Appliances Connection - The Biggest Rip-Off I've ever experienced!
On April 23, 2015 I made the mistake of ordering a microwave oven, 5 year warranty and trim kit from AppliancesConnection.com. At the time of placing the order, the status for the microwave and trim kit were "IN STOCK". In every case where I've ordered something "in stock", it is shipped immediately.
I received confirmation of my order almost immediately. The next day, April 24, someone messed up and didn't enter my cc information correctly because they called me. Once that was straightened out, I figured my oven would be here within a week. Note: The company says on one of it's pages "They won't charge your card until your order is "finalized". Another says otherwise. See pictures.
This company LOVES to generate emails! So on the 24th, the order was approved and I received the following email: "Your Order Has Been Approved & Processed!
This e-mail is to confirm that your order has been successfully processed and it is being sent to the Shipping Dept."
Was I wrong to believe that the Shipping Department had items listed "In Stock" and that I would receive them within the time stated? YES, I WAS WRONG!
On April 26, I received an email from AppliancesConnection.com outlining my responsibilities. 28.3k of my responsibilities! No company has ever sent me a lengthy letter about my responsibilities ever - until now. I foolishly thought my responsibility was to send good money for the payment and in turn, the company delivers the merchandise I ordered. This is not how AppliancesConnection.com does business. Two or three times I received the mini-novel verion of "RESPONSIBILITIES". I don't have to do this much stuff enrolling my kids in school!
Included in the letter about my responsibilities, which I'm fairly certain contained every disclaimer, process, procedure and page of their site, was a copy of my order. The only reason I mention this is that I am responsible for registering my warranty within 30 days of purchase. This is the part of my order regarding the warranty:
"3. CONSUMER PROTECTION SERVICE 5 YEAR MAJOR ON SITE APPLIANCE WARRANTY UNDER $500
(Membership #: ) (800-905-0443) (www.cpscentral.com)
You must register your warranty within 30 days in order to receive coverage.
Estimated Return Charge if Unopened within 30 Days via AppliancesConnection Pickup: $5"
Did you see a Membership #? I didn't either. How am I supposed to register my appliance warranty if I don't have the warranty number? And nothing was received until the 11th? It took 18 days for one "in-stock" item - the microwave oven - to ship. They never shipped the trim kit although it was never on back order. So as of today, I still don't have it. I cancelled it this morning... That's 21 days total that an in-stock item was not shipped. Of course they charged my card immediately. Do they know the Fair Credit Billing Act the way I know it? (15 USC §1605). It covers "Billing Errors".
Examples of billing errors
The following are examples of billing errors under the FCBA:
Charges not actually made by the consumer
Charges in the wrong amount.
Charges for goods or services not received by the consumer
Charges for goods not delivered as agreed
Charges for goods that were damaged on delivery
Failures to properly reflect payments or credits to an account
Charges that the consumer wants clarified or requests proof of
Statements mailed to the wrong address
Significantly not as described product/goods
On April 30, I sent a query regarding my items, it had been seven days after all, so where's my stuff? I received confirmation that they had received my inquiry at 10:05 a.m. At 11:15 a.m. I received notice that my "Ticket had been updated" and a link. This is the response I received to my "where's my stuff" inquiry:
"AppliancesConnection (Candace) (April 30, 2015, 11:15 AM): [ANSWERED]
We are currently waiting for the product/s that you have ordered to arrive to our warehouse from the manufacturer/vendor, The estimated shipping date for your order from our warehouse is on 05/08/2015 We will keep you posted on any status changes and updates on your order. Please note, your account will not be charged until your product(s) ship, in some cases your account will be authorized and charged so we can reserve the merchandise for you
What?! My account will not be charged until your product(s) ship. Then "your account will be authorized and charged so we can reserve the merchandise for you". This is in-stock stuff and you're not the only company carrying it. In fact, I just bought it again, perfect. Arrived in 2 days, no damage, it's perfect, I love it and it cost less than what you charged.
They don't have them in stock and won't have them for another week?? Oh and they won't charge my card until my stuff ships despite this part of their website and reply to my note that they will authorize the charge to "reserve the merchandise". There is no shortage of these items, so there would be no reason to reserve them. There would, however, have been reason to refund me and/or let me know you were out of stock, I would have gone elsewhere.
"Has my order been shipped?
All credit/debit cards are charged within 24 -48 hours of when the order is placed pending verification. 48-72 hours should be allotted before calling 1-800-299-9470 to check status of your order. Order status and Online tracking information is now available by clicking the Tracking link on the top of the page. To make any type of changes on your order after it has already been processed call our customer service department at 1-800-299-9470."
So which is it? They don't charge until they ship (like the law says) or they charge your card immediately - EVEN IF THE ITEM IS NOT IN STOCK!
There are also other contradictions all over their site but one of my favorites is "If you refuse delivery for any other reason besides a damaged product, you will receive a refund less the outbound and inbound shipping, rated at $0.75 per pound, and a 10% restocking fee." Let me see if I got that right; I'm supposed to know, without opening the box, that the item is damaged so I can refuse delivery. If I open the box and unpack it and then determine that there is damage, do I really expect UPS to stand and wait?
There's a part about how you will never be able to meet their strict "hassle free" return criteria because although it's in the "My Responsibilities" letter, it's not on UPS' instructions. The UPS tracking shows the box was left on the front porch. But we already know that for return purposes, you're more likely to win the Lottery than meet the "hassle free" return policy:
"Returns Must Meet ALL Applicable Criteria
If your returned product does not match all applicable criteria listed below, it will be rejected by our Returns Warehouse and returned back to you. Consequently, your RMA will be nullified and any credit request will be denied and any replacement order will be cancelled. Our arrangements with our suppliers and manufactures allow us no room to make exceptions. All returns are shipped back to us at the consumer's expense. All returns must include tracking numbers and insurance to insure the products safety."
Tough crowd! But how do you return anything to them when you are REQUIRED to notify the carrier as well? Then there's this BS about "Manufacturer Only Returns". Does anybody have a clue what that even is?
With items listed as "In Stock" not being in stock, how are we supposed to know what the "certain items" are?
It just keeps getting better. Their "Policy on Defective and Damaged Items" will stop you before you thought you were started
"Policy On Defective and Damaged Products
All defective products will be handled by the manufacturer under the terms of their product warranty. AppliancesConnection.com will not replace or exchange defective products that fall under the manufacturer's warranty coverage. Refer to the owner's manual for instructions on how to contact the manufacturer regarding product defects. During the time of delivery, the customer must inspect the package."
ALL defective products? Didn't AC.com just say they would replace or exchange defective products? I thought maybe they meant after you'd used it for awhile until they put in languageabout inspecting the package at delivery! Now I'm utterly confused. Meanwhile, they still have not shipped the trim package.
Should I appreciate that they provide me with the "approximate cost" I'm going to incur in shipping the defective/damaged product back along with the RMA#?
But.. if they used FedEx or UPS to ship your merchandise...
"In regards to items shipped out via UPS, FedEx, USPS
Due to carrier policy compliance and restrictions, any damage or loss must be reported IMMEDIATELY to BOTH our Customer Service & the Carrier. AppliancesConnection.com is not responsible for any damages if both the shipper and AppliancesConnection are not contacted immediately upon receipt of the merchandise. After the first 24 hours from the time received (via UPS, FedEx, USPS), AppliancesConnection will not accept any damaged products back to our warehouse. Those products returned after this time will be sent back to the customer."
The catch - Once you notify the carrier, FedEx or UPS, the carrier, especially it the shipping carton was damaged, the carrier will come and pick it up. Now how are you supposed to get it to the shipper (AC.com) when UPS has it to determine if the damage was a result of their shipping? UPS told me that they do whatever the shipper tells them to do. If it's UPS' fault, the shipper is reimbursed and the shipper will receive the item back or throw it out depending on what they are told to do with it. What about the consumer?
I must have missed that the first time. When the microwave arrived; not on May 8 as promised but on May 11, 2015, there was no UPS guy with an electronic tablet for me to sign, no inspection form, no Bill of Lading and no note on the door 'sorry we missed you'. Just the box with the microwave in it. So why is it my problem if the shipper failed to require adult signature?
Realizing that if I don't IMMEDIATELY contact the carrier I void any chance of refund, I contacted UPS. UPS of course, comes and gets the package. And AC.com knows this - or should know this. How can you ship the damaged /defective item back to AC.com if UPS has it? When AppliancesConnection.com "fully insures" the item, the shipper insures that any damage or defect will cause the item to be returned to them. If UPS determines that the damage occurred in transit, UPS REFUNDS THE SHIPPER. The shipper purchased the insurance hence, the shipper gets the refund by UPS. It's then up to AC.com to refund you. And they get the item back. In my opinion, this forms the basis of something known as "Unjust Enrichment". They get the money and the item. I, on the other hand, get to jump through a bunch of hoops to get my refund.
They emailed me today and asked me if I still wanted the trim kit. No, I do not want the trim kit. I'm pretty sure that I can make my old Panasonic Trim kit work with a strip of Stainless steel (just aesthetics). Did I still want something they told me they'd already shipped? Buying from them is like playing Russian Roulette; maybe they'll send it, maybe they won't, but they'll pull the trigger and charge it immediately regardless of what's on their website which is so full of misstatements and statements that are contrary, it voids itself of all responsibility putting all responsibility for everything on the consumer. You and me.
I don't want anything from AppliancesConnection.com now except a full refund. Then I'm filing with the FTC, Attorney Gen, Postmaster, and everybody else. Oh and Rip-off Report.
This company goes to great lengths to provide confusing, hypocritical, ambiguous language to deprive you of your money. Notice how the Order # changed after I requested an RMA#? And I'm enrolled in a club that rewards me for being social. Goodie!
ALWAYS use a credit card when buying online for big purchases because they protect you from cheats like these.
My advice? Come here first. Or rip-off-report. Check them out with BBB and file another claim to let others know. 68 reports, 2 settlements? Not good odds.
Reason of review: ALL OF THE ABOVE.
Preferred solution: Full refund.
I didn't like: Lied about items being in stock, Lied about charging card, Criteria for rma is impossible, Merchandise damaged, Left on porch no sig required.