I’m not terribly choosy in regards to where I shop and on what I spend my money. I don’t typically care if it’s American made or made in China (although I’m not a fan of China, but I guess that’s for another post), or if the store made some crazy political donations or not. But there are a few establishments that have rubbed me (and Eric, but mostly me) the wrong way, and we are no longer doing business with these companies.
We’d love it if you’d join us in our boycott of these stores. Who do you boycott and why? Maybe I’ll join you!
1) Best Buy (and HSBC) - I hate this store. I love the idea of this store, but it is implemented so poorly. A couple of years ago, Eric and I purchased a new set of appliances here (refrigerator, oven range, microwave, dishwasher) and it was one of the worst purchasing experiences I’ve ever had. It seriously took HOURS (and not just more than one hour, but literally 4 plus hours) to buy these appliances, with long gaps of time just sitting and waiting for the guy helping us to figure out what to do or find someone more qualified to do it for him. I think he processed the sale about 3 or 4 times because something (always something different) kept getting messed up. We put the purchase on our Best Buy credit card because we were supposed to be getting some sort of “no interest for 24 months” sort of deal.
The Best Buy credit card is the WORST IDEA EVER. If you’re ever thinking about it – Don’t do it! It’s a rip-off. Over a year after this ‘fantastic’ purchasing experience, we received a statement from our Best Buy credit card (serviced by HSBC) showing that a $1,300 laptop was purchased in Georgia. Um, no. Clearly, this is fraud. So we call customer service and say “there was a fraudulent purchase made on our credit card.” Did they immediately forward our issue to the fraud department? No, of course not. That would provide an appropriate level of customer service. Instead, they pulled the receipt for the purchase, with the forged signature, and sent a copy to us indicating the purchase was legitimate because it was signed for. We contacted HSBC/Best Buy again to indicate this was not Eric’s signature, we have never been to Georgia, and this transaction is fraudulent and we won’t pay for it. The Company responds that they need to research this, apparently for an extended period of time. We hear nothing for weeks. We call and check on the status. They tell us that it is still being researched. About 3 weeks after we re-opened the issue, we received a letter from HSBC thanking us for our call and indicating that they would initiate an inquiry. Thanks for the prompt service HSBC. So far, not so good. This type of thing went on for a few more weeks (we would call, get nowhere, then get some random letter that didn’t say anything useful). Finally, Eric called up again and after escalating the issue on the phone, FINALLY got HSBC to turn the issue over to their fraud department. This took a couple of months from the time we first reported fraud. The fraud department did a fairly decent job of dealing with the issue. They removed the fraudulent charge and they suspended all activity on the credit card.
At this point in time we just wanted to pay off the credit card and cut ties with HSBC and Best Buy. Eric calls customer service again and asks what the total would be to pay off the credit card in full (as the credit card statements are truly impossible to decipher themselves). He’s given a number that seems reasonable (although I’m not quite sure how it actually reconciled to what we owed, but at this point I didn’t care). He submits the payment over the phone and requests the account be closed for good. We even agreed to pay a transaction fee of $20 to make the payment over the phone and be done with it. Phew – we can wash our hands clean of this mess finally! Except wait… a month later we get a credit card statement from Best Buy saying we owe $3.36. WHAT???? WHY???? AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH, I HATE YOU BEST BUY!!!!! Thankfully, Eric was willing to call them again and explain our situation, at which time they waived the remaining charge. Good call Best Buy, or my hatred may have morphed into some sort of murderous rage.
My point is, don’t do business with Best Buy or ever get a credit card issued from HSBC.
2) Williams-Sonoma – Who hates Williams-Sonoma? I know… and honestly, this one sucks, because they have such a fun, beautiful store filled with some really neat, if over-priced products. Oh, and some great cook books too. My refusal to shop at Williams-Sonoma stems from their return policy.
The return policy (from williams-sonoma.com) is as follows:
The following policies apply to all returns:
It’s not the most unreasonable return policy ever, but there are a few reasons I just can’t accept this at Williams-Sonoma.
- Williams-Sonoma is a high-end retailer which sells largely over-priced goods. If you are a high-end retailer, your target customer expects a certain level of service that this return policy does not support. Think of Nordstrom’s and their return policy – they’ll take anything back at any time, with or without a receipt, regardless of how long ago you bought it, or even if they ever sold it. I love Nordstrom’s for that.
- Many, if not a majority, of products sold by Williams-Sonoma are exclusive to this retailer or WS branded. For that reason, it’s clear that the purchase was made at the store, even if the person doesn’t have a receipt. Target takes returns without a receipt for God’s sake and you can buy the majority of that stuff anywhere!
- People don’t always get or include gift receipts! You shouldn’t punish the gift recipient just because the gift giver didn’t include the gift receipt. At least give store credit! You’ll still get the money and the gift recipient will like/enjoy the product they got from your store.
- There are no exceptions, at least not that I could tell (or experienced). Individual store managers aren’t allowed to override this policy under any circumstance.
In sum, Williams-Sonoma has a crappy return policy that is overly restrictive and not befitting of the high-end retailer it is. Shame on you Williams-Sonoma. I will not be doing business with you anymore.
3) Thai Angel – OK, my guess is that most of you don’t care about a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant in my hometown, but I had to throw this one in there. On two separate occasions, I found something inedible in my curry! After the first time, I told Eric I wasn’t going to eat there again. Eric forgets these things, and picked up some Thai food there on his way home for work the other day. Again, something inedible in my curry. The first time, it seemed like a ceramic chip. The second time, it was a little rock or a pebble (ok, possibly a whole peppercorn, but I wasn’t going to bite hard enough to find out). There food is really good, so that’s a bummer, but it’s over Thai Angel. Never again! I’ll have to remind Eric every time he picks up Thai on his way home (there are only about 20 other Thai places in Redmond to choose from, so I think we’ll be ok).