Tristar Vacuum / customer service and scam
I'm sorry for the length of this, but I've been searching all afternoon for contact information for TriStar to file a complaint. Of course, all that is coming up in my google searches are negative experiences with TriStar sales calls, and phone numbers that don't work. So here is my own negative story. If you want to get to the best (or worst) part and skip the rest, then scroll down to the last few paragraphs where it gets really juicy:
One weekday, we received a scratch Bingo card in the mail. I scratched it to find out exactly what it was, full well knowing that it was probably going to be a "winner" of some sort of "prize" - and so would be all the other cards received in the neighbourhood. It turned out I was right in my assertion, and I had "won" one of the prizes listed on the back of the card - but to find out which prize, first I had to allow someone to come into my home to demonstrate some "cleaning products". The person I spoke to about it over the phone promised that it was not intended to sell me anything, but to offer them my feedback on the products. My husband tried to talk me out of it, but I didn't really have anything better to do that afternoon and was curious to see which prize I had "won". So I arranged a time for this guy to come to our house.
He showed up on time and brought with him another man whom he told me he was training. My husband was in the backyard cutting the lawn, but the salesman told me he could not go on unless both of us participated (which should have been my first clue that this was nothing more than a high pressure sales call). So he reluctantly came in the house to watch this demonstration which was promised to be no more than 20 minutes, but somehow turned into 2 hours.
The sales person was heavily tattooed, checked his cell phone text messages repeatedly throughout his time with us, and consistently used poor language throughout his presentation - particularly the "F" word. I have to admit that during the presentation, he had me convinced that this was a pretty good vacuum. However, we were never planning to buy one that day because we already had a vacuum and were not in the market for a new one. I honestly thought that we were simply offering feedback (I had participated in focus groups previously), so we were not wasting his time. Throughout the presentation when the salesman would ask us if we had any questions, my husband would ask "Yeah - how much is it?" to which the man would respond, "We'll get to that ..." Had we know this vacuum cost a ridiculous $3000 we would have kicked the guy out of our house long before the two hour mark.
By the end of the presentation when the price was finally revealed, the pressure really began. First he wanted to go out back to have a cigarette to give my husband and I time to "talk it over". We told him he didn't need to bother because we simply were not in the market for a $3000 vacuum. When he asked us why, I was honest and told him we could not afford it. My husband and I are just starting out. We just bought our first home and paid for a wedding. He is in the military, and I have a ton of student loans we are paying back on our modest incomes. And to be frank, what percentage of the population can afford to shell out $3000 (plus tax) on a vacuum cleaner???
Well then he started with the monthly payments. We could pay $30 per week (or close to that) for 5 years. He insisted we discuss out and he went outside to smoke. The guy he was training stayed in the house with us. When the salesman stepped out, I immediately turned to the man he was training and said to him, "You can tell him to quit with the pitch, because we really aren't buying one today." The salesman came back in a little while later and we told him too. Well then he started in with a whole thing about how he can only make this offer to five people a month and he could offer it to us if we could "keep it on the down low" - like he was doing us a favor or something. He offered us the vacuum for $1500 plus tax and we could make payments of approximately $12 per week. By this time, the company we had been expecting (my parents) had arrived after a five hour drive from my hometown. They were patiently waiting for this sales call to end so we could be free to greet them properly and so I could start dinner. I really just wanted these guys out of my house as the visit had run way past the time they had told me it would take.
He tried leaving again for us to talk over the new $1500 price with the payment plan. At this point, I stopped him and told him AGAIN that we were not interested. My husband told him, "This isn't the kind of thing we can decide on on the spur of the moment. We would need to sleep on it." The salesman said that was not allowed and we would have to make our decision right then and there. So we told him NO. When he asked why I again was honest and told him we cannot afford a $1500 vacuum either.
This is the point where I was completely insulted. Up to this point, I understood his tactics. I have a degree and background in marketing and sales. I got that he was trying to make a sale. But when he responded to me, he told us that $12 is coffee money - and that he felt sorry for us that we could not afford to spend $12 per week. My mother almost lost it on him hearing him insult us that way! He did not say he felt sorry for us that we were missing out on a great product - he clearly said he felt that way because we could not afford $12 per week. Now before you start feeling sorry for us too - don't get me wrong. We have an extra $12 per week. We aren't poor. But that $12 per week still adds up in the end to a $2000 or more vacuum cleaner with all the interest and tax added in. And I would rather put our $12 per week elsewhere - towards home improvements or student loans.
From that point on it was just completely awkward. He continued telling us how sorry he felt for us as he boxed the vacuum back up. Then he practically thew the dust and hair he had vacuumed out of our area carpet (the only carpet we have in our house) back onto the rug. This guy was clearly pissed he lost a sale. Then as he closed the door and exited our home, he turned back to me and told me he hopes we get some better jobs so we can make some more money and not be so poor. Are you serious???
Anyway, after he was safely out the door and drove away in his Mercedes Benz, my father gave me a look to show me it was clearly a stupid idea to let this salesman into my house. I guess I learned my lesson, and I won't be falling for those "free prizes" again, huh?
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