A bargain at Comet - except you can't buy it...

  PA28 19:20 18 Feb 2005

You may be interested in this little tale (particularly if you're the marketing director of Comet and are whinging about loss of store sales to the internet).......

I recently went shopping for a new TFT monitor to replace my 17" Relysis. This had served me well, but all this talk of response times when playing games on TFTs had encouraged me to improve on the 25ms that the Relysis offered. I had to have a look and this is one time when I look first to the likes of PCW and Comet, where you can see the real thing in operation.

Originally I was looking for the top review LG 17" model, which came in with a response time of 12ms with a price of just over £200 inclusive. Now either this price was understated or markups were rife, because instore in PCW this model was about £280 - a little too expensive for the upgrade. So I went to Comet, where they didn't have the LG on the shelf.

What they did have, however, was a very attractive Acer (1914 incidentally) which not only had the same response time as the LG, but a 19" screen for the grand total of £249.95. I asked the salesman to give me a demonstration and he spent about 10 minutes putting the unit through its' paces. It was very impressive at the price - no frills such as portrait mode, DVI, or stand height adjustment, just a good solid performance coupled with a slimline bezel and attractive appearance. So I said I'd buy it.

It was out of stock. I asked if I could buy the display model - "sorry sir, we can't do that as it's a current model". OK so it's a current model which you can't buy at the moment, so why have a display model? "Company policy, sir, sorry I can't sell it to you". Very pleasant and very mystifying. 2 weeks estimated for the next batch. Please sell me the display model and take a new display model from the batch that's coming in a fortnight. "Sorry sir, not allowed to do that".

The following day I was returning past Welwyn and happened upon another Comet store. Yet again the Acer was on display, yet again it was out of stock, yet again the policy was reiterated that the display model couldn't be sold as it was a current model. "But if you would care to drive to Bedford they've three in stock there". As I was hareing south on the A1 a diversion to Bedford was not possible. Yet gain no sale. Learning that I was headed south, the salesman - in an attempt to retrieve the situation - suggested that he call Lakeside Comet to see if they had any Acers. He couldn't get through! What he did do was to give me the number and the product code so that I (or rather my wife in the passenger seat) could ring Lakeside as I headed south. Lakeside didn't have any - and wouldn't be having any in stock as the model was discontinued!!!

Not being one to give up easily, on returning home I checked the Comet website. The Acer 19" was conspicuous by its' absence. So I started searching other suppliers and quickly found the same model on offer by good old Amazon at £30 cheaper than Comet (£119.95) with free delivery thrown in. So, marketing director of Comet, who killed the sale? You gave me no choice but to spend my money through the internet, even though I twice begged your salesmen to take my money for an item I was actually looking at but they refused to sell. This is strange logic indeed, is it not?

As for the Acer in use, it is terrific. Takes a bitting of setting up to get it perfect, but perfect it appears to be. To be honest however, when playing Flightsim 2004 I really cannot tell the difference between 12 and 25ms response times!. So if you're thinking of upgrading just for this reason, think carefully again before spending your money. Then have a look in Comet and then buy from someone else - Comet won't mind as they actively encourage you to do this!

  PA28 19:24 18 Feb 2005

Sorry - the price in Amazon (para 7 above)should have been typed as £219.95 - not a hundred pounds less. And I did send an email to Comet asking for their comment, but received not a squeak of response. I wonder why.

  oresome 20:07 18 Feb 2005

Very frustrating with these big retail stores where they seem to have endless products on display, but only a tiny stockroom at the back.

On numerous occasions when I've asked for something, it's not in stock. Particularly annoying if you're prepared to take the showroom model and they won't sell it!

I usually refuse opened stock, unless there's a hefty discount and even then I wouldn't purchase the likes of a TV which has possibly had 3 years normal use in a few weeks at the store.

  microswift 20:29 18 Feb 2005

Comet seem to have changed their policy, two years ago I bought a current display model and got 10% discount.

  fred 20:58 18 Feb 2005

Comet were quite happy to sell me a display 32 in LCD TV four weeks ago.

Only I bought the Currys one as they matched the Comet price, DVD recorder added and had no scratches on it.

  Belatucadrus 22:33 18 Feb 2005

I gave up bothering with Comet for the same reason, I asked for items on the display stand on three separate occasions, each time the assistant vanished into the bowels of their warehouse to come back ten minutes later to advise me they hadn't got one and couldn't sell the display model. This wasn't confined to one branch, but on each occasion they were in a retail park with a branch of Currys or Apollo in easy walking distance. Combine this with the fact that they frequently don't put price labels on smaller items and I abandoned them all together.

  GibsonSt19 23:09 18 Feb 2005

If Amazon don't play ball. Listed as out of stock at the mo though.

click here

  spuds 00:01 19 Feb 2005

Similar dread story with Comet service. Since Kingfisher sold the company, the new owners seem to have a cavalier attitude towards customer service.

Early last year I wanted a 4in1 printer rather urgently. Checked Comets website, and they had a model that looked about correct for my needs but for one small question about delivery. Phoned their call centre, and after a nice discussion with the call centre agent, I was informed that I could pay for the item and then collect it from my local store, as they had checked and there were three in stock.I asked if it would be possible for them to notify the store, and I would collect and pay there, if possible. I was given the price and told that I could collect from the local store. Arrived at the store and told the people at the customers services desk the information that was supplied to me by the call centre. I was given the printer that had been allocated for me and everything was confirmed to be okay, but at the checkout I was asked for nearly £15.00 more.Eventually the duty manager was requested, and I was told that the store could not supply the printer at the call centres or the internet price, as it was against company policy. Further discussions took place,and eventually the duty manager relented and gave me a store discount of £14.99 which was coded to a call centres error.

Due to the transaction taking place on a busy Sunday morning, and I had inconvenienced other people at the checkout, I thought that it deserved a letter to Comet's head office customer services. What a total waste of time that was. The reply from Comet was positively not apologetic,and the tone of the reply made me decide that I would never bother with Comet again, and that as stood to this very day, and as far as I am concerned that will remain.So what is now Comet's loss is going to be someone elses gain.

I would add, that nearby to the Comet store is a PC World store. I made a quick visit and saw the same printer available at a pound cheaper that the Comet store price. Speaking to the duty manager and asking if he would match the Comet's call centres price, he said he could match it with no problem.

  Starfox 01:22 19 Feb 2005

In December 2002 I decided to buy a new Pc and had made the decision that a Fujitsu-Siemans Scaleo 600 was what I needed.I looked around a few of the major retailers and eventualy found just what I wanted in my local Comet store.

As I was giving my choice of pc a coat of inspection a nice (not young) salesmen came up to me and started waffling on about the wonders of this and other pc's,when I explained what I wanted he said that there was a higher spec machine at the same price (DVD rewriter) and did I want that one."Fine I'll have that one then" I told him and got out the plastic ready to pay. "We don't have one in stock but I will get one from our other branch and it will be here to collect day after tomorrow" he explained.

Now like an idiot I walked out of that store satisfied that I had ordered a new pc and three days later went back to collect my new pride and joy.Walked into the store and on spotting the salesman who had *taken my order*I asked him if it had arrived."has what arrived" he replied "my pc" I told him "What pc","The one you ordered for me" "Oh I didn't think you were serious" he said.I was so amazed I could not think what to say so I just walked out of the place wondering if I had been dreaming.

I wrote to head office and complained and their reply was just pathetic, amounting to "We have many satisfied customers and this is not a usual occurence" Never been back to Comet since and don't suppose I ever will.

Their Loss, and I dont suppose they care either.

  Forum Editor 08:40 19 Feb 2005

for the moment I have to say that if I was running a retail electrical store I certainly wouldn't sell a display model either.

Your display item is your selling aid - remove it and you may have made one sale, but you could miss out on twenty orders. The fact that the monitors weren't in stock is irritating, but irrelevant to the sales-person's reaction. He was right - you don't sell display items unless a line is being/has been discontinued.

  Colinp 10:29 19 Feb 2005

Whilst I accept what you say about not selling display items, I cannot see the point of displaying items for sale, if there are none to sell. I would be more inclined to move on and try another shop that have got them in stock instead of ordering the goods and then having to wait for it to, possibly, come in.

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