I don’t have a lot of money, and I don’t make a lot of money. It seems to go hand in hand. So for me, I will most often only purchase items that I perceive to be an excellent value. This theory of purchasing has earned me the nickname of “the deal king” from quite a few of my friends (online and off).
I’ve bought a big box of Kraft’s newest food, valued at over $40, for $5 delivered. I’ve bought a very nice set of cold cathode tubes for my computer for $3 delivered (no, I didn’t need them). I’ve picked up up two office chairs that initially cost $120 each for $40 each. I’ve bought a $40 coatrack for $4. I’ve picked up 120 gig hard drives for $40. I’ve had dinner for two at Quizno’s subs for under $6– over 20 times. I receive over 15 magazines on a monthly basis, and I haven’t paid for a single one.
I am the deal king.
So, when I get screwed by a company, I do not take it sitting down.
They have to be one of the shadiest companies with which I have had the pleasure of dealing.
A while back, I decided that my computer’s CPU was running too hot. It is a Prescott, after all, and they are known to run hot. I decided to purchase some Arctic Silver 5, which is a thermal compound that is applied between the CPU and the HSF (heat sink & fan).
I searched my deal sources, and was able to locate Arctic Silver 5 for a steal of a deal– around $5-7 I think. I ordered it up, and waited for it to arrive.
Several days later, it arrives. I open it up, and it isn’t Arctic Silver at all! It’s some crap brand that, after research, offered little to no cooling benefits over the wax pad installed by Intel at the factory.
I contacted the company, and the gentleman (it’s a long stretch to call him a gentleman) said it must have been a picking error. He said that Arctic Silver 5 had since gone out of stock. The first thing that told me was that this company was willing to intentionally send the wrong product in hopes that the customer would not have the drive to complain.
He told me to head to the post office and send it back to him at my expense. Well, seeing as the item was under $10, and the shipping was going to be over $1, I was not willing to spend over 10% of the total item cost to make up for the incompetence of a company to whom $1 is a drop in the bucket. I requested that that they send me a postage-paid envelop to allow me to return the incorrectly shipped merchandise. They refused. I suggested that they eat the cost of the item, and simply ship the item to me at their expense– after all, picking errors are the fault of the company, and writing off product losses is a cost of doing business. They again refused.
I decided to call back and try to get another customer no-service rep. I called the “general” line. To my surprise, the very same person answered. I thought that was fishy, and I hung up. I then realized that this company also operates several other companies (Thortek.com and DieCastAutos.com). All of their phone numbers rang to the same place, and the same guy answered the phone.
Finally I decided to speak with this guy again, and told him that it was his duty to make the situation right. He informed me that since he didn’t like my attitude via my refusal to ship the incorrectly picked product back to him on my dime, he would not be offering any sort of assistance. No RMA, no credit, no prepaid envelope– nothing. Surely this is the sign of a scum bag working for a scum bag company. What a mope.
I told the person at HardDrive.com that I would be contesting the charges on my credit card, and he would be getting no money out of me. He challenged me to do it. Lesson learned– don’t challenge me.
That was enough for me.
I rang the folks at Arctic Silver. I spoke with a nice gentleman over there who was very interested in listening to my story. I explained it, and offered to send him photos of my receipt and the product shipped. He went well beyond the call of duty and offered to UPS me a *real* tube of Arctic Silver 5 at no cost. I was amazed.
He was very interested in hearing that HardDrive.com was scamming their customers. See, Arctic Silver 5 is the *best*. There is no better thermal compound I have found. Because they are the best, they have an amazing reputation. There are people out there who swear by Arctic Silver, and I am one of them. It truly is an amazing product.
Anyway, here’s what happened:
- I sent the photos of my order to Arctic Silver.
- 1 day later, HardDrive.com had disappeared. They were *gone*.
- 1 day after that, my real Arctic Silver 5 arrived, direct from the manufacturer.
- 1 day after that, a credit appeared on my credit card statement showing that HardDrive.com had credited my purchase in full.
I WON! Actually, this was more than a simple victory. This was a lesson to places like HardDrive.com that a resourceful individual could make it very uncomfortable for them to do business with their suppliers if they don’t take care of their customers. It was also a lesson to Arctic Silver– one they must have already learned long ago– that providing both an outstanding product and equally outstanding service earns repeated business, word of mouth referrals, and an excellent reputation.
Now let’s talk about SOYO. I hate SOYO. They are scam artists– have no doubt. A couple of Google searches proves this:
Yep, they’re scammers alright. Here’s my story:
Back in July, I purchased a SOYO barebones kit. It was priced at $179.99. According to TigerDirect, the product qualified for 3 rebates to the tune of $140. That means my out the door cost would be $39.99 + shipping ($15.57). A good deal, right?
Well, I’ve only received one rebate check for $40. The rebate form suggests that it will take 12-14 weeks from the time the rebate form is postmarked to the time I receive my checks.
As of today, it has been 22 weeks!
I’ve emailed them numerous times. I get generic responses like (December 1, 2004):
“We would like to apologize for the delay. Your rebate has not been processed. Please keep checking www.verifyrebate.com to check on your status. Thank you for your patience.”
So, I’m basically out a hundred bucks for now. That is entirely unacceptable. Tomorrow, I will be emailing them with my demands– 2 checks, $100 total, FedExed to my house. The email will be carbon copied to my attorney. That will hopefully light a fire under their butt.
If it doesn’t, though, I will be headed to the Chatham County courthouse next week to file a small claims suit against both Soyo and Tiger Direct (the retailer). Soyo and I have a contract, and it is clearly outlined on the rebate forms. If I make a mistake, the contract is void and they do not fulfill the rebate. Understood. But, if they make a mistake, the contract is still valid. Soyo and I have not mutually departed from the rebate contract, and they are therefore liable for the $100 total payment to me. Additionally, Tiger Direct advertised that I would be able to submit and receive three separate rebate forms. If, however, I am not able to collect the rebates as specified in the presale terms, the transaction is not complete. Tiger Direct almost certainly knows that SOYO is a scam of a company, and while I cannot prove it, I can prove that they advertised 3 separate rebates for this product. They are complicit.
So, we’ll see how it goes. I’ve been calling Soyo all day at 909.292.2500, but it is either busy, or dumps me to a voice mail. I may call their investor relations department, and let them know that both Soyo-rebates.com and Soyo-rebate-scam.com is available, and hosting is cheaper than ever.
So, here is the lesson of the day:
NEVER TRUST SOYO. NEVER NEVER EVER.
Soyo is a horrible company, and their rebate fulfillment is on par with Belkin (another horrible company for rebate submission– don’t get me started on them)
We’ll see how this works out!