So, as I predicted, Future Shop was not able to fix my tablet. Which means they called me today (actually two weeks ahead of the 60 day deadline too) to tell me the news. My tablet was back in Ottawa.
Ironically, the person who called and left me a message on my home phone said, “Great, tablet’s fixed, come get it”. However, they had a backup number for me at work, and the message there was, “Hi, I left a message on the other phone number but just realized that information was wrong. So let me tell you on this message that your tablet couldn’t be fixed, and you should come in for our exchange program.”
I’ll ignore the fact that if I got the first message she left, I would have been rather rudely surprised to get to the store only to be told it WASN’T fixed, but nevertheless, I knew, and prepared accordingly.
I read the F/S exchange clause which is as bad as you might think. The salesmen tell you it is either “full money back” or “replacement”. Well, no, it’s not. You see, the Toshiba Thrive that has gone to its eternal home of rest has no brethren available to exchange for it — F/S can’t give me a new one. So the warranty allows them to give me a refurbished one. Nope, also not available. So plan C says “equivalent tablet”.
Ruh-roh. I’ve read absolute horror stories about stores saying a much lesser model was the equivalent and people having to fight tooth and nail to get anything remotely comparable. Not to mention avoiding a crappy refurbished throw-back. So I figured, okay, let’s look at the specs of my tablet that were relatively unique, that I paid more for, and that other tablets probably won’t have, making it difficult to find a perfect equivalent. Made some notes and off to store.
For my Thrive, they found an equivalent Asus model pretty fast and I was immediately suspicious. But it was the same size. With same basic processor, dual core, same speed. Dang. Same resolution of screen. Version of android was actually even better. Shoot. I read an online review and it said basically, “Same as the Thrive” — yep even the review sites said it was the same. Crap. Cuz the Asus is $100 less than what I paid 18 months ago.
So I pull out my specs…SD card slot — yep. Shoot. Ah-hah, the full USB port? Yep, that too. So I’m figuring I’m screwed. Because although I know they have none in stock at this point, they’re going to give me that dollar value as the store credit.
But as I’m reading the review, I noticed something. The new Asus model has only one camera, mine had two. I never used either one, but that’s not my goal in noticing. Hmm…so I wandered back over and suggested casually to the customer service person that I would like to talk to the techie again, not threatening or pushy, just casually as I’m not sure it really is the equivalent model since it doesn’t have the second back-facing camera.
She noted though that since it is going to be a store credit anyway, I should talk to the manager instead, so I said sure. He wanders over, I was polite and casual, and said I was happy to take the store credit, just wasn’t convinced this was the right “equivalent model” since it didn’t have the camera. I was hoping for another $30-50 in credit out of it, but he agreed with me, said there wasn’t really another model to suggest, and therefore said they’d just do the store credit. For the full price I paid 16 months ago.
I said, “Well, okay, if you’re sure that’s the best way to handle it” while inwardly saying “Start the car!”.
I won’t forget the crappy treatment, I won’t forget the stress, I won’t forget that I’ve been without the tablet for last six weeks (something Jacob kept asking me about until he got his own recently). But the manager did the right thing, the simple thing, and it was no big deal for him either. Just an obvious solution for something that was only $100 difference.
Now, on my cynical side, I know that it isn’t really costing them anything as the bill goes to the insurance company that provides their warranty business. F/S doesn’t really care. And it’s store credit anyway, so they’ll get the money back meaning they gave me a store credit for something that has 40% markup and they’ll still have that profit later when I buy whatever I buy with that credit. And sure, I’m out some other money — the price of the warranty, a screen shield, molded case for the tablet, and an extra power bar that only fits the Thrive.
But I got exactly what I wanted out of the transaction — my money back and an open option to buy whatever dang tablet I want at this point, not just a short list from them.So I have to say F/S didn’t screw me. Stay tuned for more on my newly launched tablet search. And that groan you just heard? That was Andrea anticipating buyer’s angst driving me to want to talk to her about my options.