Experiences at Fry's Electronics, Page Sixteen

August 4, 1997

I purchased a Blaupunkt stereo (supposed to be quality) from Fry's which didn't work properly. The cd audio was garbled. I returned it and was told that my stereo should have been installed by a "Certified Audio Specialist". They didn't have another one, so I wound up driving to another Fry's 50 miles away to exchange it. I got another one which would not work when it was placed in the dashboard. Apparently the outward pressure exerted by the opening in my dashboard caused the unit to not work when properly installed. There were also scratches on the unit. I furiously drove back to the second Fry's and having wasted the entire day, told my salesperson what was going on. He gave me a third one ****WITHOUT COMMENTING ON THE RECIEPT THAT THIS WAS THE 3RD ONE!!!!**** o.k. I thought.

Three months later I get in my car and turn on my $350.00 Blaupunkt to hear nothing. At this point I called my credit card company and asked what I should do in a situation like this where I am obviously getting a used and defective product. They told me to set up a dispute and return the product until the dispute is settled. So off I went to the original Fry's. I explained the situation and was told that they could send it to Blaupunkt for me. I said, "No" and told them my intentions as to returning it to them -- at this point I was threatened. "YOU'RE NO LAWYER" and "IF YOU LEAVE THAT HERE THEN I'M GOING TO HAVE TO CALL LOSS PREVENTION." I set it down and walked away to get the name of the store manager. I was told that it was the pimpled-face kid behind his picture on the Customer Service podium. I told him what was happening and he didn't care. He told me to fill out a complaint form. I wanted this guy's job. I got the name of the real store manager who surprisingly enough, wasn't this pimply-faced kid. I called at least 10 times to get hold of this fictitious person, to no avail. I ended up taking the stereo with me when I left that day, oddly though when the salesperson called Loss Prevention, he was on hold for about 10 minutes with them and nobody answered.


( another customer )

August 4, 1997

I've been shopping at the Fremont Fry's since it opened, and with technology variations, I have experienced all the shopper vexation and satisfaction of your correspondents.

As customers we assume that, since Fry's is a retail store, it adheres to the traditional "the-customer-is-always-right" and "service-is-our-middle-name" philosophy of retailing.

I truly believe that that philosopy of traditional retailing does not exist in Fry's business plan.

I once returned a $10 non-technical product and passed through the gamut of at least 8 people who were "authorized" to sign my return request, each of whom asked me to repeat my simple story that the stationery did not match the envelopes.

Let's accept the realities of successful shopping at Fry's. You...

Evidently Fry's has designed a successful (unique?) retail business plan.

They seem to know what they're doing. Now it's up to us to decide whether to play or not.

( DC )

August 5, 1997

I experienced this about year ago at the Fountain Valley store. I had heard about a really good CD called A.D.A.M (dealing with human biology) in a computer magazine and wanted to get it. Unluckily I choose Fry's as my software source. To make sure I got this CD in Fountain Valley after the 45 min drive, I called ahead to ask them to hold it for me. The CSR said, "I'll go see." I waited for some time before the person got back on line saying that they had it and it would be "No Problem." I drove to Fountain Valley. When I got there, I got in line. You know how long those lines are. When we finally reached the cashier, I told them my name and asked for the held A.D.A.M CD. The guy said that he would look for it. He went to look and then after a cursory glance, started walking back when he was accosted by one of his fellow employees. Talk ensued. I was fuming. He had found nothing and was talking with a fellow employee while I was waiting. Well, after a few minutes he finally came back and said that there was no such CD on hold. I told him to look harder. He said that there was no such CD. Well, I couldn't take it anymore and told him to wait while I went through the store to find the CD. After a period of 10 minutes in which I went to look for it, couldn't find it, asked for another CSR's help, finally found it hidden beneath another title, I brought it back. I bought it, and NO apologies were given. Maybe he felt that since I was a teen, he shouldn't apologize. About 3 days later, I got a call. It was Fry's. The CSR asked me whether or not I wanted to still keep the CD on hold at the Fountain Valley store. I literally exploded with that one!

( Andy )

August 6, 1997

I try to shop at Fry's as [little] as possible because of my 3 terrible experiences:

  1. They would not do price matching with Target on the EXACT same item. The "Person in Charge" claims "Target is NOT one of our competitors." I ended up having to drive home to fetch and return their over-price phone. Luckily I only live 4 miles away.

  2. There is this other store that sells cheaper items than Fry's but has very short operating hours. So I figure, I might as well buy the Pentium CPU from Fry's and ask for price match. Fry's "Person in Charge" claims they do not match prices with HiTech USA (the other company's name) because HiTech USA sells STOLEN merchandise! So I ended up buying from HiTech USA.

  3. A sales guy at Fry's told me that I can't get RAM any cheaper than what Fry's is selling, and if I do get it, he'll "give the SIMMs to me for FREE." Well, the next day I went in w/ a local store selling them for $2 less each, and he denied everything. So I ended up returning Fry's' over-priced RAM.

  4. THANK GOD there is now T-Zone next to Fry's here in Sunnyvale. T-Zone's people are MUCH nicer and more honest than Fry's. And their prices are in many cases cheaper than Fry's (e.g. ~$50 for 800MB tape backup, Frys wants ~$80 for the same).

( another customer )

August 8, 1997


( another customer )

August 9, 1997

I have read your Fry's pages and printed them all out. I work for another computer super store, and Fry's has recently moved into our market - as a matter of a fact, a pal of yours (xxxxx xxxxx) works for me at the "Up Grades on the Spot" in my store and he showed me your web site - keep up the good work.

I had my own experience with Fry's (Wilsonville).I bought a Mac 8500 from them (rock bottom prices) and two 32meg DIMM's...they knew the DIMM's were for a Mac, and even after I told them the DIMM's they handed me were NOT the correct ones, they insisted I was wrong (I sell RAM in my department and I know RAM) but alas, I was bullied into buying the RAM, and sure enough it was NOT the correct DIMMS. When I took 'em back I had to go thru hoops to get my money back, even tho the packaging had not even been opened... it took close to a hour to get my return slip that I had to take thru a cash register (about 2 miles from the place they did the return paperwork).

I suppose they hope you will find something else along the way or forget you have money coming to you.

( another customer )

August 11, 1997

Back in the 486 days, I purchased a 486/33 computer for my uncle. After taking it home, there were some problems with it and I ended up opening it up. Lo and behold, there was a 486SX chip instead of the DX I paid for. I gathered up the receipt and went back to Fry's the next day. After the normal wait, a tech took it behind the counter and ran a test after I told him the problem. He looked down from his exalted position and said he would check it. After running a diagnostic, he told me everything was fine. I told him he was wrong. After he became indignant, I asked him to open up the case (which he had chosen not to do before). He called others over to see that in fact they HAD been selling SX's as DX's. By the way, he never apologized to me, nor did anyone else at Fry's.

Another experience.

After shopping personally and professionally at Fry's on occasion over a period of five years it happened just once too many times. I had a purchase that exceeded their limit. Because of their own ineptitude, they had wasted over two hours of my time and now the bank was closed. They would not approve the purchase and asked that I place it on a credit card. I told them it was for my employer and they suggested I come back tomorrow when the bank was open.

I told them I had been shopping there for the past five years and had spent in that time many thousands of dollars in their store. Why I asked, did they choose to track only the performance of those who wrote bad checks when they had the option of choosing to reward their good and faithful customers? I'm not a faithful customer anymore. If they had ANY real competition, they would be out of the game altogether!

I think there are enough bad stories about Fry's to clog the WEB.

( another ? customer )

August 12, 1997

I've got two for you

  1. My wife was recently looking for an answering machine. We're new to California so we decided to go to Fry's. The first machine purchased didn't work...a lot of noise on the remote handset. The next one was in the original packaging, seemingly, but when we hooked it up, it already had incoming messages stored on it. We finally got one that works, although the digital recording is not up to the quality we were led to believe.

  2. We purchased a computer from Fry's: 200MHz Pentium, to be used as a home computer and for my wife's business. The "System" came with a monitor, but I wanted an upgrade, so we opted to purchase a 17" monitor instead of the monitor which came with the system. I purchased the extended store warranty which would give a loaner if anything went wrong. I was led to believe that the monitor was covered under this warranty. Well, the monitor crapped out after several months. The store would not give me a loaner, even though the smaller "system" monitor would have been covered. And I'm without the use of the computer, and more importantly, my wife is without the use of the computer for 4 to 6 weeks.

Needless to say, I will probably never purchase anything from Fry's again, and I will recommend to everybody to avoid their stores.

( another former customer )

August 14, 1997

I had a nasty experience with Fry's. About two years ago I purchased a 386 mother board. The board was having problems booting up. It kept complaining about the A20 line. Went back to the store. Did the exchange-from-Hell routine. Got new mother board. Same problem. Not wanting to further deal with the problem, I asked for a refund. They don't give refunds. Only store credit. OK, fine. I filled out the paperwork, etc. I asked them how I could access the store credit; what paperwork did I have to bring with me the next time, etc. I was told that I did not need any paperwork because I was in the computer. Just show my driver's liscence and that would be it. At the time I was a Fry's newbie and just like a newbie, I believed the person.

Of course when I tried to use the store credit, I was told that they did not have any information in the computer about store credit because they did not keep that information in any computer, it was all done on paper!! If I did not have my original receipt plus the store credit paperwork, well there was nothing they could do about it. Of course about 9 months had passed, I had moved and the paper work is only God knows where. The result is that I got screwed out of $120 by Fry's. Since then I have not given them any business.

( another former customer )

August 14, 1997

I was treated rudely even when I tried to buy a car stereo. I was told that it was a good deal but the sales person didn't want to spend any time with me because it was a low-cost item. When I tried to return it I was given all kinds of hassle. It was never opened and I only had it for 3 days. The hassle was having to go to two different counters and stand in long lines. The big mistake was writing a check. I had to wait 14 days before their corporate office would even send a check. They cashed mine within 24 hours! When I did not receive it they did not want to refund my money because they said a check was already cut. I told them that didn't do me any good because I didn't receive it. To make a long story short, they treated me like an idiot who didn't deserve their money back and would have to take it up with the post office. Frustrated, I asked for the Store Manager in charge, who claimed that she had no authority to help me. ETC. ETC. ETC. They did not give me my money back, and my only alternative is to wait until they determine that enough time has gone by to warrant a stop payment, which is a hassle for them. When I asked to speak to the store manager, they told me that he was on the floor with customers and could not be bothered. I was not considered a customer? Any way, I will never shop at Fry's no matter what!. There is another store that is directly across the street from them in Sunnyvale called T-Zone. What a great place! If you need computer stuff, that's the best place to go for service and a real customer-oriented philosophy. I can see by the number of negative messages about Fry's that they really don't care what we think. I am so glad that this forum is here so that anyone who is looking for their homepage stumbles across this too. It needs to be broadcast and they need to learn that they are not the only place in town anymore.

( another former customer )

Page Author's note: As noted above, T-Zone is no longer in business.

August 16, 1997

I too have been a victim of the Fry Bug. However my experience is that you will get ripped anywhere if you let them. Simply don't let anyone rip U off.

( another customer )

August 17, 1997

Dave - I know you're not actively seeking input on this subject - but after reading all four pages (which print out to a lot more), I had to write. The Fry's in Manhattan Beach is close to my work. When it opened, it had a banner out front that said "High Tech Professionals Welcomed." After shopping there a couple of times, and asking for the assistance of the sales people, everyone at my work knows why the sign. If you aren't one, you won't find what you need.

Thanks, for letting me give you my two cents.

( L.S. )

August 17, 1997

I bought a Javascript book at Fry's, which was pretty well worn. It seems that it was the last copy. Anyway, the title looked good - learn JavaScript in a week. The book was useless, jumping from easy to difficult in one chapter, so I went to return it. Lo and behold, it had a CDROM in the back that I was unaware of and didn't really care about. So, when I went to return it, the cashiers found that the CD was cracked - (I had never mistreated the book in any way). It had probably been returned five or ten times from the look of the book, and Fry's of course would just put it back on the shelf in the same state, hoping that some sucker like myself would wait more than 15 days to look at the book.

Their return policy is 30 days on books, but since there is "software involved," the policy was 15 days. The manager offered to replace the book that I didn't want with another book with a good CDROM. He said that what I bought was software, not a book. His assistant went to look for the book, but couldn't find one. So, the manager just said "Sorry, but software must be returned unopened, and within 15 days." I asked the assistant what aisle he was in when he was trying to find a replacement for the book, and he said the book aisle,. so I can't understand the argument that I was returning software. I figured that I could return the book, and they could put it back on the shelf, and some other unsuspecting Fry's customer could buy the damaged goods until they got rid of it. I guess I was the one. I've spent untold thousands at Fry's, but this was just too much. No more.

One other time, I bought a CD-ROM player and a sound card. The floppy disk inside was bad, so I couldn't install the drivers. One morning I brought the floppy disk back and asked for someone to make a disk copy, and I would be satisfied. I guess that this was light years beyond anyone's comprehension at Fry's, for what actually happened was bizarre. Right in front of me, they took a floppy out of another sound kit box, and gave it to me. Then, they put my bad floppy back in the box, and put it back on the shelf as a new item. At least I got out of there satisfied. Do they go out of their way to disappoint people?

( another former customer )

August 17, 1997

I came to your "Fry's page" by accident while looking for the actual Fry's Electronics page ( or whatever ). At any rate, I started reading...and I came to several conclusions:

  1. You have obviously never worked in a large retail ELECTRONICS store before.
  2. You have too much time on your hands.
  3. You complain too much.
  4. You shouldn't shop at Fry's.

I hope this doesn't sound like hate mail-I have no association with the place whatsoever. But I get mad when people get this upset over things like this. I'll bet your a male about the age of 45-55. Am I right? Just taking a little poll, that's all.

Try some other store or stop purchasing electronics all together.

See ya.

( andrew )

Page Author's note:

Dear Andrew:

  1. I have never worked in a large retail electronics store. I have worked in the public sector for a long time, however, and I have never mistreated customers as badly as Fry's does.

  2. Most readers are aware that I don't write all these e-mails, they come from people all over several states.

  3. See above. MANY people are treated poorly.

  4. Most people have figured that out. The more people who read how poorly Fry's helps their customers, the fewer people will shop at Fry's and get screwed.

Thank you for sending your comments; and YOU'RE WELCOME for me not printing your e-mail address. I suspect a few people would have a few words for you.


August 18, 1997


We just got our first Fry's in Phoenix. I was afraid that you might decide that your page had been available long enough and remove it, but we're just learning about Fry's here and I want to direct friends, etc., to your page.

BTW, they've officially been open about 2 weeks and I've already been Fryed once... They are SO DIFFERENT from the stores we're used to down here, and many innocent, unsuspecting people will be learning that soon.

( Daryl )

Page Author's note: Apparently the store is actually in the city of Tempe.

August 18, 1997


As an employee of Frys' new Wilsonville, OR store I am very interested in any complaints from consumers. I will be visiting your site often (and others when I find them) but could you please forward any messages to me directly concerning the Wilsonville store? It would be much appreciated.

( an employee )

August 19, 1997

Believe it or not, I actually was able to make a purchase at Fry's with only *mild* nuisances. My mom and I drove over to the Anaheim (Space) Fry's yesterday (8/18/97) to buy a 16 Meg SIMM for my laptop, since it was priced at $88 instead of the usual $240 or so. Prior to the trip, I tried calling to see if they had it in stock, but after twenty minutes of ringing (thank God I have a speakerphone!), I just gave up.

Anyway, the salesperson didn't have any idea what we were looking for, but I was able to point it out on the wall of price-stickers. For some reason, they needed to know our name. The sales guy printed out our order and we walked to the registers and finished the purchase within fifteen minutes of arriving! The only delay was the five minute wait for the cage-people to fetch the memory.

I made sure to check the RAM before we left - I brought my laptop with me. It worked, shockingly, and I am now able to actually use my laptop (try using Windows 95 w/8 MB of RAM).

I guess that was sort of compensation for the nightmare trip I had two days earlier. We went to Fry's that time to buy some printer ink (costs about four dollars less per cartridge), phone connectors, other stuff. The checkout person took over fifteen minutes keying in each individual item at least twice. Apparently, he kept making mistakes, and it was obvious that this was his first experience with a keyboard. Then, the horrendous check check thing - fifteen minutes. When we reached "the Final Indignity," there were three employees talking to each other and one of them just sort of reached out, pulled the receipt a very small distance away, marked it, and handed it back.

Oh well, that trip was one of the better experiences I've had at Fry's...thanks for the great site!

( Ryan )

August 21, 1997

I had a strange trip to the Fry's Electronics in Palo Alto recently.

I went to the store and bought a video game and a memory card for my Sony Playstation. Having anticipated this game for several months I rushed home and played it. This game was no where near the level I had expected. It was an awful game, in addition to that, my memory card didn't work. I was very upset, so the next morning I woke up early and drove back to the Palo Alto store. I waited about 15 minutes as other customers were arguing about returning items they had bought. Finally it was my turn. I told the guy that I wanted to return the game that I had bought at 9:00 pm the previous night, and that it wasn't the game I thought it was (obviously this is my fault for not knowing about the game, and Fry's doesn't run a rental store, but I thought I might try anyway). As I would have expected, the salesman told me, "This is software, and software is unreturnable if opened, unless it is defective." I felt like arguing, so I said, "but it's a CD.......you can't copy CD's on to a playstation like a computer" He still disagreed. Finally.. Seeing that I wasn't going to win (and it was against policy anyway) I changed my attitude abruptly in the middle of our convestion and said, "ACTUALLY, this game is defective!!!!" He changed accordingly (like a robot or something), and said, "Oh, it's defective, then we can exchange it for the same game," which he did. So I got the same game. Then I told him that the memory card didn't work. He told me that I had to bring this to the attention of the company that made it, and deal with it there....

I left the store only to re-enter 3 minutes later and returned the newly wrapped old game that I didn't want. I got a store credit.

As for the memory card, the company, "Interact," told me to send it in for a new one. I did, and they sent me another one (which was also defective). I did this one more time, and received the same results.

Finally I gave up and lost $18.00. At least I got a new video game out of the Stupidity of Fry's!!! I love beating Fry's at their own game.

( another customer )

August 22, 1997

First of all... I am suprised to see so many bad experiences at Frys. I have to admit, I wasn't overly impressed by their way of doing things, [but] I didn't think that this many people were having similar problems.

Two weeks ago, a brand new Fry's Electronics opened up in Tempe, Arizona (I'm pretty sure that this is the first Fry's outside of California). My dad, having worked in California before and gone to a Fry's there, said that this was a great store so I decided to try it out.

When I got there, I was impressed. I walked over to the computer section and began looking around for some things I had been planning on buying. I walked to the display of motherboards, found a Pentium MB that was $69. That was a pretty good price, so I wanted to see one in the box to make sure that it was the same thing. I couldn't find it. I asked a person that I assumed worked there, but she only knew about the disk drives (the disk drives are next to the motherboards) Needless to say, I didn't buy anything that day.

The next day, I went back with a friend that wanted to by some network cards. We found the network stuff, but we didn't know much about them. I found someone standing by the monitors, and asked them what cable I needed to go from a 10 Base-T card to a hub. He only knew about monitors and said that there should be someone over in the network cards. (There wasn't) We bought two cards, and took a guess on the cable. Luckily it worked.

I've been back to the store twice more since then and have many more stories, but I feel I've taken enough of your time. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll ever go back to Fry's. The store seems to only be there for the people who know exactly what they are getting, and the employees are only security guards.

( Ben )

I am no longer actively soliciting comments to be posted on this page.

The experiences posted here are those of the individuals involved.

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Last updated at 17:45 PDT on September 4, 1998.
David W. Schultheis, San Josť, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County, California, USA