Warning: Do Not Buy From Buy.com

Ever wonder how online sites like Buy.com are able to sell merchandise for a few dollars less than other sites? It looks like Buy.com has a simple formula to make money. From complaints I’ve seen about this company it appears they make money by failing to give refunds for returned products and sometimes charging for products which are never shipped. After my experience with them I find all these on line complaints credible. I returned a defective item to them. (I have two other units of the same item so there is no doubt that the one was not functioning.) Their web sites states their policy is to refund the full purchase price for defective items along with shipping both ways. They have not honored this policy.

It is not unexpected for companies to make mistakes from time to time, but the real problem with Buy.com is that they do nothing to correct their mistakes. They have not responded to any of my emails (other than with automated responses that they will be getting back to me). They don’t even list a telephone number. (Incidentally, I received a charge back from my credit card company for the disputed money, but now I notice on my statement that Buy.com reentered the charge.  I’ll be contacting my credit card again.)

In contrast, last month I had some questions regarding a purchase received through one of those small independent sellers that sells through Amazon. Amazon’s site had a link to send a message to the seller. The seller quickly responded and the problem was solved.

At least the internet does give some small satisfaction out of the hope that posting things like this on line will wind up costing crooked companies like Buy.com more than they ripped me off for. Last year I had another post on a crooked online dealer. I mentioned at the time that I wound up canceling an order and ordering an item from Newegg, knowing that they were reputable, even if charging a few dollars more. I intended to do a follow up but in the heat of the election year never got around to it. The camera received worked fine but while on vacation I found that one of the SD cards I also ordered was defective. I emailed Newegg’s customer service while on vacation, mentioning I found this while traveling. They said that since I was traveling I didn’t even need to return the defective item and they quickly shipped out a replacement. It certainly is worthwhile (and in the long run more economical) to deal with more reputable companies on line as opposed to going with the ones which charge slightly less by taking shortcuts.

Update: I found yet another site with lots of negative reviews of Buy.com. This one is convenient as multiple reviews can be found from a single page.

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12 Comments

  1. 1
    Fritz says:

    So, as long as you have started a corporate disrecommend thread…

    Gateway Computers shafted me on a warranty.  My youngest teenager’s school has a “must have a laptop and we have cut a deal for you” program.  The deal with Gateway included a 4-year warranty and covered traumatic damage (excellent for teenagers hauling a laptop in a school backpack).  The screen cracked a few months ago and I tried to get warranty service.  It turns out that Gateway sold off the warranty to some company in Idaho that has since gone bankrupt and Gateway believes it has no responsibility to honor its warranties.  Some families fared worse — two that sent off machines for repair had their computers impounded by the company that the bankrupt company contracted with to do repair work.  I paid a local firm to replace the screen with a non-touch-screen that loses the touch functionality (that my kid didn’t use), but works as a screen.

    And, yes, NewEgg is wonderful.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    In the past on line orders of computers often came down to Gateway vs. Dell. Personally I had good luck with Gateway and problems with Dell but I know others who have experienced the opposite. In recent years all my computers for home and office have been either IBM/Lenovo or HP with no problems.

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    Fritz,

    Have you checked with your insurance company regarding coverage for things like cracked laptop screens? I have a personal property policy through State Farm which is quite cheap–far less expensive than computer companies charge for warranties which include damage.  I’ve used this for two different notebook screens in the past. It was also nice to be able to take it in locally as opposed to sending it off to an out of town company.

  4. 4
    Christopher Skyi says:

    “It certainly is worthwhile (and in the long run more economical) to deal with more reputable companies on line as opposed to going with the ones which charge slightly less by taking shortcuts.”

    Yes, this is certainty true. I’ve learned the hard way that if you go “cheap,” you wind up paying double on every penny. 

    Customer service and reputation are everything. I had a big problem with a Dell hard drive.  3 weeks after it arrived, I discovered it was the wrong type for my computer, but I got it only after talking to Dell tech. support: it was the one they told me to get.  I called again, got a better tech support person, and he/she pointed me to the correct HD (at least, I hoped it was).

    Anyway, I called customer service to try to resolve the issue, i.e., I wanted to exchange the drive with one that would work w/my machine, but — I couldn’t belive it — they refused because 4 weeks had passed since I made the order. I told them the HD was fine, but it just didn’t work in my computer, and Dell had told me to get that HD, but Dell had another one that would, and I just wanted to exchange it,  but they made a big mistake:  they were rude and dismissive.   Basically they told me tough s**t. If I wanted the other HD, I’d have to just buy it.

    If I was mad before that call, I was steaming after, so I found out the Dell’s homebase was in TX, so I contacted the TX BBB and filed a complaint. Then —  I went nuclear. I contacted the NY State Attorney General’s office who had an ongoing case/investigation of Dell.  I hated to do it, but I thought Dell was being unreasonable, though, yes, buried in the agreement, it said no returns after 4 weeks, but I think I had called day or two passed the 4 week mark.

    I followed up with paper work from both the BBB and the Attorney General’s office, and about a month later I got a very nice letter from Dell explaining how they would be happy to exchange my HD for another one, but I’d need to pay for the difference. It’s what I wanted all along.

    The lesson: don’t be afraid to play hard ball. The worse that can happen is nothing happens.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    I had difficulty getting a refund from Dell several years ago on an item which was considerably different from what was described before the purchase. It took a while for them to agree to the return. Once they did they did not give a full refund claiming that the returned item was something different from what was actually returned. My credit card did give a charge back on that one.

    Another frustration with Dell is that they use refurbished items to replace items under warranty, but send out defective ones. I had some memory chips go bad in a desktop. They sent used chips to replace them and the used ones were also defective. I had to go through a few sets before I got one which was not defective.  I actually wound up buying my own memory so I could use the computer, but still had Dell send out replacement ones until I got ones which weren’t defective and then used them plus the ones I purchased to double the amount of memory in the computer.

  6. 6
    Christopher Skyi says:

    “they use refurbished items to replace items under warranty, but send out defective ones. I had some memory chips go bad in a desktop. They sent used chips to replace them and the used ones were also defective. I had to go through a few sets before I got one which was not defective.”

    Yup. This is exactly what got them into trouble with the NY State Attorney’s office.   When I purchased a new laptop, it WASN’T a Dell (it was a Lenovo, ThinkPad — expensive, but it was worth every penny, and you can’t ask for more than that! 🙂

  7. 7
    Christopher Skyi says:

    Ron — find the address of the head of the company, and any other higher up (VP or senior level) and 1) send them your blog traffic stats (i.e., how many people read and subscribe to your blog) and THEN send them this post.  This will make them sit up straight, and I think they’ll be very, VERY nice to you 🙂

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    I plan to. I don’t know if they are real, but I did find some email and snail mail addresses for people in the company. Fortunately the amount of money wasn’t very much so I don’t want to waste too much time on this, but as a matter of principle I want to help get out the word on their lack of customer support.

    Between the RSS subscribers and daily traffic there’s around 10,000 potential readers of this. (More in the unlikely event that newspaper sites pick it up over Blogburst). Others may find it if they do a search on the company. Potentially they can lose far more than I did as a result of their poor service.

  9. 9
    Christopher says:

    Is Buy.com like eBay?

    I’ve bought a few things on eBay and never had a problem although I know there are millions of people who have had terrible experiences on eBay and the former CEO is an antigay, GOP shrew named (Nut)Meg Whitman.

  10. 10
    Ron Chusid says:

    No Buy.com is nothing like eBay. Buy.com is an actual company, as opposed to buying from individuals through eBay.

    With eBay there are risks but they you know what you are getting into–and I have never had problems there. There are also some mechanisms to resolve problems. In the case of Buy.com, consumers expect that a company will honor their return policies and will have a customer service department which responds to problems.

  11. 11
    nomoreGOP says:

    just a tid-bit into this..

    DELL is the anti-christ of the computer world.

    The story is too long and not interesting enough to get into very deeply… but I will say that HP and Sony are the only PC’s I will ever own/deal with again..

  12. 12
    Ron Chusid says:

    I’d add IBM/Lenovo to that list of computers you’d buy.

    I’m also thinking of picking up a netbook for traveling or other times I don’t want to get out the larger notebook. I’m thinking of getting a Samsung based upon the comparative reviews of the netbooks currently on the market.

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