printermalls.com's return policy as posted on their web site is poorly written and ambiguous.
I purchased two parts for a non-working printer. When the parts did not repair the printer, I called to make arrangements for returning them. They sited wording on their web site that prohibits this. I pointed out wording that does.
"Product returns subject to an industry standard 15% restock fee. " Their return policy for non defective items is intermixed with some procedures that assume a return is acceptable with some that do not.
When I spoke with the company to request a return, they sent an email saying that they had spent hours working on ordering the part and that they had very gracious in splitting shipping charges.
Lets set the record straight. Hours working on the order? Pure puffery. You are in the retail computer business. As to shipping charges and also time spent. When I called to place the first order, I spoke with someone who walked me through what part to order based on diagrams on their web site. I paid for express shipping. I got it and it was incomplete. Ordered again. They said their diagram was not right. Got express shipping again.
Their policies should be spelled out very, very clearly to the consumer. The consumer should not have to wade through paragraph after paragraph of combined procedures and return policies to find the company's business practices. I think this is purposely deceiving on the company's part. They don't want to take parts back, but they don't come out and say this clearly.
I would like a full refund.
Business' Initial Response
Having been in business since 1982, CompuDirect is an old high technology company. We've been in business for so long by charging a fair price for our merchandise and by being fair to our customers. Occasionally, we get a customer that tries to abuse our generosity and this is one of those rare occasions. In a nutshell, he wanted to order repair parts from us to test his printer and when they didn't fix it he wanted to return the parts. This is plainly against the terms of service that he signed when he purchased the parts. Not only that, it is unfair to us. Here are the specifics of why this is a frivolous complaint:
On Friday, April 5, 2013, we received a call from someone that threatened to call the Better Business Bureau because we would not allow him to return a used item that did not fix his printer. The part was not defective, it just did not solve the printer problem he was having. Through caller ID we found out who the caller was so we could get a better look at who we were speaking with. Here is the copy of the email sent to Mr. ******* immediately following the phone call he made to us:
Much work was put in to your order to ensure that you received the correct item. Even though the first item you ordered was not the correct one and we had no fault in that, we worked with you to make sure you ordered what you said was the correct item. We even discounted the overnight shipping charge even though it was not our mistake. I spent hours on this order helping to ensure that you ordered the correct part number for your model of printer.
Today, you called and stated that you "want to return the item because it did not fix my printer". I explained that returns for used items are not accepted. Our policies are explicit in stating that we do not take returns on open items. Please see the sentences I have copied and pasted from our policies and procedures page.
"Products that have been opened and are non-defective, cannot normally be returned."
"If you purchased and received an item within the last 30 days then determined that it is not right for you, do NOT open it."
Those sentences can be verified by clicking on the following link under the correct section, which is the "non-defective items" section:
No other company would have helped you the way we did. The part not fixing your obsolete printer was in no way our fault. We are a family owned small business that cannot afford to give away $70+ every time a customer orders the wrong part for their printer. When an item is used, we cannot return that part to Okidata.
We are the best in this business and we take pride in that. As you stated, you will be contacting the BBB to file a complaint about our company. That is your right as an American to do so. It is our right to answer that complaint and we will do so honestly.
Have a good day.
Our return policies are very easy to comprehend. They are broken up into sections based on the situation. Mr. *******'s situation clearly fell under "Non-defective items." Please see that section at the following link.
My email to Mr. ******* clearly explains our reasoning for not making an exception.
Mr. *******'s printer is very old. We had to do the leg work in figuring out which part number he needed. Because the printer was so old, we had to wait on him to get us the serial number which would indicate the correct part number. Like I stated in the email, no other company would have done the work to help him find the correct part number. Any other company would have sent him to Okidata, the manufacturer, and left him with no solutions.
Finally, our decision to not accept a return of the used item is based on the manufacturer, which we get the parts from. If we were to be dishonest to the manufacturer and tell them that the part was not used, not only would that not sit well with our morals and values as people and a company, it would cause us to lose our healthy business relationship with the manufacturer, Okidata. We cannot afford to lose our reseller status with a manufacturer because a customer was not able to diagnose his printer problem.
If Mr. ******* wasn't so combative and argumentative during the phone call he made to request a return, we would have offered to help him replace the printer with a new model. We would have even helped to discount the shipping as much as we could but that is obviously not something Mr. ******* wants.
This is an unfortunate situation that we feel we have attempted to solve in the most professional manner possible.
We look forward to a resolution.
Consumer's Final Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
Beware the company who uses the following as rationale for their return policy -'each situation is completely unique'. Evidently their policy is so complicated that it is impossible to describe it in words. If the company wants to do business using the policies they have put forth in responding to my complaint - fine, just clearly say so. Their policy only has to say 'Products that have been opened and are non-defective cannot be returned'. One sentence with eleven words. Leave the word 'normally' out. Do not even mention things like 'industry standard 15% restocking fee' and 'return requests typically take 24-48 hours to process'. If you want to handle some returns differently, fine, just don't give every customer that inference by spelling out the procedures on your web site.
Business' Final Response
It is beyond imagination that this customer is asking us to lie to the manufacturer. It is not how we conduct our business nor will we ever conduct business in such a manner.
Here is the 338 word section that pertains directly to this complaint.
Products that have been opened and are non-defective cannot normally be returned. Please make sure you know what you are purchasing before placing your order. Product returns subject to an industry standard 15% restock fee. If you purchased and received an item within the last 30 days then determined that it is not right for you, do NOT open it. Login and view your account information. View the order you wish to return. Click the Request RMA link for each item you wish to return and follow the directions. Return requests typically take 24-48 hours to process. We will then send an email with directions for returning your order. Refunds for items returned under our policy will be issued once the product has been received, verified that the item is resellable, and a credit has been issued for the item from our vendor. Approved refunds will be issued in the manner by which payment was made for the product except in cases where a credit card was used for an amount over $1,499. For returns over $1,499, a check will be issued in the amount of the approved return. Outside of 30 days from the original invoice date, items are not returnable. Product returns result in unavoidable shipping costs paid to freight carriers and restocking or handling fees charged by the manufacturer. Shipping charges are never returnable. Similar to a walk-in store, Wal-Mart will not send a driver or courier to your house to pick up a defective item you bought in their store. They will not reimburse you for your time and gas money spent to drive back to the store either. However, PrinterMalls will use every good measure we have to ensure that you will be able to get the item replaced promptly with as little hassle as possible.
Please insure that the item you order is compatible with your existing equipment. We normally do not accept returns solely because of incompatibility. If you run into this situation, write us at ****@printermalls.com and explain the situation."
We have included this section in our response because as the BBB states, this can be made public for all to see. We stand behind our return policy that has been intact since 1997 and will continue to stand behind it. There is a reason we have not had any complaints before this one. Our return policies are clearly stated. Besides that, the customer called to request an exception and because of the fact that the item was opened and installed, it was not approved for return. It is not merely a piece of tape that is the issue. The customer installed the item.
The first sentence pertains 100% to the complainant. The first sentence states, "Products that have been opened and are non-defective, cannot normally be returned." The flexibility in that statement is not for our company but for the customer. Again, the customer asked us to make an exception and we did not. Each situation is completely unique and must be handled in its own way. The ONLY way for us to return the item in this complaint to the manufacturer is to LIE and say it was not opened or installed. The item was opened AND installed. We WILL NOT lie.
It clearly states that you do NOT open items if you want to return them. The customer clearly stated in his response that the items are opened.
Lastly, in order for a customer to place an order on our website, they must agree to our policies, that include our return policies, by clicking a check box before the order may be submitted. We in no way hide our policies. In fact, we make them readily available for our customers so they may decide before ordering whether they agree with them or if they choose to take their business to another company with which they agree with their policies.