Never again from Best Buy...

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by frjonah, May 10, 2011.

  1. frjonah macrumors regular

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    #1
    Just had a terrible experience buying a new MacBook Pro at Best Buy in NJ... I recently got the 15.4" model with the 256MB Graphics RAM for my birthday, which proved to be insufficient since I do a lot of work with ultra high resolution image files. I barely used the computer at all, but I eventually noticed, after ultra light use, that there was a hairline crack at the very top of the screen. I believe the crack must have been there from the beginning and I just didn't notice it, but of course, I can't prove that. It was barely visible; very, very hard to see. With the backlight on, it was totally invisible.

    So, I decide to trade my model in for the one I really wanted, the 15.4" model with the 1GB Graphics RAM. I was well within my magical 14 days and the computer was barely used. To be as honest as possible, I decided to point out the hairline crack to Best Buy's Customer Service folks, which I strongly doubt they would have noticed had I not been forthright. Basically, I was told that, due to the crack, the computer couldn't be returned and that my only choice was to send the computer back to Apple to fix the screen, at which point they couldn't allow me to upgrade because (1) I would no longer be within the 14 days and (2) they cannot accept serviced computers as returns. I was heartbroken! I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I tried to reason with the manager and explain that it had to have been like this when I first walked out the store with it, but all to no avail. I finally asked to speak to the regional manager to explain things, and ultimately the manager became visibly angry, and began loudly saying very rude things culminating in: "FINE, SIR! JUST GO PICK OUT THE ONE YOU WANT!!"

    Admittedly, this is the outcome I was expecting when I walked in the door, but I didn't expect everything else, especially not the outright anger and disgust evident on the manager's face when he said it.

    I have no idea what Best Buy's policy is on this, but I am typing on the upgraded model at present... the outcome was the one I wanted, but it came at a high price... I had my 8 year old son with me and he witnessed the entire thing. He was quite shocked by the manager's outbursts.

    In short, after this experience, I will not be buying anything at Best Buy again. I have no issue with policy, but to be treated like that, in the presence of my son... very disheartening. I fear that America is losing it's sense of Customer Service and that it may never be back. I don't know what to chalk this up to, but Best Buy will not be making any more sales from me.

    Disconcerted,

    frjonah
     
  2. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

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    #2
    I'd take the time to write a letter to Best Buy corporate customer care. I'd also include a link to this post to make them aware that such behavior can get posted on the internet and possibly influence other potential customers. There is no excuse for a person in retail to ever raise their voice to a customer, especially in the presence of a child.

    Now, of course, I say all of this under the assumption that you were not raising your own voice and that you were respectful in your behavior as well.
     
  3. frjonah thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    mscriv,

    I did not raise my voice, but I did plead with the manager to be reasonable. The one thing I did that may have been irritating to the manager was that I did not give up... I explained my position several times, despite his telling me there was nothing he could do. Basically, I just could not believe what he was telling me. The manager was getting worked up, apparently because I did not give in. Several people were looking on and I think he must have not been happy about drawing attention to what was happening.

    He finally became angry when I asked to speak to the regional manager. That was basically the turning point as far as I could tell.

    I felt so uncomfortable... I told the salesperson back at the laptops that I just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. I have no desire to ever go back.
     
  4. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

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    #4
    Sounds good to me friend. I'm glad you stood your ground without getting worked up yourself. I don't think there's really much of a reason for any retail store not to accept a return that is within their stated return policy period. I've worked retail and we even took back things that were obviously the customers fault. The point is to do everything you can to meet their needs and therefore garner future business. Sure some people will take advantage of this generosity, but all in all I think the store fares better when they make customers feel accomodated and appreciated. Like you said, this one experience has led to their loss of you as a customer and for what? They will return the computer as a damaged item or write it off as damaged with little to no loss for them. Losing a customer and the potential for negative publicity is a much greater loss.

    I'd seriously suggest you write that letter. They need to know and sometimes they will make efforts to correct the situation to avoid you holding onto your negative feelings. Don't write to them expecting anything, but if something does happen that would be a pleasant surprise.
     
  5. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    Canada, eh?
    #5
    Yeah, I suggest you write the letter too. People like that need to be addressed. There is no excuse to lose your temper in front of a customer, EVER. It's completely unprofessional.

    Also, that's a silly policy: You can return anything, anytime within 14 days, for any reason? Oh, but except if that reason is that it's damaged?

    That reminds me of a time I bought a flourescent light fixture from Home Depot, never opened it, and later changed my mind about using it so I brought it back. When the CSR asked why I was returning, I said "I don't need it anymore". When she opened the package to inspect it she found the frosted cover was cracked. She then challenged the return, saying that I couldn't return something if I had broken it. What?! I reiterated that I had never even opened it -- she broke the seal herself just now -- but she insisted I must've dropped it and wouldn't let me return something I had broken.

    So I took the light, walked away from the return desk two steps, turned around, came right back and with a smile on my face I politely said "Hi, I'd like to return this defective light -- see, it's broken here."

    She let me do the return. :rolleyes:
     
  6. Maddix macrumors member

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    Jan 25, 2011
    #6
    I was on KenRockwell's website last evening and he wrote on Best Buy, or "Worst Buy" as he calls it.
     
  7. UTclassof89 macrumors 6502

    UTclassof89

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    #7
    I feel filthy just walking into a Best Buy....
     
  8. MBP13 macrumors 6502

    MBP13

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    #8
    LOL! I love this. I probably would have done this if I were in the situation.
     
  9. frjonah thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    Thanks to you guys for the supportive comments. I couldn't agree more concerning the kind of Customer Service that really encourages future business.

    I'll think about writing a letter, but I really don't want to get the guy in trouble, which he almost certainly would if I wrote a letter.

    At any rate, I'm truly enjoying my new machine and consider that I "rescued" it from the Best Buy warehouse :)

    frjonah
     
  10. gameface macrumors 6502

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    Boston, MA
    #10
    I bought a plasma TV at Best Buy a couple years ago. The box looked fine but as soon as I opened it, I noticed the corner styrofoam was smashed. I got the tv out and the bezel was broken and the glass screen was cracked. I called immediately and told them. They told me to bring it back. i told them since I had no car (I live in the city) that I would have to wait until my friend could bring me back which was 3 days later.

    Long story short when I got to return it, they gave me the third degree about it being 3 days later. I showed them my receipt and my saved cell phone calls to corporate customer service within an hour of the receipt being printed (it took 3 calls to get them to tell me to bring it in for replacement). The morons at Geeksquad (or whatever it is) insisted that I somehow damaged it even though I showed them everything and explained in detail what had happened. Took me and my friend 3 HOURS to get them to finally believe me and give me a new tv. BUT, this time they took it out of the box there to "check" it was ok and then wouldn't let me have the box even though I returned the tv in its packaging. I got it home safe, but without the packaging it was a hairy situation. I make plenty of money not to try to scam a place out of the $700 tv. :rolleyes:

    Haven't, to this day, purchased anything from them again.
     
  11. frjonah thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    gameface,

    Our experiences are very similar indeed. In my case, I received the laptop for my birthday but really didn't get a chance to do anything on it for about a week after opening it. When I started working on it, I noticed the crack even though I had basically not even touched the thing... I received the same third degree. Fortunately, the manager finally caved in in what can only be described as a hissy-fit. When he told me, "Fine, go pick out your computer!", I calmly responded, "Thank you, sir, that's exactly what I wanted to hear."

    I felt bad about it all day, but I really don't know why... here's to putting it totally out of my mind and enjoying this amazing machine!
     
  12. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #12
    I work in retail and that has happend to us with customers - those would be considered "Defective Out-Of-Box" and the vendor will swap them out (or give credit on the next purchase of stock upon return).

    But, I guess it would be too much work for them to take it back and send it back to the vendor themselves... :eek:
     
  13. paddy macrumors 6502a

    paddy

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    TN
    #13
    Yes there is an excuse. A customer curses at you or threatens you over a peace of technology you have every right. Even if a customer becomes rude you have every right to address them with the same behaviour.

    Also, you think you can damage something and just return it? Obviously not!
     
  14. frjonah thread starter macrumors regular

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    #14
    Well, I think even "fighting fire with fire" would be against Best Buy's policy, so there really wouldn't be an excuse in that case. It's never appropriate to abuse the Customer because the Customer will vote against your establishment with his business and by telling people about his experience. Free-market commerce was built on the adage, "The Customer is always right." Of course, in reality, the Customer is not always right, but this adage puts businesses in the right mindset to guarantee long-term prosperity for themselves by overwhelming the Customer with a positive experience, even when they have experienced something horrible.

    In this case, however, it's a moot point since I did not raise my voice and, to the best of my knowledge, the computer was in damaged condition after little to no interaction with myself. Furthermore, I was within the 14 day return period. I even offered to buy the protection plan (which I was still eligible for) and use that as grounds to get a replacement and then return the replacement for an upgrade to the model I decided I really wanted. He refused (see above), despite my VERY rational compromise offer. In the end, I was able to return the computer "as-is", but I was forced to pay for it by being verbally abused and embarrassed in front of my son and a crowd of people. Best Buy has lost me as a Customer, as well as all of my family members and possibly even some people who have seen this online and have been influenced by it.

    Here is the bottom line from my point of view... maybe "fighting fire with fire" makes sense from the "human response" point of view, but we're talking about business and managers are paid to be respectful and professional since they are the official representatives of their respective companies. Maybe in theory he could have had a "right" to become angry had I been rude (which I wasn't), but such a response makes no "big picture" financial sense, and so he was in breach of his managerial guidelines and action could be taken against him. I know I wouldn't want such a manager working for my company...

    In the end, we are human beings, rational creatures with intelligence (at least most of us) and the ability to control our emotions and language. Can we not at least restrict ourselves to calm, rational responses when we are being paid to do so?
     
  15. /user/me macrumors 6502

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    #15

    Why are you considering not writing the letter? The guy was a total asshat to you. He wouldn't have to worry if he wasn't being a dick. As far as i'm concerned he deserves to lose his job.
     
  16. thatisme macrumors 6502

    thatisme

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    #16
    Unfortunately, this is pretty common in Best Buy. I had a similar issue with a TV purchased there (with their warranty). The manager acted almost exactly the same as you described here even after I had gone through all the steps outlined in their policies to determine if my TV was a "lemon".

    I got nowhere with the local CSR's or managers. I got nowhere with their Customer Service 800 number. It took me going directly to the CEO of the company to get any traction with my complaint.

    In the end, they did the right thing, however, they are in dire need to re-train or simply train properly the first time, all their managers and CSR's.

    I have not purchased anything of consequence from them since my issue, and I doubt I ever will.
     
  17. frjonah thread starter macrumors regular

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    #17
    +1

    I guess in 12 step terms, I have my BB white chip :D
     
  18. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #18
    I hope you were being facetious, but no, you don't have a right to be rude back to a customer. If they become abusive there are ways to handle it without resorting to being rude yourself.

    As for damage, of course you can't allow a customer to damage something and then simply return it, but if the product is defective or previously damaged through some means other than the customer (in transit, or maybe a previous customer that bought it and managed to sneak it back as a return) you have to be able to give the customer some reasonable benefit of the doubt.

    Regardless, whether the return was valid or not, whether store policy was being followed or not, there is no room for yelling and hissy fits.

    OP, I still think you need to write that letter of complaint. That manager NEEDS to "get in trouble", to at the very least be told that treating customers that way is unacceptable. Also, you say you were embarrassed in front of your son, but I think this is an opportunity for a teachable moment to say "See, son, that's not how you behave when you talk to other people." Good on you for being a positive role model by being calm and collected.
     
  19. Steve121178 macrumors 68040

    Steve121178

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    #19
    He got the machines swapped even though the one he was trying to exchange was damaged! See it from the stores point of view.

    Writing letters of complaint is sad. It's even worse if you take the effort to complain even though you got what you had wanted! They were within their rights to initially refuse the damaged item.

    As for the child, it does them good to see how things go down in the real world.
     
  20. mscriv, May 11, 2011
    Last edited: May 11, 2011

    mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

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    #20
    ^^^ Quite the negative view of life their my friend.

    Are you saying stores should not return/exchange merchandise that was damaged upon opening at no fault of the customer? If you open your new product and it's damaged or broken that's just bad luck and you shouldn't expect replacement. Well, routine business practices and the legal system disagree with you.

    As far as seeing it from the stores point of view. I have now doubt that upper management or the CEO of the company would be disturbed by the behavior of any employee that chooses to be verbally aggressive with a customer. Have you ever seen the TV show Undercover Boss, the whole point is to discover the employee's that embody the goals and customer service attitude of the company while also retraining those who don't.
     
  21. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #21
    Without trying to defend the guy, because I wasn't there and have no idea how the situation actually went...imagine the people these people deal with on a daily basis. I guarantee you a LOT of people try to return items that they damaged themselves.

    And to say that a business SHOULD accept items knowingly damaged by the customer? That's kind of insane. But, then again...it's why I could never work in customer service...I know when people are being stupid or deceitful and I call them out on it.

    People try that stuff all the time. I went to Home Depot once and bought about 40 lamps for a project I was working on. The only lamps of the style in stock were obvious returns. So I looked closer at them. Although the boxes all said "flood", most of the lamps were spots. And I could tell that the lamps were well used, not new. Someone had come and bought new lamps, switched out their old ones, and returned them to the store. I told several employees, but none seemed to care. When I got back to site with what I could pull together, a number of the lamps I got didn't work...as they were probably old, bad lamps returned by the same smarmy individual. Now, if the person at the returns desk had noticed that the lamps were old, should they have taken them back anyway to "keep a good customer" or denied the return? I know I would deny it. I wouldn't want to keep a customer like that.
     
  22. Steve121178 macrumors 68040

    Steve121178

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    #22
    How does the store know it was not damaged by the customer? It's a tough call for the store to make.

    Besides, those buying goods in Best Buy are doing so because they are cheaper than most other places. If you pay cheaper prices then you have to expect customer care to suffer a tad, unless you live on another planet where everything is perfect?

    Some people want everything all their own way and burst into tears and throw a paddy the moment they don't get what they want.
     
  23. steviem macrumors 68020

    steviem

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    #23
    The other side is that people can be exceedingly patronizing towards others (usually customers wanting to get their own way in a retail situation) without necessarily raising their voice.

    I don't see a reason to complain if he said 'Fine sir, just pick out the one you want.' I'd see a reason if he said 'Get the hell out of my store you ***** picky *******'.

    As said before, they were within their rights to refuse the exchange, they also gave you a path of getting the defect fixed. One of the things people say on here is 'If you need x at the time, don't wait for the next one because you'll end up waiting the the one after that and so on'.

    You gave them crap and got what you want. I'm surprised you're losing sleep that they 'insulted' you.

    All it shows to your son is that being an ass might get you what you want but it doesn't always give you respect.
     
  24. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

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    #24
    To clarify, I'm saying a store should pretty much unconditionally accept returns within the boundaries of their own return policy. If people are trying to go around the policy then the store has every right to refuse the return. As for damaged items, its hard to prove who did the damage and in those instances they have to make a decision about what to do. If they accuse a customer of doing the damage then they could lose the customer. I think best business practices would dictate erring on the side of caution and keeping the customer happy. Like another poster said in most cases of damage the store is not out any money as the item is returned to the vendor and credit is given.

    The bigger picture here is the discussion about good will vs. evil/selfish intent. Sure there are going to be customers who seek to take advantage of things, but do you really want stores clamping down on everyone just because of the few who might have ill intent. In most businesses theft/fraud are budgeted in as the "cost of doing business" so that the majority of honest customers can maintain a positive relationship with the store.
     
  25. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #25
    You're right, and this is one of the problems. How can you tell if a customer is deliberately scamming you? If it's obvious they broke it themselves, or in your light bulb example, they replaced a good product with a bad one and then tried to return them, then absolutely, call them out on it. But sometimes it's not so clear cut, and therein is the problem -- do you accuse the customer, or give him the benefit of the doubt?

    A charitable store ought to accept the return, as per the store policy, then inspect the merchandise very carefully to make sure it doesn't go back out on the sales floor if it's damaged or inconsistent with the packaging (e.g. the scammed light exchange). They should also keep your contact information so they can follow up with police if they have truly been scammed, or at the very least so that if someone seems to have a pattern of "bad luck", they can watch them more carefully in the future.
     

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