Rant of The Month: COMP*USA Bites the Big One


The following is a letter of grievance sent by a writer friend of mine regarding her local COMP*USA store in Augusta, Georgia in response to the shitty service she received when she took her Apple iBook in for repairs. Enjoy!

Ms. Loretta Anderson
Manager for Corporate Customer Services
14951 North Dallas Parkway
Dallas, TX 75254

Dear Ms. Anderson:

In a world that is so rushed, where few people have the time or patience to help others, where outstanding customer service is a rarity instead of a given, it is always rewarding to shop in a store that treats its patrons with respect and courtesy.

Unfortunately, this is no longer the case in your Augusta, GA, location.

Over the years, I have been loyal to my local CompUSA for all of my computer-related needs, including annually renewing the extended warranty on my iBook in order to have it serviced in your store. Never again.

The last time—and believe me, it was the LAST time—that I brought my iBook in for a simple repair, which was offered by your tech manager, I was misled about duration of repair, extent of repair, was not consulted before changes were made during repair, not given an estimated time for pickup, not notified when the computer was ready, and exposed to a level of rudeness from staff and management that made me decide onsite that I would no longer patronize this store. Additionally, the service that was commissioned and promised was not fulfilled, and I brought my computer home in exactly the same state that it was turned in to be serviced.

In May, my iBook’s hard drive was replaced in a South Carolina store, shipped from Augusta because CompUSA did not have a Mac tech. It was returned with a new hard drive but no software. I was hesitant to do the reinstallation myself, so the Augusta tech manager offered to do it for me at no charge. I was told to bring the computer in on Thursday, June 29, in the evening, so that the reinstallation would be done “first thing [Friday] morning at 8:00.” I was told this would take two hours. I notified my employers of the situation and suggested we give the process until noon in case of delays.

At 11:30 I called to check on the status of the reinstallation. I was transferred to the new Mac tech, who told me that he had just started working on it. He refused to give me an estimate as to when I could pick up my computer. He said he would call when it was ready. By 3:30 I had heard nothing, so I went to CompUSA to check on the computer in person. The tech told me in no uncertain terms that he “said he would call me when the iBook was ready,” that he was working on it but could not tell me when it would be ready, whether it would be that day, Saturday, Sunday or any other day, and that he had “20 other Macs ahead of it.” In the meantime, I lost an entire day’s work and was dealing with my frustrated supervisors. No one at CompUSA had taken the time to call me before authorizing a reinstallation process that would keep the computer for more than the originally promised two hours.

On Saturday, July 1, having still heard nothing from tech services and by now thoroughly frustrated, I returned to CompUSA late in the afternoon, only to find that the iBook was ready. Again, no one had bothered to call, despite assuring me that I would be contacted when it was time to pick it up. When I tested the computer in the store, it was immediately obvious that the software had not been reinstalled. At that time, the general manager approached, looked at the iBook and had the nerve to accuse me of “buying it from a third party.” Date of purchase is clearly stated on the repair invoice as July 25, 2000. I also offered to bring him the original receipts, as I still have them.

Ms. Anderson, I am certainly not so self-absorbed as to expect preferential treatment. I do, however, expect to be treated courteously and honestly. Staff should not promise work that cannot be fulfilled, nor should they take it upon themselves to authorize time-consuming services without first consulting the customer. As a journalist and editor, I rely on my computer at least five days a week. Had I known that CompUSA would keep the computer for two days, I would NOT have authorized the reinstallation on a workday; I would have brought the computer in on Saturday for Monday pickup. Additionally, general managers should lead their staff by example, and that example should be professionalism, not rudely and falsely accusing a customer of “buying from a third party,” particularly when evidence of sale is clearly noted on an invoice.

I am a loyal Mac user and ready to upgrade to a new computer. Because CompUSA is the only Mac dealer in Augusta, I will either order a new Mac directly from Apple or become a PC user, if that’s what it takes to avoid your Augusta store. I will ensure that my friends, acquaintances and colleagues do the same.