I would like to share with you my recent television buying experience. The turmoil’s that I have faced over the past year. Yes, it has taken me an entire year to complete my television purchase from the Magnolia Home Theater Design Center.
In November 2013, I was persuaded into purchasing a Sony 70” Television from a Magnolia Home Theater Design Center in Pasadena, California. Unbeknownst to me, I was not purchasing the Television from Best Buy but, from the Magnolia Home Theater Design Center. This fact was never explained to me at any time during my purchase. I was lead to believe that they were one in the same. Along with the purchase of the Television, I was persuaded to purchase an extended warranty plan. I also opted to have the unit delivered to residence.
In December, I received the unit and felt confident that I had made a good investment, which was in line with meeting my entertainment needs and overall budget. Over the next couple months, I returned to various Best Buy locations purchasing additional equipment to complete my Home Theater setup.
Then suddenly in March, I started to have problems with the picture quality on my 70” Sony Television. I reached out to the sales person over at the Magnolia Home Theater Design Center for assistance and was referred over to the Geek Squad. I contacted the Geek Squad and setup an appointment. The technician proceeded to come out to my residence and conducted an evaluation on my television. Seeing that there was an issue, he refused to admit that the problem was with television. Instead the technician placed the blame on every other piece of equipment. The technician also stated that I should be contacting the manufacturer directly because, it was still under warranty. I proceeded to change out my cable box and my brand new Denon receiver. The picture quality continued to degrade.
I contacted the sales representative again and explained the situation. By this time the picture on the television had become very fragmented. The sales representative came out to my home and ran several tests on the television. He concluded that the problem was obviously with the television. He contacted me again and stated that they would need yet another Geek Squad technician to come out to my home and inspect the television. He also stated that I could contact the manufacturer directly as another option that might expedite the process.
I contacted Geek Squad and setup an appointment for a technician to come out to my residence and inspect the television. Upon arriving the Geek Squad technician noticed issue right away and concluded that it was a manufacturer defect. The replacement process had begun. By this time several weeks had passed.
It turned out that the television I had purchased was discontinued. I was issued a credit for a replacement television at Magnolia Home Theater Design Center. I opted to purchase a very similar model in brand, size and spec. I was told that television was not carried by the Magnolia Home Theater Design Center and it was only available at Best Buy. To my surprise, this was the first time I made aware that they are apparently two separate entities. To me they seemed one in the same. I requested that they transfer the credit to the Best buy side so I can purchase my television. My request was denied and I was told that I could only use the credit at the Magnolia Home Theater Design Center even though; it was located within a BestBuy store. Having no other choice, I asked the sales person to help me select a similar Sony model. It turned out that Magnolia Design Center did not carry any televisions in the 70” plus size close to the price point that I had paid.
At this point I felt as though I was being forced to spend more money to get something similar to what I had purchased. I became extremely frustrated and requested to speak with a manager. I spoke with the general manager at the Magnolia Home Theater Design Center and was extremely disappointed. It was very disheartening conversation. Bernie, the general manager had no sympathy or compassion to my situation. He refused to provide me with his District Manager’s name or contact information. After several phone conversations with the sales representative, I was able to work out a discount on a 75” Samsung television. The difference was close to a thousand dollars more in overall cost. It was the lowest cost television that had the same features at that time.
The new television arrived in April and upon opening it, I became very suspicious that this was an open box item. The condition of the packaging was very worn. I expressed my concern and was issued a replacement some time later. I inspected the packaging and everything looked ok.
I unboxed the television and set it up. The television seemed to work fine. About a week later we watched our first Blu-ray movie and noticed a white spot at the bottom of the screen. Over the next couple days the spot became brighter. I contacted the sales representative at the Magnolia Home Theater Design Center about the issue. He informed me that the model I had purchased was discontinued. He stated that I would have to spend a thousand dollars more to get the same features that I had on this television. He suggested I go through the manufacturer. I inquired about my extended warranty and was told that it would be transferred to my new television. (In fact all the previous technicians that had come out to my residence had suggested I go through the manufacturer and transfer my extended warranty over to my new television.)
Having gone through the process before and dealing with the hardship of having Geek Squad technicians misdiagnose my previous television; I decided to contact Samsung directly. I also did not want to pay an additional thousand plus dollars for a similar television. Samsung was able to diagnose the problem. They did not have parts to repair the television and agreed to offer me a replacement. Samsung offered me the more expensive television that I would to have paid a thousand dollars plus for at the Magnolia Home Theater Design Center. It was the only television available at the time with comparable features. This is what should have been done at the Magnolia Hone Theater Design Center when my first Sony television failed. Samsung offered me exceptional customer service with no hassle. It only took one technician to diagnose the problem. Compensate
In May when I received the replacement I contacted the Magnolia Home Theater Design Center I originally purchased the television from and requested to transfer my warranty. To my shock the sales representative stated that he had never actually transferred an extended warranty he just knew it could be done. He said that he would talk to his general sales manager Bernie and call me back. After about a month of hearing nothing back I followed up with him. Again, he said that he would call back when he had more information on the process.
In July I called back and found that the sales representative I had spoken with had moved on and no one was handling my issue. I spoke with Bernie the sales manager and had a heated argument with him. He refused to help me and offered me a refund for my warranty. I refused the refund and again asked for his district manager’s contact information. He refused to give me that information. I finally persuaded him to at least look into the issue. He said that he would get back to me.
In September, I contacted the customer service center for the Magnolia Home Theater Design Center. I spoke with Dan Erickson. He said that he would assist in handling this issue. It was only after I spoke with Dan that Bernie, the general manager called me back. He stated that Dan had asked him to find a resolution. Bernie asked me to go down to the store to process the exchange of the warranty.
His intention was to prorate the warranty and have me pay the difference. Again, we got into a heated exchange and I explained to him regardless of the cost, it’s the principal. After everything I had been through, he wanted more money out of my pocket. He was only covering the original purchase price for the Samsung, refusing to cover the actual cost of the new television. Even after agreeing to those terms he still wanted to pull a measly forty dollars from me, for a product I couldn’t use.
The most disheartening part of my conversations with Bernie had to be the fact that he refused to accept any responsibility for any of the failed products. Understanding that Magnolia Home Theater Design Center doesn’t manufacture the products, I expect that Magnolia Home Theater Design Center to stand behind the products it sells. Bernie refused to do this and had a very difficult time with this issue. He refused to except any responsibility or express any compassion that the products his staff sold me had failed. He simply passed the blame to manufacturer and expressed that he had no fault in the situation. Bernie expressed several times that I should feel very lucky to have received a more expensive replacement television from Samsung. He failed to see the benefits in what Samsung had done. He was only focused on the monitory compensation and failed to see that Samsung gained a customer for life while, the Magnolia Home Theater Design Center lost one.
As long as you continue to employee general managers at your stores like Bernie, I will never buy another product from a Magnolia Home Theater Design Center again. This was truly a bad experience and it wasn’t because the televisions I had purchased were defective; it was bad because the customer service experience failed on so many levels! It should never be this difficult.