I hate Black Friday shopping with a passion and would never actually go to a store to participate in that madness. But since I needed a new generator, I spent a number of hours researching various brands and models. In spring I got a new Harbor Freight Predator generator that lasted less than 6 months — CRAP! FYI, the Harbor Freight warranty requires you to SHIP the generator for repairs and that makes the warranty pretty much useless.
Over the years I’ve owned at least a couple Champion generators and I had been using my previous Champion for over 2 years with almost daily use for several hours. So, back to Champion it is.
A generator mechanical question: I’ve been running my old Champion for at least two months since the Harbor Freight Predator generator kinda died and while the Champion still runs great, it doesn’t put out much power anymore. I read somewhere to plug in a hair dryer (or other high watt appliance) occasionally to make the brushes last longer. Is that true? Is there a way to replace brushes without a major expense?
So I looked online for a 3000 – 4000 running watts model and I could have bought a Champion with free shipping on Amazon for around $279 plus tax. TSC had the Champion 3650W online on sale for $250 (regular $330) plus tax and I decided to order a week ago on Black Friday.
I got an order confirmation, but the next morning I received a CANCELLATION.
WHAT? The cancellation stated no reason whatsoever:
Hello Christine Baker,
Your order # XXXXX has been cancelled and you have not been charged for the item(s) listed below.If your order was paid for by a gift card, you will receive a refund check via mail for the cancelled amount paid for on the gift card. In the event that you paid with part credit card and part gift card, the amount tendered to the credit card was not charged and the applicable amount applied to the gift card will be refunded via mailed check.
Please feel free to contact our Customer Solutions Center with any questions, changes, or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org or 877-718-6750 Monday – Saturday, 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. CST and Sunday 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. CST.
Thank you for shopping Tractor Supply Company.
Tractor Supply Customer Solutions Team
TSC calls canceling the order a “solution?”
I emailed asking why my order was canceled and they wrote back:
… The order was cancelled due to incorrect billing information. …
I checked my credit card and there were two TSC authorizations and one credit. I called and was in automated HELL, having to press numerous buttons after listening to never endings menus, adding order #, etc. Many companies transfer you to an operator when you press zero, but TSC just hangs up on you.
Eventually I got to a person who explained to me that the order was cancelled due to an error in the billing address. We found out that my credit card issuer had AGAIN decided to SLIGHTLY change the street address by adding an “N” for north and it dropped the last 3 digits for the suite number. I’ve been using this card without any problem on many occasions online and in many different stores and gas stations.
I can’t remember having an online order cancelled AFTER it was successfully placed. I was informed that TSC processes the order, but then they do a “security check” within an hour and if something is wrong, they simply cancel the order, obviously without any attempt to resolve the issue.
MOST companies would give you a call or send you an email to resolve the issue, but NOT TSC. TSC could not care less about a lost sale.
It’s also worth noting that I have ordered several times previously online from TSC — am NOT a new customer!
So they changed the address to exactly what the bank had and I thought I wasn’t hearing right when the total came to over $350! The sale was over. She did give me the sales price after I objected, but WHY don’t they give me the sales price right away?
Once again I had to wait to see whether the order got cancelled again, I received no cancellation email and I thought that finally everything was good.
That was MONDAY.
The days went by and I got no shipping notice. Just as I was getting ready to call TSC again, I received the next email this morning:
I need to verify the order you placed with us for the generator. Could you call me at your convenience at 615.440.4359?
Tractor Supply Company
At least I got a direct phone number this time, but of course I had to leave a VM and I informed Genevia that I’d like to change the shipping address. Because UPS had stopped delivering to my house after the monsoon storms (supervisor Jean Bishop did NOTHING to fix the dangerous roads!), I decided to have the generator shipped to a neighbor right off Charles. I also had placed several Amazon orders on Black Friday for non essential items and tried my own address. Since UPS already delivered several days ago (residents got the roads into better condition), I might as well have TSC ship to me directly because I really need the generator!
I waited and waited and waited for Genevia to get back to me.
I have a gazillion calls to make and have so much work to do outside. After a couple of hours I sent an email. More waiting …
I called again and this time I got lucky and Genevia answered her phone. She advised that she had forwarded my order to customer service as she can’t change the shipping address. Customer service will call me.
As per TSC procedures, Genevia didn’t bother to let me know!
Could they have more contempt for their customers?
Notably, I SPECIFICALLY addressed the fact that I was shipping to a neighbor’s address on Monday and I was informed that it is NOT a problem at all as they routinely ship gifts to other addresses.
I asked Genevia for a DIRECT number to customer service and she would not give me one. All she can do is provide their toll free number (automation hell) or transfer me. I asked to be transferred. Genevia transferred me to automation hell. I didn’t have the stomach to deal with it and decided to start writing this post instead.
It’s now almost 3 pm. No call. No email.
This is how America does business. 20 years ago corporations would send me a $50 gift certificate or issue a credit when they screwed up. In a case like this, they probably would have sent the generator free of charge.
NOW, all you get is lame excuses and INSINCERE apologies. I don’t give a rat’s ass about apologies — they don’t pay my bills .
TSC has wasted so much of my time and caused so much aggravation.
The only reason I’m not ordering elsewhere is that I’m already so invested in this order (AT LEAST 10 hours of aggravation) and I want to see what happens. What will happen next?
Great deals on Amazon:
Here’s a Champion with the slightly smaller engine on Amazon for $279, including tax and shipping to Meadview for a total of $295.32 with delivery by Wednesday (it’s Friday afternoon now). They also have a dual fuel (gas and propane) Champion generator for $500 with free shipping. Checked out http://www.championpowerequipment.com/, but apparently they don’t sell directly to consumers. Lots of info, reviews and answers to questions at the Champion site.
I’m sending the link to this TSC nightmare post to Genevia:
Please forward this email with my review of the WORST shopping experience at [link to this post] in many years to your management for comments.
Of course I don’t expect a meaningful (if any) response. TSC doesn’t HAVE to care.
Americans are too damned stupid to demand the service they deserve.
And it doesn’t help that almost all companies have HORRIBLE customer service, although TSC truly excels at incompetence and contempt for their customers.
I’ll look for a new source of dog food (been buying the TSC grain free brand) and I might still pick up a bargain at their store, but I’ll definitely check with True Value for my fencing etc. needs. Heck, even the Home Depot is a better place to shop!
Update 12/13/16: On Friday the generator finally arrived — at my friend’s house, as they did NOT process the address change. My review posted at TSC (likely will be deleted):
I expect the generator to run as well as my previous Champions. However, ordering from TSC was a huge mistake! Ordered online Black Friday, they CANCELLED my order without providing a reason. Emailed, called, endless hours on the phone, new order was placed the following Monday, but NOT shipped until a week later. It was finally delivered on 12/9. Will never order from TSC again.
Sure wish I’d ordered from Amazon.
Update 12/15/16: The generator was damaged in transit:
Normally I wouldn’t be too upset because shipping can cause damage occasionally. The upsetting part was having to call TSC again and it actually took me a couple days to work myself up to calling their automated hell. I knew it wouldn’t be a simple 5 minute call.
So, they have this model in the Kingman store. I agree to a simple exchange, no shipping cost required for them. I tell the CSR that I’m 60 miles from Kingman and just was in town. She calls the store to confirm availability and then tells me that I’m supposed to pick it up within 24 hours. WHAT????
No way. I was just in Kingman a few days ago and my next trip is to Vegas. She tells me it’s “store policy.” I ask her why it’s NOT store policy to require pickup of items ordered online within 24 hours. I repeatedly asked for a manager, but she didn’t transfer me and instead demanded that I give her the date of my next trip to Kingman. How would I know? I’m going to Vegas. She couldn’t tell me whether they have a store in Vegas because I couldn’t provide a zip code. I offered to drive to Kingman today if they issued a $50 credit.
She called the Kingman store again and finally told me that the manager assured her that they’d hold the generator for a couple weeks.
I was on the phone at least half an hour. I should have just sent them an email to pick up the generator and pay UPS again.
I’ll be damned if I EVER order from TSC again.