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Best Buy being sued over "unfair practices"

August 23, 2004 at 08:42 AM
Best Buy being sued

The state of Ohio is suing Best Buy over "a pattern of unfair and deceptive acts and practices." Claiming they don't honor rebates, rebates, and exchange policies, as well as alleging the store sells repackaged items as new. I've pretty much got to call BS on this whole thing. I've probably got more experience dealing with Best Buy than any other man alive (both as a former and employee and all too frequent customer) and in all my personal dealings I'm usually the one scamming the store, not the other way around.

I've probably had at least twenty mail in rebates from Best Buy and have never had a problem. The terms and conditions are clearly marked on the rebate receipt that prints when you check out. If you follow directions and include everythign you're supposed to, you'll get your money.

They're refund and echange policy is the same as any other electronics store. As long as the item you're trying to return is unopened, they'll take it back. If the item isn't software, music, or a DVD they'll take it even if it is opened. All you have to do is let them know why you're returning it so they know what's wrong with the item. If anything, the customer service reps take back entirely too many items. I once saw someone successfully return an opened package of AA batteries with no questions asked.

The service/return plans are even more exploitable. Walk up to the customer service counter and say it's broken and they'll either replace it without even testing or asking questions, or they'll send it off to be serviced. Now whether they'll actually successfully fix the problem is a separate issue, but Ohio's attorney general isn't complaining about that. I purchased my iPod mini from Best Buy mainly for their lenient Product Replacement Plans and the iPod's history of battery problems. Before the two year plan expires I will take my mini back to Best Buy and get a replacement model (by then probably a newer version with a bigger hard drive) for free.

All in all, if you have any clue about what you're buying Best Buy's practices will work in your favor. Their policies are clearly stated throughout the store and on your receipt. If you ever do have trouble with an asshole/moron CSR, ask for their supervisor and they'll solve your problem in about 30 seconds. Don't complain because you can't read or follow directions.


1 Brian said...

I found this old post of yours after doing a web search. Question for you: During the holidays, I saw BB's ads n the paper for some low-priced items. Because I was buying gifts and I saw a particularly low-priced stereo, I purchased 3 of them. I was lured in by the price, which was the after-rebate price. But later, after submitting the rebates, I found that I was only entited to "one per household." Now, this information WAS printed on the rebate receipt, but only after I purchased the items. I thought they just might go ahead and honor the rebates (you know, due to Christmas spirit and all :/ ). After calling their customer support line, I was directed to their 20+ page advertisement in the newspaper. On the second-to-last page, in the very bottom right-hand corner, at the end of a paragraph marked "Guaranteed Lowest Price" (not the normal heading you would look to for discussion about rebates), they said that all rebates were limited to "one per household." Do you think this is reasonable? Do you think this deceives consumers? I look forward to your reply, as a BB expert.

Posted on January 10, 2006 at 01:11 AM

2 Momo The Monster said...

Saw your comment over at Engadget regarding personal searches on the way out of big box stores like Best Buy. You've got a bit of hypocrisy in what you say - first you mention that it's no big deal, all they do is glance in your bag, and then you say that it's an important way that they keep people from stealing from them. If all they're doing is giving your bag a cursory glance, then they're not going to notice if your items exactly match your receipt, hence it will not catch a 'smart' thief.

Secondly, one of the greatest rights we have as Americans is protection against unreasonable search. I have never stolen from a Best Buy / Circuit City / Fry's, and I do not allow my bags to be searched. It is scary that so many of us are willing to give up our freedoms whenever Corporate America asks. They treat every single person leaving their store like a criminal without any probably cause, and expect us to bend over and take it, and come back for more.

You can go ahead and give up your rights - that's your decision. But please know that you are doing so - once you have purchased that item, the store has no right to it any more, no ownership over your bag or right to peer inside.

Were you also happy to learn that the Government was listening in on your private phone calls, with the help of AT&T? After all, you've got nothing to hide, right?

Posted on March 04, 2007 at 03:30 PM

3 Brian said...

Not sure what hypocrisy you're talking about, you never say anything that makes me a hypocrite.

And yes, I have no problem with them looking in my bag at Best Buy or with the government screening calls. Using your logic, I should be allowed to walk into Best Buy fill up a bag with stuff and walk out and they shouldn't be allowed to do anything about it. You're on private property, if you don't like it then don't shop in any store anymore.

Posted on March 05, 2007 at 07:55 AM

4 Momo The Monster said...

The hypocrisy is about the thoroughness and usefulness of the bag check. If they're not doing a really thorough job checking each item against the items in the bag, then it's not useful as a theft-catching measure. You said they 'glance in your bag' - which means they're not really checking, and they're not really going to catch anyone.

You're stretching my logic. My argument is that they should watch out for people stealing things. If you come in and fill up a bag, they should notice and stop you. Instead, they figure they can save money by having less people actually walking the floor and just filter everyone at the door as if they're a criminal.

As a society, we're becoming complacent about our rights and privacy. Best Buy is not the government - but they are helping to create a culture of complacency, of people who would give up their liberties not because they have to, but because it's expected of them.

As Benjamin Franklin published, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Posted on March 06, 2007 at 01:29 PM