PriceSmart Complaint

I received the following complaint last November and did not post it at that time. This week I received a second request to post it. I am putting it is with the caveat that these are the opinions of the author and posted at his request.

On Nov 13, 2010, at 8:57 AM, william pagel wrote:

Don,
>
>I posted the following letter on the “Gringos In David Panama” site this
>morning. I was just wondering if you thought it should be posted on the
>”Chiriqui Chatter” site, or any other site that you have access to. If you
>think it is worth it, please do this for me. If not, then I understand. Thanks
>for your time.
>
>
>Bill Pagel
>
>Letter follows:
>I bought 4 new tires at PricsSmart in April of this year (2010). In September I
>saw something on the right front tire that looked like a crack in the sidewall.
>I was in Panama City at the time taking someone to the airport, and didn’t have
>the PriceSmart receipt with me to check with them on the problem. A local tire
>repair place told me it was no problem (for a while at least). Being of
>unsound mind, I forgot it when I got back to David. I went to Panama City again
>in late October, and when I returned someone mentioned that the tire looked
>bad. I found that the crack in the tire had grown, and was extending toward the
>center of the rim.
>I went to PriceSmart in David, and their mechanic(??)told me that this was a
>cut, and that it was not covered by the guarantee. I talked to the supervisor in
>the store (Rene), and he said the same thing. He did take a photo of the damage
>and said that he would talk to the manufacturer, but I have not heard anything
>back about it.
>This is not the first time I have had problems with the PriceSmart guarantees.
>The tires are Kumo brand, but I have been using this brand for many years
>without any problems.
>Buyer beware at PriceSmart. I am afraid that they are selling inferior
>products, and now know that they are not good at honoring their guarantees.
>P.S. Thinking back now, I realize that I have had about eight flat tires since
>I bought these Kumos, and that does seem a bit much for the new area I live in
>(even with the bad roads in David).

20 thoughts on “PriceSmart Complaint

  1. It seems that every year, our air conditioner goes out in the car. It, I believe is just the hose and the freon is out. This should be interesting. Nothing seems to last here. We know that the guy walking around the car and taking notes will not charge the other $5 we had to pay for his paperwork. NO!!

  2. I will never buy anything ‘electric’ from PriceSmart. A few months ago I brought a coffeemaker and a mixer, one lasted about 4 weeks and the other 2 months. When I tried to return them they told me the warranty is only 30 days even if the coffeemaker box clearly advertised in both English and Spanish 2 years warranty…

  3. My guess is that almost everyone has had a story like this. The quality of much of what is sold in Panama is not as good as what is sold in the US.

    I bought $200+ of building materials for my SIL’s house and one of the deadbolts was defective. I took both deadbolts back, showed them the defect comparing it to the good one and was told that I must have damaged it somehow.

    I calmly explained, in Spanish, that I was bringing back the entire $200 order if they could not exchange the bad $20 deadbolt for a good one. I finally ended up talking to the owner of the store who OK-ed the exchange.

    It is business as usual in Panama.
    jim and nena
    fort worth, tx

  4. In my experience, persistence pays off. I’ve bought several fans at Do It Center, most recently in April. The fan died by May, but we left for several months and returned in Oct. I was going to pitch the fan, but it was still under 6 months guarantee, so I took it back, thinking what have I got to lose?

    Long story short, after about a month, the repaired fan was returned to me, with a new motor. It lasted about two days, so I took it back again. By this time, I’m on a first name basis with Karla in Customer Service, and Rene, the repairman, having been in the store countless times, always polite but assertive with my Spanish.

    A couple more weeks and several visits and they finally decided to replace the fan, which cost all of $22! The whole process took about six weeks, enormous patience and, as stated above, persistence. But I now have a new fan!

  5. I have also had good luck in dealing with PriceSmart. I have returned a couple items and had to repair another and after talking with management they always did the right thing.

  6. I’m having a hard time seeing things from your point of view. Put yourself in place of Pricesmart: A guy buys four tires in April and returns in October with a crack or a cut in the sidewall. Couldn’t that crack have gotten there in the six months the car was being driven around? Why should Pricesmart accept your word that it was a manufacturing defect when you didn’t report it for six months?

  7. Before you buy any tires of any brand, everyone needs to look at the manufacture date on the tire. The last numbers printed on the tire represent the month and year of manufacture. You shouldn’t buy any tires older than 5 years because the rubber begins to deteriorate even without use on the road. This came out this past year because of serious accidents as a result of “new” tire failures. It was found that tires as old as 10 years were being marketed as new.

  8. I think before publishing this a photo of the crack (or cut) in the tire should have been posted. So no sympathy at this point from me.

    I believe the stores here in general buy discontinued , seconds or rejects for heavily discounted prices then resell them as if they we bought directly from the manufacturer. So the stores are not interested in guarantees and are not willing to give back 1 dollar in outrages profits to keep customers happy. I’ve found buying the cheapest electrical goods hurts less as they last as long as the more named brands, which isn’t usually too long. I long for a Walmart here to destroy the retail business as it now exists.

  9. For WM:

    The consumer protection law in Panama says that the minimum warranty for an electric or electronic product should be not less than 3 months. If they dont honor the warranty you should go to ACODECO (consumer protection agency in Panama) and file a complain.

  10. For Jim & Nena:

    In Panama you could find the brand and quality you may want to have and pay. Of course there are a lot of brands made in China and other Latin American countries that are of very bad or lousy quality but you could also find good brands from USA and Europe with better quality. The fact is that you should learn where to find the products you want of the quality you are entitled to.

    All stores should resolve any complain for their products if not you should file a complain at ACODECO and they will help you. In December they have small booth at the shopping malls to help consumers with complains.

  11. For Roger Bellido:

    I hear you. I’ve bought stuff for more than fifty years in this country with a batting average above 900 percent. I try to buy the best quality merchandise my pocket allows me. Brands like Goodyear, Florsheim, Panasonic, Sony, Dockers, Citizen, Canon, Hewlett-Packard, Toyota and so forth are a guarantee of success and long-standing satisfaction.

    Your suggestion of reporting to Acodeco is an excellent one. If unscrupulous businesses are not complying with the law, they should be reported to the Panamanian authorities. I’m in total agreement with you Mr. Bellido.

    My two cents on this issue.

  12. For Roger,

    “In Panama you could find the brand and quality you may want to have and pay.”

    This is a true statement for any country, not just Panama. The difference is that in the USA I would simply return the item at the service desk and get a new item. No hassle.

    When I got the replacement deadbolt, I opened it in front of the owner to be certain I wouldn’t be making another trip.
    jim and nena
    fort worth, tx

  13. I have bought my tires from Tambor , here in David, since I have lived here for
    over 13yrs. I am on my third set and have not had any problems with the
    tires. They are more expensive than the tires of Price Smart, but that is okay
    as they are of good quality.
    One set lasted me over 5yrs, and the reason is because I use the bus a lot
    when going to David, and that saves on the wear and tear.

    I did buy a new lawnmower at Do it center, and it quit working after one use,
    so I sent it back to Do it center as it was under a six month warranty, and I
    will just have to wait and see how good they are, as it has been over a week
    now and they have not contacted me.

    Again adapting to the way things are done here in Panama , compared to the
    States.

  14. I bought a Frigidaire refrigerator from Price Smart, the ice maker failed after about a month. I thought it would be a real hassle getting it repaired or replaced here. Boy was I wrong! The tech grabbed a screwdriver, and pulled the one off the floor model and handled it to me.

  15. I have returned both a microwave oven and a pressure washer with no problems and shop at Pricemart BECAUSE of their return policy.
    Later,
    J

  16. Dear sir,
    I also have had bad experiences with pricesmart in Jamaica ,West Indies .
    I bought a Kimberley Clarke soap spray dispenser and was told the pouches would come later. I back back with them about 2 weeks later and still nothing only not knowing that they discontinued the product and it would seem they are off loading their stock on unsuspecting customers. I called their office today and was transferred to 3 different persons who by the way did not answer the phone till after about 15 rings(I counted) each one that is . Finally spoke to their admin manager who told me that she has no solution for the issue and her excuse they don’t have any control on what their vendors have. Of course no solution to my issue of having a dispenser with no way to use and cash down the drain. I thanked her for her non help and hung up. Needless to say pricesmart has very poor customer service and they only care about minting customers and not about customer satisfaction .

  17. Hi guys I live in Trinidad in the west indies I bought a weed wacker from pricemart the movietown branch in Port of Spain, I used it for about 8months, my brother borrowed it and loved it so I gave it to him as a present .I returned to pricemart and bought a second one the next day, I took it out the box and started it and it worked for about 15 minutes and stalled, it had a burnt smell eminating from it .I quickly put it back in the box and returned it the next day, Would u believe pricemart said that I burned the wacker and that void my warranty, so I lost my $1200.00 just so. I told them check their records they will see I bought one before and its working, we are not stupid we know that you have to mix oil with the gas but they stood fast in their belief, Now I have to picket their business until I get back my money or a good wacke,r I feel cheated and hurt that they would treat their customer like this. I have to let all their customers know what they are doing so it wont happen to them………cheated customer

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