Reader Sues Best Buy In Small Claims Court And Wins

Should it take several months and a small claims lawsuit to get Best Buy to take back their defective washing machine? No, but that’s what it did take for reader Keith.

He’s sent in a timeline of his experience suing Best Buy. It’s a bit long, but we’re sure it’ll be helpful for those of you who are dealing with a similar problem.

Here’s a slightly shorter summary for those of you who are into “the whole brevity thing:”

  • Keith bought a washing machine that Best Buy said was a “floor model” for 15% of the list price. He also purchased a 5 year warranty.

  • Sloshing was heard from inside the washer as it was being loaded onto Keith’s vehicle. Suspicions were raised.

  • Keith installs the washer. Notices that his car is now damp.

  • Washer is used 3 times before it starts tripping the circuit breaker over and over again. A technician is dispatched.

  • Technician believes the washer has been used for a lot longer than Keith was led to believe, and is in need of major repair. Technician’s repair company contacts Keith and informs him ” that neither Integrity Appliance, nor Best Buy Warranty company AIGWS, would cover repair costs. When questioned, [technician] responded that GE had deemed the item a “total loss” and that the cost of repair would exceed the original purchase price of the item. “

  • Best Buy declines warranty coverage of the item and tells Keith to take it up with the individual store that sold him the washer. Blames him for breaking it when transporting it.

  • Store manager refuses return because of “30 day return policy” and for voiding the extended warranty by transporting the washer from Best Buy to his home.

  • Keith is hung up on a lot. Best Buy offers $300 gift card. (Keith paid around $800.)

  • Keith files a lawsuit in small claims court, asking for a full refund on both the washer and the extended warranty. Best Buy sends a representative. Best Buy loses. Keith collects $800.

    Keith writes:

    What follows is a timeline of an issue I had with Best Buy and an “Open Box” washer I purchased from them. 2 washes in, the unit stopped working. Thus began 7 months of work just to get my money back

    7/5/07
    Walked into Best Buy #130 in Northridge, CA. Located preferred washing machine (GE model #WBVH6240FWW) on store floor. Advertisement on product listed it as floor model, open box item. Listed price was $699.99. Inquired with sales woman as to status of item, whether it was a used item or returned, and price. Was told by saleswoman that item was floor display only, and would sell to me for 15% off listed price. Purchased item for $594.99, and also purchased 5 year warranty for washer (copy upon request) at a purchase price of $129.99. Saleswoman asked if I would be taking home in vehicle. I said that I would be taking home in 2002 Ford Excursion. Item was loaded into vehicle by two Best Buy employees. “Sloshing” sound was heard when item was loaded into vehicle, possible indication of water inside item.
    Drove from Best Buy store to home in Thousand Oaks, a distance of 17 miles. Item appeared to remain in identical location as to where loaded, did not slide around. Item was unloaded by myself, father, and friend. Item was carried through and installed in house. Item was installed by me, which included install water hoses, drain hose, and plugging item in. Location where item was transported in car was damp, item was slightly damp on bottom as well.

    7/19/07
    Item was used for first time. One load of darks and one load of whites. No problems were noticed, item worked as should.

    8/8/07

    Item was used for third time. During normal wash cycle (for darks) circuit breaker was tripped 3 separate times. Item completed cycle. When tried to run for fourth time, item did not work (would turn on but not power up or spin).
    Called Best Buy National Service hotline at 10:30 p.m. Notified service department that item had stopped working and needed service. Was told that service technicians would call following day to set up service time.
    8/9/07
    Service technicians for Integrity Appliance Company called to set up service appointment. Appointment was agreed upon for 8/17/07 in the afternoon.

    8/17/07
    Service technician (Vitaly) from Integrity Appliance Company arrived at 2:30 p.m. to service item. During inspection, technician questioned length of time that I had owned item. When I responded that I had owned since 7/5/07, technician commented that item looked to be used for “a lot longer than a month”. Technician commented on dust inside of item, as well as overall appearance. After further inspection, technician concluded that item needed major repair, including as to his best knowledge, “repair of cut wires, new shocks for stabilizer, and new basket”. He commented that item looks to have suffered major damage. When I asked if damage could have been sustained by the 4 instances I had used (and tried to use) item, he did not know. Technician assured me that supervisor from Integrity Appliance Company would be contacting me on 8/20/07.

    8/20/07
    Received call from Integrity Appliance Company, Alex, who stated that item was in need of major repair. Was informed that neither Integrity Appliance, nor Best Buy Warranty company AIGWS, would cover repair costs. When questioned, Alex responded that GE had deemed the item a “total loss” and that the cost of repair would exceed the original purchase price of the item. Alex proceeded to inform me as well that there was nothing else that Integrity Appliance Company could do and directed me to Best Buy Warranty Center to resolve claim.
    Called Best Buy Nationwide Service hotline, and spoke to customer service agent, Jessica. Discussed problem and was informed that Best Buy would not be covering repair costs or claim and warranty would not cover this item. When asked about what I should do, was told that “fault” was of the store that sold the item to me and claim must be resolved with store where item was purchased. Also informed me that cause for damage to item was being blamed on my transport of item in my vehicle, and was store’s fault for letting me pick item up.
    Called Best Buy store #130 in Northridge, CA. Spoke to customer service agent in appliance department. After discussing problem to this point, was told that agent needed to speak to supervisor, Norma, and would call me back. Call was returned an hour later. Agent proceeded to tell me that supervisor had informed him that item would not be covered by store policy due to item being past the “30 day” return policy. In addition, was informed that loading item into vehicle had “voided extended warranty, and thus item repair cost was my responsibility”. Also was told that if I did not agree (which I did not), that I needed to contact Nationwide Service hotline.
    Called Nationwide Service hotline for third time and asked for Corporate Consumer Relations department. Call was not transferred and I was hung up on. Repeated process and was transferred to customer service agent, Dennis. After relating issue to this point, agent proceeded to put me on hold in order to “research this case”. After 20 minute delay, agent proceeded to tell me that item would not be repaired by Best Buy, nor would repair cost by covered. Was told that transport of item had voided warranty and warranty claims for this item. Was told that official Best Buy position for this case was that item was “damaged beyond repair during transport in my vehicle, thus voiding the warranty”. Also was told that if I agreed to pay the full repair cost for this item, then 5 year warranty would be reinstated. Per earlier discussion, repair cost would be approximately $800. I responded by asking to speak to supervisor, and after 43 minute wait, was connected with supervisor, Scott. After relating entire story again, I was told by Scott that Best Buy position was firm and that no recourse would be offered. I proceeded to ask Scott if he had proof that item was in good working condition before it was sold to me. Response was no. Also asked Scott if he had proof that item was “only a display” as advertised. Was told no. Further questioning resulted in Scott offering to refund purchase price of 5-year warranty at a pro-rated rate. In addition, Scott agreed to provide me with a “Best Buy Gift Card” for half of the purchase price of the item. I was also told that this offer would remain in effect for as long as I needed to “think about it”. I responded by saying that this offer was not satisfactory, and that I would be contacting my attorney for an official response. Was given a Best Buy Case #40079620 in order to follow up at a later date.

    9/11/07
    Lawyer sends letter to Best Buy and AIG Warrantyguard (who carries the 5 year performance plans for Best Buy in California). Letter demands full reimbursement of money paid for washer as well as for warranty plan. Listed cause for reimbursement was breach of contract and gross misrepresentation of quality of product sold.

    10/18/07
    Received response letter from Best Buy with copy of Performance Service Plan highlighted: “This plan does not cover repairs caused by accidental or intentional physical damage… or damage caused by non-authorized repair personnel” Best Buy reoffers the $300 Gift Card, only if I agree to the following: (1) Best Buy makes no admission of liability, (2) I agree to release Best Buy of all liability regarding this matter and agree that the terms of any settlement reached are to remain confidential, (3) I agree to sign a settlement agreement.

    11/25/07

    I have my lawyer file a small claims lawsuit with courthouse in Simi Valley, CA. Served both Best Buy Corporate and AIG Warranty Guard as defendants in the small claims case. Court case was set for February 25, 2008.

    2/25/08

    Case was heard by judge at Simi Valley Courthouse. After presenting my case and evidence, and after listening to representative from Best Buy, judge questions the Best Buy representative about the original condition of the item at the time it was sold to me. Specifically, he questioned whether the item could have been a return and if Best Buy has a way of determining an items condition when it is listed as “Open Box”. Representative states that Best Buy has no way of testing “special items like washing machines”. Judge rules that Best Buy must refund the entire paid amount for the washer and warranty to me, and that I must return the washer to the nearest Best Buy in the condition it is presently in.

    So there it is. 7 months to get just under $800 back from Best Buy. Also, as a side note, my lawyer feels that a class action suit against Best Buy for its “Open Item” policy and Best Buy’s labeling of such items is a real possibility. Has anyone else been screwed by an open item like me? My guess is there are plenty.

    Thanks for your time, sorry for the lengthy read,

    Keith

    (Photo:meghannmarco)

Comments

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  1. Happy13178 says:

    The $300 gift card is just insulting, especially since they thought it would be enough to get you to sign a liability waiver, What kind of yokels do BB lawyers and management think the general public are? Future Shop (Canadian subsidiary of Best Buy) is just as bad, if not worse since Best Buy bought them out a few years ago. Why bother having policies and pricematching and extended warranties at all if they’re just going to be looking at ways to break it the first chance they get?

  2. John Whorfin says:

    I’ll never buy anything other than a CD or DVD from them. I bought a 3G iPod from them after MAKING them give it to me for the price on the website and not the in store price. Too much hassle.

  3. soulman901 says:

    I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever set foot into a Best Buy again.

  4. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @soulman901: I already never, ever, ever, ever, etc… step into a Best Buy. I haven’t for about five years. I have had it with their criminal carelessness, reckless stupidity, and contempt for the customer at all stages of the process.

    If this is the way they act when they’re trying to provide customer service, I sure the hell would hate to see how they would act if they really hated us.

  5. edrebber says:

    Kieth should have taken the washer back when he heard the sloshing on the way home.

  6. ThinkerTDM says:

    This is why companies love mandatory arbitration agreements. If there was one, Best Buy wouldn’t have lost.

  7. Jon Mason says:

    How do billion dollar companies act like such retarded children sometimes? How does one person at Best Buy not ever think to themselves: “Wait a minute – this guy has been screwed over, let’s make it right.”

    • Conformist138 says:

      I have a friend who worked at Best Buy for awhile and said at first they were great, but over time corporate policies and such got worse and worse. Now, they treat their employees like crap as much as they do customers and do everything they can to make sure employees have no power to “make it right”. He finally quit in disgust because he was tired of being treated like a corporate slave while being forced to screw over the customers.

  8. timsgm1418 says:

    my last experience with Worst Buy was in 1995 when I was moving into a newly built house. I have 3 young kids, and I didn’t have internet access. So I go to Best Buy to purchase a refrigerator. I find the one I want and schedule the delivery for 2 weeks later, the day I move into my house. They didn’t show up (surprise)so I call them and ask when are they showing up? They tell me the item was out of stock, and they couldn’t deliver for another few weeks. I told them I was in a new house, without a refrigerator and I had 3 small kids, I need a refrigerator. Finally got to the manager, who managed to find one at another store and I finally got it the next day. After the frustration of that, I decided no more Best Buy for me. I hate the place anyway, it’s crowded, messy, and has sales associates that try to sell you stuff you don’t need. The only other times I have been in there was when my son was given Best Buy gift certificates, but even that has been at least 5 years ago

  9. mgy says:

    Having a lawyer sure makes things a lot easier.

  10. MoCo says:

    I’m surprised that Best Buy even defended the lawsuit. A friend here in Maryland sued Best Buy over a defective camera that they wouldn’t repair under the extended warranty. A few days before the trial date, Best Buy called and offered to settle for the amount of the claim.

    I’ve watched a bunch of consumer vs. Big Company small claims court lawsuits, and I’ve yet to see the Big Company prevail. For that matter, rarely does a Big Company representative even show up in court.

  11. Hawk07 says:

    I bought a a TI-83 calculator that was an open box item from Best Buy and the thing wouldn’t even turn on.

    I guess that’s a “specialty item” since it requires 4 AAA batteries.

    BB luckily gave me my money back with no fight. But, it makes you wonder how lazy the employees are where they can’t even test a calculator.

    Luckily, I’ve matured in my purchasing power, and I don’t buy from retailers that don’t stand by their products. So, BB doesn’t get my money any more. I think I bought one $8 item in the last 5 years there when I use to shop their on a weekly basis.

  12. Pro-Pain says:

    Just another lesson why an educated consumer NEVER, I repeat NEVER should set foot in a Best Buy. They DO NOT CARE about the customers @ all. I can’t wait to see this place go the way of CompScrewSA. Please boycott this store!

  13. Hawk07 says:

    @MoCo:

    I think it’s because most corporations realize that no judge is going to buy their baloney.

    In this case, the washer was sold as an open box item. So, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that it’s not factory new and may have a problem or two. Additionally, a 5 year warranty was purchased to cover incidental repairs.

    Instead, BB wanted to leave the reader high and dry despite him purchasing the “Extended Warranty” which BB tries to push on you to save their life.

  14. tlpintpe says:

    I will never buy an item from BB, no matter how cheap, and I go out of my way to tell friends and family why they shouldn’t buy from BB.

  15. econobiker says:

    @ThinkerTDM: Yeah, I thought that also. How long until Best Buy has a manditory arbitration agreement on their reciepts?

  16. JustinAche says:

    I once bought a camera battery charger, open box, because it had a sticker on it for a $ 10 gift card with purchase….go up to the front to purchase it (it was about $ 5 less than retail new), and the guy rings me up, puts it in a bag, hands it to me and thanks me….I ask about the gift card. He stated that BB doesn’t do that anymore…I stated that since the sticker was on the item, I purchased the product solely because of the extra incentive…needless to say, he got reamed out in front of me by his manager, and I got a $ 10 refund

  17. IrisMR says:

    I been screwed over in an “open item” at Futureshop (It’s Best Buy) here. It was just a memory card though.

    I bought it open. Well, my mother did on my stead. They told her that it was working just fine, and it was less costly. So I try it out in my PSP when I come home.

    It’s corrupted. And upon closer inspection I notice that it’s a fake Sony memory card. The first guy probably bought it off eBay and when it broke, he bought one at Futureshop, swapped the new memory card with the fake, and returned it to them. When I go return it, they tried to make me pay the discount I had for an open box.

    So I argue with them, tell them that they sold me a FAKE Sony memory card and I don’t want to pay the price difference. It was their problem and I am under sale warranty. The clerk girl says:”Oh come on we’re not going to argue over 8 bucks.”

    My reply:”Oh damn right we are. Change it, it’s your fault. And I won’t pay a penny more.”

    They treated me like crap afterwards, the manager was all pissy too, but they finally just gave me my item and I returned home with a genuine brand new memory card this time.

  18. tevetorbes says:

    I will reiterate again what I (and many others) have posted on numerous Best Buy postings.

    Why do people continue to shop at Best Buy?

    They DO NOT care about you, only your money. They will take EVERY OPPORTUNITY to screw you out of it.

    One more time, for everyone within earshot:

    Anyone who shops at Best Buy deserves everything that shithole corporation gives them, you included Keith. That’s right: YOU DESERVED IT because you were asinine enough to actually THINK about even DRIVING PAST a Best Buy.

    I truly believe that Best Buy shoppers will not stop shopping there until Best Buy corporate personally gang rapes their mothers in front of their kids, and that might not even be enough.

    STOP. SHOPPPING. AT. BEST BUY.

  19. BlueModred says:

    @Hawk07: Just an FYI, if it’s within the return policy, they don’t test it. Plus, you can’t fix a calculator, so most customer service don’t even bother checking, they’ll just take your word for it and replace it.

    They only test items that can be repaired, i.e. game systems, pc’s tv;s etc and appliances.

  20. BlueModred says:

    @tevetorbes: That’s rough. I mean, there HAS to be a reason that BestBuy is so successful. Don’t you think it’s because these stories posted on Consumerist are the minorities?
    These stories aren’t posted to say that the company is bad, rather, that if you have a similar problem, there is what you can do to get it solved, or if you have, suggest ways for the posted problem to GET solved.

    I dare you to find a company as successful as BestBuy is right now that TRAINS their employees to screw the customer. That’s not to say that the people that work at the store near you don’t suck, but why blame the entire company.

    I did my stint in retail, and I always hated when people blasted a company, as opposed to the individuals they dealt with. There’s a difference, and things you can do to change those people.

  21. hypnotik_jello says:

    @BlueModred: What about Best Buy being sued by Attorney Generals for having an in-store kiosk with a fake (purposefully misleading) http://www.bestbuy.com site. Same URL but purposefully misleading to redirect to an internal site with higher prices. Sounds like that is something that not a few bad apples are responsible for.

  22. grumpymo says:

    @tevetorbes:

    Let me sum up for you WHY people still shop at Best Buy.

    My landline phone broke. I require it to have certain features that make it compatible with the business functions I need it to perform.

    I have to replace it today. I live in a small city. The places I can shop at to replace it are: Walmart, Kmart, Office Depot, Circut City, and Best Buy.

    Walmart and Kmart do not carry the phone I require.
    Office Depot wants approximately 25$ more then the going price for the phone. Circut City wants about 15$ more then the going price. Best Buy has it at the going price.

    I would order it from an online supplier but I can not wait for the several days it will take for shipping. I need it today.

    I will hold my nose and go to Best Buy and get the best deal, and try to ensure that I don’t come home with a box of tiles.

    And that sir is why people still go to Best Buy.

  23. @tevetorbes: There’s a Best Buy around the corner of my house that I have to drive by everyday. However, sometimes I take the long way just to not drive by Best Buy.

  24. cmdr.sass says:

    @edrebber: Well that didn’t take long.

  25. marchhare22 says:

    Congrats! Its good to see someone doing something about a bad situation instead of either being too lazy or empathizing with the POS.

    It’s People like you keep these companies on there toes to make sure we arn’t treated like sludge.

  26. jeadie5 says:

    @BlueModred: The reason Best Buy is successful is their prices. People will put up with alot of shit to save a few bucks. If that wasnt the case, Home Depot, Walmart and BB would never have made it to where they are today.

  27. Big Poppa Pimp says:

    How much do you think legal fees cost Keith? I’m hoping that they didn’t eat into his recovery too much. Perhaps the filings were done for a very small amount- it sounds like Keith presented his case on his own.

  28. shadow735 says:

    I seem to remember that Frys Electronics had a class action law suit against them for selling open and returned (sometimes defective returns) items as new.

    I have shopped at that best buy in Northridge ca too I live in Simi Valley.

  29. snoop-blog says:

    i knew BB would send in their corporate drones on the consumerist today.

  30. Doctor Cathattan says:

    I’m glad to hear that Keith won but did Keith get his lawyer fees awarded too? I guess his lawyers’ tab is a small price to pay for sticking it to a corrupt company. I suppose before returning the machine to Best Buy he could scavage it for user-serviceable parts…then return it to Best Buy. I think there may be a parts market on eBay. I’m sure that it’s one way of getting back your lawyer fees.

    Oh…you didn’t hear that from me BTW.

  31. coan_net says:

    Even though I’m glad he sued and won against Best Buy, I’m curious on how much the lawyer and lawsuit cost him – that is now that is is all over, how much is he out.

  32. katylostherart says:

    @jeadie5: it’s not just their prices. it’s also the fact that if you live in a small town in the middle of nowhere there’s few other places to shop. even if you live in a big town chances are there’s still only a choice between one major retail giant and another. i live in a well populated area and my two choices in five different towns are still only best buy and circuit city if i can’t wait for shipping from an online order. quality everywhere went down the drain.

  33. BlueModred says:

    @hypnotik_jello:
    That was just stupid (not you, the whole incedent).
    A: The URL was different, it was just the default website shown instore.
    B: Employees were educated (or were supposed to per store policy) to use the Local (i.e. “bad) site for in store orders, and the ‘real’ website for price matching.

    The whole fiasco was because of poor execution and education. That website is still there, it’s just been re-labeled to make the difference clear. The ‘reason’ is because when you order from a store, the price is based on local market prices and store designation, as opposed to getting it from the national warehouse system.

    Made sense to me when i worked at a store with a similar setup, but we were better educated about which to use when, and why.

  34. Buran says:

    @tevetorbes: Wow, someone just had to get in the obligatory blame-the-victim I see.

  35. bravo369 says:

    I think he would have won either way but I wonder if the fact that he bought a 5 year extended warranty was what saved him. If he declined that, took it home for 3 months and then wanted a refund, i wonder whether that would have mattered to the judge.

  36. JeffMc says:

    @Big Poppa Pimp: I was wondering the same thing. My lawyer would hit me for $250 for asking about this and then at least another $250 for filing the paper work.

    Of course, my lawyer would bill me if he saw me on the street and waved…I need a new lawyer.

  37. Pro-Pain says:

    @BlueModred – It IS a SCAM pure and simple. There is no NEED for for both an Intranet and the Internet in store. I know employees who knew exactly “what it was for”. Rediculous excuse on Best Buy’s part.

  38. Milkham says:

    My cousin returned a broken TV to bestbuy and when I was there the next day I saw the same TV selling as an open box item.

  39. Amelie says:

    @ThinkerTDM: Thanks for mentioning “binding arbitration.” Perhaps we will soon see a story on Consumerist, titled: Customer arrested for leaving store without signing a binding arbitration agreement.

  40. tevetorbes says:

    @Buran: Hell yes I blame the victim.

    How many stories have we seen about how horrible Best Buy is? How many times have people said “Don’t shop at Best Buy.”? How many times does someone have to hear it before it registers?

    The reason Best Buy is able to be such a shitbag corporation and treat its customers horribly is because people continue to shop there. If people didn’t shop there, Best Buy would be out of business and we wouldn’t have to put up with their bullshit.

    So yeah- if you shop at Best Buy you are supporting their horrible policies and are making it bad for everybody.

    To repeat: Stop. Shopping. At. Best Buy.

  41. kelmeister says:

    Anyone care to place a bet as to how long it takes before a story shows up from the guy who’s bought Keith’s washing machine? After all, he was asked to return it to a Best Buy store.

  42. RDAC says:

    Guys, you don’t get it. You can’t stop the machine by ignoring it.

    Become the ‘demon customer’ that best buy already assumes you are by only purchasing loss leaders and nothing else. This actually results in them losing even more money by depleting their cheap reserves, which are sold below or at cost.

    This does two things: one, makes them take a hit for the loss on the item, and two, cuts out would-be customers (their ‘high rollers’) who would buy unnecessarily expensive accessories from knowledge-deprived salespeople.

    Plus, you get what you want and make them take the burn for it. That’s pure satisfaction.

  43. Milkham says:

    are best buy’s official policies so far out of line with the likes of circuit city and target? where do you buy your large appliances if not at best buy?

  44. Nakko says:

    He voided his “extended warranty by transporting the washer from Best Buy to his home”? Buh-what? Did they expect him to wash his clothes AT BEST BUY whenever he needed to? That’s a new way to get people in the store: that’s where you do your chores.

  45. LionelEHutz says:

    C’mon, you know it is all his fault for shopping at “Best” Buy in the first place.

  46. mrbiggsndatx says:

    YEAH!!! slap that class action ASS!! go get em KEITH!! best buy should “DIE IN A FIRE”

  47. ldavis480 says:

    I always find myself saying this over and over and over again to everyone I know. Don’t buy from Best Buy. Ever.

  48. trillium says:

    Okay – so if I refuse to buy large items at Circuit City, and Best Buy seems JUST as bad… where DOES one go to buy you’re big ticket appliances?

  49. rmz says:

    @trillium: Sears? No, wait, apparently you get what you deserve by shopping there. Wal-Mart? Hmm, no, they’re even worse. Target? Maybe, but I’m not even sure if they carry washing machines.

    Washing your clothes by hand in a wash basin is your only option if you don’t want to be a stupid consumer who’s “asking for it,” I guess.

  50. rmz says:

    @rmz: In all seriousness, though, I would generally prefer to buy my appliances through a store that ONLY deals in appliances. These generally seem to be regional/local chains, but not always.

    Of course, they’re not always guaranteed to be a great customer service experience either.

  51. Doctor Cathattan says:

    @trillium: Costco has a decent return policy along with decent customer service.

  52. DJC says:

    Amazon FTW!

  53. SaraAB87 says:

    I am not sure why someone would spend 600$ on an open box appliance, I know common sense would override me on this and I would wait a few months to save the money (or even go to the laundromat if I had to) before purchasing something that was “open box” since you REALLY do not know where it has been. I think thats the moral of this story, you cannot trust any company on items that are open box.

    Also remember that walmart and sears (and possibly other stores) have special model numbers of appliances and other items, which means they are of less quality than the originals since they are built for that specific store to sell. So don’t make major purchases at those 2 stores.

    If I was making a major appliance purchase such as a washer, an appliance that I am expecting to last 10 years or more, I would spend my money wisely and go to a local shop that has been in business for a long time. Thats what my household has always done for appliances. You do not have to worry about lesser models, usually get good customer service, but you will pay a few dollars more. To me it would be worth it rather than having to spend hours and hours dealing with CSR’s and trying to get refunds out of Best Busy.

  54. lemur says:

    There are always going to be people finding reasons to blame the victim because they can always imagine ways in which the tragedy could have been prevented. Moreover, for them the world is divided in neat little boxes: “good goes here, evil goes there and those who do not agree with my division of the world are automatically in error”. No nuance or subtlety.

  55. pibbsman0 says:

    Wow, how inept of a store manager and appliance dept. do you have to have to realize that that should have never been sold. Take care of your customer for Pete’s sake! (BTW, I used to, and still do, work part-time as an Appliance salesperson. This is a FAIL on all sorts of levels.)

    @SaraAB87: 10 years out of any Appliance in today’s world is a pipedream. In all honesty, 7-8 years would be considered good life, 10 years would be extraordinary.

    • Not Given says:

      I have an old Maytag washer that is still working good. My son replaced the timer when he was 14 and he is now 33. I got it used to start with and it has only needed a couple of other minor repairs.
      They really, really don’t make ‘em like they used to.

  56. Gorky says:

    Every day on this site its either bash Best Buy or Circuit City, or Fry’s, or CompUSA, or Wal-Mart, or Radio Shack. If ALL of these companies suck so bad and you all refuse to go to them, Id LOVE to know where you buy YOUR electronics

  57. Gorky says:

    @Simply_J: Cotco also doesnt sell 65 inch plasma TVs with name brands. They carry crap like Olivia, and Vizio. You also cant go to Costco and buy a good home theater system made from a good company like Harmon Kardon, Polk Audio, or Infinity

  58. RDAC says:

    Umm…Olivia isn’t crap. It normally stacks right up in the mid to top tier as far as performance goes, and I just sold mine after 3 years of solid use. I even rented it out, and made back 10 times what I paid for it originally.

    Don’t believe me? Go check out the AV Science forums and learn a bit before spouting off with your blind brand loyalty.

  59. SaraAB87 says:

    @pibbsman0:

    I have a microwave that has been going since 1984, and its not getting replaced until it dies. Hasn’t died yet. It was made by JC Penny and has the nameplate on it too, plus I think it was used for 2 years before it was given to us.

    We have really good luck with appliances, but I understand its not normal to get 10 years out of something nowadays. Maybe its because I have 4 adults in my house and no kids beating on anything.

    Our fridge that was bought in 1983 just went about 2-3 years ago, we bought another, so we will see how long it lasts, so far about 2-3 years and its still going strong without the need to call for service once. My grandma still had the receipt from the 1983 fridge too!

    Our washing machine is from sometimes in the 1980′s and its still going but we had to replace the dryer, its been about 5 years for the dryer and its still going without having to call for a repair yet. We do laundry at least a couple times a week. My grandpa has a wringer washer from god knows when that is still working.

    Our stove is almost broken though, its only from the 90s and its been used to cook 3x a day on it ever since it was bought, so the stove takes the most abuse in the house.

  60. redhelix says:

    How infuriating. As a former employee in the BBY service department, I’d say everyone at that store is retarded. When the unit is declared uneconomical to repair by a store-sanctioned repair service, the warranty dictates that the customer gets a new unit and in some cases a prorated refund of the service plan. That’s the contract. Shame on everyone at that store for not knowing basic policy.

  61. redhelix says:

    @RDAC: Olivia hardware performs well but they buy crappy capacitors from Taiwan for PCBs and their products fail a lot.

  62. redhelix says:

    @Gorky: I shop at Micro Center, actually. It’s easily the best B&M electronics retailer in my area.

  63. scoosdad says:

    @Nakko: Well someone must have washed clothes at Best Buy, that’s the only explanation as to how it could have been just a “demo machine” yet sloshed with liquid as it was being loaded onto the OP’s truck.

    Personally if I heard water sloshing as the Best Buy guys were loading, I would have called a halt to the whole thing and sent them back into the store with it for a refund. “New” washing machines, even demo machines, just don’t come pre-primed with water in them!

  64. bearymore says:

    @BlueModred: Try consolidation in the retail industry. In my area (L.A.) there are two BB’s within 5 miles of my house. The nearest competitor of the same size is Fry’s which is about 15 miles away. Eleven years ago, when BB opened its first store in our area, there were at least 3 other discount electronic/appliance stores within the same 5 mile radius. They were gone within two years after BB moved in. Funny thing, though. When BB moved in, their prices were really low — if you wanted it for less than anywhere else, BB was the place to go. Two years later, when the competition disappeared, the prices weren’t so good any more. Hmmm…

  65. scoosdad says:

    I find the suggestion of yet another lawyer-driven class action suit over “open box” items a bit distasteful. I mean, there’s a certain amount of risk involved by the buyer when you agree to buy something that’s not still sealed in its factory box.

    I agree that the store should be a little more concerned about the quality and condition of what they sell as open box, but “let the buyer beware”, not another class action suit where the only ones who end up winning are the attorneys. What’s it going to get for the rest of us, coupons for 15 pct. off on any “new” open box item at Best Buy?

  66. Buran says:

    @tevetorbes: So in other words it’s OK to scam someone because of where they shop? They were wrong plain and simple. I don’t care whether it was Emily Post herself who cheated the guy or not.

    You’re just an asshole.

  67. Quintus says:

    @soulman901:
    “I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever set foot into a Best Buy again.”

    Quoted for truth.

  68. barty says:

    @Pro-Pain: I agree wholeheartedly.

    It is the ONLY place in the world that I have ever been in where they REQUIRED me to present a credit card in order to apply for their card when I was trying to purchase a TV about 6 years ago. I wasn’t in the habit of carrying the card with me, I really only used it for online purchases. To make a long story short, they wouldn’t budge. So I walked. I went down the street to HiFi Buys, found the same model for $150 less (floor display) and they had no problem signing me up for their no-interest deal right on the spot.

    That’s the LAST time I’ve ever set foot in a Best Buy with the intention of buying something except when someone has given me a gift card there. Even then, I wish someone would just give me cash because everything there is so horribly overpriced. Most of their “open box” stuff is priced higher than what NEW items go for elsewhere.

  69. selectman says:

    @tevetorbes: Wow, you sound like a self righteous asshole.

  70. barty says:

    @jeadie5: The problem is, I can find better prices on 80% of the crap they sell without even looking too hard!! If it is DVDs, CDs, computer parts or accessories, games, etc., I can go across the street to Target, Wal-Mart, MicroCenter, etc., and find the SAME item for 10-20% less.

    @rmz: Before all the big boxes came to town, there were these places called appliance stores. Many of them are still around…not because they have the best price in town (though most of them ARE pretty competitive, you just have to haggle a little bit), but they’ll actually service the stuff they sell and not try to come up with a plethora of excuses to avoid fixing it under warranty.

  71. tevetorbes says:

    Is anybody listening?

    No, I don’t think its ok that Best Buy did what they did to Keith or to anybody else that they’ve wronged.

    Yes, I think Keith had it coming for shopping at Best Buy. “Caveat emptor” right? Well, seems like people know full well what a shitstain company Best Buy is and yet they continue to shop there. Oh, and they continue to come up with excuses as to why they did.

    I don’t care if you live in the dumpster behind Best Buy and you need a new cellphone that only Best Buy carries and you need it 10 minutes ago. If you shop at Best Buy, it is more likely than not that you will get shafted. I’m tired of people saying “Oh Best Buy screwed me.” Yeah no shit- that’s what they do. Wanna know how you keep Best Buy from screwing you?

    Never. Shop. At. Best Buy.

    Oh, and to whomever played the “I worked in retail” card, yeah me too, at another shitbag company second only to Best Buy (Circuit City) and I’ll never shop there again either.

    The only way that companies will listen to you the consumer is if you talk with your wallet. You keep shopping at Best Buy, you’ll continue to get screwed in the rear. And I just can’t feel sorry for you anymore.

  72. tevetorbes says:

    @barty:

    Oh, and as a nifty little trick for you people (myself included) who have friends that continue to purchase Best Buy Gift Cards for you for Birthdays, Christmas, whatever:

    Use one gift card to buy another- except this time, buy an iTunes Gift Card or an X-Box Live card. Best Buy gets zero dollars this way.

    I’m sure they’ll get wise (if they haven’t already), but it sure is better than giving them the satisfaction of sticking it to you.

  73. HOP says:

    BEST BUY SUCKETH

  74. HOP says:

    ABOUT TIME

  75. riverstyxxx says:

    I want you all to look in the mirror every morning for the next month and say this:

    “I Will Not Shop at Best Buy.”

  76. mdovell says:

    I think much of this was the store and not the chains fault. Legally right from the start the idea that something is open box is OK but if an extended warrenty is purchased then that gives a ton more protections. It doesn’t matter if an item was delivered by someone other than the store.

    Open box means the box was opened. The only other way around this would be to physically test the item on site and I highly doubt they’d do that (maybe they should).

    By the omission that they don’t know if an item works that brings up a whole ton of issues…if an item is returned and works then it would be sold as used. If they don’t know if it works then they are taking back products potentially that do not work.

    Other chains list things specifically like this. Ikea will put labels on that say EXACTLY why something was discounted (missing parts, scrached, dented etc)

    How can they sell an extended warrenty on an item that they didn’t even test then?

  77. MrEvil says:

    I’m curious as to what GE Model the OP bought. I bought my Maytag for $500 from Lowe’s and it’s the cat’s ass. My dad bought a similar unit (didn’t have the stainless steel tub) for $400 from Lowe’s. That was brand new out the door and didn’t even get harassed to buy every goddamn accessory in the universe nor the extended warranty (which at Lowe’s doesn’t start until the manufacturer’s warranty ends).

    I’m not too crazy about Best Buy or GE when it comes to appliances. Back when I worked as a Black shirt for BBY returned major appliances would ALWAYS be sent to the service center before they went out on the floor. Guess someone at the Fuckup Patrol didn’t think to shove it on the truck.

  78. barty says:

    @tevetorbes: That’s precisely what I did with the last one. I bought a couple of iTunes cards.

  79. eskimo81 says:

    @tevetorbes: They do make a little bit, it’s not much.

    The store I work at used to sell iTunes Gift cards, and we made about $0.50 on each one we sold.

    It ain’t much, but they still get a bit.

  80. eskimo81 says:

    I have a friend, who told me that he bough an open box cell phone charger from best buy once, and he took it back because it didn’t work. He told the girl it was defective when he returned it, and then went to browse the store.

    When he was looking at the cell phone accessories, a different associate came over with the charger and put it on the shelf. My friend asked about it, and was told that someone had just returned it because they had bought the wrong one.

  81. MustyBuckets says:

    @edrebber: Sloshing is normal in a new washer. They are run at the factory, and some water will remain in the unit.

  82. lakecountrydave says:

    I will NEVER set foot in Best Buy again! I bought my wife a laptop for X-mas. Of coarse, I bought all the goodies to got with it. After she opened it I had problems connecting to the network (wireless router bought at same time). After hours of trouble shooting with Belkin and Gateway it was detemined that internal network card was defective. I was instructed by Gateway to exchange for working model where I had made purchase. I stopped twice on way to Best Buy to see if I could connect to a network. I was unable. Best Buy refused to accept exchange. Stated that when they tested it the problem did not exist. They refused to demonstrate. Thankfully, Gateway stood behind their product, and I was able to exchange it though them. I am not by any means rich. This was something that I saved all year to suprise my wife with at her favorite time of the year. Needless to say we were very disappointed.

  83. Northpike says:

    you know, i’m reminded of the time my family set a vacuum cleaner. We sent a Dyson for maintaince, after a some time (i don’t remember, i remember it was a few days, and my step-dad was a bit unhappy because he’s a neat freak, and we have a dog that was shedding everywhere) they call us to tell us it’s ready. I’m sent to pick this thing up, and upon talking with the guy, it seems they “lost” the vacuum that someone had called us just hours before to pick-up. Now this is where it gets strange.

    They didn’t just “lose” it, they more or less “sold” it. Apparently some moron salesman saw this vacuum that just got done maintaining and thought it was an “open-box” item, and sold it to a customer. Hope that customer isn’t allergic to dogs and cats, because they just wiped it down, not cleaned everything throughly.

    So there you have it, your washer might have been a repair just sitting there for some reason that some moronic salesman sold for it.

    There is a light at the end of the tunnel, they gave us the floor model vacuum (never used, was in better condition than our previous one) free of charge.

  84. superbureaucrat says:

    solution to all appliance problems: buy miele

  85. wellfleet says:

    @MustyBuckets: Exactly! I work at Best Buy, formerly in the appliances dep’t, and have sold dozens of floor models. Some were duds. Some brand new machines are duds, too. If the service plan administrators wouldn’t replace your machine, the store management should have done the right thing and taken it back. I’m confused as to why they wouldn’t give you a new machine if the one you bought was uneconomical to repair — that’s why most front-loaders get replaced under the PSP — it costs too much to replace the motor or control panel.

    I’ve also never heard of voiding the warranty if you pick it up instead of having it delivered, what a line of s***.

    I’m sorry you had a horrific experience. Sometimes we suck. But also, sometimes we don’t. I try to err on the side of the customer but I have spoken to some truly retarded people at other stores…I’m glad you won.

  86. detraya says:

    as someone who shops at best buy allot, usually about once every 2 weeks, I’ve never had problems with it. well, I’ve never had problems the management hasn’t fixed right away. for instance, i recently bought a 360 at best buy, and when i got it home, it was rrod right away, completely fried. i took it back the next day, forgetting my receipt at home, and they offered to replace it. i asked for money back, they told me, without a receipt, i could only get a gift card. i relented, went home, got my receipt, went back, and got my money back. no problems at all. nice, curtious people.

    i guess it just comes down to the individuals who work at your local stores.

  87. mcnee says:

    I work for a company that builds homes… We’ve never had a washer show up that “sloshed”. When I bought my washer from Sears, it didn’t “slosh”. There being water in there would have been aa red flag for me.

    I live in the home town of both Best Buy and Target. I have never had a problem with either one.

    Maybe I’m just lucky.

  88. seth1066 says:

    Last week I bought an “open item” LG 22″ LCD monitor for $199.99 which was described as a returned item that was tested and functioned perfectly.

    Upon installation, the flourescent tubes barely lit the screen and then flckered out after two seconds. Also, the monitor bezel and base were severely scratched up.

    There is a 14 day return window on monitors, no way it got in this condition in such a short time. It had to be a floor display item that was on 11 hours a day straight for a long time. It had a build date of April 2006. Either that or an employee swapped his fried unit for the actual returned item.

    BB took it back the next day, but when questioned, they still insisted it was a new barely used customer return.

  89. wildness says:

    I had to threaten a lawsuit to get Best Buy to replace a brand new $3000 laptop that was defective out of the box and was never fixed at their service center.

  90. ohgoodness says:

    @tevetorbes: Why do people continue to shop at Best Buy?

    Um…. because not everyone in America reads consumer related blogs.

    The question is more “Why do Consumerist commenters always ask why everyone isn’t as acutely informed as them?”

  91. Oracle989 says:

    @grumpymo: and, you know, because even if all of the readers of consumerist shopped best buy on a weekly basis and then all stopped, it would hardly make a dent in the bottom line, too many little old ladies out there that want the “smart best buy guy” to help them buy a new computer because theirs is slower than it used to be.

  92. wellfleet says:

    @ohgoodness: Maybe because despite jails being overcrowded with African-Americans, not all African-Americans are criminals! Yes, there are some piss-poor managers, some shady employees who don’t care about you, some overworked cashier who is PMSing… But there are also lots of dedicated, caring employees who go above and beyond for customers. We gets those people, too, every day. Saying that all Best Buys suck is like saying all tall people are basketball players.

  93. KRayGolf says:

    ***UPDATE***

    Hey guys,

    This is Keith. I returned the washer on Saturday to the Thousand Oaks Best Buy (per the judge, it was the closest one to my house). So, please do not buy an open box GE Washer from the Thousand Oaks Best Buy! I received all of my money back after, of course, I had to argue with the manager not knowing anything about it and I had to call the Best Buy lawyer (who had incidentally already spoken to said manager). I understand why TEVETORBES feels the way he does, and I WILL NOT ever go near a Best Buy again. But you have to take into consideration, I had shopped there for 10+ years, and NEVER had the slightest issue with anything. I had bought an open box Refrigerator before and it had needed service, and they fixed it under the warranty. It took getting burned to have me completely give up on Best Buy. Oh, and for the record, my attorney decided not to charge me a cent due to the overwhelming support and mention of this case (I won’t argue and Thank you Consumerist.com), and I only mentioned a class action for the fact that Best Buy will continue to screw people on Open Box items until we stick it to them where it hurts. Thank you again to everyone.

  94. Badjeebus says:

    Just wanted to comment on a point that seems to happen constantly and makes NO sense whatsoever.

    That clerk from one of the posts who says something about not arguing over 8 bucks? My response to that has always been…

    “Oh, I see. So you’re saying I can afford to piss away [whatever amount] more than [whatever corporation] can?”

    That usually gets the point across. And if it’s a manager and they still don’t get it then mention that perhaps the shareholders would want to know what lousy financial shape the company must be in.

    I do pop in to Best Buy occasionally… but only for free ‘net access on the road… lol. :P

  95. Badjeebus says:

    I want to point something out here.

    The reason stores/corporations/etc. feel they can treat people this way is because SO MANY won’t bother to put up a fight for principles. They employ the same capitalist reasoning… ie. It’ll cost more to recoup my losses from being screwed than it will to simply eat it and buy another. And THAT is what they count on. Same reasoning insurance companies and others use while denying rightful benefits etc.

    Proper morals and values cost you. Sometimes REAL MONEY. Sad that we are all getting so poor but sadder still that we’re permitting it like this.

  96. smokinfoo says:

    Just to note sloshing is normal. Its next to impossible for the factory to get all the water out of the machine after they run their test cycle. It will usually say this is normal on the box.

  97. snclfe says:

    I don’t want to defend Best Buy, but what’s the better option? Compared to Fry’s, Best Buy is virtually a temple dedicated to the worship of the customer. Circuit City makes Best Buy look grossly overstaffed. Sure some better deals can be found online but I want to know what my better option is in the Brick&Mortar world? Also, I live in NE Los Angeles so some kick-ass ma&pa store in Toledo is of no use to me.

  98. snclfe says:

    @mcnee:

    “I live in the home town of both Best Buy and Target. I have never had a problem with either one.”

    Yup – living in the corporate backyard, they probably operate cleaner than those stores 2,000 miles away in Northridge or most anywhere else.

  99. Maiyeko says:

    I ordered an mp3 player online from Best Buy in December (2007), but the item was not received. I called up customer service, they looked into, saw that the item had not been signed for and re-shipped.

    It seemed like the problem was solved, only mid January I notice a charge hit my bank for the mp3 player that I never got. I called BB up and was told that the company had sent an email asking if I had gotten my order (the order that I had told them via phone that I hadn’t gotten).

    It was explained that since I hadn’t replied to the email I was charged, so I told the person on the phone that the item had not been received just look at the tracking information. “Ok we will do an investigation.”

    A few days later the charge was credited to my account. The problem is that a week later I get another emailed form letter asking if I’d gotten the shipment. A response to this yielded no result (ie a form letter saying ‘oh we have so much email but yours is important’).

    My account has be debited, credited, then debited again by Best Buy several times for the same error. It is now March and the charge showed up again only now Best Buy’s customer service staff is saying that since this would be the 4th time “that they” have made a mistake, they will no longer credit my account to correct the error.

    I have now had to contact Corporate to try to get this resolved. Best Buy representatives have said that UPS has confirmation from me and that the item was received. I contacted UPS myself as a result with the tracking number for the lost shipment and they basically stated, opps we don’t know where that went.

    This is the worst case of stupid I have seen.

    I look forward to getting this issue resolved and never having to deal with Best Buy again. If it takes a small claims case I am willing to do just that.

  100. BeastMD says:

    A bit of water in some washers is normal as sometime they do not drain them completely when testing them at the manufacturing plant.

  101. Corporate_guy says:

    I remember back in 2002 when I bought a car stereo as an open box item and got the extended warranty. I was told then that the extended warranty will cover any problems with the open box item. I was also told something along the lines of the warranty being so good that if I wanted I basically could internally damage the stereo myself and it would be replaced with a new one because there would be no way to prove I caused the damage if it was internal (I am sure that was “off the record”). Of course the stereo worked fine, so I never found out how good the warranty really was(or wasn’t).
    It does seem very messed up that the warranty is voided if you don’t have them delivery an item just because they offer an optional delivery service. Does that also mean a warranty on a car stereo would be voided if you installed it yourself? How can Best Buy sell warranties that are voided if the a customer doesn’t opt for extra optional best buy services? The warranty should be for the item and should have nothing to do with extra services.