Three Months

My Tale

Just a little less than three months ago, I told you about certain Epson scanners being available for about $50.

I thought that was pretty good, so I went to get one, too, at the Queens Superstore in Rego Park, New York.

The store was out of stock, so I agreed to pay for it in advance, and they said they would contact me when they got it.

A month passed. No scanner, no contact. Looked at the CompUSA website, the scanner was still being offered for sale (though it didn’t seem to be in stock at the regular stores, outside of one place).

So I gave them a call, and left the necessary information on the answering machine. A few hours later, I get a call from someone. They told me they hadn’t been able to get it yet. I asked them if they thought they still could. They said yes,
so I indicated I still wanted the scanner.

Since I wasn’t in any terrible rush for it, I decided to give them all the time in the world, just to see if they would contact me about it or not on their own.

Well, two more months have passed, and I still have not been contacted by the store. Every once in a while, I’ve checked the
CompUSA website, and until a few days ago, it was still there. The last time I checked, it had vanished from the inventory.

I don’t think this is too good.

The website has a place where you can email comments and complaints about the store. I used it yesterday.

What I mostly asked them about was their policy about advance purchases. I asked them if they had one, and if so, what is was. It’s one thing for an order to fall through the cracks, quite another if there’s no floor.

Since the 636U is a discontinued scanner, it’s quite possible that CompUSA will not be able to get another one. Then the question emerges, what do they then do about it?

Sure, they have other scanners for sale, but most of those don’t look too good in either performance or user satisfaction. I want another Epson scanner, not something else.

The problem is, the rough equivalent of the 636U, the 640U, is in quite a few ways inferior to the older model. It’s made from plastic as opposed to metal, and has a slightly slower engine than the 636U. It does not have an on/off switch, which effectively means I’ll have to plug and unplug it so as not to burn out the lamp. There are some improvements, too, but for me, the bad points outweigh the good ones.

It also costs a good deal more than the price I paid for the 636U. I’ll reluctantly accept the 640U as a substitute, but I won’t pay more for it. To do so just rewards CompUSA for bad performance.

What I’d probably would rather have is the 1240U. That costs even more, but I would be willing to pay about the difference in cost between the 640U and 1240U for it.

Those were my two suggested solutions to the problem. I’ll give them until sometime next week to respond, then I guess I’ll have to call up the Queens store again or head down there.

It’s Your Fault We Didn’t Function?

I’m sure some of you (maybe CompUSA employees) are going to blame me for waiting three months. They’re going to say, “You should have called them.”

Excuse me, but if you take my money in advance for a product, it’s my job to hound and fight you into doing your job? I don’t find not getting the product inexcusable, that may well have been out of their control. What I do find very concerning is that store not doing something quite within their control, which is contacting me at some point to tell me how they were doing. What I really would find inexcusable is if non-contact is the normal way CompUSA does business.

And to find that out, I need you.

If any of you have made an advance purchase with CompUSA on a sales item that was out of stock, what was your experience, good, bad or indifferent? Did you receive the product within a reasonable amount of time (let’s call reasonable a month)? Did they ever contact you on their own if the product were delayed, or did you have to initiate all contact? If the product became unavailable, did they contact you on their own, or did you have to find out? At the point when this deal just wasn’t going to happen, what did the store offer as an alternative, and did they make any amends for any delays or lack of customer service?

No point limiting this to just CompUSA, what’s been your experiences with any computer hardware reseller?

I want to be fair. If you’re a CompUSA or other reseller employee, I’d like to hear your side of the story, too (no names or specific details mentioned).

Email me with your comments.

Obviously wasn’t in any desperate need for a scanner, so I decided to use this as an opportunity to test one place’s customer service. No one can accuse me of lack of patience. But three months is long enough.

Email Ed

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