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Feb 04, 2005

I was picking up some audio components for a client at a major electronics retailer when I overhead a dispute between the store and a customer. A few days prior, the customer had purchased a television that the supposedly in stock. Well, it turns out the television wasn’t in stock, but the store would deliver the television for free. Well, it turns out the delivery wasn’t free, but the store would be happy to ship the television for $40. And did I mention that the store had already charged the customer’s credit card?

The customer decided that he wanted the television shipped directly to the store, and he would pick it up — he (understandably) didn’t want to pay the $40 delivery charge, and he also couldn’t take a day off work to wait for the delivery truck. The television was delivered to the store, and instead of holding the TV for pickup, the store shipped the television to the customer’s house. This was the point where the customer came in to the store, trying to figure out what happened to his television.

Bottom line: the customer service representative and her supervisor admitted that the store screwed up, but there was nothing they could do about it. The television model in question was now in stock, so his only option would be to buy a second TV (remember, he’s already paid for the first one) and he could return the first TV for a refund when he received it. After an exasperating conversation, the customer demanded his money back. Because the television was en route, the store couldn’t refund his money until he received the unit. Since he couldn’t wait at home to receive the TV, the manager told him that he would have to wait for the delivery service to make three unsuccessful delivery attempts before they would return the TV back to the store.

I left at that point, so I’m not sure how this was resolved. But you have to wonder: the store messed up the order, and the best they can offer is “buy another television?” They have certainly lost that customer, and it’s likely that the customer’s friends and family (and me!) aren’t likely to buy any big-ticket items there in the near future. How about at least trying to appease the customer? How about “we screwed up sir, and we apologize. As a gesture of goodwill, here’s a $100 gift card.”

In another show of outstanding customer service, I enjoyed watching the salesman at another major retailer trying to convince a customer that $50 of Monster Cable would significantly improve the audio and video quality of a $30 DVD player.


Speaking of Monster cable: In the interest of fair and balanced reporting, here is a rebuttal to allegations that Monster Cable Inc. is evil.


It’s good to see that even retailers are stressing the importance of room acoustics in a decent-sounding audio system


The ABC News magazine 20/20 broadcast a segment on noise pollution this past Friday night as part of a report on “Nasty Behavior.” The NoiseOFF website has a vidcap of the report (RealMedia format unfortunately).


Take a look at Onkyo’s NR1000 home theater receiver: they have truly redefined the concept of “future proof” when it comes to consumer audio components.

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