The following is a letter PV wrote to Rickenbacker after they refused to send him a couple of extra screws for his new Rickenbacker guitar... The letter explains everything.
November 7, 1997
Customer Service Manager
3895 S. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92707-5710
RE: Replacement Screws for Bridge on Model 381
I purchased a Rickenbacker 381 from Guitar Center in Hollywood on May 4 of this year. A couple of months ago I notice that one of the bridge screws was missing (spring loaded hex screw). It had not been missing before, and I had not made any adjustments to the guitar since I had it set up just after I bought it.
A few weeks ago, I became aware that a second screw was missing from the bridge. This came to my attention during a show, when the bridge fell over and my guitar was rendered temporarily inoperable. Again, I had made no adjustments to the guitar. I wasn't very happy that the guitar for which I had spent over $xxx was not working properly.
After having no luck finding the correct screws at several music stores while my band was on the road, I took the guitar back to Guitar Center on Friday, October 31. Isaac there called Rickenbacker and spoke to Brian. I overheard Isaac say on the phone, "I don't care. I'll take it out of my paycheck. Let's make this guy happy." It did not sound like things were going well. Isaac reported to me that the screws cost 7 cents each, and that Brian had told him to call back Monday and talk to Jeff. Isaac suggested that I might have more luck if I called myself. We both marveled at the difficulty in getting 14 cents worth of screws.
Today, I spoke to Jeff on the telephone. He informed me that he would send me 2 screws for free. I then asked if he could include a couple of extra screws, in case this problem recurs. He informed me that to get more screws, I'd have to pay for them, and there is a $10 minimum credit card purchase. "But I don't need 100 screws," I said, "Do I need to send a check for 14 cents?" He then informed me that there is a minimum shipping cost of $4.95 with any order, and they only accept money orders or cashier's checks. "So 10 screws would cost me $6, and a trip to the bank?" I said. "Can't you just put in 2 extra screws with the free ones you are already sending me." Jeff said no.
I explained to Jeff that I did not understand why a company from whom I had purchased a very expensive guitar was not willing to send me 14 cents worth of screws. I said that I thought it was strange that I had spent $xxx, and we were squabbling over 14 cents. He said, "We're not squabbling. I'll send you 2 screws." But I said I'd like a couple of extra screws in case this happens again. I said I did not want to have to glue the screws in place. He said, "I'll send you 2 screws. If you want more, you'll have to buy them."
At that point, I told Jeff that I was unsatisfied with his service and that I would like to have the name of his supervisor so that I may express my dissatisfaction in a letter to that person. He told me he could not give me that person's name. Further, when I asked for Jeff's full name, he told me I did not need to know his last name.
What kind of a customer service is this? When people don't want you to know their names, isn't that a very bad sign? We're talking about 14 cents worth of screws! And for that you need to hide the identity of your employees?
After Jeff and I hung up, I called Rickenbacker again and asked the receptionist if she could give me the name of the president of the company. She said, "No, I cannot," and then she hung up before I could reply. When I redialed the phone, she answered, "Orange County Airport."
If this is a joke, I am not amused. I am embarrassed to be performing with one of your products in front of other people who's purchasing choice I may be influencing. I am embarrassed and angry to have to deal with such offensive and stupid "customer service."
It is certainly worth $10 to me to have the security that my instrument will be operable. But didn't I just spend $xxx for just that purpose? Can I not assume that with a price tag that high, the product will perform?
The courtesy of a reply would be greatly appreciated.
c: Eric Powell, Guitar Center Hollywood
Better Business Bureau