You’d think, with the economy the way it is, that companies would make a little effort to do right by their customers. That’s obviously not the case with Best Buy.
I am so angry with them right now I could scream, but since that won’t do any good, I’ll start at the beginning and tell you all about my mother-in-law’s experience with them this past week.
First, some background. My mother-in-law is 73 years old. She has spent the better part of her life busting her ass to provide for her children, and make life better for everyone who knows her.
Fifty years ago next month she gave birth to a little girl who was severely mentally handicapped. Her doctors told her that the little girl would not live to see her third birthday, then, when she did, they tried to convince her that her little girl, April, would not make it to eight. They were wrong again. April outlived three of those doctors and will turn 50 years old next month. My mother-in-law’s faith in God and her sheer determination are a formidable force to be reckoned with. Anyone who knows her, knows that.
Last year, on top of everything else going on in her life, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. They caught it early, but she has had a bit of a rough time with surgery and then treatment. After removing 2 lymph nodes, then going back in and removing 10 more, she developed lymphoedema. She has been undergoing radiation treatments every day, and she’s just a little more than half way through that treatment. Two weeks ago she took our three sons to the doctor with her, so they could meet her radiologist and see the equipment they use during her treatment. Their adventure with her that day proved valuable because they seem to understand better what she’s going through.
At the end of each weekday she is exhausted. Between working, taking care of April, and traveling all the way into Atlanta for the radiation treatment, she is completely worn out by the time she gets home.
Early last week, on her way home from treatment, she stopped by Best Buy to look at their selection of digital cameras. If she knew then, what she knows now, she never would have stepped foot in that store.
She had promised our youngest son that she would help him find a digital camera. Apparently, grandmothers do that sort of thing. She picked out a Casio Exilim EX-Z80 camera. Our youngest son liked the design and because of it’s slim design she thought it would be perfect for him. Without another word (or reason for hesitation) she purchased the camera. The sales person at Best Buy completed the sale and my mother-in-law took the camera home.
She gave the camera to our son that same day and he brought it home before opening it. As we opened the bag we noticed a few things. First of all, the box had already been opened. We are all familiar with Best Buys famous 14-day return policy sticker they place on their boxes. That seal was already broken. That was my first clue something was wrong.
We opened the camera and our youngest was beyond ecstatic. He took two pictures of our dog, but then the camera was full. I thought it was odd the camera could be full already, so I started hunting for an extra SD card I knew I had laying around. Meanwhile, I looked at the pictures on his camera.
As I pulled up the first photo, I was stunned. It was a photo of a black woman sitting on a bed, with white shutters behind her. The Casio box was sitting on the bed in the corner of the photo. The second photo was a close up of the same woman, and the remaining photos were awesome shots of the bedroom.
I realized the camera had been used, so I called the mother-in-law to tell her what was going on. At the time, we figured, well, the camera was used, which sucked, but our 7 year old really liked it so we figured it wasn’t worth the hassle of returning it solely for that reason. Then I did the stupidest thing I have done in a really long time. I deleted the “used” photos to make room for our little guy’s soon to be taken photographic masterpieces.
That’s when I saw his photos of our dog. They were hazy. Real hazy. Something wasn’t right, so I tried taking a couple photos myself, and they sucked. There was a definite problem with the shutter or the flash or a combination of both.
My mother-in-law called the Best Buy store and spoke to Nathaniel. When he found out the camera had been used he apologized and told my mother-in-law to bring the camera back into the store and he would exchange it and also refund 10% off the total for her inconvenience.
It took her a couple days because of her fatigue but today she asked my father-in-law to take the camera over to the store and exchange it. That’s when the fecal matter hit the proverbial fan.
They refused to exchange the camera. They informed my father-in-law that the camera was damaged, that it appeared it had been dropped, therefore they could not exchange it. They also tried to convince him that the photos we deleted were nothing but “demo” photos placed on the camera. If those were “demo” photos, I shutter to think what the “real” photos would have included. It was clear those photos were a demonstration of a twenty-something black woman’s body, not a camera’s ability to take photos.
My father-in-law returned home with the camera in hand, and my mother-in-law spent the rest of the afternoon and part of this evening on the phone with Erica at the Best Buy store and Billy who answered the 1-888-Best-Buy number when she called to talk to them.
After discussing the issue with Erica, because Nathaniel would not speak to her on the phone, she was told to call the toll free number and they hung up on her. She talked to Billy for quite a while with no resolution. The store is claiming that the camera was not used, the photos we saw were demo photos, and that my mother-in-law had damaged the camera.
We know better, but it’s her (our) word, against theirs, and they have no intention of being honorable in this matter. If they did, they wouldn’t have shown such disrespect to my mother-in-law today.
So that’s where we are tonight. My mother-in-law is sitting at her house, completely exhausted, with a useless camera sitting on her table.
Nathaniel is a coward. He immediately agreed to exchange the camera, but then refused to and couldn’t even man up enough to speak to my mother-in-law in person on the phone. Best Buy needs to make this right, because my 73 year-old mother-in-law doesn’t need the hassle they are giving her. She works everyday to be able to spend the little money she has, and she doesn’t deserve the treatment she received today from Best Buy.
Tomorrow I will be calling Best Buy, at 1-888-Best-Buy to see if I can get a resolution to this matter. She has enough going on with her cancer treatment, so I am going to do what I can to make sure this doesn’t weigh on her mind.
If you know someone at Best Buy who can help, drop me a line, it would be greatly appreciated.
[Note (03/03/2009 03:00)]: I have posted an update to this entry titled, It’s Time For An Apology.
[Note (03/05/2009 00:43)]: I have posted another update to this entry titled, Holding Those Accountable.
[Note (03/05/2009 23:25)]: I have posted another update to this entry titled, An Optimistic Outlook.
[Note (03/06/2009 23:38)]: This matter has been resolved with Best Buy. Read my post titled, Above And Beyond, for the details.