Beware of Mall Kiosks: Just a Little Review of Precision Time

I do a few business reviews on Yelp, NOCO and right here on my blog. In fact, here is one I just wrote that was published this week.

I do my best to give businesses the benefit of the doubt and speak positively when I can. Because, let’s be honest, I want local businesses to succeed. Good retail is good for the local economy, and that is good for me as a resident.

That said, every once in a while a company inspires me to take a different approach to my reviews. This is one of those times.

I should have known better.

I know what they say. Don’t buy things from the kiosks at the mall. They’re not even real stores, they’re fly-by-night operations. They’re shifty. I avoid mall kiosks because you never know what you’re going to get. And this week I was reminded why.

It all began when I lost my favorite watch in the whole world, a beautiful Fossil with Austrian crystals. It was missing for three months. I have been devastated. After searching far and wide for it, I returned to the store to see if they had it in stock. They didn’t. And so on Thursday night, I found myself at Chesterfield Mall on my way home from work, searching for a replacement watch.

I came across a kiosk called Precision Watches. They had some very beautiful watches in some very reputable brands. I first looked to see if I could find something similar to the watch I had lost. Unfortunately, Fossil has jumped on the ceramic watch craze so my watch from last season was nowhere in sight. I finally settled upon a very nice Sottomarino Italia watch. I had never heard of the brand but the woman at the counter was very keen on it. It was a very pretty watch. And it was on sale. After giving it some thought, I made my purchase. The woman removed a couple of links and put them along with the watch in the box.

On my way home, I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be funny if I found my beloved Fossil watch now that I have spent $56 on a new one?” No way.  That would never happen.

Except it did.

I came home with my mall purchases and eagerly started organizing my closet so as to hide the items from my husband. After all, we have an agreement to be careful with our frivolous spending these days. And, while I’m sure most people would agree that the embellished black flats from Bakers and the scrumptiously scented perfume I bought from Bath and Body Works were necessary purchases, I decided to hide them anyway.

In my cleaning frenzy, I came across an overnight bag and thought, “No, no way did I forget to check this bag.” Right there in the side pocket, hanging on my closet door, was my beautiful Fossil watch! Hooray! I was so excited I ran downstairs to show my husband. He was understandably confused seeing as this was about 20 minutes after I had just shown him the new watch I had bought. I’m sure he imagined that my “losing my favorite watch for three months” was all a scheme to have an excuse to go shopping for another one.

No problem, I thought. The watch is still in the box. I have my receipt. I wore it for a few minutes at most. I will just stop by and return it this weekend. Friday and Saturday I wore my beloved Fossil with pride. The new watch sat undisturbed in the sweet orange box it came in, ready to be returned.

Yesterday, I went back to the kiosk. A young man was there this time.

Me: (smiling and unsuspecting) Hello, I’d like to return this watch. There’s nothing wrong with it. I just found my old one the day I bought this one.

Him: (looking oddly defensive for no reason) Ok…um…hang on a second.

At this point he walked away from me, got on the phone, made a call and returned to the counter.

Him: Yeah. I just spoke to my manager. You can’t return a watch that’s been customized. You sized it.

Now, I’ve heard of customizing cars, customizing computers, hell, I’ve even heard of custom stereo systems. But I had no idea what customizing a watch entailed. Visions of watches with spinners and sound systems popped into my head.

Me: (confused) Customized? I did what to it? What do you mean? I didn’t do anything to it. It has been sitting in the box for two days.

Him: When we removed the links, it was sized.

I kept my cool, even though I was starting to realize what had just happened. I had just been beaten by the mall kiosk fine print.

Me: But the woman never said anything about the watch being non-returnable.

Him: It’s on this sign. (motioning to a placard on the counter which I had not noticed when I was staring at all the pretty watches two nights before)

My heart sank. really? Who can look at a sign when there is a case full of shiny objects in front of them? Ok, I admit. I should have read the sign.

Me: But, it hasn’t been worn. It is still in the box. And she even put the links and hardware right there in the little packet in the box. It only took a few seconds to remove the links. Can’t you put them back in to sell to someone else?

Him: We can’t.

Me: Okay, well can I at least find out when a manager comes back?

Him: (handing me a card) We don’t have a manager, but here is a toll-free number you can call. They can help you better than I can.

I left feeling like there was some hope I might be able to return it still. I mean, the guy said that the toll-free number would be able to help me better than he could, right? It seemed pretty unfair that the woman just removed the links without telling me I was permanently “customizing” the watch. I immediately called the number. No answer. I called again. No answer. Just a recorded message telling me to visit their website.

Then I figured, well, if I have to keep this watch, I might be able to either give it as a gift or sell it on ebay or Craigslist. I knew I would never wear it because I had my Fossil watch back. Besides, if I kept it, I would always be reminded of my foolish decision to shop at a kiosk. I decided if someone else might want it, I should put the links back and let them “customize” it on their own. I went back to the kiosk.

Me: Can you please put the links back in to the watch?

Him: Why? (He sneered. I swear to God, this kid actually sneered. He gave me the most disgusted, condescending look I have ever received from any retail person. Ever.) 

Me: (what I should have said) Why? Why?! Because it’s none of your Goddamn business, you little punk. That’s why!

Me: (what I actually said, smiling sweetly) Because I might want to sell it on ebay.

An extended uncomfortable silence.

Him: It will be $15 to put the links in.

I was shocked by the audacity in asking a customer who has literally just bought a watch to pay for an adjustment to the watch she had just bought. Really? You have an obviously disappointed customer, and all you have to do to make it right with her is to return the watch to its original form. Yet, you have the chutzpah to ask me to give you even MORE money at this point? Wow. At this point it wasn’t about the $15. Hell, I spent more than that on the perfume I bought at Bath and Body. Now I was just annoyed by this guy’s unwillingness to do anything to help me out. It was an opportunity to squeeze a few more bucks out of me, the dope who bought a watch at a kiosk.

Me: So, do you normally charge people who just bought a watch from you $15 to adjust the size of the watch? The woman was all too eager to do it last time.

Him: Well, maybe I can give you a discount. Or you could just sell it the way it is.

Me: Nevermind.

I called the customer service number two more times and no one ever answered.

As I was leaving, I decided NOT to blog about this experience because I figure I am at fault for not reading the fine print. I readily admit that. However, I gave this company several opportunities to make things right with me, and they threw each one back in my face.

Today I changed my mind about the blog entry when I went to the website for Precision Time. There is a page encouraging customers to use social media, particularly bloggers, to promote their company. In fact, here is what it says, literally (I can’t make this shit up):

“We at Precision Time want to harness the power of the interweb, specifically the power of the blogger. We figure if we get the bloggers on our side, the Twitterers and Facebookers will soon fall… follow…..We will give you watches to blog about our special sales and promotions. It’s a great way to stock up on gifts or grow your watch collection.”

Wow! That’s awesome, Precision Time. You must be very proud of yourself for harnessing the power of social media. As a marketing communications professional, I admire your embrace of social media. But here’s the thing, it’s not all about getting followers and fans. You also need to provide good customer service when real humans are visiting your real kiosks. And when you treat your paying customers like shit, you are giving me a reason to blog about that too.

The coolest part is, you didn’t even have to give me a free watch to write about you. In fact, I paid for it AND you got a review out of it.

So enjoy the free publicity from THIS blogger!

Anyone want to buy a watch?
Look, it's been "customized"!

Update: A follow up to this post can be found here.

58 comments

  1. Glad you found that Fossil. And thanks for the warning about the kiosk. I won’t even tease you about buying from a store that has wheels!

  2. I feel sure that if you were there with the watch to have it “resized” without returning it, they would have done it without charge. The young man should never have sneered at you. You should’ve been informed when the woman took out the links that it was being “customized” and was therefore non-returnable.

  3. I have a Skagen watch that needed the band replaced. The girl from the same kiosk said she’d order it and call when it came in. I never got the call, and they had no clue when I stopped and asked. Quickly lost this customer when I realized they weren’t for real. That location (and I guess all) suck.

    • Teresa,
      I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at generalizations but, here I am responding to you. One bad experience at one store does not mean they all suck. What the associate should have told you is that if you want brand specific parts your best bet is to order them from the company of manufacture, in your case skagen. A simple internet search would solve your issue. It would be shipped directly to your house and with a small minimum repair charge of 9.99 Precision Time will install it for you if you are not able to do it yourself. Print out the 20 percent off form off the internet and save 2 bucks.

      Your only misfortune is that the associate didn’t have the right answer and hoped someone else did and their poor email got lost in the many that the WSC receive and try to handle with care. The associate who then see’s too many people to distinguish you from the 40 plus people they see a day did not remember this one interaction. Forgive them for their lack of follow up. I am sorry that your info got lost in the fray.
      Too bad there is not a comment to show you the good things that happen at Precision. The watches they restore, the people that they help:
      A lady with a mens guess that they put in a new crystal, battery package and cleaning that was her son’s watch who had just passed away in a car accident. The expression on her face said it all! I only wished I could have been there when whe handed it to her husband.
      The old man who entrusted me with the last gift his wife ever gave him before she passed on. A simple timex but, worth more than anything on this green earth.

      Their smiles and joy far outweigh any bad experiences. We are not infallible, perfect and we expect that mistakes and accidents will happen. Even after the years I’ve been with them I still make mistakes. So here let me change your bad experience into a good one and go the extra mile just for you! The link below is the link for the form to get the part you need from skagen.

      http://www.skagen.com/content/securePDF/SK_Parts_Nov2310.pdf
      Follow the instructions on the form and hopefully you will be able to wear your watch soon. Just remember that Precision Time helped you and that we do not all suck.

    • Thanks for the suggestion. I might try that. I have to admit though, they didn’t do anything illegal. The sign was right there. They just provided some terrible customer service. I wonder if the mall would be concerned as long as they are getting their rent.

  4. Margie, I admit fully that I should have known better than to shop at a store on wheels.
    Wow, Teresa. That’s bad. I wish I had asked you before I went!
    A guy on Facebook saw my link and shared his horror story with me too.

    I’m just glad it was on sale and I didn’t pay the full price on it. It was a $56 lesson learned.

  5. Why would they ask for feedback when they knowingly have crappy policies…. clearly repeat business is not one of their goals. They should stick to retaining the customers they have and ease up on trying ot gain new “friends”

  6. Why did he tell you, “We don’t have a manager…” when earlier he told you he was on the phone with his manager. Yeah. I just spoke to my manager. You can’t return a watch that’s been customized. You sized it.

    He doesn’t sound very honest.

      • He would have called the Manager at St. Claire or West County, since he would of answered to the closest store manager in his area. If they were unavailable he would have called me. Beyond the sizing, The Sotto shown in the photo for $56 was in fact on Clearance. Did you know the watch also has a sapphire crystal? YES! So the crystal to replace is more then the increadable sale you got on the watch. I do appologize for the attempet to charge you to replace the links, that is always free on watches purchased with our stores. So if you took the advice to replace links at a jewelers; it would still be non returnable. I am sorry for the shortage of staff at the location you visited. Eric and my self have been running our store for many years. Eric is at West County and I am in Clarksville, TN. I truley hope the Ozzi is not employeed with us. I would be the first to let him go.

      • Jenifer, thanks for commenting! I wrote this a year ago, so I’m not really sure why my post has attracted so much more attention from Precision Time employees in the past week. But I guess that’s the way the internet works. Old news becomes new again when people start talking about it. The truth is, I haven’t thought much about Precision Time in the year since I wrote the post, and I was satisfied with the way the corporate office handled my complaint. In fact, I wrote a very nice follow up post about a week after I wrote the original. Here’s the follow up post in case you didn’t see it: https://annieharm.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/precision-time-a-follow-up-post/. Thanks again for reaching out. I appreciate it.
        Annie

  7. Annie,

    I am glad you found your watch. As far as your 56 dollar ‘mistake’ goes. The associate was rude to sneer at you but we both know you clearly intended to come back later and return that watch. Clearly a violation of policy. His behavior prevented you from becoming dishonest.

    A sizing is free with purchase. They give you a nifty little coupon. So that a watch doesn’t have to be sized at purchase and would still be returnable because it would not have been sized.

    The associate who sized it obviously felt comfortable that you were going to wear and love this watch because you picked it out and wanted it fitted to your wrist. If you had reservations about the watch you could have plainly asked about the return policy before purchasing, the actions of a wise consumer.

    Most of us assume that people can read and a sign posted with the return policy is not hiding or trying to be dishonest about anything. I guess that is too much to expect. Even you admit that you should have read the sign. I am glad that PT is working to resolve this situation per your post on their facebook:

    “In all fairness to Precision Time, they have since offered to rectify my most unfortunate situation and I give them credit for following up with me. It does make me feel better as a customer to know that even if I couldn’t get satisfaction at the bricks and mortar level or via the customer service number, the company was available through the power of Facebook. Thank you very much!” Annie

    Policies are put in place because of the people out there that take advantage of stores. Watches that are worn, sized or modified are not accepted back because companies do not want to sell ‘used’ merchandise and I do not want to buy used merchandise.

    I’m sorry that you felt wronged. I’m sorry that the associate was not well-disciplined in his behaviour. We are all glad that you found your beloved watch. I am sorry that you did not give that lovely little watch a chance to become your new favorite.

    • Like I said in my earlier comment, “I have to admit though, they didn’t do anything illegal. The sign was right there. They just provided some terrible customer service.” You are 100% right. They didn’t do anything against their own policy. My opinion however, is that their policy sucks.

      And to your comment, “His behavior prevented you from becoming dishonest.” I am just so grateful that he kept my morals in check. Thank you, thank you, Precision Time!

      And, if you want to read the follow up post to this whole situation, you could go here:
      https://annieharm.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/precision-time-a-follow-up-post/

  8. you guys are all fucking stupid, the watch has to be able to be resold, half the time the customers dont save the receipt or they’re too fucking stupid to read the return policy.. i work for precision time and i tell people the return policy verbally, and half the time they don’t fucking listen… the customer is not always right…. the customer is always fucking stupid!

    • Oziboypissed off,
      Thanks for commenting on my blog! I really appreciate the time you took out of your busy day at work to point out how stupid all of your customers are. And the f-bombs? Classy! Precision Time should be proud of the level of customer service you are providing and the high level respect you have for your customers, particularly in a public forum like the internet. Keep up the good work! Thanks again.
      Annie

  9. Oh Annie – I would definitely raise hell with the mall managers. Maybe I will stop by next time I am there and throw some cutting insults their way.

    • Wow, Vince. Between the angry, confrontational employees’ comments and all of the people who have emailed me, contacted me on Facebook and commented here, I’m truly amazed Precision Time is still in business. I hope your watch at least was what you wanted!

  10. Ithink that is correct to not accept the watch back, you wont like to buy a re-sized watch sold like new.
    They should charge you less for put the links back.
    Thanks

  11. I worked for them as a manager in mass. there not a bad company but they stick by their rules. you were treated unfairly, i would have put the links back on ,refunded you and sold the watch at a discount,upon inspection of not marks. JeeZZZ so hard ! . then i cant believe he ask for 15.00. i would have said you guys took them out now but them back in.the sotomarino brand is a watch they get made themselfs. so there is a movement that is plastic jap. whick is ok but the outside is not like the inside.you have any to fix let me know.this is why i dont work for them. they wanted me to upsell a battery pk 5yr 25.00. well if you charge 10 .00. works for 2,3,4yrs wheres the deal.any question go to my website. free

    • Yeah .. agree but that package isn’t really that bad counting on we do everything right for the watch but doing it for some cheapy watch I always tell costumers just about a battery if they don’t like the price just tell them about wallyworld lol and most likely their watches battery won’t last 3 years in their watchs xP

  12. I had a very similar experience:
    For a graduation gift from medical school my mother bought me a watch from this store. About 5 days after she purchased it, I received the watch and tried it on. I decided that the face was too big, placed it back into the box and the next day proceeded to the precision time with original receipt in hand.

    Me: I walked up to the kiosk and said “I got this watch as a graduation gift and I would like to return it because it is too big.”

    Teenager: “So you’re saying you wore it. It’s not returnable.”

    Me: “Well, no. I took it out of the box, put it on my wrist and decided the face was too big–just like someone would do here at the counter.”

    Teenager: “Yeah, you wore it. It’s not returnable.”

    Me: Shocked. Not sure how to proceed. “I don’t understand. It would be no different that me trying on a watch here in the mall.”

    Teenager: “Let me get the manager.”

    Manager: Spends about 2-3 minutes closely inspecting the watch, packaging, and receipt. …”You don’t have all the tags it’s not returnable.”

    Me: Again shocked. “I assure you I didn’t remove any tags and I know my mother didn’t remove any. … I don’t see any missing tags either. All of the watches in the case that are the same don’t have any additional tags.”

    Manager: “Well you don’t have the tags, plus you wore it. It’s not returnable. I can trade it in for an equally priced or more expensive watch, but I’m not even suppose to do that.”

    Me: “What? I need to speak to someone in charge. This is just irrational.”

    Manager: “Let me call the district manager. It’s not returnable.”

    Manger then spends about 15 minutes on the phone with the district manager. I can overhear the conversation and the gist of it is what else can we say to make this watch not returnable.

    Manager: “Yeah, my district manager agrees, it isn’t returnable.”

    At this point I’m borderline irate at the irrationality of the circumstance and the complete rudeness of manager. He was patronizing and condescending throughout the entire visit. Truly the most shocking experience in retail I have ever had.

    Me: “Please call the district manager back, I would like to speak with him or her.” …

    Me explaining the circumstances (again) to district manager and insisting that they accept return or that I will file a complaint with the BBB, SimonMalls, Online, and additionally stop payment with my credit card company.

    District Manager: “Do you have the original receipt?”

    Me: “Yes”

    DM: “Let me talk to the manager”

    … 5 more minutes worth of talking between the 2 managers

    Store Manager: “Ok, we will make an exception this time, even though you have worn the watch. … Let me have the receipt”

    … begins to process return

    Store Manager: “Do you have the original credit card?”

    Me: “Why would I need the original credit card for a return? … Yeah, I think I have it. My mom bought it for me, but I have a copy of the same card here … ”

    I hand him the credit card (exact same number on card as card used to purchase and with my name on the bottom…ie same account)

    Manager: “Yeah, we can’t return this. It has to be the same card.”

    Me: “What?!?! Truly exasperated. I have never heard of such at a retail store”

    Manager: “Your mom would have to come in with her card and ID and return this.”

    Me: “What?!?” “As far as I can tell you are just trying to create obstacles for me to return this. I don’t know if you have noticed but I have disproved each of your previous attempts. This is non-sense and the worst customer service I have ever received. Are you saying my mom will need to physically have to come back in here? Really? Well, good thing we live down the street … she will be here in 10 minutes.”

    Manager: “So what?!”

    No joke…he said that in response, “so what.” If that isn’t an admission of their intentionally deceptive policies, I don’t know what is.

    First of all, the original receipt doesn’t even have the credit card holder’s name on it, just the number. The only reason he knew that I hadn’t purchased the watch was that I had told him I received it as a gift. Also, I had a copy of the original credit card (same number as on receipt) with my name as the signer and my ID available.

    …I call my mom and she is on the way to deal with the non-sense. Probably more annoyed and shocked by the poor customer service than I am.

    In the 10 minutes before she arrives, the Manager proceeds to call mall security on me?!? When they arrive I almost start laughing. You have to realize that I am fairly short, skinny, and white & my little sister is with me–mind you, the graduation I mention is medical school. We are just about the least imposing figures I could imagine having to deal with. Plus we were being very polite, just insistent and firm that we would get the return.

    Security guard: (Laughing himself). “If you don’t mind, would y’all have a seat over there (10 yards away) until whoever you are waiting for arrives”

    Me: (Laughing) “Sure. Did he happen to tell you what is going on? Let me tell you …” I then explain this whole ridiculous situation to the security guard.

    Security guard: “If you want to file a complaint after you get your money back, just go over to the mall information desk there. We can get you the name and phone number of the mall manager also.”

    Me: “Ok. Thanks.”

    Mom arrives….

    Mom: “I really don’t appreciate having to come down here. I have never heard of such!”

    Manager: “Listen. I am doing you a favor. I don’t need your attitude… If you don’t control the attitude I’m not going to return the watch”

    Mom: Shocked. Truly, shocked that someone would say such a thing. “Wow! Really, you are going to point your finger at me like that. I don’t know who failed to teach you any manners. … Here is my card and ID, just make the return please.”

    Manager: “Ok, here you are”

    We leave… All still in shock and the poor customer service, the scheming to prevent a return, and the absolute rudeness of the store manager (his name by the way is Jeremy–the one with star tattoos behind his ears). We all proceed to the mall security desk and have a good laugh with the security guards as we fill out formal complaints and get the contact information for the general manager of the mall, who was on vacation at the time.

    Judge for yourself. But, I would definitely not recommend buying a watch here. Also, you should know that this happened about 3 weeks ago. I wanted to wait to write a complaint on here so that it would be more free of the anger I was feeling the day this happened. Yeah, that’s right, the experience was so bad that I am writing a complaint 3 weeks after it happened.

    • That is unbelievable, Luke. Yikes! I’m glad you were able to get the refund in the end, and hey, you have a good story to tell about being so hardcore that mall security was after you.

  13. Wow well I’m sorry you had to deal with that… the lady should have told you if it has been sized then it is non returnable ( I’m guessing though in a way if it has been sized and obvisously worn out then the person would want to keep their watch, also it would be kind of unsatifactory for a customer to buy a watch that someone wore and sweated on with most likely lotion, hair, and dirt on it) but I understand why the boy would charge you because it kinda seemed like you would try to return it later lol but yeah he should have done it for free and marked it on the recipt for you that it has been sized. Once in a while though in my own experience you would get this treatment at places in inline store just as much as kioks this company really isn’t bad though, they own over a hundred stores and have common brands and even their own brands and most of the people I talk to a pretty cool and really help out with watch repairs, they all have to go through training to do them as well so you they aren’t questioning too much on how to do it. Over all people are people and we all are not perfect and have our days. If you ever worked retail you would understand too.

    • Ryan, thanks for adding such useful information to the debate. As I noted in the post, I put the watch on once when trying it on at the mall. Then, it stayed in the box until I brought it back. So, yeah, the watch was absolutely covered in hair, lotion and dirt. I’m like a big, well-moisturized gorilla.

  14. Probably a little harsh. It seems your condemning an entire company for the actions of a minimum wage sales person. Granted, Precision is responsible for the training and oversight of their employees, but I can’t help but think that a phone call to their customer service department might have produced a more results. Clearly, Precision needs to reinforce the importance of good customer service with their employees. A review of their policies regarding “customization” might be in order as well.

    • Daniel, thanks for visiting and joining the convo! I agree, I would have thought that a phone call to their customer service department should have produced more results too. However, as I noted in the post, I did call their customer service number – twice. And twice the number just took me to a recording telling me to go to their website. And that is where I found the page where Precision Time specifically asked bloggers to write about them. So I did.

      My story probably would be too harsh if I hadn’t given them three separate opportunities to make it right. But I did. Further, I even wrote a positive post as a follow up once they did make it right. https://annieharm.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/precision-time-a-follow-up-post/

  15. I work for PT and I have had some real disgruntled customers and some really pleased ones! It can be difficult the life of anyone in customer service, but nonetheless, we are to serve! And to make the experience in every interaction, the most pleasant and painless as possible. That being said,come to out PT,you’ll not want to go anywhere else.

  16. Ok, now here is my story.
    In searching online and filtering the search to find a watch that meets the image i had in mind, I came across this nice silver sottomarino italia subacqueo watch. I fell in love with it immediately, and I am wearing it as I am writing this review. Anyway, so the picture I saw of the watch online was from some expired international ebay listing from a year or so ago.
    Now I am familiar with that brand because I had seen it before at Precision Time at the mall in Connecticut where I live (where by the way I bought 2 swiss military watches in the past).

    Buy.com had it but it was out of stock. So I called the precision time which i had dealt with before (reluctantly, because they weren’t all that cheerful, courteous, or helpful during either of my swiss military purchases. But I liked the watches and the price was pretty good so I was an idiot and I bought from them). Anyway, the guy who answered said they didn’t have that particular watch. He told me to call back in half an hour and by then he will have called the kiosks in his district area or whatever to see if any of them had it and if so to arrange shipping it to his kiosk. So i called back half hour later and he says he’s sorry but none of them had it. Then he suggests calling customer service at the 800 number and they could try getting it for me. Good so far? I think so. But I said to myself, let me try to find this watch elsewhere so I took a day or 2 to search and nothing, couldn’t find it anywhere else. Ok so I called the 800 number and had to leave a voicemail. I waited 2 days and nobody called me back. So I called again, and had to leave a voicemail, again. Only this time, someone called me back. She said sorry they don’t make or carry that model anymore. Now I recall asking during one of the swiss military purchases I made, where else those guys had kiosks (just trying to make conversation with a so unfriendly sales rep resizing and packing my newly bought watch). And the answer was about 150 or so throughout the country. So I asked the lady on the phone, well could I get a list of the locations and phone numbers and I don’t mind calling them myself. (I really wanted that watch, can you tell?)
    And sure enough she emailed me an excel spreadsheet that contained the info i need. So I started calling the locations closest to me. First call I made was to the only other kiosk in Connecticut. They didn’t have it. Second call I made was to Brooklyn, NY, and what do you know? They had it. Wonderful.
    This is when it all went south. The sales rep assured me of the model number and he even confirmed the dial color and the shape of the bezel …etc…etc. terrific. So it’s the right watch. So let’s start with when I called Brooklyn to see if they had the watch. Well, it went something like this.

    Me: Hi, can I get you to check to see if you have a particular sottomarino watch which I’ve been hunting and calling around for.

    Brooklyn: sure, what’s the model number?

    Me: blah blah blah (gave him the model)

    Brooklyn: hang on a second……yes we have it right here chief.

    Me: Excellent, can we just confirm the dial color to be sure?

    Brooklyn: yes it’s silver dial, silver bezel, stainless steel bracelet.

    Me: great! that’s the one! so can you guys ship it to the Trumbull Mall kiosk in Trumbull, CT??

    Brooklyn: (repeats my question to his manager) and then says to me: Do you want us to hold the watch for you?

    Me: No no no. I live in CT and I’ve been trying to find this watch. Brooklyn is at least an hour and a half drive from me. This is why I am requesting the watch be shipped to the Trumbull, CT kiosk. (by the way, I didn’t even ask for it to be shipped directly to me because the guy at the CT kiosk had explained before that it can only be shipped to a precision time kiosk).

    Brooklyn: Oh oh ok. (then repeats what I said to his manager) and then says to me: what’s the store number.

    Me: what do you mean? their phone number?

    Brooklyn: No, it’s a 3 digit number.

    Me: uhh, I don’t know. Can’t you find it by their location in your system or something?

    Brooklyn: Nope, we need that number chief.

    Me: Okay, I’ll call them and get it and I’ll call you back. (after hanging up, it dawned on me to check the spreadsheet, and there it was).

    called Brooklyn back…..

    Me: ok here it is….bla bla bla (gave him the store number).

    Brooklyn: ok we’ll take care of it, have a nice night

    Me: wait, wait wait….don’t you want my name and phone number just in case?

    Brooklyn: (Repeats my question to the manager) then says: no that’s ok we’ll take care of it. Have a good night.

    Not feeling all that warm and fuzzy, I called Trumbull, CT to give them a heads up and they took my name and number and said they would call me when they received the watch.
    2 days go by and mind you, shipping something from Brooklyn to CT should only take a day. So I called the precision time in Trumbull, CT and asked if they received the watch and they said no not yet. So I called Brooklyn to ask when might they be intending to ship the watch. A girl (who informed me was new answered). It went something like this:

    Me: Hi, I called a couple days ago about a sottomarino (blah blah blah) which you guys are supposed to ship to the Trumbull, CT precision time for me. Do you know anything about that?

    Brooklyn: No sorry I am new let me find out.

    Me: ok great thanks.

    Brooklyn: The manager is not here and he will be back in an hour. Can you call back then?

    Me: sure

    After an hour I call back….

    Me: Hi, I called an hour ago, was I talking to you about the sottomarino watch to be shipped to the CT kiosk?

    Brooklyn: Yes but the manager says you never gave him with the store number we’re supposed to ship it to.

    Me: (fuming but trying to keep my cool) Yes I did! Can I speak with him please? (remember, he didn’t even want to take down my name and number which if he had, he could’ve called me if he somehow misplaced the store number).

    Brooklyn: Wait sorry he said he found it. We will ship the watch tomorrow.

    Me: Fine. But PLEASE take down my name and number. (she took it).

    Brooklyn calls me back 5 minutes later. It’s the girl i was just talking to.

    Brooklyn: yeah hi, this is so and so from precision time. Are you the manager at the Trumbull, CT kiosk?

    Me: No no! I am the customer. I’ve been trying to coordinate shipping this watch from you guys to the CT kiosk. You know what, nevermind. I’ll drive down to Brooklyn today and get the watch myself.

    And I did. So you can see how unorganized and unprofessional this kiosk is. And not to mention how little importance/value was placed on this transaction and this customer. It’s just not a well structured/managed company. I emailed the customer service lady back and left a voicemail and told her the whole story and I told her, be assured if someone else had that watch, I would never have bought it from Precision Time.

  17. I has one of the Sottomarino watched in mind myself. I originally went to have a watch of mine servied and one of these watches caught my eye. I asked for the return policy beforehand and the man did let me know that once the watch is sized to your specific fitting that the watch can not be returned. I didn’t buy the watch because i didn’t need it. Always askfor the return policy upfront so you’re not disappointed. However, the links can be out back in. Kind of a frustrating experience.

  18. The Precision Time at my mall in Broomfield, Colorado is not a kiosk, but an actual store. Nonetheless, I would never buy a watch again from Precision Time. I purchased a Skagen watch in November, 2012. Within 3 weeks, a gold trim piece became unattached and trapped between the face and the glass so I returned to the store. Good news! The watch has a lifetime warranty. Even better news, Precision Time is an authorized Skagen repair location. The watch would be repaired within 1 hour. Great!

    Nearly 1 month later, I still do not have my watch. PT now says that they are unable to repair it. They are unable to replace it. They are unwilling to refund my money. After returning to the store after 1 hour, I was told that the repair would take longer and that they would call me when it was ready. They did not call me. When I called about the state of the repair, they said that it could not be repaired and that they were waiting on another shipment of watches and would exchange the watchface. They promised to call. They did not. When I went to the store today, the story has now changed… again. Now they say that they will inquire with other PT stores for a replacement watch. Again, they promised to call. I am not holding my breath.

    At this point, PT has my money and my watch. I have a *useless* lifetime warranty. And PT makes promises that they do not keep.

    Do not buy from this store. They do not stand behind the products that they sell. Buy from a reputable store that will stand behind their products.

  19. I blogged here last month. I blogged on Yelp. I wrote to Precision Time corporate, but received no response. Today, I stopped by the store to check on my watch. Since I’ve paid for it, I figured I at least ought to be able to see it every once in a while. Every time I call or visit, they have a new story about what they are doing. Typically, it involves substituting it for one that arrives in the “next” inventory or finding a replacement at another store. When I stopped in today, they spent 15 minutes trying to find my watch. Finally, they “discovered” that it had been sent back to the factory for repair several weeks ago. No one bothered to call me to tell me that they were doing this. Good news! I should have it back within 3 more weeks. Absolutely no one has taken any ownership to resolve this issue for me. All I get is a run-around. I would never buy a watch here. Simply Dreadful customer service.

  20. Annie and other responders… This was a tremendously useful thread. Quite frankly, for a consumer item like a mid-priced watch, I don’t always think through the importance a retailer plays in the mix.

    I looked at your other posts. You seem very fair minded… especially praising good customer service. And, this gives you the right to be offended when retailers (and, especially clerks) actu intentionally obtuse and and hide behing “policy.” Aaargh!

    Quick story: I was about 30min from heading to nearby mall to investigate a clearance Sattomarino watch. I’m on a biz trip. Broke the clasp on older (scratched) Fossil watch. Figure it’s time to replace. This one was (a) nearby; (b) within my price range; and (c) had a nice look!

    Your post got me to thinking about “what would I do if the watch didn’t work as expected?” “Can I get a replacement band?” “Will my tools open the back, or does it have odd-size/shape bezel?” This thread reaffirmed the value of buying from someone I trust, near my home.

    I decided against spending $150 with PT.

    I feel as though Precision Time has a business model that’s based on grabbing new customers, never seeing them again. They exude that repeat business is “too expensive.”

    Suddenly – I’m feeling reflective.

    By golly… I think I’m willing to pay for good customer service! Retailers that understand this need to be rewarded. Nordstrom and Costco earned my business in this way… but, I need a mid-priced watch, right?

    OhMyGawsh… I suddenly remember. Fossil… 3 years ago, I had a new watch that fogged up – indicating the crystal/bezel wasn’t sealed. This happened after about 6 months. We have a Fossil store in nearby mall. Walked in. They agreed that there seemed to be a problem. Get this… the clerk took action. Can you believe that?? The clerk took the time and effort to provide an authorization and details on sending watch to repair center. Fast forward – “factory repair” contacted me, saying “it’s broke. we aren’t fixing it. here is a full credit to go pick out a replacement, using online store!” And, I’ve been happy with the watch, wearing it EVERY day whether I’m fishing, working or laying tile.

    Here I was about to patronize a business that focuses on a one-time sale… all without being a thoughtful consumer! Shame on me. And, now I get to consciously reward someone who has actually earned my repeat business.

    THANKS for straightening me out. As someone who rants about awful cust service, and recognizes good service – I almost forgot to put my money where my mouth is! I can’t wait to see if current Fossil designs meet my preferences – and, if they do – I’m going to give them my money… and, I’m going to tell them why I’m buying from them, without considering another of the (thousands?) of watch manufacturers!

    I’m going to love my new watch… I already have a great story about getting it – and, I haven’t even picked it out!

    Great post. I like that you focused on the principle, as opposed to just complaining that you didn’t get what you wanted. More importantly, that honest assessment left me thinking about both goods *and* services.
    -Kevin.

  21. On February 28, 2013, I purchased a watch (MN2010 Silver Jewelry) from Precision Time in Mesa, AZ. Prior to making this purchase, I let the salesman (Cashier 3570) know that I needed a watch that was water resistant. I told the salesman that I wash my hands many times during the day at work. The salesman assured me that the watch that I selected was water resistant. One week after purchasing my new watch, the arms stopped working. The inside face of the watch was moist. After two days, the arms started working again. I took the watch back to Precision Time in Mesa, AZ. A different saleswoman was there. She told me that the watch that I selected was not water resistant and she did not know why the original salesman told me that it was water resistant. The saleswoman called the manager on the telephone. The manager told the saleswoman to tell me that there was nothing that could be done about my watch. Now I am stuck with a watch that is not water resistant and can’t be used when I work.

  22. In reading all of your posts it occurs to me that there are problems with Precision Time that are endemic to the company as a whole. I worked at Precision Time in Washington state for 7+ years. I can tell you that, 1)there is little real training either in customer service or in actual watch repair, 2)most employees & store managers don’t stay very long so there is a lot of turnover, which equates to inconsistency, 3)employees are all minimum wage & store managers make little more than that. There are NO raises, 4)nobody wants to be responsible for accepting a watch return just in case there is a minute scratch that they missed, or the store has to work that much harder to reach its ridiculous goals, 5)the “certification” program has been dumbed down from actually knowing how to work on a watch, to simply knowing how to sell & upsell, 6)most of the watches they sell now are PT-branded—-Sottomarino, Revolt, Toxic, Ollie, Zap, Monaco, Rave—-are all made just for Precision Time, so these are the ones that employees are told to PUSH. These are the ones employees make the best commission on.

    I had many great experiences helping customers while working for the company. I also had a lot of frustrating experiences feeling like my hands were tied when it came to being empowered to actually deliver good customer service because of red tape & lack of communication. The tools simply aren’t there. The support isn’t there. Only the verbal beatings over missed goals are constant. It’s actually quite sad…………..it was a good concept for a business, but the company seems to be shooting itself in the foot and they keep making changes that are supposed to entice people to buy from their stores, then heap crap on the sales staff when the store goal…..that arbitrary number that a bean counter somewhere pulls out of his ear……..is missed. Its a great business model. I really enjoyed working on watches, but I’m really happy not to work there any longer.

  23. Just following up on my earlier posts. Believe it or not, it took 5 full months for me to get my watch back from Precision Time. As far as I can tell, it made 2 trips to the manufacturer for repair. The local manager took no responsibility for locating my watch or expediting the process. Every time I visited the store, they would ask me for my phone number… again and promise to find out what was happening and follow up. Ultimately, I began dealing with the Service Center. They sent my watch directly to me after 5 months! When it arrived, it was damaged. There were deep gouges in 2 sides made by someone who tried to remove the face place for the repair. Mind you, this was a new watch that I had just purchased from Precision Time. I returned to the store to demand my money back. As usual, the manager took no ownership. A promise was made to research the issue and follow up within 24 hours. When I returned to the store, the manager had the day off. Obviously, she had no intention to follow up. A call to her regional manager went to voice mail. The mail box was full. At no point has anyone at Precision Time taken any responsibility for making my situation right. Next step, more blogs, facebook, twitter, bbb, small claims court. Precision Time doesn’t get it. It’s not about the watch. Don’t buy here.

  24. I am currently in the interview process to become a store manager for this company, and I am so glad I found this blog! Being very customer service oriented it is nice to know customers previous experiences with this company. I will tell you I would not blame all of this on the company but I would hold the Managers accountable for sure!It sounds to me like some of you have unfortunately have experienced what sounds like horrible customer service at best. One goal I will have if I take over a store for them is to make sure this does not happen in mine!

  25. I work at a Precision Time store. Some locations are good and some are awful. Many locations have actual stores or jewelery counters. I’m sorry that you had a bad experience. Most people I see day-to-day are satisfied but I have seen my fair share of pissed off customers and most of the time they had a right to be pissed off.

    The corporation itself is a mixed bag. My main complaint towards them is that upper management is idealistic and naive. This leads to unrealistic sales goals that we are forced to reach. If we consistantly miss our goals we will be harassed by the district manager. I can almost guarantee you that the reason why an employee would give you a hard time for a mint-condition return is because they were having a bad sales day and didn’t want to be screamed at by corporate. A watch return can destroy you some days. Despite many locations being kiosks, corporate is up our ass more than any other retail store I’ve ever worked for.

    Why do I work for them? Well the job itself is fulfilling. I enjoy being able to repair broken watches. It’s interesting, I meet all sorts of people and have seen every type of watch imaginable. The daily grind is fairly pleasant. I have long, paid lunch breaks and am a few feet away from all sorts of restaurants.

    I always try to be reasonable and fair with customers. I don’t like ripping them off. Usually I will accept returns if the watch is in re-sellable condition. Of course there are also a lot of people who take advantage of us and try to return watches that have been blatantly used and abused. In those cases I have to be the bearer of bad news and they usually get mad at me. In a situation like yours, I probably would’ve returned it.

    Having morals in the workplace hurts my sales, obviously, but oh well. Not every employee is the same and many will try to squeeze every last cent out of you. Particularly the managers are this way because they have more pressure to hit sales goals. What they don’t realize is that this hurts their sales in the long term because customers leave in droves.

    Anyways, employees being desperate for sales is usually the foundation of most customer complaints That, and general incompetence. Many employees get in over their heads repair-wise because they are so desperate for sales.

  26. I’m well aware this this is very old news by now, but i want to throw in my two cents in, hopefully, a sane and rational manner.

    Number one, about a year and half after your unfortunate encounter with that store, I was moved to that location as the general manager, and in full discretion, this does make me a little biased. However, I’ll give this a try.

    1. The gentleman behind the counter was right, but for the wrong reasons. He absolutely should have put the links back in for you, free of charge. However, there were two reasons why the return was not possible. First the watch was sized, and it does have to do with being able to resell the watch. Links get lost or thrown out and even though 95% of the time this is not the case, there are some dishonest people or mistakes who attempt to abuse these policies. I don’t believe you were one of them. The second reason why a return was not possible was that the watch was a clearanced item. This is common among all retailers to not accept returns on clearanced items. Both of these policies should have been mentioned to you verbally. When I took over charge of that store, that was something I made a priority.

    2. In regards to the manager situation, at that point in time when you wrote this post, there was no general manager, only managers at other locations and a district manager. This is probably to whom the gentleman spoke on the phone. It was not until some months later that they actually had a general manager (who was not any better, as it was, I believe, the lady you bought the watch from originally).

    3. I am no longer employed by Precision Time, but I can assure you that while you may have had a poor experience at that particular time, it was experiences like yours that prompted me to alter they way that employees their behaved. I know that that is small consolation, if any. But what I want you to know is that Precision Time is not a fly-by-night operation. Part of the reason why they are able to provide services and watches at (as you have to admit) great prices is that they don’t have to pay for rent at large storefront. Had I known of your predicament, I really would have like the opportunity to give you a better introduction to the company than the one you were afforded.

    4. Ozi really needs to be a better representative of Precision Time, as he represents what I hope are the vast minority of its employees.

    I appreciate this chance to maybe clear some things up or, at least, do what I could to possibly clarify some things that happened. If you’re able to view this post and my email address, I would be happy to let you know more, including both the good and the bad, as I think honesty is key when dealing with somebody’s valuables, among which I include watches.

  27. What an ignorant person and a total misery you are.
    Stop generalizing and being prejudiced about the kiosks in the malls.not all kiosks are scammy and weird.thanks to you the others read the blog and think everybody is the same.by the way what I read from your experience is not bad at all.most kiosks do not do refunds don’t have to and won’t. Boost the small business sales and stop bitching at the poor people trying to sell you their best items.you just want to return it and they don’t accept it.thats true if you didn’t hear about customizing watch that’s your ignorance! They resize the link for you get the watch and be happy with it! And stop blogging about how all kiosks suck because the customers like you will always suck!! Sweet pie

  28. My experience at precision time has always been a pleasure, the associates Daniel,James,Dietra,and Luke are always knowledgeable and professional…..I would and do refer family and friends to the tyrone mall precision time location because I am confident that they will be pleased with the experience ….once again thanks guys…I hope this review will help you in your next visit.

  29. I have never purchased a watch from PT, but I have had 3 watches sized there. I also paid a little extra to have my watches guaranteed for 5 years. This service included battery replacement, free cleanings, as well as handling the shipping and paying the shipping charges in the event that any of the watches needed to be repaired while it was under warranty. Brent, the guy I dealt with all 3 times, was very knowledgeable and obviously cares about customer satisfaction. One of my watches was defective, and I had to exchange it shortly after he sized it for me. When I went back and explained the situation to him, he told me that they would simply transfer the contract from the the other watch to the new one. He didn’t even charge me to size the replacement watch. The other day I just happened to be back in the mall and the kiosk was no longer there. I figured they moved. After asking around, I was told that they were no longer in business and that the workers had no adance warning This was the only location in the Lincoln, NE. I checked on their website, and sure enough, this location is no longer listed. I am obviously disappointed. I first felt like I got burned, but I am not out very much money, especially considering I got my most recent watch sized for free. I mostly feel bad for Brent who clearly loved his job and was unemployed without any advance warning.
    I don’t know if they plan to close any other locations in the near future, but it makes me wonder if they are having financial problems.

  30. Started at Zales Jewelers (Westfield Countryside Mall, Clearwater, FL). Asked for a certified technician to replace my watch battery, which is pressurized and requires a special machine to replace the battery. Zales referred me to the Precision Time kiosk; they even handed me a Precision Time pamphlet. At the Precision Time kiosk, a very young man acted as cashier while an older man with jeweler’s magnifying glasses on his head sat at a workbench. Purchased a “lifetime battery” for about $30.00. I said something about wanting the guy with the jeweler’s glasses to change my watch battery, but he said, “No” and stated that the young man would be doing it. When I asked if the young man was a certified technician, they said, “Yes, everyone who works here has to be certified.” After he began working, I asked the young man how long he’d been working as a watch technician. He said he had been there a month and had been practicing on six dummy watches while the older guy trained him. Watched him work on my watch for a long while, but stepped away from the kiosk so wouldn’t make him nervous. The older man stood next to the young man and watched him closely as he worked, but eventually went back to his own workbench. When my watch was returned to me it would not close at all, the clasp had been damaged. When he realized this, the young man looked with panic at the older guy who quickly took my broken watch to his workbench and fiddled with it. It closed, but not with the solid click – like before. The older guy said he’d repaired it and that was that. I called their regional manager a number of times and left voicemail messages, but he never returned my calls. I then called the Precision Time corporate offices. They informed me that kiosk owners have been instructed to send any customer watches they have damaged to them and have their highly trained corporate technicians repair or replace the watch. They are NOT to attempt repairs. Corporate said I would have to return to the kiosk and give them my watch to ship to them for repairs. I didn’t trust these lying and incompetent kiosk jerks, so I never returned. I ended up repurchasing the watch during Cyber Monday this year. Thanks Zales for a crappy recommendation and thanks to Precision Time for costing me a lot of money.

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