Brookstone — uncooperative customer support
I was given an indoor radio controlled helicopter as a 50th birthday gift. The person who gave me the gift paid Brookstone additional money to purchase an extended warranty for the helicopter (Brookstone's Protection Plus). Attached to my gift was a gift receipt for the extended warranty and a brochure on the extended warranty plan. However, I was not given a gift receipt for the helicopter, itself.
Within roughly 15 minutes of use a sizeable piece of the helicopter blade broke off from the remainder of the blade. This rendered the helicopter inoperable. I went to a local Brookstone store and presented the broken helicopter and the extended warranty with a gift receipt for the warranty showing it had been purchased just the day before. The store's assistant manager told me that the damage appeared to have resulted from abuse, not a manufacturing defect. Consequently, she was unwilling to exchange the helicopter or provide a store credit. I pressed the issue and eventually the assistant manager asked me for a receipt. When I explained that I was not given a receipt with this gift the assistant manager dug in her heels and refused to give me a refund or store credit. She told me without the receipt she could not confirm that the helicopter had not been purchased on E-Bay or stolen. (It's telling that members of Brookstone's management team possess such a low regard for their patrons).
I showed her the extended warranty, which she said was currently meaningless. The assistant manager explained that the warranty could not be used until 12 months had passed from the date of purchase. Inasmuch as I had no intention of waiting a year for help with this problem I asked the assistant manager for either a refund or store credit for the money that had been spent on the extended warranty. Again the assistant manager refused.
I called the claim number on the extended warranty and the representative there told me that the "Micro Chopper" product was known for frequent defects and breakdowns. (That fact didn't seem to stop Brookstone from selling this product, however). I was given another number [protected]) to call so as to attempt to obtain support. However, I received the same response as that given me by the store's assistant manager.
I don't know how much my friend paid for the gift that had been purchased from Brookstone. However, I find it remarkable that Brookstone solicited the purchase of an essentially worthless Protection Plan on a product with known quality issues. The replacement of a simple plastic propeller would have cost Brookstone a tiny amount of money. By treating the product and policy issues I raised in such a dismissive manner, however, Brookstone has alienated me as a consumer.
I have an executive level position with a large multi-national corporation that promotes a consumer-centric approach that we refer to as "client delight." Our organization's studies have found that delighted clients are not only repeat clients (making them profitable) but tend to influence others to utilize the same organization's services. It is apparent that the concept of "client delight" is foreign to Brookstone. Products like those sold by Brookstone can be found elsewhere. If you are considering the purchase of one or more of Brookstone's products you may want to seek their purchase from more consumer-friendly merchants first.
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