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Sunday, April 02, 2006

No Buy at Best Buy

So one of the Saturday afternoon adventures was something that should've been simple. Erik had a copy of Star Wars he'd received as a gift that was the full screen. As any good Star Wars fan would agree, widescreen is the only format worth owning. So, he went back to Best Buy where it should've been as simple as "Could I trade you this shrink-wrapped copy of full screen Star Wars with the Best Buy sticker on the front for a wide screen version of the same?" followed by "Sure, no problem." That's what I expected. But first came a really odd question: "What is your phone number?" Hunh? Turns out they can only do a straight exchange like that if they have a record of you purchasing it. But this was a gift. So then they need the phone number of the person who bought it for you. Specifically, the phone number associated with the credit card they purchased it on. And if you don't have that, or it wasn't purchased with a credit card, or they can't find it in their database, then no exchange for you. Even though it's got a Best Buy sticker on the front, the same price tag, and there's no exchange of cash going on at all. I was horrified. This sort of absurd policy is the kind of thing that makes me never shop somewhere again, and certainly never purchase a gift for anyone else there either. I can't for the life of me figure what harm would come to Best Buy if they failed to enforce this policy. But the harm to their reputation as a place worth shopping is plain to see. I'll not be back, and I'll be sure to tell everyone who ever brings up Best Buy in front of me.

And it just doesn't have to be like that. I go back again and again to Target because they have always handled any returns with speed and simplicity. Even weird wonky returns without a receipt, or from accidental duplicate gifts. As a result, I shop there first, then go elsewhere if they don't have what I need. Why? Because I trust the customer/vendor relationship offered by Target. Oh, and by the way, their prices are better for DVDs and such anyway.

But Best Buy? Never again.

1 Comments:

  • And I sent them a copy of this post and they replied:
    Best Buy's Return and Exchange Policy requires that the original purchase receipt be present for all returns or exchanges. This policy is posted at the checkout lanes and customer service counter, as well as on the back of all receipts.

    Which is to say, "Well we state our policy plainly. It's your problem you don't have a receipt."

    To which I replied:
    Yes, and your policy totally fails to deal with gifts. If the purchaser is not the returner, then you have no way to deal with that person, other than to tell them, "Sorry your got you the wrong thing. It's not our problem."

    There's more to both exchanges, but really, it was a real eye opener. It's "This is our policy and we stand behind it, even if it makes the consumer experience unpleasant, because we figure we've got enough new customers to sustain us and we don't need to keep the patronage of those that have shopped here previously." Hopefully the marketplace will teach them a lesson, though these sorts of lessons are slow and frequently misattributed. Oh well. At least I know better than to shop there.

    By Blogger Ammy, at 5:29 PM  

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