Monday, November 03, 2008

Consumer Tip: Avoid Purchasing Electronics From Staples

On October 7, 2008, I purchased a Compaq Presario CQ50-130US Notebook PC for my 11-year-old daughter from Staples. The laptop is now defective and Staples refuses to take the merchandise back and exchange it for something that works properly.

The laptop worked fine for the first 2 weeks. Things started to go bad when my daughter returned from sixth grade camp this past weekend. Both network cards have failed (i.e. no Internet access) and the sound card is defective as well. It makes a loud popping sound, much like a Geiger counter that you might see in a bad sci-fi movie from the 1950s. After spending most of Sunday either on hold or chatting with Hewlett-Packard tech support, HP finally decided the laptop needed to be "repaired".

Staples apparently has a 14-day return policy on "technology items" that was not made known to me until after the purchase. While I wait for HP to send me a shipping box (arriving in 5-7 days) to return the laptop for repair a laptop that is less then 30 days old, Staples will not stand by the products it sells. Their offer of a $20 coupon to be sent via email in about 2 weeks shows how out of touch they are with quality customer service.

Consumers shopping early for Christmas who make electronics purchases at Staples run a huge risk if the merchandise is found to be defective on Christmas day because it is not Staples' problem according to their policy. They will attempt to direct you to the manufacturer for enforcement of your warranty.

If you are considering an electronics purchase in the near future, you might be better off selecting vendors with better customer service and return policies such as Walmart or Costco.

About the Author
Carl H. Starrett II has been a licensed attorney since 1993 and is a member in good standing with the California State Bar and the San Diego County Bar Association. Mr. Starrett practices in the areas of bankruptcy, business litigation, construction, corporate planning and debt collection.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post. I bought a stereo receiver from Best Buy and the tubes blew (with a nice mushroom cloud) 25 days after I bought it. Same thing.

They don't stand by them because they know that they are selling pieces of garbage.

I believe you can kind of tell the quality of the equipment by the cost of the extended warranty. If it is low, it shows that the company is confident that the policy won't be cashed in, if it is high then just the opposite. For instance, the extended warranty that particular system was like $40 (for 1 year!) which I declined because it was way too high. I should have guessed why it was so high....

My next receiver, from Radio Shack, had a 5 year extended warranty that only cost $20 (this was a few years ago).