It’s Time For An Apology

Category: Life, Our Nation | 1,701 words | Print

casio-chuck.jpgToday was a very interesting day. I find it completely ironic how a company will change it’s tune when they realize they have been nothing but complete and utter schmucks. I’m pretty sure the staff that insulted and berated my mother-in-law didn’t give their actions a second thought when they showed up for work today, but this evening I uncovered some things that put the ball is back in our court, and they are not going to be too happy about it.

Twenty-four hours ago my mother-in-law was called a liar, she was demeaned by Erica (a Best Buy staff member), the “manager” Nathaniel refused to engage her on the phone, and the corporate “customer relations” representative, Billy, told her there was nothing he could do about it. My mother-in-law endured Erica’s sarcasm and her rude and inconsiderate attitude. She tried to humiliate her over the phone and then Billy took the word of Nathaniel and Erica over the word of their customer, without knowing one way or the other, who might be telling the truth.

I’m pretty sure if asked, the corporate office will deny that ‘jackass’ training is included when they hire new employees, but Erica did her best to make my mother-in-law feel stupid for trying to pursue the matter, and after insulting her and getting very sarcastic with her on the phone, she told my mother-in-law to call the corporate office and hung up on her.

When my mother-in-law called the corporate office, Billy told her there was nothing they could do because the manager at the store informed him that the camera “appeared it had been dropped”.

Take a look at these photos and tell me where the visible damage is.

Here’s the front,

casio-cam2.jpg

and here’s the back,

casio-cam1.jpg

So, could you find it? Of course you couldn’t. There is a small “scratch”, if you can even call it that, on the bottom right on the front side, and there is a small “scuff” mark on the bottom left on the back. That’s it. That’s their argument for “appeared it had been dropped”. Of course, that scratch and the scuff mark could have been made while the camera was in someone’s pocket or in a camera bag. Either way, it appears to be normal use. Normal use of a camera that according to them had never been used before my mother-in-law purchased it.

When my father-in-law stood in the store with the camera in hand, Nathaniel informed him there were no longer any images on the camera. Well, duh, my mother-in-law already told him they had been deleted to make room for my son’s photographic masterpieces. Nathaniel also said that the photos I deleted were only “demo” photos placed on the camera by the nice folks at Casio.

You know it and I know it. Casio does not put demo photos on their cameras. If they did, I doubt they would use photos of a black woman sitting seductively on a bed with the camera box at the corner of the bed. Fuzzy photos of white shutters in the same bedroom won’t exactly sell any cameras either.

Anyway, have you ever heard of “PhotoRescue Expert”? It’s a really nice application that allows you to recover images you may have accidently deleted. Wouldn’t it be awesome if I was able to run that application and scan the camera to see if I could recover any of those “demo” photos?

Oh but wait, I did. Due to the fact we had taken a couple photos before we realized the camera wasn’t working right, the first couple images were not recoverable.

The first photo showed a young black woman sitting on a bed. The second shot showed the empty bed with the camera box sitting at the end of the bed. The third shot… Oh, here, you can see the third shot for yourself. You can see the woman and the headboard in this photo.

casio-cam3.jpg

Here is the fourth photo, notice the bed and the camera box sitting on the bed. Those are some fuzzy looking blinds if you ask me. Nice demo.

casio-cam4.jpg

The fifth image shows a close up of the camera box. You can clearly see the broken seal on the cd sitting on top of the camera box. Of course, this can’t be the box for this camera because Nathaniel and Erica both say the camera had never been used before it was purchased by my mother-in-law.

casio-cam5.jpg

The three remaining images we recovered were taken by my son (when we first realized there was an issue with the camera). The image at the top of this post is one of those oddly exposed images.

In addition to recovering the photos, PhotoRescue Expert also reveals the date and time the photos were taken. That first photo was taken on February 8, 2009 at 3:24. Funny. My mother-in-law didn’t purchase the camera until February 25th.

As I said before, today was a very interesting day. Not only did I prove the camera had no signs of damage, I also proved that the camera had indeed been used before my mother-in-law purchased it. But that wasn’t all I found…

After recovering the images this evening, I called the Best Buy “customer relations” number again. TJ informed me that he could not help me from the corporate office and said I would have to take the camera back into the store with the “evidence” to show the store manager. I decided to call the store and ask a few questions.

It turns out Nathaniel is NOT the store manager. He is the service manager. My mother-in-law was under the impression he was the store manager, since that is who she had asked to speak to. The store managers name is Ryan and after hearing what I had to say, he was quick to offer his assistance. I told him that I wanted to file a formal complaint against Erica because she was way out of line treating my mother-in-law the way she did. Once I mentioned the “evidence” (which I will describe below) from the camera and the formal complaint, he asked me what I was doing on Thursday.

No, he wasn’t asking me out on a date, at least I don’t think he was, but he told me to come in on Thursday and ask for him. He stressed that I wasn’t to ask for anyone else, and that he personally would take care of everything at that time.

Now my question is, why is he being so quick to exchange the camera now? Sure, he knows his staff has done wrong, but they’ve done wrong in the past and that didn’t stop them. Sure, he knows the gig is up, but that never stopped employees from that location from being pinheads before. So what’s changed this time?

Maybe it has to do with the final two images on the camera. It could be that those two images hold the key to this whole debacle. The final two images I found on the camera were not recovered by the software because they had never been deleted. They were simply sitting in a separate folder and neither I, nor the employees at the store, noticed them. These two images are evidence that employees at the Best Buy location in Douglasville, Georgia knowingly sold a used camera as new.

Here is the image ‘CIMG0537.JPG’,

casio-cam8.jpg

and here is ‘CIMG0538.JPG’.

casio-cam9.jpg

Although the photos are a bit fuzzy, I think it’s very clear why Ryan is so willing to “take care of me” on Thursday. These last two photos show none other than a member of Best Buy’s own “Geek Squad”. There is no denying it now. Someone at that store knew this camera was used, and they knew is since January 1, 2008, which is the timestamp on those two photos. Notice the filenames. It’s also clear that this camera had taken hundred of photos before my mother-in-law purchased it last week.

Best Buy has a lot of explaining to do. First and foremost, they owe my mother-in-law an apology. The mother of all apologies. Disciplinary action should be taken against Nathaniel and Erica, at the very least, and someone from the corporate office needs to contact my mother-in-law and explain why Best Buy Store #519 in Douglasville, Georgia is selling used cameras as if they were brand new.

Isn’t there some sort of law or regulation that covers the deceptive business practice of packing used items and selling them as new? Are there any lawyers out there that could shed some light on this topic for me? Through my own experiences, I have noticed a consistent pattern at that local Best Buy store, but I never though deceptive business practices was part of their modus operandi.

It should be noted that the images used in this post are copies of the originals. I have the originals available on my computer, plus they’re still sitting on the camera waiting to be recovered again and again, if necessary.

This is no longer just about the camera. This is about doing the right thing. If we, as consumers, don’t stand up for what is right, corporations like Best Buy will never change their policies to prevent this kind of behavior from their staff, and they will never stop taking advantage of their customers.

The ball is in our court, and it’s up to Best Buy to make this right. Offering an apology to my mother-in-law and explaining how a used camera was sold as new would be a good start.

[Note (03/05/2009 00:43)]: I have posted an 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.

Tags:

Previous Post: | Next Post:

Comments

134 Responses to “It’s Time For An Apology”

  1. Vinny on March 3rd, 2009 10:51

    But… But… Those were sample photos designed to display the capabilities of the camera. Can’t you see how great it is? Doesn’t it make you want to run out and take pictures?

    Idiots. I hope you get the apology AND the new camera.

  2. Tasses on March 3rd, 2009 14:32

    Don’t even get me started on Best Buy! Run away to another store. Quick… Before they rip the WiiFit right from your hands as you stand in the checkout line (as they did this to me on December 8th) because they “can’t sell it until tomorrow.” Even though it was right on the shelf… I hate Best Buy!

  3. Dan on March 4th, 2009 12:44

    The camera prob wasn’t used since Jan 1, 2008. That’s probally the default date the camera goes to if nobody sets the date properly.

    You should have printed the pictures, and secretly taped them around the store. It probally would have freaked a couple employees out!

  4. Brian on March 4th, 2009 12:56

    That is ridiculous. I’ve heard some whoppers about Best Buy these past few years but this is amazing. It’s A-Rod all over again, they’re only sorry because they were caught.

  5. vliam on March 4th, 2009 13:07

    What Dan said.
    It’s a generic timestamp. The camera was introduced in 2008. There’s no reason to offer dates before then.

    At any rate, good luck! Go get them!

  6. Derek on March 4th, 2009 13:13

    Contact the state attorney general for your state. They’re always big fans of prosecuting companies for the “selling used goods as new” racket.

    Seriously.

  7. jmndos on March 4th, 2009 13:13

    You should tell them that if they dont straight swap it for the camera your grandmother wanted, a Nikon D700, with a Nikon 24-120mm lens, and an Nikon SB900, then you are going to the newspaper and the attorney general….

  8. mtb on March 4th, 2009 13:14

    The timestamp of 1/1/2008 may be the generic default timestamp, but the subsequent ones of 2/8/2009, seventeen days before my mother-in-law purchased the camera isn’t.

  9. David on March 4th, 2009 13:30

    Not sure about Georgia law, but common tort law is the same in every state. You should reject any offers of a refund and file a fraud complaint against those indiviudal workers, the Best Buy in Georgia, and the corporate headquarters for intentionally selling your mother in law a supposedly new camera even though it was used. Those were some scumbag employees working at that Best Buy.

  10. Rob Cockerham on March 4th, 2009 13:44

    Wow. Good work.

    I would be furious. Don’t expect to feel compensated when you get a new camera, but definitely hold out for the apology.

    I’m guessing 80 minutes until someone identifies the dude from Geek Squad by name.

  11. Grandizer on March 4th, 2009 14:08

    Hmmm, why do people assume that the people who SOLD him the camera knew that it was a used camera???
    Unless one of them IS one of the people on the camera, then how would anyone know which camera out of the ones they have are in fact used camera…
    Not to mention the card in the camera could very well have been used in other cameras, ie: the floor model…
    But he is right, the customer service was horrendous and for that alone he should get some reparations…
    Actually no he shouldn’t, his mom in law should.

  12. Mr3vil on March 4th, 2009 14:14

    Here’s the likely chain of events in regards to that camera. Customer purchases the camera, realizes it has some kind of problem, returns it to the store. Geek Squad has to check out all returns on cameras, computers, etc. Well, you test a camera by taking pictures with it and see how they turn out. Geek Squad Agent takes pictures of himself.

    Where things went wrong though is after the agent had tested the camera. Two things could have occurred, a chucklehead ignored the label stating that the camera was defective and it went back onto the sales floor, OR the geek Squad agent claimed nothing was wrong with the camera, the customer’s return still was accepted and then the camera was returned to the sales floor. Either scenario is likely and both happened when I worked at Best Buy six years ago (When they wore black shirts)

    I’m by no means defending their attempt at covering this up, nor their poor handling of the situation. I am merely offering an explanation of what happened. Those turkeys at the store definitely owe you an apology AND a replacement camera.

  13. Michael T. Barrett on March 4th, 2009 14:16

    I think the broken seal on the box was the first clue for any employee that it has been used.

    And to make something else clear, there is no card in the camera, these photos were on the internal memory of the camera.

  14. Bill on March 4th, 2009 14:24

    Sad what it takes to make them treat you like a customer instead of the enemy…

    Oh, FYI the “weird exposure” is the protective shutter in front of the lens not opening all the way when you power up the camera. I had one with the same problem and had to remember to flick it out of the way before taking pictures.

  15. Kevin on March 4th, 2009 14:28

    More irrefutable evidence that best buy is evil. I have to add that I’m not sure why the race of the woman in in the picture is an issue. Does this somehow make the picture more offensive to you?

  16. Michael G on March 4th, 2009 14:30

    I have had several Casio cameras myself. I noticed that two of the photos where CIMG0537 and CIMG0538 … I wonder where CIMG001 to CIMG0536 are ?

  17. Pepelicious on March 4th, 2009 14:30

    Definitely contact your state attorney general. Most likely there’s contact information for filing a fraud complaint on their website. And do not accept any compensation from Best Buy or sign anything from them.

    Or you could just nuke ‘em from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure….

  18. Michael T. Barrett on March 4th, 2009 14:30

    the race of the woman is not an issue, merely a fact.

  19. William Brinkman on March 4th, 2009 14:32

    They do this kind of stuff all the time. I saw it while working there- repackaging items that could be repackaged to look like new. As a consumer, I’ve purchased a $100 keyboard that was clearly opened and had broken keys when I tried to use it. Just shop Amazon.com or NewEgg.com. I know old people hate the internet, but it works.

  20. Joe on March 4th, 2009 14:32

    The services manager, or any manager, is the store manager while they were the one considered to be the… get this… “Manager on duty”. You were not lied to when the manager said he/she was the store manager, at that time, he/she was.
    While employees have to go under the impression that someone is trying to pull a fast one on them, the moment they see ANY pictures on that camera they should have done at the min the 10% open box discount if not a full refund.
    My advice, if you buy something from ANY retailer, open it up on the spot, cause the moment you take it out of the store it can be easily assumed you’re lieing.

  21. John Galt on March 4th, 2009 14:36

    OK, here is a valid question? Have you ever bought something that you did not have a problem with? If you have, could you please write as much about that experience?

  22. Darklady on March 4th, 2009 14:37

    My guess is that you had two things going for you when you called about the camera:

    1) Solid evidence

    2) XY chromosomes. Unfortunately, women still get treated like idiots when it comes to technical matters and I suspect the Best Buy staff figured they could get away with more while dealing with her. You were a different story.

  23. Pete Wendell on March 4th, 2009 14:40

    In case you need them:

    Shari Ballard, Executive Vice President, U.S. Stores
    shari.ballard@bestbuy.com

    Ms. Kelly Groehler, Senior Manager, Corporate Public Relations
    kelly.groehler@bestbuy.com

    Dawn Bryant, Senior Public Relations Specialist
    dawn.bryant@bestbuy.com

  24. Scott on March 4th, 2009 14:47

    Why don’t they tell the Geek guy to fricking shave and groom himself? Gross!

  25. Scott on March 4th, 2009 14:49

    John – Why would anyone bother to write about that and why would anyone else read it?

    Best Buy is SUPPOSED to offer good service, or even great service. If they do so, that is not newsworthy. Duh.

    The purpose of blogs like this isn’t to make sure you have a good day, it is to help consumers info-share. If you want a difference experience, go find a feel-good blog.

  26. SLEZE on March 4th, 2009 15:23

    Nice detective work! I used to work in customer service at a Micro Center and we used to repackage working items as new all the time. We even had a shrink-wrap machine for those occasions.

    If there were any questions if a product was used or not functioning properly (if it was returned as defective), we would just “return to vendor.”

    In this case, it was probably returned because someone didn’t like it and returned it functioning. Geek Squad probably was playing with it and broke it and then tried to cover their tracks by reselling it.

  27. Todd Fjellman on March 4th, 2009 15:27

    Wow! I had to shave when I worked for the GeekSquad (Before BB took over).

    Never buy the extended warranty! I have seen store agents SEARCH for a minor scratch or scrape for a reason to invalidate the warranty when someone came in to have it repaired/replaced. Salespeople will tell you that the warranty will cover batteries, laptop screens, keyboards, etc; but the people who service them will tell you things like “Well, this manufacturer doesn’t make this size screen anymore, so we will just refund you the warranty ammount.”

    I saw this twice while I was stopping at stores to pick up parts, and was PISSED at the way BB treats customers, especially those that ordered the extended warranty that they pressured them into.

  28. Jen on March 4th, 2009 15:32

    I followed a link here from The Consumerist, and I have to pipe up and say that my family has had a similar problem with that same Best Buy.

    I bought a laptop from them in the Spring of ’07. A nice Toshiba that was on clearance, a good machine for a good price. I got it home and I was showing it to my father, and he decided he wanted one. So within the next couple of days, he went to the same Best Buy and purchased one for himself. He got home and started it up and when I came home a couple of hours later he was perplexed. “How did you get your laptop set up? What’s the password?” He asked as soon as I walked in. Password? What password? I didn’t have a clue what he meant. My machine was completely plug and play, setup was a breeze and I was up and running in less than 20 minutes. He showed me his machine and said there had been no setup, that it had booted straight to the screen where Windows requests the user designated password.

    Now, lest you think my father is computer illiterate, and somehow managed to set that password himself without knowing it, let me set you straight. He’s had a personal computer in his house since they first became available, and upgraded regularly. He knows more about computers than I do, and is the first person I go to when my machine is on the blink. So he didn’t do it himself. Not to mention the fact that he never got it to boot far enough into Windows to set the password in the first place.

    He pulls out the recovery CD that came with the machine, only to find that the seal on it was broken. At that point he packed everything up and took it back to the store. His opinion, and mine, was that someone had clearly used the machine, set the password and then repackaged it for whatever reason. The one hole in that theory? The fact that the factory seal on the outer box was intact when he purchased it. After talking to me, he realized that the packaging on the inside was not intact. My machine arrived wrapped in an opaque plastic sleeve that was sealed with a Toshiba seal that left marks on the material when you opened it. My father’s machine had no such wrapping on it.

    Fortunately, this is where the similarities between his story and your mother-in-law’s diverge. When he took it back, the store agreed with him, apologized, and replaced it with a machine that was in perfect order. I’m sorry you and your family had such a distasteful experience. I thought you might be interested to know you’re not the only one who has issues with that particular Best Buy.

  29. magnoliasouth on March 4th, 2009 15:39

    I have to go with Mr3vil on this one. I was going to say this very thing.

    However it doesn’t excuse their return behavior. Saying it was damaged? If the scratch was there when your in-law got it, then it was pre-damaged by a customer return, that THEY should have caught.

    Please update and let us know what happened on Thursday. I’m very curious.

    Oh, and I used to live in Douglasville myself, but this was long before Best Buy even existed there. :)

  30. Matt on March 4th, 2009 15:42

    Last week, I bought a Flip Ultra at Best Buy. Got home, opened it, and found finger prints all over the screen and even a scratch on the screen. I immediately boxed it up and drove back to the store. They exchanged it without an issue.

    Problem was that it was locked under in the cabinet and sold to me like it was brand new. The sales guy put a big “14-day return policy” sticker across where the original seal sticker would have been. So I had no way of checking the seal once they put the sticker on.

    I never even turned it on or plugged it into my computer, so I don’t know if there were any vids from the previous owner. Either way, Best Buy seems to have a habit of reselling previously owned merchandise as new for full price.

  31. Just A Grunt on March 4th, 2009 15:47

    Small world. I found this story while reading the Ace of Spades blog only to find out you are somebody right up the road from me. Since Circuit City has gone belly up Best Buy is about the only game in town who deals with nothing but electronics. I never liked them before and don’t think I have really purchased anything from them and the list of reasons not to grows.
    Good luck with Ryan. Maybe an upgrade to a better camera is in order.

  32. IndieDogg on March 4th, 2009 15:51

    Contact the following:

    Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs
    2 Martin Luther King Jr., Drive SE, Suite 356
    Atlanta, Georgia 30334-4600

    Phone: 404-651-8600 or 800-869-1123 (toll-free in Georgia, outside of the metro Atlanta calling area)

    They’ll be glad to help.

  33. Phil Howard on March 4th, 2009 15:51

    This is beyond getting a replacement for the camera (you should have gotten that right at the start). This is beyond getting an apology (you should have gotten that from the 2nd person). What you should be getting is proof that Erica, Nathaniel AND Billy are fired, plus a premium camera of your mother-in-law’s choice in exchange for not taking this camera to the attorney general of your state.

  34. Jason on March 4th, 2009 15:56

    Hi Michael,

    I am Jason, a Community Connector for Best Buy®. We frequently review our customers’ forum and blog postings to gain insight into their experiences and identify areas of improvement. I am disappointed that this camera purchase became such an inconvenience for you and your mother-in-law. I know the excitement expected when getting a new camera, and am sorry this was muted by the disappointment you express. This experience is not typical, and I sincerely hope that the manager is able to provide a satisfactory resolution for you. I have filed a formal complaint for you with case number 58373430. You may email me at Jason.Communities@BestBuy.com if there is any information not contained in this blog posting that you wish to be included in the notes for your case, or if you need any further assistance after visiting the store.

    Sincerely,
    Agent Jason
    Community Connector

  35. BigMcLargeHuge on March 4th, 2009 16:00

    You are being too kind.

    The only apology you should accept is a check from Best Buy after you take them to small claims court. Small claims court is designed for just this kind of issue and the process is simple, you dont need a lawyer, there are numerous FAQs on the web detailing how to file, in your state AND the cost of filing is minimal.

    Why accept a new camera and an apology?

    They have cost you time, stress and money. If you take them to small claims, they *might* (note: I stress the word might) learn from all this. Or at the very least, the specific employees might get written up/terminated via corp office. Additionally, you’ll shed some legal light on their blatantly illegal practice of re-selling used equipment as new.

    DO NOT accept a simple apology. That stage was passed after the 2nd phone call/meeting.

    Good luck!

  36. Christopher Vigliotti on March 4th, 2009 16:04

    Also there should be a law against sporting that particular style of beard.

  37. Murali on March 4th, 2009 16:04

    >the race of the woman is not an issue, merely a fact.

    he he he, there are many other facts in each picture, like a “white” store employee fact which was never mentioned. So the question remains.

  38. Feel_Your_Pain on March 4th, 2009 16:29

    Go, Brotha’ Go,
    Since you live in Georgia. You know the Georgia Bulldogs song………….
    Goooooooooooooooo Bulldogs, Sic ‘em Woof, Woof, Woof!!!!

    Hoo RAH!

    Here’s winning one for the “little man”

    I say Go for the 76′ (yes FOOT) PLASMA’s They have in the Back of the Store (for your Pain and Suffering}.

    I say New Cam Corder’s for all the KIDS! (in all of Douglasville!). Santa’s Come Early Kids!

    I’m 100% Serious—If you need “Protest Help” I’ll be there for you! That’s what Unemployed People have to Spend their time doing! (can probably bring my other unemployed Geek Friends too).

    Get Clark Howard on this too! Let’s make this NATIONAL NEWS!!! Call the AJC, Call the CNN News Desk! I’m 100% Serious. This is the RALLY CRY for the LITTLE MAN!!!!
    Let’s “Flash Mob” the store—and we’ll have EVERYONE check EVERY SINGLE BOX to see if they’ve been tampered with!!!

    Just give me the Green Light–and I PROMISE YOU, I’ll help you make this “National News” and before this is all over we’ll have Brian J. Dunn, C.E.O. of Best Buy ‘HAND DELIVER’ the Replacement Camera to you to avoid any more negative publicity!!!

    Bored, unemployed I.T. people can make lots of noise!!
    (my Web Dev. Manager friend–we’ll get him busy).

    Just let me know!!!

  39. wwfmike on March 4th, 2009 16:35

    Definately go to the newspapers and media about this.

    Ugh, that guy with the pubes all over his face is gross.

  40. Michael T. Barrett on March 4th, 2009 16:36

    IndieDogg: Thank you, I have already contacted them and am filling out their consumer complaint form as I type this.

  41. Jemie on March 4th, 2009 16:37

    Mistakes happen, get back on with life and try to get a discount on a new camera!

  42. Brian on March 4th, 2009 17:01

    BestBuy is the worst store in terms of customer service, I can’t say I’m surprised at all.

  43. Daniel Boone on March 4th, 2009 17:32

    @ Murali

    No, your question doesn’t stand because it was never valid in the first place.

    Now what I find particularly amusing is that you seem to believe that the onus is on Michael to prove he’s not racist, when it’s totally on you to prove that you’re not just a dip-shit troll who thinks it has something to prove.

  44. Nicole on March 4th, 2009 18:01

    I echo the sentiments that Best Buy sucks. It’s really a shame Circuit City went bankrupt because I always got the best service there and the worst service at Best Buy. I haven’t bought anything at Best Buy in years. The best thing you and your family can do is never shop there again. Best Buy won’t get the message until consumers stop giving them their money.

  45. CMC on March 4th, 2009 18:01

    I think the Geek Squad guy is wearing mascara. It’s not a good look for him.

  46. Phil G. on March 4th, 2009 18:04

    Just A Grunt @ 15:47
    “Since Circuit City has gone belly up Best Buy is about the only game in town who deals with nothing but electronics.”

    Don’t forget FRYS. And so far, for computer parts, I have yet to run into an issue with Micro Center and returns (Not saying they don’t happen but I have not had any issues.)

    Murali @ 16:04
    “he he he, there are many other facts in each picture, like a “white” store employee fact which was never mentioned. So the question remains.”

    While I don’t know Michael, maybe the importance of race is that unless he is married to or dating a black woman (or has one in his family), the likelihood of him TAKING “photos of a black woman sitting seductively on a bed” might be slim to none.

    And if he did (and is married to/dating someone else), I am sure his S.O. might want to know more and in that case, he would be silly to post the pics here. Wouldn’t you agree? ;-)

    Just MY speculation on the issue on WHY race might be pointed out.

  47. vladmir on March 4th, 2009 18:33

    luckily that white goofily bearded geek squad guy’s visine worked because he is stoned.

  48. Erin on March 4th, 2009 19:19

    I can’t stand Best Buy. Last January, I bought a Canon 40D (big purchase for me) from them. We got it home, the manual was missing, the body was scratched and the lens was damaged. Pretty interesting for a brand new camera.

    Luckily, we went back immediately and it was instantly swapped out but I haven’t bought a piece of equipment from them since. I simply refuse to trust them.

  49. ladysaria on March 4th, 2009 19:57

    Having sold Exilim Casio cameras at my store (a college bookstore, fwiw), I would like to say that this camera does not have a seal on the box and the camera itself is only wrapped in a soft-foam baggie type thing inside the box, again with no seal. I’ve opened several to show to customers, so that detail alone does not indicate new/previously purchased status.

  50. Michael T. Barrett on March 4th, 2009 19:59

    Of course it doesn’t. The fact that the 14 day return policy sticker had already been broken indicates that someone was inside the box before us. Of course, the timestamps of 1/1/08 and 2/8/09 indicate someone else used the camera. ;)

  51. drew on March 4th, 2009 20:05

    Best Buy sold me a “new” $1300 Sony HD with pictures from a group’s camping trip. Sounds like a routine course of business for them. No apology or even shame. Got my money back…not shopping there anymore.

  52. Dean on March 4th, 2009 20:36

    Don’t settle for an apology and exchange for a new camera, Best Buy broke the law. Contact your State Attorney General’s office.

    I’d also demand that any restitution include making the Geek Squad member shave.

  53. Kitty on March 4th, 2009 20:52

    You know, everyone is bashing BB GeekSquad guy, but you’d think a GeekSquad guy would know how to delete photos, and would know to do so. But he didn’t. GeekSquad guy could have gotten fed up with the repackaging scam and has purposefully been leaving photos of himself to help costumers know what’s up. That look just makes him more distinct and identifiable! We could have an unsung hero here…

    Of course, personally, I’d have gone with the route of informing the proper authorities of what my employers were doing. There’s a lower likelihood of, you know, unemployment and jail time. And a higher likelihood of ensuring that more people don’t get scammed. Still, I wanted to defend GeekSquad guy, just in case. :P

  54. RCB on March 4th, 2009 21:03

    The girl’s race was probably mentioned because it is different than his or the person that bought it and maybe he doesn’t know any blacks so in his mind it was like, “See? I’m not black!” Differentiating is not discriminating.
    I don’t know if the male Sasquatch shown in later photos can be described racially as, to my understanding, the Sasquatch have but one race.

  55. Ben Metcalfe on March 4th, 2009 21:16

    Great story. I just hope you’ve not blown your upside for tomorrow by being public and specifically this going nuclear.

    The store manager might have wanted to make it up to you as a private matter to stop corporate from getting all up inside his business in his store — especially if they have a lot of bad practice.

    By the time this is on consumerist, etc you risk Best Buy Corporate picking this up — esp as you have given a lot of specific information — and the issue moving out of the manager’s hands.

    I’ll be interested to hear what you get tomorrow – but it could be that the special deal or under the counter freebie the manager was going to give you to essentially ‘keep quiet’ is blown :(

  56. Dan on March 4th, 2009 23:00

    So I hope you get a new camera and all but seriously? WTF? A Casio? Go out and get yourself a nice Canon instead of that piece of shit.

  57. PJ on March 4th, 2009 23:05

    Ohhhhh hell no! Just from the name of the photos, I can tell that the camera was used quite a bit. Digital cameras keep a running sequence of the photos they take…and those two pictures of Best Buy Guy are #537 and #538.
    That’s seriously messed up!

  58. robay on March 4th, 2009 23:21

    I say get them on Judge Judy! She’ll make them wish they had never been born.

  59. Tom on March 4th, 2009 23:23

    I also am not sure why the woman’s race is mentioned whenever you refer to her. I don’t take that to mean you are a Klansman, but what does it have to do with anything?

  60. Michael T. Barrett on March 4th, 2009 23:28

    You’re kidding right? I only referred to the woman’s race when I first described the photos we found on the camera. The store was accusing my mother-in-law of being a liar, so I described the woman in the photographs to them. There was no need to identify the race of the Geek Squad member, because he works at the store in question. Her race has absolutely nothing to do with the entire matter, but simply a fact.

    If she was a naked fat white woman I would have conveyed that at the time as well, by simply stating a fact. I can’t believe YOU are making her race an issue. I stated fact, you questioned that fact. Why?

  61. Michael T. Barrett on March 4th, 2009 23:31

    Ben M.: I haven’t blown anything. At the very least, they will exchange the camera. I have no doubt about that. I am just now posting a follow up with today’s events, which will shed some light on the situation coming.

    Needless to say, I will NOT be going to Best Buy tomorrow as Ryan had requested, as I won’t feel comfortable returning the camera until the matter of the “packaging used items as new” issue is resolved first.

  62. warren on March 4th, 2009 23:31

    Well done! But please do take this to the your state attorney or whatever agency that handles this sort of thing. Make it an issue so that business practices like this don’t occur again.

  63. John on March 4th, 2009 23:46

    I went in to a best buy today to pick up some mp3 to a/v cables (store brand was listed as $14.99 as opposed to buying it from iPod, or Zune for twice the price or waiting 6-8 weeks and having shipping fees for cheap pieces of crap off the internet). The cables rang up at nearly $30 and it took near an act of congress to get a simple price check and I was told I was wrong, because it was in there system at the nearly $30 price thats what I ought to pay. Well I’m quite a stubborn guy, and since the price on the shelf said $14.99 I argued for a good while about false advertising and dropping the BBB a few times I think the manager realized I wasn’t going to walk out paying twice what the list price was and finally gave it to me for what I wanted. True not a big deal but a hassle, seems like the sort of scam that most people wouldn’t notice a $15 difference in the scheme of buying scads of technology.

    I often question their business practices but they’re the cheapest tech store in the area.

  64. Concerned Consumer on March 4th, 2009 23:54

    Other than filing a complaint, we could also do some executive e-mail carpet bombing. Those who frequently visit The Consumerist site should know what this is (basically having mass amounts of people to e-mail the executives of Best Buy about how, as consumers, we are outraged about this situation). This will, for sure, will get some attention.

    You can find information of the Best Buy executives here (http://fatkidspecial.wordpress.com/2009/01/23/email-addresses-direct-lines-for-best-buy-executives/). Hope all of this works out for you.

  65. Michael T. Barrett on March 5th, 2009 00:02

    Warren: I have been in contact with our state Attorney General’s office today and have the forms I need to file the formal complaint. Thanks!

  66. Jacob Lee on March 5th, 2009 00:29

    Best Buy will rip you off left and right.

    Don’t do business with them let them go down like Circuit City.

    Go into there store find what you want and buy it on line and save yourself the sales tax.

  67. Dan on March 5th, 2009 00:35

    People need to start purchasing from Newegg or mail order. It’s much cheaper anyway. Use pricegrabber. In 30 years, I never had problems. You only go to Bestbuys to check out the models.

  68. asdfafda on March 5th, 2009 00:41

    oh man… definitely make them PAY! they need to be severely penalized to learn their lesson.

  69. Patrick on March 5th, 2009 00:50

    I am proud to say that I have steered at least 16 people away from Best Buy, costing them over $27,000 in lost sales. I feel very good about that too.

    I will continue to tell people who speak to me about electronics where to go and avoid Best Buy at all costs.

    If you go to Best Buy, you will get screwed one way or another. There are better stores out there who won’t rip you off like Best Buy.

  70. Michael T. Barrett on March 5th, 2009 01:05

    Hi Jason (#34): I just found your comment in my spam filter. Isn’t it ironic a valid email from Best Buy would automatically detected as spam? I have responded to your post in an email. Thanks for connecting with me on this issue.

  71. Robert on March 5th, 2009 01:07

    Something similar happened to a friend of mine at a Best Buy in Fairfield, CA. We went to the location to buy a portable DVD player for his dad. We went home and took it out of the box and there was already a DVD in it, WTF? we though. We played the DVD and found it was someones home video. We took it back to Best Buy and they were extremely rude saying “You probably put that in there” and refused to do anything. We refused to leave unless they gave him a new one. They threatened to call the police so we left. The next day we went back and they finally gave him a refund after we went around telling customers in the store that Best Buy sold used products.

  72. Derek on March 5th, 2009 01:11

    I would recommend using wal-mart. 30-day no questions asked return policy. This is why they have it.

  73. Mario on March 5th, 2009 01:16

    I bought a camera from Best buy a few years ago. I also paid a TON of money for their service plan, which is supposed to cover almost anything (including power surges). In a stupid move, I ended up shocking both my TV and camera, frying both of them. I brought my camera in to have it replaced.

    To make a long story really short, they sent my camera off, couldn’t fix it then told me it had been dropped in water. Of course they couldn’t get it back for some reason or another, so I never got my broken camera back that had been ‘dropped in water’. Best Buy is trained to lie as long as it saves them money. DONT BUY FROM THEM

  74. mameha on March 5th, 2009 01:45

    I understand the economy was going in the crapper, but I think even Casio could afford better quality models for their demo photos and probably better backdrops. What a bunch of crap!

  75. Jason on March 5th, 2009 01:45

    Hi Michael,

    I have been in contact with the store, and they let me know they have spoken further with you to resolve this situation for you. Our procedures are to sell opened returned items as such, not as new items. However, mistakes happen, and we strive to correct such circumstances for our customers. The store is willing to accept responsibility for what has occurred and I encourage you to continue working with them for the final resolution. If you need any further assistance on my part, feel free to contact me with the information provided previously.

    Sincerely,
    Agent Jason
    Community Connector

  76. Witt Sullivan on March 5th, 2009 02:23

    All sorts of shenanigans like this happened when I worked at BestBuy. Some of them were honest mistakes due to lack of communication, but the dishonest ones cancelled them out and then some. Laptops are particularly notorious for being sold as new when they are actually returns, but they don’t have a system to label them as returns. They sell them as open item, the same as a store demo. That sad part is, they don’t reduce the price on them, they’re sold at the same price as sealed units, but management tells the customer that they’re “on clearance” and won’t budge on the price. One of my buddies bought an “open item” laptop. It started acting funky on him. He bought the accidental damage service plan, so they wouldn’t replace it unless it was damaged. They offered to try to get it to work or send it to HP for factory warranty repair. He called HP on his own because it was faster. HP said the laptop was already registered to someone else, which means BBY sold him a used laptop that someone returned. He talked to the store manager and he said that HP didn’t know what they were talking about, it had never left the store. There was no way they were telling the truth, both the serial number and model number matched up with some other customer, but HP updated the info with his info. I find it highly doubtful that someone would register the wrong serial# incorrectly online.
    They try to take advantage of people every way they can.

  77. VTG on March 5th, 2009 02:26

    Hi Michael,

    I have been in contact with the store, and they let me know they have spoken further with you to resolve this situation for you. Our procedures are to sell opened returned items as such, not as new items. However, mistakes happen, and we strive to correct such circumstances for our customers. The store is willing to accept responsibility for what has occurred and I encourage you to continue working with them for the final resolution. If you need any further assistance on my part, feel free to contact me with the information provided previously.

    Sincerely,
    Agent Jason
    Community Connector

    Just for fun lets rip apart this PR.
    A) A mistake happened, the customer came in and complained. Was not helped. How did you try and correct this situation? You called the customer a liar, even though the package was unsealed and there were shots on it (and it was obviously a lie, there are no test photos…).

    B) The store was not willing to help until they got caught this bad. Now the store hopes Micheal doesn’t file a complaint with the better business bureau, which he should and get you guys in the shit you deserve (Yes, it was illegal and there is a place you can file a huge official complain, please do so – look for your local better business bureau).

    C) Still no reason why this happened in the first place.

    P.S. PLEASE PLEASE file an official complaint with this evidence with the better business bureau, a lovely fine would help the less on stick – and help you get the disciplinary action you want. It’s the principle, not everyone is going to catch it so make sure they can’t do it again.

  78. Glaeken on March 5th, 2009 03:40

    Well, hell. I was going to try and get a job at that very same Douglasville Best Buy in the future. Guess I won’t be, and I’ll have to tell my Geek Squad friend who works there to bail out while he still can.

    Maybe I can start my own IT company in town and use this an an example of bad business practices from the big boys.

  79. Glaeken on March 5th, 2009 03:43

    Also, do not take the store’s attempts to refund you or remedy the situation.

    Please make an example of them now. The economy is faltering and Best Buy has the gall to try and swindle you, or run a faulty business model that allows such mistakes? Screw that.

    Take it to the press, the state attorney, and BBB. Make it a message, you have support.

  80. Jonathan on March 5th, 2009 04:24

    trying to pass this off as a “mistake” makes them look even worse. the problem was NOT a mistake, it was terrible and unacceptable behavior reported by the author on the part of best buy employees. not even close to a mistake.

    by having best buy employees “officially” post here, it gives the implication they are “working” to fix it. hmmm, I doubt it. what tangible thing has been done?

    “The store is willing to accept responsibility ” how can a STORE accept responsibility? people are responsible for actions. this is only text to evoke a feeling without any real meaning or result.

    “keep working with them?” They acted awful; I would suggest strongly the author does not work with them any more. tell them to sod off. what else is there to learn from them? go buy a camera somewhere else. it is up to them to fix this now, not the author.

    “a final resolution?” of *course* they want final resolution… this is front page Digg now. total PR nightmare. I am 9000 miles away reading this. before tonight I had never shopped at best buy. now I never will.

    how is posting on a blog fixing anything? this is *only* spin control on the part of a big company trying to redirect the story to appear responsive after the shattola hit the fan.

  81. Tes on March 5th, 2009 05:05

    Mike, I feel for your plight. really, nothing worse than the small people doing evil on behalf of the big company. But on this page and the subsequent Consumerist article, does the young lady who innocently returned a damaged camera to the Best Buy in question deserve to have her intended private photo exhibited for you to make a point? I can just imagine her mortified reaction when it’s pointed out to her by a friend that her in her bed clothes is now an internet staple. Only best buy really needed the fully untouched unedited photos. You couldn’t blur her face or something?

  82. HasItBeen4YearsYet? on March 5th, 2009 05:06

    WHAT #6 SAID

  83. Anonymous on March 5th, 2009 05:36

    Do not under any circumstance, settle or take this to small claims court. It is your civic duty to let your Attorney General handle this, so that this behaviour can be stomped out on a larger level.

    Best Buy is just dying to claim this as a one time thing amongst negligent employees.

    I implore you, take this to the attorney general and help society as a whole.

  84. Cody on March 5th, 2009 05:39

    Actually that camera looks old, it could have been from early 08.. What was the model number??

  85. Josh on March 5th, 2009 06:43

    I’ve never seen your site before but after hearing about this story, I had to come by and tell you how much of a hero you are to me. That’s all really. Thanks again.

  86. Thom G. on March 5th, 2009 07:05

    The more I read about Best Buy’s policies and customer “service,” the more I avoid them. I got an idea for a great business model– let’s charge higher prices, and then treat our employees and customers like crap! Sounds good to me! No wonder they’re going the way of Circuit City.

  87. Liam on March 5th, 2009 07:14

    Wow that is quite a story you have there, deffinatly go to your local newspaper about it!

  88. Lilricky on March 5th, 2009 08:02

    VTG, unfortunately, the Better Business Bureau does not fine its members, it simply records complaints and whether or not it was resolved.

  89. John on March 5th, 2009 08:18

    Thank you for posting the truth about Best Buy.
    I have had a few negative situations with Best Buy.
    Surprised they are able to weather thought this economy.
    Maybe they are doing a “Madoff”.

  90. Andrew on March 5th, 2009 08:25

    BBB is a fraud. Any paying business will have complaints wiped from their record as long as they rebut that they made good attempts to resolve the situation. I used to work for a business who used to receive complaints on a weekly basis. Because I rebuttled each of them, none remained on the record so anyone calling BBB on the business would show an outstanding record.

  91. Austin on March 5th, 2009 08:49

    Michael,

    I am a law student here in Tennessee. (As such, take my comment with a whole salt-shaker, and go talk to a Georgia lawyer if you want real advice) There are some legal doctrines which, in tandem, might well entitle you to relief for fraud. Employers can be liable for the torts of their employees. Thus, you’re probably in a prime place to sue best Buy.

    If it’s just you, I doubt that it’s worth it to you to sue–the fees would probably cost a lot more than the camera. But, there is the possibility, that you could find a good class action lawyer and add up the claims of other people who’ve been defrauded as well. You mightn’t make much money, but you would take more than a few pounds of flesh out of Best Buy.

    Anyway, thought I’d give you a reaction from a non-practicing, but intrigued law student.

  92. Kyle on March 5th, 2009 08:50

    Man I hate Best Buy. They rip everyone off that they can. I bought a cell phone from them a while back with the extended warranty (which the salesman assured me covered everything). Long story short, the cell phone was dropped in water, I took it back and was shown that nope water damage isn’t covered in even the extended warranty. I never shop at Best Buy anymore, and I would encourage others to do the same. Fry’s (if you have one) is much better.

  93. mazimi on March 5th, 2009 08:59

    Wow, this just further makes me never want to shop at Best Buy. If they really want to correct the situation they need to swallow their pride and give you and your in-laws a formal apology.

  94. Desmond on March 5th, 2009 09:08

    I had a similar experience but it was actually a used product I was purchasing.

    I saw an open-item home-theater-in-a-box for a pretty good deal. I asked the closest Best Buy representative if I could open the box to inspect it. He said that customers cannot inspect used products. Odd. Anyhow, after asking a couple reps the policy on returns on used products, I was assured that there would be no issue. I made sure to ask a managerial looking type as well just in case.

    Anyhow, after purchasing it and arriving home, we opened the box only to find EXTREMELY damaged goods with scratches and dents on everything. I said to myself, “OK, this is what I got myself into.” But wait, the entire unit was just displaying an error message and would not eject my disk. This was clearly damaged to the point of being inoperable. Once again, kind of what I was dealt since I chose the hand.

    We went to return it to the store and they were actually quite pleasant and understanding in the return process for me. I made sure to tell them that this the merchandise clearly was not tested before it was put back on the shelf or that it was put back on the shelf knowingly defective. They assured me that they would take the appropriate measures.

    Well, I go into the same Best Buy store (Fort Collins, CO) a week later to find the same used unit sitting on the shelf. Best Buy, you amaze me sometimes.

  95. phil on March 5th, 2009 09:10

    I’ve had very similar experience with best buy.. I’ll be posting my story soon.

  96. Austin Tizzle on March 5th, 2009 09:24

    Haha im glad you were able to grab em by the horns eventually. This sort of thing can be tough though; i work in a electronics retail store, and customers often try to take advantage of us sales reps, which sucks if they succeed because then management gets all angry at us and it comes out of our paycheck. being cautious about a situation like this is understandable, but if the clerks were straight up rude then they have to pay for it with their LIVES!!! *cackle*

  97. Brian K. on March 5th, 2009 10:00

    @Dan (Post # 67)
    ‘In 30 years’ you’ve never had a problem using Pricegrabber? So you’ve been using the Internet and Pricegrabber since 1979? Very interesting…

    Michael, good story. Mimicing what others have said, sad but no surprise to me, I’ve had similar experiences with Best Buy and a ‘new’ Toshiba laptop that was already set up by someone else… an ‘Indian male’ in my case.

  98. Art Baker on March 5th, 2009 10:35

    I would NOT accept a new camera + apology. That will only encourage them to continue this highly ILLEGAL practice of selling used items as new.

    What about all the other customers who do not have solid evidence? Best Buy will continue to label these customers as liars. Most people will have no recourse; it’s their word against the store’s.

    But you Michael have them by the short-and-curlies. I would tell that PR wonk to take the following demands straight to the Best Buy CEO:

    Best Buy will replace the camera with a new one or refund the money.

    Best Buy will issue a formal apology in writing and admit in writing that they have sold a used item as new.

    The local employees of Best Buy who were involved in this incident will each offer their personal apologies to your mother-in-law, father-in-law, and yourself.

    Store credit in the amount of $10,000 will be given to your mother-in-law, and she will have up to 2 years to spend it.

    Best Buy has 15 days to fulfill these demands. Any other offer or response will be rejected. Failure to meet some or all of these demands will result in civil and criminal actions against Best Buy.

  99. Anonymous on March 5th, 2009 10:36

    Wow.. Well the fact that the camera was resold was definately a mistake…but anyone who read the article can see that the author is not very smart at all. The author claimed the camera was malfuntioning, yet the pictures that were “recovered” of both the previous user and geek squad came out with perfect quality. Which begs the question: What happened to the camera in between then? Was it dropped? Out of frustration did someone hit it? And can as far as evidence, I believe the camera can be dropped on a carpeted surface and leave no evidence and still be defective. In fact, if it were dropped on carpet, wouldn’t it only leave minor scratches?

    Best Buy reselling the camera as new was definately a wrong move, but don’t be so quick to judge the rest of the story until you look at the big picture.

  100. Ben on March 5th, 2009 10:55

    I agree, Best Buy should not have sold a used camera as a new one. But, instead of wishing a law to prevent this kind of a thing, just keep up this blog and tell everyone and their dog about it. Also, don’t ever give your business to Best Buy ever, ever, ever, again. That’s the beauty of the free market my friend.

  101. Phanna Rattanak on March 5th, 2009 11:08

    I think i know this women. She in chemistry with me. (University of West Georgia) I will ask her about this, but she’ll probably be unhappy that her picture is all over the web and the top story on digg.

  102. David Bales on March 5th, 2009 11:14

    Found this from digg.com.

    Keep up the good fight. I worked @ store 338 in West Albuq when in college and saw ALL kinds of things happen at that store. Some honest mistakes and some dishonest.

    Remember:

    All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.

    I wouldn’t say this was evil, but the principle of the statement remains. Unless people make the effort to hold people and corporations responsible for illegal behavior, change will never occur.

    Glad to hear you’re doing something about it.

  103. borisvam on March 5th, 2009 11:27

    heheh i bet this wont go further than him getting his money back or a replacement. plus, nobody has said whether they find that woman hot, that is to me real the question in here. :D

  104. Goran on March 5th, 2009 11:27

    Huh, I just want to beat the shit out of the so-called managers. What happened to customer support and professionalism?

  105. Goran on March 5th, 2009 11:28

    Huh, I just want to beat the shit out of the so-called managers that they don’t know what they are doing.
    What happened to customer support and professionalism?

  106. Timothy on March 5th, 2009 13:29

    This is what happens with these companies. They are so great when they are spreading across the country, but once they are too large the customer support and prices all go down the tubes.

  107. gorge on March 5th, 2009 13:51

    BEST BUY SUXS !!

  108. Gerry on March 5th, 2009 14:25

    Why don’t you call the Office of Consumer Affairs with the Georgia Attorney General, as well as the Federal Trade Commission or file a complaint online at (www.ftc.gov)?

  109. Brandon on March 5th, 2009 14:28

    You have a large tech-savy community backing you, digg it:

    http://digg.com/tech_news/Best_Buy_Sells_Busted_Cam_Blames_You_Oops_Employee_Pix?OTC-twf1

  110. Kevin on March 5th, 2009 15:25

    I’m not 100% familiar with the camera, but does it come with an SD card or did you purchase the separately? If it doesn’t come bundled with the camera, how can you be sure that the pictures were taken with this camera and not another? You might want to figure that out before proceeding further.

  111. Cotton on March 5th, 2009 15:34

    Hey man, out of respect you should probably blur out the peoples faces. I mean since you speak of respect i don’t think you’d want your face smeared for everyone to see if you were not directly involved with this situation. You never mentioned having any discussions with Mr. Mutton Chops or the female so why paste their faces, you could smear them and just say you did to protect their identity. I guess that makes too much sense though. But good luck with Best Buy and hopefully you get what you want from them.

  112. zac on March 5th, 2009 15:50

    way to stick it to the man. good luck on straightening everything out.

  113. Sarah on March 5th, 2009 15:53

    Just to be devil’s advocate here, you contradicted yourself once and I would like to know which is true. You said that as soon as you explained the situation to the store manager Ryan, he “he was quick to offer his assistance”, you also said that it wasn’t until you surfaced the pictures of the Geek Squad agent that anyone was willing to help. It sounds like Ryan had no idea what was going on until you explained it to him, and as soon as you explained he was willing to help. So, personally I would at least give Ryan the benefit of the doubt as to not knowing what was going on until you complained to him. I am in NO WAY excusing the actions of Nathaniel and Erica who should definitely be dealt with, but from the other comments on this board MOST customers even though still say they aren’t going to shop at Best Buy again when they returned their “used” merchandise, Best Buy was quick to return it.

    Just so you know where I am coming from my husband is a manager at Best Buy and has been for 5 years. He is constantly working to improve or fire employees who are just there for a paycheck, and could care less about the company or the customers, and he gets really annoyed when people blame the entire company because one store has messed up management or one employee ruins it for everyone.

    Just my 2 cents. Find me a retail company that DOESN’T have any issues with certain employees or stores. People are human.

  114. Weels on March 5th, 2009 16:12

    Opportunity to teach these best buys people a lesson. This has happen before to many people, camera boxes with rocks in them etc. Make them learn from this!

  115. magnoliasouth on March 5th, 2009 23:31

    Kevin, I’m not entirely sure how you can actually ask that about a SD card. He said he used an app to recover deleted images. If he knows how to do this, I’m fairly certain an SD card would not have gone overlooked. He’s no noob.

  116. Michael T. Barrett on March 5th, 2009 23:41

    Just to clarify a couple things.

    People have asked about the seal on the box. There was no seal from Casio, there was no other clear tape seal on the box. The only seal, if you can call it that, on the box was Best Buy’s 14 day return policy sticker they put on it.

    The seal was broken when we unstapled the bag. Yes, the box was in a bag that was stapled by the salesperson at the time of the sale. The broken seal was not discovered until we got the bag home later that evening, which was just before my mother-in-law originally called and spoke to Nathan about the return.

    There was no SD card in the camera. The camera has a small amount of memory, I think it is 13mb, onboard, and it was that memory that was checked by the recovery software. There never was an SD card associated with this camera.

    Hopefully that clears things up for some of you.

  117. greenegirl on March 6th, 2009 05:20

    good luck

  118. Tim on March 6th, 2009 08:51

    Good luck with #98. It is illegal to sell used goods as new but have you ever heard of extortion? The time to “negotiate” like this is after legal proceedings have begun unless you want to end up in jail as well.

  119. Sam on March 6th, 2009 11:54

    this is why you shop at staples.
    E.A.S.Y Tech FTW

  120. A.H on March 6th, 2009 19:30

    The last time I went to Best Buy, I bought a brand new $150 tax external hard drive only to realize that it was the biggest pile of defective crap I’ve ever used. The damn hard drive wasn’t compatible with the 4-5 computers I tested it on (even though it said on the box that it was) Apparently a couple of my friends bought the SAME product and told me they experienced the same problems that I had. The only reason why they refunded my purchase was because I returned it 4-5 hours after purchasing it. Even then, the lady I was returning it to was giving me a bitchy attitude and interrogated me like I was a criminal. Why the hell are they selling garbage products to consumers anyways?

  121. Anonymouse on March 6th, 2009 21:15

    @99

    “but anyone who read the article can see that the author is not very smart at all. The author claimed the camera was malfuntioning, yet the pictures that were “recovered” of both the previous user and geek squad came out with perfect quality.”

    Um… er… so I suppose all the irregular horizontal banding seen across every posted image is ‘perfect quality’? Maybe you should think twice before calling out someone as ‘not very smart’. Also, you misspelled malfunctioning, idiot.

  122. JW Leonard on March 7th, 2009 02:46

    I worked at store #519 for three years until I was in a near death car accident that severed my right ear, tore a 5 inch gash along the right side of my head that you could actually see my skull through. I was fired, for being in a car accident, almost dying and not being able to return to work until I had medical clearance. FYI I worked with “Nate” when we both started out in PCHO(Personal Computers and Home Office), he was a little prick when he was 17, and things have not changed at all from the appearance of your current situation. You and the rest of your families experience with him is not a unique one I assure you, from the time I have known him I have observed him to be arrogant, condescending and a jerk in general. There are a lot of good folks at #519 that genuinely cared for the customer and their experience with the store, unfortunately Best Buy Co. has let a majority of them go in order to make more room for people like Nate and their salaries. I encourage you to resolve the situation however you see fit, just felt like giving you my perspective of the store in general and one of the individuals at the root of your problem.

  123. Tom on March 7th, 2009 13:07

    Michael,

    This story is incredible, and well told. I, too, hate Best Buy with a passion. This past summer, I bought a new computer. The model I intended to buy, they had four models on display (why four models of the same computer on display??). Their inventory said they had seven in stock (including the four display models). They couldn’t find any of the unopened boxes, so I asked about open box with a discount. They searched for an hour for all the pieces of make one sellable product. No joy.

    It so happens that at that time, a new model of the same computer was just about to be released. Every other store in town had it available for pre-order at $1059. That was the retail price: online, everywhere. Best Buy happened to have one box of that model just sitting on their floor. It was a better graphics card and more memory, and for less than the older model, even with an open-box discount. So, I went for it. But when they rang it up, it came up as $1298. I was confused, but so annoyed, and–since that’s exactly what I had originally planned to pay for the older model anyway, I went ahead and paid for it.

    I used the computer for a few days then went on a two-week vacation. Upon my return, I went back into Best Buy for some Wireless G networking gear, and saw that the new model for the computer was now on display, with a sale price of $1059. I still had my receipt in my wallet, so I went right up to the service desk. But, because more than 14 days had past, there was nothing they could do about their change in price. I tried to tell them that there was no “change” in price. That their inventory system had obviously had an incorrect price in it and that they overcharged me to begin with. When I asked to speak with a manager, the manager came and spoke to the service rep (not to me), walked away, and I was told that the only thing I could do about it was talk to their corporate service reps. I now presume that wasn’t the actual manager, either, as was in your case.

    When I spoke to the corporate folks, they were much nicer to me, looked around the web and their own databases to corroborate my story took my information, my receipt number, told me they’d contact the store to see what date the price was corrected internally, and then call me back.

    Well, I never heard back. I had more important things to deal with at the time, so I basically just chalk it up to having paid $239 in stupid tax.

    In my town, I have a Fry’s Electronics and a MicroCenter. I don’t give Best Buy my business any more.

  124. Tom on March 7th, 2009 13:16

    Oh, one other remark on your story, however: I do give PEOPLE–individuals–the benefit of the doubt. When the manager Ryan was “suddenly” helpful to you, you play it up that it’s the importance of your new revelations and evidence that make him, personally, more willing to help you than he personally previously had been. However, the way you tell the story, this is the first time you talked to him. So, while it’s possible that HAD you talked to him before he may have ignored your complaints until you presented evidence, but you don’t know that.

    It’s just as likely (likelier, in my opinion), that you actually finally got to talk to the one guy in the store that cares about the business and its customers, and that he would have treated you with the same respect without the evidence. Certainly the presentation of the evidence to him compelled him to act more efficaciously, but you can’t act like this was a person who himself had treated you poorly and then, when presented with the information, changed his tune. The whole situation, evidence and all, was one single, new experience to him, and from what I can tell, he handled it exactly the way he should have. Of course, the real proof is in whether he fires or otherwise disciplines Erica for having been rude.

    Just wanted to point out a minor flaw in your story telling that paints Ryan, who looks to me to be a guy actually doing his job, with the same brush that otherwise perfectly colours that whole mindlessly evil corporation.

  125. Michael T. Barrett on March 7th, 2009 13:59

    Tom:

    Had you been on the phone with Ryan, who made it evidently clear what his position was, you too would have sensed his “sudden” change in demeanor.

    Also, as it turns out, Ryan was NOT the store manager. He is just the sales manager. Nathan is the service manager. A guy by the name of Robert, who went above and beyond for us is the general manager, and the one who made sure everything was resolved.

  126. Matt on March 7th, 2009 15:29

    You’re issue as common as it may seem could have indeed been a legitimate issue. If the problem was resolved move on and equally act as an adult and realize that problems happen. It’s pathetic that you would attempt to stir up controversy to try and make a name for yourself. The fact that “we” Americans have become so demoralized in our sue everyone society. I understand your frustration and the fact that something needed to be done. Customer service is an issue at every single retailer nationwide just be happy you didn’t purchase it at Circuit City because there would have never been any resolution.

  127. Michael T. Barrett on March 7th, 2009 16:03

    Matt:

    What are you taking about? My issue was a legitimate issue. It wasn’t resolved until last night. I was acting like an adult. I was trying to get resolution of the issue.

    This had nothing to do with making a name for myself or suing anyone, it had to do with getting a camera that was in working order, like anyone else would have expected.

    Now, take your high horse and ride your pathetic ass out of here.

  128. jetroist on March 9th, 2009 15:02

    I can say that It may not be officially in the training manuals that BB employees must be jackasses but unofficially thats what they what them to be. I had a serious issue with them when i worked for them in 02 and they will try to get u to basically lye and steal from people and I thought that was dead wrong.

  129. Jess on March 11th, 2009 11:52

    Maybe it’s just me, but when you described the first photo…”The first photo showed a young black woman sitting on a bed.” but never make this reference to anyone else.

    The Hispanic male in the photo, or the white manager. I just found it odd. :-)

  130. magnoliasouth on March 11th, 2009 12:14

    @Jess: Do you always nitpick, or just when it involves a black person? Who freaking cares?! Is the woman black? YES!!! It’s a description just like saying she was tall or she was short or she was fat. Does it matter if none of the others have a description? NO!!!! The poster is free to write whatever he wants.

    What has happened to the freedom of expression? Oh wait, I know. You’re free to express yourself, so long as you don’t offend anyone. Particularly nitpicky people.

    *sheesh*

    /rant

  131. Feel_your_Pain on March 11th, 2009 13:36

    “you People”–am I gonna be called Racist now, since I said “you people”—but “you people” are a bunch of whack jobs. So the guy said Black Female.So WHAT!
    People are dying in Iraq right now.
    Some kid, somewhere in America is about to be “homeless” today because his/her mother and/or father is getting their home foreclosed on, and you want to debate over whether or not Dude is Racist because he said “Black Female”.

    If I opened my box and found a picture of a Black Female, I sure as HECK would tell the manager–I didn’t take the photo and their’s PROOF because there’s a picture of a “Black Female”—that I didn’t take!!!

    I’m sure if the first thing he looked at was a NEKKID (sic) for those who don’t get sarcasm–but if a NEKKID BUXOM Blonde were spread eagle on the Bed–I’m sure he would have said—“This was used before because there is a picture of a NEKKID BLONDE on the CAMERA!

    He said that, because it was UNIQUE to his situation(he’s not going around taking pictures of Black Females sitting on a Bed.

    Now that we got this debate solved! Why not go use your time wisely and offer to help a Neighbor—or a Friend of a Friend—you might know who is losing their home today. Offer to give them a hand. They need to be given “Hope”, and the best way to do that is a stranger walking up offering them UNCONDITIONAL support and doing what you can to help them in the most DISTURBING day of their LIFE!

    God Speed!

  132. jesus on August 7th, 2009 18:15

    i know i know there are aholes
    go to whatreallyhappened.com to find the truth about the world around you

    black is black and you cann’t get your money back
    white is white and you think you are right

  133. theo on August 7th, 2009 19:43

    Selling used items as new, especially with the previous owner’s pics on them and broken is nothing less than fraud. File charges and take them to court. Document everything including those conversations that ‘may be recorded for quality control purposes’ or more realistically for evidentiary purposes. After hearing about them selling empty boxes as hard drives etc I would NEVER shop there and would only cash in a ‘gift card’ from them. I used to repair consumer electronics and those units would be called ‘refurbs’, short for refurbished unit and would be tested to make sure they worked as new. Obviously Best Buy cannot fix the products or be honest about what they are selling. Sadly we have become a country where ‘service’ is only granted after lawyers get involved. No wonder everything, especially ‘healthmarketing’ which masquerades as healthcare is so damn expensive.

  134. Peggy on August 7th, 2009 20:02

    I had several experiences with Best Buy dating back to 1993. One was an air conditioner, another one a computer. The incidences: in ’93 for the a/c, and in ’97 with the computer. To say the least, I no longer buy at Best Buy, and haven’t for over 16 years. I’ve also told everyone who buys there how badly they treat the merchandise and the customers. They’re also very bad liars. I own four duplexes in Ft. Lauderdale, and I can almost calculate the amount of lost sales just from what I would have purchased. It adds up, but do you think one of these bozos would ever think in those terms? Four duplexes = 8 dwellings, complete with a/c, refrigerators, stoves…you get the idea. Now I wonder how much they would have made if they WEREN’T a bunch of BOZOS.