CompUSA Calls it Quits in Omaha – Closes 50% of Stores Nation-Wide

  • Comments: 0
  • Written on: March 19th, 2007

I caught a report today the the CompUSA store in Omaha, NE was going out of business. I did some investigating and found that the Omaha location is in fact closing, along with about 50% of the chain’s other stores nation-wide.

All merchandise in the store is 10-30% off, including all computers, accessories, and other items. Although the company’s website states that the sale only applies to in-stock items, after a weekend of heavy sales, a local CompUSA employee confirmed off the record that another truck of merchandise was arriving some time tomorrow.

CompUSA has one store in Nebraska, at 151 North 78th Street in Omaha. Ironically, the home page of the company’s website is touting a 23rd anniversary sale at the same time half of their stores are going out of business. When I called, I asked the CompUSA employee how the company planned to service the warranties on the computers they had sold. I was told that the store was not going out of business, but that CompUSA was “closing this location” and that warranties will need to be serviced through the manufacturers.

I thought his point of differentiation was humorous. What was not funny however was that anyone who bought a PC or notebook through this company will need to contact the manufacturers to have their warranties serviced. Companies like Toshiba specifically prohibit direct-from-the-customer warranty repair requests.

A call to Toshiba today revealed that a Toshiba user would need to take their computer to an Authorized Service Center for repair. I asked where I should take a broken Toshiba, and they told me CompUSA. I informed the operator at Toshiba that they were going out of… er, I mean “closing that location.” She did not have any additional information to help me.

Some of you might be wondering right now why I have chosen to promote a competitor’s sale on my blog. I can not count the number of times we have been in the process of configuring a new Modular PC for a customer when they ask, “How do I know you will be around to service the warranty on this thing?”

Over time it has gotten easier to answer that question as I can point to years and years of customers who have purchased from us and been satisfied with our service. However, this is just another example of a multi-million dollar big box store that just decides to leave their customers in a lurch and walk away. The same thing happened when Gateway advertised the fact that they had a local presence in the community, only to close those local stores and take away the local support that was so influential in their customers’ purchase decisions.

There will always be some people who believe that you are better off with a national brand computer from a box store. While nothing I could say will change that for some people, perhaps another multi-million dollar operation ditching its Nebraska following will convince a few people that offering local support from trustworthy people is so important in our industry.

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