This is the story of one of the worst customer service experiences I've ever experienced.
I purchased a PowerBook G3 Pismo G4 550 Upgrade from Wegener Media in September 2005.
First, I'll provide a review of the upgrade:
(As I posted on XLR8YOURMAC):
Date Submitted: 9/17/2005
Rating (1 to 10): 4
Manufacturer: Other Brand
Rated Speed (CPU/Cache MHz): G4 / 550 Mhz
Max Speed (CPU/Cache MHz): (not cpu speed adjustable)
Cache Size: 1MB L2
Mac Type: Powerbook G3 2000 / 400Mhz
Comments: I bought a PowerBook Pismo upgrade from Wegener Media in my home state of South Carolina last week. Previously, I had purchased upgrades with success from FasterMac and directly from PowerLogix.
This was my 3rd separate ownership of my most favorite computer made by Apple - The Pismo.
Before the upgrade, I was actually very pleased with the 400Mhz G3 speed in both Panther 10.3.9 and Tiger 10.4.2 (all updates applied)
Performance in 9.2.2 was always very good and this system played Virtual Game Station perfectly.
I had all the other premium upgrades as well with 1GB of low density, heatshielded PC133 RAM and a 7200RPM 16MB cache Hitachi Travelstar Enterprise Edition 2.5" hard drive (consumer drives have 8MB cache)
I also had a custom DVD+/-RW slot loading bay drive.
Before the upgrade, with XBench, I scored an average of 88.
After the upgrade, I scored an average of 45. (Yes - a decrease) I think this was related to the nature of the upgrade, as I did not realize a noticeable speed decrease, in fact most things like iTunes decoding, etc were MUCH faster.
But, I have to be honest - this upgrade was disappointing ... it's hard to know whether this was just 10.4.2 hanging on me or what because I upgraded to both right around the same time - but after about 20 minutes of use I would get freezes and beachballs just doing routine stuff like uploading on websites, and opening folders on the desktop, etc.
After 5 weeks of having the upgrade; it finally failed on me.
I am a certified Apple Tech and I actually took extra precautions to cool this processor (by having a fan in place of the modem card) - but this processor and the process and means to cool it were insufficient. Other companies - such as PowerLogix - provide a more elegant system of cooling. These companies should all use thermal pads instead of making end users use CPU thermal paste.
My "new" heatsink provided was very sloppily soldered and was insufficient cooling for the hotter upgrade.
Maybe I just got a bum processor, but as I said - I've had several of these upgrades and performed several upgrades similar for clients - this is the first I had bought from Wegener Media because the price of $199.99 was impossible to beat.
I obviously wanted my money back and wished to return the processor.
I just received a call back from our credit card manager. They'll run the refund on it, though it will take about 36hrs to go thru. So you should see it soon!
"Please don't assume that this is our fault. We have a dozen people who work hard to provide support for people around the world, and in this case we worked much more than normal due to your lack of properly labelling your package.
Your refund will be processed shortly, now that we're able to connect the purchase with your name. However, since it has been over 60 days, there may be a delay on the refund--credit card systems usually don't allow a refund after 60 days. Because of this it will probably have to be processed manually and a check will be sent. This will take a few more days before you receive your payment."
[NOTES] I want to note, I did NOT pay with a credit card. This was a bogus excuse to delay this transaction as much as possible. I paid with a PayPal balance payment. I was in one of the VERY FIRST 100,000 to sign up for Paypal. I taught "How To Use eBaY" at a local technical college and I'm often applauded for the vast knowledge and inner workings I have of eBay and the Paypal payment system. Paypal payments and Paypal based shopping carts (such as Wegener Media's online shopping cart) have NOTHING to do with credit card companies. I made sure that I called Paypal to see if my balance had been reversed through a credit card in some manner. Nope.
I initiated this "refund process" at exactly 30 days past purchase - while the processor was freezing (Before a total failure) - hoping to remain within warranty.
I called Wegener Media to set up an RMA. The secretary (who's name was Kandi) told me that management (Dave Wegener) handles RMAs and that he would call me back later THAT DAY!
(One week passed.)
I called again. I was told the same thing again.
(One week passed.) (Now at 44 days past purchase)
I called insistently asking to set up the refund. I managed to speak at length with Mr. Wegener. During this conversation, I mentioned that I had placed an unfavorable review at XLR8YourMac.COM.
"I used to write for them!"
As far as I am aware, XLR8YOURMAC has always been run by ONE person. Mike Breeden.
This was a lie I picked up on immediately.
Here is the REAL REASON my refund wasn't provided in 60 days.
This is what Mr. Wegener was SUPPOSE to do for the refund; by just making two clicks:
Anyway, after another week of dilly dally from Wegener, I finally was able to set up an RMA. I mailed the package back first class with delivery confirmation, my name, address, phone number, and RMA number on the outside of the package, it reached Wegener the next business day which was a Monday. (Now at 54 days).
9 days passed. (Now at 63 days)
I called to check if they received the package - which I knew they had.
Wegener Media made a really big deal out of me not labelling the package right. Well ... that would be a valid complaint had we not thoroughly discussed my email address and business name. Honestly, I must have cleared this up with the secretary for a good five minutes. Besides, is Wegener having SO MANY returns that they don't know who is sending them what? If they issued me an RMA (with a specific #) shouldn't they be expecting an RMA (with a specific #) from me? We're talking about a VERY small South Carolina company here; not a corporate giant.
I get the "refund through credit card in 36 hours" email (above). Refund came 4 days (75 hours later).
Let me back up for a moment. Mr. Wegener told me in a recorded phone conversation that if he could not process the refund in 36 hours, that I would just get a FULL REFUND via a paypal payment directly. I even agreed to accept the 2.75% deduction Paypal would charge me for processing the payment.
Was this the end? Nope
I was charged a 25% restocking fee on $199; which is what the processor cost. Original price was $349 - the price before I returned the processor core to Wegener Media. So, my refund was $49.84 short. Which is actually a weird 25.06%!! I guess he rounded up a few cents!
Mr. Wegener made note of his lengthy and VERY wordy policy page. Located here
He made the statement that he was following policy.
Here is the completely unintelligible policy:
We refund the purchase price of items returned 1. with authorization, 2. in good working condition, 3. delivered according to our policy stated, minus a 15% restocking fee. We do not refund shipping charges, insurance, or other fees. Customized installations or customized projects are eligible for refund ONLY at our discretion, and at a rate of our discretion. Non-defective product returns of in-stock items may be accepted for store credit within 20 days of purchase only at seller's discretion, and are subject to a 20% restocking fee ($20 minimum). Under extraordinadary circumstances, non-defective product returns of in-stock items may be accepted for cash refunds within 7 days of purchase at seller's discretion only, and are subject to a 30% restocking fee ($30 minimum). Items which are returned as defective but found to be non-defective are subject to a 20% bench test fee ($20 minimum) and all shipping charges.
Did you get that?
Mr. Wegener has referred me to his attorney to collect the $49.84 in small claims court. Which is exactly where I plan to take this. I just wanted to publish my "research associated with this case" here for your reading pleasure.
[UPDATE] * Two years later on May 9 2007, Wegener Media refunded my $49.84 with interest to make ammends, I accepted the refund.
Better Business Bureau Report For Wegener Media
Owner: Mr. Dave Wegener
Business Classification: Computers-Dealers
Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau due to unanswered and unresolved complaints. The company has resolved some complaints presented by the Bureau, however, the company did not respond to other complaints.
The Bureau processed a total of 10 complaints about this company in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period. Of the total of 10 complaints closed in 36 months.
These complaints concerned:
2 Sales Practice Issues
1 Delivery Issues
1 Product Issues
1 Refund or Exchange Issues
2 Customer Service Issues
3 Service or Repair Issues
They were closed as:
8 No Response
This report is actually worse than it appears here as Wegener Media has moved twice since the first complaint was filed (of the 10 listed) Wegener Media actually has (3) separate reports at the BBB of South Carolina website with a total of 11 complaints that are known. The BBB only has a (3) year reporting period. Wegener Media claims to have been in business since 1990.
There's not much you have to do to appease the BBB. Having any unresolved or no-response complaints at the BBB is beyond irresponsible; it's almost criminal, in my mind.
Apparently, I'm not the only one who's had a bad experience. Google is littered with comments [such as below] in forums, reviews, and BLOGs (only searching the terms "Wegener Media")
Neither of these two experiences (below) are part of the BBB report:
Before I purchased, they got back to me within the half-hour. after they got my money, they ignored 4 emails and 2 phone calls :mad: take your chances
" ... it has been a disaster. I wouldn't do business with Wegener Media. Their quality control is disastrous (they could easily have checked all three of these problems before sending the laptop back); they are unwilling to have re-repairs shipped under the same terms as the original (if you pay for rush shipping on the first repair, then necessary re-repairs should also get rush shipping, but they insist on ground). They do not keep promises about when they’ll call back; repeatedly saying what they’ll do and then doing something slower and not saying anything until I call.
This is also found in the Apple forums:
"To add insult to injury, I found a company I thought sounded reputable (Wegener Media, www.wegenermedia.com) and sent my PowerBook to them to repair.
They sent back my PowerBook with a new screen, but totally f-ed up the case, bent up the side around the DVI port, and stripped out the case screws. It also won't sleep/wake anymore when I close the lid; this worked fine before and was not related to the accident. They also sent it back in a loose box of mixed peanuts and bits of trash; I'd sent it to them in a clean box with solid foam.
Now, I want to touch on something that has been bothering me for over a year about this company. Theft! I have reason to believe that Wegener Media has purchased the two items from me below, only to offer them on their own website. I have had these items on my site for almost 4 years.
There is ONE notable difference about MY drive upgrades though. My bezels have been original (for the most part) - making the PowerBook look original. Whereas Wegener Media's pictures try to hide the fact that the bezel looks like CRAP on their upgrades.
[UPDATE] May 9 2007: I no longer offer the Pismo upgrade on my site.
Here is a better example of what an upgrade from Wegener Media looks like:
As for the mouse, I originally found this as an "alternative product" to Jack Campbell's The Mouse.
I called it the ProMouse Plus.
One issue Mr. Wegener has made: I recorded our phone conversation without his consent and therefore broke the law.
Before, you as a business owner, accuse anyone of breaking ANY law, be aware of what the law actually says. In the case of recording phone calls, these laws vary state by state. Here is the law in my state, found in the FixYourThinking Reference Section in the right hand column:
Simply; one party notification. This means, in a court of law, that only one person (the callee or the caller) has to know the conversation is being recorded.
THE END ... hopefully ... well ... it seems people keep posting comments ... keep 'em coming ...