.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular
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    Quote Originally Posted by donc
    I tried to access the linkyou posted and it now does not exist. The agents must have decided that they did not want all of the attention and so moved their location. A moving target is harder to hit.
    No, it just may have moved. That and this board seems to do wierd things with links... Registered Agents are always listed with the State. Go to your State website, you'll find a database easily enough.

    jocko

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