Polk, you may have just lost me as a customer after 16 years of buying only Polk products.

I am currently posted overseas, but I have a U.S. pouch address to ship packages to. So when I needed an outdoor speaker, my first and only stop was Polk. When I noticed that Polk eBay charged me sales tax when they're not supposed to, I sent the below email.

Dear Polk,

The shipping address is the pouch sorting facility for embassies abroad. Port of Spain street address signifies US embassy in Trinidad and Tobago, and each country has its own a street address. Thus, there should be no sales tax for orders shipped to 20189 zip code.

Most major retailers do not charge taxes on orders shipped to 20189, including Amazon, Walmart, Target, Bestbuy, etc. Staples used to, but have since issued me a tax exempt card to use for orders while overseas.

I recommend removing sales tax from orders shipped to 20189 zipcode.

Regards,

I expected an answer like, "I apologize but our system doesn't allow for this, but we'll definitely look into it!", and I would have been happy to move on. Instead, I end up receiving the below email.

Good afternoon-

Sorry, this doesn't change anything. Polk Audio eBay charges state to all states that collect. Some online sellers do and some don't. We do charge state sales tax and unfortunately we're unable to waive. If you're not willing to pay, we would suggest purchasing from another seller.

Best regards,

Although I was willing to pay the measly $7 tax, I don't think any customer deserves to be treated this way so I did cancel my order as he recommended. It's unfortunate that Polk still hasn't figured out how important customer service is, especially looking at successes of other companies focused on it. And with the proliferation of internet direct competitors, it's more important than ever to not lose your lifelong customers with a dumb email.

I started loving Polk when I used to sell them at circuitry city during college days, and pushed them a ton of business. My car audio was Polk. My first 5.1 system was full Polk, which sadly I had to sell. Then when my career took off, I immediately put together a 7.0 RTi setup (sorry, sub is a Hsu :smile: ), which I was planning to replace with LSi in 2-3 years. This kind of progression is what a company should hope for, but when I am basically instructed by your rep to not order your products, it makes me want to take my money elsewhere. So instead of the Atrium 8 SDI, I just ordered a Def Tech AW6500. If they impress me, well, you've lost a life long customer.
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Comments

  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 12,907
    I don't think you understand their stance. They aren't turning you away from Polk, but recommending to buy from a dealer instead of direct to try and avoid tax. Their accounting dept has to charge it, but that doesn't mean someone like crutchfield would have to.
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 37,360
    I agree with Skip's assessment.
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 8,967
    It reads as if someone doesn't realize Trinidad and Tobago are countries, not states. :)

    Polk response:
    "Polk Audio eBay charges state to all states that collect"
  • hyy5shyy5s Posts: 6
    DSkip wrote: »
    I don't think you understand their stance. They aren't turning you away from Polk, but recommending to buy from a dealer instead of direct to try and avoid tax. Their accounting dept has to charge it, but that doesn't mean someone like crutchfield would have to.

    Not sure if you understand how eBay works. There aren't any other sellers of the same product (factory refurbished Atrium 8), and obviously the rep is well aware of that. That's like going to a used car dealer and they tell you to go buy the same car from someone else.

    $7 is trivial compared to the thousands I've spent on Polk products. Wasn't about the money, obviously.
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 37,360
    Part of the problem is your zip code shows as Dulles, VA. while another part of the problem is I don't think the person responding to your email understood what you were trying to explain.

    I still agree with Skip's assessment though.
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 12,907
    hyy5s wrote: »
    DSkip wrote: »
    I don't think you understand their stance. They aren't turning you away from Polk, but recommending to buy from a dealer instead of direct to try and avoid tax. Their accounting dept has to charge it, but that doesn't mean someone like crutchfield would have to.

    Not sure if you understand how eBay works. There aren't any other sellers of the same product (factory refurbished Atrium 8), and obviously the rep is well aware of that. That's like going to a used car dealer and they tell you to go buy the same car from someone else.

    $7 is trivial compared to the thousands I've spent on Polk products. Wasn't about the money, obviously.

    These kinds of things are generally out of their control. He said nothing disrespectful but offered up an option that wouldn't include tax. I wouldn't blame Polk for complicated tax laws.

    It is also not the same as going to a different dealership. It is like going to Toyotas headquarters and them sending you to a dealership.
  • msgmsg Posts: 2,897
    edited May 26
    Agreed, I don't think they understood, and were probably unable to waive anyway since it officially resolves to stateside as noted. And let's be honest here, Polk's Ebay store isn't anywhere near the size of any of those companies you listed, and doesn't do that kind of volume. Understandable that they might not know the deal with Embassy purchases. Your message didn't exactly carry the friendliest tone, either. You recommend? Who are you?

    Also agree the verbage seems to indicate "buy Polks from another seller that can offer product without charging tax, but we have to."

    Do agree that if that's all you received it does seem a bit short for a customer service response, but I don't think they were telling you, tough nuggets. Don't cut off your nose to spite your face due to a lack of adequate communication and misunderstanding of intent or tone.
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 7,514
    The good thing is he bought Def Tech's...Polks sister company :)
  • txcoastal1 wrote: »
    The good thing is he bought Def Tech's...Polks sister company :)

    You mean, "The good thing is he bought Def Tech's...Polks [Samsung's] sister company." :)
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 7,514
    edited May 26
    txcoastal1 wrote: »
    The good thing is he bought Def Tech's...Polks sister company :)

    You mean, "The good thing is he bought Def Tech's...Polks [Samsung's] sister company." :)

    Sound United has nothing to do with Samsung to my knowledge

    Denon/Marantz, Boston Acoustics, Polk, and Def Tech
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 37,360
    txcoastal1 wrote: »
    The good thing is he bought Def Tech's...Polks sister company :)

    That cracked me up too.
  • nooshinjohnnooshinjohn Posts: 15,924
    What's your mailing address... I will send you 7 bucks and say thank you for your service. Marine Embassy Guard perhaps?
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 6,614
    edited May 26
    Amazon now charges me tax in Illinois and many others are now doing the same. These same companies didn't last year. Times are a changing

    I also agree with Skip here. I think you missed the point as it was nudge nudge wink wink i can't come right out and say it but read between the lines and here's how you can do this.
  • hyy5shyy5s Posts: 6
    If you really think "If you're not willing to pay," is a customer friendly tone, then I stand corrected. May you receive this level of excellent customer service for the rest of your lives.
  • hyy5shyy5s Posts: 6
    F1nut wrote: »
    txcoastal1 wrote: »
    The good thing is he bought Def Tech's...Polks sister company :)

    That cracked me up too.

    Thanks for pointing this out, I had no idea. Plenty of time to cancel the order.


  • hyy5shyy5s Posts: 6
    What's your mailing address... I will send you 7 bucks and say thank you for your service. Marine Embassy Guard perhaps?

    Not an MSG, but thanks. Feel free to send it to their attention anyway, should buy them a few beers.
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 37,360
    hyy5s wrote: »
    F1nut wrote: »
    txcoastal1 wrote: »
    The good thing is he bought Def Tech's...Polks sister company :)

    That cracked me up too.

    Thanks for pointing this out, I had no idea. Plenty of time to cancel the order.


    Now, you're being childish.
  • deronb1deronb1 Posts: 3,610
    Pay your damn taxes!
  • daddyjtdaddyjt Posts: 361
    You really should be complaining about the tax laws, not the fact that Polk is legally obligated to pay the tax on your purchase, and therefor expects you to pay the tax.

    In the world of "choose your battles", this one doesn't seem to move the needle.
  • Inspector 24Inspector 24 Posts: 1,059
    Did I miss something or was this really over only seven bucks?
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 8,967
    LOL.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 27,218
    daddyjt wrote: »
    In the world of "choose your battles", this one doesn't seem to move the needle.

    Bingo....what more needs to be said ?
  • motorhead43026motorhead43026 Posts: 1,801
    What a tool.
  • hyy5shyy5s Posts: 6
    This will be my last post, since it looks like I ran into a den of fanboys.

    1. Virginia is not allowed to collect taxes to zip code 20189. Same rules apply to APO and DPO addresses (which are physically located in NJ, FL, or WA). Again, it is illegal for VA to collect taxes on sales to 20189, and USPS post code database has this updated information. Polk is not using this database.

    2. For the 3rd time in this thread, it's not about the money. $7 is 0.00875% of my after tax income last year. If you choose not to read this, well, many comparisons can be made to other groups that ignore facts.

    3. As I stated in the original email, all I expected was a we'll look into that, thanks for pointing it out. Not a go buy it somewhere else. If you really think this is good customer service, I don't know what to say.

    Thanks to all of your help, I will definitely not return to buying Polk that you so vigorously defend. In the end consumers choose with their pocket books, not by what internet trolls write.


  • deronb1deronb1 Posts: 3,610
    Adios!
  • daddyjtdaddyjt Posts: 361
    hyy5s wrote: »
    This will be my last post, since it looks like I ran into a den of fanboys...

    You'll be missed.
  • treitz3treitz3 Posts: 11,903
    I have no skin in this game but here's my take on the OP's comments. If I dealt with a company and was pleased for 26 years and then all bets are off when a $7.00 Uncle Sam charge comes my way with an option to avoid it?

    I'd say that the problem lies with me and not the company that had satisfactory service provided to me for 26 years.

    It's akin to be married to your wife satisfactorily for 26 years and then she charges something to your credit card because of some issue with hers and is willing to transfer funds back in because that's the only thing she could do.....and now you want a divorce.

    I think someone is being unreasonable here.

    Tom
  • Dennis GardnerDennis Gardner Posts: 4,594
    edited May 27
    I think that it is akin to his wife of 26 years telling him that his new "rompers" make his legs look fat.....
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 1,778
    edited May 27
    Polk is not a major or even a minor internet retailer so not surprising their payment system does not have an automatic sales tax waiver for diplomatic pouch mail. Amazon sells the Atrium 8 new for $187 a piece as does Worldwidestereo through Amazon. In future I would recommend following up to a misunderstanding with a customer service clerk by citing the Virginia Tax Code provision that excludes zip code 20189 from State sales tax collection. With so much outsourcing these days, there is no guarantee the EBay order fulfillment service is even manned by Polk employees anymore.

    There will still be companies that do not budge from collecting sales taxes and sending them to Virginia regardless of what a customer says. The diplomatic pouch system is far less well known compared to APO mail for military members.
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