Published on September 8th, 2009 | by treschonde
Reading the Fine Print at Geeks.com
Let me begin this article with an all-too-familiar tale of the most emotionally damaging and life altering experience we can have as core gamers… a broken xbox.
After 3 years of mostly loyal service, my gleaming original 20gb xbox finally flipped me the bird, it’s own friendly way of saying “It’s time to upgrade, slacker”. And thus I began the hunt. It was obvious that it was time to upgrade to the Elite, but I’m a cheap bargain shopper whenever possible, so the $400 price point was disappointing. I already bought this console once, now I’m buying it again for 400? Ugh.
Now here is where I’m going to interrupt, because had I been smarter, I would have digged a bit and discovered the soon-arriving price drop to 299… which is what I just purchased mere moments ago.
So back to the story. Some of you may have seen geeks.com, a general electronics store similar in function to newegg.com. I have to admit, geeks.com’s prices are tantalizing. I found an xbox elite refurbished for around $219. Being impulsive as I am, I only quickly scanned the return policies, thinking it mostly looked good.
Xbox arrives, works, 1 week later, dies. Kaaaaaaaahhhhhnn!! Er, wrong villain. So it was time to begin the RMA process (Return Merchandise Authorization). First of all, if you play with their customer service page, you will notice there is no actual RMA form anywhere to be found. In fact, the Customer Service section links you to the Technical Service page, which then links you back to the Customer Service page. Ring around the rosey it is then.
I finally determine that the “email” link on the Technical Service page is the only option (which turned out to be correct, by the way). The form on that page, however, has questions directed specifically at technical issues, not RMA. So I dutifully filled out the comments section, and off it goes. I get an email RMA confirmation, expecting news of my refunded costs, minus their huge fees.. and instead the email tells me that I will only receive in-house credit… I’m sorry, I don’t remember ordering a painful colonoscopy.
So I re-read the Return rules.. and sure enough, cleverly worded is the line:
“If none of these options are available Geeks.com will credit the customer’s account based upon current market value of the received product(s)”.
Now, with most online retailers, this means they will credit your card account (whatever was used for the purchase). However, with geeks.com, this refers to giving you in-store credit. In addition, all return shipping costs are your own, and the return policy threatens that they may choose to not credit you back anything at all.
So now, I have a useless $180’ish of credit in an online store that I have zero interest in shopping at. The lesson here? Always read the fine print. Or just use newegg.