Radio Shack District Administrator: Young Black Males Look Like Thieves…We Don’t Sell Phones Outright to Your Kind
Today I decided to purchase an AT&T iPhone 4S from Radio Shack. I called ahead to store 018753 in Riverdale and spoke with Ashley, who stated over the phone that they did indeed have the phone in stock. I let her know that I do not have service with AT&T and that I would be purchasing the device at full cost. She stated that would not be a problem, but urged me to instead open an account with AT&T and get the phone at a lower cost (since the phone was over $600). I replied that I did not intend on switching carriers and that I would instead just purchase the phone at full cost and without service. Upon my arrival to the store (#018753) I was told that they actually did not have any phones in stock and that they would have to order it for me instead. I told them that I’d prefer to have the phone right away and instead would purchase it from a different Radio Shack. They called the Greenbriar Mall location who (store #018701) stated they did have the phone physically in stock, and informed me that I could go there to get it.
When I arrived at the Greenbriar Mall location (#018701) I spoke with Tatiana and told her that I wished to purchase an AT&T iPhone 4S at full cost and that I did not have service with AT&T. She replied that it wouldn’t be a problem and to allow her to finish helping the customer she had before me. While I waited to be helped, another sales associate came out from the back (Anthony) and Tatiana passed me to him. I again informed him that I was there to purchase the iPhone at full cost and that I did not have service with AT&T. He also stated it would not be a problem and then went to the back to retrieve the phone. He came back with the iPhone and began to start the checkout process. He then tried to talk me into signing up for service, and used the discounted phone price as an incentive for me signing up with AT$T. I declined his offer and reiterated that I am with a different carrier and have no intention of changing carriers. He then wondered aloud how to process the sale. Tatiana responded by telling him it’s just a normal purchase and that there’s no number for him to worry about because I don’t have an account with AT&T, and I’m paying full cost. Anthony then called the store manager (Bernard Dorsey) on the phone. I did not hear their conversation, but at the conclusion of the phone call I was told by Anthony that, per his manager he could not sell me the phone. The reason he gave was that they don’t make any money on selling just the iPhone without service attached to it. I told Anthony that what he was saying is not Radio Shack’s policy and that they should sell me the phone as their policy does not require me to have service as long as I am paying full price on the phone. He replied that there was nothing he could do because the decision was made by his manager (Bernard Dorsey). I asked to speak to Bernard, but was denied, with Anthony stating that he didn’t want me to get into a “back and forth” exchange with the manager.
I then called the corporate office and spoke with Cantrell. I informed him of what had just transpired in their store. Cantrell then called the store and spoke with Anthony to find out exactly why they were not selling me the iphone. When Cantrell got back on the line with me, he stated that he was told by Anthony that he was just doing what his manager told him to do. Cantrell then put me on hold so that he could call the district manager’s office. Upon Cantrell returning to the line with me, he stated that he called the district manager’s office and spoke to district administrator Sam Said. Cantrell stated that Sam said they have had a problem of people purchasing iPhones at full cost with no service and then calling the credit card company and initiating a chargeback for the cost of the device. Cantrell further stated that Sam said each individual store manager makes the decision on if they want to sell the phone to a customer or not. I asked Cantrell what Radio Shack’s cell phone sales policy is. He stated that they did not have one. I asked him to confirm to me that I was correct in my understanding that Radio Shack does not have a policy that states that service is required on the purchase of a phone at full cost. He confirmed that was correct but reiterated what Sam told him, saying that each store manager can decide if they would like to sell me a phone at full cost or not. I then asked Cantrell, how they decide who they will or will not sell a phone to. His response was simple “I don’t know”. I asked to speak directly to district administrator Sam Said, but was denied. I told Cantrell that I had been denied speaking with a manager earlier, and he is now denying me the opportunity to speak to the district administrator (whom he had been speaking to). I then began to get the name of everyone involved. Tatiana refused to give me her name and walked into the back. I decided to purchase a keychain so that I could get her name from the receipt. She rang up the purchase, I paid, and she handed me the receipt. I then told her I changed my mind and that I’d like a refund now that I have a receipt with the information I requested. She took my receipt and never gave it back. She claimed she voided the transaction and that I didn’t need the receipt anymore. I told her that I would still like a receipt for the original transaction for my records, but she refused to give it to me. She then placed it in a box and told me it was now locked in a box.
I then called the corporate office yet again. While holding on the phone for the corporate office I was approached by mall security and City of Atlanta Police. I was told by mall security that Tatiana had called the police (apparently while I was on the phone with corporate). City of Atlanta Police Officer Philemon asked me what happened. I told him that I made a purchase with my card and I am being refused a receipt. Tatiana then responded that she didn’t want to give me a receipt because I wanted to use it to get her name, and that she voided the transaction and would not be giving me a receipt. She again refused to show me the voided transaction receipt nor the original receipt. Mall security (Parker and Lt. Wallace) and the officer(Philemon), then escorted me out of the store, thus making me look like a criminal and humiliating me in front of mall shoppers and onlookers. In doing so, Officer Philemon stated that if I’m asked to leave the store that I have to leave the store. I replied that I was never asked to leave the store at all. I asked for a receipt, I was denied, and I called corporate. At no point was I ever asked to leave. I was not loud, I was not belligerent, or anything of that nature. There was no reason at all to call the police on me. While outside the store, I was still on the phone with corporate who immediately transferred me to district administrator Sam Said. In the beginning of the conversation Same echoed the same thing told to me by Cantrell earlier. He stated that Radio Shack does not have a policy regarding the sale of cell phones at full cost without service. He stated that they have had problems receiving chargebacks on iphone purchases and that they get stuck holding the bag. He also stated that it is up to each individual store to make the decision if they sell the phone or not, and that it depends on if the manager deems it to be “a good risk”. I told him that is a discriminatory practice and asked how do they determine who is or isn’t a good risk. In response he stated that they simply don’t sell iphones without service at all, even at full cost and that was the case across his entire district. I then reminded him that he had just told me that there is no policy on cell phone sales but yet he just told me a policy. He then confirmed yet again that there is no cell phone sales policy that restricts them from selling the iphone without service and that in their district, the decision was made not to do it. He also clarified that only applied to iPhones, and on any other phone it is up to the store manager to decide if it’s a “good risk” to sell the customer whichever phone they want at full cost without service.
After leaving the premises, I called the Radio Shack on Cascade Rd (store#019625) and spoke to Warren. I asked if they had the iPhone 4s in stock and informed him that I’d be purchasing the device outright with no service. He replied that they did indeed have the phone in stock and that buying without service is no problem as long as I’m paying full cost. When I arrived at the store (019625), Warren and another sales person (name unknown) where behind the counter. I asked for the iPhone and Warren went and retrieved it. He rang the purchase up and while doing so attempted to convince me to sign up for AT&T service to save money via the discounted price. I told him that I was not interested in changing service and that I only wanted the phone. He then told me jokingly that the reason he was asking was because they don’t make any money from selling just the phone by itself without service. I then bought a case to go with it to help out his numbers. Throughout this purchase I conversed with both Warren and the other saleswoman about various things. Both salespeople asked me why I wanted to purchase such an expensive phone without a contract. I explained my reasons to them and we continued talking. They gave me no problems at all, just as the salespeople at Riverdale store 018753 did not give me any problems when they were going to order it for me.
My problems arose when I went to Greenbriar store 018701. The Greenbriar store employs discriminatory sales practices. Backed by district administrator Sam Said (and the rest of the DM office), store manager Bernard Dorsey empowers his employees with the ability to discriminate against their customers. Sam Said himself admitted that there is no established policy that precludes them from selling a phone without service as long as the customer is paying full cost, and that is backed up by the fact that I was able to make the purchase at a different location. What is even more alarming is the openness in which they discriminate. Sam Said would have me to believe that they simply do not sell iphones without service. This obviously is not the case as I went to not one, but two other stores in his district and neither of them had any problem with selling the phone without service. Furthermore, even if his district’s stance of not selling an iphone without service was true (which it is not), he still stated that on other phones it’s up to the manager to decide if it’s a “good risk”. My question is how does Radio Shack decide who’s a good risk and who isn’t? How can you look at someone and tell if they are going to do a chargeback or not? Apparently Sam Said and Radio Shack feel that they can look at a customer and tell if they are going to commit credit card fraud. My question is, what does a person who will do a chargeback look like? Are they short or tall? Skinny or fat? More importantly, are they old or young? White or black? Sam Said of Radio Shack feels his managers can spot a thief just by looking at them. Apparently I must have fit the description. Perhaps it’s Radio Shack’s policy they don’t sell phones without service to young black males…because apparently young black males are all thieves and commit credit card fraud. Why were the police called even though I was not belligerent and had not been asked to leave (when the police arrived they even saw that I was 100% calm)? Were the police called for the same reason that they would not sell me the phone? Me being a young black male, I do tend to wonder why I was denied a purchase (because I wasn’t a “good risk” apparently) and why the police were called on me. I can’t help but wonder if I were a 45 year old white man would the same thing have happened. Would I have been able to make my purchase? Would the police have been called? I sincerely doubt it.
Neither I, my family, nor my friends will be shopping at Radio Shack in the future due to their policy of discrimination. Contrary to what Radio Shack may believe, you CANNOT tell if a person is going to commit fraud just by looking at them. Fraud does not have a look. It has no height, no weight, no sexual orientation, no religion, and no race. There is no way you can look at a person and know if they are a “good risk” or not. I urge anyone who believes in treating people fairly to cease doing business with Radio Shack and instead do business with a company that treats its customers with dignity and respect.
Receipt from where I did purchase an iphone at a different Radio Shack…I guess I was lucky enough to make the cut at that location. I suppose I didn’t look like a criminal to them and they allowed me to buy….