Note: This issue remains unresolved. The email chain is pretty funny. Notice that in the last email "Donna" (a manager of the local Micro Center store) mistakenly sent an email to the consumer indicating that the consumer is calling the manager a liar!
Please read from the end to the beginning. This issue comes down to a difference of only $70 on a high priced item. The district manager (Skip Dwyer) not only refuses to honor the original price presented by his sales person, but then refuse to honor the price presented by the store manager and actually has the nerve to substitute a price higher than all of them!
From: Donna Webber [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, February 14, 2005 4:07 PM
To: Russell ######
Subject: RE: Customer Complaint...
He is calling you a liar!
From: Russell Thomas [mailto:######@russell########.com]
Sent: Monday, February 14, 2005 1:59 PM
To: Skip Dwyer
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: RE: Customer Complaint...
We have sold the PC/TV's that you have referred to; however I have two others on the floor. They are priced at 989.96 and they are dated 2/10/05 and 2/12/05. That price of 989.96 would include the both the instant and the clearance discount. They both have the UPC and eligible for the additional 100 dollar mail in that would make the final price 889.96 or 110.00 dollars less than the advertised price after rebates and additional discounts.
I do not believe this to be the case as I mentally marked the damage to the boxes in the Manager's Special section and continued to visit the store after the event in question for this reason. It appears to me that the three boxes were re-labeled correctly shortly after I left, and one of them sold since then.
Regardless, the issue still stands as before and I quote from the previous email; So I asked, well then, how do you explain the second LC30 marked as $960.00; does that include the instant rebate too? No said Bill, you are free to take the instant rebate off that price. Bill even offered to get this unit on the cart for me and I could have walked out that day paying roughly $760 after instant and mail-in rebate. Of course, I was too upset with what had just occurred and decided to leave instead, sticking to my principles. Now, you reply that the best I can do is $889.96!? That's lying from both ends! Both Gary Karsh and Bill Berryman made statements contradictory to what you now present. Such dishonest and unethical behavior must fall under the responsibility of the operating manager and business owner, not the customer. I am clearly entitled to the offer originally presented to me, mistake or not, that is not the responsibility of the consumer.
The delta is widening after each response higher up the chain of management and only making this situation worse form the customer viewpoint. While I appreciate your rapid response and apology, I cannot accept it under the circumstances. I will continue my efforts to resolve this issue through Micro Center corporate management, the Better Business Bureau (even though you are not members, they will assist mediation), my attorney, local media sources, the Internet, and my business clients with whom I will request a boycott until this manner has been amicably resolved. This all comes down to only $70 difference according to Bill Berryman, but this is more an issue of principle now. I expect a response that resolves this issue, not one that perpetuates dissent.
From: Skip Dwyer [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, February 14, 2005 1:04 PM
To: Russell #######
Cc: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: RE: Customer Complaint...
Thank you for taking the time to write me a detailed description of what happened last week. I unfortunately was not in the building at the time or I am sure that this issue could have and would have been resolved at that time. I was made aware of the issue the following day. I did not have your name or your information to follow up; however Bill informed me that I would more than likely receive a call because he knew you were not satisfied and that the issue was not completely resolved.
I will do my best to explain this situation and rectify it for you. Let's first start with Power Spec as a Brand Name.
I will assume since you have been shopping with us for the past six years you are familiar with the Power Spec brand of PC. Micro Center has been designing and engineering these units for many years. They are well documented in PC magazines and trade magazines because of their power and value for the dollar. They are also one of the only PC's that come with a one year on site warrantee out of the box. They are manufactured by a company called Tatung and ESC. Tatung is also the same company that assembles HP computers. We have employed them to also manufacture our brand of HD/TV monitors. They are valued priced, but very good quality. Those were returned because of either buyer's remorse or up grades for dual tuners or DVI inputs.
To address the difference in clearance prices is a different story. When they are returned they go through service for inspection and verified to be complete and operational. We ensure that all pieces are still with the units and mark the box accordingly. They are priced via company guidelines as they are placed on the floor for resale. We also have a program in place that ensures that the price is reduced again on a regular basis over time to help move the clearance product. I did not see the dates on those specific clearance items we are referring to, however if they were all different, I can only assume that the lowest price unit was either older or there was something missing. Regardless, the matter could have and should have been handled differently.
I can and I will always accept feedback on my staff and our practices. I will apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. I will try to go through the pricing issue and explain how these are priced. They are retailed at 1299.99 on a regular basis. The current broadsheet promotes these at 1099.99 after the instant savings and 999.99 after the mail in rebate. I understand the question or concern from your description is do you get the additional instant saving from the clearance price? If they were priced below the 1099.99, then not only has the instant savings been accounted for but the clearance discount was taken as well. As long as the UPC sticker is on the box you would be eligible for the manufacture's rebate regardless of what you paid out the door. So your net price paid would have been 790.96 or 860.96. Where the confusion came from I do not know. From your explanation, the price that you said they had been marked was below the 1099.99, so I can tell you that the clearance discount and the instant were combined in the yellow tagged price. That is why they were below the 1099.99 before the mail in rebate so that you received the instant and the clearance as priced. Given the fact that they were all the same, and assuming that they were all complete, they should have all reflected the same price regardless of when they were returned. We have sold the PC/TV's that you have referred to; however I have two others on the floor. They are priced at 989.96 and they are dated 2/10/05 and 2/12/05. That price of 989.96 would include the both the instant and the clearance discount. They both have the UPC and eligible for the additional 100 dollar mail in that would make the final price 889.96 or 110.00 dollars less than the advertised price after rebates and additional discounts.
I would be more than happy to hold one of these units for you if you would like. I would appreciate the opportunity to assist you myself to ensure that you get taken care properly to the best of my ability. I again apologize for the confusion and I will assure you that there are absolutely no intentional ethical issues or inappropriate behavior on the part of my staff. Granted there may be a communication issue and I will accept complete responsibility for that as well as my staff, however I will state again that there was no intent to mislead you in any way. I take great pride in my staff and this business. This does not mean that there are not mistakes, and opportunities to improve. I would not allow any questionable business practices or ethical practices while under my leadership. You have stated that you have shopped with us since we have opened and from your letter it seems that this is the first time that you have had an issue with us. I appreciate your past patronage as well as the opportunity to help you going forward. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to call. You may reach me at 303-302-8501.
Again, please accept my apology for the miscommunication and I hope to see you return to our building.
From: Russell Thomas [mailto:#######@trustedfacility.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 13, 2005 7:52 PM
Subject: Customer Complaint...
On Saturday, February 5th I was surprised and greatly upset by the poor business ethics that were revealed when I attempted to purchase one of your store brand PowerSpec LC30 LCD Televisions. As advertised, there was a $100 Instant rebate and a $100 mail-in rebate special that reduced the price from $1199.00 to $999.00. While this was appealing, it was not enough to convince me to purchase a non-brand name LCD television that had no customer reviews and was marked incorrectly at 15:9 display dimensions vs. 16:9. Although, back in the business section were Managers Specials where I found three of the LC30's that had been opened, returned and subsequently marked down.
All three LC30's were marked differently, one at $1099.00, another at $960.00, and a third one at $890.96. Confused about this I asked your sales rep, Gary Karsh if these prices were correct and that the lowest priced one may have been incorrectly marked and if there was a problem with it. Gary confirmed that they were all the same and had no known problems. I said to Gary well then, I suppose I can take advantage of the error then, right? He replied, Yes, absolutely you can. To that I replied, That sounds great, but I would only buy it if the $100 instant rebate applies as well as the $100 mail-in rebate is that true? Gary confirmed that it was indeed true, but with understandable skepticism I asked again, OK, so you're telling me that this one is incorrectly marked to my advantage, and both the $100 instant rebate AND the $100 mail-in rebate apply, correct? Yes, that's correct, said Gary, should I get a cart and load that up for you? Overwhelmed with excitement that I had scored a great deal I agreed to take it right away and he loaded it on the cart and I proceeded to the check-out lane.
At checkout I made sure that the deal Gary confirmed would apply and asked the check-out person to make sure the $100 instant rebate reduced my price. Not sure, he called the manager, Bill Berryman to confirm. Bill said without justification that it did not apply and I was forced to push the cart back to Gary to plead my case. After a quick word with Bill Berryman, Gary now said he misunderstood what I had asked him even though I had been extremely clear and redundant in my questioning. I asked to speak with Bill directly. After explaining the situation in detail Bill refused to honor the instant rebate discount. Bill said the instant rebate had already been taken out of the price. So I asked, well then, how do you explain the second LC30 marked as $960.00; does that include the instant rebate too? No said Bill, you are free to take the instant rebate off that price.
Of course, this did not make sense to me the math doesn't add up and I made that clear to Bill. I said to Bill, So then, you are going to deny my discount and lose a valuable customer that has shopped with you since your store opened, has spent well over $25,000 both personally and through my businesses over a mere $70!!!?. Bill replied, Yes, I suppose that's true, have a good day, and rudely walked off, ignoring my requests to speak to him further.
Frankly, I was astounded, confused, and outright angry that I had just witnessed such poor business ethics and rude service. I felt cheated and lied to, and honestly, I was. For many years I have owned and operated computer consulting businesses and computer sales, and I would never lose a valuable customer because of an incorrectly marked item or a sales person I employ who provides incorrect information, or just flat out lies to a customer. As a matter of fact, I would personally attend to that customer and ensure that they are provided with what they were promised along with an apology for the mishap. A mere $70 would be inconsequential to the many thousands of dollars I would be sure to receive from a loyal customer who not only continued to purchase my products and services, but also provided substantial goodwill through word-of-mouth advertising of such great business practices.
I hope that this letter at least opens your eyes to the practices of your sales staff and managers so that you may address the importance of conducting business in an ethical and conducive manner. For the moment I will continue to shop elsewhere and no longer recommend your store until I have been convinced that this issue has been appropriately addressed.
I look forward to your response. Please feel free to contact me at any time regarding this issue.
Trusted Facility, LLC