I thanked the employee that had asked if I needed any help, guided me to what I was looking for within Best Buy, and answered my questions. As I began to turn away, he said, “Oh, just one more thing. Who is your cable provider?”
It was at that moment I noticed for the first time he was wearing a shirt with the DIRECTV logo embroidered into it.
I knew exactly what was coming next as he led me to a table where he pulled out a notebook and started asking me more questions. He wrote information I was providing about my cable service in the left column, and lower prices that could be my new DIRECTV package in the right column. As we were talking, a voice in my head kept repeating the phrase that I had used so many times before to successfully avoid these kind of scenarios:
“I don’t want to waste your time or mine. I’m not interested.”
But the words never came out of my mouth.
Fortunately for me, the longer we talked, I recognized and mentally noted the warning signs that could mean trouble if I actually gave in and signed up for DIRECTV that day.
Nothing in Writing: I told the guy I was in a hurry, but I’d be glad to take a pamphlet with the information so I could review it and make an informed decision. He didn’t have any official documentation outlining the package he was offering me. That would be convenient for them if I didn’t receive everything I was promised.
Gross Generalizations: He told me I had about 120 channels, but I would get over 150 from them. He has no idea how many channels I have, nor does he know what I watch. In order to make an apples to apples comparison I would need to look at what channels I currently have, and compare them to the ones I would get through them. But of course, he didn’t have that information to show me.
Grand Promises: He really pushed the fact that the channels were broadcast in 1080p high definition format as opposed to the 720p which is currently the best my cable company offers. He didn’t know, of course, that I don’t currently own a TV capable of 1080p resolution. He certainly didn’t ask either.
High Pressure: I told him that would need to talk to my wife before signing up. His response was, “What is it you think she will object to?” I told him that making a decision about an expense that will cost us over a grand for the next twelve months is a pretty big deal, and that my wife and I talk about things like that before jumping into anything.
Speed: I started to walk away, telling him my ride was waiting for me when he made once last ditch effort to hook me in. “I can call my guy and have you signed up in less than 7 minutes.”
I smiled and did half an eye roll as I recounted the details regarding the situation:
- I had no official documentation about the package he was offering me
- I didn’t know exactly how it stacked up against my current cable package
- He was pushing a high definition resolution that I can’t take advantage of
- He was pushing me to do it without talking to my wife
- He wanted me to decide to buy something that would cost us over $1000 in less than 7 minutes.
For all I know it could have been the deal of a lifetime, but the red flags had all the warning signs of being a financial misstep. Additionally, his high pressure sales technique has guaranteed that I will never even consider moving to DIRECTV. I may even send an email to DIRECTV AND Best Buy letting them know just what I think about being a victim of retail assault (is that a new phrase?) at the hands of their representative when all I wanted was to look at a new network adapter for my computer.
Have you ever been a victim of retail assault, or any other kind of high pressure sales tactics? How did you handle it?