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.
- 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.