As I said last night, I was quite optimistic that the entire issue with the camera would be resolved today. I was right to be optimistic. For the first time since this entire fiasco began, we went the entire day without being frustrated at a member of the Best Buy staff and they even went so far as to make good on all of the promises made to us along the way.
In fact, they went above and beyond what was necessary, and my mother-in-law was completely satisfied by the outcome of today’s events.
The day started with an email from Jill at 10:30 this morning. She stated that Best Buy had a letter prepared that incorporated the apology to my mother-in-law which also addressed the concerns we had with the product they sold us (ie: a used item sold as new).
Jill also wanted to know what time we would be visiting the store so she could make sure were were taken care of in a prompt manner. She agreed with my statement that even though we could resolve the issue, Best Buy needed to focus on the process that failed and assured me that “several” of their department were reviewing the matter and were treating our concerns with the urgency and seriousness that it deserved.
I asked Jill for a copy of the text of the letter so I could present it to my mother-in-law for her review before we made a trip down to the store to find out it might be unacceptable.
It turns out the text of the letter was quite acceptable to my mother-in-law, and therefore, acceptable to me.
My concern through this whole process was to make sure someone was held accountable for their actions, but in the end my concerns do not, and did not, matter. My mother-in-law was the customer, and an agreement to any resolution was up to her.
As you know, my mother-in-law was only asking for a formal apology for the way she was treated, a statement attesting to the fact that someone had repackaged a used camera and sold it as new, and of course a straight exchange of the camera.
Jill sent me the text of the letter, which my mother-in-law found completely acceptable, and I informed Jill that we would be in the store this afternoon to bring the camera in for exchange. You can click the image to the right to view the letter drafted by Jill, the Senior Executive Resolution Specialist from Best Buy who helped get this matter resolved.
The fact that Best Buy needs “senior executive resolution specialists” really says something, doesn’t it?
When we arrived at the store, we worked our way to the customer service desk and asked to speak to the manager. At that moment, everything changed.
We were approached by Robert Ellerbee, the general manager of the store. We introduced ourselves and he immediately apologized to my mother-in-law and assured us that the way she was treated was completely unacceptable and assured us that he would not tolerate such actions from his employees. It was clear to see that Robert was genuinely disappointed in the way his staff had handled the entire matter. Throughout this experience, and other experiences I have had in the past, I have dealt with my share of managers trying to lay on the B.S., but Robert wasn’t like that. I could sense he was honestly upset and willing to make amends for what happened in his store.
For the first time since staff members accused my father-in-law of damaging the camera and called my mother-in-law a liar, we felt someone from Best Buy store #519 in Douglasville, Georgia was finally being honest and trying to resolve the situation.
Robert stressed the fact that he would hold those accountable for their actions (which was my main concern) and he was prepared to make things right with my mother-in-law. He asked her if the camera was for her or was supposed to be a gift for someone else. She reminded him that the camera was supposed to be a gift for my youngest son (who we just happened to take with us to the store).
He explained that he would refund the entire purchase in cash, even though my mother-in-law had paid by check. I pointed out the fact that my mother-in-law had already put a stop payment on the check because she wasn’t sure if she would get the proper resolution before it cleared, so there was no need to refund any cash. He then offered to cover the cost of the stop payment fee my mother-in-law had incurred in the process. Then his attention turned to my son.
Robert explained that they no longer had any of the Casio cameras in stock, so my son was to look through all of the other point and shoot cameras and pick one of his choosing to replace the Casio. He said that he wanted to make sure my mother-in-law still received a camera as compensation for the trouble she was put through.
My son looked at the Olympus cameras and the Canon cameras. He picked one, but it was an “internet order” item and he did not want to wait any more, he had already waited this entire week because of the fiasco. Then he chose the Canon PowerShot SX110 IS, which is much more camera than the Casio. Robert said it was no problem at all. In fact, he was also throwing in a camera bag, a memory card, and a set of rechargeable batteries as well. I was stunned.
Thirty minutes after we walked into the store, we were walking out with the letter of apology, the statement attesting to the fact that a used camera had been sold as new, as well as the new camera, a camera bag, an 8GB SDHC memory card, and the batteries. Oh yeah, and he issued my mother-in-law a $35 gift card so she could return to the store at her leisure to make a further purchase.
Robert went above and beyond in bringing resolution to this matter, and I cannot help but think if the staff at his store had just directed our calls to him in the first place, none of this would have happened and it wouldn’t have cost them so much money today.
As we walked to the truck we still couldn’t believe Robert went to the length he did to make sure we were taken care of, and we were thankful that we had found those pictures on the camera. If we hadn’t, who knows how this fiasco might have played out.
I want to thank Robert for being attentive to my mother-in-law and my son. He was genuine and focused his attention on them. I believe he was completely honest and upfront with us, which is a far cry different than the way we felt about some of his employees earlier in the week.
I also want to thank a couple of other people. Andrew Case and Ben Popken.
Andrew is a good kid and fellow blogger who tried to escalate this matter with Best Buy public relations earlier in the week. Thanks for your efforts, Andrew.
And what can I say about Ben Popken? He and the folks over at The Consumerist really make a difference in the world of consumer affairs. If it wasn’t for Ben posting our story, we wouldn’t have had hundreds of thousands of eyeballs reading about our experience and we wouldn’t have had such a good outcome in this matter. Thanks again Ben, I really appreciate everything you did in publishing this story and giving it the exposure we needed.
Now, I had better get off this computer and get some batteries charging, or one little boy is going to be really pissed off in the morning.
Have a great night!