Having seen the TV adverts I decided to purchase a BLACKBERRY PlayBook 7" Tablet (with a free leather case) which was on offer for £129. I ordered the item using the ‘reserve & collect’ facility: assuming that this would be a quick and convenient method of shopping. But how wrong I was!
The member of staff (at the Southport branch of Currys) who served me asked whether I wanted to purchase insurance for the product at a cost of £30. I said that I wasn’t interested in buying insurance as the PlayBook was a Xmas gift for my 33-year-old son, and therefore it would be up to him to organise insurance cover if he felt he needed it.
The sales-person then decided to try and ‘push’ the insurance sale by describing the (alleged) benefits of Currys insurance policy ... and I kept repeating that I only wanted to purchase the Blackberrt PlayBook Tablet and nothing else!
He then said that he would only allow me to have the “free leather case” for the Tablet if I agreed to purchase the insurance as well. I pointed out that the case was advertised as "free" without any mention of having to purchase an insurance policy ... but he insisted that I could only have the case if I paid £30 for the insurance.
I responded by saying that under those circumstances, I would take the PlayBook without the “free case”. (I had absolutely no intention of spending any more than the actual cost of the item ... it was all I could afford: I’m a pensioner!)
But to my dismay, this awful individual continued to try and push the insurance sale to the point where his tone and manner became very aggressive and intimidating.
When I still refused to pay for insurance he then adopted a different tactic ... he said that insurance was essential as the Blackberry PlayBook Tablet is [quote] "a rubbish product” and is, in fact, one of the most faulty Tablets ever sold by Currys: hence I would invariably have to make an insurance claim for repair or replacement in the very near future. Again I pointed out that it would be my son’s responsibility for sorting out a fault (or accidental damage).
I said that a £30 insurance charge for an item that only cost £129 was totally out of proportion ... and in fact a more appropriately-priced policy could be purchased elsewhere. I also pointed out that if the item I’d purchased did prove to be faulty, then my son would lodge a claim under the manufacturer’s guarantee.
Bizarrely, his response was that (without insurance) a faulty product would have to be returned to Blackberry and not to Currys ... and returning it would involve a great deal of expense and inconvenience for me.
I told him that this would be in breach of Trading Standards regulations ... the fact is that if an item turns out to be faulty or damaged, the seller has a legal duty to put it right, as the buyer’s contract is with the seller – not with the manufacturer. Hence I would not have to return the tablet to Blackberry – I would return it to Currys.
The sales-person then became very irate. He said that he was going to refuse to sell me the Blackberry because I had refused to buy the insurance!
I asked to speak to the manager, but the sales-person ignored this request. So I took hold of the box containing the Blackberry and said that I would leave the store without paying for it if he was going to refuse my payment ... I figured that this would be a good way of attracting the attention of the store manager ... and I was right: a sheepish-looking man shuffled forward and introduced himself as “the duty manager”. He had been standing just yards away throughout the ‘bullying episode’ that I had endured, and had witnessed my ordeal.
Anyway, the manager processed the transaction without any further delay and without any further attempt to sell me the insurance policy that I quite patently didn’t want. He said that the sales-person had “only been trying to describe the benefits of insurance” ... however he offered no explanation for the sales-person’s claim that I could only have the "free case" if I purchased the insurance policy as well. (I think this translates as blatant deception? I’ll check the matter with the Advertising Standards Authority). Nor did the manager offer any explanation as to why the ruthless sales-person had persisted with his heavy-handed sales ‘technique’ over a prolonged period of time after I had already explained repeatedly that I really did not wish to purchase insurance.
As I was leaving the store the salesperson shouted a comment about me not being “normal”. Interesting ... I assume Currys staff think “normal” people are those who can be bullied and harassed into buying unwanted, unnecessary, far-too-expensive, insurance policies?
Needless to say, I shall not be shopping at Currys again!
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