What’s the deal with Best Buy? Reader Brian ordered the first eight seasons of Seinfeld, but instead of shipping seasons one, two, or seven, Best Buy decided to send two copies of seasons three and eight. Best Buy was willing to correct its shipping error, but when Brian noticed that several DVD cases were crumpled, Best Buy asked him to keep all eight seasons wrapped for eight business days while UPS conducted an investigation.
I know of a lot of the bad press best buy gets, but on the occasions when they have had good deals, my dealings have gone well. When a good deal on Seinfeld DVDs came up, I decided to give it a go. Spin the wheel, so to say. I figured with AT&T getting me into a 2 year contract on false information, I was due for a good customer experience. I had to buy online due to the hours I work… oh yea, and because I am lazy.
So I buy Seasons 1-8 of Seinfeld. I laughed a little to myself when they said it shipped over 36 hours before UPS posted that they received the billing info. It was neat trick to make any delays seem like the shippers fault. But it was, in all, not related to my issue.
A few days later I get the box. A very quick glance tells me there is something wrong. Hmm, no S1&2 set, and no S7… but what’s this? 2 copies of S3 and S8. Excellent. I call, and in an amazing twist, the lady apologizes and says she will ship out the missing ones and seems to infer I can keep the duplicated. So far so good, but as I mentioned, I work late, so I went to bed soon after. The next day I actually get a chance to look at the sets, only to realize they are horribly beat up. They ranged from sharp corners to so bad that I doubt an in store return would be accepted. This led me to believe it was not a UPS issues, seeing how some were perfect and others were partially digested.
I call again. This went a little less smoothly. It took some pushing and explaining how it’s not wrong to expect merchandises in good shape, but they finally agreed to ship out replacements. I told them I would return the damaged ones to a local store only after they assured me that they would be accepted.
Days later I get the ones that were missing and after that the replaced damaged ones. Behold! Some of them were beaten up too, with tears in the box and some parts that looked dropped. Keep in mind I wasn’t removing the plastic, so I have no idea of the internals.
A third call gets rough when they tell me that it is impossible for them to resend them. I have to go to the store, which is what I was hoping on avoiding in the first place. After basically asking for compensation in small words, they agree to refund my shipping fees, which makes sense, and to “submit it to the dept that handles that”. That ended in a 20 dollar online only coupon that expired in 2 weeks. Wow, thanks. At best buy, that’s like, batteries.
I considered the matter done with. The next day I would go to the store, and exchange/return the damaged ones and duplicates. All minor till now. Before I leave work, I check my email. Some UPS trace had been put on my order. Keeping in mind that I was told I could return them, and I received no warning of this.
I called to clarify what this meant. After pushing through to a floor manager, he spelled it out for me: For up to 8 business days, I had to keep the wrapped 14 box sets. I could not return them or exchange them. I could not get my money back, or do anything to avoid this. I demanded my money back, and it wasn’t even a bluff! I just wanted it over with. He said “No”. I said I was not warned about this, and was told I could return them. He said “Sorry”
So here I am, with 14! box sets that I cannot open or watch, and Best buy with my money, refusing to return it. I can’t help but feel a little screwed over.
I would like to add that for the most part, the phone agents were friendly and in agreement that it was ridiculous. Only the last floor manager was cold and borderline rude in his uncaring attitude; “Yes we are screwing you, and you are going to like it”.
We asked Brian if Best Buy indicated what would happen after UPS turned in their report.
Here is an excerpt from the email that I was sent.
…For this reason, we have filed a damage tracer with UPS. The tracer process can take up to 8 business days to complete. During this time, UPS may want to inspect the damaged murchandise. Please have the box, and or murchandise ready. Do not ship back, or destroy the box, or take it back to the store until UPS has contacted you. Failure to comply will result in the claim being canceled, and all charges will stand. If a replacement is shipped out, you will be charged for it as well. We will update you with any new information as it becomes available to us….
After laughing that they spelled merchandise wrong twice, I called them to find out more information. I explained that way the last representative left it, was that I could return and exchange the DVDs, and the only reason I hadn’t already was just being busy. They said that once a trace is started it cannot be stopped. They are going to follow my packages from beginning to end with UPS to determine what went wrong. Normally I would see this as a good gesture, but, its only a couple of DVDs and I repeatedly told them before that the shipping boxes and padding looked fine, and that there we great looking copies mixed in with the beat up ones, therefore the probability of it being UPSes problem was slim. I asked if “basically, without warning me, you locked me into owning DVDs that I cannot open, return or exchange for at least 8 ‘business days after I ordered them 2 weeks ago’”. The answer was yes.
As for what will happen when the trace is complete? I really don’t know. I would like to think they will let just return everything and get my money back. But I can see issues arising. If they blame UPS, who knows where that puts me, and if not, I still see issues trying to return them in-store due to how bad some of them look. When I demanded my money back they said that they would have to see what the trace turned up.
I know this is relatively small purchase, and other than stress and not being able to watch what I bought, it’s a fairly minor inconvenience. But I am just impressed with how poorly they handled all of this. I would have to think a better company would first try to make sure the customer is not getting screwed, and then make sure he or she is happy… THEN find out what’s wrong in their court.
At least they didn’t try to push me on an extended warranty.
For now, it can’t hurt to play along with their investigation, but if Best Buy isn’t willing to replace the crumpled DVDs, show them a little Festivus spirit by filing a chargeback for unacceptable merchandise, or bumping the matter to Best Buy’s executive offices.