CompUSA Site Review

It looks like a retail site, and quacks like a retail site, but it doesn’t waddle worth a damn.

CompUSA, a strong brand with a substantial brick-and-mortar presence, wanted to get online in the worst way-and it succeeded! First, it launched a site in 1999 without using its own brand name (see “Cozone in the Ozone ,” June 27, 2000, p90). The company’s latest Web go around isn’t much better.

I was in the market for a notebook PC, so I went to to find one. I figured the company must have learned something from the fiasco. No such luck.

When I log on to a retail site, right after the privacy policy, I like to know the site’s return policy. The CompUSA homepage harbored a “Contact Us” text link at the very bottom. It took me to a page offering a variety of email addresses, an opportunity to “Ask PC Modem,” a Technical Service Repair Survey, and an offer to advertise on the site. No obvious return policy there. Finally, I clicked on the Site Map link and found a list that included-yes, Customer Service! Click.

Here’s what I got: “If you have a problem with one of our stores, or [an] accolade about some great service, please fill in the form below.” No information-just a form. Uh-oh.

I started my hunt for a return policy over again, and clicked on the homepage link. This took me to yet another homepage,, that had yet another Customer Service button. This took me back to the Contact Us list.

I clicked on the Shop Online button, figuring that shopping and shopping policies might go hand-in-hand.

Shop Online was still another homepage, that had-down at the bottom, in teensy, weensy letters-a link to Support. There I found Order Status (not likely), Address Book (I’m not sure I want these people to know where I live), and How to Shop. That looked promising…and yes! There’s a return policy link!

Here’s what it says: “Some items purchased from cannot be returned in CompUSA retail stores.” Which ones? “If you have questions, comments, or concerns about CompUSA’s Return Policy, please call 1-800/869-2829.”

I did. I got this recording: “Thank you for calling. Please call back between 8 and 5 Central Time, Monday through Friday.”

I am a 24/7 kind of guy, living in a 24/7 kind of world. I had money in my pocket and I wanted to spend it, but CompUSA turned my burning desire into heartburn.

Editor’s note: CompUSA has changed its Website since this review was written. All three URLs now redirect to the same homepage. The “Contact Us” text link at the bottom of the homepage is gone, though you can find contact information through the “Support” text link. The Site Map, now easily found from the homepage, includes links for returns, FAQs, shipping information, contact information, how to shop, and other helpful tools for navigating the site.