192Camera.com — rip off
Hello, my name is Yadira Escribano Caro. I'm from Puerto Rico and last week I was vacationing with my mother and daughter in Orlando, Florida. Everything was perfect until I was swindled by salesmen at a local store. I need to know if I can alert tourists and locals somehow, through a newspaper or other media, about the dishonest practices carried out at this electronics store. The outside of the store carries no discernible, original name; it only says it's a SONY Outlet.
14851 S. Apopka Vineland Rd
Orlando, Florida 32821
The people in charge of the store are Latinos (Argentineans) that speak Spanish, but all the receipts for their transactions and the merchandise they sell are in English. They intentionally mislead their customers into thinking that all the products in the store are brand new and below retail price, but this is, in fact, a lie; their prices are greatly inflated and most of their merchandise is actually refurbished or used.They display all their products together, but do not make any visible distinction as to which ones are new (if there ARE any new products at the store, that is) and which ones are refurbished or used, not even when giving the product specifications to their customers.
My terrible experience took place on Thursday, August 7th of this year, 2008. I went to take a look at laptops and asked them to show me their smallest models. After being shown a few different models (both Mac and PC) and talking with the salesmen (mainly with the manager of the store, actually), I decided to purchase a Mac laptop. At no moment did they ever mention the merchandise was refurbished, and so when I realized that the receipt they had made me sign in order to complete the purchase said the computer they would sell me was "refurbished, " I asked them to please cancel the transaction/charge immediately. They said that the money ($1, 038.00) had been charged to my credit card and that I had signed, so there was nothing they could do. English is not my native tongue and we were conducting all the business in Spanish anyway, and so my *daughter* was the one that pointed out what they had done after she saw the receipt in the store just minutes after the purchase.
I tried to talk the manager (who was the one who did the transaction) and come to some sort of agreement, but he was rude, not interested in helping me, and dismissive. He presumed to tell me I didn't need a new computer for what I had planned to use it for and that I should just take it and leave the store. At his most cooperative, after we unmasked his fraud, he told me that I could just pick other items at the store and make some sort of exchange. But who can purchase something or make an exchange at a store where one knows that they are trying to cheat the customer? They even suggested I exchange the computer for a Fujifilm camera that they alleged cost the same as the Mac laptop, but when my daughter called a friend to check out the retail price online, she found the true retail price of the camera was less than $300.00. They were trying to cheat and deceive me AGAIN! I was in shock.
While I was at the store, several other customers arrived complaining of similar troubles. The ones I specifically spoke to were Mexicans that had been in Orlando for a vacation and who had, the previous day, purchased two computers and a digital camera. When they got to their hotel, they unpacked the items and realized they were old and used. They, too, did not speak English as a first language, and I'm not even sure they spoke much English at all. They came to return their items, but were also turned away. This is obvious, further proof at the scam that this store is running; they take advantage of customers and use the language barrier to cheat them into buying old, refurbished, pricey items and then saying "there is nothing they can do because the merchandise has already been purchased."
How is it possible that a transaction cannot be cancelled if the purchase hadn't even occurred more than five minutes before? I called my bank in Puerto Rico and they apparently didn't understand my position or the situation, saying there was nothing I could do and nothing they could do either. Now that I'm back in Puerto Rico, they said they will conduct some sort of investigation. This is clearly a case of fraud because I asked the manager immediately to cancel the charge because I realized I had been swindled and cheated into buying a refurbished item that was not only used and old, but practically obsolete (I found out later that the model was released in 2001 and discontinued in 2003) AND whose price was greatly inflated.
THIS IS ABUSE AND FRAUD. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE ALERT THE PEOPLE IN FLORIDA ABOUT THIS STORE AND THE INDECENT, DISHONEST PEOPLE WHO MANAGE IT! If there is a way to alert the media, please do so or let me know how I can make that happen. This should be in newspapers, the radio, TV, or SOMETHING so that the public will be informed and stay far away from that deplorable place that calls itself an "outlet."
I still have faith that I might get my money back because $1, 038.00 is not money that I can just throw away or "gift" to unscrupulous vendors that deceive their customers while wearing a smiling face and then start insulting them once the customers have realized what is going on. This is horrible for Orlando's tourism industry because most of the people caught in this web of deceit are tourists that have to return to their countries of origin with a bitter taste in their mouth and a big hole in their pockets.
I truly hope for your cooperation and understanding with this very serious matter.
Yadira Escribano Caro