When Diana Rubino’s Surface 3 suddenly stops working during her vacation, she calls Microsoft’s technical support and is given a quote to replace the tablet. But then she returns home and is surprised by the in-store employee’s refusal to honor that quote.
Question: When I was in Myrtle Beach, S.C., two weeks ago, my Surface 3, which I purchased in October 2015, broke. I called Microsoft technical support. The representative did some telephone diagnosis and told me they probably could not repair it, but it could be replaced at my local Microsoft store for $220 when I got home. They gave me a confirmation number to take to the store.
When I got home, I went to the Microsoft store. The clerk refused to acknowledge Microsoft’s own confirmation number and agreement. He said they had a price increase two days ago, and now it would cost over $300. When I informed him that this device is only a year and a half old, and I hardly used it, he told me that’s no good and that I should’ve used it more.
I resent their condescending attitudes and Microsoft’s refusal to honor the price they quoted me — even with the confirmation number. Can you ask Microsoft to honor the original quote? Diana Rubino, Hudson, N.H.
Answer: When I read your case, I was puzzled why a company as large and profitable as Microsoft would risk losing a customer permanently over $80.
Your frustration was understandable. If a company gives you a quote, then it should honor that quote. These employees did not seem to subscribe to that belief, and their flippant behavior toward you only made matters worse.
You had been happy with your Surface 3 tablet right up until it broke. Although it was not under warranty, you first took the tablet into Best Buy in Myrtle Beach to see if anything could be done while you were still on vacation.
The Geek Squad, Best Buy’s technical repair specialists, took a look at it. They confirmed that there did not appear to be an easy fix for your Surface 3.
That’s when you called Microsoft’s technical support. After running your tablet through several diagnostic tests, they also determined that it was likely nonrepairable.
But since your tablet was relatively new, you were offered a deal on a Microsoft Certified Refurbished Surface 3. You simply needed to take your broken tablet into a Microsoft store, pay $220 and exchange the old one for a refurbished one.
A Certified Refurbished Surface 3 is a reconditioned product that comes with a new one-year warranty.
That seemed like an acceptable resolution to you, and you accepted the offer. Microsoft technical support gave you a confirmation number for your replacement tablet.
But then something went wrong with this deal.
When you returned from vacation and took your broken Surface 3 into your local Microsoft store, those employees refused to give you a replacement tablet for $220. The manager quoted you a new price of $300, citing a recent price increase.
Because the Surface 3 is a discontinued item, I thought it seemed highly unlikely that there was a price increase in the days between your call to Microsoft and your store visit.
In fact, when I did a little research on the Certified Refurbished Surface 3, I found that these tablets are currently being sold for $299. But you were not in the market to buy a refurbished tablet; you had been offered a special deal to exchange your broken product for a “new” refurbished one at a reduced price.
You shouldn’t have been expected to pay anything more than the original deal that had been offered to you.
But after much back and forth with these store employees, they bargained with you and told you that their best offer would be $279. Feeling defeated, you accepted their “discount” and left.
That’s when you asked our advocates for help.
Your case was simple to correct. I contacted Microsoft on your behalf, and the company thanked me for bringing this problem to its attention. Within hours you were offered a refund of the $59 that the store employees had insisted that you pay above the original quote.
Microsoft did not go into detail as to why the store employees refused to honor its quote, but I imagine that there is some retraining in their future.
You are satisfied with this resolution and happy with your “new” Surface 3. And we are pleased that Microsoft quickly responded to your problem and corrected it.