Holiday Stress Drives Tim To Shout "Fuck Off!" At Customer

Here’s the strange, sad tale of Short-Tempered Tim at New World Video Direct in Brooklyn, NY. When Nicholas called NWVDirect a week or so ago with questions about an extended warranty for his new plasma TV, he got terse answers from a generally unhelpful man on the other end. The call was abruptly disconnected. Undaunted, Nicholas called back and got the same man, so he asked to speak to a supervisor, which is when things started to spiral out of control at the NWVDirect call center.

He said his name was Tim and he then placed me on hold for a supervisor. About 30 seconds later, someone picked up the phone and said, “This is Timothy, how may I help you?” To my surprise, this was still the same agent but he was obviously attempting to disguise his voice. So I asked if he was the supervisor and he said yes. I told him that I was just speaking to him and I would like to speak with his supervisor please. He then called out to someone and said, “Who transferred this call to me?” – apparently attempting to continue to act like he was the supervisor.? It was almost comical that he felt that I couldn’t notice that he was the same person. He was trying to speak to me in a deeper voice and it was very obvious he was trying to cover up what he was doing.

He then said let me transfer you back and before I could say anything I was transferred back to “Tim” the agent again. I then asked Tim or “Timothy” why he wouldn’t let me talk to a supervisor? He claimed he transferred me to one but I told him that he didn’t do a good enough job in disguising his voice and that I wasn’t thrown off by the name either!

Timothy the agent/”supervisor” became very belligerent at this point. He started yelling at me, telling me to “Fuck off” several times and using other inappropriate language. There was one point in the recording where he told me to come down to the store and speak to him face to face, as if to provoke a fight.

Okay, so that was just a bad phone call all around, but then when Nicholas emailed an official complaint to NWVDirect, he got the following response a few hours later:

Hello. The person who helped you originally on the phone did not do anything wrong until you asked to speak to his supervisor.

It’s that simple.

Maybe he was a bit tuned during the call due to an email he was replying to, but he was answering your questions to the best of his ability.

Everything that was said after that was a result of this and is considered fruit of a poisonous tree.

Your email was NOT read. The subject line WAS read ONLY as we were expecting your email.

Please do NOT reply as it will not be read.

Thank you, Our apologies, Have a good New Year.

Okay, so that didn’t work. Nicholas next took his complaints online to avsforum, which prompted the owner of NWVDirect to get involved and post his own response on the forum in what seemed like a good-faith attempt to make things right:

Hello. My name is Charles Hamaoui. I am appalled and very concerned about the events surrounding the original thread with respect to what occured that evening.

It was confirmed by me this call came in after normal working hours on the east coast. The employee that answered the telephone was completely inapropriate and indeed rude. As it turns out, our shorter staffed supervisors were not in the vicinity to overhear the call due to the time it arrived.

This is NOT a reflection of our Company and should be condsidered an isolated incident.

Nicholas and Charles spoke on the phone at some later point, where Charles told Nicholas that Tim had been fired and that he was sorry for the whole ordeal. He also sounded genuinely shocked when Nicholas read the “fruit of a poisonous tree” email back to him. Nicholas responded that Charles sounded suspiciously like a calmer version of Tim. The phone call ended without anything resolved. Later, Charles posted again to the avsforum, a portion of which appears below—and which seems to imply that the whole “firing Tim” thing was just something Charles said to placate an angry customer:

Hello Nickerz.

Thank you for calling this evening. I hope we cleared the air a bit. I doubt it though.

You seemed vindictive and more concerned with finding out who sent the email and if that person is going to be fired or not.

Question, lets say this person had a bad day, made a mistake, and apologized. Lets say this was the job that supported his wife and kids.

Would you still be persistent on getting him fired? or move on and get your answers answered the correct way?

. . .


Charles posted again later, and came across as even more weary and exasperated. We think he’s sincerely trying to make things right, but maybe he’s in a customer service situation that’s beyond his ability to resolve—it’s not easy to put the fuck-you-cat back in the bag after Crazy Tim lets it out to someone who just purchased an expensive plasma TV and wants to protect that investment. So in the end, all we can say is we hope you enjoyed this tale of customer service gone awry—and if you want to buy A/V equipment but would also like good after-sale support, look elsewhere. Oh, and Charles, you may want to keep Tim away from the phones.

Both recordings are below for those of you who want to compare and weigh in on the Charles/Tim identity issue. (This writer thinks they’re different men.)

1st Call – “Timothy” (121 KB)
2nd Call – “Charles” (453 KB)


(Thanks to Nicholas!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. JPropaganda says:

    He should have fucked off. Just saying what we’re all thinking. :-D

  2. evslin says:

    Haha wow.

  3. grebby says:

    I wouldn’t buy anything costing more than $5 from an online business based in Brooklyn, aka the Shady Electronics Dealer Capital of the USA.

  4. humphrmi says:

    This is an example of why many small businesses with owners who don’t have a clue how to handle customer service eventually fail. It sounds like Charles is out of his league. Example:

    “Question, lets say this person had a bad day, made a mistake, and apologized. Lets say this was the job that supported his wife and kids.”

    Totally unprofessional and indicative of someone who doesn’t know customer service. It’s not the customer’s fault that Tim’s family’s financial support is in jeopardy because he can’t control his own obscene mouth. Does he talk to his wife and kids that way?

  5. girly says:

    I’m not an expert on how to run a business, but I think the business should just have issued an apology and left it at that.

    I don’t think the customer needs to know the emotions of the workers or be analyzed by the owner when he receives poor service.

    Even if the complainant had some sort of personal vendetta they could still deal with him professionally. That does not mean they have to give the customer whatever he wants, just be reasonable and to the point.

    I realize the workers are human, but they can’t make excuses for their employees yet be so judging towards the customer. If they are so into mercy, they should show it towards both their employees and their customers.

  6. Coder4Life says:

    Hey I’ve done this before to a customer. Sad but true.

    When I worked at CompUSA and on a Sat. afternoon I was having a real bad day because well I was the only person working the Digital Imaging / Cell Phone / MP3 Player section by myself all afternoon. I was walking up to the counter from the break room when I heard some guy yelling “can I get some help?”. I walked up there and asked him “What can I do for you?” He must of been waiting there for sometime and he was ticked. He pointed to his wife and said she needs something. I got his wife the 32mb CF card she wanted, Yes I still remember that… It was about 4 years ago. and I turned around and he was still starin at me and was like “Don’t you dare speak to me like that.”. I must of came off a little grouchy. He still kept staring as his wife said “Lets go honey. I got what I wanted.”. I asked him if he needed anything else. He kept staring. So I got pist. and Yelled at the top of my lungs “GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY STORE”…

    Yes everyone in the store heard it, 2 managers came running to the counter b/ they heard it in the back. And yes there were another set of customers next to them and I probably killed their ears..

    The GM was called in immediately and store manager sat me in the back. Luckily some how I was not fired. I don’t know how, but they just said don’t do it again and had me take a long lunch. :)

    Now that’s a story….

  7. girly says:

    @humphrmi: I agree. I hope they change the way they do things for the better (it would be better for both the business and customers).

  8. smitty1123 says:

    Funny. I worked both tech support (for AOL no less) and retail during college and it was retail that drove me into cursing out a customer. Yea, I simultaniousy got “employee of the month” (which was voted on by employees) and fired for that. Good times…

  9. ThatDon'tFazeMeBro says:

    As much as I feel for Nicholas, he seemed to try to keep his cool for a bit, but quickly let his emotions get the best of him. Waaaaaay too many passive-aggressive and then confrontative comments that definitely did not help the situation. Ohh, and I have to agree with Chris that “Timothy” and “Charles” sounded like different people to me.

  10. girly says:

    @special4k4: I didn’t listen to it, but he’s the customer, and sometimes customers are difficult, but a smart business won’t give in to emotion, and if they do, they won’t try to make the customer feel like it is their fault.

  11. Eilonwynn says:

    I would never, EVER let my boss (the owner) answer customer emails. He’s great at what he does, but his strong point is NOT answering customer emails. (Last time I quit, he nearly tanked the business.)

  12. ThatDon'tFazeMeBro says:

    @girly: I should have clarified that his emails/messages seemed ok, but that he didn’t handle his phone calls in what I would consider the best manner. I agree that the business did not handle the situation correctly at all (in fact, I would agree that they were mostly/completely at fault); however, Nicholas could have been less combative and come off as someone who genuinely wanted appropriate corrective action. As they say, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar (or is it the other way around… []).

  13. SVreader says:

    @girly: Well put. This got way messier than it had to be.

    I haven’t listened to the recordings, so I can’t judge. However, I take a lot of calls at my job, and people are often not good judges of voices. People who have previously spoken to one of my female coworkers often assume they’re talking to the same person again, even if it was just a few minutes earlier.

  14. emax4 says:

    Visit my other favorite site,, and you’ll hear horror stories of the customers that workers have had to put up with. You might even recognize yourself as one of those same customers. There have been posts by myself and others of how we treat other retail workers and how they treat us, both positive and negative stories. At least you’ll get a better idea of what people who deal with customers all day have to deal with, especially with parents who assume workers are babysitters and stupid questions by otherwise intelligent customers.

  15. CaptainSemantics says:

    I can actually see how he thinks they are the same person. The quality of the recording isn’t good enough to determine if they are – indeed – the same person, but the story given seems a bit far-fetched. But, who am I to judge, I have no clue.

    This is one of the most confusing customer service situation stories I’ve ever seen. I’ve never heard of this company. Is it some little hole-in-the-wall place with 3 employees, or what?

  16. themediatrix says:

    Hey – this auction thread about NWVDirect is fascinating.


    Seems they have a habit of auctioning off or selling items online, but then switching the item to something else and claiming the original was “out of stock.”

    I came across it when trying to determine if Charles and Timothy were the same person. Both are mentioned in the reviews and so is “Phillip.” But there are tons of negative reviews balanced out by an equal number of positive reviews…it’s very strange.

    It’s odd to see a business with so many B&S accusations in one place. Makes me wonder if Charles really *is* the only employee and works out of his garage or something.

  17. Cowboys_fan says:

    If I was allowed, they’re would be plenty of customers I would say this to. Another bunch would be told they’re too stupid to have their equipment/service. Of course if we cut out all the stupid and selfish people, there wouldn’t be too many customers left!
    The problem is everybody has a breaking point and I yelled at a customer and asked them how stupid they were because they couldn’t add. In retrospect, there’s 100 other customers I woulda’ rather told off then her.

  18. trujunglist says:

    I think it’s pretty lame for the first e-mail to “apologize” by suggesting that Nick did something wrong and that’s the reason it all went badly. It’s even lamer that Tim wrote the e-mail implying that it was someone else and that everyone in the company agreed with his actions (I’m guessing the company consists of about 3 people, all of whom are good friends, hence Charles posing the “hypothetical” question about Tim’s family status). Nick spent some ridiculous money on whatever TV he got and wanted service for it, which they seem to be unwilling to give. Extended warranty means extra $$$ for the company, why is that bad? Must’ve been some jacked up questions by Nick that lead Tim to blow his fuse. Charles states that Tim apologized for being a dick. I don’t see an apology anywhere in the e-mail he sent. If anything it’s basically an even dickier way of saying fuck off. Charles did all the apologizing. I don’t generally agree that someone who has been insulted by a CSR or the like should seek termination for that employee because it really is vindictive and it’s not like you’ll get anything out of it. Besides, this company will likely be gone very shortly, and then they all won’t have jobs.

  19. LTS! says:

    These 1 man companies have existed forever. Many moons ago, before the Internet (what?!) I dealt with a computer company from Cleveland. The entire business was 1 man, although he attempted to sound like more. He was Russian, and when I questioned a problem with the order he pulled the same tricks. It culminated with me asking for the owner at which point he said “The owner is Antonio Banderas and he’s too busy to talk to you.” Incredulous I asked, “THE” Antonio Banderas, and he replied “Yep.”

    Yea, because Antonio Banderas is fronting a hole in the wall computer supply company in Cleveland.

    Bad customers happen we know that, but this does seem rather humorous.

  20. says:

    @CaptainSemantics: no, one employee, named Tim Timothy Charles Hamoui ;)

  21. themediatrix says:

    Oh! Oh! And look at this:

    “3/9/07 10:06 AM
    THREATING TO SUE ME: New World Video Direct has threatened to sue me, unless I remove this negative feedback. It appears New World Video Direct only wants positive feedback at this site. I’m unsure why New World Video Direct was removed from 2 of the biggest feedback sites. . . .


    Mr XXXX. This email is in response to your review on

    Please be advised.

    The rating is inconsistent with our telephone records of that day. There was no upsell attempted and we are appaled by your accusation. We will contact our attorney and sue for defamation. We have your information and our attorney is familiar with California law.

    You MUST remove or edit this rating by March 23rd or face possible legal action….”


    I guess Charles is quite familiar with legal terms like “fruit of the poisonous tree.”
    tee-hee. (Sorry, I sometimes turn into Nancy Drew. Hmmm…new avatar!)

  22. Slytherin says:

    @themediatrix: We should all post negative feedback, with our IP masked of course.

  23. themediatrix says:


    Hahah! That would be pretty entertaining. (Unfortunately, detective work is as far as I go.)

  24. algormortis says:

    My jobs keep the roof over my head and my butt off the street, too.

    That’s why I do them *right*.

  25. floydianslip6 says:

    Tim = Charles!!!!!!!!!

  26. floydianslip6 says:

    actually, I take that back. Tim = Charles = The Lawyer! Dun dun dun!!!!

  27. Sudonum says:

    But did he copy the New World Video Direct Legal Department on his e-mail?

  28. sleze69 says:

    @themediatrix: Ouuu! I love putting those phony Brooklyn retail websites out of business. Linking to this thread as I type this.

  29. Digitizer says:

    “I get that sometimes”? Maybe someone said Charles and Tim sounded alike the last time Tim got fired. Sounds like a job for the Bloodhound Gang!

  30. pylon83 says:

    Don’t people do any research before they buy high-end products, especially online? These kind of businesses prey on those who simply find the cheapest price and click “Buy” without any further thought/research. I’m not saying he did anything “wrong” per se, but a little due diligence would have easily prevented this situation.

  31. rolla says:

    wow, they just lost my business. Anytime you curse off a customer, you are ALWAYS wrong, no matter what. They should have just acted professionally and apologized, and maybe should have thrown something free his way. This would have helped him save face within the internet community. But instead, they screwed this up and now a lot of people (including myself) now know about this place and its bad BBB record. oh well, have a nice profitable year NWV Direct! hahaaa…

  32. fluiddruid says:

    I haven’t heard the calls, but to play devil’s advocate here…

    I can’t advocate a business using firing an employee to appease a customer. Frankly, it is none of the customer’s business what disciplinary action was taken against an employee, and — speaking from experience — customers who insist on knowing if someone has been fired are generally not worth keeping. That doesn’t mean this employee doesn’t deserve to be fired, but, employee jobs should not be a tool to handle irate customers. That doesn’t mean no disciplinary actions for mistreating a customer, but I don’t think it should be passed onto the public barring truly exceptional circumstances. I think anyone who’s worked in customer service understands that customers will often blame you, personally, due to situations beyond your personal control.

    In addition, I do support a company standing by its employee when it’s appropriate. I don’t think this is necessarily such a case, but, I have seen definitely talked to customers myself who needed to be told that they were being unreasonable. Sometimes, “the customer isn’t always right”. You don’t want to get to that point, but, there are a very very small number of customers who need this treatment. No employee should have to take all abuse a customer wishes to dish out. (I have done this myself as a supervisor, in cases of extreme harassment, like grossly obscene insults to a female representative.)

    Lastly, I think that sometimes the expectations on Consumerist are for dealing with “the big companies” and not small businesses. Yes, I’ve asked for a supervisor right away after dealing with a call center that proved inept. But, if you’re calling a tiny business and demand a supervisor right off the bat, you shouldn’t be shocked if this isn’t granted without question. For one, small businesses often don’t have supervisors, and managers/owners simply don’t have time to deal with every yahoo. I say this working in tech support for a small (under a dozen) company — it’s irritating to be treated like an idiot just because we don’t screen calls through first level support that doesn’t know anything. (We don’t have tiers. Just one tech!) While my boss is great about backing me up and taking the tough calls, he’s not just sitting at a desk all day waiting for people to call up to scream. Yet, I’ve had people who were shocked — SHOCKED I say — that he was at lunch, and indeed was the only other person in my department. Even though I gave his and my full name and extension. The world isn’t all call centers, and sometimes the person who answers the phone right away really does know what they are doing.

  33. girly says:

    @fluiddruid: I agree with you, but small company or not, you can be professional without being a doormat.

    I think most people who are reading this don’t think whether they fired the guy or not was the customer’s business, but the owner wasn’t even able to draw that line since he offered that information to the customer.

  34. HeHateMe says:

    @Coder4Life: Well, looks like we finally found out the real reason why CompUSA is closing. Way to go Coder!

  35. MercuryPDX says:

    @floydianslip6: Mr. Green… in the study…. with the monster cables.

  36. backbroken says:

    This is item #43 on the ‘reason not to buy an extended warranty’ list.

    This is also item #78 on the ‘reason not to buy anything from an online store based in Brooklyn’ list.

  37. chartrule says:

    a search in google maps for new world video direct

    churns up

    Results 1-1 of about 1 for “new world video direct” near New York, NY, USA – Modify search
    Mack Camera & Video Services – more info »
    200 Morris Ave, Springfield, NJ, USA
    (973) 467-2291
    Mack 4-Year Extended Warran…
    … Read what customers are saying about New World Video Direct …

    perhaps the 2 are related ?

  38. fluiddruid says:

    @girly: Yeah, you’re right. The owner acted like an idiot. But moreover, I just wanted to argue the principle of the thing; while the owner’s email was clumsily and poorly written, the core essence (should someone be fired over one customer contact gone awry) is something that hits home.

    Heck, I have — myself — been asked, as a supervisor, to fire someone on many occasions. On one, it was actually justified… but, there were real-life problems involved. Should a good performer who’s had a death in the family, or a bad medical diagnosis, or is in the middle of a painful divorce be fired because they act inappropriately with one customer and it gets out of hand? Yes, the response email is shocking, and it’s hard to think of a reason why one would tell a customer — any customer — to “fuck off”. But, firing someone is a very big step, and customers can and do threaten employees to give them what they want or “I’ll have your job”. I’ve been threatened that way myself, for a situation based on company policy. And, when I refused to lie to my employer to get the customer what they (unfairly) demanded, the person called back and said I swore at them, screamed, and — yes — told them “fuck you”. Fortunately, my supervisor at the time knew my performance and didn’t have a knee-jerk reaction (plus I sat near her, so screaming was unlikely!), but there are plenty of people out there who aren’t so lucky.

  39. Do_They_Get_It says:

    Sometimes it is appropriate for a business to fire a customer, there are rules that should be applied to eliminate knee-jerk reaction. This is not the case here. It was a situation that was handled poorly by all but responsiblity lies with business and its representatives.

  40. bwd1971 says:

    How about you get what you pay for? It takes those extra dollars to hire a competent sales and customer service staff. If you only shop for the bottom dollar price, you get the bottom dollar service.

    Next time, drive across town to the “high end” local store. I bet they’ve got a fancy show room, a knowledgeable staff and won’t curse you. But i’ll bet you curse when you see their prices!!!

  41. 8abhive says:

    All you CSRs and retail slaves: These jobs aren’t easy, and they aren’t for everyone. But doesn’t mean your bad day is everyone else’s fault.

    You’ve entered the workforce. Grow up.

    Want to do well and lose some of the stress? Don’t let it take over. Suck it up, check your ego at the door, do your job. Judge your moves by what helps your employer (hopefully long term) within the boundaries of your value system.

    When you handle the pressures well it does wonders for your state of mind. It’s worlds better than self defense or falling apart. Hysteria or blaming is a customer-service spiral.

  42. pylon83 says:

    Seconded. I’ve worked in retail and call centers, and I’ve NEVER blown up, or even come close. I never understood why people who can’t take the stress took these kinds of jobs.

  43. forgottenpassword says:

    Well, I KNOW that if i had a “bad day” & told a customer to “FUCK OFF!” …. I would be let go in an INSTANT! DOesnt matter If I was the sole provider for 12 kids, 2 elderly bed-ridden parents & a hungry puppy.

    You dont get offensive with customers because you had “a bad day” …. boo-fuckin’-hoo!

  44. forgottenpassword says:

    Just want to add that working in retail & being a representative of that retail shop….. you are basically there to take it in the ass from a customer. Meaning you are there to help customers & basically take the abuse from them. Now if the customer is acting extremely beligerant , making a scene & threatening, then you can ask him to leave becuase he is causing a disturbance…. if he doesnt, then call the cops. But if he’s just pissed… then you have to take it & dont take it personal.
    You dont let your emotions rule you when you deal with the public.

    Just like a cop is supposed to remain professional when dealing with an insulting prick… so are you.

    Its almost like you have to become this special mix between an unfeeling zombie on the inside & a cordial, polite customer service rep on the outside. THAT is how you do it.

    But if you want to blow up & lose control (I dont care if you have been working for 3 month’s straight [in fact I have been working in my job since sept 2007… 7 days a week & will still probably be doing so for a few months more)….then you better expect to be fired…. and you should be.

  45. faust1200 says:

    FWIW, I don’t think that the two men in the phone calls are the same person. I’m curious as to what initially set Timothy over the edge: “Questions about an extended warranty” is all that I can garner from the article.

  46. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    I still question how this ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’ relates to a customer service complaint!!! Unless they are all too familiar with legal proceedings against them…?

    And most people on here need to lighten up. If you’re in customer service, it is your job to talk to customers, whether you are having a good or bad day, whether the customer is a wonderful human being or an asshat.
    @Cowboys_fan: ‘customers who are too stupid’ ??? They are part of that group called customers who are the primary reason you have a job.
    Now get the f*ck off my website!! ;)

  47. Jim says:

    @grebby: Amen. Kinda like buying hubcaps near a motel years ago…”Hey these look familiar…”

    @Sudonum: I’m sure lionel.hutz@nwvdirect has been deeply involved.

  48. drewsumer says:

    fruit of the poisonous tree = watched a Law & Order marathon on TNT.

  49. KJones says:

    The problem with businesses both big and small is that they “think” they’ve done enough customer service training or addressed every possible contingency. It inevitably end up in one of three ways:

    1. They leave their employees no flexibility to deal with unexpected situations under the mistaken idea that loosening the pursestrings will automatically result in theft. Or they do it just to maximize profit. Either way, trying to save $5 dollars on a questionable “service charge” only to lose a $500 sale is an incompetent way of doing business.

    2. They assume they have vetted their employees well enough and believe them capable of doing the job. Instead, they end up with employees who have autonomy without accountability (e.g. “Tim”) who cause problems rather than solve them. Worse still, the company’s “system” makes it near impossible for the customer to achieve resolution.

    3. Corporate and even store management sets up “systems” to isolate themselves from customers and end up with no clue as to what’s really going on. When problems do arise, management refuses to take responsibility for their employees until after it is too late, after the point when a simple apology and fixing the problem would be enough (or even without an apology).

    It used to be that when a customer wrote to the CEO of a company, their letter reached the CEO and he replied personally. Now anyone outside the customer disservice department is untouchable. From what I’ve read, management attitudes today are, “All customers are unreasonable so we don’t want to deal with them”.

    Wrong. Some customers became unreasonable *because* management refused to deal with customers anymore, putting service in the hands of lowly paid employees in an attempt to save money. Companies created the situation, and then blamed the customer for their own actions. And then they wonder why they’re losing money.

  50. KJones says:

    One more point, on the use of “cuff you” (or similar words) being used by employees:

    During the late 1990s, I was receiving junk calls and junk mail from Capitulation One. I got tired of it, so I called their 1-800 number and told them to stop. They lied and said they would, but I continued to receive calls after that; some would argue that the junk mail was sent before I asked them to stop, but I doubt they print and mail junk letters over a month ahead of time.

    I called back and was (a) hung up on, (b) told “We have a right to mail you,” and (c) told to “FUCK OFF AND STOP CALLING US!”, never mind the fact that they were calling and harassing me.

    I called their head office’s regular number (collect) and told them of the call and of their employee’s response to a reasonable request. They acted surprised that one of their employees would do that, but at least it stopped the junk mail.

    It was after that series of calls that I refused to be civil to any telewhores in the future. I had been courteous to them in the past, but that was the final straw.

  51. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    NWVDirect is just another scammy 1-2 man gray market reseller of cameras and electronics, like PriceRitePhotos.

    I don’t think most of the posters realize that the picture in this article is an actual picture of the NWVDirect “store.” There is no supervisor, only the one or two guys who run the show. Tim should be glad he wasn’t threatened with a beating or a broken leg.

    Shops like these have been around forevver, and are completely untrustworthy. They regularly employ bait and switch scams, or offer fantastic prices on some camera, only to tell you it is “out of stock” when you refuse their high pressure upsell for outrageously overpriced add-ons and accessories.Once they have your money, nothing short of a chargeback will get it back from them, and the only time they offer anything remotely close to good customer service is when they think they’ll be getting (more) money out of you.

    When they get outed as a rip-off or a scammer, they threaten lawsuits to get negative reviews removed from forums where they are “rated” and flood the forums with positive reviews via sockpuppet accounts.

    If all of this fails, they simply change their name, change their eBay userID, and keep going. Anyone considering buying a “too good to be true” electronis deal from some “storefront” in New York should read this article first.

  52. I bought something from a shady Brooklyn electronics company once. Fortunately, I didn’t fall for the upsell and I did end up saving about $500 on my purchase (which wasn’t a gray-market product), but NEVER NEVER NEVER AGAIN. Ever.

  53. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    GAH! “Nicholas should be glad he wasn’t threatened BY Tim” is what my post should say.

  54. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    Good Lord I need my coofee, the second link in my post should be to THIS article, not back to Consumerist.

  55. kimsama says:

    @pylon83: Thirded. I worked in retail for five years in high school and college, and then at a call center for a stint in college, and never lost my polite facade, even though there were some frustrating, horrible, rude customers and I had my share of bad days.

    @KJones: I like the way you think.

    Finally, to me, “Tim” and “Charles” did sound exactly the same. I’m very suspicious, because the psychology behind “Charles”‘s answers when asked why he sounds like “Tim” and what their relationship is would indicate that he is lying (he waffles, gives one answer, clarifies, changes the answer slightly, doesn’t seem to really know what to say — that indicates he’s making it up on the spot).

  56. disavow says:

    Swearing at customers over the phone is NEVER excusable. That’s what mute buttons are for.

    (Yes, I’ve worked in two call centers, and became a bridge trainer at each.)

  57. NoWin says:

    @humphrmi: “Does he talk to his wife and kids that way?”

    Trust me, with some of the customers that I get to deal with, unfortunately, Yes.

  58. forever_knight says:

    @fluiddruid: any retail employee that can’t control themselves while dealing with a customer needs to find another job. it’s not the customer’s fault that the employee had a bad day/week/month/life. it’s the employees job to deal with customers–no matter what. these employees should have some freaking restraint and find a ine of worked they are better suited for.

  59. Sudonum says:

    Do you remember this post?[]

  60. @fluiddruid: I think there are situations in which a customer can reasonably want to know if a particular employee has been fired. I think those situations are more likely in personal services (if your doctor’s office has an abusive nurse, are you going back if she’s still there? Or if there’s any kind of problem or inappropriateness in people who handle any form of care for your child?). But I recall one store I shopped at where this one clerk kept sexually harassing me. I ABSOLUTELY want to know if and when he’s been fired and I think I have a pretty darned good reason, because I don’t go to the store to have my ass grabbed, thankyouverymuch.

    As for the behavior, yeah, people have bad days, even at work, but I too am getting really tired of these CSRs who say “customers suck, so I shouldn’t be blamed for losing my temper.” Well, you know, some of my students suck. Some of my clients suck. Some of them can get downright abusive. But I don’t lose my temper at them. It’s just unprofessional … and it gets you fired or disciplined in most worlds.

  61. forgottenpassword says:

    @Eyebrows McGee:

    I agree… customers who have been mistreated by an out of control employee need to know that appropriate action has been taken (fired/reprimanded etc. etc.). The whole “its not the customer’s business what diciplinary actions (or lack thereof) were taken” is BS! This sounds JUST like the excuse police dept’s use when one of their own gets in trouble for abusing his power. Its a way of “no accountability” that businesses & Police dept’s hide behind to protect their own.

  62. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    Back in my college days I worked at Best Buy part time. The closest I ever came to going of on a customer was on black friday. The usual wall-to-wall people with questions no biggie. I had learned early that you just had to take the good with the bad. But this one guy almost got hammered by me. I worked in the PC software/videogames/movies dept., as I was walking back to the desk to bring out more copies of a game a guy starts whistling at me. Of course with all the noise and press of people I didn’t know who it was or even where they were. I just heard whistling. As I am walking back to the last person who asked me for help he grabs my hair and yanks my head back while screaming at me “didn’t you fuckin hear me whistling bitch”? I had hair down to my chest and it was pulled back into a ponytail. I am a guy BTW and about 6’2 and 250lbs.

    I spun around on him and was about 2 milliseconds from dropping him when I realized it just wasn’t worth it. I called a manager over and we booted him from the store. He was screaming and throwing things the whole way out, really acting like a baby. We actually had to call the cops because he refused to leave the store property and kept trying to get back in the store. I was going to press charges but I just didn’t have the time to go to court with class and work.

  63. doireallyneedausername says:

    Anyone see ABC’s Wife Swap season premier a few weeks back? There was that one vindictive jerk on the show named Ralph Guastaferro. He’s the kind of guy you’d see tanking his own business by treating his customers this way.

  64. forgottenpassword says:


    SHould have called the cops on that guy. He physically assaulted you. Yelling & rude behavior is one thing, but physical assault is where the line is drawn.

    Sad thing is… depending on the severity of the assault… if its minor …cops will often do nothing unlessed really pressed. But if anyone even touches a cop…. well then it becomes the utmost of importance to arrest & prosecute. I have had police tell me to basically drop it & stop wasting their time after being physically assaulted by another person(more severe than hairpulling) when there were no obvious signs of assault (despite the amount of witnesses I had).

  65. Dugg- this is hilarious


  66. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @forgottenpassword: They were there and I explaind what happened with several witnesses. They said more than likely nothing would happen because there weren’t any physical signs. And I was just too busy to push it. He tried to come back to the store several times in the next week. Stupid thing was another BB was only about 8 miles away he could have went to..

  67. @forgottenpassword: “But if anyone even touches a cop…. well then it becomes the utmost of importance to arrest & prosecute.”

    There is a reason for that, though. Part of respecting the police/courts/whatever is that kind of stringently-applied enforcement when you break the rules towards the law-keepers. It’s like how if two kids in a classroom get in a fight and one slaps another, you might not even involve the principal’s office, but time-outs and apologies and whatnot. But if a kid slaps the TEACHER, there’s going to be a full-on disciplinary action, because part of a legitimate authority’s ability to command respect and compliance is built on a foundation of enforcement.

    Not that some cops (and some teachers!) don’t abuse it. But there’s good reason to take violence against the people who enforce the law very seriously, because that’s really violence against the law itself.

  68. JackieJoy says:

    One of the reasons I love the company I work for is that we don’t have to take it up the ass from anyone. This is the policy, period. Customer service isn’t going to change anything. They will say, we’re sorry you feel that way. Here’s a coupon for next time. I have taken my managerial mantra from them: “I’m sorry you feel that way. I’m sorry you feel that way. I’m sorry you feel that way.” Not: “I will now do whatever you want me to.” I have very rarely had my associates be rude to a customer, but when they do, it has always been because the customer was rude first. I have been told to fuck off by more people in the last four months…I will never understand why these people think they can talk to me in that manner, just because I choose to work in retail. I’m a manager. I make more money than they do, quite often! But since I work at a store instead of an office, they feel they can say whatever they choose.
    Meh, that in really in response to many of the comments here, as opposed to this story. I have never been rude to a customer from the get-go, only when they start being rude to me. And I would never say something so inappropriate as “fuck off” though I have often had it said to me.
    Fabulously, one of my associates responded to a customer in this manner:
    “Have a nice day, sir.”
    “Fuck off,” growled the customer.
    Henry smiled the biggest, sweetest smile: “I hope you choke and die.”

  69. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    You seemed vindictive and more concerned with finding out who sent the email and if that person is going to be fired or not.

    Bold faced lie!

    He asked if the employee still worked there but he did not come across as vindictive at all. “More concerned” as opposed to what? He was treated badly. What else was he supposed to be concerned with?

    Lets say this was the job that supported his wife and kids. Would you still be persistent on getting him fired?

    Of course he should still get fired! You don’t get to swear at and lie to customers just because you have a kid.

    or move on and get your answers answered the correct way?

    Now he’s blaming the customer. He called customer service. How is that not the “correct way” to get your questions answered?

    From the forum

    4. It seems now as evident as ever that from the get go you did NOT need any assistance with extended warranties and NEVER did.


    Now it’s a setup?!?!?
    Seriously, this guy could have just said the employee is being disciplined and left it at that. Instead he wants to end up on Consumerist and

  70. I love the reviews that begin:


    “Only order from retailers not based in Brooklyn” is my motto.

  71. disavow says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer: Freakeh, the one time I nearly attacked a guy in my retail days was on Black Friday working at Target, with my middle-back-length hair (I’m a dude) also tied back. I think the lesson is clear.

  72. shch says:

    Funny how the digg button covers up the expletive in the headline on the front page

  73. SpdRacer says:

    @themediatrix: We get a “company” that calls for my boss EVERYDAY, called Gary’s Sales, well Gary is the only one who ever calls. I have only worked here for a few months, but have been told that these calls have been coming in for like the last seven years, and nothing has ever been purchased from Gary. He doesn’t push, he just doesn’t give up either.

  74. @shch: That was my doing- didnt want to get censored

  75. girly says:

    @JackieJoy: I don’t think you ‘making more money’ than your customers is something that makes you less deserving of poor treatment.

  76. kbarrett says:


    Exactly what part of the constitution makes cops privileged persons with rights in excess of us mere peasants?

    Screw that.

  77. LeJerque says:

    Yes, let’s say this IS the job that supports his wife and kids.

    Shouldn’t that make Tim a little more concerned about KEEPING that job? You know, by treating it carefully?

    I’m just sayin’.

  78. KJones says:

    @Eyebrows McGee:

    If cops want stiffer penalties for violence committed against them, then cops should get stiffer penalites for crimes cops commit against civilians.

    Were I to slap a cop I would go to jail yet if a cop beat me for fun, he gets a slap on the wrist? That’s nonsense. A cop should get a stiffer sentence than I would for the same action.

    With attitudes like that, cops deserve no empathy when one gets killed on the job. Cops only enforce the law, they are not the law unto themselves and they should stop living on a power trip.

  79. @KJones: “then cops should get stiffer penalites for crimes cops commit against civilians.”

    I think they should. Lawyers, judges, etc., too. They know the law and they’re charged with upholding it; breaking it is especially egregious when it’s a member of the law-and-order professions.

  80. @kbarrett: I wasn’t making a constitutional or legal argument; just pointing out how authority actually functions in the real world. Sorry if that bothers you.

    Or, to turn your argument around, why should it be bigger news when the president gets shot than when a drug dealer does? Because the president isn’t just some guy; he STANDS FOR the country, the law, whatever. An offense against him isn’t just an offense against him; it’s against the nation.

  81. nardo218 says:

    Um no. There’s no excuse for swearing and yelling at a customer. Ever. Even if the OP was Satan or that Devil Wears Prada woman, he’s not at fault.

  82. molife says:

    This so NOT about customer service. It’s about Brooklynn BABY!!! LOL! The e-tail rip off capitol of the world!!!

    I got ripped off and treated the same way by one of these rip off online sellers in Brooklyn last year. Guy sold me a $2500 refurb tv that was supposed to be new. I stopped payment on my VISA and got all these mob like phone calls. This guy could not have been more insulting, rude and unprofessional.

    I had made the mistake of letting someone make a purchase in a hurry and then letting someone else sign for it without knowing what to look for.

    This went on for a year. And your not going to believe this but VISA gave me the TV and my money back!!!!!! I got a free $2500 TV out of this *sshole! Was such sweet justice!

    You can check out the net and reselleratings but these guys buy urls and change names so often it’s hard to keep up and not get ripped off.

    Check out every page on tigerdirect. They have a disclaimer that basically says every product could be a refurb. And they won’t email anything otherwise. From what I’ve read they do the same thing.

    The guy on the phone is the same guy. He’s just playing damage control. But all he’ll do is buy a new url and ftp his site to it and be up and running again in about an hour.

    I’d love to meet the Chamber of Commerce of Brooklyn! LOL! That would be fun and/or funny.

  83. CyberSkull says:

    The digg badge hovered over the colorful language on the main page. Is digg censor the consumerist? ;)