CompUSA’s Customer Service Problems

Via Instapundit, we learn of two recent horror stories, here and here, involving CompUSA.

As Donald Sensing points out, this is sometimes as much an individual store thing as anything else. On the other hand, I’ve had my own share of problems with them. Mine, however, involve something worse–upselling, with accompanying defamation in some cases.

On one occasion, a neighbor asked me for my opinion on what to buy for a memory upgrade. I examined the memory in the computer and wrote down the exact quantity and speed to ask for. A few days later, I saw him again; he gave me a funny look and told me that he bought something different on the advice of the sales clerk. Upon questioning, it turned out that the sales clerk had taken my recommendation, told my neighbor that I didn’t know what I was talking about, and sold him some dual-speed memory at twice the price. I told my neighbor that he had been tricked, but he decided to stick with what he had, since it seemed to work.

Later, I had opportunity to buy memory for myself, and decided to check out the situation. The back shelf had all their memory laid out, with prices; after an exhaustive search, I located the memory I needed (on a bottom shelf, somewhat well-hidden), and asked the clerk to give it to me. He replied that I should probably buy something else that should work much better: yup, dual-speed memory, at nearly twice the price. I literally had to argue with the young punk behind the counter to get what I wanted, and nearly walked out on him; he gave me the dire warning that the memory was likely not to work as he handed me the package. As of this writing, that memory has been working perfectly for over a year.

Some people have mentioned Best Buy. I’ve had mixed results from them. Their habit of rebating everything is irritating, and I’ve had one rebate refused for missing some portion of the magic pixie dust ritual they make you go through. On the other hand, I bought my current laptop from them; the first model was busted out of the box (probably a short in the sound card circuitry) and they just exchanged it with very little hassle. When they heard I was planning to run Linux on it, they even found a resident Linux tech expert to consult with me, which was far more respect for Linux than I’m used to.

Between these and Circuit City (who completely melted down in the face of an exclusive distribution agreement to sell a white-hot item, something most retailers would kill for), I’m not sure what to do about the current sorry state of electronics vendors.

UPDATE (2007-12-09): Commenter JD wrote, “I am amazed every day that they are able to stay in business.”  Well, wonder no more.

10 thoughts on “CompUSA’s Customer Service Problems

  1. Compusa , has a habit of treating its customers like garbage. In fact I am amazed every day that they are able to stay in business.

    I have been in IT for many years and have had nothing but bad experiences with myself and my customers. Normally I would not use CompUSA for anything however during the past week I was in a rush, so a placed an order for 6 versions of windows XP online. They took my credit card, said the order was confirmed and to go to the store to pick it up within 72 hours, other wise the offer would no longer be valid.

    Ok, I thought its CompUSA “I should not be doing this” I better call to make sure they have my order, – They confirmed. However, when I went to the store they would not honor the price because of the size of the discount their own website gave me. They said it was in fact correct but that the sale expired 4 hours ago and even though you were well within the 72 hour period we told you we still will not honor the agreement.

    This is typical of the way CompUSA treats it customers, and this is only 1 example of many.

    So the moral of this story is never ever buy products from CompUSA; you will only regret it in the end and feel like you were ripped off.

  2. I went to Comp USA store in Raleigh, NC yesterday and stood in the notebook section browsing for 15 minutes. I asked a clerk for assistance, received none. Waited another 10 minutes, went back to the office, got on line, spent $1900 with Dell for a new notebook. Any people wonder why customer service matters…do the owners of these stores even care any more?

  3. I am writing this letter to explain my personal experience with a Comp USA store and subsequent repair and service.

    I have purchased a digital camera SONY dcs7 on June 14th 2005 in your Edison NJ store along with an extended warranty at the same time. The camera was repaired three times and is currently in the store being repaired for the fourth time. I was assured by sales people at the time of purchase that the whole purpose of an extended warranty is to get the product fixed.

    After my camera was repaired for the third time, I have requested a new product due to a fact that I owned the product for less than a year, and it was defective three times. My request was denied at the time.

    When I brought the camera to the store (for fourth time with a new problem) at the beginning of November with an expectation of it being repaired, the following has happened:

    · It is nearly three months and I still do not have the camera.

    · This situation has reached the point where I should be getting a new product because it is clearly defective.

    · Moreover, when I attempted to pick up the camera on (December 15th), I was verbally (wrongly) accused by store manager Hasan Aouby and store manager Jim Seman of cracking the LCD display, where in fact the display was not cracked at the time I dropped off the camera at the repair department in November. There is no notation of any physical damage on my drop off receipt, dated November 2th, 2006 (see enclosed). It was making a strange noise when the lens extends and retracts when turning the camera off and on. This problem had nothing to do with the display.

    I am surprised that a store with a nationwide footprint and reputation to stand behind your products would allow a situation like this to reach this level of repeated attempts to repair an item which is clearly defective, rather than return it to the manufacturer and make good on the purchase by replacing it.

    In addition, it is very unprofessional of the store manager to wrongly accuse customers of breaking the products. It is bad enough that the camera has never worked well, and has been repeatedly brought back to the store for repair of numerous and varied problems but to be accused of breaking products.

    Unless this issue is resolved in short order, I will pursue this case with the Federal Trade Commission, Attorney General’s office as well as publicize this issue in the media.

    I look forward to your prompt reply.

    Sincerely yours

  4. I just bought a 750GB SATA drive last night. It doesn’t spin up. I called the store to make sure that they had another one in stock for an exchange. They told me to call Seagate to exchange it as they are not accepting returns even for defective material. So it boils down to the fact that COMPUSA sells defective items and wont cover them… Now I know why they are going out of business.

  5. CompUSA is the worst. Beware of buying at their so called “sales” where they’re going out of business. I bought a printer at what I thought was a good price and then went across the street and saw it for $100 less! They would do nothing about it, claiming the liquidator owned everything, although everyone had on a CompUSA nametag and shirt. I was so upset I told every shopper in the store to be careful what they bought. I figured if I wasn’t going to get the $100 back, I would ensure that they would lose it in additional sales. The guys loking at digital cameras thanked me and walked out of the store!

  6. I purchased a laptop with the 3 year TAP plan, Which cost about $300 on a $1100 laptop. One year later several parts quit working, the item was sent back and forth 3 times for the same problem, each time they replaced something else, including the motherboard twice. One time I swore I got the same broken part back. After 3 trys everything was working but the shell was scratched up, a hinge on the screen cracked and the card slot no longer ejected cards. However everything was usable, so I left it at that. I figured I had another 2 years on the warranty.

    Originally I had purchased the warranty because an employee had told me it covered breakage and that myself being a business customer that if I were in desperate need of the laptop and couldnt send it off it would be replaced on the spot 1 time, and that would void the warranty.

    I found out that was not true, you have to send the item in 3 times for the same part in order to get a replacement. Even then its at the repair centers choice. The manager of the store totally blew me off and began taking calls rather than dealing with me, after a long drawn out debate. I was told “the store is not responsible for what the employees tell the customer”. They told me that if a employee misleads of lies to a customer the employee is responsible, and can be fired. However the store has no obligation to hold up to what the employees tell the customer.

    Here I am 1 year later, more broken parts, Ive canceled my credit with them, canceled my business account and have not purchased from them in over a year. I sent my laptop off for repair again. This time a loose ethernet port, and a bent pin in my pcmcia slot. The laptop came back with a quote for $380. They claim that these parts do not break from wear and tear, its “physical damage” or abuse. So they refused to repair the laptop. I refused to take it with me, and they are shipping it off again. I’ll post back again with more details of the original problems, and how this turns out.

  7. Those few of you that back ConUSA and their deceptive warranties and liquidation policies are flat wrong on this issue. The power of the people is the only way to see this. Open you eyes and look at what is happening. Alot of regular folks have gotten ripped off. They got me for about $80 on a bunk PCI wireless network adapter.

    The sucker based ponzy scheme ConUSA has engaged in is now in the final stages. Their reputation and brand is toast and their business collapsing. It reminds me of Enron but in a power to people kinda way. Pissing off to many good old Americans on rebates landed them in court. ConUSA lost and and the people got Justice. So at this point are you going to believe a thief or a regular guy?

    Fast forward…… More recently CompUSA stores are being liquidated left and right. Word has gotten that CompUSA is shady. Death is almost done devouring the con artists at CompUSA. It won’t be long before the average schmo is protected. All the CompUSA will be closed.

    I hate it when fockers buy American brands that took years to build and then use them to rip off the American people. I’m sure another company will fill the vacuum. Let hope they have more heart than the owner and management at CompUSA did.

  8. Hi
    I bought a Compaq laptop from CompUSA with 2 year extended warranty. It worked fine for about 14 months before I started having problems with it. Since the location in my area was closed, I shipped it to their repair facility. The replaced the screen with a used “refurbished” one and they replaced the mouse pad. I never knew you pay for extended warranty to get used parts.
    I wasnt happy with the parts, but I accepted it.
    approximately 3 weeks later, the screen just went black, so it only worked for about 3 weeks. I shipped it back to CompUsa repair facility, but this time, they claimed the laptop has water damage. I assured them that can NOT be true and they asked me to send it back again. It was sent back to me unrepaired and they emailed me pics showing a motherboard that seems as if it was dipped in water. Extensive rust can be seen in the pic.
    I contacted their corporate office in Dallas and a TAP manager agreed that something isnt right and agreed that a laptop with the kind of damage shown in the pic is likely to have stopped working instantly and she seemed to agree that rust cant build so bad in the 3 weeks since it came back to me from their repair facility. Once again, I shipped the laptop to CompUsa, this time to Dallas.
    I called few days later to get an update and was told they need to “locate” the laptop if it has been delivered. I told them I checked the tracking number and it shows it was received. However, eventually, the TAP manager told me the damage the laptop shows matches the damage in the pics (she is a genius). I assured her that motherboard cant be mine and must have been replaced by ConUSA so that they dont repair the laptop. My next step is to take them to court and have a judge decide.
    Please avoid CompUsa and spend your hard earned dollars at a business that respects its customers. No wonder they have to close many of their locations.

  9. I bought a lap-top from the one and only (comp(not)usa), I never claimed to be dumb, but I was when I bought the extended warranty(for $249.00).
    The hinge on one side of the screen broke, so I call the warranty co. were one is to call so you can send them the computer, after sending it to them some lady by the name of Kathy Hoblit sent me a E-mail stating that there are certain types of damage that we don’t cover,(like I threw my lap top out the window going down the freeway. I guess I should of went to Tijuana Mexico and spent the $249.00 on some (HOOKERS) ad least I WOULD HAVE GOTTEN MY MONEYS WORTH, who knows I might have ran into to Kathy (HO)blit

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