Hacked off at WMT

ilene_in_neokFebruary 26, 2009

My DGS was given a Wal-Mart Music Download card for Christmas. We had been downloading music from Wal-Mart for quite some time up to that point. He successfully used seven of the twenty-five downloads and then something happened and the download wouldn't work anymore. I tried to remove the card identification from the system so that I could just pay for the music like I had always done before, but the system just kept trying to charge the download card instead, and then I'd get the same "Your transaction has failed" message.

I sent an e-mail to Music Download Customer Service and got a confirmation that my e-mail had been received. Then four days later I got another e-mail thanking me for allowing them to help me. (???) I checked my spam folder and there wasn't anything there so I e-mailed them back and told them they had not helped me. The e-mail contained a phone number but I just did not want to call because I didn't have time to wait in the queue.

I never got a reply to that e-mail. So I found an e-mail address for Wal-Mart Corporate and gave them the above information. They replied within 24 hours, but just gave me the e-mail address and phone number for the Music Download Customer Service that I already had.

I e-mailed them back, and explained all that. Then I said, how about just refund the money for the music download card, and I'll have him go and download music from somewhere else? Amazon, maybe.

Then I got an e-mail from Customer Service saying someone would call me, and they did, but just to tell me I needed to contact the Music Download Customer Service at -- the same e-mail address and phone number I had from the beginning!!

At this point I was getting pretty annoyed, so I e-mailed corporate again and unloaded on them ALL my complaints about Wal-Mart.

I got two more e-mails from two different Customer Service representatives, directing me to contact the Music Download Customer Service again. Since Music Download Customer Service closed my ticket without ever helping me in the FIRST PLACE, I'm don't have much hope that I'll get any help from them.

At this point, all I really want is just a refund. It's only 17 music downloads at 88 cents each, so it's not very much money. I guess I'll just give up, though, since I've asked for the refund twice in an e-mail and once when I was called and they can't seem to make that happen for me.

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Runaround ... is runaround.

I'm not sure to whom you should send a message - but I think that I'd be explaining my problem to someone ... and, at this point, higher up the corporate ladder.

If I got a couple of the same answers back as previously, I think that I'd threaten to take them to small claims court.

If no reply, or the same message, send it again ... with copy to local newspaper, radio, TV stations.

I'll bet that'd get their attention.

Rattle their chain.

Be courteous, reasonable ... but persistent.

If you have the stomach for it.

ole joyful - an old fart with time on his hands

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 6:45PM
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OJ, I've given up.

I sent the card information in an e-mail to my daughter, the one who gave DGS the card, and maybe she can download music from it on her computer. If not, I'll let her decide whether to duke it out or not.

I actually worked the call center for Sam's Club for a short time, and I know how it works when you call in. You wait a long time in the queue. When you get someone, all they can do it write it up on an incident ticket and send it to where it needs to go. I know this doesn't work well, because people actually would remember my name and call me back, over and over. It was terrible to be caught in the middle like that. I'd pull up the ticket and someone would have put in an entry saying they'd solved the problem and then closed it. So I know that's what they did to me. They didn't help me because they didn't know how.

I just won't be buying music from WMT anymore, so they lost a steady customer. That e-mail to Corporate was as high as you can go. WMT is just too big now, they can afford to lose a customer here and there. If it were more money at stake, maybe I'd be more persistent but I doubt it would be productive. DGS went to Amazon and downloaded what he wanted. The downloader was a small program to install and it put the music right into my computer's Media Player library, so it was really quick and easy. I'm going to have DGS check out the free download places I saw here in another thread, too.

WMT's Supercenter has run a lot of small businesses out of business here. They have a policy that if a local store is selling something for less than they are (it has to be the exact same thing -- same brand, etc.), they will give you the better price. I'm at the point where I will shop the sales at three grocery stores before I will darken WMT's door. But again, the loss of my business won't hurt them. The fact that they are so crowded is one of the reasons I hate to go there. All those disabled folks in those motorized carts, some of them being quite rude, as if the fact that they are classified as disabled gives them the right to bully everyone else. Lots of people have physical problems and aren't classified as disabled, including me. They stop their carts in front of things you need to get to, so you have to wait for them to move, but if they get behind you and you're not moving fast enough for them, they back up a little so their little beeper will go off, and then pull back forward. This gets really annoying. Of course this is not WMT's fault, but the aisles are more narrow now so it's harder to navigate.

When I go to a 'real' grocery store, they take my groceries out and put it in my car for me. To think, before our WMT became a Supercenter, I took that for granted. WMT's lines at the checkout are long and invariably, I get in a line where the checker is either learning or has to do a price check, or likes to chat with the customers.

And try getting your prescription there... There's no drive up window, so you have to go in and stand in line. I had DD in the car, fresh out of the hospital, and I was trying to get her prescriptions filled. I just needed to find out if they had a certain drug for which DD had a prescription. Had to stand in line just to ask. The man ahead of me was from thirty miles away and I heard the girl behind the window tell him it would be the morning of the next day before his prescription would be ready. So he had to drive all the way home and back again just to get his prescription. As it turned out, they didn't have the drug DD needed and we had to go somewhere else. Even if they do have the drug and will fill it that day, you've got to kill time till it's ready. Or sit and wait for what seems like forever. You can leave and come back but most people don't do it that way because it's a little inconvenient. But 'shopping' when you're sick is, too. Plus you spread your germs in the store. If there was a drive-up it would be easy to drop it off and come back later. But, oh, that's right, you might be shopping somewhere else then. Hmmmmm.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 8:09AM
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I would go to the store manager, I get more done that way. They have always gone out of their way to satisfy me.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 6:03PM
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Sounds almost as bad as Verizon.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 7:59PM
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I took a problem to the store manager who told me to call an 800 number. I did. They took the information and said they would have someone call me. It was the same store manager.

I always check my receipts from Wal-Mart after being overcharged many times.

If they keep making people mad, they will dig their own grave. Remember Woolsworth, then Gibsons, then Wal-Mart. Someone else will be able to replace them unless Uncle Sam gives them a bailout too.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 8:50PM
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Yes, Lexi, if you go to the store manager they almost always tell you to call the 800 number.

When I worked at the Sam's call center, I heard of some terrible instances of unfair treatment of customers. Sometimes I would call the club manager myself and he would tell me a completely different story, trying to make the customer out to be a person trying to get something for nothing. There was no possible way to tell who was right and who was wrong. So many people would call and take it out on me because they were so mad. The longer they have to wait in the queue, the madder they get. It was just a horrible job. There's nothing like having people swear at you every day and call you stupid. I cried more during that time of my life than any other. I needed the job and the insurance that came with it. On my last day to work there, a man called and said to me, "I'm about to ruin your day." I said to him, "Well, give it your best shot, because this is my last day to work here and I'm in a pretty good mood!" As it worked out it was something simple that I was able to fix for him myself (and those were few and far between), and by the time the call was over he was nice to me and wished me well.

This is why I won't call that 800 number. Especially not for such a small amount of money.

I go to WMT a lot less than I used to. I've decided I'm going to support the local grocery stores as much as I can. If WMT drives them out of business then I'll be forced to accept whatever prices and whatever service WMT deems necessary. Since I have to travel 50 miles to go to SAM's, I don't find it cost-effective to go there, either. If it werent' for that membership fee, I might drop in when I happen to be in the city for some other reason, but I can't see paying for the card and then maybe not using it but once before the membership fee is due again.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 7:23AM
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I can't stand Walmart! Their business policies are horrible. I don't shop there period. If they are the only store that carries something I need - well "news flash" I don't need it that bad. I can make do and do with out before giving them my money.

Just my opinion - that place just rubs me the wrong way.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 4:23PM
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You're seeing the limitation of limiting yourself to email communication. I understand the frustration though and a lot of times you have to weigh the cost-benefit of fighting it.

And Joyful, threatening to take them to small claims court? Shhhh, listen.... hear that roar of laughter coming from Walmart corporate? People threaten to sue businesses all the time and very few will actually follow through and do it. Ever since Judge Judy, SCC has replaced the BBB for the threat du-jour. Feel the rumbling? No it's not an earthquake. It's from the rolling on the floor if you should decide to take them to small claims court. By the time you go to Arkansas or wherever Walmart is incorporated, do the filing, get a date set, then come back to appear for court... well maybe you will win. Not sure the basis for the suit, but assuming you did, they might ink the $17 check, have a good laugh and go on their way. Threats aren't of much value. The other problem is media of all types is being downsized, and much from the impact of cable and the internet so they don't have the consumer reporters out there trying to help one little guy get a refund anymore. Can't afford it. There's an old addage that actions speak louder than words.

I've talked about this in other threads but it is true that very few people will really swear off Walmart, no matter how frustrated they get. Low prices will overpower most peoples' willpower. When I managed a low-buck gas station I got every threat in the book and was told off many times that they'd never come back. I knew, and occasionnly even told them see ya in a couple weeks! LOL And I did about 95% of the time.

I think I would try a different computer for those downloads. It could be your problem causing all this. And you could then get what you wanted without the frustration. If not, I'd make a few phone calls. Email on this type of thing isn't the best form of communication. An actual letter may get some more action. And I don't think it helps to unload about all frustrations with everything in the world. You didn't like people yelling at you for something irrelevant and if there's a person reading that email on the other end instead of it being scanned for keywords and responded via FAQ, it's not making their day.

I don't particularly like Walmart or for that matter, Target or K-mart either. I totally dislike Scam's Club and Crustco. They're a total joke. And not to defend Walmart, but let's at least be honest here. Walmart does not drive out any businesses. The customers do. You and I do every time we shop there instead of the local businesses. THAT'S what drives the mom-n-pops out. Having run small businesses and owned stores I know what the impact is of a big box coming in the area. But no, it's not them, it's the people sheep who will stand in line for 45 minutes to buy a 5 gallon pail of peanut butter, check out twice, and pay $50 a year to be able to buy it! Those people at the pharmacy could go to the local drug store or there's likely a Walgreen's or CVS around but people are so fixated on the thought that they're saving by going there. Changing peoples' mindsets is not easy.

I seldom patronize Walmart and I don't spend much there when I do. Frankly what bothers me most is like you, the clientele! On many things they have good prices but not enough to attract me back.

One thing I found interesting, a local "Consumer Checkbook" outfit did a grocery survey and based on their family of four, bla, bla, bla, Walmart would be about $1200/yr cheaper than the major grocery stores in the area. Although it doesn't correspond with my unscientific, informal surveys, Target came out next, saving something like $700/yr. I don't know the product mix they used but they also rated the smaller of our big-box grocery stores to be cheaper than the big guy in the area. Of course the upscale markets were far higher. We don't have the small, local grocers anymore. People won't do it. They want to get their birth control at the same time as their paint and avocados. Yet they'll go to a specialty shop to get a cup of coffee! Yes, people are strange!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 1:13AM
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Cynic, lots of good points in your post. :)

However, I do think WMT runs small businesses out of business because of the prices. WMT buys in bigger quantities and therefore pays less wholesale than the Mom & Pops'. They can then afford to sell for less and still make the same or better profit. The practice of changing their price at the register for something that a customer can prove is being advertised for less elsewhere IS undercutting and WILL, if enough people do it often, drive the smaller folks out of business. You are right that people will go anywhere and put up with anything just to get something for a few pennies less. I guess I've been as guilty of that as anyone.

If one really COULD get everything on their list at WMT, then that would be wonderful, but even with "Supercenter" status, there are still lots of things they don't have, or maybe they'll only have one particular model, which may not meet your needs. Plus you have to walk all over the store just to find that out. Then you've got the extra trip to make somewhere else, say, Radio Shack, Staples, Hobby Lobby.

Just to clarify, when I complain, I never get personal with the person who is taking my complaint, just because of my experience at the other end. I don't scream at them, threaten them or call them names. And if I don't get satisfaction, I don't call that particular person back and demand to know why. I understand they're just the person the company pays (not enough) to be in the middle and I try hard to be kind when I'm on the phone. Now, if I could actually talk to Corporate, that might be different! I didn't unload about EVERYTHING I was frustrated about in the world, just about everything at WMT, which happens to be the narrow aisles, the long lines at the check-out, the inconveniences at the pharmacy and the fact that they keep giving you these little cash register tapes with a website where you can go to fill out a survey, except they never ask the right questions and there's no place for remarks. I also told them I felt WMT has gotten too big and prosperous to care whether they lose a customer here and there.

Our Homeland grocery store has a membership card that you get for free and then they have to scan it so you can get what they have on sale for the sale price. It's kind of annoying but, oh well. A few times, I've forgotten my card and the sales clerk will scan one she has there at the register, rather than have me walk out of there leaving my full basket behind. But what it is, is a way to track people's purchasing habits. I don't know how it is for everyone else, but since I go to three stores plus a Dollar General and sometimes Big Lots, it doesn't show a true picture of what I buy. I suspect there are lots of folks who do the same. So the results of a survey, in my case, would be pretty skewed.

I realize I limit myself when I just use e-mail. But the person from WMT who called me just told me to call somewhere else. I've seen this "handing off of the customer" before. When there's a problem they don't know what to do about, they give you another number to call. You call that number and they refer you back to where you called in the first place because they don't know how to solve your problem either. But the main reason why I will not call the number given (which I had from the very beginning, as well as their e-mail address) is because I don't want to wait in the queue for so few dollars. I asked Corporate for a refund several times and each time they just completely ignored that part of my e-mail. If Corporate had any interest in helping me, why did they have someone call me JUST to give me a number where I could be helped? Why couldn't they have contacted someone there and have had one of THEM call me? That might've made some sense. I have given the music download card back to DD, she will see if she can get it to work from her computer. Then if it doesn't work she can decide if it's worth it to her to pursue. WMT certainly doesn't have the market cornered on music downloads, and if they don't care that they lost a customer, that's OK. DGS has been buying his music at Amazon.com lately. Downloading is faster and they have a better selection. They even have a few free downloads.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 7:57AM
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