19 Jan 2006
PC World (Southend Airport) is the last place I go for computer gear. But I do pass the store most days and occasionally I get sucked in.. I am also mindful of their policy of taking back anything within seven days, if not happy, and of course getting a refund. I found it necessary to return several items in the past and was encouraged by the PC World Salesman to make purchases, secure in the knowledge that I would be able to return the goods.
This was not a complicated item that I needed. It was simply a power cable to a Sony Laptop, I purchased the cable for the Laptop for £8.99. But found that it did not fit. I sailed back to PC World and attempted to returned the unwanted goods. The young man explained to me that he would deduct 10% of the refund to account for the damaged packaging. Alongside me, another man was staring at another more expensive package of goods and had been told the same thing by another Salesman. We exchanged knowing looks and I noticed that he was putting up a fight, so I also told the young man that I wished to see his manager. In due course another man arrived who had been briefed by the young salesman.
I interpreted his body language as follows: “I have your money and you have to convince me that I should give it back to you”
The conversation went as follows.
Salesman: “So what is wrong with it?”
Me: “Nothing, as far as I know, but it is not suitable for my laptop, and I want a refund”
Salesman: “But you have damaged the packaging”
Me: “It is impossible to open the packet with out damaging it”
Salesman: “I will let you have another cable in exchange for this”
Me: “OK I will accept that if you have one”
Salesman: “Go on then, go and get it”
Me: “Go and get it. You call that Customer Services?”
I looked down at his name tag, which said simply “Rob”, I was being robbed.
Me: “You are not the Manager, are you Mr Rob? I asked to see the Manager, Mr Rob”
Further up the food chain, I eventually got to speak with a real Manager, but the story was much the same.
I made my way to John Lewis, where I was able to buy a suitable cable, for £3.99, less than half the PC World price. The packaging was similar, but I was able to open the package effortlessly. And furthermore, I was painlessly unconcerned about their return policy that on this occasion, I did not need. Joy.