Dear Tepperman’s

My family was out and about on Boxing Day when we heard your advertisement “Pay nothing, no money down, no payments, no interest for 18 months on approved credit!”  
We had been looking at getting a new TV since our 52” rear projection LCD was in need of a $400 bulb.  We drove to the store on Wharncliffe Road in London, passed through the doors that proudly announce “Family to family, that’s the difference.”  How nice!  
We looked around that vast home furnishings and made our way to the TV and electronics section.  We ideally wanted another LCD, but the 60” plasma was very inviting.  We decided that since we were already approved for $10,000 we would go ahead and take the $1500 television – for $0 down, no payments and no interest.
Well, that was until our sales rep advised that he required a 15% deposit on the TV.  Um, no, I don’t think so.  We shared with him the ad on the radio.  He looked at the ad in the paper which supported our position.  We weren’t planning to pay anything.  Mr. Sales Rep asked another rep who said, there was no money down except for 15%, a sort of “goodwill gesture” that we would fulfill our end of the contract.
Anyone see the irony in his statement?
So we asked again, are you going to give us the TV with nothing down, no payments, no interest?  No.
Well, we spent cash this Christmas, without taking any debt on.  We didn’t need a TV right now, but 18 months without payments and we could have paid it off anyway.  Instead, we walked away without a new TV.  More importantly, Tepperman’s lost a sale that day.
“Family to family, that’s the difference.”  One thing you forgot Tepperman’s…my family doesn’t lie to me.
Todd Rowley

3 thoughts on “Dear Tepperman’s

  1. Dear Todd,I'm sorry that our ad came across as misleading to you- that was not our intention. At Tepperman's we understand the value of trust and integrity, and we work very hard to set a high standard every day. Lying is not a part of our culture around here- it's that simple. Misunderstandings and communication mistakes do happen from time to time, but dishonesty is extremely rare and not tolerated.You write in your post that as you were out and about on Boxing Day, you heard one of our radio ads (and since you've heard the ad you know I'm the person who records those ads) and that in the ad you heard, I was offering “Pay nothing, no money down, no payments, no interest for 18 months on approved credit!” I'm obviously pretty familiar with our advertising, and I knew that we were offering "Pay Nothing for 18 Months on Approved Credit/ No Monthly Payments & No Interest", which offers our customers no monthly payments and no interest for 18 months, but which does require a 15% deposit. I didn’t think we were offering a “No Money Down” promotion. We do periodically run special promotions which specifically offer "no money down", as we recently did in the month of November. That month, our radio ads featured both my father and I saying “NO money down, NOT EVEN the taxes.” The front page of our November flyer stated “Pay Nothing for 2 Full Years! NO money down, not even the taxes; NO monthly payments; NO interest; No minimum purchase; Limited time only”. In case we'd made some kind of an error or I was mis-remembering, I went back and double-checked a few things, including my radio scripts, the recorded radio ads, and our print advertising for that period. In my review of the radio scripts and recorded ads, I didn't find anything that advertised "No Money Down" terms. Everything I found used our "Pay Nothing for 18 Months" language. The ad in the paper which you reviewed with the sales people in the store is able to go into further details. On the front page of the ad, it states "Pay Nothing for 18 Months, No Monthly Payments and NO Interest", but doesn’t mention anything about “no money down.”Looking at the November and Boxing Week ads side-by-side, both credit offerings are stated boldly on the front page- neither is in fine print. There are definitely similarities: both ads offer “No Monthly Payments/ No Interest” terms for different periods of time. That said, the Boxing Week ad does NOT state "No money down" unlike the November ad or other ads where we specifically do offer “No money down.” Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Todd. I apologize for the confusion and I will be looking into this further in our stores to see if others had similar experience. Sincerely,Noah TeppermanTEPPERMAN'S2595 OUELLETTE AVENUEWINDSOR, ONTARIO N8X 4V8519-969-3063 EXT 1495800-265-5062

  2. I responded to Mr.Tepperman, who in turn replied to me. Below is our exchange of emails:Dear Mr. Tepperman, I was truly surprised to hear directly from you, but also pleased that you would take the time to respond to a blog posted less than 24 hours previous. I can genuinely appreciate your contact to correct or clarify the situation. Let me give you some back story. A number of years ago, following the purchase of our first home, we further purchased a number of appliances and a dinette set from the old store on Wharncliffe Road. Service was fine overall and we paid all financing within the terms, never defaulting on payment. When we went to purchase our current television, for unknown reasons the store would grant us only a small amount of credit ($1000 if memory serves me correct), not near enough to purchase the entertainment system we were looking at. There was no explanation at the time despite our inquiry with the employee. We moved on and made purchases through The Brick and Leon’s without any further problems. Seeing as how quite some time had passed, we figured we would stop in again and check things out. It was November 12, 2010 that I was approved for $10,000 credit with Tepperman’s and we began to consider our options in terms of purchasing a new television. After paying cash throughout the Christmas season, my wife and I heard the ad a few times, which has continued to play since that time, proudly proclaiming “Pay nothing for 18 months, No Payments and No interest!” Hearing that, we decided to head over to the store and look at the sales. You know the rest already, having read it on the blog. I honestly expected nothing from you should I send a letter to the offices, so I just posted a rant letter on my blog which has lead us to this point. After receiving multiple emails (15 at last count) that you had been trying to post to the site, I have looked at the flyer online and was able to read the fine print on the bottom of the back page indicating that a 15% deposit is due at purchase. The problem remains though, that on the radio there is absolutely no mention of having to pay any deposit and no reference to terms and conditions applying. The radio advertising is misleading, and does not reflect any ‘fine print.’ When I hear the statement “Pay nothing” I expect to pay nothing. From the perspective of a potential customer, the advertising is false, misleading and at worst, even deceitful. I recognize that Tepperman’s stands on it’s long history of being a family run business and I can appreciate the integrity that should stem from that. Ultimately though, your recent run of ads lacks the integrity which you stand for and instead builds upon a foundation that Tepperman’s is becoming nothing more than another “Big Box” retailer. Sincerely,Todd Rowly

  3. Mr. Tepperman responded with the following:Hi Todd: Thanks for your additional comments- I do appreciate both the positive feedback about my responding (I try very hard to follow up on any customer contact) as well as the critical feedback about our advertising. I know the challenges involved in time-limited radio advertising vs. print advertising where there should be more complete detail available, and I’m fairly comfortable with our approach, but I also want to make sure that I’m not developing ‘tunnel vision’ and am still able to see things from the perspective of our customers. Part of my role here at Tepperman’s is to serve as the last word in customer advocacy, so I take it pretty seriously and feel I’m pretty good at it. That why I want to make sure you know that I have heard your point and, as I say in my comment on your blog, I will follow up with all of our locations on this point to try and determine if more of our customers feel this way. (I (Todd) removed a portion of this email as it pertained to posting difficulties and how to remedy it to allow these lengthy responses to be viewed. It in no way effects that communication between the two parties) While I can’t promise that I’ll end up agreeing with you or making a change in this instance, I can promise that I’ll review it personally- and when I have come across instances where we’ve done something wrong (which has definitely happened, let me tell you), I have ensured that things changed as a result. That’s why I have faith that “Family to Family” is the difference. Again, thanks very much for the feedback, and for the original post. Have a very happy New Year. Sincerely, Noah Tepperman

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