Should I get a refund for half-assed white glove delivery?
May 9, 2006 4:46 PM   Subscribe

I just took delivery of a large TV, ordered with "white glove" service (an extra $100+ on top of the $250+ standard delivery charge) to have the deliverymen carry the set into the house and set it up wherever I want, and dispose of the packaing...

To quote the company I ordered from regarding the service:

"Avoid the hassle and inconvenience of struggling to setup your large plasma and LCD entertainment center. No more heavy lifting; let the experts handle it.

This premium service will provide trained delivery professionals to bring your purchase into your home, unpack it and place it on your shelf or stand. You have enough things on your mind without having to worry about getting your system in the door, unpacking it and lifting it up. You can just sit back and supervise. Nothing could be easier. They'll even dispose of the packaging!"

The TV is gargantuan, it's a CRT (not a thin plasma/LCD) and weighs in at about 200 lbs.

Luckily they sent two guys to handle this beast, but upon bringing the set into the house and de-boxing it, one of the guys (the smaller of the two) prompty sat down and said "I can't lift this thing".

So, being a big guy myself, I ended up having to help the two deliverymen set it on the shelf (which was about 5 feet off the ground, not a super-simple task).

I'm happy to have the set, but should I be miffed that I had to help set it up, when I paid $100 expressly to not have to deal with it? (one reason I wanted to avoid lifting is because I'm currently recovering from surgery, so I did have a legit reason for being a wuss.)

Should I just be thankful for what I have, or make a stink with the delivery company and ask for a full or partial refund on the white-glove service?
posted by robbie01 to Shopping (28 answers total)
Demand a full refund, their agents failed to deliver the service as described. It's as simple as that.
posted by nanojath at 4:52 PM on May 9, 2006

(A full refund of the $100 premium charge, that is)
posted by nanojath at 4:52 PM on May 9, 2006

Make a stink. Payment for services rendered should be at least partially forfeit if the services are at least partially not rendered, methinks.
posted by ZakDaddy at 4:52 PM on May 9, 2006

They did deliver it to the house, and inside, but sending along someone who couldn't fully perform the contracted work is a major screwup. I'd say you're due a partial refund or a gift card or something, can't hurt to call a manager and tell your story anyway.
posted by bizwank at 4:52 PM on May 9, 2006

Make a stink. You paid for the service, you didn't get it. There's no ambiguity here.

$100 is 6 DVDs for your new home theater or a nice dinner or two tanks of gas.
posted by aeighty at 4:56 PM on May 9, 2006

From one rob to another, you wuz robbed. Absolutely contact the delivery company (and the retailer who sold you your set) — you paid for a service that was not (fully) delivered. Quote the relevant portion of their service promise, and don't forget to mention your delicate physical condition too, which I think is germane.

At the very least, you should get a partial refund.
posted by rob511 at 4:56 PM on May 9, 2006

You should absolutely get a full refund. Call the manager ASAP. Be polite, but firm. Do no ASK for your money back, SAY that you expect to be refunded and ask only when to expect the chargeback to show up.
posted by mkultra at 4:58 PM on May 9, 2006

You should seek a refund of the full $100. They failed to perform a material element of what they offered.
posted by brain_drain at 4:59 PM on May 9, 2006

Yeah, but how you gonna prove it?
posted by Rash at 5:07 PM on May 9, 2006

You deserve a full refund. For sure.

And you shouldn't have lifted it and potentially hurt yourself. I think that I would have gotten on the phone right then and there with the place that sold it to me. The dude who didn't want to lift needs to be told to get another job too.

Call the manager tomorrow as folks suggested.

Good luck. I hope you enjoy your new YV.
posted by bim at 5:09 PM on May 9, 2006

If you get your money back, it'll probably be taken out of the deliverymen's wages. The little guy might even lose his job.

I think if the TV ended up where you wanted it without damage or injury, you pretty much got what you paid for. I wouldn't pursue it. That's just an opinion.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:13 PM on May 9, 2006

Wait, ikkyu2, you want the OP to pay for a service he didn't get, becuase the little guy might lose his job? The little guy refused to do his job. I'm sorry if I sound completely unsympathetic or even mean, but if I couldn't do a MAJOR duty of my job, I would get fired. And I would deserve it. A MAJOR part of this guy's job is delivering equipment - and part of his job requires lifting that equipment. If he can't do it, he should find another job.

The OP didn't get what he paid for - yes, the TV ended up where it should be and without damage/injury, but the OP paid extra to have a special service performed - that service was not performed.
posted by MeetMegan at 5:30 PM on May 9, 2006

I'm currently recovering from surgery, so I did have a legit reason for being a wuss.

You don't have to have a reason. You paid for it, they didn't do it. End of story.

But next time don't be an idiot with your health. A person was hired, trained, and safety-equipped to lift this monster without injury. If it was beyond his ability to lift, you sure as hell shouldn't be try to do it for him. If they didn't send out sufficient resources to provide the promised service, call the store manager so she/he can immediately correct the problem.

...prompty sat down and said "I can't lift this thing"...

Standard procedure among your less ethical movers. He didn't want your help. He wanted you to fatten the tip.

posted by nakedcodemonkey at 5:40 PM on May 9, 2006

5 feet off the ground is pretty unusual and I'm not surprised the guy baulked at it. I bet there's a clause in your contract that says they can skip unusual requests. You might still be due a refund, but I don't think it's as clearcut as the responses on this thread make it.
posted by cillit bang at 6:27 PM on May 9, 2006

Jesus, a 200lb TV perched on a shelf 5 feet off the ground? That sounds like an accident waiting to happen.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:49 PM on May 9, 2006

MeetMegan, the original poster volunteered to help. Another strategy would have been to meet them with a cane, or loudly cite his old back injury, or just to glare at them. Most of the time guys like this might need a little break, but they'll eventually get the TV where it belongs without your intervention.

You all are dangling a fat $100 bill as a shiny shiny reward for the original poster's passive-aggressive plan that he and you are contemplating; I just thought I'd remind you all that there are consequences.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:24 PM on May 9, 2006

not when its anchored to the wall behind the shelf :)
posted by joeblough at 7:24 PM on May 9, 2006

I really am sorry that you had to lift while recovering, but I kind of see Ikkyu2's point.

If the little guy was lazy, or not up to the task of delivering a TV under normal circumstances, I can see asking for your money back. But if it was an unusual request, and the guy just couldn't do it, do you really want to make a fuss? You can ask for your money back, but how would you rather the little guy had behaved? Should he have given it the old college try if he knew he just wasn't up to it?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:30 PM on May 9, 2006

ikkyu2 -- Since when is it unreasonable to expect someone to do what they were paid to do? If someone is too fragile to be a "moving man" then he shouldn't have the job. Period. The original poster need not feel guilty for objecting to being screwed over. Geesh.
posted by bim at 8:33 PM on May 9, 2006

The markup on those units, after delivery, storage, labor, whatever costs is not that significant. The way they make money is through services. In this case, the service sounds like a last minute bell/whistle that they decided the ordinary deliverymen would be able to handle as well. This is all well and good if those ordinary deliverymen are up to the task, but in this case it sounds like they totally balked.

Probably went down like this: little deliveryman is used to driving a truck to your house, just heard from the manager two weeks ago that they're implementing a new service (100 additional dollars for The Man), had a long day of delivering crap, saw a big guy, had a seat through the second half of his "new job" he wasn't particularly enthused about doing in the first place for The Man's new 100 dollar plan.

Were you to call up his manager and express your dissatisfaction, I'm sure you could get him to split the 100 dollars with you, or even refund it completely if you think that is in order. As far as the fallout that ikkyu mentioned, it would probably only put the employee in a position to come up with an excuse for shirking his new duty, likely legitimate, and result in little more than finger wagging from his boss. They don't pay those guys enough to fire them over such trivialities, really.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 9:12 PM on May 9, 2006

If you get your money back, it'll probably be taken out of the deliverymen's wages. The little guy might even lose his job.

Them's the breaks. Someone who can't do a job I pay them to do should lose that job. I'm a big ol' lefty, but I'm not so much a lefty that I would shed even a single salty tear over this.
posted by solid-one-love at 9:56 PM on May 9, 2006

Response by poster: Update: I've taken the majority advice and e-mailed their Customer Service explaining the situation and asking for a refund, so far have not heard back except for the automated reply.

I believe this is a somewhat newer service for this company -- apparently it went over well in their home city (Manhattan, I'm in SF) so now they're offering it nationwide. Dunno if they tell the drivers that or not.

And the shelf can hold up to 400 lbs, so I'm not too worried ;)

I agree that since they DID come out and my set DID get on the shelf and they DID remove the packaging, service was "partially" completed, so I would hope for at least a partial refund. I was pleased with the service otherwise.
posted by robbie01 at 10:48 PM on May 9, 2006

So, being a big guy myself, I ended up having to help the two deliverymen set it on the shelf (which was about 5 feet off the ground, not a super-simple task).

Did you, at any point offer to help lift the TV? If so then I don't think you're really entitled to anything, IMO.

If they asked, and you did not refuse, telling them you paid $x and they should just call up and get another guy, I dunno it seems like they ought to refund some of the money to be nice, but really do you want to be that much of a priss? I sure wouldn't.
posted by delmoi at 11:43 PM on May 9, 2006

Response by poster: They asked me if I could help, I didn't really offer.

I'd been waiting a long time to get the set and was willing to help them lift it, since chances are (being based in Manhattan) they probably had no one they COULD call for additional support, and no, I didn't want to be that much of a priss about it while they were here.

But what would have happened if I was a little old lady, or still bed-ridden, like I was 7 days ago?
posted by robbie01 at 1:26 AM on May 10, 2006

I'd say you're definitely due a partial refund, however I would also check the fine print on that contract. It's one thing to say that they'll place it on your shelf or stand, but I've never seen a TV stand that was 5 feet high. They should definitely have called a third guy, but then, you didn't tell them that they'd be lifting the TV 5 feet off the ground.
posted by antifuse at 2:02 AM on May 10, 2006

This sounds like a job for the Consumerist! If customer service doesn't satisfy you, perhaps the Consumerist can be of some assistance. At the very least, it's a place to get out the word quickly and easily about their failure. I don't agree with the site and its ethos every day (and then there's that whole love to hate and hate to love GawkerMedia in general), but it can be good for things like this.
posted by incessant at 2:05 AM on May 10, 2006

Full refund.
posted by Alt F4 at 5:47 AM on May 10, 2006

chances are (being based in Manhattan) they probably had no one they COULD call for additional support - robbie01

Around here the stores contract people to do this sort of moving, rather than having their own force, so the fact that the chain is based elsewhere wouldn't matter. YMMV.
posted by raedyn at 7:27 AM on May 10, 2006

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