Two stories, not so much fraud, but basic incompetence:
- About 6, years ago, the car I owned at the time needed a tune-up, badly. So I took it to a local chain to do the works–plugs, wires, oil, timing, etc. Two days later, my engine was chugging terribly at every stop, sometimes stalling, and accelerating in fits.
I took it back to the garage, told them the problem, and asked them to check it over again. I get a call later that day, and the person from the garage asked me if someone had recently worked on my car. I told him, “Yes, you did.” He said, “No, anyone else?” I told him no. He said, “Well, someone has, because your car has the wrong spark plugs in it. They aren’t correct for your car, and that’s the problem.” Shocked, I said, “Well, then you put them in there.”
“Nope,” he said, “we don’t even stock these plugs.” Growing redder by the second, I said, “Look, I had my car tuned up two days ago by you. The next day it would barely run. Nobody else has touched my car. So either I’m lying to you, or someone snuck under my hood while I was parked and switched my plugs as a joke.” He replied, “Well, you must be lying.”
I said, “Change them, and keep the plugs you take out. I want them in my possession.”
That night, I wrote the owner of the chain a lengthy letter, in which I described what had happened, and told him that, not only had the garage obviously put the wrong plugs in my car, I highly suspected they didn’t change the two belts I had asked for, and then had the audacity to call me a liar. I copied it to the garage’s manager, and to the Ohio Attorney General’s office and the Better Business Bureau.
Turns out that the parts clerk who had taken delivery on those plugs had ignored the invoice and the box, and simply entered them into their inventory as something they were not. But I got my vindication: I got my money back plus vouchers for two free tune-ups or winterizations, the parts clerk got fired, and the mechanic who called me a liar got my letter put into his personnel file along with a written warning.
2) My wife and I were looking to buy a futon, so we went to a prominent local store, picked one out, paid for it in full, and arranged for delivery that Saturday. We were told that they used a local mattress warehouse as a vendor for their deliveries, and that they would call us that morning and arrange a delivery window.
As it happened, I had to attend a seminar that day. By this time, we did not own a car, but we did have a rental car that weekend. I was supposed to be at the seminar from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. My wife dropped me off at 8:00. I called her at lunch to find out when the delivery guys were coming. She said between 3:30 and 3:45. I told her I would get a ride home.
Here’s where it gets fun. It turned out we finished early. I called my wife at 2:45. She said she would come pick me up. She left the house at 3:20 and was there by 3:30. We pulled into our driveway before 3:40 (I speed, big time). There was a note on our doorknob stating that they had been there and left already. Here’s the kicker: They said they were there at 3:15!
I went in and called the futon place, knowing full well they could not have arrived prior to 3:20. The person there said that he could not help me. Flabbergasted, I said, “You better find someone who can, pronto.” He said, “There’s nobody here but me.” I replied, “Then you listen carefully, write it down, and call your boss. I paid in advance for merchandise, was told that it would be delivered between 3:30 and 3:45, and your guys left a note saying they were here at 3:20, which they were not. I got home a minute ago, and I highly suspect they simply knocked and left. They didn’t wait the full 15 minutes, the window is still open, and I want my futon.” He said he would call me back.
He calls back two minutes later, and says, “Sorry, they made another delivery after yours, and now they’re already back at the warehouse and leaving for the day.” I said, “Wait a minute–even giving them the benefit of the doubt and saying they arrived at my house at 3:21, you’re telling me they left my house before we got home at 3:40, made another delivery, returned to a warehouse by Cleveland Hopkins Airport by 3:50, and have finished up all their paperwork? How stupid do you think I am? No way they did all this in 30 minutes. You better call your boss back, and tell him those men have not completed their deliveries, and I want my merchandise.”
Five more minutes. He calls back. “Sorry, they’re gone. They left for the day. You can have it on Wednesday, or the next Friday after that.” I asked him when he closed, and he said 4:30. It was 4:10. I said, “Don’t you dare close you doors before I get there.”
I got to the store, and told him I was getting a cash refund, now. He said, “I can only credit your card.” I said, “Nope, this was a debit card, the transaction has already cleared, and I want my money.” Then, growing a huge set of balls, he said, “Can you hang on?” and went to wait on another couple who walked in behind us!
Anyway, we finally got our money back. On a whim, we stopped at another store on the same street that was still open. We looked at a few models, picked one out, and had it in our living room that afternoon. The next day, I stopped by the first store with a letter of complaint, copied to the BBB, and a copy of the receipt for the sale his competitor got because he screwed up.
Retailers, do not screw with me.