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.
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…
- My mother-in-law purchased the Casio Exilim EX-Z80 on Wednesday, February 25th.
- When we opened the camera it appeared the package had already been opened.
- When we attempted to use the camera, it was evident the camera had already been used.
- When we took photos, the photos sucked because someone had broken the camera.
- When my mother-in-law contacted Nathanael, he told her to come in and exchange the camera.
- 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.
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.