Best Buy Complaint - How Dare They!!! - Computer cutomer service/service plan
WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA -- This is a long rant, but take the time to read it and you just might get some interesting insight into what kind of company Best Buy REALLY is. In the past I have been a loyal Best Buy customer. This doesn't mean I didn't shop around for the best deal, but BB was normally very good at matching competitor deals to gain my business. After reading all the Best Buy horror stories on this site I felt compelled to share one of my own, one that has forever shaped my opinion of them. I purchased a Toshiba laptop on sale with a free memory upgrade for my wife for $399.99 as well as a $899.99 HP laptop ($100 instant rebate) for myself a little over 2 years ago. We have 4 young boys at home so, after the salesman gave us his rundown of their new "accidental damage service plans" we decided it would be in our best interest to shell out the extra dough (approx.$200 for hers $300 for mine). HALF THE COST OF THE TOSHIBA FOR A 2 YEAR PLAN!! DID I JUST MAKE A BIG MISTAKE??!!
A couple months after the purchase the wireless adapter in the Toshiba stopped working so I took it back to the store. They tested it out in front of me and said that they couldn't fix it in the store and that they weren't responsible for it under the terms of the plan; it was a manufacturers warranty issue. "Here we go!" I thought, but before I could voice my concerns they told me that, so I wouldn't be further inconvenienced they would handle the repair for me and I didn't even have to contact Toshiba. 2 weeks later I get a call that my computer is ready for pickup. That was fast! It worked fine. Okay, so I'll give them this one, but was that worth $200? Now come the horrors! One year and 11 months after purchase, one of our boys knocks over a soda onto the Toshiba! 10 seconds later the screen goes blank....forever.
Thank goodness I have the sense about me to keep all our important files documents and pictures backed up on a regular basis cause that poor computer was gone!! So now I have to save up for another computer I thought, but then my wife reminded me that the salesman had said things like this were covered under the service plan we bought. With doubt in mind I dug out the service brochure and read it over confirming that accidents during normal usage are covered. Then I saw the catch. I needed the receipt. It was stapled to the brochure I had in hand but was completely faded and unreadable. I took everything to the store anyway. They were able to look up my service plan info even though I was returning it at a different store.
After hearing my story of woe, and getting a good laugh at it, I was told they needed to send my wife's computer to their service center to verify it couldn't be repaired, but until they heard back they wouldn't discuss replacement further. Fair enough, maybe it's cheaper to fix than replace, I thought...or maybe they're stalling so they can tell me this somehow won't be covered. A week later I haven't heard anything so I call and, sure enough, they say they just got word the computer is not fixable and I need to come into the store because there is some kind of problem. When I get there they ask me how much I paid and I tell them about $400 before the service plan and other stuff....why? Cue the ominous music...THEY CAN'T FIND MY RECEIPT!!!
Since I paid in cash and the original receipt was unreadable, there is no record of the purchase besides the service plan paperwork which doesn't give us the price. The manager on duty is now involved and I feel my $600 slipping away. I'm told that they would normally replace my unit with a comparable one, but since it is over 2 years old, and was a basic model back then, they don't have anything that would fall into that category and there is no proof of what the purchase price was. So here's the culmination!! The manager tells me to hold on a minute and starts looking up history on that model in their computer. The only price he can locate in their system for that model is $599.99, but I paid $200 less than that and had a free memory upgrade installed (512MB vs. 256MB). I'M SCREWED!! is all I can think.
Then he say's: "Would you like to go look at what we have in stock right now or would a gift card be more convenient?" WHAT?!?! Since the higher price was the only official thing they had to go on, he had the cashier give me a store credit gift card, plus tax, for the original retail price of the computer. I was floored. HOW DARE THEY GIVE ME EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE!!! The manager even apologized for all the inconvenience...I had been there less than 45 minutes. I took the gift card and found an awesome $800 HP with a $200 instant rebate that had 4 times the memory, more than twice the graphics and processor power, and even a built in web cam. The only thing I had to pay for was a new service plan, (best $200 dollars I ever spent) and wait a couple days to get one transferred from another store since they were out of stock.
Geek Squad also assured me that if the hard drive in the fried computer was still usable that it would be overwritten with government standard security reformatting software before reuse, or physically destroyed to protect my personal information. While I can't confirm this, they have given me no reason to doubt them. After reading about so many peoples bad experiences, I have come away from this realizing that if you keep a cool head about yourself and treat the employees trying to help you with respect and dignity, (I thought I was going to lose it when they couldn't find my receipt) you're much more likely to get what you want and, as in my case, have people actually go the extra mile to make you're experience a good one.
I can't help but think that that manager could have just as easily only given back the $400 I told him I originally paid. But since I didn't make a scene or make things difficult for him....well, let's just say I was very happy with the outcome. I'm not so naive as to think this would always be the case, but after reading hundreds of peoples horror story complaints, I have no doubt that a large number of these would have ended differently if the employees had been treated like people. Having worked in the customer service industry, I can tell you first hand that if I had 2 customers with the same problem and one is treating me like I owe him the world because he chose to spend his money at the company I work for and the other one treats me kindly and with the realization that I'm just a person trying to do his job and I may run into problems or be having a bad just like anyone else can.....guess who I'm going to go out of my for. I'd do my job for you to the best of my ability, but if you're treating me like a worm, I'd offload you to someone else the first speed bump I ran into...no receipt...no problem...policy states you must have your receipt, I'm sorry I can't help any further. Or...look how helpful people were in my situation, and I have no doubt it was because I was friendly with them the whole time.
In conclusion, the battery on my other HP laptop(@$100) just started going bad according to the software check. One year left on my service plan...no worries. I have a replacement that needs to happen and this experience has forever left me with the opinion that Best Buy is a trustworthy and customer oriented company and they'll do whatever needs to be done to keep me as a customer....as long as I continue to be a customer worth keeping.