I support local businesses. I appreciate them. I want them to do well. This is particularly important in central Georgia. However, when a local business is not deserving of my business, I will not go back. I might even post a review online.
I recently did this for a local computer store. I feel the need to reprint my reviews here. I think my friends need to know. I orginally posted about this back in March 2009, but it needs repeating. Here’s my original two-star Yelp review of Quality Computer Systems:
OK, they get two stars, but that’s more than my experience warrants.
First experience: A couple of years ago, I had a 12 PowerBook that I spilled a bit of water on. It immediately went dead and would not boot, even after several hours to let it dry. I thought I hosed the computer, so I took it to QCS for their diagnosis. After it sat there for about three days, they called me and said it was ready. Apparently, just letting it dry for a bit longer was all that was necessary; that’ll be $85. “For what,” I asked. “Well, it did boot, but we ran diagnostics to see if everything was OK.” Fine, I thought, paying the money, but feeling ripped off. I made a mental note at the time never to go back there again. They could have at least called me before they ran those diagnostics.
Second experience: Several weeks ago, my MacBook Pro’s monitor died. It just would not come on, even though the computer booted. I packed up my ailing MBP and headed to QCS. This was a Thursday. Nearly a week later (after they told me it would “tomorrow”), they called me to report my logic board needed to be replaced (the video card is shot, and that lives on the logic board). A new logic board would be about $1200. I told them I’d just come get the computer. “That’ll be $85.” I paid it without a word. While it did take them a week to get to it, it wasn’t their fault my computer seemed beyond repair.
A quick call to Apple, and I had had a new quote: $350. They had a box here the next day, and my computer back to me within a week — less time than it sat there at QCS.
As for QCS: couldn’t they have called Apple for me? The more I think about it, the more upset I get. This is what local customer service has turned in to. I guess, because of geography, they feel they have some sort of monopoly here in central Georgia (is that called an oligopoly?). I think they could have done more. I’m out $160+ from my two experiences with them, and what did I get either time? Really. I will not be going back, and I actually feel like writing to the owner. I would, if I felt it would do any good.
Subsequently (a year-and-a-half later!), their owner has taken a notice of my review and contacted me. At first, it seemed as if he was going to make amends. No such luck. His phone call this morning prompted a review update:
Update: As Brad mentioned, he contacted me about these issues. But, rather then helping me, he begins arguing with me about them. He claims that QCS “negotiated with Apple” for the price I ultimately received on my MBP!? Man, it’s great that they want to take the credit for that NOW!? He claims they informed me, but that is not true. They seem to be trying pretty hard to put a revisionist spin on poor business decisions.
After reading my initial review, I’m embarrassed that I didn’t mention my third experience with QCS. It was when Apple’s Snow Leopard operating system came out last year. I’m always an early adopter of Apple products, and this operating system was supposed to be a major update. I called QCS (I know, but Best Buy was not carrying it, and QCS was the only Apple retailer in town at that time), and the dude told me they have it. The upgrade was supposed to be $29, but when he rung me up, he said $42 (or something close to that). When I asked about the discrepancy, he said the owner added $10 to it to cover shipping. This was strike three. Here’s what Brad said about that:
“I did have to pay apple next day air. Once I got my next shipment in 3 days later it was $29. Apple does not “FIX” prices, vendors can charge what they need to to be able to cover costs. FYI if you charge what apple does on the web site you make 5% if the customer pays with an AMEX there is 3%, whatever to cover it’s share of ground shipping and you are lucky to pay a salesperson to answer the phone.”
You know what: too bad. Was it really worth it, Brad? You already gouged me twice. You want to take advantage of the loyalist Apple customers? You can explain all you want, but it sure looks like you’re were taking advantage of your no-longer unique position of being the only Apple retailer in Macon.
Finally, here’s what he said about the MBP in our last email:
“I do not want you to have a bad feeling about my business. If you can bring me a copy of the service order from apple with what they did and to fix the problem with pricing, and your full name so I can look you up on my system I would be happy to refund the $85 for the MacBook Pro.”
I have the documents he asked for, but no refund. Instead, he called to harass me — to tell me I was wrong. Great business sense. And I have an even WORSE feeling about your business now, Brad.
Now, I have just two words for QCS: Peach Mac! Let me say them again: PEACH MAC! PEACH MAC! PEACH MAC!
Unfortunately, I have to revise my last review: run run run — take your computer elsewhere — buy your computers elsewhere. Peach Mac just opened up the road. They are WAY better than this sorry excuse for a business. In fact, I’m going to make sure Apple gets a letter about QCS, too.
Way to go, Brad. Needless to say, my original two-stars is now just one.
Now, I’m going for a bike ride.