Bigger Than Rufus

Tech, opinion, and other stuff.

Month: January, 2013

Yodobashi camera is a stinky one

Anyone with any inkling of buying electronic devices in any major city in Japan should be familiar with Yodobashi Camera. Although Yamada Denki holds about 25% of the domestic marketshare for consumer electronics retailers, Yodobashi is well known in the major cities.

Anyway, just an aside about customer service in Japan–It basically stinks. See my previous post on the topic of a broken iPhone case. But that wasn’t the only issue I’ve had with Yodobashi Camera. The first was a few years back.

Back then, after having spent thousands of dollars the previous week to furnish a new apartment I had just moved in to, I went back to Yodobashi to buy a hose to hook up a generously donated gas range (Thanks N-san). However, I bought a hose that was too short.

When I tried to exchange the hose for a larger one the next day, the shop staff told me I couldn’t since I had opened the package (i.e. I had unstapled the plastic bag containing the hose). Keep in mind this hose was less than $3. I eventually got a manager to come over, and I explained that despite spending thousands of dollars the previous week, they wanted to haggle over a $3 hose? Give me a break.

Eventually, the manager relented to my arguments (and slightly raised voice) and exchanged the hose for me.

Lesson: Japanese customer service is practically non-existent. I’ve had good experiences here, but only with foreign owned stores (the Gap), or large multinational chains (like Uniqlo). If you buy anything here, make sure you really got the item you want/need and hope it doesn’t break.


This is true customer service. Thanks Speck.

A couple months ago I bought a Speck Candyshell Grip for my iPhone (highly recommend this one by the way, it really is awesome to use) but unfortunately the case cracked after a couple months. I tried to exchange it at the store I bought it from, but they really gave me a serious case of the runaround. Literally. The shop staff in Yodobashi Camera denied my request for an exchange, despite the fact that it had only been a couple months and I had the receipt and box. After I argued with them for about 20 minutes, a manager said I could get it exchanged, but since they didn’t have a white one in stock I should go to the customer service agent downstairs to fill out some paperwork for a new one.

So I went there, waited for 20 minutes in line, got to the CS rep and was told that I couldn’t exchange the case since it was damaged. WTF?! That’s the whole reason I want to exchange the case you idiot. He even called the guy upstairs about it, and confirmed that I couldn’t exchange it.

So he denied my claim and sent me along my merry way. After wasting an hour at Yodobashi Camera, I decided to write Speck customer service about it, and since the case has a one year warranty, I explained my issue and attached some photos of the crack and was promptly (and I mean promptly) sent a replacement.

This is customer service. This is a company with which I will do business again in the future. This is how to treat your customers.

Yodobashi Camera…you suck.