Holding Those Accountable

Today began just like many other mornings around here.

After waking up I stumbled to the desk, turned the computers on, and sat down to read my morning news and check through the email that came in overnight. I sent a few follow up emails to the recruiters I have been working with on the employment front, and was quite disappointed when I received the first reply. It turns out that one of the employers I had applied with, and looked forward to getting an interview with, was no longer considering me for the position. I am not sure why I was disqualified for the position, but life goes on and I will keep moving forward.

As I finished catching up with the news, I received a reply from Ben Popken over at The Consumerist website. I had sent him the link to my original post about my mother-in-law’s experience at Best Buy, and he was following up because he was going to post the story on his site. That’s when all hell broke loose today.

Soon after reporting the story on his site, our server at Second Rate Hosting was struggling to keep up with the hits. Our server is no sissy server either, so it was obvious we were getting a boatload of traffic from people wanting to read the entire story.

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My goal, originally, was to get as many eyes on this situation, so we could get it resolved as quickly as possible. I installed the WP-Super-Cache plugin and all was well with the server again. In fact, there were no more traffic related issues for the remainder of the day and we were able to get our story in front of thousands of eyeballs.

I was quite disappointed as five o’clock rolled around because I hadn’t heard from the Best Buy corporate offices at all. I thought for sure they would call me back today since I had spoken to TJ at customer relations on Monday night and I still hadn’t heard from them.

After spending the rest of the afternoon responding to the emails and comments I received regarding the whole experience, I felt like I had worked more today than any day in the past month or so. To say I was disappointed about the lack of response from Best Buy is an understatement. That’s when the email arrived.

I received an email exactly at 5:00pm, from Nathanael, the Services Manager at Best Buy #519 in Douglasville, Georgia.

I have been made aware of some postings online regarding a camera purchase with your mother-in-law. There appears to be a lot of miscommunication. Please give me a call at the number below so we can discuss the issue at hand.

I was quite intrigued by his email. I wonder how he was made aware of the postings. Could the corporate office have called him? Maybe someone at the store reads my blog on a regular basis? Someone who commented over at the Consumerist website identified the guy in the photos, so maybe that person also contacted the store? Who knows. He stated in the email that there appeared to be a lot of miscommunication. I still can’t figure out what he thought had been miscommunicated. Let’s review…

  1. My mother-in-law purchased the Casio Exilim EX-Z80 on Wednesday, February 25th.
  2. When we opened the camera it appeared the package had already been opened.
  3. When we attempted to use the camera, it was evident the camera had already been used.
  4. When we took photos, the photos sucked because someone had broken the camera.
  5. When my mother-in-law contacted Nathanael, he told her to come in and exchange the camera.
  6. When my father-in-law returned the camera he was told,
    • the camera was filthy,
    • the camera was damaged,
    • the camera was not used before selling it to my mother-in-law,
    • any photos on the camera were “demo” photos.
  7. We were told by the corporate office that nothing could be done.
  8. The corporate office believed the store employee, not my mother-in-law
  9. We used PhotoRescue Expert to recover the photos on the camera.
  10. We presented the evidence to the corporate office, as well as the store.
  11. The corporate office again told us that nothing could be done.
  12. Ryan, the Sales Manager, offered to “fix it for me” if I saw him on Thursday.

Exactly where was the miscommunication? I figured I needed to call Nathan to see why he felt there had been a miscommunication. When I first tried to call, he was at lunch, so I called back later in the evening.

When I got him on the phone, just after 8:30pm, he told me that he wasn’t as involved in the process as my blog entry led people to believe. Interesting…

My father-in-law tried to return the camera on Monday night. My mother-in-law called the store on Monday night. Billy, from customer relations, spoke with the manager at the store on Monday night and took his side regarding the camera. Nathanael was the manager on duty Monday night. How much more involved can a person be?

Of course, my father-in-law is not sure if Nathan actually assisted him while he was at the store, he didn’t think to get names while he was being called a liar and such at the service counter. We also cannot be sure if Erica ever asked Nathan to come to the phone when she told my mother-in-law that he was not available to come to the phone. But we can be sure that he is the person that Billy spoke with just before telling my mother there was nothing else he could do for her since the manager at the store told him the camera had “visible damage”. He’s the reason Billy told her he could not help her. Whether Nathan was relying on information fed to him by Erica and other employees or not, he couldn’t have been more involved when he conveyed the falsehoods to Billy.

While discussing the matter with him, where I made it clear this was no longer just about a replacement camera, he pointed out that the photos of the Geek Squad member were taken the day my father-in-law took the camera to the store. Never mind the fact that photos taken before and after the trip to the store show the correct time stamp in the meta data, or the fact that my father-in-law has never seen the Geek Squad person in the photos. Again, I wondered where the “miscommunication” could have been.

I made it clear that this issue is not just going away with a simple exchange of the camera. I told him that someone needs to be held accountable for repackaging a used camera and passing it off as brand new. I asked him for an acknowledgement, in writing, that this had occurred in their store, and I also asked for a written apology for the way my mother-in-law was treated while trying to get resolution of this issue. He told me that he needed to speak to his General Manager, Robert, but he didn’t think it would be a problem to get those in the mail as soon as possible. I told him that once we received those two letters, we would be satisfied that the matter was resolved appropriately and we would come into the store at that time to exchange the camera.

Nathan assured me that he wanted to make things right, took my mailing address information, and we hung up. Nathan was very professional during the conversation but I picked up on a few inconsistencies in his story, which I have already mentioned above. Maybe there was just a “miscommunication” between reality and the story being fed to the corporate offices.

In the time it took me to write this entry, three thousand more people have visited the previous post. Let me tell you something. If you ever have a horrible consumer experience, do not hesitate to send the details to Ben and his team at the Consumerist. They will definitely get eyes on your story.

Now, it sure would be nice if someone from the corporate level at Best Buy contacted me to make sure this is handled correctly, I wouldn’t want there to be any more “miscommunications” or anything.

[Note (03/05/2009 23:25)]: I have posted an 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.

48 thoughts on “Holding Those Accountable

  1. Good luck on this. I wondered when the postings were going to come up, but this is actually good for you.

    Many times I’m frustrated with today’s world such as politics, the me-me-me attitude and so forth but this is an instance where I’m happy about today’s world.

    Corporations can no longer just treat their customers however they wish. They are now held accountable in front of the world to see. Ten years ago, they could have flatly refused to exchange the camera and there would have been nothing you could do about it. I’m tickled to death that they can have their attitudes blown up in their face.

    Congrats on all of this. You’re mother-in-law should be proud! 🙂

  2. Imagine all the people put in this situation who didn’t find a photo of an ugly geek squad employee. He can’t even respect your situation enough to admit his wrongdoings. You should do what was previously recommended and bring the law into this. Something has to change, and a transparent apologetic letter should not suffice.

  3. LOL! Go get em! Docuement everything,especially the miserable experience of your in-laws, your communications with them and whatever form of communication between all parties that ensures as this developes. Since they are trying to pass this off as “miscommunication” be the one that has the communications docuemented to the best of you ability, for whatever action you are to take. This is total nonsense that you or anyone would have to go through something like this. All the sucess in the world to you on this. I’ll be staying tuned to follow the story.

  4. don’t hold your breath.

    It’s not as if their reputation can get any worse.

    The people that don’t shop there aren’t going to start again even if the president of best buy goes to your house and gives you a big kiss.

    And the people that do ain’t gonna stop unless it happens to their mother.

  5. Thanks for fighting the good fight. There are laws about reselling used products as new and someone at Best Buy has clearly broken them. The company better step up before this gets out further.

  6. Miscommunication is the favorite catch word for corporate incompetence these days. What ever happened to people admitting they screwed up and trying to make things right? The only miscommunication here is Best Buy staff miscommunicated how incompetent they are.

  7. We bought a CD player at Best Buy. After a couple of weeks it started smoking! We brought it in and were given a huge run around. But, my wife lives for such moments and gave them such adamant hell together with calls to their corporate office etc. Finally we were told we could exchange it and given a note of apology about the, yes, “misunderstanding”.

    Best Buy is horrific. In this economy, avoid them like the plague — they must have a “hassle the customer” policy to save on some returns. Unless you personally want to be in people’s faces when something goes wrong. Don’t go near them.

  8. It’ll be interesting to hear what happens if you decide to follow up on this. I got to hear of this article through digg (it’s one of the most dugg stories right now), so if there’s any updates plz post it there so we can all see what’s developed.

  9. I bought a PS3 from Best Buy few months back and it was the store floor model that was just repacked. When I contacted the store they told me that the user files already saved in the PS3 was not made from the employees but me. Took me a while to get a new PS3 but I did get an apology and 10 free games from them by not releasing this to the local media.

    Good luck friend! And just remember customer is always right!

  10. Wow, you would think that with the economy being the way it is that corporations would be bending over backwards to please their customers. Obviously Best Buy isn’t interested in any sort of corporate social responsibility and I, for one, will avoid shopping there in the future.

  11. Trade the camera in question for a letter of apology and a brand-new camera of your choice. A Nikon D300 would be nice!

  12. Tbh if a camera gets returned to the returns desk and i was doing that job (god forbid) I would take a couple of test photos to make sure it was not broken.

    So why blame the pube face man for this … he had a photo taken of him!

    who is to say he was the one repackaging the crap camera!

    meh o well.

    If you take this to court you should get punitive damages and expenses as well as your money back!

  13. “Best Buy” should be known as “Worst Buy”. I hope you and your family nail them. I thought only Circuit City pulled this crap. Maybe that’s why they are no longer in business. Perhaps, Worst Buy is folowing in their shadow.

  14. Best Buys damage control most likely trying to resolve this whole thing, I would send the story to your local NEWS TV station, let everyone know in your area not to trust that store.

  15. This is exactly why I steer people away from purchasing items at Best Buy. My friend who does not speak very good english tried to purchase a laptop at Best Buy. When he took it to the cash register the employee told him that the price of the laptop was $110 more than the stated ad price because they had already installed the optional spyware and antivirus software on the laptop. He called me and asked for my opinion. I told my friend to ask if the software could be taken off. The employee said that he could take the software off but it would be about 2 hours before anyone could do it. I suggested to my friend that he needs to speak with a manager. The manager is called and when he arrives he swiped his card and scanned the laptop. What a rip off! Was there any software installed by Best Buy at all or was this an attempt to sell extra services and or another more expensive laptop? I don’t trust those so called Geek Squad workers, their all crooks. They seem to be punk kids and assume that you as a customer do not know anything. Apparently, working at Best Buy repairing computers also earns you an “I know everything Ph.D.”

    I’m glad people are posting their issues with Best Buy. I can just imagine the number of people who had problems with Best Buy but did not share their experiences.

  16. I will refuse to buy any electronics from Best Buy. I have heard too many horror stories like this one. Too often we are all treated like criminals, Best Buy is among the worst offenders. They don’t believe their customers, they only ask if you need help to let you know they are there watching you, and they immediately think you are trying to steal from them (someone guarding the door the entire time they are open). Try to keep walking out the door the next time the alarm goes off because the person at the register didn’t swipe to deactivate the security sticker. Watch as they scramble to catch you. Their assumption is that you just stole from them, not that their employee is inept at his/her job. Best Buy only reacts when they think their bottom line will be affected.

  17. Mike don’t let this go. Best Buy bullies people all the time and it’s not right. I personally don’t shop there anymore, but a lot of people do- and many are still treated poorly. I hope you choose to report this to the state and file a complain in the Better Business Bureau because this is far from acceptable behavior.

    Doesn’t Best Buy know that there’s a recession going on and they could very easily go the way of Circuit City? I mean c’mon- people make mistakes all the time but the nail in the coffin for me was how they treated your mother in law. One hundred percent, grade F, unacceptable.

  18. Good work! But is there a possibility of one slip up in your detective work? Clearly, the camera has been used. But I would question the real date of the Geek Squad employee photo. Jan 1 should have set off an alarm bell right there. Any competent Geek would factory reset a camera he was troubleshooting, which would reset the clock. And 1/1/2008 is a likely factory reset date for a new camera. My Canon SD870IS resets to 1/1/2006, I think. So, it’s likely that the GeekGuy pics really were taken the day your father-in-law took the camera back to the store, not a year earlier. What was the time of the photo? Sometime just after midnight or noon? And that makes more sense with the image numbering as well. What’s the image numbering at now, and what were the image numbers of the first pictures showing the woman and box on the bed? Is the GeekGuy photo between those?

    • Ryan: Pictures that existed on the camera had a date of 1/1/08 and 2/8/09. Pictures we took were dated 2/25/09. After we brought the camera home, the next photo taken had a timestamp of 3/2/09. If the Geek Squad member reset the camera to the default settings, then he also set the current date again when he was finished, which is highly unlikely since my father-in-law never even saw that guy when he attempted to return the camera. Thanks for the “possibility” though.

  19. Do not let this go! This type of behavior is deplorable and totally unacceptable. As you said, this is about much more than a camera and Best Buy should be made to realize that. The fact that they have allowed this situation to escalate to this point is a shameful display of their management practices. Don’t they realize that good customer relations is the best asset any business can have?

  20. Hi Mike. But why wouldn’t he “put it back the way he found it” by setting the clock back to the right date after he finished testing? Let’s assume he’s a decent tech for a minute and give him the benefit of the doubt. And look at the timestamp on the photo – 12:15 am! Do you really think he was dressed for work and sitting at BestBuy at that time of day?

  21. Ryan,

    Let’s give my father-in-law the benefit of the doubt. While he was there with the camera, no one took any photos. They looked at the camera, told him it was filthy and damaged and handed it back to him. When exactly would I need to give the Geek Squad guy the benefit of the doubt where the camera date is involved?

    The timestamp on the photo from the camera is not 12:15 am. You’re looking at the copy I made for posting it online.

  22. But, but, but, that copy has 1/1/2008 as the date in the same timestamp, and Photoshop preserves original EXIF data in copies! Sorry if I’m misinterpreting things. So, what was the timestamp on the photo from the camera? Oh, never mind, I guess I’ll go crawl back under my rock.

    You’re right, you shouldn’t give Best Buy any benefit at this time. But taken together with other info (like Nathan’s assertion that the photo was taken that day,) I thought those circumstances seemed to be more likely.

  23. Those circumstances are only more likely if you believe Nathan, who claims he wasn’t as involved in the process anyway.

    My father-in-law says no one took photos with the camera while he was there to return it. That’s enough for me.

  24. I know you won’t post this, but perhaps you will read it.

    Honestly, what do you want here, blood? Have you worked retail, at a “big box” retailed? It’s awful. The company seems to actively hate you, the customers are furious about pretty much everything, often assuming you are the company and hence trying to cheat them out of every dime, and you’re paid just about slave wages when you actually can get hours.

    Does that excuse what happened, no, it doesn’t. Should Best Buy just accept your return and call it a day? Absolutely.

    But see, you, and so many like you, have gone above and beyond simply saying “Here’s a problem, I would like it solved”. You’ve elevated your petty (and it is petty Michael, this is a cheap piece of consumer electronics) complaint to the level of Wagnerian drama. You want to hold whole hosts of people “accountable” in your tireless middle-class rage against “the man”.

    So let us say that Best Buy comes down like a ton of bricks on all these employees. You call for “disciplinary action”. What a wonderful white-collar notion there Michael. When you work for one of these companies and the corporate offices get involved the “disciplinary action” means you’re fired. And Best Buy information shares with dozens of other companies in a sort of “black list” (thefts, lewd acts and embarrassing the company publicly all get you listed) meaning these people will be on the hoof and flagged. Have you read a newspaper or seen a news site in the past 6 months or so? Not the best time to be looking for work, especially in retail.

    But hey, your Mother in law gets a cheap digital camera. Huzzah.

    The Best Buy employees were in error. Perhaps they were even unseemly in their conduct. Again, that’s wrong and should not have happened. But I think, in your consumer rage, you’ve lost all perspective here.

    This isn’t “fighting for the little guy” or striking a blow for consumers or whatever other middlebrow, middle-class entitled language games you want to play with it. This is someone with a minor complaint publicly excoriating people who likely can’t even afford the products they sell.

    Again, it’s a shame that you didn’t simply get a refund, and that the whole mess started in the first place. But your plaintive whining (and it is whining, no matter how biting your wit) goes far beyond “holding people accountable”. You want someone to pay, and I’m telling you that the people who will suffer most from this don’t need some blogger making their lives any worse. Choose your battles. This is not Antietam.

    Again, you won’t post this, or if you do you’ll mock it. I worked in retail putting myself through college. I had people scream at me for offering them extended warranties. I was spat on by a man for not accepting his 6 month old, broken return item. I had to have security walk me to my car after a man accused our sales staff of trying to “jew him” and saying he’d “sort us out”. I was promoted and then had my hours cut so my pay increase was offset by lost time. I gave notice and subsequently had the company report that I was fired for theft.

    Retail is awful. Weigh your gallon of bile with an ounce of compassion.

    • Matt: Too bad the law states that it’s illegal to repackage a used item and try to sell it as new. This has nothing to do with being compassionate to those in retail. This has nothing to do with wanting blood. This has to do with doing the right thing. If it wasn’t for that darned old law and the fact that someone in the store violated it, I might have been interested in your response and it might have just been about my petty little camera.

  25. Here’s a letter I sent to the Best Buy Chairman & CEO. It outlines a similar infcident. We sent it 4 years ago and never received a response.

    Dear Mr. Anderson: 2/13/2005

    I wanted to inform you of extremely rude, unethical, and fraudulent behavior by your store manager in XXXXXXXXX, California.

    I purchased a mobile phone three years ago. At the time, the salesman sold me a 2 year extended warranty for $40. He promised me: “If anything ever goes wrong, including if you drop and break it, just bring it back to the store and we will replace it on the spot. No questions asked. If the phone is no longer made, we will credit you the amount that you paid towards a newer phone. The only situation not covered is if you lose the phone.” A Sprint representative working at the store at the time verified what the Best Buy salesman said was true. Being able to have it replaced immediately at the store was of utmost importance to me since it’s critical for my work that I have a working mobile phone (for when I’m on call).

    A year and a half later, I accidentally dropped my phone into some water. I took it back to Best buy and it was replaced immediately with a newer model phone as promised. I was a satisfied customer. I also renewed my warranty for another 2 years for $40.

    This past week, my phone refused to take a charge. I tried my husband’s charger and my car charger to make sure it wasn’t a problem with the charger. It wasn’t. So I returned to Best Buy with my husband on Thursday evening (2/10/05) to ask for a new battery. The customer service representative told us to call 1-888-Best-Buy where we would be required to exchange warranty phones by mail. My husband I were surprised to hear of this since we had both purchased warranties (his was a 3 year warranty for $60) for our mobile phones with the specific promise that it would be replaced immediately at the store. The customer service representative told us she would go ask her manager what to do.

    The manager came out and told us we had to call the 1-888-Best-Buy number for any warranty service and it had to be conducted by mail. My husband reiterated what we had originally been told by the salesman about the warranty. If it had to be returned by mail, we wouldn’t have purchased our phones or warranties at Best Buy. We would have purchased directly from the Sprint store. She abruptly inferred we were liars by telling us no one at Best Buy would have ever had said such a thing. We were stunned. In addition, she said we weren’t covered by the warranty anyway since the front screen on my flip-phone was cracked. I pointed out the screen was cracked for over 6 months and the phone still worked fine. I repeated that we were having problems with the battery, not the phone. She didn’t care. She said the screen invalidated the warranty regardless of why we were there. My husband once again pointed out what we had originally been told, and even if the screen was the problem, it was covered and showed her the contract to prove it. We told her we had exercised my warranty once previously with water damage without incident. She told us whomever replaced it last time did so in error. She also refused to look at the warranty contract.

    During this argument, the manager began to rudely and continuously talk over my husband’s voice. He couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Since she wasn’t listening, he began to raise his voice. She told another employee to call security. My husband asked to see the store manager. She told us she WAS the store manager. My husband then asked for the name and contact number for the district or regional manager. She told us it was against Best Buy policy to disclose that information. My husband then asked her for her card. She said she didn’t have cards. My husband then asked her to write her name down so he could report the incident to her superiors. She wrote down the 1-888-Best-Buy number on a sheet of paper and gave it to him. He repeated that he had asked for her name. In rebuttal, she said all he needed was the 888 number. My husband ripped up the 888 number and began to write down her name. She immediately covered her name tag with some papers she was holding and told another employee to call the police and have us arrested. My husband had already memorized her name before she covered up. As she saw him writing down her first name, she slinked away around the corner. Her name was XXXXX XXXX. We left before the police came. We didn’t want to stick around while she told lies to the police to have us arrested. We told the burly security employee to step aside and let us pass. We then left the store in utter frustration, anger and disbelief.

    The behavior and actions taken by your store manager, XXXXX XXXX, is fraudulent at best and criminal at worst. She refused to honor a valid warranty and then tried to have us arrested. Shouldn’t she be the one being arrested?

    We have paid over $140 in warranties that are evidently worthless. This is in total disregard over what we were told when we purchased the warranties. The warranties were pushed on us hard using aggressive sales tactics. And now Best Buy won’t honor them?

    Not knowing where to turn to solve our battery problem, we went down the street to the Sprint store. They immediately suspected the charger port was bad but the data port would probably still work to charge the phone. They were right. They also tested the phone and it checked out fine. They then gave us a data port charger for free. That’s how you treat a customer properly. That’s how you develop loyalty. They treated us right in contrast to your horrific store manager.

    Incidentally, my husband ran into the former Best Buy Sprint Representative today at the Roseville Galleria Mall. He is now a full time Sprint employee and he remembered us. My husband told him what had happened and the Sprint employee verified that was told to all Best Buy customers when selling the extended warranties for Sprint phones. He offered to testify on our behalf to verify what we were originally told if it should ever come to that.

  26. I had a similar experience a couple of weeks ago regarding a simple can of beans bought in a Food Emporium here in New york. To make it quick and simple, I buy a can, go home, look at the expiration date, see that the product is already expired (…), bring it back to the store to get reimbursed, they tell me they can’t do it because the product is expired, I show them the receipt with the date of purchase, with was way after the expiration date shown on the can, they call the manager, who was smart enough to reimburse me, the manager goes in the store, checks out the shelves and realizes that ALL the cans are expired and orders to take them out of there… Food emporium, New york, 68th street and 3rd avenue, Will never go there again…

    Well done by the way, Corporate America sucks big times.

  27. I’ll mock you Matt and save Michael the trouble. So Matt at which Best Buy do you work? You seem to be missing the point of the whole expose. One: Best Buy seems to have a history of similar practices. As so stated by the posings of other people here on this site as well as on some consumer sites Two: The employees, in this instance, seemed to do there best to fustrate.intimate,and seemly slander the original purchaser’s attempts at an amiable conclusion. Three: They are selling used/defective goods and new. Four: People are just plain tired of this sort of crap from Big Box stores, Corporations,Goverments and whatever yahoo comes down the pike with a similar attitude. So if someone speaks up for their rights or the rights of other is wanting “blood” as you so easily put it than so be it. Let there be a blood bath of complaints when it comes to this sort of bad business.

  28. Matt,

    What are you trying to say? That nobody BUT YOU knows the how awful it is working retail? Everyone has worked retail at some point in their lives.

    Michael tried the “Here’s the problem, I would like it solved” approach, and it didn’t work. At this point, its not even about getting your money back. Its the principle. Corporations should NEVER act in the manner Best Buy did, and people SHOULD be held accountable for it.

  29. The same thing nearly happened to me. In 2006, I received a Nikon D50 as a graduation present. Upon opening the box, I discovered that the door for the memory card slot was broken, so I immediately took the thing back to Best Buy.

    The customer service employee asked “How do we know you didn’t break it yourself, and now want us to pay for it?”. Unbelievable. I lucked out though, as the manager on duty came over and asked what the problem was. I explained the situation, and the manager recognized the broken camera as one that had been taken off the shelf a week prior because it was broken. Apparently someone had put it back on the shelf…good move.

    Oh Best Buy, so fun.

  30. Michael – Get Casio involved; I’m certain that they do not like the bad publicity here.

    While my own experience with Best Buy stores has been uneventful except for their rapacious prices (I’ve never been to your store – #519), this is a shameful portrayal of “customer service.” Congratulations for showing the “Services Manager” at that store to be (multiple choice): a) incompetent, b) deceitful, c) crooked, d) disingenuous, e) duplicitous, f) all of the above.

    I would suggest to your in-laws that the next time they wish to purchase an item like this to do so online at Newegg or Amazon. Both companies have fantastic customer service and much lower (fairer) prices than Best Buy.

    Please keep us posted as to your final outcome and best of luck!

  31. I just read both of your expose blog postings and I can’t say I’m too surprised.

    Just fyi, Bestbuy has a nation-wide employee forum (message board), so if one Bestbuy employee saw your article, it wouldn’t take long for it to get posted and noticed by someone who worked at the store.

  32. I just want to thank you for chronicling your experience and detailing the steps you took to seek justice. I think this has to be a template on dealing with this type of situation. I know that recovery tools have helped in many situations.

  33. I used to enjoy going to Best Buy every week or so and picking up something. Probably spent over $10,000 in the past 10 years at that store.

    Over the past couple of years it seems that the service has gotten worse and these kinds of situations arise more often. Consequently, I bought our new Vizio TV, Canon digital camera, JVC camcorder and Sanyo HD protector elsewhere in the last 12 months.

    Congratulations Best Buy, you lost about $5000 in new business last year because you now have the reputation left void by the now bankrupt Circuit City.

    The only thing I use Best Buy for now is to look at products and check them out in person and then buy elsewhere from Newegg, Amazon etc

  34. Your only mistake is carrying on undocumented phone calls with them now. Since they already stonewalled you, even after you came up with the pictures, the only reason they are steppin’ to now is because of the embarrassing publicity. They’ve already lied and called you names, no need to allow them more opportunity for deception. Make them put any conversations in writing.

    Matt, shave those sideburns, dude. Those are so not in style.

  35. Has anyone noticed that since Circuit City went under that Best Buy (at least at my 2 local stores) removed the ‘clock’ at the pickup counter that got you a $10 gift card if they took too long? Nice best buy.. your customer service dies right along with your major competitor.

  36. Hi Mike

    Just wanted to let you know that your experience has now been featured on http://www.gizmodo.com.au so we “Down Under” are now sharing your frustration and rage.

    I was wasting some time reading and vicariously enjoying the rogering you were giving Best Buy when I scrolled down to Matt’s post (kudos for publishing BTW).

    I think on balance Matt has got it about right: your family was badly treated; Best Buy is not a good company to do business with; it’s employees are not the management; you have had more than your fair share of revenge…fix your economy please!



  37. A few years ago I bought a new camera from Best Buy. After I opened it, I discovered that it had pictures of someone else’s family in their home. Obviously it was it was not NEW. I returned the camera and got a lame excuse. I ended up keeping the camera after they offered me a nice discount.

    Still, it was obviously an opened item and not new.

  38. Ever since BB did away with commissioned sales people that earned a good living the place has been going down the tubes. I knew a guy that use to make over $60k per year as a salesperson!!! Getting people to come back into the store was very important so they tended to go out of their way to take care of situations like this.

    Norm Walker

  39. I had a VERY similar experience with Best Buy not too long ago.

    I had purchased a CD with the intention of giving it to someone as a Christmas gift, the packaging of the CD wasn’t in the best shape but it did have it’s clear plastic wrapping on it.

    The CD sat on my desk for about a week or two, and I ended up purchasing a different gift and decided I would return the CD.

    I walked into the store, they looked at the CD, saw that the plastic wrap wasn’t in the best of shape and decided to open the CD to inspect it. Guess what they found, scratches all over the CD. They then insisted that I had been the one that opened the CD, I had been the one that stratched the CD, I had been the one that REPACKAGED the CD and then I tried to return it.

    I spoke with a manager and he immediately took the sales-persons side. I was then asked to contact corporate because they could not help me in the matter.

    As I was about to leave I asked them since they opened the CD, and they won’t take it back, will they at least repackage it so that I can give it away as a gift, as I had no intention of keeping it. Amazingly the answer was NO, they don’t do that in the store (Well obviously they do, because someone used the CD and repackaged it previousl…)

    My situation was solved.. to an extent.. by Corporate, they ended up taking my side (surprisingly) after I explained the whole fiasco to them and they sent me a check for the value of the CD. I did not however get an apology from anyone at the store, and to this day, have not returned to that Best Buy location (This is Best Buy in Norridge Illinois, at the Harlem-Irving Plaza)

    Good job with this, more of these stories need to be made available to the public and proper action needs to take place.

    Cheers, and good luck!

  40. Oh, and just to clarify, this Matt that wrote about the CD incident, is not the same Matt that said you should go easy on them. Haha, give ’em Hell Mike!

  41. Mike, you should get in touch with Adam Murphy from CBS 46. He’ll go down there with a camera crew and shove a mic in their faces.

  42. “Mike, you should get in touch with Adam Murphy from CBS 46. He’ll go down there with a camera crew and shove a mic in their faces.”

    @Brad I second that!

  43. Wow… I agree with some of the comments. First contact your local news org. Next, bring a voice recorder to every conversation (small cameras usually have voice recorders) to prevent further “misunderstandings.” If they are on the phone, put on speaker phone and record. Definitely solves problem with “he said she said.” I did this when I had a walk through of my house when it was being built. I had a small Casio camera running on record in my pocket while my wife and I asked the builder questions. Well, when a problem arose few months after move in and the company initially refused to resolve it in our favor, I just replayed his words back to him. Problem solved.

  44. I bought a open box Casio camera from Stootsi. Casio reparied the thing for free. Good brand, great camera!

    boo on Best Buy, I never go there because of they way they treat the customer.

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