Problem with a local business — Brooklynian

Problem with a local business

I recently bought a used laptop from a local store that repairs computers and sell used computers. When I got the laptop home it did not connect to the Internet. My internet connection was good because my older computer was working on it. I returned it to the store immediately (the receipt said it had a 30 day warranty) and the technician checked it and said he didn't understand why it wasn't working in my house. He suggested a house call which would cost me an additional fee. At this point I asked him what their return policy was and he said, "I don't know you have to ask ___ (the owner)". I left the laptop with him and said I was going to speak with the owner.

The following Monday I called the owner and she said they were not responsible for the Internet connectivity of the laptop at my home and I needed to deal with my internet provider, and that they had a no cash return policy. She said there was a sign in the store to that effect but I did not see it. She said there were other people that were interested in the lap top, but she later got back to me and said they were no longer interested and offered to drive the laptop to my house. I reiterated that I did not want the laptop I wanted a refund. Now we are at an impasse. I do not want any services or any more used equipment from them, it is not worth it to me. I would rather wait a while and get a new laptop.

I talked to my credit card company and explained the situation. At this point what else should I do? Does anyone think small claims court is worth the trouble? Thanks.

Comments

  • When you took it back to the store did the internet work there?

  • Whether small claims court is worth the trouble depends on whether (i) your credit card company will agree to credit you for the amount you paid the computer store and (ii) on how much you paid for the computer and (iii) whether you can afford to walk away and buy another computer without getting a refund.

    If the computer store is owned by a corporation or LLC, they will need to hire a lawyer to represent them in small claims court. That alone will probably cost them more than you paid for the computer, and may be enough to persuade them to give you the refund rather than going to court.

    In any case, I think you should pick up the laptop, and bring it to a couple of Starbucks or other shops with free WiFi. Bring a computer savvy friend with you who can come to court with you as a witness.

    If you do go to court, the standard you will need to satisfy is not whether the laptop would receive WiFi in your apartment, but whether it works "under normal conditions". If it doesn't work in two retail stores where other laptops are working fine, then your chances of getting a court judgment in your favor are very good.

    If it works fine in the retail stores, but not in your apartment, then you need a better router in your apartment and it isn't the computer store's problem.

  • My internet connection at home is not WiFi, it is the Time Warner cable. My older computer works fine on it but the one I bought did not connect to the internet. Both laptops are manufactured by Dell. The one I bought from the store is a more recent model.

    I am an older woman with health issues. I do not hang out in cafes and Starbucks. I just need a computer for email and to keep in touch with family and friends. I don't have time or energy for all this back and forth. I can just about manage getting to work every day and coming home and crashing. But on the other hand this is a lot of money for me to lose. My current computer is on its last legs and I thought this would be a reasonable solution, ie buying a used replacement which would be less than a new one. But I see I figured wrong. I just hope I get my money back.

  • The computer connected to the internet in the store. Their technician said he didn't understand why it didn't work in my house, and that I needed a "house call" which would cost me an additional $75.00. At this point I didn't want the damn thing. And it is too heavy for me to be schlepping around. So I left it there. BTW, the store is in Park Slope so I don't know why this topic got moved.

  • Then you can also arrange for Time Warner to send a tehnician to your apartment, for free, to get the computer properly connected and running for you. If the technician cannot do that, you then have a compelling case against the computer store in small claims court.

    But none of that will happen unless you first pick up the laptop. I do not have a clue how else you are going to get the computer store to refund your money.

  • If you simply "left it there", and stormed off in a huff, they of course do not want to hold it indefinitely.

    ...and you may have no way of proving that you dropped it off with them.

    They sound as if they have been very clear about their policies, and Booklaw provides good advice for resolving this situation. I, however, would just have someone else configure it so it works at your home and move on.

    I would love a customer like you, because I could just keep reselling the exact same laptop over and over, and all you would do is complain on a message board.

    If I ever open a store, Please come. I will gladly sell you things.

  • Your first step should be to get the lap top back in your possession.

  • I am hoping the credit card company sees things differently.

    I have to put that thing on a wheelly thing and take it on the bus to get it home. That is a strain on me. Right now i hate the sight of that thing.

  • When in doubt, credit card companies will usually side with the customer, but I think that that would be a mistake, here. They sold you a laptop and they've demonstrated that it's functioning properly. That you have connection issues at home is not their fault. They shouldn't be expected to come out there and troubleshoot it for free and they shouldn't be obligated to take it back for no good reason. More importantly, if you take this course of action, not only does it penalize them, it doesn't solve your connection issue. Get your REAL problem figured out.

  • As you've stated you're current Dell laptop has Internet access at your home. I assume this is via an ethernet cable connecting to a router or a modem that your Internet provider installed in your house.

    There are literally thousands of reasons that you could not connect to the Internet.

    With this case it seems that the issue is with the laptop. As a computer repair person I can tell you that the issue might take 10 min. To fix or days to fix, with the possibility of hardware purchases and a few hundred dollars in parts/labor.

    Booklaw had some good advice. Contact your Internet provider and schedule a visit. You could also call time Warner and have tech support try to walk you through your issues.

    Its important to do your own research as well. Find out what model Dell you bought, what the hardware is, the operating system you are running and if your Dell is wifi compatible.

    The most recent operating systems have been tweaked to almost handle wifi internet connections automatically. Wired connections might seem more complicated to newer users or non power users.

    In any event you will always have computer problems, it's simply a matter of when. You should find a company or person you feel comfortable working with.

  • The fact that it doesn't work is not a good reason?

    WhyFi said:

    They shouldn't be expected to come out there and troubleshoot it for free and they shouldn't be obligated to take it back for no good reason.
  • I did not leave it there in a "huff". There was no sign that said what their return policy was, nor was there any indication from the employee as to what it was.

    Since I told the credit card company that I returned it when I disputed the charge, I don't think i should take it back. I will just leave things as they are and see what the outcome is.

    Thanks everyone for your advice. This is not worth stressing about any further.

    whynot_31 said:

    If you simply "left it there", and stormed off in a huff, they of course do not want to hold it indefinitely.

    ...and you may have no way of proving that you dropped it off with them.

    They sound as if they have been very clear about their policies, and Booklaw provides good advice for resolving this situation. I, however, would just have someone else configure it so it works at your home and move on.

    I would love a customer like you, because I could just keep reselling the exact same laptop over and over, and all you would do is complain on a message board.

    If I ever open a store, Please come. I will gladly sell you things.

  • Rosita, you appear to be not your average "older lady". If you are already getting high speed internet, the cable company is your best bet. Just call them up and say one of your machines doesn't work. A small tip to the service guy will probably fix just about anything.

    Also there is a barter section on Craigslist. Some skinny tech strong hipster would gladly trade a couple days of great home cooked food for a simple network connection problem

  • Or your credit card company may come through for you, saving you the trouble of having to go back to the computer store and lugging home the laptop you no longer want.

    Die the credit card company indicate when it would decide?

  • They did but I don't remember. They said they would send me a decision in writing.

  • I hope you meant this as a joke. I have 4 things wrong with me physically, cannot travel, can barely get to work and come home and then I basically crash. I do not have the energy to go out and visit family, which is why the internet is important to me. That is how I keep in touch with my son and grandchild. Having a Time Warner connection is not that all "high-tech". Do you really think I have the energy to make home cooked meals every night?

    catwalkertexasranger said:

    Rosita, you appear to be not your average "older lady". If you are already getting high speed internet, the cable company is your best bet. Just call them up and say one of your machines doesn't work. A small tip to the service guy will probably fix just about anything.

    Also there is a barter section on Craigslist. Some skinny tech strong hipster would gladly trade a couple days of great home cooked food for a simple network connection problem
  • Rosita said:

    The fact that it doesn't work is not a good reason?

    Except that it was demonstrated to work.

    Let me put this in "older" people terms - do you have any switched electrical outlets at home? With switched electrical outlets, simply plugging in the lamp/clock/whatever isn't enough - you also have to flip the switch to get the electricity flowing to the outlet and device. This is a similar situation - simply plugging in the cable from the modem isn't enough; some configuration (switch flipping) is necessary. If you plugged a lamp in to a switched outlet, and it didn't work, would it be right to return the lamp because you didn't flip the switch? No, it wouldn't be the right thing to do.

    Rosita said:This is not worth stressing about any further.

    Except you still haven't addressed the real problem - figuring out where the communication breakdown is within your network. While whynot would love to have you as a customer, I would not - you don't seem to know enough to know that you don't know enough.

  • I will wait until the credit card co makes their decision, then I will weigh my options. Thanks.

  • The day in which one can simply buy a computer and expect it to work on a home network without having to tweak it, has not yet arrived.

  • Rosita said:

    I will wait until the credit card co makes their decision, then I will weigh my options. Thanks.

    In other words, if the credit card company lets you get away with the unscrupulous option, you probably will. Nice - way to be a saint in the city.

  • I realize you're not requesting technical advice, but I think I know what the issue is.

    You say you don't have wireless or wi-fi but you have service from Time Warner. I'm assuming you have a cable that goes from your computer to the back of the cable modem and that's how you connect to the internet.

    You're probably not using a router between the cable modem and your computer. If you simply unplug the current computer and attach the cable to the newer one it won't work.

    The cable modem thinks it is still attached to the previous computer. This has to do with the technology behind how the cable modem functions and how cable companies provide their internet services. You need to make it forget it is no longer attached to that first computer.

    The way to do that is unplug the electricity to the cable modem. If you're going to get rid of the first computer and not use it, this is a one time thing. If you're going to want to use both, you're going to need to either do this every time before switching computers or get a router.

    There is likely nothing wrong with the computer.

    Again, I recognize you weren't looking for technical help, but legal help. I just thought I would mention this as an option.

  • Thank you, that was very helpful! Why didn't the tech/employee know about this? Anyway, thanks again. You shed a ray of light on my situation.

  • What is unscrupulous about returning something to a store?

    WhyFi said:

    In other words, if the credit card company lets you get away with the unscrupulous option, you probably will. Nice - way to be a saint in the city.
  • Did flognoth's solution work? From how you've described things, it seems a reboot of the router, as he/she has described, should do the trick.

    Of course in order to test this you still have to haul the laptop back to your apartment...

    Ok, i must get back to tending the economy.

  • err, sorry, modem, not router.

  • Rosita said:

    What is unscrupulous about returning something to a store?

    Now you're being aggressively dense. It's a product that's working properly and you're trying to return it under the pretense that it doesn't work.

  • OK You can stop hating now. I talked with the owner and we are trying to resolve the situation. I am really a nice person, but I get defensive when I feel I am being taken advantage of. I treat everyone with respect and most of the time that works.

    Thanks again flognoth and SenBradford for the helpful suggestion.

  • No, I'll continue hating, thanks.

  • You can disagree with a person in a respectful way, without insulting or dehumanizing them. Try it some time. I know people like you would not say to my face what you say to me here. I know your type.

  • Ha ha, okay. You're going to play innocent and feign being offended by people online because they're less than cordial to you after you recounted your efforts to put a local business through the wringer for a problem that they weren't responsible for? You say you're "trying to resolve," things with the owner, which is just more evidence that you're a friggin' horrible, self-centered customer - there's nothing TO resolve with the owner, other than picking up your perfectly fine laptop, stopping the credit card dispute, apologizing for the pain in the butt you've been and scheduling a TW service call.

    ...oh, and as far as whether I'd tell you this in person, I'd be happy to. You know what they say - them downtown boys sure talk gritty.

This discussion has been closed.