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Feb 06 2014


Needing a new washer and dryer, I went into my local Sears store. I have been buying appliances from Sears for decades. Met with a nice salesman and quickly found the set that would meet our needs. The salesman said there would be a $70 delivery fee. I said that I had seen online that delivery was $50 and it was waived with orders of $500 or more, which this was. He said he could waive the fee as well. So, I ordered the washer and dryer, took a snapshot of them, and went home.

That night, I went online to look at the specifications of what I had just bought. After a search using the product number on my sales ticket, I found the units. However, online they were listed at $75 less each than the “sale” price I had paid at the store.

After exchanging forms and emails with Sears regarding their “price protection guarantee,” the next morning I called their customer service department since they said they didn’t have the right information to refund me the difference in prices.

I found out the kicker here is there was a tag online that said “Online Only Special.” The representative gave me the sales talk as to why there might be different prices for the same product in the store on sale vs. the same product on sale online. Bottom line is that no refund would be made for the difference.

I am left with either just keeping things as they are or cancelling my store-bought order and ordering the same items online. Bet there are other differences as well regarding setup and such which might not be available for online purchases. But I am not a happy camper about possibly spending $150 more for the same items from the same vendor. I’m Seared. 

I emailed my salesperson at Sears with my complaint and opinion that I was due the $150 credit. Within a few hours I got his reply that, indeed, the credit would be issued. Well done!


May 21 2013
About a week ago, I went online and charged four picnic dinners for Opera Theatre of St. Louis to my credit card. I got an email confirmation of the charge that day.

I generally download my cc transactions pretty regularly and was surprised to see that I had been charged twice for the same thing. And the charges were from “Box Office” and from “Opera Theatre of St. Louis.” Different. But the same amount, same date.

Last week I called the OTSL box office to tell them about this. They said they needed proof I had been charged twice. So, I sent them a PDF file showing the two cc transactions clearly on the credit card’s website. I was told I’d be called back yesterday by the box office manager.
With no call yesterday, I called today and went through the whole thing again. I was told it was in the box office manager’s hands along with IT and I would get an email when the refund was made for the second charge. Well, I got a call from the box office manager instead.
She told me they only had a record of one charge and not two even though she saw the cc bill showing two. She said they could not refund me the money for the redundant charge since they had no record of it. She attributed it to a credit card company error on my account and I should call them to resolve it. I went through the logic that it really was two charges given one from “Box Office” and one from “Opera Theatre of St. Louis.” She blamed it on the credit card carrier and what I had to do was to call them. I told her I was unhappy that she was thrusting the issue back onto me to solve when it was their problem.
I called the credit card company. They told me they had paid the amount twice to Opera Theatre since they received two transactions, but they would put in a temporary credit for the second charge until it was resolved. Now it’s in the “dispute” area which can take up to eight weeks. I was given a dispute number. So, I called the box office at Opera Theatre to get the manager to update her, but it was after 4:30 and they were closed. I next called the main number (office hours until 5:00) at 4:40. Given what happened next, I sent the box office manager the following email with a copy to their director of development:

“At this point, I'm even more angry that I was when I talked to you earlier. Even though your office is open until 5:00, unless you know someone's name (and I didn't know yours), you cannot get a human to ask for "box office manager, please." So, I had to go to your website to find out who you are so I could then go back to the phone and try to get you. But you're not in right now at 4:45. Thus, since the box office closed at 4:30, I am using your email which I got from your website. It would be nice that during office hours there was a way to speak to an operator or attendant and not be forced to know the name of the person you are trying to call. Should be a default in there somewhere, but there isn't. Thus, the addition to my frustration over what should have been a simple transaction.

I called the credit card company as you suggested. They have two $xx charges coming from you and two $xx payments sent to you. It is as I told you I thought it was. They said, as I told you, the charges came from both "Opera Theatre of St. Louis" and "Box Office." They are going to dispute the "Box Office" entry and have credited me for the second $xx charge until the "dispute" is settled, which they can take up to 8 weeks. Eight weeks!

As a long-time donor and ticket buyer to OTSL, I am displeased about how all this is being handled as I expressed to you on the phone today. It was clear from the material I sent you in an earlier email as well as my reading to you the statement that I just got from the credit card company that I was charged twice. The fact that you cannot find it should not have been my problem. The evidence was clear about this. And a simple refund from you while you fished around to find out what happened would have solved the problem. However, it was thrown back to me to solve. As a customer, I don't see this as good customer service.”

Frankly, I hope my rant costs them more than the money they could have refunded me given I was double-charged.
Feb 16 2013 I sent the following to MacMall's customer service email address:

Please read through this chat. I would like this message referred to a supervisor immediately. Then such a person can respond to me via email. The gist of the initial inquiry was to find out why there seemed to be a price change between yesterday and today on a closeout MacBook Pro with Retina display, 13", 512 GB Flash Drive, 2.5 GHZ processor, 8 MB RAM found at;
It was $1849 yesterday and $1.994 today. No one would give me an answer. Marian seemed clueless. Ross just kept putting the burden back onto me rather than just looking at what I had sent him. Then, when it was all over (after over 60 minutes of Maria and Ross), all he could do was punt it into Tuesday. Not good. I am an old and constant customer of MacMalll and expect better customer service than what I received.
So, dear supervisor or manager, please read all the way through this set of transactions and respond to me about (1) the basic question I asked about the price, and (2) your assessment of how I was handled by Maria and Ross.


Chat Content:
Ross: Welcome to our real-time support chat. My name is Ross at extension number 87144. How can I help you today?
Hi Maurice, good morning

Maurice Hirsch: See the text if a chat that seemed to end nowhere: 
(here is text of chat session with Maria which somehow seemed to have been cut off)

Maria: Welcome to our real-time support chat. How can I help you today?
Maurice Hirsch: Yesterday, you had a closeout MacBook Pro with Retina display with 512GB flash drive for $1,850. Same thing today seems to be $1,994. What happened that the price went up almost $150 in a day? It was a 13" model
Maria: our marketing team determines our prices so there might have been a change that needed for us to do this
Maurice Hirsch: Yesterday was the first day of the "special" closeout prices/models. Should not change price within 24 hours. Not right. Not fair.
Maria: I'm sorry that you feel that way
Maurice Hirsch: Just putting it off on the marketing department is not a real answer. Let me talk to your supervisor.
Maria: but just like what I said we don't determine prices on sales end
Maurice Hirsch: You are not answering my questions. All you are doing is passing the buck on this. Let me discuss this with someone who can respond with answers. Supervisor, please. If you look at the website, the one model that is out of sync with how all the other closeout models are shown is the one I am inquiring about. I am a regular customer of your company. Please, can't I get someone who will respond to my questions?
Time has passed with no response at all from your end. You still there? ( I ended that chat since there was no response from the other end)
(Now we begin transactions with Ross):
Ross: May I have the MacMall part number for that MacBook Pro that you saw a price change in please?
Maurice Hirsch: So, you see, I was going to buy the 13" closeout that was advertised yesterday at $18u50 but is now shown as $1994 and its presentation on your website is at odds with the rest of the page for closeouts on retina display MacBooks. It's the 13" closeout MacBook Pro with Retina display, 8GB RAM, 512 GB flash drive, 2.5 Ghz processor right in the middle of your page of closeouts for MacBook Pros
Ross: May I have the MacMall part number please so I can check with our marketing and purchasing division the price for it yesterday.
Maurice Hirsch: And if you look at that webpage, you will see it's the only model where no savings are shown. How in blazes am I supposed to know a model number? None is shown on any of the computers. Not even when you look at them to buy. Look at your own webpage, please. Perhaps it's Z0N3, if that is a model number.
Ross: A MacMall part number starts with a 9
Maurice Hirsch: Remember that the price posted of $1849 was just put up yesterday. How can it change in a day? Had special email about it yesterday. Thought about it overnight, went back to page to order it, found out that it's now $150 more.
Ross: You can send me the email you received.
Maurice Hirsch: Where is there a MacMall number? Your own webpages don't show anything about a number. This is getting frustrating. Do you work for MacMall? I have deleted the email. And that's not the question. As a regular customer of MacMall, I am getting angry about this exchange with Maria and now you. This isn't rocket science, here. What's the scoop? If you cannot respond to my questions, please hand me over to someone who can. Just look at your own webpage and you can see the problem. And the email itself was a link to your webpages where the prices for all the closeout models were shown. The email didn't have prices other than to say there were savings up to $649, I think.
Ross: The 13" MacBook Pro closeout models each have a different setting for the RAM and Flash pre-installed. Each setting will have a corresponding MacMall part number so we can differentiate them. Not unless you can provide a MacMall part number for the one that has a listed price of $1849 yesterday then I really can't forward anything to our marketing division so we can have it checked.
Maurice Hirsch: Okay, I'll play your game. WHERE CAN I FIND A MODEL NUMBER on your webpages? So far, none seem to be shown. I have an idea: You look at your own webpage and tell me where there is a model number.  Look at the Huge Savings section, and the 13" model that is in the middle of the second row of that section. So far, I have invested over 30 minutes in live chats with Maria and you and have not gained any specific answers to my questions.
As a constant customer of MacMall, I don't think this set of transactions has been helpful. 
Ross: As an example, after you picked out the one you want to place an order for, it will show a detailed description of what it is and then on the middle part of the page you can see the MacMall part number for it
You can follow that link as an example. We cannot give any specific answers because you do not have a specific part number for what you are referring to.
Maurice Hirsch: Why would I want to place an order when I an asking about the price? And why are you putting the burden on me when I've told you exactly where on your webpage you can find the model I am inquiring about? [I then put the computer into my "basket"] 
Try MacMall Part #: 9418712. You could have done this as easily as I have done without putting me through all this. Hate to sound sarcastic, but the name of the game is customer service. When we are done with all this, I would like you to give me the email address of an upper-level supervisor so I can write this whole exchange up.
Ross: Thank you for the information. I will now forward your question to our Marketing team as I do not have any information of what's the cost of this specific MacMall part number yesterday. I apologize if I need to get the MacMall part number from you directly as it will not really help if I assume that what you are talking about is "this part number" or "that part number"
Maurice Hirsch: You can assume all you want. I was very specific about the model's specs with 13", 512 GB Flash Drive, 2.5GHz processor, 8GB RAM, that it was a MacBook Pro discontinued model shown on your page. Gave you the webpage link. If I had known the model number, I would have given it to you when you first asked. I don't know what more you wanted of me as a customer.
Ross: Our Marketing division is currently closed for the weekend. We will send you an update about your question for the recent/sudden price increase you mentioned about this MacBook Pro. by Tuesday
Maurice Hirsch: Please give me the name of a supervisor where I can register a complaint about this whole set of transactions with Maria and you. Also seems as if you knew that you had to deal with marketing many minutes ago (you are I are up to 36 minutes right now), you could have found out they were closed over the weekend and wouldn't be back until Tuesday. So, what's my contact's name and email?
Ross: We have your email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Maurice Hirsch: Yes? But I want to SEND an email to a supervisor.
Ross: You can send in an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Maurice Hirsch: Seems pretty general, perhaps low-level. What about a manager, a supervisor? Something direct that doesn't start at the lowest level of the customer service chain?
Ross: You can send your concern to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Saying that our marketing division is closed for the weekend right off the bat couldn't have helped the situation at all, as you might think I am shunning you away without even asking what the particular product is
If you have a concern with how this is handled, you can send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Maurice Hirsch: As a customer who just purchased an iMac from you this past week, who buys Mac equipment from you for a company I'm affiliated with, who has bought lots of Macs from you over the years, this has been quite unpleasant and might affect my choice of a vendor.
If you were not going to have an answer for me regardless of what model and were going to have to check with marketing (which is what Maria said earlier), why would knowing the model number have helped? You must think that I'm just a cranky person. Actually, I'm not. Just very frustrated with the time this has taken and the complete lack of information I am leaving with having now invested an hour in this enterprise.
So, here we are. I still don't have an answer to my question. I'm irritated about how I was handled. What was a sure sale is now a real question mark for me as is my overall choice of Mac vendors if this is the way you are going to handle customers. Thank you for considering my thoughts. mlhjr

We shall see what they say in response.

Feb 19 2013 Last night I received the following email from MacMall:

"Good Morning Sir,  This is Kenneth Aranda, Assistant Team Lead. I was informed by my Manager to contact you regarding the sad event early today. Can you provide me the best phone # to reach you? I will call you as early as tomorrow morning and we’ll deal with the said issue no matter what. Thank you for your utmost understanding."

I looked on their website after reading the above and saw that the laptop I was interested in was again shown at $1,849, the price I had inquired about when the websitle showed $1,999.

I sent him my number and he called back promptly the next morning. He said that my email had alerted them there was a problem on the website which they corrected and thanked me for bringing that to their attention. The two folks who had chatted with me had been talked to ... wonder how that went. And he offered me a nice discount on AppleCare for my troubles. Oh, and they are running a promotion where phone orders get a $100 gift card. So, I think I did alright altogether and am happy with their response.
Sep 26 2012 Tuesday – Got up this morning to find that my iMac would not start. It was just supposed to be asleep, but, well. After a phone call to Jeff, I opened my laptop and got an appointment at the Apple Store this morning.

While I was waiting to go, I thought I’d catch up on some business and do the payroll for Chesterfield Arts. So, I opened QuickBooks on my laptop. Since we back up our files with Intuit, I went online to pull up a backup files I had put on there two days earlier. However, the Intuit site only showed backups I had made in December, 2010. Yep. Nothing since then according to what I pulled up on their site. I had a brief conversation with one of their customer service folks, but ran out of time before I had to go to the Apple Store.

At the store, the tech guys diagnosed the problem as a failed logic board, which was what Jeff guessed. And it cost to repair it would be about $600. Since that is such a large percent of what I could get a new one for, I dragged the computer home. I then called Intuit again.

They verified I had a whole slew of backups and there was one from two days ago. Okay for that. The rep took control of my laptop and it took her 45 minutes to restore my file, something I should have been able to do since that’s what we pay Intuit for on an annual basis. Then it was a matter of getting print drivers for the laptop, etc. Throughout all this, our son, Jeff, was extremely helpful and spent scads of time with me all through the day.

While the rep from Intuit was working on my laptop, I used my iPhone to make a purchase of a new iMac. At the end of the transaction, I was told my credit card had been denied. Hmmmm. Well, I put in another and it went through. About 3 minutes later, the fraud division of that first credit card called to see if I had tried to make the computer purchase. Yes, I did. I was told I could enter the card again and it now would go through. Too late. On another card. And as things were about winding down from the Intuit rep in control of my laptop, the computer store where I had ordered the new machine called to verify if, indeed, I had placed the order. Yes, I did.

After a very late lunch, I hurried out to get some food and do some chores. Back in the garage, I slammed the tailgate down on my head. Ouch!

 Oh, one more thing, as if this weren’t enough. Both Monday and today, my “contacts” list on my computer and iPhone was totally messed up. I mean there were people who had passed away years ago and people in directories where they should not be. It has taken my three cleanings to get things into order, but we shall see what comes from iCloud that messes it up again.

It’s Kol Nidre tonight. So I will chill and reflect. And how was your day?