CineMagix Grand Theater - Received faulty product, paid to return ship, and charged 15% restocking fee?!?!Our story begins six (6) weeks ago when I spoke to their sales person on the phone because my attempts to purchase online failed. When speaking with the salesperson I shared all details of what I had (DirecTV), set top boxes, and plans for using their CineMagix Grand Theater Vista Media Center (VMC) as a replacement for my then "deceased" HP Digital Entertainment Center MCE.
7510 Whitepine Road
Upon receipt of my new CeneMagix Grand Theater, I promptly powered on the system after connecting all AV components. It was evident almost right away that something was wrong as the Media Center setup was returning an error, "No IR Receiver Found". A call to their support department was routed to voicemail with a message reassuring me of a return call shortly. After no return call I called back the following day, being placed on hold for nearly 30 minutes before speaking with a technical representative. Almost immediately I was informed that the Media Center was not compatible with DirecTV - even though this detail was disclosed at the time of purchase. After asking to speak with an escalation technician I was transferred to another representative who I can only describe as rude and impatient as I attempted to politely explain the situation to him. The suggested fix upon closing the call? I was told to purchase a IR blaster accessory through a local or online retailer in order to proceed with troubleshooting this issue. This proposed solution was only after arguing Velocity Micro's original point that their VMC was not even compatible with DirecTV!
After another couple days to ponder my call with Velocity Micro and the two weeks that had now passed from order to delivery, I decided to return the unit and salvage what dignity I had left with my wife and children who had waited so patiently for the return of a Media Center to our household. This is where things went from bad to worse.
Velocity Micro honored my return request after much deliberation. I was told I had to pay to ship the defective item back and would be reimbursed upon their receipt of the computer with all original parts, accessories and shipping materials. If only so this experience could be closer to over, I chose not to argue the shipping costs and shipped it out the next day.
After at least another two (2) weeks waiting for a refund of my purchase I receive the following email message from Velocity Micro, apparently congratulating me on my order refund (sigh). Much to my surprise, after reviewing the refund notification, was that my refund amount was short 15% for what I would later learn was a RESTOCKING FEE imposed on my return credit. Unbelievable!
>Congratulations! You have received this message as a confirmation of
>payment to Velocity Micro, Inc. For questions about this receipt, contact
>Customer Payments at 800-303-7866, ext 201, or e-mail email@example.com.
>========= GENERAL INFORMATION =========
>Merchant : Velocity Micro, Inc.
>========= ORDER INFORMATION =========
>Type : REFUND
>Velocity Micro is available to answer your questions. Call 800-303-7866,
>option 4, M–F 7am–11pm, & Sat 10am-4pm, EST or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To recap, there was no mention of a 15% restocking fee and had the salesman mentioned it, I might have asked the relevance as, with a working unit, I never would have intended to return it in the first place. The idea that my receipt of a non-functional piece of equipment and choose to return for reasonable cause by anyone's standards would result in a 15% restocking fee is absolutely ludicrous and warrants complete disclosure from Velocity Micro AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE that a 15% restocking fee is charged for any returns, regardless of reason. Now ask yourself, if Velocity Micro said such a thing to their customers on the phone during a sales transaction, what person in their right mind would proceed with the purchase??? No one! Velocity Micro did not disclose the RMA terms including 15% restocking fee to me on the phone and if they had, I most certainly would have cancelled my order after lecturing the individual on the other end of the phone on customer service and fair business practice. I have been the President and CEO of an IT service business for 13 years and counting and can say the growth and prosperity of my business is attributed almost entirely to one thing: customer word of mouth. Every person my staff engage with, on the job and off, is a potential client and regardless of whether the engagement generates an ounce of revenue, that person will remember my organization in a positive light by whatever means necessary. That is the customer service objective (period). Every company may follow certain guidelines or carefully detailed procedures and standards to ensure this end result but regardless of practice or technique, the result remains the same and once you've achieved the end goal the next most important challenge is repeating it ... over and over again.
No business will EVER succeed by punishing honest paying costumers. I received a faulty product. Moreover, the product was ill equipped to provide what was needed for connecting to my set top boxes (no IR blasters). Had my return been processed with far greater care and sincerity by Velocity Micro, I would be telling folks to buy from them even though in the end I may not have purchased from them that day. Given the way I'm being treated, not only will I never purchase from Velocity Micro, but they have now been elevated to the ranks of "classic example" of how poor customer service doesn't pay. Fleecing customers of their money when they do not receive what they've purchased for reasons beyond their control is not only bad business practice, it's just plain bad business and dare I say, criminal.
Shame on Velocity Micro for their conduct, not only in their handling of my particular case but countless others as well: most evident by the sheer number of search engine results when querying "velocity micro complaint".
Curious what Velocity Micro's published return policy is? Well now that Velocity Micro has officially shared it with me *after* my RMA (not before), here it is direct from their web site. Buyer beware...
>All systems purchased are subject to have a 15% restocking fee if returned
>for a refund. Purchasers agreed to this restocking fee at the time of
>purchase and will not be waived for any reason. All returned merchandise
>must be accompanied by its original packaging, accessories and manuals.
>You must contact Velocity Micro customer support for an RMA# prior to
>return of merchandise. Defective merchandise will be replaced with a like
>item, upon return of the defective merchandise.
>Velocity Micro is not responsible for any damages caused by either internal
>or external equipment, shorted connections or components not installed by
>or purchased from Velocity Micro.
>Velocity Micro is not responsible for damages to any components or loss of
>any data inadvertently caused by products, under normal or abnormal
>use, including those purchased from Velocity Micro.
>Velocity Micro will not replace, repair or refund any purchase if an item's
>serial number does not match what was originally sold.
>There are absolutely no refunds for custom work (i.e custom paint, special
>order chassis, custom cutouts).
>Velocity Micro will be not be responsible for shipping to Velocity Micro for
>systems or parts returned for refund.
>Velocity Micro will be not be responsible for shipping to Velocity Micro for
>warranty repair after 90 days if an RMA is necessary.
>Velocity Micro will only be responsible for shipping warranty repaired
>systems back to the customer.