I felt that my ongoing drama with Pentax Cameras was so bad that I had to express what I'd gone through and then warn as many others as I could about their uncaring service. As many of you know those worldwide emails were sent out some five years ago. But what you are about to read I think precedes that story by a long shot and ironically enough it's not my story at all. The letter that you are about to read is a true story and it all happened to my wife. It is her personal experiences with a U.S. based company called CompUSA. If and when you get a chance to read this, I hope it gives you a clearer picture as to how disorganized and unprofessional this company really is.
This letter was sent to the Southern Regional District Manager and to the Administrative Department of CompUSA. I'll advise you now that this is a four paged letter. That alone should give you an idea of what one person has gone through here. I know that that sounds like a lot to read so if you can print this out and/or read it when you have some time to spare.
July 21, 1999
District Manager, North Los Angeles Region
9059 Central Ave.
Montclair, CA 91763
I am writing to inform you of my recent encounters with the staff at the Monrovia branch of your stores. Specifically I dealt with the repair service department and was most upset with what has happened and how I've been treated over the last 7 weeks. I would like to apologize in advance for the length and complexity of this letter and assure you that when you are though you will understand why it has to be this way. I thank you for you time and understanding to allowing me to tell you my story.
I first brought my CD-ROM drive in to be serviced on June 6th, 1999. It was not latching closed and in need of repair. I went to the store early Sunday morning and waited in line while the young woman behind the counter, Wendy, processed a return for the customer before me. When it was my turn I explained my situation and she took the drive and receipt into the back. On her return she explained that they were going to have to order a new drive. I said that was fine and she then proceeded to explain that they needed to photocopy the bottom of my laptop computer for the serial number. I asked why that was necessary and she said that they needed the number to ensure that they ordered the correct part. I then asked if I could just bring a photocopy of the serial number instead of lugging my computer all the way to the store. She insisted it was to be done at the store. I understand that this may have been an issue of fraud and the serial number was required to protect your company from fixing a drive that was not a part of the computer under warranty. If this was the reason, I would have appreciated an honest answer. As far as I am concerned the answer I received was feeble, at best, and only proceeded to frustrate me. After being in the store for 30 minutes, I left empty-handed.
They next day, June 7th, I brought my computer, drive and receipt into the store. I again waited in line for close to 25 minutes before being helped. I explained the problem to Jeff and furnished the defective drive. He took it into the back room and after several minutes explaining again that they would have to order a new part. I once again agreed and he gave me the appropriate paperwork to fill out. He took the coveted photocopy of the serial plate on the computer and set it back on the counter. From what I could tell nothing from that photocopy could be read, as it was black as night but it seemed to be acceptable to them. After he entered the needed information into the computer it was explained that it should take a week for the drive to come in and that I needed to leave my computer there. I flat out said that I could not do that. I run my business out of my home and could not afford to have my computer sitting on their shelf while a drive was being ordered. I didn't understand why they needed my computer. They had the serial number after all, wasn't that enough? Wendy never once said that I would have to leave it there. And frankly I cannot even begin to fathom why leaving my computer at the store would promise that the correct drive was ordered. Was the staff at the store that unpredictable that a mistake like that could be made? The young man called on the service of an older gentleman in the back room who came out to explain the exact same thing to me. I told him that leaving my computer there was out of the question. If I had been told this the day before when I inquired about the problem I could have made arrangements to leave it there and still be able to continue work. The older gentleman had the young man call the manager who in a matter of seconds gave approval that I take my computer with me. The older gentleman processed the rest of my paperwork and very curtly said, "this will have to be confirmed with the warranty department and then it can be ordered." I took offense to his rude, authoritative tone. I do not need to be treated like a crook. I had a legitimate claim on a legitimate warranty and I was being treated like I was ripping your company off! A simple explanation that a confirmation had to be made would have sufficed but the chastising I received was not necessary. I left the store feeling like I was doing something wrong and very, very angry. I had just spent close to an hour trying to get my computer fixed to only leave not really wanting to ever come back.
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