Allow me to summarize this letter first:
1)I received poor customer service (I was ignored due to the phone ringing while I was in the store),
2)Immediately complained and asked to speak to the manager
3)The associate that I was to complain about had the county sheriff summoned
4)I was charged with trespassing and disturbing the peace.
Hopefully this summary will shock you as much as it still shocks me.
I have been a loyal customer for Advance Auto Parts for over a decade. I live in Virginia and prefer to give my business to businesses in Virginia, if possible. In Charlottesville, I have a choice to buy auto parts from Advance Auto or Auto Zone and I have chosen Advance Auto until the event that occurred on January 19, 2013.
I had experienced in the past that the store would have a line of customers while associates would sometimes answer the telephone. It was frustrating to think that a customer in the store would receive a lower priority than a customer who would call over the telephone. Be that as it may, I entered the store in Charlottesville on the afternoon of January 19, 2013 with my two children (age 10 and 11) to buy a magnetic key box.
There were two associates present at the time and both were speaking on the telephone behind the counters. My kids and I could not find the item we were looking for so we waited. We were the only customers in the store. Nearly five minutes had past when a third associate (the assistant manager) walked into the front door. I walked towards her to ask for help and before the words came out of my mouth, the phone rang. She pointed towards the phone, walked behind the counter and began a conversation with what I believe was another customer wanting help.
This frustrated me. Not only was I present in the store needing help, but I was in the store before the telephone rang. I thought to myself that I would get better customer service if I would take my mobile phone from my pocket and call the store while being in the store. So I decided to complain.
I walked up to the counter, asked the assistant manager to please end the call so she could help me since I was “first”. She rudely responded that she was helping a customer and that I needed to wait. During her explanation, she pointed the telephone receiver at me and I reached over and sat the receiver on the counter. I then asked to speak to the manager about her behavior and she indicated she was the assistant manager. I assured her I would contact the manager. She then said to me that I had no right to set the telephone receiver on the counter. My next request was to ask how to contact the manager. Her response was “I can get that information on the window near the door and that she was now calling the county sheriff”.
Not taking her threat seriously, I walked away with my kids, noted the manager’s name on the window and drove away without being asked to leave.
Once home, I contacted the Advance Auto Parts Customer Complaint phone number and described what had just happened. I was told a manager or district manager would contact me.
Hours later I received a call from Albemarle County Police asking if I own the car that the assistant manager had apparently written down my license plate. I confirmed it was me and the police officer indicated this incident may result (but not likely) in Advance Auto Parts asking me to no longer come to the store by ways of a no trespassing order. This all seemed a bit “over-the-top” and I felt certain once I spoke to the manager or district manager, my complaint would be acknowledged and quite possibly be feedback for Advance Auto to use to adjust phone policy.
Several weeks later, I was shocked when a police officer knocked on my door late on a Friday night and served me with two Warrants of Arrest. I have included copies with this letter for your review. The first warrant indicates trespassing (please note I was never asked or told to leave the store. I had simply run out of time since I had waited over five minutes before the assistant manager arrived). The second warrant indicates disturbing of the peace. Needless to say, I was now truly dismayed.
Mind you, I had not received a call back from a manager or district manager. So I contacted the manager and asked him if filing two criminal lawsuits seemed like the appropriate way to handle a customer who had been treated the way I was treated. The manager was not aware that the assistant manager had filed the suits. I find this to be incredible since she was representing Advance Auto Parts. So I asked if he would drop the two charges (this was suggested to me by the policeman who served the warrants). The manager said he would get back with me within four days.
Two weeks past and the manager never contacted me. I called today looking for a reply and the manager indicated he was not involved so he could do nothing to help.
The sherriff department advised they would drop the disturbing the peace charge but since the assistment manager filed a complaint against me they must at least keep the no trespass charge. What a awful place. You come in to give them business and they prefer to talk on the phone and tell you to never come back.
Auto Zone is my new store.
Product or Service Mentioned: Advance Auto Parts Manager.
Monetary Loss: $850.