Black Friday Fraud!
We received inappropriate and likely illegal treatment at the Simi Valley store and by the Corporate office phone line. A group of us loyal customers, stood in line in front of the Simi Valley store on Wed. November 25, 2009, until Black Friday, November 27, 2009, in hopes of purchasing their advertised laptop for sale in the amount of $197. We were amongst the first 10 people in line who were guaranteed a laptop. We were advised the store had 40 more laptops on a first come first serve basis. On their website, it stated this was a ticketed item and only guaranteed a certain amount of customers to receive this item.
Come 3 am, when the employees were handing out tickets, we were advised that they were not handing out tickets for this item. One of the employees said the reason was because consumers have until 9 am, once receiving their ticket, to come and pick up the item. This allows them to receive their ticket at 3 am and go to another competitor store and do their shopping there before 9 am. By not ticketing this item, it prevents them from leaving the store, therefore, they will shop and spend more in the store.
We were advised that at 4:40 am, they were allowing the first 10 people in the store so they can be guaranteed their laptop, followed by increments of small groups every few minutes. Upon entering the store, we had asked the manager where could we find the $197 laptops. We were advised and directed by an employee to follow the red balloons and stand in line within the red tape. At 5 am, the cashiers would open and then we would be brought out our laptops. This way the first 10 would get their laptops guaranteed. Little by little, people were flooding in and grabbing items, while we all just watched and waited for 5 am.
At 5 am, we were called up to the register 1 by 1. I was the 3rd person who was to get a laptop and my group followed, along with the other families we got to know by spending two nights out in the cold, camping out in front of the store. When I got to the register I was told that they were all out of the laptops. Of course this caused pandemonium amongst all of us who sat out there since Wed, to be guaranteed a laptop! The management team was so unprofessional and advised us that it was our fault we did not receive the laptop and no one told us to sit out there since Wed. Of course this did not sit lightly with everyone.
The employees kept advising that they only guaranteed the first 10 people and the rest was at a first come first serve basis. We kept trying to tell them we WERE the first 10 people and had been sitting out there since Wed to guarantee our spot. The employees were not listening to us and were very rude and condescending, even one manager, **, jumped up on a stool and started yelling at us telling us to get out of the store. It even got to the point where they called the police on us. Now, while sitting outside the store since Wed. afternoon, we got to know the police in the area. They had patrolled by and kept an eye on us, for our safety.
They even would come by and have friendly conversations with us about our shopping spree, family, sports, etc. They knew we WERE the first in line. When the employees told the police of the situation, they just shook their heads at the employees and advised us that we had ourselves a civil action case and suggested we take the company to court. The police knew that some of us missed Thanksgiving dinner with our families to guarantee we got a laptop, as a Xmas gift for our children. We can not get that quality time back. Needless to say, the police were on our side and therefore, they just left the store.
A teenage boy who was standing in the line behind us for 2 days, happened to be in the area where they had the laptops and saw people who were at the end of the line outside, grabbing the laptops. He was lucky enough to grab one. He came over to where we were and heard the commotion. He knew we were outside the store for several days, he handed the laptop to a lady who was one of the first 10 people. He knew she should have received a laptop. This teenage boy knew Best Buy was wrong and that this lady should be getting this laptop, not him.
For a complete stranger, let alone a teenager, to recognize that Best Buy was in the wrong, was just very upsetting and shows how their company has lost compassion for the American consumers! When this lady went to purchase the $197 laptop she was promised was the price from Best Buy's advertisement and what was tagged right on the side of the laptop as $197, the employee tried to charge her $297. Again, we all were upset because this was not the price the advertisement announced.
The employee advised us that they had optimized ALL the laptops, which is $100 extra, and if she wanted to purchase the laptop and walk out with it that day, she would have to pay $100 extra. WHAT???!! Where in their advertisement did it say, "$197 laptop, $100 optimized - out the door $297". This is plain and simple FALSE ADVERTISEMENT!!! This was a scam by Best Buy!! Again, we were trying to argue this amount with the employees, which got us NOWHERE! We were again told several times that it was not the company's issues and if we had a problem to take it up with their corporate office.
When asked for the number, The store manager, **, rudely stated the number out loud and told us to leave. I had asked her to write the number down as well as her name. She rolled her eyes at me and wrote the number and her name on a card. She wrote her name so sloppy that we could not even read her name. She again told us she was not going to do anything and to leave the store. Of course we were very upset and appalled at the treatment we received from a well known store like Best Buy. We were treated like criminals and forced to leave the store. We sat outside the store, trying to get a hold of the corporate office and were hung up on.
We called back, and were advised it was not their issue, we had to handle it with the store. We even asked them what was the purpose of their corporate office, if they do not handle situations like this. We were even accused of being liars. After all this repetitive abuse, we decided to take matters one step further. We NEEDED someone to listen to us.
The family behind us, knew of a corporate attorney. She got on the phone with him and he advised us we had a class action case against Best Buy since there were several families involved in this matter and we had a store full of witnesses. Which by the way, these witnesses were pretty upset as well at the treatment we received and how this whole situation was handled that they provided us their contact numbers so they can be a witness if we needed them to be. The attorney advised he would take the case and file a class action suit against the company on ALL of our behalves. We wanted to try to give Best Buy a chance to settle this without going that far.
We were not looking to cause trouble, we just simply wanted to resolve this issue and receive an apology for the treatment we received. Again, we tried to call corporate. I spoke to a **. ** had called the store to try to get their side of the story. She stated the manager of the store's name was **. She stated that ** advised her that I had gone to another department to get another item, therefore I lost my place in line. ** also advised ** that they only guaranteed the first 10 in line. ** got back on the line with me and told me what she was told by **.
Now, this was very upsetting that Best Buy would hire a manager who would lie and try to turn things around like this. This not only makes her look very bad, but this is also a reflection on the company, especially with ** being the store manager. First of all, ** did not know who was calling and complaining. There was a group of us who were there, we were all upset and we all got on our cell phones to complain to corporate. There is no way she would have known who was on the phone since she never once asked our names to identify us.
The only way she would know I went to another department to get something else is if ALL 10 of us who were let in first, went to another department first together to get something else. Which of course was NOT the case! ** then advised me that it now turns into **'s story against mine. I had advised ** that I know for a fact that I was not the only one calling in and complaining and the others would have the same story as I did.
** told me that no one had called in and there are no complaints against this store. Which again was a lie because I was standing next to someone who just got off the phone with corporate with their complaint and there were several others right next to me on their cell phones with corporate as well. I advised ** it was not my story against **'s. I told her I know you guys have cameras in your store and if she wanted the truth to pull the video tapes, which will show we went up to the manager and we were directed to stand in a line within the red tape behind the cashiers.
I advised ** that we had contacted an attorney, as well as the media, and I was calling to give their company a chance to try to resolve this matter before we were to meet with the media that morning. I was then advised by ** to do what I feel like we needed to do because there was nothing she could do to help me. We met with Fox Channel 11 news, in front of the store, a half an hour later. We all expressed our concerns and complained about the customer service and treatment we were provided. We also expressed our concerns on the company's false advertisement. This was fraud, a scam!
The news interviewed the store manager, **, who stated unfortunately they did not have any more laptops to provide us, but in exchange, they would provide each of us with a $200 gift card and a discount on another item in the store. The representative from Fox news approached us and advised us of the offer from the store manager and then left. When the group (the 8 of us) approached ** to accept her offer, she then told us that she was not giving us each a gift card, she was just going to give one gift card in the amount of $200. This was ABSURD!! AGAIN, we were lied to by their employee, a manager at that!!
We, of course argued again with ** and advised her that we did not just stay 3 days and 2 nights in front of their store just for a $200 gift card for the 8 of us. We each were purchasing a laptop. All 8 of us did not stand in line just to purchase 1 laptop! After a while of complaining to **, she told us this was all she was going to do for us and we were not going to get anything more out of her. ** advised us to deal with corporate. She stated that by us complaining to corporate, they can do more for us then what she could.
** finally said she would just give two $200 gift cards to two of us and the rest could buy something else at a discount and then work it out with corporate to get something from them. I was very upset and to the point where I refused to purchase another item from Best Buy! Regardless of how good the deal was, I was NOT going to contribute another penny to a company who has NO respect for their faithful and loyal customers! Therefore, I was NOT going to purchase anything else for a discount. This whole thing has been a scam to rip off the American Consumers!!
We called corporate again and advised once more of the whole situation, and were told there was nothing they can do and it should have been handled in the store with the manager. Corporate even got ** on the other line so they can hear from ** what she wanted them to do for us. ** stated that she did not know why we were calling and she already gave us a discount and gift card. We reminded ** that she was the one who told us to work something out with corporate because she could not give us all the $200 gift card. ** denied ever telling us that.
We kept advising her of the whole conversation that took place in the store to refresh her memory and reminded her that she told us to deal directly with corporate to get this issue resolved. We have gotten nowhere with the corporate office and with the Simi Valley store management. We wrote a letter to the CEO of Best Buy and are hoping they provide us the $200 gift card and discount for another computer, that their manager had promised us on TV. We are still pending the results of this letter. I am so disappointed with Best Buy and I am hoping the CEO can restore my faith in this company. If not, I will boycott Best Buy every chance I get!