Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Panasonic Stuffs Up, and We Pay

Recently - like over a month ago - I purchased the SC-PM54 Panasonic HiFi system. It's a black shiny thing and it was advertised as being able to play WMA files and MP3's.


So I burned a disk of WMAs and MP3s, mostly WMAs.

And guess what - the WMAs wouldn't play. There was a little message flashing up "ERROR" each time I tried.

I checked the Panasonic webpage. Lo and behold, the reference to WMAs had vanished. But there was a cached site from just after I had purchased the stereo confirming what I had seen - that the advertisements HAD been advertising the capacity of the stereo to play WMAs.

So I contacted Panasonic and explained that I'd been ripped off. And what's more, they'd tried to cover it off, not by apologising on their website or to previous purchasers, but mysteriously deleting their reference to it one day.

It took over a month for them to get back to me - and I had to call them and prompt them.

What did they offer me?

"You can take the stereo back to the store and exchange it for instore credit at the price you paid for it, and get something you prefer," said the lady. "That's all we can offer."

She tried to sound really generous.

Hang on - what does this mean?

I lose the time I spent burning WMAs and the disk I burnt.

My mother lugged a huge stereo down the street, and now we are expected to bundle it up again and lug it back.

And then to get instore credit - not taking into account whether we actually want to spend more at that store. I mean - they stuffed up, and that's why we spent money at their store. Should Panasonic dictate that we spend money at that store again and restrict our purchases again?

Totally uncool.

I thought so, and asked the lady on the phone for a contact-back number.

To add insult upon insult, I got a call soon after saying "By the way, the return back offer only lasts for 14 days after today ..."


So what does Panasonic get out of this? If I return it, after I've done all the leg-work and am stuck with instore credit instead of the cash I doled out, and have to go hunting for ANOTHER stereo system, Panasonic simply has a stereo system returned to them, which was simply "refunded", and they can flog off to someone else at the same price with no fear of getting into the same pot of boiling water because they've now changed their ad. And since I only bought it recently, and the return offer only lasts for 14 days, they can bet their boots it's in saleable condition.

Oh, too easy.

It's time for these places to pay when they stuff up. May a WMA blow up in their face. Or something.


Maria said...

By the way - Panasonic did not either explain why they stuffed up, acknowledge they did stuff up, or apologise for my being inconvenienced as a result of their stuff up. It was more a case of "regarding your correspondence, this is what we can do - and that's it ..."

Maria said...

When I purchased my Hifi system, I bought an extended warranty from them - quite expensive actually! - 5 years' worth. Not from Panasonic, but from the RETAILER.

I wonder whether Panasonic would guarantee me a refund - i.e. "instore credit" on the warranty, should I take up their offer, or would that be "not our problem, you got that from the retailer not us" and I'd be stuffed again?

Friendless said...

It doesn't do what they said it did, so I imagine you'd have a case against them. Of course, you need to fight them which is just going to waste more of your time.

Maria said...

Exactly, friendless, and what's more, my phonecalls to them. I bet Telstra loves this!

I just received an official letter from them giving them me the instore credit option and the time limit, and saying if I wanted a refund I'd have to go to the "point of purchase" as that's who I purchased it from.


Talk about fobbing off responsibility.

1. They promise me instore credit. How can they do that with the retailer when they aren't the retailer?
2. But they can't offer me a direct refund, only the store can do that. And it's going to be so easy for the store to say "Hey ... it's not our fault, we didn't do anything. Why should we have to refund you?" and fair enough.

Panasonic is just being an idiot about this.


Maria said...

Update: after many communications, I've got a letter from Panasonic which seems to be a final offer saying they think they've been fair and reasonable and they've given me a deal where I won't lose anything.

Oh yeah.

I get back store credit instead of cash.
I don't get back the money I paid out on a warranty. 5 years' worth! It is up to me to battle that out with the store! And I only bought it because of their ad. What is this, "Oh sorry, it is your own fault if you buy extended warranty on a product we falsely advertised as being good and it actually craps up. We can only refund the product but we can't refund the warranty."

So I can return the product, and get lousy store credit at a store I mightn't buy anything from again, but I have to hang on to warranty for an object I don't own any more.

How have I "not lost"?


Maria said...

That is, I think I'm getting to be the loser here, but they seem to have the loser argument!