Best Buy - Poor Service Turns in to Theft of Cellular Phone
Pre-Paid Cell Phones - Complaint
OCEANSIDE, CALIFORNIA -- On the morning of July 4th my 8 year old son and I went to Best Buy Mobile at the Oceanside Shopping Mall. We were there to purchase two pre-paid cell phones (one for him and one for his brother). The Assistant Store Manager (Brittney) was helpful, but seemed very uninformed as she struggled through every step of helping us. Our concern was finding a phone that would work for calls and text and limited internet as they would always have access to WiFi.
After about 45 minutes she convinced us that Boost Mobile was the best option for us. We selected two phones (Samsung Galaxy and a Kyocera Aqua). We were told that the Samsung would get us a $50 Best Buy gift card and that it would cost $55 to activate each phone and get one months service.
After another 45 minutes to get them activated we left with two phones that we had tested in the store.
Upon getting home my sons realize that the phones are getting no service at all. Not a single bar and calls cannot be completed and texts are failing to be sent. I do some research, find that Boost Mobile is using Sprint cell towers, and I had previously known that we were in a Sprint Dead Zone. In order to use Sprint in my area (Vista, CA) you need to have what is called an AirRade that Sprint will sell you and charge $10 per month to basically use you at home internet to get a cell signal.
I called Boost, I called Best Buy and neither could really help because this IS listed as a covered area for Boost.
After two days I attempted to use the $50 Best Buy gift card that I had been given and was told it had never been activated (there was no mention of it on the receipt either). Called Best Buy again and they confirmed the card had never been activated. I was so frustrated at this point that I wanted to return both phones. Unfortunately, my youngest son had decided that he would just use the Kyocera as a game, so we kept that one.
On July 12th I returned the Samsung to the Oceanside Best Buy. I had been told by Boost that I could get a refund for the phone as well as the $55 that had been paid to activate the phones and that the people at Best Buy would deactivate the phone and handle that.
When I arrived at Best Buy I was told that I could ONLY get a refund for the phone and the extended warranty, but not the activation. I was told I would have to go back to the store that sold me the phone to do that... I asked that he be sure to de-activate the phone and he said he would do that.
I called over to that store and the Assistant Manager who had sold me the phones was NOT in, but I was told that they COULD NOT issue refunds for the activation anyway.
On the evening of July 12th at 9:28pm I decided to call the phone number to see that it had been deactivated and to my surprise someone answered the phone. When I asked who it was using the phone, the person hung up. It sounded suspiciously like the person who had issued the refund to me, who also said he was a Boost Mobile customer...
On the morning of July 13th at 10:05am I called the Best Buy Store in Oceanside and spoke to an assistant manager named Bryan. I explained the situation, he said he would look in to it and get back to me later that day.
Between July 13th and July 19th I made two more calls to the phone number and both were again answered. One by a woman and one by a man.
Let me preface this by saying that I am a long time and loyal customer of Best Buy. I have spent no less than $5000 per year at Best Buy for the last 5 years or so. My wife spends as much as $10000 per month at Best Buy for business related items. She spends so much that she has a personal sales representative from Best Buy who delivers her orders to her IT department. I have never previously had a bad experience with Best Buy.
On July 19th I called Best Buy corporate and spoke to a woman named Julie and a "case number" was issued. She said during the call that she would put me on hold and contact the store manager to see what could be done to trace the phone. She returned and said that she would need more time and that she would call me back TODAY in the morning. So far no call... BUT, the phone is no longer active.
I would really like Best Buy to explain why I should be held responsible for the $55 activation and service fee on a phone that was purchased under the advice of an Assistant Store Manager. Further I would like to have explained to me how a phone that I returned was still being used a week after I had returned it. Seems to me a cut and dry case o internal theft or misappropriation by one of the Best Buy employees. They are using the service that I have been told could not be refunded.
UPDATE: July 20th. I received a call from Julie at corporate today (on a Saturday) and she stated that Patrick (the assistant manager at the Oceanside store where the phone had been returned) had found the phone in the correct bin and properly sealed. He also stated that he had reviewed the video and found the person who had answered the phone and that they were being "counseled". This does not explain the fact that the phone was again answered two days later, and again on the fifth day after being returned.
I find it interesting that the phone was NOT deactivated yesterday when I called corporate, but today it is... Still no offer to issue a refund (or even a store credit) for the $55 for the activation.