• Report: #728138

Complaint Review: Video Only

  • Submitted: Wed, May 11, 2011
  • Updated: Fri, January 04, 2013

  • Reported By: CD — Des Moines Washington USA
Video Only
290 Andover Park East Tukwila, Washington United States of America

Video Only Deceptive "Return Policy" Tukwila, Washington

*General Comment: Confusion

*Author of original report: One-year time limit

*Consumer Comment: VIDEO Only Deceptive practices

*Consumer Comment: Karma

*Consumer Comment: Practices are UNCommon

*Consumer Comment: what Video Only will not tell You

*General Comment: I AGREE Video Only PRACTICES ARE HORRIBLE

*Consumer Comment: Very common

*Author of original report: To everyone EXCEPT the commenter(s) above

*Consumer Comment: Learn to comprehend what you read.

*Consumer Comment: OK

*Author of original report: Wording NOT clear at all.

*Consumer Comment: Nevertheless

*Author of original report: NOT a "voice of reason"

*Consumer Comment: Thanks for the warning

*General Comment: Another Di**!

*General Comment: nothing ambiguous about that policy to me

*Consumer Comment: Your kidding right...

*Author of original report: THE ABOVE REBUTTALS ARE HIGHLY SUSPECT

*Consumer Comment: Very clear

*Consumer Comment: settle

*Consumer Comment: Disagree.

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On August 14, 2010, I purchased a DVD/surround sound player from the Video Only store at 290 Andover Park East, Tukwila, WA 98188 for a total of $208.04. When I set up the equipment in my home, I found its performance to be unsatisfactory and, on August 16, 2010, returned the equipment and requested a refund under the defendants published 30 Day return policy.

The policy, as printed on Video Onlys invoices, reads:

1) "If for any reason you are unhappy with the equipment you purchase from VIDEO ONLY, you may return it for a FULL REFUND or exchange within 30 days of purchase/delivery. Units must be factory sealed. (emphasis in the original)

2) Opened-box units may be returned for exchange credit only, providing they are in as-new condition with all original packing and accessories.  Exchange credits expire 12 months after date of issue.


Store personnel refused to refund my money and instead issued an exchange credit for $208.04, claiming that the last sentence in point 1 of the policy requires that units must be factory sealed at the time of return to qualify for a refund.

That interpretation of that language by Video Only personnel is completely and utterly unsupportable.

The language of the chains 30 Day return policy clearly refers to the equipment (a customer) purchase(s) from VIDEO ONLY.  Because a customer must open the box to determine whether s/he is satisfied with the equipment (they) purchase, interpreting the final sentence of point 1 to mean units must be factory sealed at the time of return creates a condition that is impossible to meet.

Electronics stores frequently sell items in an opened-box condition (e.g., floor models and returned items).  Because point 2 deals with Opened-box units, a reasonable person would conclude that point 1s final sentence must refer to units sold in factory-sealed cartons, not that they must be factory-sealed to be accepted for a refund.

The people who run and work at Video Only are clearly anything but reasonable.

My attempts to resolve the issue - first through discussions with a salesperson, then with the Regional/Sales Manger resulted in store representatives offering convoluted rationalizations and arguments that were not supported by either the facts or the text of the chains own return policy.

Further attempts to resolve the issue have been fruitless.

Specifically:


  • A certified letter sent to owner Peter Edwards was not answered.


  • A complaint filed with the Better Business Bureau was not answered.

  • The first inquiry filed by the Attorney Generals Office of Consumer

  • Protection was not answered.

  • A second inquiry by the Attorney Generals Office of Consumer Protection

  • resulted in a response which provided the manager's version of some of the details of the transaction but did not address in any way why I was, and continue to be, denied the refund to which I am entitled.
I have contacted a reporter at the Seattle Times who has promised to look into this rapacious business practice.  Perhaps that will shame them into doing the right thing and giving me my money back.  Failing that, a court action may have to be my next step.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/11/2011 02:36 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Video-Only/Tukwila-Washington-98188/Video-Only-Deceptive-Return-Policy-Tukwila-Washington-728138. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
5Author 17Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 General Comment

Confusion

AUTHOR: William - ()

If I understand Video Only's policy of: With in 30 days of purchase you may,for any reason, return the purchase for a full refund or exchange.  The purchase must be factory sealed.   it would seem to me that if the factory seal is broken then the whole return policy is void for a refund or exchange.   The refund policy says you can have refund or an exchange if you return the purchase in 30 days but that the purchase must still have the factory seal intact.  So how can Video Only refuse the refund but still allow an exchange through an instore credit.  The policy is not distingushing between refunds or exchanges.  It does not say that if the factory seal is broken the refund part is void and only the exchange part of the policy is valid.  It reads more like that if the factory seal is btoken then the refund or exchange  is void.  Unfortunately, the typical consumers do not have the resources or time to challenge Video Only's return policy and it would seem as though the company is counting on that fact.  The above is an observation and comment only and is not meant to challenge or defame Video Only or their return policy.    

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#2 Author of original report

One-year time limit

AUTHOR: CD - (USA)

Video Only cannot legally limit its exchange credit to one year. However, I had to involve the Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection to get them to admit that.

In fact, the A/G's office had to write two letters to V/O; they failed to respond to the first. In the second letter, they said that, if my credit was about to expire, I should bring it into the store and they'd issue a new one as many times as necessary.

Involving the A/G's office also adds to their public record about this outfit, so the more people on the A/G's radar, the better the chance that V/O will ultimately be held to account. So my advise is to get the Attorney General's office involved and don't let up.

That said, because my purchase was (thankfully) relatively small, I went back before my $200 credit expired, bought two BluRay/DVD players, and took them straight to a charity where I donated them.

I'm glad someone benefited from my experience, but I will never spend another dollar at Video Only.
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#3 Consumer Comment

VIDEO Only Deceptive practices

AUTHOR: Doktordre - (USA)

I agree that their practices are deceptive, the language on the receipt that they have you sign (without fully explaining the intent  of your signature) and acknowledge this policy of " store credit only". I have also tried canceling my credit card purchase to no avail. My only option is to purchase something within a year because if you don't ...You will also LOSE your store credit. I figure I better get something soon before they go bankrupct.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Karma

AUTHOR: Consumer206 - (United States of America)

I'm dealing with the same issue with the same location and have been for 6 months.. I bought a tv and found out the tv had issues with its apps so i exchanged it. i got a new tv and the remote will not sync to the tv. I've had LG come out 3 times, they replaced some hardware and gave me 2 remotes.. Less than 2 months later I went in and kindly asked to exchange but they refused to bend the policy. 

LG has finally declared my tv as defected and to expensive to repair. LG has ordered them to give me a credit and unfortunately the store manager is still giving me a run around. He's calling corporate for the 2nd time to make sure they have to honor LG ordered returns. 

This store manager has no heart, I'm an national account manager for a marketing company and I understand the importance of customer service and repeat/referral business. Exceptions can always be approved with a good claim but this store manager prides himself by enforcing the policy which is fine, if you're heartless. 

I believe in karma, if I do not get a resolution I will respect their policy. i read it, i do not agree with it but its their policy.. well their policy does not say how many times someone can exchange a tv... i will buy a brand new tv and exchange it every 2weeks for the next year. Video only will be left with open box models so everyone else can go in and get their tv at a discount. Karma sucks, i cant wait to piss them off with this. haha Cuz I got money to blow 
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#5 Consumer Comment

Practices are UNCommon

AUTHOR: Doktordre - (USA)

Kinda like common sense. Very UnCommon. They basiczally lie to your face w/o telling you that you will only receive a store credit. Why can't they be up front with their policiy? Because they know they are going bankrupt and will not tell the average consumer. It is a sad way to do business and I will never do busines with them again, once I use my "store credit"!
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#6 Consumer Comment

what Video Only will not tell You

AUTHOR: Doktordre - (USA)

They basically tell you that you can return anything within 30 days. WHAT THEY DO NO TELL YOU IS THAT YOU WILL ONLY RECEIVE A STORE CREDIT. Then after VERBALLY telling you their policy they have YOU sign saying you agree to the "returning witin 30 day policy". Bottom Line DO NOT SIGN and READ before you BUY
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#7 General Comment

I AGREE Video Only PRACTICES ARE HORRIBLE

AUTHOR: Doktordre - (USA)

I would say that most of the rebuttals against your position were written by VO employees or ex-VO employees or they have never been exposed to this type of riduclous business practice. To me VO reeks of Desperation and I am unwillingly going to use my store credit before they go bankrupt/out of business and definitely before a year passes by as I don't see them as sustaining this idiotic business model for long. I just wish I had read this report and others like it prior to going to that store.From here on out I will stick with Costco, Amazon and Best Buy( who at least have the decency to have a sticker on your box that states there will be a restocking fee, but at least you get a refund if you are unhappy)
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#8 Consumer Comment

Very common

AUTHOR: Ramjet - (U.S.A.)

It's very common, almost an obligation, that if a poster doesn't agree with a responder, the responder is accused of working for the company.

I wish I got paychecks from all the companies I have been accused of working for.

Nope, I am a recent retiree from a public school system in the Midwest.  I read and post on Ripoffreport because I find it interesting and amusing. 

Incidentally, it's irrelevant that you think the return policy is unreasonable, maybe it is, nevertheless, it's their policy and it's very clear to most people. You can't try the product without opening it of course, but that doesn't make their policy less clear which is the point.

Next time read the return policy before you buy something.  That's one of the things I've learned to do after reading lots of reports from people dealing with returns.
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#9 Author of original report

To everyone EXCEPT the commenter(s) above

AUTHOR: CD - (USA)

The preceding exchange is a perfect illustration of how social media can be manipulated and why it needs to be taken with several large grains of salt.

I posted about my experience on May 11.  On the very same day, three other commenters weighed in and all of them were critical of my posting. Fair enough; everyones entitled to their oprion. However and this is important -- NO ONE ELSE COMMENTED, either supporting or criticizing my position until I identified this scam on July 6 (nearly two months) and called these people out.  Seems suspicious, doesnt it?

This is a tactic straight out of Social Media 101, which every PR person in the world knows. It goes like this:  establish several different accounts with different names and locations, and use those accounts to publish comments supportive of your client and its position.

This tactic is so commonly used that obtuse posters have actually advertised for people with multiple accounts who would be willing to post favorable comments on their behalf on Yelp, TripAdvisor, Citysearch and others.  Thats precisely what has happened here.

Still not convinced?

Look at the content of the comments themselves.

They repeatedly refuse to even attempt to answer the basic question at the heart of my issue: How is a person supposed to decide whether theyre happy with the product theyve purchased if they cant take it out of the box and use it?

In my estimation and experience, Video Only has shown itself to be an unscrupulous organization. 
This assessment is borne out not only by the negative experiences I and others have had, but now by the companys ill-advised and poorly-executed attempt to cast aspersions on me while  attempting to defend its clearly flawed and ambiguously-worded return policy.

STAY AS FAR AWAY FROM THIS OUTFIT AS YOU CAN.  It may cost you a few extra bucks to deal with a retailer that is scrupulous and values its integrity but, if you have a problem, it will be worth it.
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#10 Consumer Comment

Learn to comprehend what you read.

AUTHOR: Ken - (USA)

You can accuse me of being a shill for Video Only, if you want...nothing could be further from the truth.



Grow up, you are just trying to read something into a very straight-forward return policy, to get your way.



Actually, your report sounds like buyer's remorse.



Gotta go no and collect my payment for this from Video Only. :) ;)

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#11 Consumer Comment

OK

AUTHOR: Ramjet - (U.S.A.)

regardless of whether it makes sense to you or not, it's their policy and it's clearly stated.

Good luck
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#12 Author of original report

Wording NOT clear at all.

AUTHOR: CD - (USA)

It's a well-established precept that a contract which contradicts itself or establishes a criteria that is impossible to meet may be ruled invalid.  That is exactly the case with Video Only's return policy.

Look at THEIR words:  "If for any reason you are unhappy with the equipment you purchase from VIDEO ONLY, you may return it for a FULL REFUND or exchange within 30 days of purchase/delivery.  Units must be factory sealed." This is exactly as it appears on their invoice, including the CAPS for FULL REFUND.

Pay close attention because THEIR WORDS are specific: "...the equipment you purchase from VIDEO ONLY."  Not a store model or demonstrator; "...the equipment you purchase."  The ONLY thing you can decide you're unhappy about without opening the box is the price.  And a reasonable person investigates price BEFORE making a purchase.  Sure, there are occasions where a super deal comes to your attention after a purchase but those occasions are rare.

For the last time, I challenge you:  explain how a person can decide they're satisfied with something they purchase without opening the box and using it?

Know what?  You can't, because it's simply not possible.  And what's more, you won't try because you're in Video Only's pocket, one way or another.
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#13 Consumer Comment

Nevertheless

AUTHOR: Ramjet - (U.S.A.)

In spite of your tantrums, their return policy is very clearly worded, you just don't agree with it.

I doubt if their return policy is what will make or break them.

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#14 Author of original report

NOT a "voice of reason"

AUTHOR: CD - (USA)

@ voiceofreason -- You're also clearly a shill -- if not for VO, then for other unscrupulous retailers that infest our cities.

Many, many retailers truly care whether their customers are happy with their products and their liberal return policies are what have, in part, enabled them to grow a large, loyal customer base. There are several I could name, from Costco to Nordstrom. 

With its knowledgeable salespeople and low prices, Video Only could be a major player.  However, its predatory approach to returns has limited its growth and will keep it where it currently is: among the ranks of the "also-rans".  It is my fervent hope that these shysters will be seen for the crooks they are and that they'll soon join the ranks of the Meier & Franks, Frederick & Nelsons, and A&Ps (translation; They'll be out of business.)
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#15 Consumer Comment

Thanks for the warning

AUTHOR: Steve K - (USA)

I appreciate the heads-up.  I hear their ads all the time and have been tempted by their low prices but now I think I'll look elsewhere.  Having a store that will actually work with you if something isn't right has a lot of value.

By the way, I agree with your comments about the first three "posters".  They sound like shills for V/O.   And you're right!  How are you supposed to decide whether you're happy with the product if you can't open the box?  The only think you could possibly decide is whether you're happy with the price.

Thanks again for the heads-up.  I'm staying AWAY!
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#16 General Comment

Another Di**!

AUTHOR: voiceofreason - (United States of America)

You're also a real di** accusing the rebuttals of being from store employees. Read a bunch of RR posts and you'll see that every single one of them is a frequent contributor to this site. From the state of Washington, huh? Not too far away from the Dollar Store Dame in Portland. Figures.
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#17 General Comment

nothing ambiguous about that policy to me

AUTHOR: voiceofreason - (United States of America)

Many times people buy something then experience buyer's regret, and wish to return something before they ever open it. That's what their 30 day cash back policy covers. They're running an electronics store, not an approval service. You can't expect to just buy things and return them because you find you don't like them after trying them out. Some bigger stores will allow this to a point, like a Walmart, or Amazon. But this store's policy was pretty clear.
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#18 Consumer Comment

Your kidding right...

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

So even though the policy is written on the Invoice, you take it home, open it up and then complain when you try and return it.  Because you "thought" that when they talked about being "factory sealed" they meant when it was sold?

You say that a "reasonable" person would see it your way.  Well then you must truly be the only reasonable person because it appears that not only is their policy straight forward, and you are trying to twist it to your benefit.  But they have followed their printed policy.

Now you don't stop there.  You then compare their return policy to another store(BB).   Have you even read the BB return policy?   With what you have written my guess would be that is a big fat NO.

It looks like you got full credit.  At other stores, if they accepted the item at all, on top of only issuing you a credit would take a 10-25(or more)% restocking fee and deduct that from the credit you get back.  So that $208 might magically turn into only $160-$180.

By the way the "You must be employees" statement is generally code for "I don't have anything to back up my claims so I am just going to accuse you of working for the company".  And before you ask..NO I have never worked for this company.
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#19 Author of original report

THE ABOVE REBUTTALS ARE HIGHLY SUSPECT

AUTHOR: CD - (USA)

READERS PLEASE NOTE: The three rebuttals above were all posted on the same day -- the day I posted my original review.  They all take the same tone as the Video Only employees I spoke with, which makes me suspect that they were all posted by Video Only employees posing as consumers.

As I pointed out in the original review, the first point of the return policy sets a condition that is impossible to meet, rendering Video Only's return policy misleading at best and deceptive at worst. 

None of the three suspect "rebuttals" addressed the question at the heart of this matter:  How is a consumer supposed to determine whether they're satisfied with the product they purchased without opening the box? After all, that IS what the first point says: "If for any reason you are unhappy with the equipment you purchase from VIDEO ONLY (i.e., not a floor model or demonstrator), you may return it for a FULL REFUND or exchange within 30 days of purchase/delivery. 

As I also pointed out, video stores often sell "open-box" items at a discount, and because the second point addresses such items, a reasonable person will conclude that the proviso "Units must be factory sealed" must refer to the condition in which it was sold, not its condition at time of return.

Other electronics retailers such as Best Buy show that they value their customers by having a clear return policy and, more important, honoring it. Video Only's policy is unclear and contradictory, and the company's personnel use this ambiguity to the company's advantage.

Even if you spend a few (and I do mean "few") dollars more, save yourself the potential grief and shop somewhere that will work with you, not against you, if you encounter a problem.
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#20 Consumer Comment

Very clear

AUTHOR: Ramjet - (U.S.A.)

The section you quoted is part of their RETURN policy so a reasonable person would assume everything in that policy refers to returns, not purchases.

The policy is common, very clear and easily understandable. 
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#21 Consumer Comment

settle

AUTHOR: coast - (USA)

You are correct that the conditions for a refund are unlikely to exist but the time to question the policy was at the time of purchase. Accept the credit.
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#22 Consumer Comment

Disagree.

AUTHOR: Flynrider - (USA)

"That interpretation of that language by Video Only personnel is completely and utterly unsupportable."

  Not at all.   A plain english reading of the policy makes it very obvious to me.   If you decide to return an item that has not been opened (i.e. changed your mind, found a better price), you get the refund.    If you returned the item in an "open box" condition (i.e. You broke the factory seal and tried the unit out), then you get the exchange credit.   I don't understand why you find this confusing.  

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