29 Dec 2011

mayoraasei: (Angry)
So yesterday we stopped over at Auburn Harvey Norman to browse and we bought a vacuumn cleaner because ours has a broken pipe. We waited around 30 minutes before we were able to speak to a customer service rep, and after some discussion about the models, they said they only had the display model left.

Now, obviously because it's the display model it looked a little manky so they offered a discount. My parents liked the feel and decided to buy it anyway rather than wait for new stock. The display model was not connected up to a powerpoint and because we were really starving by then (it was 2:30pm and we had a really light breakfast at 8:30), we bought it without trying.

When we got home and turned it on, it let out a horrible shrieking noise and shrieked unrelentingly until it was turned off. The box was missing the manual. After careful inspection we thought it was probably missing a part or there was an air leak somewhere, so we decided to take it back today to get the noise worked out and/or get an exchange.

Now, I didn't go, but my dad went and apparently the same guy who sold the vacuum cleaner to us was acting the absolute jerk. He said we "tried" the vacuum cleaner for an hour yesterday, which we did not - I think my parents were so hungry by then they bought it after a 10 minute discussion. He refused to refund us on account of it "working" yesterday when it was in store. He threatened to pull out store surveillance footage to "prove" that we "tried" it.

By this point my dad must have been "WTF" and he said, "GO AHEAD." (Go dad!)

The guy backtracked like no other and refunded us fully, and my dad walked out without a vacuum cleaner but having sworn to never buy one from Harvey Norman again.

Now, shitty customer service guy, let me go through the simple logic that happened here. We bought a vacuum cleaner because we needed one. We went back to exchange it because we needed one. Now we don't have a vacuum cleaner, but we still need one. Harvey Norman is not the only shop that sells vacuum cleaners. What have you just done? You lost a customer, and the loss is ultimately yours, not ours.

This all becomes ironic because Harvey Norman is one of the retailers with the loudest voice against online shopping. You'd think they would try to at least provide a service that would entice you to buy items in a physical shop, because, after all, face-to-face customer service is something you can't get online (apart from the occasional instant chats which is as close as you can get).

However, most customer service I've encountered from online sellers, whether it's dedicated seller sites or just eBay, have been enthusiastic and warm and generally amazing. Even Amazon provides more courteous customer service than here.

Harvey Norman's biggest whine is that they have to pay GST (goods and services tax), and therefore everyone who buys offshore should be taxed the same. I am not aware that GST is over 10% - and, just as I was browsing with my friend the other day, we found Terry Pratchett's book Snuff marked up to 300% of Amazon's price. That is the difference between $15 and $45. I am happy to pay an extra $2-$3...maybe even up to an extra $10 for import tax and customer service, but charging at 300% is financial suicide, just saying.

So wallow as you might in your stale self-pity. Don't complain that the world has moved on without you when you are dragging your feet

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