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Beware Of Fraudulent Price Schemes
By -

AMHERST, NEW YORK -- Against my better judgment, my family elected to "stimulate the economy" last weekend. After much research on the subject of HDTV, we elected to buy a nice Panasonic plasma TV. Only $1350.00! After a little checking around we found that the apparent best deal would be at Best Buy, where we not only could purchase the TV for $1350, but we also would receive 3 free Blue Ray movies, $100.00 off on a SONY Playstation 3 (which can play Blue Ray movies), and a FREE ($300 value), "At Home" calibration from the Geek Squad.

After reminding the rather prickish salesman about the free DVDs, we bought the deal. So, after a little drama involving a supposed "manager" at the cash register (you won't be able to know or see what's going on), he rung us up and swiped our debit card. Bam! $2045.00. "Thank you, we'll have the TV brought right up front, just pull up your vehicle," said the salesman as soon as the transaction was completed.

"Wait a minute," I said,"this doesn't add up. $1350.00 for the TV, plus $80.00 for a stupid cable that you need, plus $300 (regularly $400) for the Playstation - this only adds up to $1730.00 - why are we being charged $2045.00?".

Well sir, at first he blamed it on sales tax. When that didn't work I asked to go over the receipt. It was totally confusing and convoluted. The first thing it showed was that we paid $1500 for the TV. Well according to the salesman, there was a little "trouble" getting the computer to recognize all the sales prices and thus, the manager was needed during ring-up. Then he began to explain how an extra $50 was taken off the Playstation, and $50.00 taken off the supposed FREE calibration which they had to show on the receipt for accounting purposes, etc., blah, blah. After explaining to him again that it didn't add up, he simply said told me, quite gruffly, that I'll have to bring the receipt to customer service and deal with it (why me, why not him?).

Then he left and we never saw him again. At the customer service desk they worked some supposed "magic" and got the price almost down to where it should have been. Of course, it was entirely all our fault - we apparently forgot to specify that we actually wanted the discount price on the TV (they honestly did say this!). When we left with our TV, we had got the price down to within $20 of what it should have been. She insisted that we had to pay $20.00 sales tax on the "Free Calibration," claiming that we still had to pay the tax on it (I will be resolving that issue soon.) The point is, they are obviously employing confusing and convoluted sales pricing schemes that nobody can possible figure out.

Watch out! Or you may end up getting "stimulated" during your stimulus spending spree like I did. The hairs on the back of my neck are still stimulated.

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Best Buy: Petty 30 Return Policy Trumps Customer Satisfaction Over an UNOPEND DVD!
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STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK -- First, before I describe my experience, I admit this this is lengthy, but is actually regarding a minor purchase (a DVD movie). But my gripe is not so much about getting back my $19.50 as it is the PRINCIPLE of DOING the RIGHT THING and underscores why so many here have a negative view of Best Buy. I feel especially bad for those that were lied out of hundreds of dollars when they purchased those useless ‘extended warranties'. If BB pulled that crap on me they'd be seeing me in small claims court ASAP!

Now, I know there are some Best Buy stalwarts on here who'll stand up for Best Buy no matter how poorly it treats its customers and will probably call me a whiner or whatever like the others. Fine. Let them stick up for robbing people but they neglect the principle of the monetary system which is about getting a product or service that SATISFIES in return for your hard-earned dollar!

Whether it's after 30 days or 60 days or even 100 days, if someone decides they want to return a product in FACTORY-SEALED, UNOPENED condition that no longer satisfies their needs in return for their hard-earned money, there should NOT be ANY hassle because an unopened item (ESPECIALLY a simple unopened DVD movie) should be as good as any other item on the shelf and can be easily restocked. Isn't keeping someone's money against their will supposedly a crime in this country if they're not getting something in return for that money? Not in Best Buy's eye.

After 30 days they just keep your money regardless – even if you wish to return an UNOPENED item! What kind of ** is that? They'll smugly claim they're 'actually doing you a favor' by offering you a store credit, but what if they don't have anything else you'd want to purchase or you simply need your money back for something important? They took your money but you're left with nothing of value to you except for a product you can't or won't use – that's STEALING!

My recent experience: I purchased a DVD movie on 10/17/07 (The Reaping, single disc release $17.99 / $19.50 with tax) not long before I went away for a week. I work a very busy schedule and often travel and I had to leave town for business. When I returned from my trip I wanted to return the DVD to Best Buy for a REFUND since I NEVER OPENED IT. A simple no-hassle return of an UNUSED, UNOPENED and TOTALLY RESALABLE item right? WRONG!!! Not in Best Buy's petty world (or the Staten Island, NY store anyway).

First off as many here espouse, I agree that being polite and using a little sugar is always better than vinegar when dealing with people. But I've found that in many cases, no matter how friendly or 'sugary' you treat BB customer service reps (of course with the exception of some truly nice ones I've encountered) many take a snippy tack and act like robots who've never had to return something instead of real people once there is a policy dispute, as if doing so will get them 'brownie points' for ‘enforcing the policy'. In reality they're only damaging customer relations and re-enforcing Best Buy's shoddy reputation.

The buying public is a generally principled bunch. Give the customer a little satisfaction and you'd keep their business. Breaking their so-called, 'God-Has-Spoken' policy once in a while would actually help the store's sales and its overall reputation in the long run by encouraging those customers to return in the future. So, smiling politely I asked "Can I possibly get a refund for this unopened DVD?" (I WANTED my MONEY back NOT A CREDIT). All I got was the “Well, I can only give you a store credit for this because it's-past-30-days-and-it's out of-the-return-policy-and-the-computer-system- won't-let-us-do-it'. What a bunch of Poppycock!

So you mean to tell me now it's a COMPUTER that makes BB's customer service decisions!? Hogwash! My career is in computers. There's always a way to override the so-called ‘system' and in retail, the store manager would most certainly be able to (such as at Verizon wireless when I recently had to exchange a phone). But the problem is when I asked for the ‘store manager' in the Staten Island store. I got 2 snotty 'managers' (one looked more teenage than the other) who claimed to be the 'store manager' and to be on the 'same level' (Yeah, right! I'm sure the head store manager wears those blue Mc-Uniforms and not a dress shirt & tie!).

So I tried the 44th street & 5th Ave NYC store and also got similarly robotic treatment there as well. All this hassle over a lousy UNOPENED $18 DVD! 30 days is not always a reasonable return window for those of us that actually have to work for a living and have busy traveling schedules. 60 days would be fair, ESPECIALLY at Christmastime! But what pisses me off most is just the petty adherence to 'policy' that always seems to prevail over customer satisfaction at Best Buy over such basic things as returning an unopened item that can be easily resold.

CIRCUIT CITY does have its share of faults too, but at least I've had a MUCH easier time there with returns (and price matching as well). I once returned a DVD WELL past 30 days after purchase and even though the girl at the counter did (VERY POLITELY!) mention to me their own 30 day policy, she still TOOK IT BACK WITHOUT A HASSLE and gave me a refund because it was unopened. I was pleasantly surprised and let them know I really appreciated it, which underscores my point.

It wasn't so much the $15 bucks I got back that made me happy, as it was the PRINCIPLE of the nice way it was handled, without any double-talk. They put my satisfaction ahead of ‘policy'. That is why I go back there and go to Best Buy ONLY if I need a small purchase and have no other options. Hope this helps my fellow frustrated Best Buy victims!

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Rude Service Trying to Exchange TV
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55701, MINNESOTA -- My 44" LCD TV was picked up 3 weeks ago by a 3rd-party repair shop under my warranty with Best Buy. I was told it would take 2 weeks to fix, so I called them repeatedly until they decided that they couldn't fix it and would have Best Buy replace the TV under the No-Lemon policy in my warranty that I purchase through the Duluth, MN Best Buy store which is 75 miles from where I live.

On Thursday Best Buy left a message on my machine to contact the local store and schedule a time I can pick out another TV. I called the store that Thursday and was told they couldn't do the exchange until they had an RA number which usually takes 24-48 hrs, so I should call back Monday. I called the local store Monday and they said to call the 888 number to check on the RA number. They also needed the TV and the receipt in order to complete the process.

I then called the 888 number and talked to a woman who said that the order was being processed and to go to the store and tell them to check the tool kit because she just sent them the number. I asked her again if I could go to the store that Monday because I didn't want to waste my time driving 75 miles to Duluth and not be able to do the exchange. She told me again to go to the Geek Squad desk and tell them to check the tool kit and I would be able to leave with a replacement TV. I then called the 3rd-party repair shop, so I could deliver the TV myself to Best Buy.

Once I got to the store with the TV and receipt, I went to the Geek Squad and told the man to check the tool kit for the RA number. He said there wasn't a number and I couldn't do the exchange. I explained the phone call I had that morning, but he couldn't help me if someone else from Best Buy gave me the wrong information. He said that the store was contacted that day about the exchange and it would take 24-48 hrs. I told him I was told the same thing 4 days ago on Thursday.

Now that I was upset about the lie I was told that morning, I decided to the leave the store and file a complaint against the woman who told me I could do the exchange; wasting my family's time and my gas. I spent 4 hours in the store with my wife and 2 young children trying to find a way that I could leave with the TV and not have to make this trip all over again. All the store needed was someone from the main office to email them the RA number, but no one would contact the exchange department and I was told that I could not do it myself.

So during this conversation with Best Buy's 888 customer service agent, she proceeded to try to help by calling the exchange department, the 3rd-party service shop and the local Best Buy store that I just left. After a long hold time, she told me she resolved the issue and I could go back to the store and ask for a certain person who will give me the TV and do the paperwork later. She gave me her name and extension in case there were more problems.

I went back to the store and was told I wasn't leaving with a TV that day. I told him about the phone conversation I had just less than an hour ago. He basically called me a liar. So I had him call the extension. After another half hour, he told me I wasn't getting the TV that day because I didn't wait the 24-48 hrs for the RA number. The same RA number that was started to process 4 days ago, and the same RA number I was told was sent to the tool kit that very morning.

He again called me a liar. He also denied that another employee said I could take the TV and they would fill in the number later. Now the main office called me back to say that they couldn't force someone to make the exchange even though they have a record of the conversation between the main office and the employee at the local store who had now decided not to honor the agreement and call me the liar.

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Extended Warranties Are Really a Partial Warranty Based on Their Value
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FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS -- Here is the condensed story. Paid $499 for a TV with a 4 yr. $59.99 extended warranty. TV goes bad and they send it off. Three weeks later I am told, it cost more to fix than get a new one. They offer me $199 to replace the $600 dollars spent. After many calls, and holds, and transfers, I am told by the manager that that is correct, since I bought a cheap TV 3+ years ago, we decide what value to give back to replace it, so you will get a cheap TV in return (his words).

Tax and all of the original invoice was $610.38. The manager was rude and actually called me a thief because I was not happy with $199 they offered. I could go on and on about all of the problems and lack of respect and honesty that I feel has transpired for me but the truth is, I just want each and everyone of you to know how things are done there.

If you take the free magazine for 60 or 90 days, you will get a bill from the magazine and they are hard to cancel. This was a ploy set up by Best Buy and the magazines in question to get that fraction more money because the statistics say some won't take the time to cancel. You can bet there was training on how to get people to accept the magazines.

My experience with the extended or Black Tie warranty astounds me even more. If you buy any item, you will be offered an extended warranty. You will be told how that they will repair or replace it if anything goes bad, again training on how to sell these warranties.

The problem comes when the item breaks or stops working (within the allotted warranty period). I found out that what you paid for your device, means nothing anymore to them. They actually have a way of deducting value for the life of the device and even though you bought a warranty on a $500 item, they will tell you now that you can replace it for about 1/3 of your original paid price. They decide what they will give you, you have no say all of the way to and through the store manager.

I am going to write, email, and tell everyone at the company and corporate level that I can reach about this very poor policy. If anyone has any contact info, please send it to me **. The manager gave me his email address and the regional managers email but for some strange reason, neither worked. I will carry this on as far as I can until they apologize and make this right. If anyone has any other info that might help, please pass it on. Thanks.

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They Shouldn't Be In Business
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SAN DIEGO -- They push you into buying a flat screen which they forget to inform you that they own the company in China making the TV. The TV screen goes out (black picture), sounds works fine but you can hear the crackling sound in back of the TV. So I call the Geek Squad for advice. They check the records from the part number and tell me to bring it in. I arrive at the store and meet the tv dept manager smoking a cigarette outside the front on the store. Power surge, pretty common?!

"I'll sell you another at cost." BUT it's 4 months old! The geeks tell me to haul it into any of their stores, it's a 50 inch plasma. First, they're not real happy since I didn't buy a warranty on a product that they make. Secondly, they call me a liar and that this problem would be only be repaired in house AND that size of a TV is only repaired at home. Third, they conference at the store and instruct me to pay $78 shipping to have it looked at their repair sit and it would be returned in 2-6 weeks (they told me that over the phone on the initial call, but I'd have a TV that day if I bought the warranty).

I damaged the broken TV when I delivered to the store. The customer service center is in Venezuela (no wonder there is no jobs here). Basically called me a liar. Never would they instruct me to bring it in, never would Best Buy forward a 50 inch TV, it would get broken shipping it to a repair center. Julia the account manager Venezuela offered to replace the tv & bonus credits for my Best Buy account it BUT it was all lies. It took 9 calls over the next 10 days to catch up with the case manager, no emails nothing. Kept waiting for my email and information regarding repair or replacement.

Venezuela finally transferred me to the corporate office. They were priceless. Brendan told me that I dragged the TV in on my own without any direction from their employees, but I then said "I have a copy of the call on my cell bill & used 411 for the number." He called the store and chastised them for not following company policy and said they will discard my flat screen if not picked up.

I said "if the product wasn't defective I wouldn't be having this conversation" (they offered to sell me one at employee cost). I was angrily told by Brendan that I would be receiving a call from the Chula Vista store. Still waiting. Sent emails to 12 at their corporate offices. No response!! At least their consistent!! Don't buy their garbage.

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Best buy scam for damaged items
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NILES, ILLINOIS -- My wife just bought a 40 in flat screen Samsung-- brought it home- took it out of the box-- and it had a crack at the bottom, above the Samsung label with spider veins that ran up the screen. Of course it did not work. She called Best Buy, and they said to bring it in. When she brought it in-they REFUSED TO TAKE IT BACK OR CREDIT OUR ACCOUNT. They said that the box was not damaged and we needed to contact Samsung and kept pushing the number into my wife's face.

After several calls with rude inept managers at the Best Buy in Niles Illinois-they still refused to take this back- I have called customer service and have heard nothing from them because they have no customer service. I finally called Visa and they are issuing a full credit. I will continue to let the Northshore area of Chicago know of this and to not buy from Best Buy as they will not provide any hint of customer service when it comes to returning a damaged TV. Boy they can be nice and cheerful as they talk you into the extended warranty, but tell you nothing about what happens if you leave the store with the item.

There is nothing on the receipt and they don't tell you to open the box in front of everyone at the store to inspect the shady dealings that they have at Best Buy. If everyone stood in line opening their boxes to be purchased, that may send a sense that that something was up with their products because there is and they don't want that to happen do they? Also there are many comments online describing the same rude, inept behavior.

This must be a new tactic for them to rid themselves of damaged merchandise--that probably got damaged in house. I wonder if they train their staff to react this way as the story seems to be the same across the board. We will only go to ABT in Glenview from now on. You will never experience this insanity with ABT.

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Overselling /under delivering
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I'm not exactly technically naive, nor am I a Geek. I bought an HDTV from Best Buy yesterday, an LG 47" that was on sale packaged with an LG Blue Ray player for $1299. The salesman checked the inventory and informed me that the only TV left was an "open box" which was brand new and I would be given a 10% discount on this portion of the purchase which was $119.99 off the price. Well that sounded fine and so we proceeded to check out, where he then tried to sell me the Best Buy calibration, which he insisted was necessary to get the HD quality I was expecting.

Well, I'd never heard of this, so despite the hard sell and the demos of calibrated vs. uncalibrated Sony hdTV's in the background, I declined. I've since done some research and can find no indication that calibration is necessary. (By the way, this Geek squad service is $300 at the time of purchase, $500 otherwise. At this time he proceeded to sell me the HDMI cables that are necessary to connect the TV to the satellite box and the blue ray player. I thought I'd need about 8 feet of cable, so he added to my purchase 2 cables, a monster cable costing $129.99 and another of lesser quality costing $79.99.

At this point I was totally frustrated and confused and accepted his recommendation. I did some research on CNET, which is a great review site, and in their view there is absolutely no need to buy these expensive HDMI cables. They run their own testing lab using inexpensive cables which cost 10% of what I was sold.

Needless to say, those cables are going back today. By the way, the open box discount turned into $50 at the register for some reason he explained as the computer not allowing a discount below cost. All in all a very frustrating and unsatisfactory experience. These hidef TVs have become commodities of late, sold at Walmart and the like, I can think of no reason to go to Best Buy to buy one, certainly not for their expertise.

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The Disappearing Reappearing Disappearing Service Plan
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INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA -- I purchased an 52 inch LG Plasma TV from Best Buy on the Southside of Indianapolis. At the time of the purchase they offered an service plan that would cover any repair/replace the TV past the warranty period. At the time I didn't know if I wanted to buy it at that time. The salesmen informed me that I had up to 30 days to come back and purchase the plan. After thinking about it for a day or 2 we decided that after spending almost 3000.00 on the TV the plan look like a good idea. So I went back and purchased a wall mount and the preferred plan.

That was in 1/14/07. Well in June of 2009 the TV just stopped working. I called Best Buy to have it serviced. They said since the TV was too large to bring in they would send a Geek Squad member out to service it. When I asked how much that would cost, the lady at Best Buy said, "There will be no cost, you have a service plan until 1/14/2001."

The tech showed up a few days later and said that he would need to order that parts and would be back on July the 7th. He left me a receipt that shows the cost and under the process it stated covered under service plan. On July the 7th the tech arrived and replaced the parts but the TV still did not work. He told me that the plasma unit was bad and they would replace the TV.

That's when my service plan disappeared. I was informed that he could not find my plan. I called Best Buy 1-800 number and the representative informed me again that I had a service plan. I call the tech back and he stated unless I could show him the original receipt he wasn't going to honor it and hung up. I once again called Best Buy 1-800 number and was once again assured that I had a plan. She asked me to wait awhile. She took care of the problem.

Next thing I know I was transferred to Best Buy corp. consumer relation division where he stated that yes the system shows I had the plan but he was unable to located the date I purchased it. He then said he would call the Geek Squad and get it taken care of.

After an hour on hold he came back and said that Geek Squad said my plan was invalid and they would not replace the TV. The representative said all that he could do was log a complaint and send an email to them. I find it hard to believe that I had a plan when only parts needed replaced but it disappeared when they had to replace the TV. Loyal Best Buy customer until now. I have canceled by credit card and will never shop there again.

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Best Buy/Shameful Customer Service
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LADY LAKE, FLORIDA -- We were unfamiliar with Best Buy until they opened in our area about a year ago. We have since purchased many items for our home and used both cash and credit. Yesterday, a Saturday we were in the store at 8:45 pm. We were interested in a particular TV. I am unfamiliar with how their sales work, for how long etc. The man that helped us was helpful but I felt like I was being rushed.

I explained there was not enough time for me to get this TV on that night but I would come back tomorrow to get it. He said to me in a very chipper voice "Be sure and look at the sale paper." I really took it that he was saying it was going on sale or something else like it was going on sale so I left the store upbeat prepared to buy it the next day. I would have bought it then but I didn't want to cause a problem at closing time.

I returned the next day only to find the TV was more. The same salesman came up to me and asked could he help me. I said I was in here last night talking to you and he said "Yes you sure were." I then said "and today it's 200 dollars more." He said "Yes, it sure is!"

"I told you to look at the sale paper." I said "I thought you were trying to tell me it was going on sale!!" If I had known it was going off sale I would have bought it last night!! He just shrugged and said that's the way it goes. I was flabbergasted!! I then went to customer service and explained what he had said and he said "Oh! The salesman have no idea what's going on sale and we can't change the rules. If you want to purchase it you can and if it then goes on sale for less within 30 days of purchase we can give you a refund!!" The thing is I had no way of looking at the sale paper for the next day as it wasn't published yet so why did he tell me to check the sale paper?

Upon entering the store that day the first thing I noticed was an elderly man at customer service just giving them hell. From what I could here he was upset over something he bought and a salesman lying to him about a question he had asked straight out before he bought it. Apparently this is common practice for Best Buy.

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Horrible Service!!
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DENTON, TEXAS -- Our TV has broken now for the fourth time! The bulb on the TV continued to bust and Best Buy refused to place our TV because it was only the bulb. So finally when it broke for the 5th time they checked the TV for some other reason why the bulb might be busting. They finally realized our Light engine was broken and that they would need to order the part. I talked to the service dept that Best Buy sent out to our house and they requested our TV be replace considering it had broken so many times and because the part was going to be very expensive to replace.

They called back a day later letting us know that the part we needed was no longer made and that there were not other parts that would work with our TV. I called up to best buys customer service to see what now could be done b/c the part was no longer available. Best buy then told me that they didn't even have that info and they would have to get back to me. So later on I had to call again hearing nothing and they told me that the part was available through another vendor and that they would overnight it since we have had so many problems. I called back the next day expecting my part to be in and the part had not even been ordered yet.

I got in contact with another manager and they told me again that the part was not available and he put in a request to get it replaced. Then I called the next day to check status and they told me that the part had been ordered and that it would take 8 days to get the part in. I have been lied to several times by several supervisors up at Best Buy and we have gone so long without our TV. This has gotten to the ridiculous point. Since when is it OK for Customer Service supervisors to lie to there consumers?

The names of the supervisors are **. Supposedly they are not allowed to give out last names. I have never been treated so horribly by a store. After this is over we will never go back to Best Buy again! They were not even able to show me in the warranty where it said they were not able to replace my TV.

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