Best Buy: you lost my business. And I’m not the only one.

February 5, 2008 – 8:49 am

I just got back from vacation and if I didn’t have a backlog of posts already (about 50 blog posts in various stages), I certainly do now.

Let me start with my frustration with Best Buy. Several of my friends already refuse to shop there for various reasons. As if retail electronic stores don’t know already, the internet is slowly chipping away at their business, and most of my major items are purchased online, including my recent hi-def TV, which I saved about $750 by purchasing online from buy.com.

But, I like the convenience of picking things up locally when I can and getting a hands on review of products before I buy them is always nice.

If you will humor me, writing this is somewhat helping me cope with my frustration with Best Buy. I’ve had other negative run ins with BB, such as returning products under the “extended warranty” period which I so gladly purchased only to find out they won’t cover the original purchase price, only apply a depreciated amount towards a new product. Or, the time that we went to pick up an entertainment center which we were told was in stock, only to find out they didn’t and “the online inventory or even listed inventory tends to be off, so someone needs to physically check just to make sure.” But, I won’t go into those episodes, as you will find plenty of them on the net.

So, as the story goes, I have been putting off getting a camcorder because I hadn’t had enough time to fully research what I wanted to get. I had asked a few friends, picked up a review magazine and read a few reviews from sites like Camcorderinfo.com to learn more.

We were on vacation this last week and really wanted to capture some footage, so I was pretty much stuck with buying whatever I could get while I was in San Diego. I realized that I would have to pay more, in tax, if nothing else, but I was fine with that. And, considering that most of the camcorders I was looking at were $750-$1,000, I realized I would also be paying probably a 15% markup for this added luxury of picking up locally. And, once again, I was fine with that, because it was my fault for not looking into it sooner.

So, I decided on the Canon HG10.
Canon HG10
As Canon likes to quote on their site:

“If you’re in the market for an HDD camcorder, the Canon HG10 is the best on the market.”
Camcorderinfo.com, August 2007.

It records at full HD (1920×1080), so I’m glad I have a new MacBook Pro on the way, because I’m going to need every bit of power it can provide to edit the footage. So far, though, I have been pretty happy with it.

Once I had decided on what I was going to purchase, I decided to check out some of the local stores. Best Buy was one that my sister-in-law was familiar with and had been to before. So, I thought I would give them a shot.

We went and visited the Best Buy store at Mission Valley (San Diego), and to my pleasant surprise, a few of the sales people actually knew what they were talking about. I like to go in to stores and test the knowledge of the sales people just to see what they know. As it turns out, they were decent. I wanted to do some more research and check out some of the other local stores before making a purchase. So, that night (Feb 1), I did some more research and found out that Circuit City had the same model on sale for $850.

I knew that Best Buy had a price match policy, so I thought I would give them a try. I called one of the Best Buys just to make sure and what I needed to do. The person I talked to after being on hold for 20 minutes told me that all I had to do was print off the product page from Circuit City that clearly showed the price, and they would match it.

Sounded straight forward enough, because, after all, there were several Circuit City locations close by, and surely they would match their price.

After being on hold forever (I called a few times before finally just putting on speakerphone and going about my business), closing time was drawing close. We packed up the gang and off we went to Best Buy with the printed page from circuitcity.com in hand.

We got there a few minutes before closing, but, to my disappointment, the open sign was turned off and the door closed. I was fortunate enough to get inside after talking with the door guy (there were still a bunch of people in the store), and made my way over to the camcorder section.

When I got there, they first said that they wouldn’t match an online price and I needed to go to the customer service desk. Fair enough, I can handle that. When I get to the customer service desk, they said that they couldn’t match the price because Circuit City had already closed.

WHAT? You can clearly see the price online, which I so kindly printed off, based on the conversation I had with the Best Buy customer service rep from the local store. That, apparently, didn’t matter. They actually had to call the store and verify the price and availability. When the customer service rep said I was out of luck, I asked to speak to a supervisor. The customer service rep was nice enough about the ordeal, so I thought the supervisor would try and help me out. I mean, I called in advance just to make sure I had the info before I went to the store.

Apparently I was wrong. The supervisor was a complete jerk. She basically said, sorry for ya’. You will have to come back later for us, at best, to match the price you could get down the street, not to mention online. As I pleaded that I only wanted the same price I could get down the street, they said they couldn’t (or let me rephrase, wouldn’t) match the price of a direct competitor.

I also stated that I really had to pick it up that night, since we had plans the next day and if I didn’t buy it right then from them I surely wasn’t coming back later to get it from them.

She referred me to the details of the Best Buy price match policy that details all loopholes. Limited quantities? Of course all stores have limited quantities, especially for sale items. But, regardless of what the website says, even though you could view the online inventory as well as the store inventory online, they needed to call a local store to verify.

What if the competitor does not have the item in stock or has limited quantities of the product?
Sometimes a retailer will advertise a very low price for a product but have only limited quantities in stock. If the item is out of stock or the competitor has limited quantities of an item, it is not eligible for price matching. Likewise, if Best Buy has a product that is advertised as being limited in quantity it will not be eligible for price matching.

I have spent thousands of dollars with Best Buy over the years. Stereo equipment, home appliances, computer equipment, furniture and office equipment, CD’s, phones, gift cards for friends and relatives and the list goes on. Thousands. Not to mention the additional thousands of dollars of purchases that I used to drive there based on product recommendations for my friends and small business owners.

The supervisor couldn’t have cared less. Sure, it was the end of the night and they didn’t know me from any other Joe Blow off the street, but there was little empathy. Not even a lame attempt to try and keep me as a future customer after treating me like an idiot.

No, Sorry, but that is our policy and as much as I would like to help you out, I can’t. Nothing. Only if I wanted to complain about it I would need to call Best Buy corporate.

More along the lines of Even though we can clearly see the price for the exact some model at Circuit City and we have a price match policy, we want to try and screw you out of as much of your money as possible and encourage you to buy online and use price comparison sites like PriceGrabber.com where you can calculate the best bottom line price (shipping and tax included).

Sure, Best Buy didn’t have to match the price of Circuit City, even though in all good faith they should have, but even if they would have shown a little decency and humanity in the process, they might have been able to get me back in the store after a few months to vent my frustration of that particular incident. It is not like I was asking Best Buy to match an unreasonable amount from an unknown internet site. It was CIRCUIT CITY! The reason I didn’t buy it from Circuit City in the first place was because I have a rewards card with Best Buy.

As a side note, the online price at bestbuy.com was different than the store price. How big of a rip is that ($1099 in store vs. $999 online)?

Guess how much I paid for my Canon HG10 down the street, at, oddly enough, Costco? $799. A full $300 less. $1099 was the full retail price of the product to begin with. The online price is now around $699 (no tax or shipping for some stores), but this weekend $799 was looking like the best price around. The new model is coming out in March, so online stores are now closing it out (and thus, the appearance at Costco). I stumbled upon the camcorder at Costco purely by coincidence as I was looking for other stores that carried Canon products.

So, let me say it out loud. Best Buy, you lost my business and have one frustrated customer. And, you won’t get a penny more from me in the future. Not only because of your prices (which are especially high on more expensive electronics), but your poor customer service.

Was it worth it?

Next up is a call to Best Buy corporate. I’m a nobody with what some may call an over-the-top complaint, but I think it is valid.

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  1. 6 Responses to “Best Buy: you lost my business. And I’m not the only one.”

  2. Boy, do I understand your frustrations! I think everyone who is a “nobody” and has to deal with corporate America in any form understands. Everywhere you go anymore the chances are you are going to run into “Customer Service” people with that kind of attitude… sorry for ya. Whatcha gonna do about it? At Christmas time I purchased a portable GPS for my husband at NewEgg.com thru a rebate offered by PayPal. If you used your PayPal account to pay, you could get a 20% rebate put directly into your PayPal account, up to $50. Needless to say, I earned the $50 rebate with that purchase. A week later I called NewEgg about the order for some reason, and just HAPPENED to mention the PayPal rebate offer, and the lady let me know that I probably wouldn’t be getting the $50 as PayPal decided they would cancel that offer. Now, mind you, I ordered the GPS the SAME DAY the offer was sent out via email by PayPal. I made sure I read all of the fine print so as do make a purchase that fell under the rebate guidelines. Needless to say, I was pretty ticked at PayPal by the time I hung up with this lady. It wasn’t NewEgg’s fault, but part of the deal with ordering this thru them was that it couldn’t be returned unless it was defective. I called PayPal and spent 2 HOURS on the phone with them, going thru 3 different very rude “Customer Service” people. I stress very rude… never in my life would I imagine treating a customer that way, especially when they weren’t irate. I finally told the last “Supervisor” I spoke with that I was going to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, contact the Secretary of State that they were incorporated in, and contact the Federal Trade Commission about this fraudulent offer… because that was exactly what it was. I still had the email with all of the fine print to give to them to prove it. At this, he put me thru to their legal department. I waited and waited and waited, and FINALLY a very nice man from the legal department came on and gave me no hassle or run-around. He told me he would give me a $50 credit to my PayPal account that day, and he did. Turns out, a month or so later another $50 showed up in my PayPal account for that rebate. PayPal had decided to make good on the offer for everyone anyway. I guess they were getting way to many complaints! I am closing my PayPal account ASAP though… a couple of weeks ago they let someone hack into my account and spend over $1,100 out of my CHECKING account in one day, and they just finally got me all of my money back this past Saturday. Then they had the audacity to tell me it was my fault… that I shouldn’t log into my account from a public computer, open questionable emails, etc. I work from home… I don’t sign on to ANY public computers. And I’m not an idiot. I don’t open or click on anything I don’t trust. That was just my experience with PayPal. I could tell you all sorts of other similar horror stories for different companies over the years. I’ve just decided that I would rather spend a little more and buy from a local person if at all possible. It helps me out, and it helps them out. Death to Coporate America!!!!

    By Amy K on Feb 5, 2008

  3. Amy, I am sorry to hear about your NewEgg/PayPal experience.

    I’ve had pretty good service with both of them, although I haven’t ever encountered any problems that required me to try and contact them on the phone.

    I’ve gone back and forth with spending cash at restaurants due to the rampant fraud that happens there. Cash just isn’t convenient and not as easy to track through Quicken. Also, I have looked into Discover Card’s single use card numbers, but never really used it more than a couple times.

    By Dustin Jacobsen on Feb 5, 2008

  4. Auto reply from Best Buy @ 1:00 PM after submitting content above:

    Best Buy Customer,

    This is an auto-acknowledgement indicating we have received your inquiry.

    Due to our higher than normal volumes, we will respond to your inquiry within 48 to 72 hours. We apologize for the delay. Not to worry, orders are still being processed and will be completed as soon as possible. We will also continue to send out any order status updates via email.

    Thank you for your patience.

    Best wishes from Best Buy,
    Your Customer Care Team

    By Dustin Jacobsen on Feb 5, 2008

  5. I use to be a big fan of Best Buy, but ever since their initiative last year to “fire” demanding customers I have noticed a new found disrespect for the customer.

    I still do pay them a visit from time to time, but before I purchase something I always ask myself if I could get it somewhere else instead.

    By Kyle on Feb 5, 2008

  6. Blah. How disappointing. All I got back from Best Buy was a canned response that didn’t address any of my concerns about:
    1) Not matching the price of Circuit City
    2) The experience with the supervisor acting less than professional
    3) Losing a long time customer that spent a fair amount of money. Run the lifetime value equation, people.

    ——– Original Message ——–
    Subject: Re: Product Assistance
    Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2008 01:25:20 -0600 (GMT-06:00)
    From: BestBuy.com Customer Care
    To:

    Dustin,

    I am Ronald with Best Buy Customer Care.

    I understand your concern about your experience in one of our stores.

    Best Buy strives to make each experience you have with us positive and as fun as possible. We are disappointed if we do not live up to that expectation. Best Buy relies on feedback, both positive and negative, to help us find areas for improvement.

    We appreciate all comments from our customers because it helps us find areas for improvement. When a customer gives us feedback of any kind, we enter it into a database with other customer comments. We then look for trends to help us identify areas for improvement.

    I appreciate you taking the time to express your concern.

    Sincerely,

    Ronald
    Best Buy Customer Care Team

    By Dustin Jacobsen on Feb 6, 2008

  7. I refuse to shop at best Buy or Circuit City, for that exact reason.

    After many “altercations” with management of both stores, I won’t even attempt to go in there anymore. I would rather wait a few days for my items to come from Newegg, or Amazon.com, than deal with the people who couldn’t care less about any form of customer service.

    Disappointing..really.

    By Jilli on Feb 14, 2008

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