A company that permits its stores to rip off consumers and commit abusive practices to stay afloat in the short term, indicates that management sees handwriting on the wall and have an interest only in seeing its next year's salaries secured.
This post will relate a stomach turning tale of customer abuse and arrogance at Radio Shack Store # 8829 in the Southland Mall located in the Cutler Bay area of Miami Florida. The district manager is Patrick Lamontage who was too busy to take my call himself.
A poor unsophisticated family purchased a smart phone from this stores with an expensive 2 year service contract from AT T. The customer does not even know what a smart phone is, and would be virtually unable to use it as one because the plan includes limited internet and they have no wi fi.
The family has trouble feeding its children and asked the store to take the phone back per the 30 day return policy of AT T. The store refuses. The store says it has its own 14 day policy. This is a terrible way to do business . I suggest anyone considering investing in Radio Shack conduct deep due diligence and try to look way into the future before committing.
Just to back myself up here we go:
If you terminate your Agreement within three (3) days of accepting the Agreement, you will be entitled to a refund of your activation fee, if any, but you must return the Equipment purchased in connection with your Agreement.
You may terminate this Agreement, for any reason and without incurring the Early Termination Fee, within thirty (30) days of accepting your Agreement, PROVIDED, you will remain responsible for any Services fees and charges incurred. If you purchase Equipment directly from AT&T in connection with your Agreement, but you terminate within 30 days and fail to return the Equipment to AT&T, you will be subject to an Equipment Fee in the maximum amount of the difference between the no-commitment price of the Equipment and the amount you actually paid for the Equipment. AT&T may charge you a restocking fee for any returned Equipment. Some dealers impose additional fees.
Listen, pal...I hate RadioShack, too. The last 2 years of my life have been hell as a result of my employment by them. I'm literally at the point where I'm TRYING to get fired, just so I can have room to breathe (unemployment) while searching for new work. HOWEVER...AT&T has a 14 day return policy, period. That means, if you want to full on return everything and cancel out of your contract/upgrade/whatever...it's 14 days. You have 30 days to return the phone and get the $ you spent on the phone back, or swap it for a different device. Same with VZW. Only Sprint and TMO allow 30 day return policies. That's a contractual agreement with the carrier, not some jackass at a store making up a story. Either way, you could have cancelled with ATT, then just thrown the box on the counter and said...RETURN THIS.
No offense but this story is full of holes. Poor ignorant people with hungry kids being ripped off by a greedy heartless RS store? I have some questions. What cell phone service were they using before? Were they on a contract or paying month to month? If it was the later than how did they pass the AT&T credit check which is the hardest of all the carriers? And forget about the BS of not having wi-fi in their home. The Internet service on smart phones can use either wi-fi or the data line of the carrier itself which is what is actually metered in the plan when you talk about 2GB or 3BG or whatever. Wi-fi is free and can be found in a multitude of public and private places these days.
I won't get into the aspect of these people being too dumb to use a smart phone as I have seen it happen but 99% of the time it is because of the customer's attitude and refusal to learn something new. Most people do NOT use their smart phones to the fullest and that is why I happen to like pay as you go plans where you are not locked into a contract. I'm wondering if the real story here is that these customers suddenly decided that Metro PC might be a cheaper alternative and now want to just ship.
I also want to know the fulls story about why the store refuses to accept the phone return. Something is fishy here. That 14 day limit does not preclude switching a defective phone for another nor does it prohibit you from going to a basic phone without the data charges. Also, managers have the ability to override certain rules, as do DMs. I can fully understand the DM not returning the call. That's par for the course in this company. Have the people tried going to another store? Frankly, there are too many things missing from this story which leads me to believe that we are not hearing everything regarding the transaction.
Assuming that the story is 100% true, and I have my doubts, here is what I would do. Cancel the AT&T contract within the 30 days by dealing directly with them. Try returning the phone to another store. Contact RS headquarters with a DETAILED and ACCURATE description of the events and leave out all the bleeding heart crap which is what you save when it comes time to contact the local news media for a feature story. Include dates and names of people involved including the store manager and DM and what their response was. DON'T invent anything to make it sound good as that will return to bite you in the future.
Railroad, good points, but you left one out. The return policy on cell phones is 30 day, not 14. Verizon's buyers remorse is 14 days, and Sprint and ATT's is 30 days. Just to add another hole in the story. Now I would also question if the receipt still says a 90 day return policy, though if so, it would a a disclaimer.