Well, I received an email from Randy. I will add that it was thoughtful and very much appreciated, even if it is about 2 weeks too late. In it he apoloigized again, explaining that Woot is limited in their ability to make this situation right, as they neither manufacture or refurbish these products themselves. The email also asked what else I think Woot can do to attempt to make this right and that they would review any possible suggestions. This is what I replied:
Thank you for the reply. Believe it or not, if the content of your email (and Mr. Kam's apology) was sent to me at some point in the previous two weeks, you may still have a customer. I appreciate that you have taken the time to explain the situation in detail. While I still may have my questions and doubts about what Woot could have done differently, it is helpful to hear more detail about the situation, other than the usual one line emails about "picking up my tv and refunding my money". There are several things that I would suggest the Woot management team review about this fiasco:
1.) Better communication. From the very beginning the communication on this matter was pathetic. The only reason people knew what was happening was bc your CUSTOMERS were doing your job. It was you customers that helped with tracking the shipping and it was your customers that found out that LG might be willing to assist. Even after your customers found out that LG was willing to send working televisions, you still remained silent on this option until it was too late for many of us.
2.) Make every reasonable attempt to get your customers working TVs. I am not dumb, I understand that Woot neither manufactures of refurbishes its own products. However, I am certain that Amazon, Best Buy, Overstock, etc. does neither of these things as well. Yet, when a customer buys a product from one of these companies, they expect to receive the product in working order. If the product is not in working order, a suitable replacement is expected. Yes, you may not have had enough of these TVs in your stock to replace all of the damaged ones. Again, you can do one of two things in this scenario, a.) attempt, on your own, to acquire suitable replacements or b.) screw over your customers. Obviously LG has the ability to send out working models of this TV. It is clear that you are aware that LG has working models of this TV. Why did Woot not attempt to purchase, from LG, working models of this TV? Why does Woot expect the customer to do this for them? Now, perhaps you did attempt to work out a deal with LG to make this right, and for some reason it was just not workable (i.e. cost, stock, etc.). I am willing to accept this as a possibility. I may have still been unhappy, as the end result would be that I still don't have a TV. However, I can promise you that it would have made a huge difference, if Woot at ANY earlier point attempted to explain to us, that while you explored this option, it was just not feasible. You may still have had me as a customer. The bottom line is that Woot should make every reasonable attempt to get their customers the product they purchased. It is not apparent that any attempts were made.
3.) Refund and Pick-up: I do appreciate that Woot has refunded my money and scheduled a pick-up at my convenience. That is the very least that can be done in this situation, and I am happy that Woot chose to do the very least. However, better communication along with attempts to work with LG on getting replacements would have been a much more desirable outcome to this situation. If your customer is still unhappy after those are tried, then a refund is appropriate. Simply offering a refund, without any attempt to correct the situation (or subsequent explanation about why this wouldn't work) is simply not good business.
4.) Stand behind your products: While you may not manufacture or refurbish these products, they are nevertheless being sold on YOUR website. As I have stated before, most customers will completely understand when a deal goes bad with a new vendor. That is bound to happen from time to time with even the best retailers. But instead of shifting the burden of this mistake to your customers, Woot should accept responsibility for the mistake. For those customers who received poorly packaged, yet seemingly working TVs, offering some type of extended warranty would seem like a wise decision. As it stands now, I would be shocked if anyone who was involved in this deal (working tv or not) trusts Woot to the same degree that they may have before. I know I have learned my lesson. Saving a couple hundred dollars is just not worth the money and time I have had to devote to this whole ordeal.
5.) In the absence of being able to replace these TVs with working models, offer some other type of compensation to the customers who were wronged. Again, many of us who who received the damaged TVs had already spent time and money on the expected arrival of their purchase. Woot should have made an attempt to contact LG and find a replacement TV. Woot should have communicated that they had tried but were unable to acquire new TVs. Woot should have then offered some form of compensation to its customers. If Woot had done this things from the beginning, I can guarantee you that Woot would have earned my trust as a loyal customer. While it is not my job to determine this for you,here are a couple of options that I know would have satisfied me:
a.) "We apologize. Here is an explanation of why we could not obtain a replacement TV for you. As compensation for any inconvenience this may have caused, please accept $XX.xx amount as credit on a future Woot deal"
b.) "Here is an explanation of why we could not obtain a replacement TV for you. As compensation, we will alert you immediately when a similar TV becomes available and give you first access on purchasing that TV".
Either of these options would have satisfied me from the beginning.
I really do hope that you and Woot's management team takes the time to read this feedback. You may have lost my trust as a customer, but in the future, perhaps this can be avoided with new customers?"
Anyways, so that most likely settles it at this point. I highly doubt Woot will be doing anything else to correct the situation, but hopefully they do read the suggestions that we have all offered up here. Again, I want to thank fellow Wooters that have been very supportive and helpful during this fiasco. Best of luck to all of you!