Friday, August 22, 2008

Stootsi.com : They Suck!

I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there, I'll tell you all about how Stootsi.com likes to get money for nothin' (and, quite possibly, chicks for free).

It all started when I purchased a refurbished Xbox 360 from Stootsi.com on June 27, 2008. My card was (of course!) charged right away, however the product was not shipped until six days later, on July 3, 2008.

They like to say that "typically" their shipments go out within 1 business day. Sure, I can accept that, everybody has issues now and then.

So I received the shipment four days later (eleven days from purchase) on June 8, and within hours the unit was flashing a red quadrant (although not the infamous RROD).

I emailed Stootsi.com, asking them (and I paraphrase): "Hey wtf, yo?". They referred me to Encore Repair, who apparently is the "refurbisher"; Encore, in turn, instructed me to ship the unit to them, at my own cost. I did so on July 17, 2008.

Encore received my shipment on July 21, 2008, and five days later I asked them to update me on what, if any, progress had been made. I did not receive a response, but later the same day, I received a replacement 360! "Yay!" I thought, "Tim finally gets to play GTA4 tonight!"

Right? Riiiiight.

The replacement Xbox 360 was in even worse shape than the first one - a full RROD along with a loose case. This time? I told them I just wanted my stinkin' money back, so Encore sent me back to talk to Stootsi.com. Stootsi.com instructed me to ship the unit back to them, again at my own cost (even though their refund policy says they'll pay for return shipping, ahem) - but, hey, I'd receive a refund of the sale price, which... whatever. Okay. I paid $195.99 ($189.99 + $6.00 s/h) at the time of original purchase, and then a combined $36.56 out of pocket for the pleasure of twice shipping defective units, for a total of $232.55. Getting near to retail price here, folks, which makes the whole "buying a refurb" thing utterly pointless.

So, the refund arrived, and now we're over 40 days after my original transaction. Except I was refunded $166.99, ending up with not only no Xbox, but out $65.56.

This entire transaction, from start to finish, was a miserable experience, and the related customer service just sucked.

Here's some history:
---

We'll skip the first 13 emails (most of theirs one-line statements without so much as a "thanks for your business"), and jump right to the email I sent after receiving the second defective 360, when I emailed Encore directly:

to Encore Tech Support
cc "sTooTsi .com - Customer Support"
date Fri, Jul 25, 2008 at 1:49 PM
subject Re: Xbox 360

Unfortunately, the replacement Xbox 360 is defective.

Yellow card code: ERS-0905
Number on console case sticker: 621493354805

This time, not only is the front of the case loose and unable to fully latch into place, the entire red ring flashes and won't even display a screen to show an error code. It probably goes without saying that this is incredibly disappointing. It's now been a month since my original purchase, I received a defective product, had to pay to send the defective product back, only to receive yet another defective product.

At this point I simply want my money back. How can we achieve this?

Encore told me to talk to Stootsi.com:

from Encore Tech Support
date Mon, Jul 28, 2008 at 10:31 AM
subject RE: Xbox 360

Your unit is covered by a warranty that only includes repair or replacement for units. Encore Repair Services cannot issue refunds for units. For a refund, you would need to contact your place of purchase. If you would like to process a warranty repair or replacement for your unit, please let us know.

Thank you,
Encore RMA Department

So I talked to Stootsi.com. I forwarded the above message from Encore and asked them to "Please advise".

Stootsi.com said, "hey, you can return it for a refund of the sale price":

from sTooTsi .com - Customer Support
date Mon, Jul 28, 2008 at 12:39 PM
subject RE: Xbox 360

Jennifer-

You can return the unit to us for a refund of the sale price or exchange another unit with Encore. Please advise.


So I said, and again I paraphrase, "Well, alrightie, then.":

Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 12:49 PM
To: sTooTsi .com - Customer Support
Subject: Re: Xbox 360

Hi Stootsi, thanks for the reply. I'd like to return it for a refund. What's the procedure?

And so Stootsi told me how to return, again stating there would be a refund of my sale price:

sTooTsi .com - Customer Support
date Mon, Jul 28, 2008 at 2:10 PM
subject RE: Xbox 360

Thank you for contacting us. We are sorry you are having problems with your item.

You can return your item to us a for a refund of your sale price, or an exchange. If you are requesting an exchange, please note that in your return. We process exchanges within 1 business day of receiving your return. Please send your item, along with an order #, and a reason for return to:

Stootsi.com
2507 Lovi Rd, Bldg 3
Freedom, PA 15042

When we receive the item back, we will refund your credit card within 5 business days or exchange it for you. Thanks!

So I (again) packed it up, and (again) paid to ship it back, sending it off on July 30. Two days later, they received the package. When I followed up on that and inquired about my refund, the one-liner read:

sTooTsi .com - Customer Support
date Fri, Aug 1, 2008 at 12:41 PM
subject RE: Xbox 360

Your order will be refunded within 1-2 business days.

Great, right? Wrong! At this point, I'm out a total of $232.55, but just expecting to receive the "sale price" refunded. Imagine my surprise when I received a refund of $169.99:

to "sTooTsi .com - Customer Support"
date Thu, Aug 7, 2008 at 9:49 AM
subject Re: Xbox 360

On Mon, Jul 28, 2008 at 12:39 PM, sTooTsi .com - Customer Support wrote:
> You can return the unit to us for a refund of the sale price or exchange another unit with Encore. Please advise.

Greetings. The amount I received in refund was $23 less than the sale price I paid for the item (not to mention the amounts paid to twice return the item, although it appears you only refund purchase price). I paid $189.99 plus $6 s/h.

Please advise.

And then, in yet another one-liner, Stootsi pretty much told me to suck it:

sTooTsi .com - Customer Support
date Fri, Aug 8, 2008 at 12:55 PM
subject RE: Xbox 360

Jennifer-

You were charged a restocking fee because you chose to return it to us rather than receive warranty support from our refurbishing company.

I thanked them for the AWESOME customer service, made a mental note to share with The Consumerist, and bought retail.

Never once did either company try to make this right. Nobody came close to saying "Wow, valued customer, I'm so sorry for the trouble! Please allow us to overnight an RMA label to you". Nobody even bothered to mention "restocking fee" until after they sent me two total pieces of crap and kept my money.

The retail 360? Works like a charm.

So, in short (except really, in long), do not do business with Stootsi.com. Learn from my misfortune: They don't care about your business, they have no idea what "customer service" means, and eventually (if not immediately), you'll regret it.