RadioShack Sells Defective Pre As New, Gets Caught

Eric bought a Palm Pre from RadioShack this past weekend, but maybe he shouldn’t have. Or maybe RadioShack should make sure that when a phone is returned as defective, it’s not sent back out to the first unsuspecting customer as a brand new device.

He writes,

I had called a Radio Shack near me asking if they had any Palm Pres available. They called me back Saturday morning (6/13) telling me that one had become available.

At home, upon closer inspection, I found the lower right part of the screen was defective. It looked like the screen was bubbling or something. When I opened up the Pandora application, to my surprise, an account was already logged in! This was supposed to be a new phone in an unopened box.

I Googled the user name and the first result I found was this Twitter account. And wouldn’t you know it. She had twittered not 6 hours earlier about how she had to return a defective Palm Pre to the same RadioShack.

When Eric took the phone back to RadioShack, the manager refused to admit it was a used Pre. Here’s part of the email Eric sent to the original owner, which she in turn posted on her own gadget blog:

When I confronted the manager about being sold a repackaged Pre, he said there was no way that was possible. Even after showing him that an odd account was already logged into Pandora, he denied it.

The good news is they did replace my Palm Pre. However, the bad news, in a totally separate independent issue, is that the ear piece on the new one doesn’t work.

To Radio Shack’s credit, they are replacing this one as well and they are having Sprint waive my activation fee. However there should be no excuse for reselling a returned phone.

“Farewell, Sweet Pre…” [Mobi-gas-mic]
“The Pre Incident” [Mobi-gas-mic]

Comments

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  1. Charles Zhang says:

    Looks like it was Pre-owned.

  2. czetie says:

    Thread over.

  3. dohtem says:

    lol, retail managers are scummy.

  4. vastrightwing says:

    Radio Shack didn’t take this very seriously. Guess I won’t shop there… seriously.

  5. 1stMarDiv says:

    I used to work in retail (gamestop…don’t hate, I’ve learned my lesson) and I can tell you it probably wasn’t even a manager and more likely some moron SA. It happens more than you’d think.

  6. Nighthawke says:

    Was the store Corporate or Franchise?

    If corporate, then no surprise there. RS company stores will rip off your grandma in two heartbeats.

    If franchise, BIG surprise. Every visit to RS franchises are met with friendly, smart folks that really do make every effort to help you out.

    • ngallion says:

      @Nighthawke: Glad someone else was thinking this. During my years as a franchise employee, I would have bent over backwards to take care of a customer, and most of my coworkers would have done the same.

      Coporate, though? Ick.

      • ngallion says:

        @ngallion: It’s probably also worth mentioning that while it can be hard to tell if a store is corporate or a franchise, it’s a dead giveaway that a store in a mall is corporate. Steer clear!

      • Clobberella says:

        @ngallion: Hm, “ick” is pretty much how we at corporate felt about the one franchise store that fell within our district. Maybe it was just the one store, but it was ancient and dirty, and so was everything and everyone in it. And they were constantly calling us for help with customers because they could never figure out exactly what the hell they were doing. So I suppose it just depends, but honestly, after wasting away two perfectly good years of my life working for those blood-sucking cretins, I would never set foot in another RS again regardless of who owns it.

    • Woden501 says:

      @Nighthawke: I’m not quite sure if the one near me is corporate or franchise, but I can say that they are awesome. Whenever I have issues with my phones (and I’ve had a few screwy phones… damn LG Fusic) they’ve helped me fix them quickly, and with minimal fuss. As a result I haven’t shopped at any other store for my two year upgrades.

      • Nighthawke says:

        @Woden501: If they have oddball merchandise that is not RS branded, and the help is friendly, then it’s a franchise. About the only thing that is keeping RS afloat at the moment too.

    • HunterZ says:

      @Nighthawke: I guess that explains why the mall RS stores are so much smaller and scummier (I see ngallion mentioned the same thing).

  7. JohnAllison says:

    I feel bad for the author. His third Pre may also turn out defective.

    The Pre has a number of defects that would drive a user to return the phone. Mine powers completely off if I close the keyboard too quickly because of a know loose battery issue. I’ve fixed it by jamming a piece of paper between the case and battery. My screen has broken pixels. Others are having major battery issues, or other poor build quality issues.

    I can reasonably expect Radio Shack is receiving a large number of returned phones. A sales associate checking the phone out, not seeing anything immediately wrong with it and reselling it assuming the first customer was mistaken about a faulty phone.

    For a phone that costs around $170 to build it sounds like the $550 no contract price has a large number of defective products built in.

    • sandynlos says:

      @JohnAllison: I am on my 3rd Pre now and finally it seems ok. The 2 I had before also had the battery issue and the other a bubble under the screen. But definitely not cool that a store is re-selling these defective phones. I went to Sprint stores, and one of the stores put a not saying “defective” while the other did not. Who knows, Sprint employees might do the same thing?

  8. Adhominem says:

    The headline should read “Radioshack Employee” rather than just “Radioshack.” There’s a big difference.

    Companies don’t always act correctly and that’s why we have blogs like this. As consumers we need to have integrity as well. Painting every company black for individual acts like this just chips away at the Consumerist.com’s credibility and clout.

    • CompyPaq says:

      @Adhominem: An employee of a company is a representative of the company and should act as such and be held accountable as such. Companies have to properly train employees and have procedures in place to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. If they don’t then it is their fault.

      • Adhominem says:

        @computerwiz3491:

        Was corporate notified? Did they condone it? Do we even know this was corporate owned? Was it a franchise?

        • takes_so_little says:

          @Adhominem: This man was hired by this company. A company IS the people who work for it. Policy or not, this is something RADIO SHACK did.

          If the manager had, say, I don’t know… punched the customer in the face (crazy, I know, just go with it), Radio Shack would be liable.

      • rdm says:

        @computerwiz3491: Agreed. It is implied that Radio Shack (or Best Buy, etc) as a “thing” cannot sell someone a bad piece of hardware. It will always be a representative of said company that does these things no matter how high up they are.

    • ovalseven says:

      @Adhominem: “Painting every company black for individual acts like this just chips away at the Consumerist.com’s credibility and clout.”

      I don’t get it. Are you questioning The Consumerist’s credibilty and clout based on the action of one employee who wrote the headline? Or, are you telling us that we shouldn’t behave like that? You can’t have it both ways.

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      @Adhominem:

      It requires additional time and effort on the part of the customer to discern the two in any given situation…if it even is possible.

      A company or its employees getting upset about this mistake is just another way of saying they are upset at the person making it for not knowing the company’s internal policies, or not knowing all the little details of the employee’s job. It’s assuming that outsiders should act as though they have insider’s knowledge. It is even more unfair than conflating the will of the employee and that of the company.

    • jpp123 says:

      @Adhominem: Ah no the company sold the product – the sales contract is between the company and the customer not the employee. The employee is merely the agent of the company. Consumerist is correct in how it worded the article.

    • HillSA23 says:

      @Adhominem: I’m with Adhominem. This appears to be the action of an SA within Radio Shack. It certainly isn’t policy of Radio Shack — I should hope.

      @jpp123: If Consumerist is correct in how they worded this article, why did they call out Domino’s *employees* during the nasty video scandal a while back? They didn’t say “Dominos does nasty things to your pizzas”. Same here. Sure, the phone was bought at a Radio Shack store but it isn’t like Radio Shack decided the phone should be placed on the shelves again. A single, probably unsupervised, employee did that. There’s some culpability, but you’re stretching your case if every time a rogue employee does something nasty it’s the company’s fault.

      We can call out Radio Shack all we want — but it’s going to come down to a single employee doing something wrong (intentionally or not) and I just can’t say it’s fair to slash at the entire company without a larger trend.

  9. Adhominem says:

    @undefined:

    I’m pretty sure we can agree that it’s not official store policy of Radio Shack to sell customers defective and broken products. I’m also sure we can agree this manager or whatever sales associate was acting against store policy.

    The headline implies something far more nefarious than what is stated in the article. And from what it sounds like, some SA sold the defective phone, the manager wasn’t even aware of it. But when confronted he replaced the phone once, then again when the earpiece had a problem, and waived the activation fee.

    • Clobberella says:

      @Adhominem: I take it you’ve never worked for a Radio Shack. It may not be “official” store policy but “official” doesn’t mean squat. We were “officially” supposed to send back all opened returns to repair regardless of condition (especially phones) but I guarantee you less than 1/10 of those actually got sent back. Most were just polished up and put right back on the shelf. That was not due to errant employees, that was the instruction of the store and district managers. Mac-phisto on the thread down below explains pretty well why that is. Doesn’t make it right, but that’s what happens. The other problem was also that we got extremely limited stock, and attempting to resell returns was pretty much the only way we ever had anything in the damn store. Most of the SAs didn’t like it, and most of us complained all the time. I assure you, whoever did this most likely did so at the behest of his or her manager. The manager may not have been aware that this particular unit was a return, or defective, but I’m still certain that the employee who put it back on the shelf would have done so only because that is what s/he had been instructed to do in the past.

  10. Anonymous says:

    to be fair, a lot of people to the “switcher-roo.” That is, the buy something it breaks so they buy another one and return the broken one for a full refund, saying they never opened it, etc. Radio Shack can’t be expected to launch every app and check. They usually just check the serials, which are stickers easy to swap.
    A friend of mine does this all the time.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I agree that we shouldn’t claim all of Radioshack is like this just because one store did it but my story is going to help that. I worked at Radioshack for 6 months and we were told to do things like this all the time. If we got a cell phone back we just put it back in the cage and sold it to the next person. I was just a part time sales person so there wasn’t much I could do especially since I had a new store manager every 2 months.

  12. CubFx says:

    With this kind oif story, their are always comments about it being a “bad employee”, or “not representative”. This is a load of hooey, and doubly so in this case.

    As some others have pointed out, the employee is acting on behalf of the company. They are the duly designated representative. They are the company.

    Their are always some bad apples, but a good company will act quickly and decisively to resolve the problem, and implement policies to try and limit the bad. When this happens, it almost never is featured here, or it has the headline “Company X acts quickly, customer very satisfied”.

    So good company, it happens like this:
    1. Customer buys gadget X.
    2. Gadget X is defective, broken, or otherwise problematic
    3. Customer realizes gadget X was already returned once.
    4. Customer X returns item to store.
    5. Manager is aghast that this happens, he immediately replaced it with a new one, possibly offering a discount. He makes sure item works before the customer leaves (if possible).
    6. Manager investigates the incident, and takes appropriate disciplinary action to make sure it never happens again.
    7. Manager sends a letter to followup, or calls to follow up. He says the issue has been resolved and makes sure the customer is still happy with the purchase.
    8. Customer is happy, or at least satisfied. They may write a post about the experience, but probably won’t.

    But here is what happened:
    1. Customer buys gadget X.
    2. Gadget X is defective, broken, or otherwise problematic
    3. Customer realizes gadget X was already returned once.
    4. Customer X returns item to store.
    5. Manager denies, lies, or otherwise ignores the problem.
    6. Manager does the minimum necessary to get the customer out the store.
    7. Nothing ever happens to appease the customer unless the customer raises a huge stink on consumerist, and nothing ever happens to make sure the problem doesn’t reoccur.
    8. Customer is so dissatisfied the they write it up and consumerist posts it.

    In both cases, the companies representative did something wront. In the first, though, we see a scenario where the company has (apparently) tried to limit the “bad apple”. in the second, we see a company that does not.

    A single incident may not be indicative of bad “corporate culture”, but sometimes a scenario just rings true. Whether because their are MANY such incidents, or because it has happened personally to someone.

    Radio Shack falls in both categories for me. I have had a number of negative experiences with them, a number of neutral, and no positive ones since the mid-nineties. Because of this, I only use them when I don’t have another immediate option available. For me, this story rings very, very true.

  13. BillyDee_CT says:

    Radio Shack has changed … for the worse! Back in the 70;s when I was in my teens I worked there (as many techie-types) and you actually got people there who UNDERSTOOD what electronics were and wanted to give good customer service (I worked at an authorized Radio Shack franchise dealer and would install CB radios and car stereos). Today, Radio Shack employees are just schlubs looking for a paycheck who, for the most part, have no clue about electronics and with a rare exception care very little about customer service, let alone have any knowledge about the products they sell. Thus, we have the downfall of Radio Shack as we know it today.

  14. twophrasebark says:

    I would guess the manager was aware it was returned. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have denied it being used. In fact, he would have been surprised and curious.

    Denial is usually a giveaway when people are lying. People who are telling the truth are usually very open and cooperative. People who are lying are combative.

    You’d think people would learn to fake it better, but they don’t. Just ask police investigators. It’s almost always the same story.

  15. wcnghj says:

    Return it again, don’t let them get their commission.

    But it directly from Sprint.

  16. narcolepticdoc says:

    Oh it gets better if you read the site:

    The guy who returned the Pre that was Pre-owned got a twitter message from somebody else who was resold the same Pre about 4 hours after he returned it.

    The sold it, it was returned as defective, resold it as new, it was returned AGAIN as defective, and then they resold it as new again…

  17. Chris Wanja says:

    Sounds like this story you guys posted back with an iPhone incident. [consumerist.com]

  18. Anonymous says:

    Most retail people are not hired as salespeople. All theyb have to do is ring it up. This includes Sears, Penney’s, Target, Wal-mart and even Fry’s and Best Buy.

  19. mac-phisto says:

    perhaps i can be of assistance with some helpful insider knowledge:

    1) it is radioshack company policy to sell returns WHENEVER POSSIBLE. this includes phones. there is a procedure to inspect returns for defects, but the effectiveness of this procedure differs wildly from store to store. unofficial official rule (there’s a lot of these at radioshack, btw): if it doesn’t look like it’s been used, it’s new.
    2) as a rule, phones are SUPPOSED to be sent to radioshack repair whenever they are returned before they are resold. this is in response to a few incidents where customers were receiving pre-personalized (or more accurately, pre-porned) cell phones.
    3) phones that are sent to RS repair are sent at a cost to the store (which affects some of the most important metrics for gauging store manager success & bonuses). repairs are billed at extortionist rates ($50+, even for something as easy as a memory wipe).
    4) phones sent back from repair are sold at a discount as refurbished. this means the store takes a hit on both ends – they pay for the repair & then they sell a phone for $30-80 less. as a result, stores will likely lose money (or at best, break even) on the sale of the phone.
    5) due to these factors, as well as pressure from the middle managers on the district/regional level, most store managers keep returned phones in inventory with the hopes of passing them off on other store managers, returning them to corporate as part of a buyback program when the item nears obsolescence, or simply passing them off on the next poor soul to take their place when they leave.

    so, to ensure NEW at radioshack (or really any retailer), insist on phones (or other electronics) in sealed packages. the boxes almost always have a seal, but if not, you can tell a new phone by whether the components (phone, battery, etc.) are in plastic bags with “tamper-proof” tape seals. if they are not, chances are good that you’re getting a returned phone (which is often times defective). demand an alternative or shop somewhere else.

    • PsykoDemun says:

      @mac-phisto: In my store at least(a high volume store at that) we no longer do refurbished phones. Every phone return is sent back outright. Also, just because a phone is not sealed or some components are not in their tamper proof packs does not mean a phone is not new. Would you refuse to buy a car soley because the guy in front of you drove it around the parking lot? Some people are very insistent on seeing a working example of a phone and we only get one demo phone per carrier.

      Should this have happened? No.
      Should we crucify a company for it? No.

  20. capkincaid says:

    An activated sprint phone can not easily be re activated. One must call in for a master lock code instead of the one time lock code that the activation system gives. As a so called “scummy” manager of a RadioShack store all of my returned phones are properly handled and my employees will get retrained if they don’t.

    • ellastar says:

      @capkincaid: That’s what I was wondering. I used to work at RadioShack, and I’m wondering how they managed to activate an already activated phone without someone wondering what was going on. Cell phone returns are supposed to be sent back to be refurbished. I always grabbed a brand-new box whenever possible (sometimes I couldn’t avoid selling phones we had taken out of the box to show people), or called in for the master lock code only if I was sure the phone hadn’t been sold before. Then again, our store/employees weren’t scummy.

      However, knowing some of the stores and employees I have encountered, and knowing that RadioShack is usually the last to get a really hot item (or gets it in really low quantities), I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some scummy employees selling an activated (popular) phone just so they could claim a sale.

  21. nocturnaljames says:

    Radio shack are jerks, you can’t even buy a simple thing without them trying to shove other stuff down your throat. I bought a $2 pack of wire crimps, and the guy said I could get half off if I was with a certain phone carrier. So I foolishly told him what carrier I was with, and he proceeded to try to shove a cel phone service contract down my throat. It was clear this was obviously a staged tactic to just get me to talk about cel phone.. there was no discount with any carrier.

    • ellastar says:

      @nocturnaljames: They do this because of the horrible pressure from corporate. It doesn’t make it right (and I avoided it whenever possible when I worked there), but it makes it easier to understand. There are some people who are cell phone sharks and enjoy the fast-paced selling, but most of the employees work under the threat of being written up and berated for not selling any cell phones for a month in a market that’s been oversaturated. It’s ridiculous.

      • Clobberella says:

        @ellastar: God, tell me about it. My manager was the worst about that stuff. Every so often he’d make his way up to the sales floor to push stuff on people to try and make sure we were following his shining example. For every single customer, regardless of what they were buying, the same speech: “Would you like to save 10% on that with a Radio Shack credit card? Would you like the service plan for only $5.99? We’ve got a great deal on batteries, 4 for $10! Hey, nice phone you’ve got there- who’s your service with? Did you know if you’ve had your phone for two years you can upgrade for free? Here, have a flyer! You should really buy a Monster cable with that. What’s your zip code?” It was so bloody embarrassing. None of the SAs ever did more than one or two of those per customer, but he seriously unloaded on all of them. Ugh.

  22. krispykrink says:

    I was an assistant manager for a corp owned Radio Shack a long time ago. This is SOP for them, they do it all the time.

  23. Joe Prosser says:

    You mean they didn’t even offer to double the warranty? How RadioShack Of them.

  24. U-235 says:

    The OP is clearly a liar! He couldn’t have bought a Palm Pilot Pre at Radio Shack because, as everyone knows, Radio Shack has been out of business for years. But seriously… I though all Radio Shack sold was RC Cars, battries, and random component parts for ham radio enthusiasts.

    • Jesse says:

      @U-235:

      They do serve a purpose. I lost the AC adaptor to my cable modem during a move and was able to get a replacement at Radio Shack right away vs. searching for an OEM replacement that would be 2x the price and take a week to ship.

  25. CoarseLive says:

    I’ll never shop at Radio Shack again. When Sirius Radio started, I got my radio there because of the promised “rebate.” When I mentioned that to someone, she told me that Radio Shack never honors it’s rebates (or rarely). Still, I put together the materials (for a $50.00 rebate) and had two adults with college degrees, besides myself, review the package. One year later, it was denied for having insufficient information. I promised myself I would take a picture of the materials, but it was my fault that I didn’t. But, when it came time to renew Sirius after a 2-year prepaid subscription, I asked for my $50.00. When they said they couldn’t give it to me, I cancelled.

    I don’t trust Radio Shack at all.

    • Anonymous says:

      @CoarseLive:

      “When I mentioned that to someone, she told me that Radio Shack never honors it’s rebates (or rarely).”

      The acutal retailer does not give out the rebate. Once the sale is finalized, the manufacturer is responsible to pay, not the retailer (at least in most cases). So your claim was denied by Sirius, not RS.

  26. Jack Doyle says:

    Come on. Would you expect anything different from Radio Shack? For real.

  27. takes_so_little says:

    @HillSA23: “…if every time a rogue employee does something nasty it’s the company’s fault.”

    Well, as long as he’s wearing the uniform, the things he does are radioshack’s RESPONSIBILITY. You can say it’s not their fault, but they own the mess and it’s their job to clean it up. You’re splitting hairs about the headline.

    • HillSA23 says:

      @takes_so_little: Well, you make a good point there. It certainly is Radio Shack’s responsibility to clean up the mess. They did hire the guy. Still, it can be quite difficult to police the actions of every employee all the time. Things like this are bound to happen. As CubFx is saying in a thread below this one — it’s how the company addresses the situation that matters.

      I feel like we’re having a discussion that is similar to “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. =P

      I might be splitting hairs about the deadline, sure. Despite enjoying this site immensely, I quite often think the headlines are grandiose or misleading. It certainly grabs the attention though.

      • Tzepish says:

        @HillSA23: “Still, it can be quite difficult to police the actions of every employee all the time.”

        True, but it’s quite easy to reduce the probability of these actions occuring – train your workforce well, and treat your workforce well.

  28. Nathan Weinberg says:

    I bought an HDTV antenna two years ago for the Super Bowl (before I gave up and got cable) at Radio Shack, and when I got home, plugged in the power adapter and it just didn’t work. Given that a powered antenna is useless without a working plug, I returned it. I noticed that the box had been lazily tapes shut, and the contents inside were very poorly packed (the box was actually bulging). It was clearly used and sold to me as new.

    I brought it back to the Radioshack, and they brought out another of the same antenna. The box was also used, taped poorly, and I wasn’t wasting time on the same crap, again. I told the employee that a used antenna was unacceptable, given the problems with the previous used antenna, so please get me another one, a new one. He went “in the back” and brought back three more. All opened boxes, used, in poor condition. He explained that every single one he had was like this! A $60 antenna, and every single one had been used and returned.

    Any store that will sell you returned merchandise without a second’s thought as to whether that merchandise isn’t fit to be used by any customer, or at least marking it as used (and marking down the price) is horribly dishonest.

    And this is why I hate Radioshack.

  29. thomas_callahan says:

    Twice so far this year I have bought things from Radio Shack only to realize when getting home that they were defective returns. First was a rooftop TV antenna that when I opened it was missing several parts and all of the paperwork, second was a DTV converter box that was missing the remote and all of the wires weren’t twist-tied, etc., clearly had been opened and returned. In both cases they swapped them (with the antenna they actually gave me a hard time about it) but that will be the last time I shop there even if it means waiting (I had only even gone there because I needed things right away).

  30. Bgeezy says:

    I worked for ATT Data support and we handle the blackberrys.
    There are many of times someone has called me from an authorized retailer and the store rep told me they just activated a new phone and they needed help setting up email on it for the customer. Then I go and check and an account for the unique pin had all ready been created and sometimes emails are all ready set up for it.

  31. takes_so_little says:

    “…it can be quite difficult to police the actions of every employee all the time.”

    No one said being a big company would be easy.

  32. Mark Pelletier says:

    I worked at “The Shack” for a while and can also confirm that this type of practice is common place. Used stuff sold as new ALL over Radio Shack. I wrote a blog about it called CONFESSIONS OF A RADIO SHACK EMPLOYEE at: [mjayp99.blogspot.com]

  33. temporaryerror says:

    One thing to understand (not that it makes it right) is that right now, sales associates are under tremendous pressure by the district manages to sell a certain (close to unreasonable) amount of phones, credit cards, and service plans per week under threat of termination. That, coupled with a very low employee morale leads to things like this happening. These sales expectation are, I think, the reaction to RS rapidly losing sales and market space.

  34. 2 replies says:

    Radio Shack employees work off commission.
    So at least for me the repackaging of the expensive & relatively rare electronic in order to get the commission is not a surprise at all.

    That said, I haven’t shopped at RS for years, and don’t plan on it any time soon.

    • temporaryerror says:

      @Coop:
      It’s piss poor commission. The only thing that they really make commish on besides cell phones, service plans, and the RS credit card are parts, batteries, and accessories, and even then it’s only 2.75% and only if you r sales average out to at least $75/hr. That’s why they push phones on custies so much. They don’t make crap otherwise. IIRC, my average PBA commission per check was something like $25.

  35. Anonymous says:

    One of the wonderful realities about posts that amount to little more than company bashing is that especially in the area of retail, the bulk of the negative reinforcement comes from former employees. Retailers like RadioShack, Wal-Mart, Sears, Target and others, by their very nature generate thousands of disgruntled and often belligerent former employees, many of whom left for reasons of performance or even darker circumstances. Thus, given the opportunity to “Me Too” a negative post, they leap to the opportunity. RadioShack has survived the retail industry for decades longer than “almost” any other retailer, and has outlasted darling successors by the dozens including most recently “Circuit City”. Go to a ten year old yellow pages and count the number of consumer retailers that no longer exist. RadioShack exist because their business model works and their customer base is retained. Poor customer service at a systemic level kills retailers quickly. The fact that RadioShack is both tenured and successful offers some evidence that both from an operations side and in the area of customer service they continue to excel beyond the level of those who have truly failed in one venue or another. They are far from perfect, but the wholesale branding of the entire company based on the actions of a salesperson simply verges on the ludicrous and reeks of self validation.

  36. Anonymous says:

    First of all as a Radioshack manager we have a stict code on used merchandise especially when it comes to wireless phones. When a cell phone comes back to us we have to send it back to manufacturer. We will not be able to activate a phone that was previously activated and thus it would be underlined on the customers contract electronically as a “refurbished phone” and the activation fee would be waived. Only phones you can re-sell without the customer being aware are AT&T with sim cards they never get registered only sim does. Sprint is CDMA so once activated it cannot be sold on another customer’s account (our activation system will not allow it. So the phone comes from a sprint distribution center, and some kid in the warehouse was eager to try out the palm pre and once he “checked it out” he put it back in the shipment. We have come a long way and trying to screw people in this economy in a no no for radioshack.

  37. WorldHarmony says:

    Maybe most of the Radio Shacks I’ve visited have been corporate, but I avoid RS if I can. I’ve found RS to be too often staffed by rude, sexist salesmen (more women work there these days, though), some of whom knew less about the product I was buying than I did. Over the years I’ve talked with other women I know about their Radio Shack experiences and sexism came up as a common experience. I don’t give Radio Shack my money unless they are the only store in town with the product I need.

  38. RadioShackManager804 says:

    First of all i would like to thank all the people who posted on this issue good or bad. We do read these concerns and do our best to ensure that our customers have a great experience here. I am sorry to hear that it may have happend to you. I would like to lend my professional Opinion. When a phone who someone actually owned its returned it is impossible for us to resell it (HOWEVER) the Palm Pre is equiped with Wireless internet
    i recently had to remove associates from there position because they had opened a phone with wifi and were browsing the web via wifi. Take this consideration into consideration “im bored” no internet why not open one of our phones with wifi and try to pickup a hotspot. The manager may or may not know about this if he did it should have to relayed to you the phone was a store demo and you wouldve gotten it with a free 2-year warranty.If he did not the associate probably took it out to “Play” with the new phone and didnt clear the cache aka hes an idiot that will not be with the company for much longer. I am not in defence of RadioShack here but i do bealive the fact that it wasnt “returned” just used which is still wrong had it have been me i wouldve scowered the district and get my DM involved if need be andfind you a sealed box replacement made sure it worked correcly and probably given you something for your trouble. Radioshack also cannot waive Activation fees anymore sisnce that is all done through sprint, and for the people that will call me a liar I will bring to your attention all sprint phones have a meticulous ringup that has a one activation rule if you try to rering a phone that has already been returned it will give us an error stating the phone is an RMAC (Return for Credit item) and cannot be sold

  39. RadioShackCustomerCare says:

    We’re sorry to hear about Eric’s frustrating experience. Please be assured that it is RadioShack’s policy not to resell used handsets. If an activated handset is returned to RadioShack, we return it to the carrier. Given that, it’s unclear to us how the application ended up on the phone (we’re looking into it), but we’re glad that our associate was able to provide Eric with a replacement Palm Pre.

    RadioShack Customer Care

  40. trujunglist says:

    @RadioShackCustomerCare:

    Are you serious? Seriously. I can’t believe I just read this comment.
    “Unclear how the application ended up on the phone”… Uhhh… isn’t it totally fucking obvious? You need to fire the fucking manager! DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
    Just because it’s not your policy doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, because it obviously did. I am still completely flabbergasted as to why you think this was a good comment and not complete bullshit. Could you possibly be more insulting to the readers here, because that ONLY makes me never want to shop at Radio Shack again. Perhaps you could try for an angry mob next time…

  41. CoarseLive says:

    @RadioShackCustomerCare: This is fucking ridiculous. Fucking ridiculous. Trujunglist is absolutely right. Radio Sack does nothing to remedy the issue by just stating that the issue isn’t an issue. Is the list of comments affirming this pattern of customer abuse just a lucky list of apparitions?

    If there was an ounce of sincerity to what Radio Sack said here, they would have coupled it with messages to those who griped asking about the circumstances.

    Let’s face it, The Sack isn’t going to stay open just selling diodes and dongles. Following a return model that modern retailers use will bankrupt them, so they fuck you in the asshole dry – without the benefit of a reach-around. It’s much cheaper to hire one bad “customer care” rep then to actually have integrity and not fuck people.

  42. KingPsyz says:

    @RadioShackCustomerCare:
    “RadioShackCustomerCare has no friends.”

    and now you know why…

  43. dragon:ONE says:

    @RadioShackCustomerCare:

    Your “Ass-ociate” should be fired.
    And for fucks sake, I don’t need batteries or service plans on three frickin’ capacitors, Radio Shack, so can ya stop upselling them?

  44. KingPsyz says:

    @dragon:ONE:
    hell, everyone involved with that sale should be charged with fraud and identity theft (even a simpleton could have formatted the phone to erase the previous owners info)

  45. opticnrv says:

    @RadioShackCustomerCare: “Please be assured that it is RadioShack’s policy not to resell used handsets.”

    Since when does corporate policy ‘assure’ a customer of anything? That’s like reading a fairy tale and believing that we will all live happily ever after.

  46. Professional_Iceberg_Hunter says:

    @RadioShackCustomerCare: Are you kidding me?

    Please, quit your job. You are better off leaving this blog and trying to erase our memories so that we can forget you.

    Don’t come in here and try to defend Radio Shack. Sure, you have companies policies, but that doesn’t mean everyone follows them

    And now you can’t even reply to these comments. Quit already.

  47. cuchanu says:

    @RadioShackCustomerCare: And what does “we’re looking into it” mean? Did you hire forensics experts to take fingerprints or something? At least you aren’t “taking the matter very seriously.”

  48. larkknot says:

    I used to work for Radioshack – I enjoyed working for the corporation but not for my store, if that makes any sense. Used handsets were sold, but they were marked as being refurbished units, and they were sold at a discount. We were supposed to send them back to the manufacturer. Either a store employee erred, or it could have been deliberate – the financial incentive on selling an expensive cellphone plan like the one that comes with a Palm is a definite motive to resell the one just returned as defective instead of sending the potential customer to another location.