Recounting ‘Horror Stories’ Over Guitar Center’s Warranties

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Last year, a different supervisor wrote: “Just a reminder that this is the last week for the Asurion scratch card contest, as well as our current spiff program paying out up to 4%. Let’s sell like crazy this week! Mention it on every call and plant the seed early!”

One former sales employee who worked at a call center in Indianapolis, Alan James, said in an interview that “people in management and supervisors are still telling agents that it’s O.K. to sell there,” referring to Puerto Rico, adding: “The policy has been left intentionally unclear at every level.”

Another former sales associate, Garrett Williams, said that when he switched from the English-speaking sales staff to the Spanish-speaking staff, “it never changed about trying to put Asurion on every single” purchase. He called it “purposeful miscommunication” by management.

Mr. James, who left Guitar Center a few days ago, said most of the company’s Spanish-speaking customers came from Puerto Rico.

Asurion said in its own statement that both it and Guitar Center “have systematic processes in place to block the online sale of protection plans when selling to customers in Puerto Rico.” It did not address phone sales or how invalid warranties were sold in Puerto Rico.

Mr. James said that a broad range of customers, beyond those in Puerto Rico, frequently had trouble claiming warranties purchased for expensive products.

“If it’s above $200, the value of a product, they’re going to have a hard time with Asurion,” he said. “That’s where the horror stories begin. There’s always some technicality that gets them out of it.”

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