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ComPUSa, PART 2
3 March 2007
Because it's the kind of thing that I do, I was going to sit down and write a letter to the manager of the CompUSA outlet I'd been dealing with, and send a copy to CompUSA headquarters, so I took to the internet to get the address, which is what I did the last time I needed to contact CompUSA in Vacaville.
This time there was no listing on the web page for CompUSA Vacaville. It said that the closest CompUSA to me was Emeryville, which is near San Francisco. This tells me that the Vacaville CompUSA is one of the 134 outlets that is going to be closed.
I found the phone number in the telephone book (I remember those!) and called. I spoke with a guy named Jody, who said that the computer was all ready to go and he listed all that had been done to it. I stopped him. Nothing that he listed seemed to address my two problems. I explained to him exactly what the problems were and what had happened to that point...I also told him that I had typed out very detailed instructions, which included actually looking at a DVD and connecting to the Internet before pronouncing it "fixed."
Jody said that it was fixed but that he would personally take it and check it for me and call me back. An hour and a half later he called and apologized for taking so long (!!). He said that he couldn't get the DVD player to play or the computer to connect to the Internet either!
He also acknowledged that their location was closing and that he had only learned that yesterday.
We spoke at length and I told him that at this point, based on the fact that a tech person couldn't fix the problem and their shop was closing anyway, my druthers would be to get a complete refund, including the money I paid to have them set it up for me, and I would go buy a computer somewhere else.
He, naturally, does not have the authority to offer that to me, but said he would "put it on his boss's desk." He would call me back.
So this morning, I decided I would go down and demand my money back.
First I dealt with a normal clerk, who looked through all the records and said she didn't have the authority to give me a refund, but I would have to speak with the manager, Veronica. In the meantime, the clerk went to put the computer on the counter, it slipped out of her fingers and she dropped it on the floor. We both looked at it in horror. She grinned, shrugged and said "oh well--it's broken anyway."
Veronica said that she could give me a refund, but she couldn't do it unless it was brought back exactly the way it had left the store. That meant including the (empty) cardboard box that went inside the cardboard box I had brought it to them in, and the free offers that came with it, which I had left at my mother's. Everything else was already there.
I explained that I had made, now, nine trips between Davis and Vacaville (20 miles each way) for a computer they told me worked when I bought it and that I thought they owed me something for my trouble. They asked if I had my receipt, which I did not because the tech department took it the last time I dropped off the computer. They had apparently lost that too.
Since this is a location that is being closed, headquarters has closed off their computer ability to check receipts and the only way they could get my information is to check every purchase made for the month of January and February to see if they could find mine.
I told Veronica that if she could give me internet access, I could find the exact date right away by checking my journal. She said she had to go to the bathroom, so she would set me up on her computer while she did that. Only I discovered that since it's a corporate computer, internet access to all but business sites is blocked, so there was no way to get to Funny the World to find out. I called Walt at home and asked if he would check the archives and call me back.
In the meantime, Veronica was rifling through the hundreds of transactions for the first part of February and Scott walked in. Scott seems to have seniority over Veronica because he could pull up my records without problem using a different access. We agreed that he had found the right transaction and so he asked me what the problem was with the computer.
I gave him the long sad story and he told me that they could only exchange it or give me a store credit. If they refunded my money, I would need that damn EMPTY cardboard box that was sitting at home and I would also have to pay a 15% restocking fee.
I pointed out that they couldn't restock it because (a) it was broken, and (b) the clerk had dropped it in front of me and I definitely was not going to take it back.
Scott pointed out that I had "had the computer for nearly a month." I returned that I had BOUGHT the computer nearly a month ago but "You've had it longer than I have." He started yelling about how I was trying to make it personal and that he hadn't had it at all. I tried to explain that I wasn't talking about "you--Scott, but you--CompUSA." He stalked off yelling that I was being unreasonable and he wasn't even going to talk to me.
Veronica looked sheepish, apologized for Scott's boorish behavior and said that this wasn't the direction she had planned to take. We talked at length, she trying to calm me down and me working it for all I could, telling her how many years I had waited to get a new computer, tears welling up in my eyes, and how I wanted it especially because I was spending time taking care of my sick mother and needed a dial-up to get to the internet. It was quite a performance and actually somewhat genuine, though I was already mentally writing this journal entry.
She told me to sit where I was and she snuck outside with a cell phone. Within 3 minutes she was back, saying she had the OK from someone (God, perhaps) to give me a refund. She grabbed a clerk, went to the cash register farthest away from Scott, hurriedly told the clerk to give me a refund and waive the restocking fee, and in seconds, I was out in the car, my credit card being credited for the full cost of the computer and the service charge to get it set up and working so well .
I don't know when that particular location is closing, but it's a good bet that I will never enter that door again. I will be sending a letter to the manager (who, with my luck, will turn out to be Scott) with a copy to the head office, if I can find that address.
So....forewarned is forearmed. Know your CompUSA people before you attempt to deal with this company!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
(Cell phone picture of all the sale signs in this CompUSA location)
This is entry #2529