U.S. Micro Computer Systems, Inc Complaint - Watch out for this place, do not buy from them.
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- On 10/11/2000 I had the winning bid on an ebay.com auction (#460614489) for what was advertised as a NEW sony DVP-C670D DVD player. Upon completion of the auction, I promptly sent payment through paypal.com to the seller, firstname.lastname@example.org (U.S. Micro Computer Systems, Inc also known as "House of Electronics"). After a few days of no e-mail response, I finally called them and found out that they had in fact shipped the item and they gave me a tracking number from them. This was after repeated attempts to contact them via e-mail with no response.
On 10/18/2000, the DVD player was delivered to my house. I happened to be home from work that day due to car troubles and accepted the package from the UPS driver at 3:31pm.
I opened up the outter packing box and pulled out what appeared to be a new Sony DVD player in factory packaging. I then opened the factory box and hooked the DVD player up to my TV set. I turned on the player, pressed the open/close button and inserted a new DVD. When I pressed the open/close button again, the player closed and then displayed an error code E:27:00 and after a few seconds, the unit shut down. I pressed the open/close button again to try and retrieve my DVD, the error code just flashed on the screen and then the unit shutdown. Upon looking this code up in the owners manual, it instructed me to call Sony. I did.
At 4:36pm on 10/18/2000, just 1 hour and 5 minutes after the DVD player had been delivered to my house, I was talking with a representative from Sony and logged a call. I supplied them with the purchase date, the serial number of the dvd player, and the name of the company which I had purchased it from (US Micro Computer Systems, Inc.). The young woman on the phone told me that the error I was experiencing would require me to ship the player to Sonys repair facility and get it repaired. This repair would be covered by the warranty. I got an RMA number from her and the address to ship it to and was ready to do that. However, I felt it necessary to call US Micro Computer Systems, Inc. and let them know what was going on.
Around 4:50pm on 10/18/2000, I called them. I spoke with a gentleman by the name of Nick. Nick told me that he was very sorry I was having a problem with the player and that he needed to talk to his manager. He asked if he could call me back in a few minutes and I agreed and hung up the phone. While waiting for Nick to call back, I continued to power on the dvd player and press the open/close button in an attempt to retrieve my dvd from inside the player. These attempts continued to fail until one time when the dvd tray suddenly opened. I quickly snached my DVD from the tray and pressed the open/close button again to close the tray. At around 5:10pm, Nick did call back and told me that instead of shipping the dvd player to sony, I should send it back to them and that they would send me a brand new player and refund my shipping charges to get the defective unit back to them. I thought that was wonderful and decided to send the player back to them.
At about 5:15pm, I was packing the DVD player back into its original box. Then I packed the DVD player into the outter shipping box and labeled it for shipment back to US Micro Computer Systems, Inc.
On 10/19/2000, the re-packaged DVD player was dropped off at the UPS customer service counter in Catonsville, Maryland. I had a receipt for this shipment and even sent a scanned copy of the receipt to US Micro Computer Systems, Inc. to prove that the shipment had taken place. I tracked the shipment over the next few days until it was delivered (and signed for by RIZVI - Receptionist) on 10/25/2000 at 1:55pm.
At 5:14pm, on 10/25/2000, I receieved an e-mail from Mike at USMCSI that was requesting my phone number so he could call me or asked that I call him before they "take any action." So, I called him back immediately. Mike then confirmed that he received the player that day and proceeded to tell me that they were going to have to send it back to Sony. He then started to tell me that the unit had been tampered with. I could not believe my ears... was he accusing me of damaging the player? I asked what he meant and he said that the screws that hold the dvd player closed showed signs of tampering. He then mentioned that the player also contained parts that were NOT sony parts. So, my first question back to Mike was "How do you know there are non-sony parts in the player?" He then told me that his technician opened the player himself! Opening any product like this voids the warranty and that is stated right in the warranty notice. I know this, why would I have called Sony and been ready to send it back to them for repair if I had opened it? I told Mike that at no time did I even attempt to open the player and he stated that he was not blaming me, but that something had happened to it from the time it left their shop to the time it arrived back at their shop. So who else is he trying to blame?
Mike informed me that once Sony receives the dvd player, they will look at it and decide if they can/will repair it and send USMCSI a letter telling them if the parts inside are sony parts or not. Also, by opening the player themselves, USMCSI have basically erased any chance of my proving that the player was NOT opened by me... visible signs of opening the player will definately be on the screws now... they DID open it. The only proof I had at this point was that my finger prints were no where on the inside of that player. The last part of my conversation with Mike ended with me asking for the serial number off the back of the player. I wanted to verify that he was looking at the correct unit, etc... he had NEVER answered that request. Recently in the eBay fraud reporting form, he has also accused me of removing the serial number sticker.
I asked for my money to be returned by USMCSI and Mike refused. He even has threatend me with legal action for something I have not done.
I ended up filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, The Attorney General of Texas, Paypal.com and eBay. I had NOT received the product that I purchased... it was supposed to be a NEW and functional DVD player... it was not. I had nothing. They had everything... the defective player and my money.
The total transaction was for $380.00 (final auction price of $355.00 plus $25.00 shipping).
Well, after about 2 weeks of more false accusations, USMCSI finally agreed to pay my money if I would supply them with the Serial Number of the unit and the call number that I received from Sony when I called them. I couldnt understand why they would want this information other than to somehow try to send the player back to me. After consulting with some friends of mine and calling Sony to tell them I would not be sending anything back to them at all, I decided to give up the information. Amazingly, 2 days later, after posting the serial number and call number to the eBay fraud protection forum, they actually sent my $380.00 to me via paypal.com.
So, sticking with it worked. I still believe that these jerks were trying to scam me, but I wouldnt go away. I dont know what it was the finally made them change their minds, but they were dead set against paying me back at the start.
In talking to a friend at about the midpoint of the ordeal, he mentioned a scam that a friend of his had fallen into at one point. It was a scam from a place that sold illegal cable boxes. They would place something in the box that was loose and made you think it was broken. Then they would ask you to send it back for a replacement only when they got it back, they would say that you did the damage. In that case, what are you to do? Youre buying illegal cable boxes... you cant report them. That was the difference in this case, I was buying an item that was totally legal... a DVD player. They screwed up.
I just hope this may end up helping someone else not get cheated by them.