• Report: #461824

Complaint Review: Walmart

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  • Submitted: Mon, June 15, 2009
  • Updated: Thu, June 18, 2009

  • Reported By:Ava Missouri
Walmart
1309 NW 12th Avenue Ava, Missouri U.S.A.

Walmart Caution; Serial Numbers and High Ticket Items Walmart, Sony, others Ava Missouri

*Consumer Suggestion: Consumer - Employee Brainstorming

*UPDATE Employee: Sony deserves most of the blame

*Author of original report: Walmart Came Clean and Resolved Situation! Outstanding!

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I provide resources for rural youth. Living in a rural area, I (and our supporters) have purchased a great many games and systems as they provide some fun diversion on rainy days, lazy summer afternoons after fishing at the creek, and during our cold winter storms.

A Console was purchased from Walmart but we were not apprised a potential for discrepancy existed and the sales person did not scan BOTH the box and console. After spending $506.00, I returned with the Playstation 3, a new game, and a new high priced controller. As you can imagine, the young people were excited. We plugged it in, opened the game and inserted it, and found the machine was broken. We immediately drove back into town with the system and the receipt to exchange it for a working one. We were told the serial number on the console does not match the serial number on the box. It has been a daily fiasco with public humiliation, slander, and rude employees. If you want the details let me know. Had I been aware there was a potential for discrepancy, I would have insisted they scan both. Shame on everyone for not alerting consumers!

Three separate customer relations persons with Sony told me that over 500 cases have been documented by them just with Walmart. They told me Walmart was aware of this situation. If this is true, someone needs to alert consumers so they may protect themselves. Two problems exist 1. the customer who takes a nonworking console home with a serial number discrepancy. They cannot return the product and are out huge amounts of money and of course are subjected to public humiliation 2. those who take a working console home that has a serial number discrepancy- if their machine ever goes out they won't get service.

I was told by walmart, if a Sony customer relations person would simply call Walmart corporate customer relations, they would exchange the console for one in a box with a matched serial number. Sony customer service claims they are unable to make calls out of their location. Walmart corporate told me the manager always has the ability to approve or disapprove exchanges and suggested I speak with him. Both times I had an appointment with the manager he skipped out on me. I was finally able to see him and he blew up. We've been very civil. Each day that has gone by we've escalated our actions.

I think they are both making a bad name for themselves. Walmart and Sony are aware of the problem and not rectifying it nor are they making the public aware of the potential for serial number discrepancy.

As far as our problem, I don't understand why they can't trace both serial numbers and find out where the console is that belongs in our box. In hopes of rectifying this problem, I am providing the serial numbers from the box and the console that was in the box.

Box Serial Number; CK021608728
Console Serial Number; CE925181792-CECHE01

Suggestion To Sony (and other electronics manufacturers);
Please redesign your ps3 box with a clear hard plastic window over the console serial number. This way, the actual product may be scanned and there will be no discrepancy between the box serial number and the actual console serial number. With something as important as a serial number, it makes no sense to allow for potential discrepancies. You can lead the market by mentoring this important change with ALL high ticket electronic items! If consumers have to pay a little extra, fine. I would be willing to pay for the extra security.

Suggestion To Walmart;
As far as Walmart is concerned, this problem can be avoided by implementing a hard fast rule, not a policy, to scan both the box and the actual console. By the way, Walmart defined policy for me. Any policy they have may be broken by anyone at any time for any reason they so desire.

Walmart cannot expect a customer to simply acquiesce after spending that much money and having nothing to show for it. Walmart may wish to reevaluate their manager's position. He lacks any hint of customer relations skills. He does not keep his word, he hides, and he walks a fine legal line which I'm sure he'd be happy to tell you about. Likely it is on tape. Of course these are simply my observations and opinion. I can tell you, with this Walmart manager's lack of P.R. skills, the locals will only take it for so long. Locals in this area believe in old fashioned manners, courtesy, and integrity. The assistant manager has been courteous and has maintained his integrity. According to him he is not authorized to make any decisions although he has been relatively helpful.

Suggestion to Consumers;
If you purchase an item with a serial number (camera, tv, game console, etc), ask the clerk to remove the product from the box to be certain the serial number on the box matches the serial number on the item. Even if the box is sealed!
If you are purchasing a game console of any type, research the latest model number to be sure you are purchasing the latest model. Sony told us the model that was in the box has not been sold for 6 months. I was told they had hard drive issues and now sell a newer mode. Walmart told us the console that was in the box had been sold to someone in January of 2008.

I've found there are many other consumers experiencing this problem. Can we start a group to strengthen our position and alert future consumers? Is there a group already started?

Rick
Ava, Missouri
U.S.A.

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Wal-mart

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/15/2009 02:49 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Walmart/Ava-Missouri-65608/Walmart-Caution-Serial-Numbers-and-High-Ticket-Items-Walmart-Sony-others-Ava-Missouri-461824. 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:
0Author 3Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Suggestion

Consumer - Employee Brainstorming

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

Sarkus, you bring up an excellent point I had not considered. Thank you.

I felt obliged to contact Sony USA and international to apprise them of the situation and make suggestions. They were fairly unresponsive. USA sent me an automated message and international referred me to USA. I alerted other console manufacturers as well, and received immediate and personal responses from them.

I'm deeply concerned as this is happening with a wide variety of products, not just electronics.

I still feel strongly that a consumer must know for certain, that the serial number on the console (or other electronics), matches precisely the serial number on the box.

I don't like the idea that the serial number can be found in two places. I personally believe it should be on the item only...especially high ticket items. From my perspective as a consumer, the only way I can think of ensuring this would be for the customer to actually read the number on the console itself, and the serial number on the box, prior to leaving the store and in front of an employee. Payment by credit card is another option, but I doubt this is available to everyone.

Perhaps after the serial number is scanned, the clerk could seal it with security tape? I don't know how feasible this is...? It is a time consuming extra step, and should it require the contents being removed, there exists a potential for damage or smaller components not being repacked. I really have no clue how to accomplish the details. I do know, if the consumer walks out of the store not having checked inside the box, they could experience an unpleasant week, not to mention the hurt caused by accusations.

My personal opinion is that Sony and other manufacturers, are ultimately responsible for a one serial number solution. Manufacturers cannot expect the retailer to spend extra time and money opening boxes, repacking them, and placing security tape on the box. Everyone involved needs to be assured the correct product is in the box. The retailer must be confident the packaging received from the manufacturer, contains precisely what is claimed, and the consumer must be assured they receive the product represented and of course what they've paid for.

Stores might also consider reviewing their restocking policies to ensure damaged or broken items are not replaced on the shelves.

Does anyone else have ideas or suggestions?
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#2 UPDATE Employee

Sony deserves most of the blame

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

While not excusing the behavior of the manager at WalMart, I do applaud that you correctly identified Sony as one of the culprits in your situation. Other video game manufacturers have adopted your idea for the very reasons brought up in this case and I do not know why Sony has chosen not to go that route as well.

To address your suggestion for Walmart, what may sound like a good idea probably isn't. In order for the Walmart employee to scan the serial number on the actual console, they would have to obviously open the box. The problem is that Walmart requires electronics sales to happen in that department, which is normally located near the back of the store in order to deter "snatch and run" theft. Once you open up the package, then all kinds of opportunities arise for thieves to put other stuff inside as they make their way out.

I'd recommend that instead customers always make sure to take a close look at all sealed items before they buy them to make sure some sort of substitution has not occurred. The other suggestion is to use a credit card for large purchases since you can always have your card issuer dispute the charges on your behalf. Retailers often find that not worth their time to argue.
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#3 Author of original report

Walmart Came Clean and Resolved Situation! Outstanding!

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

I'm pleased to report Walmart has resolved our situation in an almost more than satisfactory manner. I'm impressed!! Way to go Walmart!

Thank You Walmart!

Walmart contacted us this morning and stated they would resolve the situation. The console was exchanged this afternoon, and they actually upgraded it to a bundled package. This was greatly appreciated due to the intense amount of work involved in seeking resolution, and the emotional stress from being called a thief in front of other customers...remember this is a tiny town. Prior to accepting the new console, we confirmed the serial numbers matched. I asked to plug in the console to assure it was functioning but was told there was no appropriate location in which to do this.

We were told, according to their research & investigation, there is no way we could have switched out the machine based on information they gleaned about its original sales and something to do with it going online. We were never told what happened to the console that should have been in the box. It seems to me, Sony should be able to track it when it goes online.

Brandon apologized for the lengthiness of the investigation. He also apologized for the hassle. We appreciate his apology. He was a gem throughout the entire ordeal. He never lost his cool, maintained his integrity, and was always courteous and respectful. He stated he would make constructive suggestions to protect consumers and the store. We very much appreciate his efforts and hope his suggestions are heeded by the company.

An apology from the manager and customer service woman (I won't identify) would have been appropriate. The manager did lose his cool, was threatening, did not maintain even minimal respect, and made a statement bordering on blackmail. The customer service person made accusations of thievery at the customer service desk, which is right by the front door, and in earshot of those entering the store. This was inappropriate behavior.

I'm a bit confused. Walmart stated they were unable to reach anyone in authority at Sony. According to two different people at Walmart, one a district manager, the only phone number they had for Sony was the 1-800 customer service number. It seems odd, that two large corporations who have a business arrangement, have no way to communicate with each other when they have problems or concerns. This baffles me. It might be a good thing if they were to open communications with each other.

My consumer suggestions still stand. A handful of us did a lot of research the past few days and found there is a serious problem involving many types of products and a good many stores...not just Walmart. This problem has the potential to happen at any store. Everyone needs to take a bit of responsibility. Consumers need to protect themselves and retailers and manufacturers need to work on solutions as well.

The Rip Off Report site provides a valuable forum for consumers. It's a centralized place where folks may connect with others who have experienced similar problems, and it is a place where folks can brainstorm and work together toward constructive solutions that protect consumers.
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