Most Consumerist readers consider themselves savvy and resistant to marketing messages and sales pitches. Even then, be cautious when accepting free stuff or cash in exchange for sitting through a time-share presentation. One couple received such an offer while shopping in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They say that they were offered $450 to attend a 90-minute presentation, and after 8 hours of sales pitches signed up for a timeshare that they didn’t want. [More]
“Hi STEPHEN,” said the e-mail intended for new homeowners that Steve received from Lowe’s. “Get settled in with up to $400 cash back on Whirlpool Gold Kitchen Appliances!” How thoughtful of Lowe’s to tempt customers with a great rebate offer… that ended two months ago.
How aggressive do you expect someone to be when they’re selling holiday cheer? Matt writes that he expected a strong sales pitch from the nursery where he went to price out Christmas trees, but didn’t expect a pushy sales pitch that would make the average used car salesman blush.
Tim writes that back in April, he walked out of a local AT&T store with a shiny new iPhone 3GS and a tiny pack of lies. A pushy salesman told Tim that he had heard from corporate that there was no new iPhone model planned for the rest of this year. Nope, no way. (Clearly neither Tim nor this salesman are regular readers of Gizmodo.)
Jack in New York went to his local Staples store to buy a GPS, and writes that he ran across a novel sales pitch for extended warranties. According to this cashier, the electronic devices that Staples sells are so terrible, customers have no choice but to buy an extended warranty from Staples.
No one goes to Radio Shack to take advantage of low prices. They go because they need an electronic component on short notice, and Radio Shack is pretty ubiquitous. That’s how Chris and his fiancée found themselves at a Wisconsin Radio Shack in search of a mini USB cable, but they encountered such high prices and high-pressure sales lies that they walked out and found what they needed…at the dollar store.
Leo thought that letting his two dogs greet an approaching ADT salesman would be enough of a hint that he didn’t want their security services. Nope! The well-trained salesman sensitively barked: “You know what they are doing to dogs now, don’t you? They’re spraying oven-cleaner into their face, killing them in 20 seconds!”
An anonymous RadioShack employee sent us what he considers unethical talking points distributed by the corporate office to help employees upsell the RadioShack Replacement Service Plan. According to our tipster, “each example encourages lying.” Read the deceptive talking points, inside…
Best-practices guru Joel Spolsky thinks Circuit City imploded because of their terrible customer service, not any “recession” or “macroeconomic conditions” nonsense. To prove his point, he looks at thriving New York electronics retailer B&H, which succeeds because they understand that stellar service leads to healthy profit margins.
Something bad has happened to Symantec’s once-good chat service, notes Neil J. Rubenking at PC Mag. In the past, he says, they were helpful and knowledgable; now they pass freeware apps off as their own and attempt to get you to pay $100 fees for their “expert” service when you’re trying to troubleshoot a problem with them. He writes, “My new experiences while evaluating Norton 360 version 3.0 opened my eyes to the magnitude of the problem. Did Symantec switch outsourced support companies? Has the chat support team gone rogue?”
Sears tried to scare Anthony into buying an unnecessary protection plan several days after he purchased a new plasma tv. The sales rep who called explained that Anthony’s new plasma would need to be recharged every five years, which isn’t true. According to Consumer Reports: “There is no such thing as recharging a plasma TV with new gas. It is sealed at the factory.”
Would you buy DSL service from a company that either doesn’t care about Do Not Call lists or doesn’t know how they work? A man in Missouri was harassed to the point where he considered calling the police, because no matter what he did, AT&T wouldn’t stop calling. Every time he tried contacting AT&T to get it to stop, he ended up in automated phone systems with recorded messages, busy signals, and disconnections—but never a live person. Only after he wrote to a local consumer advocacy columnist did AT&T pay attention and turn off the telemarketing fire hose. AT&T didn’t, however, explain why they were targeting this person, or whether anyone else is facing the same barrage of calls.
A zealous Discover rep tried to get Richard to sign up for a “protection program” by speeding through the details of the agreement as fast as possible—you know, the fine print part that makes it clear you’re agreeing to a paid service. When Richard made it clear that he wanted to hear the details again and that no, he hadn’t agreed to anything, the rep hung up on him. Discover, maybe you want to have a talk with your reps about their sales techniques.
We’re curious whether anyone has had to call Dell’s tech support line in the new year—and if so, did they try to upsell you on unnecessary add-ons, devices, accessories, service plans, etc.? Because we got an anonymous email the other day from someone who claims he works as a Dell tech support specialist, and he wrote that “starting after the first of the year… we are now going to be required to sell you items that you don’t need.”
A reader sent in this funny and bizarre customer support email from Creative—it’s a weird combination of broken English, pre-written paragraphs from macros (which, oddly, still have grammatical errors), Byzantine instructions for resetting and reformatting the broken device, and then five attempts to sell other products and services at the end.