Last year I bought a projection tv from Circuit City with a ESP(extended service plan). Hoping that this should cover what ever problems i may encounter along the
way. The tv screen turned white-ish on us on in the middle of January. Called the ESP and here's what happened:
Jan 22 Called ESP to make appointment, earliest is next week says operator.
Jan 30 First visit by technician, will need to order a board he says. That should do it.
Feb 6 Second visit. Tech says: first board might have shorted out another board, will need to order it. That should do it he says. He'll put in rush for me.
Feb 9 I call ESP to enquire about rush part order. " What rush part" says operator, " it'll arrive like regular, call back next week."
Feb 12 I call to check part, part is in, made appointment with operator for the 13th.
Feb 13 Waiting at home for tech to show between 7-9 am. Past 10am, no show. Call operator to ask to speak to manager. Kim (manager) says part has not arrived yet, will arrive today. Will make appointment for the 14th.
Feb 14 Third visit. Tech says: this is the wrong part received! Had him call his manager. One hour passes and he is trying something else now. Tech called other techs for assistance. Found that a transister in one of the 3 lenses is out. Will need to order part or may have one in warehouse. That should do it he says. "Was this the only problem to begin with" I asked him. "Yip!" replies the tech, "this was the only problem"
Called Kim(manager), I was furious(no swear words used), told her that i was fed up and needed a resolution immediately to my problems. She calmed me down and explained that i need to allow her to talk if i need her help. Okay, take a few breathes. So I listen:
"There's absolutely nothing I can do for you at this time. I can not make any decisions on this situation at this moment" replies Kim calmly. She will need to contact her manager to see what's next
So far i've missed about 12 hours of work. My wife and I are extremely fustrated well beyond words can describe. Oh, and they only loan out 20-27 inch tv's. I have one of
So let as many people know that ESP doesn't mean that "Satisfaction is a Guarantee" so states Circuit City's brochure. And if you do decide to buy one and need to bring a product in for service, make sure you ask when you can expect to get it back or when the repairs
will be finished. I don't believe 3.5 weeks(going 4th) is an exception, even if it is a regular repair duration for Circuit City.
.....more to come later,
Very unsatisfied customer
I feel your pain concerning the "ESP" from Circuit city. I work at Good Guys as an audio sales person and I have probably heard about as many horror stories about "Extended Warranties" then I ever want to. From what I have seen every other retailer that offers "Extended Service Programs" are only extending the manufacturer warranties. They usually do not do any maintenance on the machines but rather will fix them if and when they become defective. They also will use used parts and not even look in the machines themselves.
A while back (read before I worked at Good Guys and actually shopped at Circuit occassionally) I had an ESP from Circuit City on both a car deck and a couple of phones. Both of the products went defective, and yet for whatever reason they wouldnt fix the car deck. The phone on the other hand they replaced 9 times in 3 months, till they finally gave me a different one. What they didnt tell me what that they removed the warranty on the last replacement phone, so when that one went bad, I was told that I was not covered.
That being said, I have now become one of those "ESP" hawking sales persons, although I would hope that my customers find me to be a different kind all together. There are only a few things that I will "push" the "ESP" on and those things will actually need it. For example, the Extended SERVICE plan at Good Guys actually covers routine maintenance. Take a DVD player, it needs to be cleaned and aligned, for the average user once every year to year and a half. Other wise you get pixilization and mosaicing of the screen, and the DVD player ceases to operate properly, if it operates at all. Anyone who ever has had a player (CD or DVD or LD) cleaned and alligned knows that the cheapest you can get a player cleaned and aligned for is about $70. That being said, if there is a program that cleans and aligns the player, covers everything but physical abuse including remote controls and buttons, and does this for 5 years for $90, you are actually going to come out ahead, so long as you bring it in for service.
Now, you might ask if that is true, why would places even offer programs like that, where it would appear that they are losing money? The reality is, they dont lose money on the deal. First of all, they gain the interest on your money. Second, about 60% of people who buy the ESP's never actually bring it in for the service. Finally, the cost to the place that has its own technicians, who are factory trained and certified isnt the hourly rate that the customer pays, but rather a salary. Thus if the tech's salary might only be about $50/hr yet the store charges joe schmo $70/hr for the work. PLus the store pays wholesale for everything, including parts, but charge retail. Thus while it may look like we are losing out, the interest, plus the fact that it doesnt cost us as much as you to repair, makes it a win win proposition.
NOw that being said, there are lots of people who gamble on products never breaking, claiming that if they didnt buy any ESP's and one product goes bad, they will still come out ahead. This is true on some products, but not all. For example, I will never tell someone to buy a warranty on a VCR, a portable discman, point and shoot camera, SLR camera, tape decks, etc. There really is no point to them, because the benefits wont really be useful. Just to repair a VCR cost more than you can get a new one for. Same with the discman. The cameras are easy to clean yourself, and are cheap enough to replace if something costly goes wrong.
The products that are the costliest to repair are the new technology ones. Such as HD tvs, DVR's, Camcorders, Receivers, etc. These are functioning at such high technology levels that a lot of the functions are actually run by computer chips and other micro technology. Add in the heat created by the machines and the cost of certain remotes, the possibility of something going wrong and the cost of diagnozing are repairing the problem and the ESP becomes worth it.
Then again, that is just my experience. I would call the Circuit city where you bought the ESP and speak with the manager, explain the situation and how long its been taking. They should have discretion to actually do something to help you out of the situation. At my store, my manager has even been known to trade out TV's that cant be fixed in a reasonable amount of time for an equivalent new one. Then again that is even part of our ESP policy, so who knows.
Lieutenant Junior Grade
any chance that tv was a sony??? i used to work at circuit city and a we had a lot of problems with sony tv's in general. on the esp thing, my family had a similar experience with our fridge. it took them about 4 visits to fix the stupid thing and it seems to me that the cost of sending out a technician 4 times for 1-2 hours each much cost a bundle, and the parts that they have to order must cost something too. in the end, wouldn't it make more sense just to replace it? oh, and working at circuit city was the worst thing in the world. do not trust the salesmen there, 80% of them do not have proper knowledge of the products they were selling. most of them try to sell things in departments that they have no clue about. i would have to agree that good guys' staff seem more knowledgable, but some of the staff are still lacking.
So Bryn Mawr Stereo has spread out to the entire tristate area now? Interesting, I remember when I had to go to Bryn Mawr to go to Bryn Mawr stereo. Then a few more sprung up around the area, including one in King of Prussia, but the last time i was in that area was before I moved to the wrong side of the country. As for a comparison with Tweeters, actually Bryn Mawr stereo carries many of the same products, but none of the lower quality pieces that you sometimes find at tweeters.
As for Repair vs. Replacement - you want to check what allows for a repair or a replacement. Most of the time ESP's will only replace lower cost items, or higher cost items if the repairs were too costly or unsuccessful. So it depends on what you bought.
As for there being some staff at Goodguys who isnt as knowledgeable, no sh!t. It all depends on the store, the person, and what area they are really supposed to be working in. Goodguys trys to cross train all sales associates (NOW) but it used to be that everyone was trained only in their area. You would get customers who would drag a cashier over to sell them a VCR or TV and the cashier would know only about the same as the customer. The majority of the time that this used to happen the cashier would try to help the customer and tell them completely wrong information. This could also happen if someone was wandering around the store away from their products. Now, after they have culled down the sales people to the best of the best (supposedly) and they are requiring cross training, plus telling cashiers to never try to help people in the other departments, just ask them to wait and find someone to help them, you shouldnt run in to as many difficulties. Or at least that is the model that is implemented at my store.