Radio Shack's Hassle-Free Replacement Plan Full Of Hassles, Doesn't Replace Item

Image courtesy of (Penn Cann Mall)

While buying headsets at Radio Shack,Orlando let himself be talked into buying the Shack’s replacement plan for the item. There’s no hassle to using the plan, the salesperson assured him, but he probably should have realized that there is no such thing as “no hassle” at Radio Shack. While the plan replaced a broken headset, there was plenty of hassle, and the plan didn’t fully replace the item.

Earlier this year, I bought a new set of Sony headsets from “The Shack.” Of course the salesperson talked us in to buying the Radio Shack Replacement Plan, which on this product was only a few dollars. After assuring us that the plan is no hassle, and that you don’t even need your receipt to get a replacement, we were sold.

Earlier this month, the headset failed so we went to our local Shack to get our promised replacement. However, we were told that the process was not as easy as we had thought. First, we would have to call an 800 number listed on a convenient pamphlet they provided us. Upon calling that number, they looked up the receipt so that they could issue us a gift card that could be used not just to replace the headset, but for anything we may want. Stragenly, they asked us for the sales tax amount in our area. THEN, they gave us a number to write down to bring in to the store with the damaged merchandise. Does it end here? Of course not! In the store, they took the old headset, took the number so that a gift card could be issued via email within 48 hours. While already a long and frustrating process for this no hassle replacement, we waited and got our gift card emailed… for $15.89.

Excited for a headset so we could once again go running without our earbuds falling out, we went to another Shack and picked out the exact same headset. Small problem, the headset is going for $19.99. We asked the sales associate who looked at least confused, and at worst poorly trained. He told us that unfortunately, the price must have gone up so we would have to pay the $5 difference. Instead, we called the 800 number back to clear up this REPLACEMENT policy, and were told that unfortunately, this is NOT a replacement program and that the gift card is only for the value that the item was purchased for, which I guess several months ago was only $15.

The service replacement plan is clearly spelled out on their website, which says nothing except that we would indeed get a replacement Not only was the process to get this gift card (nee replacement) a week long hassle, but now they won’t give us the replacement that we paid a premium for, without shelling out another $5. Maybe this is a lesson for the uselessness of buying these service plans, but in this case it actually would have saved us spending money on a failed headset, except that they won’t honor the replacement because they inflated the price.

I can see why they switched to a gift card policy, so they can double dip on their price increases and not honor their own service plan. Their customer service line supervisor was not moved at all by the story and not swayed by losing a loyal customer which is a pity, because that is another thing The Shack is seriously lacking nowadays.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.