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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We purchased a vacation home last Fall, and over Christmas I decided it was time to get a plasma TV for it. Based on some messages I read on this board, I went with Visual Apex, who I believe is a forum sponsor.


The plasma was ordered the week before Christmas, and came on Dec 26. Too much holiday hub-bub going on; wasn't able to open it until the new year weekend.


And the plasma was damaged. We're talking big-time damage. The bezel was cracked straight-through, and the screen was incredibly cracked as well. (Oddly enough, the box it came in looked just fine!) Nervous, I went and read Visual Apex's return policies. I was already working on the script that I was going to tell them as to why I missed their 3-day window for reporting damage -- three days was to a Saturday, and the next business day I called, etc.


Didn't need to do any of that! Called on Tues (Jan 2). They apologized. I didn't have to explain anything. They sent out a replacement that day!!! Wow -- great customer service! I took pictures of the unit for them and emailed them the pictures, so that they could figure out whether the shipping company or Panasonic would be coming to pick it up.


Anyway, bad luck, but the next unit also came damaged. This time me and the shipping guy (who was really cool) opened up the box. It appears that someone took a box cutter to the screen. One big scratch. Disappointed, I refused shipment.


Next day, called Visual Apex again. They again were very apologetic, and without me suggesting anything, said that a new one was being shipped out that day.


The new one came today. Same shipping guy. We opened it up -- and it was in perfect condition. Yeah!!! I plugged in my DVI card, and everything works as expected.


Anyway, I was just very impressed with VA's handling of everything. I didn't have to justify anything at any point. Each time I called saying that the plasma came damaged, their response "we're shipping you a new one today." End of story. That's just great customer service. They remind me of a car dealership that I really like -- I tell the service people that, hey, **** happens -- there's nothing you can do. It's how it's cleaned up that makes a difference. And in Visual Apex's case, they just did a wonderful job.


The first dead plasma is still in the house. VA said that it will probably be Panasonic handling the pickup, which can take 4-6 weeks. That's kind of humorous -- but originally my big fear was that they wouldn't want to ship me a replacement until they got the damaged one back. Again, it's nice that they take customers at their word, and ship out new units same day that you report the damage.


Overall, I will be a customer of theirs for life!!!
 

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That's what I call service!


I also ordered mine from VA as well
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SC0TLANDF0REVER /forum/post/0


That's what I call service!


I also ordered mine from VA as well

Shipping these things is a real problem. Even with good service, I would be hesitant to go this route. It's a big pain to deal with the exchanges. Also, even if there's no external damage, there may be internal damage which may not be obvious to begin with. I often think about mail ordering, but I end up buying from BB/Magnolia with a 12% coupon, and take the hit of the higher price so that I get peace of mind. The only fragile stuff that I mail order these days is stuff that I can't buy locally. I've had way too much bad experience with shipping damage over many years of mail ordering computer and A/V products.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by visualguy /forum/post/0


Shipping these things is a real problem. Even with good service, I would be hesitant to go this route. It's a big pain to deal with the exchanges. Also, even if there's no external damage, there may be internal damage which may not be obvious to begin with. I often think about mail ordering, but I end up buying from BB/Magnolia with a 12% coupon, and take the hit of the higher price so that I get peace of mind. The only fragile stuff that I mail order these days is stuff that I can't buy locally. I've had way too much bad experience with shipping damage over many years of mail ordering computer and A/V products.

So what you're saying is that you prefer to buy it locally so you can pick it up yourself, so you can take it back yourself and pick up a replacement yourself. That might be fine if you have a truck or the means to do your own picking up and returning, but many of us have to have our large TVs delivered to our house and that means they're going to have to ride on a stiffly-sprung bobtail truck which sometimes bounce pretty hard over a dip or railroad tracks. This is only the final journey for the TV, and is probably the shortest journey it's had since it left the factory.


Remember that Plasma that you picked up at Magnolia arrived there by truck, and before that it arrived at the distribution center by a bigger truck, and was probably trucked from the factory to the train station or local harbor, and any number of the TVs could be damaged well before they ever arrived at Magnolia. I have seen a few posts where people picked up their own TV at the store, got it home, and discovered it broken in the box and the store basically said "tough luck, you must have broken it when you were driving it home so we're not going to replace it".


People have received broken plasmas from all the local companies, but the point of this thread is that VA goes to great lengths to ship out a replacement in the event that the first one arrives broken, and doesn't give the customer any trouble at all when a damage report is made. I would have no problem buying from VA and having it shipped, and i even recommended them to my boss who was very happy with their customer service, and he's an expert in customer service.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I will agree with Randy. VA shipped out a new plasma the same day that I called indicating that the one that came was broken. I didn't have to provide any "proof"; didn't have to wait for them to send someone over to take a look; didn't have to wait for them to receive the broken one (indeed, it's still here!); etc. I was incredibly pleased by all this, and have much more faith in them than a B&M store.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by visualguy /forum/post/0


Shipping these things is a real problem. Even with good service, I would be hesitant to go this route. It's a big pain to deal with the exchanges. Also, even if there's no external damage, there may be internal damage which may not be obvious to begin with. I often think about mail ordering, but I end up buying from BB/Magnolia with a 12% coupon, and take the hit of the higher price so that I get peace of mind. The only fragile stuff that I mail order these days is stuff that I can't buy locally. I've had way too much bad experience with shipping damage over many years of mail ordering computer and A/V products.


Sorry about your bad luck. I order tons of stuff on-line, including an RPTV, two plasmas and a flat panel LCD TV and have yet to have a single problem. I order from reputable dealers and everything so far has arrived on-time and undamaged, and usually at much better prices than I can get locally.


-Steve
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by slb /forum/post/0


Sorry about your bad luck. I order tons of stuff on-line, including an RPTV, two plasmas and a flat panel LCD TV and have yet to have a single problem. I order from reputable dealers and everything so far has arrived on-time and undamaged, and usually at much better prices than I can get locally.


-Steve

I'm surprised by your good luck. FedEx, UPS, and BAX Global handle packages in an extremely rough manner. I talked to people who work in those places on occasion, and I was amazed to hear about what the packages go through. Most packages (the boxes themselves) that I get arrive damaged to some extent, sometimes severely. On occasion, the product itself is damaged, and many times it isn't, but it's clear from the box that the product went through drops and impacts that I wouldn't want to subject it to.


Large stores like BB/Magnolia get their stuff in bulk on pallets. For example, multiple plasma boxes are put on a single pallet and shrink wrapped. This works much better, and the boxes are typically pristine when they arrive.
 

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visualguy,

All of the displays and TVs were delivered by private freight companies. I think most dealers of large expensive items have moved away from using UPS, FedEx, etc. for just the reasons that you mentioned. The other stuff I get usually arrives via UPS; sometimes the boxes are dirty, but usually in good shape.


-Steve
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by slb /forum/post/0


visualguy,

All of the displays and TVs were delivered by private freight companies. I think most dealers of large expensive items have moved away from using UPS, FedEx, etc. for just the reasons that you mentioned. The other stuff I get usually arrives via UPS; sometimes the boxes are dirty, but usually in good shape.


-Steve

What freight company does Visual Apex use? Do they crate the cardboard box or put it on a pallet?


As to UPS, my experience has been similar to that described on unitedpackagesmashers.com (click on Smashed Packages)
 

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Visualguy,

For plasmas, VA uses a company called Epeditors. They added an outer carton, but no pallet. They were also friendly and helped me unbox the display and inspect for damage before signing for it.


-Steve
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by slb /forum/post/0


visualguy,

All of the displays and TVs were delivered by private freight companies. I think most dealers of large expensive items have moved away from using UPS, FedEx, etc. for just the reasons that you mentioned. The other stuff I get usually arrives via UPS; sometimes the boxes are dirty, but usually in good shape.


-Steve


Yes that is correct most reputable dealers use special freight forwarding companies that have treated them well and will take care of them if there is a problem and a claim needs to be made.
 

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Right now I'm dealing with another one of those shipping nightmares. A heavy (70lbs) printer worth over $1000 was shipped to me by FedEx signature required. FedEx supposedly attempted delivery yesterday. I was home all day, and no one knocked or rang the doorbell. However, a door tag was left for me. I called yesterday to ask for the package to be held for me, so that I can pick it up. Today, they put it on a truck for delivery anyway. Evidently, they ignored my request. I called them again today, and they sent a message to the driver to bring it back and not deliver it. They did this without asking me, so now I can't get the package today either. I can hopefully pick it up from them tomorrow. Meanwhile, the box has been loaded and unloaded multiple times, and I've seen how they do that... I wonder what the chances are that the printer is still in one piece! Again, I should have just ordered it locally from a reseller, and avoided all these headaches.
 

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One of the most annoying cases I had was when BAX Global was shipping $10K speakers to me. They cross shipped my boxes with someone else's boxes, so I ended up getting his, and he got mine. He was in another state. BAX then picked up the cross shipped boxes from us, and re-shipped the boxes to the right locations. The boxes and foam were totally smashed when I got them - it looked as though they were thrown around like sacks of potatoes, hit by forklifts, and then run over by heavy equipment. Needless to say, I refused delivery. I couldn't bear to look into those boxes.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by visualguy /forum/post/0


Shipping these things is a real problem. Even with good service, I would be hesitant to go this route. It's a big pain to deal with the exchanges. Also, even if there's no external damage, there may be internal damage which may not be obvious to begin with. I often think about mail ordering, but I end up buying from BB/Magnolia with a 12% coupon, and take the hit of the higher price so that I get peace of mind. The only fragile stuff that I mail order these days is stuff that I can't buy locally. I've had way too much bad experience with shipping damage over many years of mail ordering computer and A/V products.

How do you get a 12% coupon?
 
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