Reliable Office Supplies

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Free Gift Bait and Switch
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ITASCA, ILLINOIS -- Reliable Offcie Supplies mailed out a catalog, no. 203, that offered a free Rolling Duffle, which Reliable said was worth $59, with any order of $29 or more. I phoned in an order and told the operator I was ordering from Reliable specifically because I wanted the free Rolling Duffle, and she assured me that I would receive it.

However, when my order arrived, it contained not the Rolling Duffle, but a 3-Piece Travel Trio, cheaply made and nothing I would value at $59.

I called Reliable and was sent to Customer Service. The rep told me that they had run out of the Rolling Duffles and that the catalog said they had the right to substitute an item of equal or greater value. Sure enough, when I was directed to the right place in the catalog I found such a declaration, in approximately 2-pt. type.

When I told the rep that the type was unreadable by these 62-year-old eyes and that I had been promised the Rolling Duffle by Reliable's operator, she said there was nothing she could do. She offered no other explanation or help, so I took down the name and address of the CEO to write to him: Sam Duncan, Reliable Office Supplies, 150 East Pierce Road, Itasca, IL 60143.

The catalog has a starburst on its inside cover proclaiming Reliable a "winner of 'World Class Customer Service' award." Indeed.

The lesson? For Reliable, a promise is UNreliable, an alleged testimonial is a lie, and "customer service" is a euphemism for "we really couldn't care less."

Reliable seems to be an affiliate, subsidiary, or DBA of Boise Office Solutions, which itself is now Office Max. Caveat emptor.

Two thumbs down.
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User Replies:
Hugh_Jorgen on 03/01/2006:
The right to substitute an item is pretty standard language on most of these deals.
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