Report: #564789

Complaint Review: Radio Shack

  • Submitted: Thu, February 04, 2010
  • Updated: Wed, October 20, 2010
  • Reported By: Jacob — Lincoln Nebraska U.S.A.
  • Radio Shack
    159 Gateway Mall
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    United States of America
  • Phone: 402-467-3301
  • Web:
  • Category:

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

On January 13, 2010 I purchased a refurbished Compaq F750US laptop from the Radio Shack at Gateway Mall in Lincoln, NE. I was told by the sale associate that the computer was essentially new and all the internals had been replaced, and that the battery was new. I took it home, charged the battery to 100%, turned it off, placed it into my back pack, and took it to class with me the following day. I was shocked when after a 1 hour lecture I had less than 10% power remaining on the power saver option.

I contacted the store, and was told that I could bring in the battery and exchange it. I went back to store, and waited for nearly 15 minutes before the manager, Mike Schiff or sciff, I don't remember the exact spelling, finally tells me that he doesn't have any in stock. He tells me I have to drive literally across town to their other store.

I go to the other store, exchange the battery and leave. Next day same thing, except that this battery won't even hold a charge for more than 30 or 40 minutes. At this point I decide that I will just suck it up and go buy a new battery to the tune of $112.

Well, about a week goes by and now the laptop will not connect to the internet. I tried it through my home DSL, and through wireless internet at the university, and niehter one works. I tried all the diaognostic programs on the computer and nothing. At this point I have had all I can take of this thing. I call Radio Shack and let them know I am coming to return the lap top. Mike the store manager tells me I can return it, but that since it is over $50 I will have to wait 14 days for a refund from their corporate office in Texas. He tells me this is their corporate policy and he can't do anything about it. I asked him where exactly this little jewel of information is listed, and he tells me on the bakc of the sales reciept.

I look at the back and it says, "Refunds on purchases paid for by cash will be refunded in cash unless store funds are not available in which event a refund check will be sent from the Radio Shack corporate offices usually within 14 days." I read this to Mike and he proceeds to tell me again that any refund over $50 is done by check. I counter this by saying this is not what their policy says. He continues to argue, and then tries to upsell me to one of their other laptops. I ask him if he really thinks I want to do any further business with his store at this point. He replies that he is just trying to help. I hang up.

I next call their district office and request to speak with the district manager. The snippy secretary tells me that he is not available and asks me what is wrong. I lay out the whole story for her and she tells me the same song and dance. I demand to speak to the district manager and she refuses. She then proceeds to tell me that I can try and go to one of their stores at the end of the day and see if they have enough cash on hand to do the refund. I tell her that I am not going to drive across town on a hunch so I ask her to call and see if they have the funds. She has me on hold for ten minutes and then tells me they do not. According to her my only option is to wait for a refund from corporate.

I ask her what kind of retail operation keeps so little cash on hand. She tells me that most people pay with credit or debit cards. I agree, but point out to her that , the fact that few people pay with cash is no excuse to have none on hand. She again launches into a prescripted response about policy blah blah blah blah. Once again I hang up.

Take my advice folks. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING from Radio Shack. Any store that will lie to you to get a sale, and then make up policy as they go to avoid a refund is not worth it. The reality is that they are making the refund process as difficult as possible hoping that I will go away or get desperate and buy another item from them. Well I am sorry I gave you the opportunity to earn my business, and you cheated me. You lied, you misrepresented your product, and you refuse to deal fairly with me. I truly look forward to the news headline titled "Radio Shack going out of business". Come on Radio Shack, do the world a favor and die out like circuit city did.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/04/2010 11:02 PM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 UPDATE Employee

Sorry for the bad experiance!

AUTHOR: RadioShack Employee 62 - (United States of America)

Hello Friend,

I just was to start off by saying sorry that you had a bad experience at Radio Shack.

Normally refurbished anything is almost brand new, all the bad components are replaced. Now that we got that out of the way, lets do a little explaining of the battery issue, batteries are rated at a average life expectancy,  but there is no guaranteeing how long it will last,  because it all matters on how you use it.

For instance, if you have your wifi constantly on, its constantly scanning if you are not connected to a network. When you load a laptop, the programs that are on the laptop that load in the background, are still running, they drain your battery as well. Preloaded programs are a big pain with laptop and on the go because they use a lot of juice from the battery when they load up at start up. if you are constantly typing on a laptop it uses more power, brightness of the screen, you can't just expect a battery to last 2 hours because its rated at it.

You have to understand that any store, even family owned stores can't always carry that much cash on hand, no store will ever keep over a couple hundred in the cash register over night, the policy is in place to keep the employee, employer and consumer safe. Each company has its set of policies that the employees and consumers must abide by. Without a policy radioshack and the consumer could both lost out on many opportunity and many issues could be handled poorly and unprofessionally. Do not get me wrong, there are still situation that can be handled unprofessionally, for instance, sounds like Mike may of not known the exact policy, or the policy for their district is different because of so many issues, each district has its own set of policies on top of the corporate policy, because each area is different. Either way, our goal here at radioshack is to provide you informed and accurate information, as well as much help as we can give you, however not every piece of information is easy to remember. Try to remember the main points off all the product in a radio shack store, there are 100s - 1000s of items with different information, now along with that, radio shack has a huge policy, because its trying to protect its consumers and itself.

Again, sorry for the bad experience you received at one of Radio Shack's stores.

-- Your Friendly The Shack Sales Associate
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#2 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Know About Refurbs!

AUTHOR: OHara - (United States of America)

Radio Shack stores in general are small low volume stores and limit the amount of cash they keep in their drawers in case of hold up/robbery.  Managers are required to do "cash drops" at the bank if too much cash accumulates or at certain times of day every day.  This is typical of all retailers, not just Radio Shack.  If you've not noticed, Convienience stores typically have signs telliing customers "No Bills larger than $20.00."  Some large stores do not offer cash refunds but give out credit cards instead.  Home Depot does this.  I returned a tool my brother bought me for Christmas that cost $82.00 and got one of these credit cards that I could use for other purchases in any Home Depot.  That was not what I wanted as I have every tool known to man kind.  I also didn't have any current construction type projects going on so there was virtually nothing in the store I wanted or needed but I had no choice.

Also realize what "refurbs" are.  They are things somebody somewhere has purchased at retail that didn't work or quit working within the warranty period and have returned.  These items are returned to the manufacturer and tested and repaired. Usually in the return, there will be a note "Battery will not charge" or something like that.  I've sold tons of refurbs in my business and have had very satisfied customers.  I've also bought a lot of refurbs for myself and have been equally satisfied.

On an assembly line, maybe only every 20th item is checked.  If a defective item is found, usually all that have come since the last item was checked will be pulled to see where the problem started.  The checking on the assembly line is minimal and would not likely find a charger that is putting out low voltage for example.  Refurbs are extensively tested, each and every one of them, so the chance of getting a substandard refurb is very low, almost non-existant.

Also, refurbs usually have a much shorter warranty period, usually 30 days or so while a product new out of the box may have a 1 year warranty.  For this, you usually pay a much lower price.  A refurb can cost 25% - 40% of the cost of a non-refurb item.  This is a gamble the consumer decides to take or not take.  "Do I buy a refurb for $35.00  or a standard item for $99.95?"  Personally, I've had such good experience with refurbs that I'll take the risk every time.  There is a store here in my town that almost exclusively sells refurbs of national brand name merchandise and I am a regular customer.

It appears the charging system in your laptop was not putting out the necessary voltage resulting in a less than fully charged battery and thus a shorter operating time on battery.  This should have been caught at the manufacturer's repair facility.  It should have been no more than hooking a VOM meter to the charging system output.  But here's a possible scenario:  The original purchaser may have found two problems or not realized the charging problem.  The other problem may have been a balky on/off switch just for an example.  When the computer got back to the repair facility, the tech would read the paperwork that accompanied the computer, hooked it up for a couple of hours to charge the battery and then moved it to the repair bench where he replaced the switch.  It would only be on the repair bench for less than an hour and he just didn't realize there was also a problem with the charging system, boxed it up and  sent it out as a refurb.

Batteries and charging systems are strange systems.  For instance, to fully charge a 12 volt automobile battery, the car's charging system will have to put out 13.8 volts. If it's putting out 12.3 volts, you'll get a partial charge and everything will initially seem fine.  But try starting the car on a very cold morning several months later and it will appear to have a dead battery.  This may be the case with your computer.  It may have been getting enough charge to appear to be operating properly on the repair bench for an hour or less but when you depended on it to operate 3 or 4 hours, it just didn't have enough charge in the battery.  I can't give the repair facility a free ride here, they should have checked the output of the charging system.  The only thing I can imagine is that the repair tech had so much work that he was taking short cuts to make it appear he was productive.  That's no excuse.

The only advice I can offer is to either pay full price next time or immediately and fully check out all working systems if you decide to buy refurb again.  Personally, I take the latter option.  My experience has been that refurbs are at least as reliable as new items and possibly more so.  Most of the refurbs I have are power tools.  When buying, I take them out of the box and look them over carefully.  If they do not appear to be brand new, I get another one off the shelf until I find one that does appear new.  Since the warranty on a refurb is short, use the item as soon as you buy it (I know you did that) and if there is any problem, return it to the store immediately.

The retailers who sell refurbs want satisfied return customers and will generally bend over backwards to accomodate you.  They know reputations spread quickly and only a very few dissatisfied customers can quickly spoil their reputations.  The manufacturers credit them the full price they paid for the item less the cost to pack it up and otherwise get it ready for shipping and handle the return.  The manufacturers generally also pick up the shipping costs so there is little reason for a retailer to resist taking a refurb back.  Not doing so can hurt his reputation in the local community.



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#3 UPDATE Employee

While it's true that in Fairytale land...

AUTHOR: Andrew P. - (USA)

...all stores have tons of money in their cash drawers at all times, in reality that is not the case.  Radio Shack stores are generally doing very well when they sell $1000-$2000 in a day.  That generally doesn't consist of too much cash (which most being done by credit or debit card).


In fact, Radio Shack actually has a policy that we are supposed to keep our amount of cash on hand at or near $300-$400 dollars (depending on if it is a mall or stand alone location).  While I haven't asked for the full details on this policy, I'm assuming it's so that if the store is robbed, then you only lose $300-$400.


You were not lied to by the district office.  While if you went to a mall location, you would most likely be able to get a cash refund (even though that might deplete their daily cash greatly), stand alone stores don't get much cash in a day.  In fact, just 2 days ago, while doing the final deposit, we only had $311 cash at the end of the day.  We went the entire day and only had $11 more cash than when we started the day.


However, the policy that the $50 returns have to be done by check isn't true.  However, a $300-$500 return would most likely not be done in stores.


Even for stores that I've worked at that have more cash, such as mall stores, mid-day deposits are done if there is ever over $1500-$2000 cash in the drawer.  Once those deposits are done, they are back to $300-$400 cash again.


If you wanted a cash refund, you really do have to be lucky with your timing.



On to the matter of the computer however, you did purchase a refurbished computer on clearance.  I can understand your complaint with the battery, since I've dealt with batteries that cost waaaaay too much and don't last long at all (Dell Inspiron batteries), I can't feel too sorry for the rest of the situation.  It is unfortunate that the laptop you purchased appears to be defective.  However, being upset because you were sold a refurbished computer for a discounted price and having something wrong with it is naive.  If you wanted to be sure it would work, you should have bought a brand new one (which still can be defective every now and then).  That's like buying a used car and then complaining when it has engine problems.  You chose to spend less on a refurbished product.  Sometimes you win with that gamble and sometimes you lose.



On a different note though, if you need the security of cash refunds on large items ($200+), Best Buy and Walmart, which literally sell over $100,000 daily in their stores, will have that type of cash.  Radio Shack has always been a smaller retailer.  I worked at a store that sold under $500,000 in a year.  Some Best Buy's do that in a weekend.

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#4 General Comment

get real

AUTHOR: erin - (United States of America)

as far as the computer goes, all electronics stores are going to occasionally have something in stock and sell something that is defective, because you don't know it till it's out of the box.  ESPECIALLY when you go for the discontinued model.  And as your own quote states, the return policy allows for cash refund IF the store has the funds, and if not you are mailed a check.  You can't expect a store that does less than $500 cash business in a day to have an extra $500 lying around just for a jackass like you who thinks he ought to be treated like a king when all the other customers are perfectly happy with the policies.  Oh and by the way, it is evident that all the other customers are because the company is doing very VERY well.  So don't expect that headline anytime soon
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