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Customer service horror story.. Amoeba Music


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#1 of 1 Brian W.

Brian W.

    Screenwriter

  • 1,958 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 29 1999
  • Real Name:Brian
  • LocationLos Angeles

Posted February 08 2004 - 12:33 PM

Amoeba Music here in Los Angeles has been the favorite store of me and my best friend ever since they opened roughly two years ago. They have an incredible selection of used DVDs, promo DVDs, anything you can imagine. We're at least once-weekly, sometimes twice-weekly customers there, and rarely leave the store without buying anything. I would guess I've spent $50-$100 there per months over the past couple years.

Then last Saturday, my friend Matt bought a used DVD there, a two-disc set. It was "Disinformaiton," a British show that had been out of print, but had recently come back into print with a list price of $29.99. The used case still sported a sticker that said "out of print." It was priced at $19.99, so Matt chose that over the more expensive new copy.

He brought it over to my place. We popped it in my player and it wouldn't start, just kept flashing "disc loading." I said, "Is this a non-Region 1 disc?" He said, "I don't think so," and started examining the box. I popped it in my region-free layer and it still wouldn't start. Then I took it out and looked at it. There seemed to be a sort of "fog" over the disc that was only apparent on close examination.

So last night we took it back to Amoeba with the receipt, already knowing all we could get was a credit, since they don't give cash returns for anything.

Well, I cannot believe how badly we were treated. First they refused the return, saying they would never allow anything in that condition to reach the sales floor. We had the receipt (which didn't list the title, since it was a used item and they didn't use the bar code), but they told us that couldn't be the receipt for this item, since it would have been repriced when the title came back into print, and it wouldn't have rung up at $19.95.

After much relatively polite arguing, the returns guy finally said, "All right, we'll do the exchange, but I want to tell you this doesn't add up. The chances of this getting through all the channels it had to get through to go out in this condition at this price are about one percent."

I said, "So, what, are you saying we're trying to pull a fast one?" He looked me straight in the eye and said, "People do it every day. Yes."

Needless to say, we were both incredibly offended and hurt by that comment. I went to customer service and asked to speak to a manager about it. I told him of the situation, and while he was very nice to me and somewhat apologetic, he said, "Well, they were just doing their job. People do try to make bogus returns every day."

I asked him if he really thought it was okay for the man to tell me flat out that he thought we were lying, and he said, "Well, if he actually said that, he shouldn't have, but he was probably having a bad day or something. They do a pretty good job over there."

I said, "Well, that is BAD customer service." He did offer an apology, told me he believed I was honest, and offered me three "Amoeba dollars" to spend, and told me if I ever had any other problems to let him know, but my friend and I are still so incensed that he could defend his customer service guy at all, not even want to talk to him about it. He just shrugged it off. That's the big issue with us -- that flat out accusation and the unconcern of the manager about it. I mean, we appreciated his sympathy, but after all that, it wasn't enough.

We just don't know if we'll bo back there. If we ever do, it'll be a while. That's the really upsetting thing, because we love that store, we love shopping there -- it's been part of our Saturday ritual forever -- but that's been totally ruined now.

When the returns guy said the chance of our getting that disc was "one percent," I wish I had thought to say, "Half an hour ago, I would have told you the chance I'd ever be treated this badly at Amoeba Music were LESS than once percent, but it happened, didn't it?"