Blog » CompUSA is useless!

29 Dec 2006

CompUSA is useless!

Filed under: Personal — paulcook @ 1:19 pm

Yes, I know this isn’t the post I should be writing now — I’ve been doing all sorts of other things that I should be writing about. But at least this is my little bit of customer action — I’m also going to be going to all the review sites I can find and posting bad reviews.

The story is that Ellen and I went on Thanksgiving evening to the CompUSA in Cincinnati, and managed to each get a harddrive with a huge mail-in rebate (refund). However, after waiting in line for ages, the sales clerk put both harddrives on a single receipt, so only one rebate form printed — and there was apparently nothing he could do about it. So we waited in the customer service line for ages. Finally, the person there returned one of the drives and repurchased it on store credit.

Thing is, apparently this was the wrong thing to do. Even though we have TWO receipts, somehow they’re linked in the computer system, so that the rebate centre refuses to process them — this despite me speaking to people up to and including the supervisor, Michael.

So we phoned Cincinnati branch, who said we should simply take it to a local branch to be sorted out, no problem. The local Monrovia branch disagrees — each of their staff members, after much fighting, finally declared that the best that can be done is to submit it to corporate headoffice. So yesterday in we went: the person who “helped” us (Natalie, we think) said she’d get back to us the same day, since the rebate deadline is today. She didn’t, surprise surprise. And she’s off work today. And another staff person said that anyway it was impossible that headoffice COULD have replied in the same day, so apparently Natalie was just lying to us.

So yes, I phoned today to just make sure they have recorded that I did submit the rebates before the deadline. I spent ages on hold bouncing between people — apparently no-one can take responsibility for anything. But NONE of these people could seem to understand my simple request to record that the rebates HAD been submitted.

Let’s recap: two successive clerks made errors in Cincinnati — errors that it was IMPOSSIBLE for us to correct, or even know they were errors. Instead of correcting those errors, I’ve had to talk to approximately eight people, of whom only one (in Cincinnati) was even remotely polite, or understanding that, yes, they messed up and should correct it. And NO-ONE on their staff seems willing to go out of their way, or even to DO THEIR JOB, in order to help me. This over multiple branches — incompetence at Cincinnati and the rebates centre, and insulting condescension at Monrovia.

So yes, I’m now waiting on corporate headoffice to reply. I’m now so annoyed at my consistent bad treatment, that I will, if needs be, go and camp outside their store with pamphlets.

PS. I do have to decide whether to accept a full refund and return the drive — the annoyance there is that I’ve spent over $15 in the meantime buying an additional adapter I needed to attach the drive to my computer. Purchased back when I still suffered from the delusion that CompUSA was, just perhaps, not completely useless.

PPS. Another lesson to the reader: the point of a computer system is, in the end, to help you to serve your customers better. CompUSA, despite their name, apparently can’t develop a computer system that helps their customers, or even their own staff.

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  1. Wow. I should have read some reviews before even starting this doomed purchasing mission: see eg. this list of review. The punchline: 0.67/10 for the last six months. Admittedly, there is a selection effect: poorly-served customers have a greater incentive to complain.

    But now I’m also more annoyed — my own little piece of consumer activism will barely be visible amongst the flood of bad reviews.

    Comment by paulcook — 29 Dec 2006 @ 1:26 pm

  2. Sorry to hear of your woes, Bob. In truth, I’ve known for years that CompUSA is a load of crap, from pretty much everyone I know States-side. Do yourself a favour (or favor) & pretend they don’t exist. They make Incredible Connection really seem incredible.

    Now, let loose those frustrations…


    Comment by Chris — 30 Dec 2006 @ 9:49 am

  3. My bad…the last line was supposed to read ‘Regards, me’, not ‘Meaning’. Stupid autofill spelling function on my phone…

    Comment by Chris — 30 Dec 2006 @ 9:52 am

  4. Hi Paul!

    We’re having great fun at the South Coast with Chris & the family, even though things go much sloooowwwweeeer here :)

    Cruise was fantastic; hope you had a happy Christmas, and enjoy your New Year!


    Comment by Cara — 30 Dec 2006 @ 9:57 am

  5. And happy New Year to you all too! I’m going to try to get in touch, hope I can get through!

    Comment by paulcook — 2 Jan 2007 @ 10:21 am

  6. I just heard compusa does not pay thier employees retirment no matter how long they stay.

    Comment by Anonymous — 15 Jan 2007 @ 6:11 am

  7. Apparently, most of America agrees with you, Paul. CompUSSR is planning to close more than half of its stores.

    Unfortunately, while I have oft been frustrated with CompUSA, this isn’t the result I really want. I would rather have CompUSA stay open and make some improvements to the customer experience, rather than shut down, but it looks like they’re taking the easy way out. As far as selection goes, CompUSA is better than any comparable store other than Fry’s, and Fry’s has its own large set of problems. No, If I need to buy computer parts and don’t want to buy from Newegg, I typically go to CompUSA. Maybe I’ll be lucky and the store in Monrovia will stay open.

    On the other hand, this might bring the opportunity to buy some heavily discounted merchandise!

    Comment by Adam — 1 Mar 2007 @ 11:55 am

  8. CompUSA was great when they specialized in Computer only products. Although it’s becoming ubiquitous, once they moved into consumer electronics and media, I think they began overwhelming both customer and employee alike. In my humble, they should have moved into the MAC-sphere 1st, giving customers the best of both, before they sold TV’s and DVD players. That’s what Best Buy and Circuit City is for. These chains don’t sell computers and related parts en masse the way CompUSA does. They carved a niche as a tech geeks’ paradise and knowledge center for tech newbies. They lost it when they started selling TVs. Customers came in looking for solid tech advice, since that’s what they were originally known for; however customers left feeling violated. Me included (and I’ve been in IT for 18 years). One last note regarding their store closing discounts: Mark up to mark down. You can get a 17″ MacBOok Pro base from Macmall.com for $2644. Their 15″ MacBook Pro base with discount: $2659.00. What a RIP! Great concept. Bad business model. Anyone remember Crazy Eddie?

    Comment by matwilliams — 9 Mar 2007 @ 8:44 pm

  9. Comp USA is horrible. I only wish I had seen these posts earlier. I went to their Rockville, MD store not realizing there was a going out of business “sale”. I bought a printer, at what I thought was a good price, until I went across the street to Office Depot and saw the same item for $100 less! Of course, CompUSA would do nothing about it, claiming they were owned by liquidators. However, all the employees had CompUSA nametags and shirts. So, I decided to help them lose a little money along with me. I went to every single person in that store, as well as many coming in, and told them to beware of the prices. They were not really discounted. Many thanked me and left empty handed!

    Comment by lobbyd — 20 Apr 2007 @ 5:41 pm

  10. I bought a lap-top from the one and only (comp(not)usa), I never claimed to be dumb, but I was when I bought the extended warranty(for $249.00).
    The hinge on one side of the screen broke, so I call the warranty co. were one is to call so you can send them the computer, after sending it to them some lady by the name of Kathy Hoblit sent me a E-mail stating that there are certain types of damage that we don’t cover,(like I threw my lap top out the window going down the freeway. I guess I should of went to Tijuana Mexico and spent the $249.00 on some (HOOKERS) ad least I WOULD HAVE GOTTEN MY MONEYS WORTH, who knows I might have ran into to Kathy (HO)blit

    Comment by mike — 11 Jan 2008 @ 10:46 pm

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