Here is a copy of the letter I have just sent to Dick Smith Head Office.
Dick Smith Head Office
2 Davidson Street
Chullora NSW 2190
To Whom It May Concern:
I wish to complain in the strongest terms about my treatment by a staff member and also a manager of Dick Smith, Booval, Queensland in that store at around 10 am today. Unfortunately, I do not have their names but I am sure you will be able to ascertain their identities with those details in hand.
Last week I purchased a Garmin 2360LT GPS. Over the weekend I tried it out. After updating the maps and adjusting all the background settings so that the device would find the quickest route, I entered my first destination and set off.
I live in the western suburbs of Brisbane. I entered an address on the Sunshine Coast to the north of Brisbane. Again and again, the GPS made ludicrous suggestions including taking me off a road with a clear, direct route, and on to a parallel street, through three sets of traffic lights and back on to the street I was on. Several times it suggested I leave a freeway, go around a roundabout, enter the freeway again, and continue on.
Obviously I ignored the GPS’s advice as I realised it was at fault but this proved to be a continual problem. At one point, when I was heading north on the ICB, the GPS directed me to turn off onto the Clem 7 (toll road) tunnel which would take me back under the city and deposit me on the south side – in the opposite direct to which I was headed, and perhaps ultimately an hour out of my way.
I understand that these technologies are not perfect – I have used several in work vehicles – but this was completely ridiculous. I found I seldom took the GPS’s advice and was quickly wondering what exactly I was getting for my $300 – not an insubstantial sum in my view. Further, I had purchased the GPS ahead of a trip to Sydney in December. I now had no confidence that it would assist me to navigate Sydney’s CBD. I had only survived its errors driving in Brisbane because I know the city well.
So this morning as I had to visit Ipswich I returned to the store, explained that the product did not do what as it had promised and asked for a refund. First I was met by a very dismissive female staff member who eventually went to seek advice from a manager somewhere out the back. She returned with what were clearly instructions to fob me off – and rudely too.
Finally she went and brought the manager. I have never been treated like that in a store in my life and, frankly, I have never felt more angry. The manager repeatedly implied I was lying and/or stupid. In response to my descriptions of the product’s failures repeatedly insisted, ‘No, it would not do that’ (yes, it did), and ‘I can guarantee we can send it to Garmin and it will come back saying it didn’t do that’ (nevertheless, it did), and ‘If you feel like this you should never buy a GPS as they’re all like this’ (then perhaps they shouldn’t cost $300), and ‘You must have set it to avoid tolls or something – I can tell you they don’t do that’ (so explain why it directed me to a toll road which would take me in the opposite direction to where I was headed).
My protestations that I was a competent user of technologies such as these fell on deaf ears. When I explained that I understood that as a consumer I have a right to return a product that does not do what it is designed to do, and suggested I would take further action if he wouldn’t give a refund, the manager smirked, ‘Good luck with that.’ He insisted that I was returning the product purely as a ‘change of mind’ and made it clear that although it was in his power to do so, he would not be giving me a refund. I ‘discussed’ this with him for some time while he patronised me rudely and made accusations. Finally, after he had argued with me and bullied me for around 10 minutes, he agreed to a refund.
That manager is an extremely poor representative for your company. His behaviour went well beyond rude, he was provocative and belligerent. By the end I was trembling with anger, a thing that has happened to me only once or twice in my life before. He was right about one thing: I will never buy another GPS. And neither will I buy another product from Dick Smith – I certainly don’t want to be treated that way should another product fail to live up to expectations.
In addition, I will ensure that all my networks hears about my treatment this morning and I will post a description of my encounter with Dick Smith management at every internet location I can find. People need to be made aware of your dishonest returns policy and the obnoxious attitudes of your staff.
Oh, look...it’s been 10 minutes since I posted on Facebook and already 16 of my friends have commented on my status. It seems several of them have prior experience with Dick Smith in this regard. Surprise me. Others are comparing your abysmal service standards to Telstra’s. Scraping the barrel there, lads.