Best Buy Calls Cops On You For Telling Fellow Customer Jawbone Headset Is Overpriced, Sucks

Best Buy called the cops on Alex because he told another shopper that the Jawbone headset he was considering was poor quality and marked up $30 from the manufacturer’s price. Alex went to Best Buy to purchase a new Bluetooth headset because the Jawbone he recently purchased from Verizon wasn’t cutting it. While browsing the headsets, he struck up a conversation with another customer who was checking out the Jawbone. Alex told his fellow customer that he had been disappointed in the quality of the Jawbone, and that Best Buy was charging $30 more than the manufacturer or Verizon. A sales associate overheard this and told the manager, who asked Alex to leave the store, then threatened to call the police, then did.

Alex called Best Buy’s corporate number, but was on hold so long that the police arrived before he could speak with anyone. After getting the manager’s information, he left the store, then called Best Buy corporate again, where he spoke with a supervisor who told her that no, actually it’s NOT Best Buy’s policy to call the cops whenever a customer shares her experiences with another customer, unless it’s “disruptive.” Alex’s email:

Dear Consumerist,

I absolutely love reading your blog and have learned a great deal about the horrors of Best Buy “customer service.” But never in a thousand years did I think I’d be sending in my very own Best Buy horror story.

I had recently purchased the Jawbone headset from my local Verizon store based on good reviews, but I quickly discovered my supreme dissatisfaction with it and was looking to replace it with a different brand. On March 5, 2008, at around 9 PM, I entered the Best Buy store in East Brunswick, NJ to see their selection of bluetooth headsets.

The selection of headsets at this Best Buy was dismal, and the merchandising was less than appealing, but that’s not why I’m writing. While I was browsing the selection, another customer picked up the Jawbone headset and was taking a look at it. I shared my disappointing experience with the headset and also alerted him to the fact that Best Buy was charging an additional $30 on top of both the manufacturer’s price online and Verizon’s price. All of this was said within earshot of a sales associate, and I walked away after sharing my experience.

Within 30 seconds, a manager named Tom approached me and asked me to leave the store. I thought he was joking, since I had done absolutely nothing wrong, and I asked Tom for the reason why I needed to leave. According to Tom, “it was policy.”

I was incredulous. I’ve worked far too many retail jobs to know the extent of “power” a manager has over customers, and my intuition told me he was pissed that I lost him a potential sale. I refused to leave the store, based on the fact that I had done nothing wrong and that this so-called policy was pulled out of his ass. Tom walked away and directed an associate to call the police.

I was shocked that Tom treated me like a thief–the cops were coming! I asked Tom for the Best Buy customer service number and immediately called to speak with someone that would knock some sense into trigger-happy Tom. Of course, I had to wait for what seemed like forever to speak with a representative, but before I could actually talk to a live person, the cops came.

Two cops and about four Best Buy associates in tough guy poses stood at the front of the store, obviously creating a dramatic scene. I was calmly waiting for a customer service rep to pick up the phone. I gave up on the customer service line, got the store’s phone number and Tom’s full name and title and left as per police request.

I have never been so humiliated and infuriated in my life. I felt like my First Amendment rights were violated–all I did was tell a fellow customer my experiences with a product! When I got home I FINALLY spoke to Daniel, a supervisor at Best Buy’s customer service line, and he was shocked and appalled at Tom’s actions. Daniel confirmed that Tom COULD have asked me to leave, had I been disruptive, then stated that Tom had no right to police a conversation between two customers, regardless of what was said. Daniel apologized profusely, took all of my contact information down, and noted that I had requested to receive a follow up email from a district manager that would deal with the investigation and formal complaint.

As far as I’m concerned, Tom can rot in hell. But I know how retail works, and he’ll most likely get some insignificant writeup and a slap on the wrist. What I really want is a massive gift card because of Tom’s flagrant abuse of “policy” and for embarrassing the hell out of me in front of the whole store. What steps can I take to get Best Buy to make a customer happy, formally apologize, and give me a free gift card?

Thanks so much. I love the blog and tell all of my friends about it! Keep up the amazing work!

Best,

Alex

We’re not big on demanding apologies; money is better. Alex should wait to hear back from the manager he spoke with. If he doesn’t hear back or is unsatisfied with Best Buy’s response, he should check out The Ultimate Consumerist Guide To Fighting Back to get help writing a formal complaint letter or launching an EECB.

(Photo: ob1left)

Comments

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  1. Starfury says:

    While the BB manager was wrong in the way he handled this, retail places do have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason.

    • Jest Dempsey says:

      @Starfury: No they dont, no where does it state this. Infact that is illigle to refuse service for “any” reason. Ive been In higher up retail for 6 years, and dont know where you heard that from.

  2. zentec says:

    You’re on Best Buy’s property, they can toss you out any time they see fit. Walking into the store is your acceptance of those terms.

    Furthermore, why would you want a gift card to a store that treats you so poorly? They showed you what they think of their customers, why would you EVER again set foot into the store?

    • batsy says:

      @zentec: Which is why “Daniel confirmed that Tom COULD have asked me to leave, had I been disruptive,” ?

      Saying they can throw you out anytime they want is opening the door for this kind of thing. What if they had screeners at the front door, only letting in attractive or well dressed people? Or hell, only letting in white people? Sure it may be “legal”, but is it right?

      As for the gift card thing, why wouldn’t you want one, it’s free stuff. Buy something that you know you won’t have to return or get serviced, and you’re set.

  3. tme2nsb says:

    PLEASE people, don’t do the “blame the victim” shit either. I feel like Best Buy was in the wrong 100% – and this customer was right. Hell, I would ask for a massive gift card too if I was treated like shit in Best Buy – but that is why I avoid these stores like the plague.

  4. tme2nsb says:

    @tme2nsb: Looks like I was too late. See the two comments above…sigh

  5. legwork says:

    I’m no blamer, and everything looked fine, right up until the gift card request. Am I losing my sense of humor?

  6. Riddar says:

    @Starfury: Yep, at that point they are allowed to call the police if he refused to leave. It is a given that the manager was out of line, rude, over-reacting, possibly enjoying the power a bit much, but he was legally right here.

    The fact this is written with the hopes of getting “a massive gift card” throws me, though.

  7. savvy9999 says:

    Wow. I’m surprised that the police themselves didn’t tell the manager to go pound sand.

    Isn’t there some rule or law against frivolously using public resources to enforce non-existent corporate policies? Do the cops in East Brunswick, NJ have nothing better to do?

    Sic ‘em, Alex!

  8. Riddar says:

    @tme2nsb: What do you want? I didn’t blame the victim for a thing, but the manager IS allowed to ask him to leave the store, and the police followed through within the law. No blame involved. Whether or not they were ‘wrong’ is a matter of opinion

  9. ludwigk says:

    I’m rather surprised by her experience with the Jawbone. I’ve spoken with at LEAST a dozen Jawbone users, who have all been using bluetooth headsets for years now (this is silicon valley after all), and they adore the thing, regarding it as the biggest improvement since the invention of bluetooth headsets. I wonder if her expectations were unrealistic, or if she was using it wrong.

  10. jpx72x says:

    I’d be willing to bet that he was doing a little more than engaging in casual conversation with a fellow customer. Something along the lines of him camping out and telling people not to shop there at all/for headsets/whatever seems more likely.

    The consumerist should protect consumers from businesses that act badly. The consumerist should not be used to protect consumers who act badly from businesses.

    • ageekymom says:

      @jpx72x: You have deduced quite a bit from the story.. is your name Tom? I’m still trying to figure out if Alex is a girl or a guy.

    • brbn_nattie says:

      @jpx72x: I don’t follow your logic.

      “Alex went to Best Buy to purchase a new Bluetooth headset because the Jawbone he recently purchased from Verizon wasn’t cutting it.”

      I gather from the story that Alex went to Best Buy to purchase a product, not to rant. He was dissatisfied with a product purchased from Verizon, not Best Buy. I don’t see anything wrong with giving somebody a heads up about a product I’ve had issues with. That is not the same thing as ranting and persuading someone to never shop at Best Buy. Where are your assertions coming from?

  11. Dobernala says:

    @Starfury: Including your skin color? I think not.

  12. zentec says:

    @tme2nsb:

    I didn’t say Best Buy was correct in treating him this way, but he has no “First Amendment rights” to violate. Period, end of story. He should have turned to the woman, told her this is what you get for sharing experiences, and left. Instead, he’s trying to get Best Buy corporate to crawl over to him, apologize for some crappy manager’s behavior and soothe his wounds with a gift card when they already *know* he’ll come back. The fact he’s asking for a gift card indicates that he’ll still shop there.

    The lesson: Best Buy treats its customers like crap. This is old news for anyone who reads Consumerist. So why should it be a surprise that if you share product experiences, Best Buy gets warped out of shape. If you still insist in going there, don’t be surprised if *you too* get treated poorly.

    I’m not blaming the victim for Best Buy’s ridiculous policies. I am blaming him for the circus side-show of the police showing up and the subsequent pleas for “fix my hurt feelings”.

  13. sean98125 says:

    He should have left when the manager told him to leave. Best Buy is private property, so even if the manager is a complete idiot he still has the legal power to tell you to “git off muh land”.

    The cops didn’t get involved because of what one person told another person. They got involved because Alex was trespassing.

    Too bad he was humiliated, but that was caused by his actions, not theirs.

  14. in2insight says:

    Here is what I don’t understand:
    Best Buy sucks, we can mostly agree on this.

    Vote with the only means that counts to those companies – with your money.
    Store sucks? Don’t shop there.

    Only time I will even think about BB is when the have buy 3 get one free iTunes cards, and even then, only online. (And yes, they have managed to mess that easy transaction up as well…)

    I shop where me and my hard earned money are welcome and well teated.

  15. Chongo says:

    I really hope there is a followup to this. I MUST know what happens!

    As much as I like free stuff from places, I would much rather have this guys head on a plate then a gift card. It would probably be doing him a favor to get a new job anyways (no thats not a jab at retail jobs, but obviously this manager has got some problems).

  16. IndyJaws says:

    “I felt like my First Amendment rights were violated”

    No doubt others will chime in…First Amendment doesn’t apply here. Government can’t deny you free speech (in most cases), but jackass store managers can all they want.

  17. backbroken says:

    Can we have an article on how to entice a store employee into doing something that offends you such that you can get free swag?

    Seems like it’s all the rage.

    Oh, and I looooooove girls named Alex. Don’t know why. Just thought I would share.

  18. DCGaymer says:

    I’m no blame the blamer either….though as a part time photographer I know that once you’ve been asked to leave a premises…you have to leave or your trespassing.

    That said…It’s obvious that the manager and sales associate overreacted. Having read post after post about how dreadful bestbuy is though…I’ve quit going there. Are there any normal managers working for them anymore? Or is everyone there just weird anymore?

  19. ClayS says:

    I’m no fan of Best Buy, but what bothers me about articles like this is that you only hear one side of the story. I find it hard to believe that the police would be called unless there was more to the incident than reported by Alex.

  20. kinamoto says:

    Why are multiple commenters referring to Alex as “he” when the story clearly indicates the Alex in question is a she?

  21. moorie678 says:

    I do this all the time, I just wonder into Best Buy to tell them that new egg is much better and usually prevent 2-3 people buying anything from them.

    Gift Card request is suspicious tough…

  22. B says:

    @zentec: For the record, Alex is a she.

  23. Chongo says:

    If Alex is ugly then I blame her, if she is hot then I don’t

  24. howie_in_az says:

    I WAS WRONGED AND EMBARASSED AND THE POLICE WERE CALLED TO ESCORT ME OUT EVEN THOUGH I DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG but I’ll totally take a gift card in compensation because I’m a sucker for your shiny gadgets ps does that make me a sell-out?

    Tell them you’re not shopping there anymore until Tom himself issues you an apology. Then tell Tom his store sucks and you’re not shopping there anymore.

  25. picardia says:

    The First Amendment doesn’t apply, AND Best Buy was 100% in the wrong. Stores in interstate commerce do NOT have the right to refuse service to anyone they like; that was how restaurants, etc., used to get around serving food to black people, and the Feds clamped down on them. Alex may not have been a member of a “protected class,” but she didn’t do anything wrong. Best Buy didn’t want to get called on gouging. How anybody thinks they’re in the right here is beyond me.

  26. cybercjh says:

    Why won’t people start treating BestBuy for what it really is? A glorified show room. You go there to look, NOT buy! They don’t deserve your money. You want a TV? Great. Go to BestBuy. Pick out the one you want. Write down the model number. Go home, go online and buy it from an online retailer who probably has a better price and better guarantee. As far as I’m concerned, BestBuy lost their status as retailer long ago. They don’t deserve your business or mine. And, after a couple months of customers treating them like a show room, they’ll wise up. Until then, it’ll be BOHICA from the moment you walk through the doors.

  27. sleze69 says:

    Forget Jawbone. Plantronics Voyager 520 FTW. Best bluetooth headset I’ve ever had.

  28. ClayS says:

    @Chongo:
    She’s hot for Best Buy. She refused to leave when they asked her, and now she wants a gift card so she can shop there some more. I would have left and never gone back.

  29. deserthiker says:

    “What I really want is a massive gift card”?

    Sounds to me like Alex is looking to game the system and Best Buy would do well to ask such a customer to take their business elsewhere. If Best Buy succumbs to this flagrant merchandise grab then I will have even less respect for them than I do know and I honestly didn’t think that were possible.

    As far as I’m concerned ALEX can rot in hell.

  30. Dan8585 says:

    Hahaha that is SO funny. I worked at the store in that picture. That was our store on Black Friday. Crazy article…I can’t even begin to tell you the crazy things that I have experienced there from an employee-company standpoint to an employee-customer standpoint.

  31. CaptainConsumer says:

    Sure Best Buy can ask her to leave for her comment, it doesn’t make it right. If you trespass on my property in my state I can legally hurl a rock at your melon and drop you like a bad habit. It doesn’t make it RIGHT….

  32. BStu says:

    @Starfury: First off, no. Businesses do not have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. While I don’t think this reason was legally limited, there are plenty of reasons companies cannot use to refuse service.

    The greater point here, though, isn’t whether Best Buy has the right to do this. Its whether they should. The answer to that is a resounding NO. That is why this case is being publicized. Because some trigger-happy sales associate and manager are strong-arming a customer for talking to another customer. Its not because they don’t have the right to call the cops when they ask someone to leave. Its that they asked someone to leave and called the cops over something so harmless.

  33. ratnerstar says:

    @picardia: In the right in what sense? The manager has a right — a legal right — to kick anyone he likes out of the store, unless he’s doing it because that person is a member of a protected class. Interstate commerce has nothing to do with it.

    That doesn’t mean the manager was right — morally right — to call the police on Alex. I have a right to call my boss a jerkwad but that doesn’t make it right for me to do so.

    However, I agree with the person who said we may not be getting the whole story here.

  34. TPS Reporter says:

    I might be more apt to feel she deserves a gift card if she had left when the management who are reps of Best Buy asked her to leave. It is their property, nowhere does the 1st admendment give you the right to be on someones else’s property whenever you feel like it and without their approval. Now to the comments about the fact that she must have done something more to warrant this, are you new to consumerist or just have your head in the sand? As far as not spending money at Best Buy, a big fat gift card from them would be free, so I would take it and get me something from Best buy.

  35. GenXCub says:

    Best Buy Horror Story seems to be this site’s “Dear Penthouse Forum, I never thought this would happen to me…”

    Yes, blaming the victim happened, but that’s par for the course here, lately on Consumerist. I don’t think anyone will disagree that it was poor customer service in this story, so why shouldn’t Alex try to get something free for her troubles? It’s not extortion. BB can either do it, or not, either way at their own peril.

  36. cybercjh says:

    In regards to my comment above … I went to BestBuy a few days ago and saw the game SimCity Societies. But, even being a SimCity fan since its inception, I balked at the $39.99 price tag. Amazon’s price? $16.16. In fact, the MSRP of that game is $29.99. This is just one example of why I go to BestBuy to look, not buy.

  37. smirky says:

    The other day when buying lunchmeat I notices some other meat packages with expired dates on them. When another shopper came and was picking them up I mentioned the dates and she put them down. I hope I don’t have a warrant out for my arrest.

  38. bohemian says:

    Alex needs to let all the flying monkeys loose on Best Buy. Nobody should be humiliated in public just because some underpaid Best Buy manager needed an ego boost.

    I refuse to buy anything there any more.

  39. tricky69 says:

    Is there a reading comprehension problem? Alex is a WOMAN and Not a man.

  40. sprocket79 says:

    The obvious spiteful thing to do is to make flyers and stand on the sidewalk outside the store.

  41. VeritasVierge says:

    This is no surprise. I’m currently having a headache with Best Buy’s warranty policy that I paid $200 for but that hasn’t deterred Best Buy from denying me a service I paid for. If in 2 weeks things don’t work out, I’m likely to send my own letter to the Consumerist next to the State Attorney General’s office.

    They are just terrible at customer service because they don’t care about their customers period. Whatever right Best Buy thinks it has for denying people service is no excuse for them to call the police for unless a customer is being “disruptive”. Treating people like criminals for talking about a product’s price cannot be excused.

  42. Buran says:

    @Riddar: So it’s the victim’s fault huh?

  43. Buran says:

    @tricky69: Maybe. Or maybe just gender bias. On another forum, my first name is clearly included in my signature on every single message I post.

    I still get people assuming I’m male.

    Over there, sadly, I’m actually shocked if someone either uses female pronouns or calls me by my name.

  44. MissPeacock says:

    @kinamoto: Because no one actually reads the article. It’s more fun to just blame the consumer.

  45. NoWin says:

    What is it with stores in NJ ? (Best Buy or not)….

  46. fraziern says:

    I think this Tom fellow is already drowning in his own karma. I mean . . . he’s a BEST BUY MANAGER. He wears a uniform and a name tag every day. Move on. Next.

  47. @zentec: That’s what Woolworths claimed in the 1960′s when they refused to serve black customers at their lunch counter, if my recollection of American history serves. Your right to refuse service is limited, jack.

  48. BearTack says:

    If someone asks you to leave private or semiprivate property, then you need to leave.

    I would also point out that in many states it is not legal to sell merchandise above list price unless the customer is notified that the price is over list, and in at least one locale proof by signature is required.

  49. lesspopmorefizz says:

    She must’ve done something wrong? REALLY? Give me a break. What IS it with the blame-the-victim thing? I hope something AT least that heinous happens to all of you haters– even though no, First Amendment rights don’t apply on private property. But calling the cops was draconian and I think she deserves monetary compensation. THEN she should stop shopping there.

  50. Wormfather says:

    If a mall cant legally remove protestors protesting against said mall on mall premisis, I find it hard to belive that she was without recourse in this situation.

    What am I talking about? Of course I can belive it, I dont want to, but I can.

  51. Doofio says:

    Actually, in short, State and Federal commerce law states that a business cannot exclude a patron of services unless the business has a specific interest in refusing service. In this particular case, seeing as there is no BB policy on chatting with customers, no laws were broken by Alex and she was not causing any kind of disturbance whatsoever, the Best Buy Manager was “legally wrong” in doing what he did.

    Alex is 100% in the right to complain right to corporate about the way she was treated by the manager. What if she had been a minority? Since the manager provided absolutely no reason for asking her to leave, Best Buy could have had a monster civil lawsuit on their hands because of one dumb ass employee.

    Lets see how the manager was able to show off his stupidity:

    1. Made up an undefined “policy”.
    2. Humiliated a customer for absolutely no reason.
    3. Made a frivolous 911 call, tying up police resources (which is a crime by the way)
    4. Most likely lost two potential sales because he was angry that he MIGHT have lost one. (the other person could have easily put down the overpriced headset and chosen another)

    If I were Alex, I would have forced the manager to explain to the police in detail which “policy” she had violated and why he decided it was necessary to waste the police departments time and resources.

    If Best Buy is smart, they’ll reprimand this d-bag manager as quickly as possible and make things right with Alex (however they decide to do that).

  52. andrew1180 says:

    interesting.
    I used to work in Wireless at Best Buy and told ALL my customers this…
    good thing management never caught me i guess.

  53. trujunglist says:

    Whatever, she deserves the card. If she had asked for an apology only, you guys might be saying “ask for something more than an apology!” The gift card is the apology, something that a lot of people here don’t understand. The OP is understandably furious, so she’s also understandably asking for some kind of retribution on the same level as her anger.

  54. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @Doofio:

    You, FTW.

  55. PlanetExpressdelivery says:

    Both sides are at fault here;

    Alex is at fault for refusing to leave at the manager’s request. Private property is just that, private property. They have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason so long as they avoid certain types of discrimination .

    Best Buy is also in the wrong for actually calling the police to do their dirty work. Who calls the police just to kick someone out of their store? Of course, this is assuming that Alex did not act recklessly, and was acting professionally.

    Alex, you deserve nothing more than a wholehearted apology. I’d even go so far as to suggest that you may have “planned” this in advance, so an apology may actually be a bit too much. Next time, stick with the marbles on the stairs in Vegas.

  56. DrGirlfriend says:

    She is asking for a massive giftcard, I’m assuming, because it hurts BB more if this incident costs them money. Losing money is the only thing that gets some companies to pay attention. However, I agree that the way Alex worded that particular request was a little unpleasant.

    BB may, in theory and practice, have the right to ask you to leave for any reason. But isn’t this particular situation kind of a stretch? This guy was being a braindead company tool. Are we all so keen to just bend over and take it when someone tries to enforce rules in a nonsensical way? I mean, go right ahead if you want to allow power-tripping schmucks to treat you like crap and then go brag to their friends later about what a badass he was at work today. But don’t be surprised if others don’t agree.

  57. UX4themasses says:

    Scam of the year, by Alex.

    1. Accost Best Buy customer
    2. Cry and Whine when told to stop
    3. Demands money for her hurt feelings…

    How would you like it if someone told you that the product you liked was a piece of crap? Not everyone is so eager to hear from some anonymous hag and her opinion of a Jawbone.

  58. D.B. Cooper-Nichol says:

    @Riddar: Great, you get an A on the law school exam. Of course, the point isn’t whether the manager was within his legal rights, but whether he was following any sort of corporate policy, and/or acting like a complete ass.

    I’m usually pretty cynical and tight-fisted on this stuff, but I can see exactly why Alex is so mad – it’s just this sort of purely senseless wielding of “power” that can make you feel frustrated and embarassed.

  59. Mayor McRib says:

    I think she should get a 5% credit to her account and a $15 Sharper Image gift card. Seems to be all the rage these days.

  60. Mike_ says:

    Sorry, Alex. You lost me at “first amendment” and “gift card”.

  61. Wow, I agree with a lot of people. Here’s the breakdown:

    1) She SHOULDN’T of been asked to leave (IF she was just speaking with a fellow consumer)

    2) They SHOULDN’T of called security (IF she wasn’t creating a scene)

    3) She SHOULD notify Best Buy, but we all freakin know that hardly ever pans out.

    4) She shouldn’t be trying to weasel a gift card. Take your business elsewhere.

    I’m all for businesses trying to do right by the customers, but if that happened to me, no gift card would change my mind.

  62. dorianh49 says:

    You guys, she could always use the gift card online and that way never have to step foot in another Best Buy, but when howie_in_az puts it [i]that[/i] way, hmmmmm.

  63. PlanetExpressdelivery says:

    @Doofio:
    Discriminatory? Are you joking? For Alex to prove that Best Buy’s actions were discriminatory, she’d have to;

    1)Hire an attorney and file a class-action lawsuit
    2)Find other people that share a unique inherent quality (race, religion, etc.) with herself
    3)Prove that Best Buy routinely refused to the right to serve them and removed them from the premises

    Sorry, but interstate commerce has little to do with the right to refuse service. How do you think Southwest was able to kick the “short skirt” lady off their plane without reprimand? Only public and government utilities are exempt from the right to refuse service. There should be nothing that limits this right from private business.

  64. LawyerontheDL says:

    I think that Best Buy was in the wrong and the employee involved should be severely reprimanded and/or fired and Best Buy should make it clear to its employees that this type of thing will not be tolerated. What stood out most, though, was “What I really want is a massive gift card because of Tom’s flagrant abuse of “policy” and for embarrassing the hell out of me in front of the whole store.” At least she’s honest.

  65. @Starfury: Sadly this is true

  66. Teh1337Pirate says:

    Sue for defamation of character

  67. Part-Time-Viking says:

    Both the employee and the manager handled this really poorly. Alex should not have been treated like that at all, and this is coming from a Best Buy employee.

    But, as for the people of The Consumerist, this is another isolated issue that while unfortunate, is not common. We should not be making a big deal about it. The only reason why this story has been posted because it happened at a Best Buy and the editors of this site are clearly behind their quota for the month of “screw Best Buy” stories.

    Alex, it is truly unfortunate that you were treated so poorly, you are well within your rights and reason to never want to go near a Best Buy again in your life. I sincerely hope that you get an apology from the manager (and possibly the employee), as well as the demanded gift card.

  68. bricklayer says:

    @Dobernala: According to federal law, if they do not receive public funding, a business has the right to refuse service for any reason, including skin color. There are still plenty of “exclusive” country clubs in the United States that refuse memberships to women. Of course, NJ state law may make this discrimination illegal.

    That said, calling the police because a customer voiced an opinion seems like a waste of public money. If I lived in NJ, I’d be pissed.

  69. CMU_Bueller says:

    Oh no, someone’s mad because she was tresspassing.

  70. Juncti says:

    “Alex went to Best Buy to purchase a new Bluetooth headset because the Jawbone she recently purchased from Verizon wasn’t cutting it.”

    So let’s clarify, you went to Best Buy to fix a problem created with a bad purchase from Verizon? 2 Companies with historically many consumer issues.

    There’s your problem!

    Bad Consumer!

  71. Lordstrom says:

    Well I’m going to openly blame the victim and ask why the fuck would any Consumerist reader even think about shopping at Best Buy?

    I’ve never had a horrible experience there, but I still avoid it at all costs because of the disturbing amount of bad stories that surface. Instead of having a bad experience and then complaining about it, I’m just avoiding it entirely.

  72. unklegwar says:

    It looks like the manager called the cops after the customer refused to comply with a request to leave the store. At that point the manager is justified in calling the cops. If you are told to get out, you gotta get out.

    That’s not to say that the whole thing was silly, or that the customer shouldn’t complain, but the calling of the cops part was justified if she didn’t take a hike when told to.

  73. TechnoDestructo says:

    @zentec:

    No, they can’t. There is a difference between commercial property that’s been made open to the public, and residential or other private property.

    An example:
    [consumerist.com]

    @zentec:

    It became a first amendment issue the moment the police got involved.

  74. @lorddave: Oh good, it sounds like you let others think and influence your decisions for you. Are you helping? Hint: no.

    Disclaimer: This posting includes statements made by a former employee and current shareholder of Best Buy and may not reflect the opinions of the Best Buy Company, its employees, or shareholders. Information is provided ‘as is’ and solely for informational purposes, not for trading purposes or advice, and may be delayed.

  75. @TechnoDestructo: A mall is different. You can protest in the mall; you can’t protest inside Abercrombie and Fitch (no matter how much they’re destroying America).

  76. Imakeholesinu says:

    First off I love my jawbone. It is by far the best Bluetooth headset on the market. I even bought my girlfriend a red one for Valentines day and she loves it also.

    It is true that Best Buy does mark up the price. But then again, so does every retailer. For instance, a 2GB MicroSD card at the Verizon Wireless store is close to $40. At Best Buy it is about $10 lower. But on Newegg I can find one for $10.

    A customer who is in the store and who is sharing their experiences with another customer about a product is just like if I was to write a bad review online on the companies website about a product and that person read it. Best Buy is definitely in the wrong here. Don’t we live in an age where thought and communication are encouraged?

  77. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Daniel apologized profusely, through the snickers, took all of my contact information down, wadded it up in a tiny ball and threw it in the nearest trash can and noted with a chuckle under his breath that I had requested to receive a follow up email from a district manager that would deal with the investigation and formal complaint.

    I am very sorry that you were embarrassed, but what do you think a “formal complaint” will accomplish, when these sorts of things go on all the time at Best Buy, if The Consumerist is any indication, and they are almost never resolved in the customer’s favor.

    Take a good hard look at the last several Best Buy stories on Consumerist here: [consumerist.com] and see just how much they care about you as a customer.

  78. Part-Time-Viking says:

    @marsneedsrabbits: Look at their company growth and their stock prices and you’ll see that they must be doing something right with the customers in order to be like that :/

  79. Mr. Gunn says:

    Two points being missed here:
    A) Just because you legally CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
    b) You can get 95+% of the face value on Ebay for the gift card.

  80. warf0x0r says:

    http://www.bestbuysux.org used to have a ton of posts like this. It was pretty common place in certain regions to just kick a disgruntled customer out of the store if the MOD didn’t want to deal with the situation.

  81. snclfe says:

    I worked for Jawbone and I want to crucify this himbo manager Tom. A few nights ago, Alex had only shared with one person how unbelievably crappy our bluetooth headset is, but now, thanks to this nimrod’s overreaction, the whole internet knows not to buy it. Thanks Tom – hope you get fired!

    **Disclaimer**
    While the above dramatization is staged, it illustrates how Best Buy’s antagonism is not limited to their customers. They also hate their vendors and will throw them and their reputation under the bus all in the name of further antagonizing one customer.

  82. forgottenpassword says:

    I remember a story about a guy who brought his laptop to best buy to compare prices. Now admittedly, it was a bit odd because he had strapped it to himself in front of him in an opened position so he could operate it while walking around. Best buy manager sees this, thinks he is a competitor taking down info (prices, model #s, SKUs etc etc) & demanded he left.

    Yeah, I understand since it IS private property, the store manager can ask anyone to leave for just about any reason, but some of these Managers need to get a grip & stop overreacting. NOT everyone with a camera-equipped cellphone taking a snapshot of a product is some spy out to steal best buy’s secrets & one single customer who advises another constomer not to buy an item (because of his personal experience with said item) is not out of line.

    IF this happened exactly the way alex described, then I think someone should post the store’s phone number so we can all give tom our opinions.

    @savvy9999: That typically only happens when you are just a nobody on the street instead of someone in charge of a store/property.

  83. XTC46 says:

    The manager was in the right. Well legally at least. He asked the guy to leave, once he refused he was tresspassing and the police were called. Stores dont take kindly to people comming in and tell customers to shop elseware. But tossing them out when they do it in a private discussin is just dumb. maybe had he been standing there witha sign or yelling or something.

    The poster sounds like an ass for asking for a big gift card for being humiliated. Next time dont tresspass and their wont be an issue. Leave like requested, then complain.

  84. jimconsumer says:

    @savvy9999: Isn’t there some rule or law against frivolously using public resources to enforce non-existent corporate policies?

    You’re mistaken. The police were called because the customer was trespassing. Yes, a private business (that’s open to the public) has the right to ask you to leave. If you refuse, you are now trespassing and that is, in fact, a police matter.

  85. jimconsumer says:

    @Dobernala: Including your skin color? I think not.

    Actually, yes. A store owner can demand that you leave his store because you are (insert skin color here) and the police are obligated to remove you. Now, he will then have made himself wide open to a well deserved lawsuit, which he will quickly lose. But that doesn’t change the fact that he still has the right.

  86. SOhp101 says:

    @tme2nsb: wtf are you talking about? the manager can refuse service to anyone provided it isn’t based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age (certain exceptions apply like at bars).

    That being said, the manager is still a douchebag who needs to be fired and then tarred/feathered. There is a difference between being legally correct and ethically correct.

  87. SOhp101 says:

    @jimconsumer: actually yes, if the person being kicked out can prove that he was solely on the basis of the color of his skin he can sue and win. A store that’s open to the public must abide by anti-discrimination policies… otherwise there would be almost no point to civil rights.

    It’s difficult to prove that this is the case, and usually only possible if they explicitly admit this or if there is a repeated pattern of discrimination.

  88. ivealwaysgotmail10 says:

    Sony Store Manager Threatened to call the police on me because i told another customer that if she was going to purchase a PS3 She better not let it get dusty or Sony would not accept it under warranty, As they had done to me. I got his card and sub-subsequently lost it, Next time im in chicago look for the guy in the red jacket handing out Flyers in front of the Sony-style in Old Orchard Mall.

  89. Pylon83 says:

    I whole-heartedly agree that what the manager did was reprehensible. I absolutely abhor power hungry pricks like that. There were many other ways to handle the situation, and his method was quite possibly the worst one. That being said, I think the OP went from victim to problem when she didn’t leave when asked. She went from having a legitimate gripe with a jerk-off manager to being a trespasser. They had every right to ask her to leave. I’m not sure what concept those who claim they had to have a reason to kick here out are utilizing, but I don’t believe it to be correct. Unless someone can provide a cite to some authority that says that Best Buy has to have a reason to ask someone to leave, I’m going to say that they are entirely incorrect. Shame on Best Buy (Well, the manager) for being a jerk, but shame on Alex for not leaving, thus making herself nearly as bad.

  90. thalia says:

    Hopefully this lady gets her apology AND the goodies…too often people complain that, “Oh, they gave me a giftcard, but what I really wanted was an apology…” and then one article later, someone is bitching that, “All I got was a crummy apology!” Make up your minds, people!

  91. dantsea says:

    I’m sick of both sides. Best Buy is the retail version of a hot stove; if you don’t know well enough to keep from getting burned it’s your own damn fault.

    (Though I secretly hope the customer gets something out of this because BB are outrageous pricks.)

  92. Jordan Lund says:

    It doesn’t matter if Best Buy was right or wrong in asking the customer to leave. Their roof, their rules. Period.

    Once the customer was asked to leave and they refused then that’s trespassing and BB has every right to call the cops.

    Cops aren’t going to ask why you were asked to leave…

    “Were you asked to leave?”

    “Yes.”

    “Did you leave?”

    “No.”

    “Thank you, come with us.”

  93. wellfleet says:

    I work at Best Buy and I’m horrified and embarrassed reading this story. I have had the misfortune of dealing with complete pylons at other stores and this is just… ugh.

  94. ryanv1978 says:

    @Riddar:

    It’s not a matter of opinion for someone to police what you can and cannot say. That’s your first amendment right. Best Buy is full of crap on this one….and all you people who are defending them for their “right” to do this are idiots.

  95. clocker says:

    The manager and salesperson should be fired NOT because of any ethical/legal/moral failure but simply because they SUCK at sales.

    Anyone who works in retail and cannot deal with a bit of adversity- be it from the primary customer or everyone’s favorite “passerby” who likes to insert him/herself into the transaction- shouldn’t be in the biz.

    From the original post there is no indication that the buyer was influenced at all by Alex’s sharing and in any case, since Alex had by now wandered off they were free to move in and attempt to close the sale.

    Instead, they go medieval on Alex and create this giant clusterf*ck.

    I think BB should pink slip both the salesperson and Tom The Manager and then send copies to Alex in lieu of a giftcard.

  96. Pylon83 says:

    @ryanv1978:
    Unfortunately, you’re wrong. The First Amendment does not apply to private citizens or businesses. There are scant few exceptions to this, such as the main area of malls, but for the most part, you have no right to freedom of speech in a private business.

  97. AtomicPlayboy says:

    This was going along fine until Alex mentions a violation of the First Amendment, and completely detonates any credibility. As others have mentioned, the Constitution was not amended so that you could shoot your mouth off in a private store. In my experience, those who cry that their rights are being violated in such silly scenarios are also those who bear more blame in these situations than they would have you believe. Really surprised she didn’t call “censorship” on this one, too. “Victim” blamed.

  98. Valhawk says:

    Was it the GM or the senior manager onsite, because the question is does he have the authority to kick her out. Was he legally the representative of Best Buy?

  99. CyberSkull says:

    What about the matter of filing a false police report? Calling the cops for something like that means they had to lie about it and the person that did that could end up in a lot of hot water.

  100. tevetorbes says:

    I’ll blame the customer, every single time.

    Guess how you stop Best Buy from pulling their bullshit on you?

    STOP. SHOPPING. AT. BEST BUY.

    Best Buy will continue to dump shit all over its customers as long as they let them. They won’t stop until they close up their doors because it’s no longer lucrative for them to stay open.

    You get exactly what you deserve when you step foot into Best Buy. Don’t blame the shitbag company, just stop shopping there and it will all go away.

    By the way, is anybody really (I mean REALLY) surprised by this bullshit? Am I just that jaded? Some people read these “Best Buy cocks up another customer” stories and are absolutely incredulous that a company could be this way.

    WAKE UP! Best Buy is a cockhole shitstain of a company that doesn’t deserve to stay open, so yes, it is the CUSTOMER’S FAULT.

    I’m not saying what Best Buy does is ok or acceptable- anybody who thinks otherwise needs to bone up on their reading comprehension. But, there is no one else to blame besides the customer. Best Buy is a company, not a person with feelings or a conscience. They are in “The Game(TM)” to make money. If you stop shopping there, they stop making money, they stop shitting on you.

    It’s easy.

  101. cde says:

    Here’s a question. What if a shift manager asked you to leave, but then you talk to the assistant manager and they say otherwise? What if it’s assistant manager and store manager? Store manager and District Manager? Should you still leave because of a trespass notice issued by someone lower on the chain of command? The only difference here is that she was trying to contact the not present top of the chain.

  102. cde says:

    @Valhawk: Even a cashier is a representative of the store in Shoplifting and in Trespass notices (In NJ atleast)

    @CyberSkull: She was asked to leave/trespassed, she did not. No false report.

  103. MrEvil says:

    They can’t take away your rights, they can only ask you to leave. Which is exactly what the manager did. He then escalated when the request was not honored. He was still a douche for doing it over a private exchange between two customers.

  104. keyrat says:

    Don’t you guys agree that the manager was not in a position to ask anyone to leave, considering Best Buy corporate would not have it that way?

  105. Charles says:

    I’ve been into Best Buy many, many times, and not once have I had a bad customer service experience. My only problem with the place is that they are a little pushy, but 99% of the time if you just say “I’m fine” they walk away. The only time I’ve ever had to actually do anything important there was when I was returning an iPod, and that was one of the simplest transactions I’ve ever made in retail.

    And while I don’t read a lot of Consumerist stories (pretty much only when they get on Digg or Gizmodo), I can say that the ones I’ve read concerning Best Buy have almost always been avoidable by the consumer. In this case Alex obviously did not leave the store when asked, and in the oft-mentioned cases of receipt-checking, just don’t go there. I for one have no problem with some guy on minimum wage glancing at my receipt. If you do, fantastic, just don’t shop there. I should probably add that, in addition to not having any bad experiences there, at my local store if the receipt guy doesn’t see you until you’re out the door, generally he doesn’t care.

    Best Buy is an annoying store to go to, but for me that is far outweighed by the fact that, on sheer selection alone, it’s more or less the only place I can go; in addition to that, some people just like seeing shit before they buy it, in which case buying exclusively online is out of the question. Basically, if you’ve had a bad Best Buy experience and can’t stop crying about it, don’t go. But just because some pussies on the internet can’t leave when their told doesn’t mean everyone should quit going there.

  106. Morticia says:

    I’m swinging both sides. I can understand how Alex felt the need to warn a potential buyer that she found the product sadly lacking, but, by the same token if I were the other customer and had had my heart set on buying this thingymajig I’d still buy it.

    The sales assistant should have turned the negative into a positive, excused himself by mentioning he overheard her comment, shown an interest, noted her concerns and entered into a mature dialogue with them both.

    Calling the police was waaay over the top.

    I took the gift card comment to be purely tongue in cheek.

  107. TruPhan says:

    @tme2nsb: Thanks for attempting to head-off the detractors at the pass.

    Seriously people, how can you defend BB here? Does BB have the right? Yes. But is it wrong? INCREDIBLY.

  108. CRSpartan01 says:

    Sounds like you might have a potential false imprisonment claim. Gotta love law school!!

  109. Pylon83 says:

    @CRSpartan01:
    Clearly you didn’t/don’t pay attention in law school. She wasn’t forced to stay, or physically kept from leaving. She REFUSED TO LEAVE. Someone slept through Torts class.

  110. Pylon83 says:

    @keyrat:
    The manager absolutely was in a position to ask them to leave. I’m not sure how you can even question that capability. Further supporting his ability is the conversation with BB Corporate, where the rep said “yep, he can ask you to leave.”

  111. lizk says:

    Are you kidding?? If I’m wronged by a store, I’ll ask for a massive gift card, too. Then I spend it, take my free stuff home, and never go back. I’ll take free stuff for my trouble any day.

  112. @Starfury: Refuse to serve someone for SOME reasons. Not only what they did was wrong, but illegal, it goes against freedom of speech. And the only thing I saw that can limit freedom of speech in this case is:

    “Product defamation (criticism of commercial products; sometimes called product libel or product disparagement; for example, the Texas False Disparagement of Perishable Food Products Act)”

    But he was having a private conversation with someone else about a product and how he didn’t like it (his opinion). And it wasn’t about a best buy-made product, it was of a verizon product, so best buy had no reason to call the cops on him for it.

  113. IronWolve says:

    Best buy has “last man in town” syndrome, they sell the average crap people want and is lucky enough to be one of the only stores around. Pretty much, we think there is a million other stores around, but sadly there isnt. For computer hardware the reasonable store was CompUSA but they are out of business, leaving circuit city with a very limited selection. The local computer shops are the best bet, but its for a general type store, Best Buy is king in many parts of town.

    Yes it sucks, but currently they are the in the number 1 slot, I’d gladly take my business elsewhere, but when I want to browse the new products, Bestbuy is normally the one who has them. (Then If I’m not in a hurry, I buy online)..

    I’m sure someone is going to say, what about Fred Meyers, or Costco, etc. Yes they have a small selection of the most popular games, etc. But Bestbuy has done a good job at opening large stores carrying the most popular items. They sit alone if you compare the entire stock and amount of stock compared to other stores. Circuit city has the weakest computer selection, but their automotive section is bigger, with a tad more auto installs.

    The big guys can push you around because they can. And to hit them in the pocket books is the only way to make them change their attitudes of being rude to customers. I’ve had my share of rude Bestbuy people, but i put up with it if I want a video game and its 5 dollars cheaper than circuit city. I’m not alone here.

  114. thisisjacked says:

    @deserthiker: you work for Best Buy, don’tcha? (j/k). I thought the gift card comment was a joke, and took it as such.

  115. Riddar says:

    @ryanv1978: “That’s your first amendment right.”

    No, it isn’t. Did they make a bigger deal out of it than they should have? Yes. But if she had been a tiny, independent store telling everyone there how cheap the internet stores are and convincing people not to buy things there, you would be thrilled when the shop owner protects his business by using his right to throw her out. So even though this manager over reacted, it IS his option to weigh the costs of a woman *possibly* making a scene and driving away business versus that one person.

    And you know, the mention of a gift card at the end makes me think he made the right decision, from a *purely* business perspective. She will obviously be shopping there again as soon as she needs something and this memory is slightly less fresh.

  116. @Riddar: “Yes. But if she had been a tiny, independent store telling everyone there how cheap the internet stores are and convincing people not to buy things there, you would be thrilled when the shop owner protects his business by using his right to throw her out. So even though this manager over reacted, it IS his option to weigh the costs of a woman *possibly* making a scene and driving away business versus that one person.”

    But the person at best buy wasn’t “Driving” business away, he was only stating his honest opinion on the product and in fact had told a truth about it being marked up a lot more than the manufacturer. If best buy doesn’t want someone having anything negative to say about a product in the store they should either put a sign on the front door stating so (because there are no policies anywhere to be seen except the business hours) or tell each customer, when they come in, that they can’t have any negative say about a product, that they’ll have to wait until after they’ve left the store to start commenting.

  117. Draconianspark says:

    Bestbuy was in the wrong here; but I am pretty sure if an exempt employee ( i.e. a Manager )asks you to leave for any reason and you refuse, that you can be charged with trespassing.

  118. privatejoker75 says:

    best buy…FUCK YEAH

  119. jwissick says:

    Ok. This is a case of the OP being in the wrong.

    Why?

    How many fucking times must we say this? BEST BUY IS A SHITTY COMPANY!! They treat customers like shit! They treat you like thieves! Best Buy is NOT customer Friendly!

    Wake up people! Do NOT shop at Best Buy. If you do, don’t complain about it later because WE WARNED YOU time and time and time again!

    Yes, Alex, you brought this upon yourself.

  120. jwissick says:

    @Draconianspark: Only if there is a trespassing notice on file against you already… There is one now for sure, but before this it is unlikely.

  121. madpuppy says:

    Well, Best Buy seems to be a real scummy place, but, I have never had ANY of the problems that I have seen documented here and at other places on the net when dealing with them, no strong arm tactics for service contracts or to get a different item other than what I came for. if the price is cheapest there than anywhere else then I go there. but, the fact that I look like a maniac might be the reason that they don’t bother me. :P

  122. purplegrog says:

    I haven’t read all the comments, but what’s to stop the OP from standing outside the Best Buy (or on the public easement of the commercial property) with a huge sign that says something to the effect of “Best Buy had the police throw me out of the store because I told another customer I didn’t like one of the products on the shelf” ?

    Well, aside from taking time out of his/her day, that is.

  123. FrankTheTranq says:

    I used to do this for fun in the Chicago area if I was browsing BB, CompUSA or a local retailer. Elek-Tek used to be one of the worst.

    If I heard some sales drone giving a clueless customer less-than-honest product info, I’d gladly jump in and update the customer on the truth. I’d be sure to include alternative online sites for competing prices, information, etc. The blue shirt was usually too stunned to reply, especially when they were dealing with someone who knew the product better than they did.

    Interesting how more and more of these places are resorting to strong-arm tactics towards their customers rather than, say, providing decent information and service. Time to change “Geek Squad” to “Goon Squad.”

  124. BugMeNot2 says:

    the only people who refuse to leave a property are people that have never been arrested and never been to prison.

  125. vastrightwing says:

    I’ll probably be arrested for making these statements, but there are better places to buy stuff than Best Buy. In fact, Best Buy is your worst buy. For those who don’t know, Best Buy lies, lies, lies and when caught, lies to cover their lies. They lie about warranties, they refuse to cover my warranty. They lie about store prices. They lie about what they have in inventory, they lie about their policies. You pay more at Best Buy than almost anywhere else: they jack up prices for floor merchandise, they miss mark and then refuse to charge you the real price. They lie on their sales flyers to get you in the store and then claim the offer only applies to something they don’t have. The carry only expensive accessories and prey on ignorance to make their bottom line bigger. Their Geek Squad is not there to fix anything. They are there solely to steal your money and pretend to fix your problems, just like their pretend warranties. If you shop at Best Buy, you must take blame for the consequences, because Best Buy has illustrated over and over how they will rip you off before you leave their store. If you want a reasonable deal, go to eBay or Amazon or any other online store with a good reputation. If you are impatient and enter Best Buy, understand the risks.

  126. TheMadCow says:

    She’s whining about “getting a massive giftcard” to make her feel better. Epic fail at gaming the system. Do not pass go, do over, Bitch!

  127. Buran says:

    @legwork: Apparently. You also don’t seem to understand the concept of doing something to make it up to someone you screw over.

  128. Buran says:

    @tevetorbes: You’re a total asshole, you know that?

  129. Buran says:

    @MrEvil: She was escalating it as well and he did not respect her right to do so.

  130. ObtuseGoose says:

    @Doofio: Exactly what I was thinking. Obviously the manager didn’t tell the police that Alex told another customer that Best Buy was charging too much for the headset. I guess speaking to another customer is considered disturbing the peace. Next at Best Buy… speak to a customer… off to Siberia!

  131. Asvetic says:

    Shopping is like entering Feudal China. Apparently, you wave all your rights at the door. Nowadays, stores are either kicking you out for having an opinion, or trying to keep you there when you don’t comply with policy.

    How powerful is policy anyway? If it’s so important, why is it a secret that is only muttered when someone is in fraction of it?

  132. KJones says:

    If the other customer were talking to the store staff and Alex interrupted the conversation, there might be a cause for telling Alex to leave. But policing private conversations involving two customers is ridiculously over the line.

    Having said that, I’ve got nothing more than dirty looks when I told other customers (while they talked to store staff) about lower prices for the same item at other stores.

    I especially make it a point to do that when stores claim “lower prices than the competition!” and they aren’t.

  133. parad0x360 says:

    @zentec: You rights as a citizen of this country do not vanish when you walk onto private property. Unless you are causing damage to said property or bodily harm to someone they have no right or reason to make you leave.

    She was a customer sharing an opinion on a bad product, no more no less and to be treated this way is shamefull in every sense of the way.

    So the guy might not have purchased that 1 headset. Well what if he picked another? Now they have lost a customer, possibly more then 1 because they felt like treating this lady like a criminal for advising someone about the price and quality of a product. Last i checked there was nothing wrong with that and if I was in the same situation I would be thankfull to someone for warning me about the price and quality of what im about to buy.

  134. jenorth says:

    With the advent of the changing of DVD formats, and High Def TV’s, I went down to best buy to get a replacement for my old player. I wanted a DVD player/burner with a TV tuner in it.
    They had one, made by LG. A nice DVD & VCR combo with a tuner. $ 380. According to the advertisements, and the decals on the unit, it claims to be an all in one. It will read and burn every format of DVD
    Not a bad deal for the price. I bought my first ever Blu-Ray.
    After inserting the dick, the screen message came up that the disk could not be read.
    I called Best Buys tech support, and was referred to LG’s support.
    I did a web search and came up with their home page, followed by a listing of all their Combo units.
    The Unit I had purchased wasn’t even listed.
    I e-mailed Their tech support with the make and model, and the big question. What’s wrong ?

    I was told that regardless of what Best Buy had advertised this unit as, it would only read write DVD RW, R-,R+, and that it did have a standard tuner and not an HD up convert as claimed by Best Buy.

    What a waste of money!

  135. karan1003 says:

    @starfury

    just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right…

  136. skojec says:

    I’m really surprised that this discussion has got so many people talking about legal rights. The purpose of this blog, as I understand it, is to help consumers dealing with bad customer service from companies who don’t care.

    As someone who works in public relations, there’s no question that companies have all sorts of rights that, when exercised, will only serve to ruin their reputation with the public. This is an issue of colossal failure to maintain rapport with the customer, and with the pickup on this blog as well as Digg, it’s becoming a big story.

    This is the cardinal rule of customer relations in the Web 2.0 world – you want to make a stupid, greedy decision and treat a customer like crap? You’re going to pay for it in loss of respect. “I’m going to tell all my friends” used to be a threat customers made when they got bad service. In a small community, that was a killer. In a big community those voices were lost until social media amped up the volume on that complaint.

    With the help of Consumerist & Digg, “all my friends” can quickly become thousands of readers. Businesses need to wise up.

  137. radio1 says:

    Wow! What is with Best Buy?

    I’d suggest calling your local news station– maybe you’ll get an 11pm bumper…

    “Find out why Best Buy call the police on customer conversations… at 11pm.”

  138. nobodyman says:

    @picardia: A business can deny service to anyone for any reason, *except* on the basis of race, creed, gender, or physical disability. Whether the business engages in interstate commerce is irrelevant. In fact, it is federal law that grants the right to deny service in the first place.

    Is the Best Buy manager an idiot? Probably. Should he have kicked her out? Probably not. Did he have the legal right to do so? Absolutely.

  139. Raachie says:

    Ugh, I can’t wait to hear the end of that story. Managers need to stop thinking that they rule the world. And people blaming the customer? What??? How is this the customer’s FAULT? What business does BEST BUY have listening in on something like that when even the EMPLOYEES themselves would probably agree. I hate to admit this, but I’ve worked there. I’ve heard actual employees suggest other products? Isn’t that their job? This TOM guy’s a complete ass.

  140. Concerned_Citizen says:

    It is just odd in these situations why cops don’t tell the manager to let the non disruptive customer finish his purchases and leave when he is done. If cops keep using their power to allow dumb store managers to kick out people not actually causing problems or breaking the law, stupid managers will keep abusing the police. As far as I am concerned a store manager using police like this is the same thing as calling 911 to find out the current date. But I also find it ridiculous that this guy is so blatantly asking for a gift card. Clearly he isn’t worried about preventing this in the future or cares that he was wronged. If he wants a payout, he should take this manager to civil court and get money directly from the manager. Best buy telling you everything this guy did was wrong and that he lied about it being policy should be all the evidence you need in court to prove this guy wronged you. It’s basically a case where someone did something they were not authorized to do. Like if I called a towing company and had your car towed, despite not owning the property it was parked on, only because I didn’t like how your car looked.

  141. ??????? says:

    This is really a shame. I’ve been in a similar situation on numerous occasions, where I’ve been in a store and struck up a conversation with a fellow customer about various products, etc. I’ve never imagined that it could lead to the police being called. What an egregious overreaction on the part of that store manager. Not only is it a propsterous waste of law enforcements’ time, but an embarrassment to the customer. Heck, I’ve even been in stores where I’ve talked to employees about products and they’ve explicitly recommended that I don’t buy it. I could see a manager getting upset with his own employee for discouraging a sale (though I am thankful that there are employees honest enough to give their true opinion on a product), but there is no reason to sanction customers from communicating with each other about their own experiences with the products for sale in the store.

    If I were in a store and had a bad experience with an electronic product, and if I noticed another customer checking out that product, I’d warn him about my experience. If they called the cops on me for that, I’d make sure they made it up to me somehow. With money.

  142. ConsumeristQ says:

    As a former Gateway Country employee, I ALWAYS offer help to people in big box stores. There was a time when I got paid decent money to make people happy, then they laid us off. I still find happiness in helping people with the confusion that is a modern huge electronics retailer.

  143. Riddar says:

    @The Marionette: “But the person at best buy wasn’t “Driving” business away, he was only stating his honest opinion on the product and in fact had told a truth about it being marked up a lot more than the manufacturer.”

    Telling people an item is a ripoff while in that store when they are potential customers is driving away business. You think a store needs a sign to say “If you detract from our business, we will ask you to leave.”? Of course not. Go into any store, any single one, if a manager sees you or is informed you are milling about telling people not to buy things they will do the same thing. That is what I think is key to realize, this isn’t something exclusive to Best Buy. Employees may normally look the other way out of apathy, but people more involved in the bottom line would not let this happen.

    Anyway, all there is to be said here is that the manager may have been absolutely rude (matter of opinion, or else beyond the scope of the original post) but did nothing illegal or differently than other stores might have done.

    As a last note, keep in mind the non-emergency response times for police are more than a few minutes. That means that even after this person was asked to leave, there was time for employees to call the police, the police to arrive, and come inside to resolve the situation. If you think the poster was chatting calmly with the manager and simply waiting for the police for fun, that is your business.

  144. skellener says:

    @Starfury:
    Untrue. Retailers DO NOT have ultimate power. Try refusing service to anyone based on race, religion or gender and you will go to jail or at least have your license revoked,

    What it come down to, if you don’t like the policy of the retailer, stop giving them your money and shop elsewhere. If enough people feel that way and do the same thing, the retailer will not be around very long.

  145. sublicon says:

    I hate Best Buy.

  146. stryper2000 says:

    @Buran: takes one to know one huh.

  147. stryper2000 says:

    btw, this post should say Best Buy Manager, Not Best Buy. what one person does at one store is not representative of the whole company.

    now it might have seem overboard as to what happened to the person, but if the manager believed that a problem might come up from this person then by all means he had the right and responsibility to ask them to leave. If she refused, then he/she went from having a case to argue to being a stubborn fool. Oh and extorting a gift card for the incident seems kinda silly doesn’t it , assuming they are going to no longer have anything to do with the store.

    oh and to all this whining about “Stop blaming the buyer”,some customers are not 100% all of the time

  148. @Riddar:
    I’m sure there is more than 1 brand of that particular type of headset there. Just because product A was a ripoff, doesn’t mean product b, c, d, etc is. It would be a bit different if he were to say something as “All of the headsets here are garbage/a ripoff.” And again it’s not like he was lying about the product, it was marked up a lot higher than what the manufacturer was selling it for, so unless what he said there was untrue then he wasn’t telling any kind of lies about the product.

  149. Buckler says:

    Reminds me of something that happened to me in NYC…I stopped at one of those perpetually “going-out-of-business” electronics stores, and saw a salesman trying to misrepresend a VCP (videocassette player) as a VCR (recorder) to a customer. The guy specifically asked if it recorded, and the salesman said “yes”, despite the fact that the box clearly said “player” and “VCP” right on it. I said to the guy “You DO realize that won’t record, right?”. The salesman went berserk and physically grabbed me to throw me out of the store. I didn’t resist, but told him if he touched me again, I’d have his ass on battery charges.

  150. Riddar says:

    @The Marionette: “And again it’s not like he was lying about the product, it was marked up a lot higher than what the manufacturer was selling it for…”

    I never said that Alex was lying, just that she was driving away business. She told the truth, of course. The store loses when that happens, though; Best Buy in particular earned a huge margin thanks to people not doing their homework.

  151. I_used_to_work_at_BB says:

    I used to shop at Best Buy.. that is typical of how they treat people.

    You should never buy electronics at a brick and mortar anyway.. maybe you can window shop there to see first hand what types of product are available, but you should then look it up on Amazon or eBay.

    [improveverywhere.com] <– this Best Buy prank will crack you up.

  152. war_eaglemom says:

    Best Buy should be forced to repay the municipal government money spent on gas and wages by sending the police on such a meaningless call.

    This was a waste of tax-dollars and resources. What if someone else really needed help from these police and they were busy at Best Buy?

  153. gracegustafson says:

    Okay.. I work at Best Buy myself and while this manager was obviously over reacting, when you walk into the store you have to be aware that we can refuse service to whomever we please. And to all of you people who sit there saying that Best Buy is a horrible company and they don’t deserve to be in business, grow up. Best Buy is not an awful place.. Yes, sometimes people make mistakes and over react to idiotic things such as this, but do you honestly believe that we are open JUST to piss people off? If yes, you are an idiot. There are BEYOND enough people who love Best Buy and frequently shop there to keep us in business and honestly, we don’t need to care about the occasional customer who leaves proclaiming the famous words… “I’M NEVER SHOPPING HERE AGAIN!”

    As for the whole “gift card” thing, good luck. I always find it amusing how so many people expect to be compensated by monetary ways, as though having a gift card with 50 bucks on it to a store you claim to be extremely dissatisfied with will help you recover from your extreme humiliation.

  154. gracegustafson says:

    @jenorth: I have an extremely difficult time believing that ANY Best Buy associate would tell you that a combo VHS/DVD machine would play Blu-Ray discs… That is absolutely not possible and nobody working there would give you such information.

  155. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @Starfury:

    While the BB manager was wrong in the way he handled this, retail places do have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason.

    Really? Does that mean that they can refuse service to someone because they’re black? Or because they’re Christian? Or because they’re a woman?

    All you folks who think that stores can do whatever they want, please shut the hell up.

  156. Riddar says:

    @TinyBug: With exceptions to the obvious (race, religion, gender, and so on), a company is allowed to without service to anybody. Notably, a food establishment was allowed to keep a policy of requiring orders be made in English. Same vein, a manager is then allowed to ask you to leave the property.

  157. Alex Chasick says:

    I think some of you are reading this the wrong way. I, along with apparently most of our commenters, also went to law school; and I agree that this is not a question of First Amendment rights, nor do I dispute that a manager should be able to call the police on a customer who refuses to leave the store.

    What bothers me is that although Alex didn’t leave the store when asked, it was because he was on hold with corporate, trying to resolve the problem (as it turned out, the Best Buy manager was wrong, and Alex was right). Legally speaking, yes, the manager can refuse service, and yes, the manager can ask a customer to leave. But that’s terrible customer service, and now 150,000 people know about it.

  158. GadgetProne says:

    I had this very same happen to me back in 2002-2003 at Emeryville, California’s Best Buy. I was looking for some gadgets on my lunch break from work. I overheard a young sales lady trying to sell an older Lady a Toshiba PDA priced at $549 dollars. Obviously she (customer) was going to get ripped off. Why need to carry a cell phone and a PDA!

    When the sales lady walked away I then asked her (customer) politely what she needed it for. She was a Realtor and need a way to keep her contacts names & numbers. I was using a Blackberry & showed it to her. I mentioned its abilities and uses which might just suit her needs.

    Next thing I know the sales lady got the manager. The manager said to me “We don’t allow soliciting in the store.” I said I was a consumer who was just sharing my thoughts. I said, “Why can’t I mention it?” She said “We don’t sell that product in this store! I even mentioned to the sales lady I am not trying to lose her sale! If the lady (realtor) wanted the product she could still purchase it, I was just giving her other options to explore!

    They proceeded to ask me to leave. I left due to the fact I needed to get back to work! I just couldn’t believe that this even occurred! I too felt my “freedom of speech” was squelched Irregardless if the “right” stopped at the entrance of the business!

    If I walked into a grocery store that didn’t have Kosher products and overheard someone ask a clerk for that said product and was told they didn’t stock Kosher foods, why is it wrong to mention to the customer where they could find such things?

  159. ShadowGod says:

    1) Contact a lawyer.

    2) Contact your local tv news, and your local newspaper.

    3) Send formal letters to BB, and your state Attorney General, while cc’ing your lawyer.

  160. njrufan says:

    In NJ it is called defiant tresspass and the statute reads:

    N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3(b):
    b. Defiant trespasser. A person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or remains in any place as to which notice against trespass is given by:

    (1) Actual communication to the actor; or

    (2) Posting in a manner prescribed by law or reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders; or

    (3) Fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders.

    But according to the statute the affirmative defenses are:

    d. Defenses. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that:

    (1) A structure involved in an offense under subsection a. was abandoned;

    (2) The structure was at the time open to members of the public and the actor complied with all lawful conditions imposed on access to or remaining in the structure; or

    (3) The actor reasonably believed that the owner of the structure, or other person empowered to license access thereto, would have licensed him to enter or remain, or, in the case of subsection c. of this section, to peer.

    I would say that section number 2 of the affirmative defenses actually apply to Alex here. Being it was admitted to her that there is no policy with regards to her advising another customer of the excessive pricing for the product at Best Buy. Even if there was a policy Best Buy policy is not considered law here in NJ ( no matter how much they think it is ). Maybe someone should mail Tom a copy of NJ’s criminal code!!

  161. banmojo says:

    This is also the fault of the police. Without a valid reason for giving the boot, this is just a frivolous call to the cops, and the manager should have been fined for such. I have no problem with the request for a gift card. He’s not mad at BB per se, but rather at that asshole manager. And yes, while the manager may have the legal right to refuse service to a customer “for any reason”, this is a NATIONAL chain store with CLEAR WRITTEN STORE POLICY and this manager was a lying piece of shit mad at losing a commission.

    Folks, BB is a piece of shit company – if we boycott them, they will fall. Join me and thousands of others who are sick and tired of being played for fools by BB employees.

    eofm.

  162. pssshwhatever says:

    Well, as a line-level Best Buy employee (of several years) myself, I think I have some interesting perspective on this guy’s letter.

    The first thing I noticed is that he said he came in around 9 pm to look around. I checked the date, it was a Wednesday, the store closes at 9. By the time he ran in the store and looked around for a bit, the store had probably closed. Also, I’ve dealt with many customers who want to go around the store telling all our customers what they should and shouldn’t buy, and most of them have no idea what they’re talking about and have some sort of vendetta against a brand or type of product (mostly because they talk more than they listen and can’t figure out how to use it correctly). Sometimes, they actively interrupt others’ conversations to do it, and this guy strikes me as that sort of guy. Also, he wrote the entire thing in an attempt to find out how to get a big gift card from us – so we know he’s a complete jackass.

    So here’s what we’ve got: a guy in the store after hours, on a business’s private property, probably attempting to impede that business from operating normally and refusing to leave. I’ve seen more than a couple customers like this, and they always try and make a scene, usually hoping that the employees will get embarrassed and offer him a gift card to shut up so he doesn’t scare away other customers.

    We’re not allowed to physically touch any customers, in any way, so our only recourse for a customer refusing to leave the premises is to have the police escort them out. Don’t believe for a second that this guy was being polite or reasonable, as much as he tries to paint himself that way.

    And we check receipts at the door for two reasons: lots of people try to steal things by putting them in bags and lots of times the lazy inventory guy pulls the wrong product and checking the receipt against the product is our last chance to catch it before a customer takes the product home, saving everyone an extra headache.

    So did the associates act perfectly? No, but don’t blame us for the occasional jackass that comes in the store and makes a scene, either.

  163. arsbadmojo says:

    The store manager considered her to be trespassing after she was asked to leave and refused. While it was handled legally – was it the /best/ (or even mildly good) way to handle the situation? Of course not.

    But let’s think about this for a minute; if the store manager had above average intelligence or decision making ability, would they be a Best Buy manager in the first place? I gotta go with ‘no’ on this.

    If you go to the circus; you’re gonna run into some clowns.

    Sometimes when I dislike my job I just think what it would be like to do public relations for Best Buy and suddenly I feel better.

  164. freejazz38 says:

    You can forget about hearing back from Worst Buy. Their policy these days is to have one of their CS robots pretend to take down a complaint, which promptly ends up in the circular file, to make you THINK they are doing something about your problem. They will NOT give out DM’s contact info. It’s hillarious. You call the store, they refer you to the 800 number, you call the 800 number, and either they refer you to the store, or else say they don’t give that info out. Please. BB could not care LESS about CS. They are a joke. You infringed on their right to rip off the customer. I mean, they spend millions advertising their low prices, and then YOU waltz in and prove them wrong. IMAGINE how that must make the little minimum wage morons feel!

  165. mark5453 says:

    First: Were 1st Amendment rights violated? Probably not. Only a gov’t can violate that, not individuals or businesses.
    Second: Was she trespassing? Definitely not. Unless she was being disruptive, doing something illegal OR VIOLATING A POSTED OR GENERALLY UNDERSTOOD POLICY(No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service is understood in the city but has to be posted if your business is on the beach), the manager(who is NOT the Owner OR Policy Maker) really had no right to ask the person to leave what may be consider “private property” BUT, and a BIG BUT, is in the business of being accessible and open to the PUBLIC. Alex is public.

  166. Darrig209 says:

    You can always go in and fill out an employment application. At least in California you can not prohibit someone from filling out an application and you are required to accept one if offered.

    You will drive that guy crazy. Especially if you fill it out very slowly. You could even bring a clipboard and wander the store while filling it out.

    If he asks you to stop, you may have a case with the EEOC. If you claim ADD (which is why you need to walk while filling out the application) you may be able to wrangle in a good Americans with Disabilities Act discrimination suit. That is if you have time to really screw with this guy.

    Good luck and have fun.

  167. jjtal says:

    Thank you so much to all the helpful legal eagles who have pointed out (ad nauseam) that the Best Buy manager was within his legal rights to ask Alex to leave and then call the police to enforce this edict. That might even be relevant if Alex was taking Best Buy to court; as things stand, though, it’s completely beside the point. The point is, this manager acted like a little martinet, and deserves to be held up to ridicule and contempt for it.

    And, to those who say that you shouldn’t shop at Best Buy and that, if you do, anything that happens to you is your fault: that’s all well and good if you live in an area with multiple sources for electronic equipment. When Best Buy is the only store of this nature within reach, and waiting for an item to be delivered is not a viable alternative, that is perfectly useless advice.

  168. yellowsub says:

    I am not sure why people go to Bestbuy for anything? I hate their stores and Circuit City too. Must be a lot more morons out there than I thought.

    Anyway, what this guy did wasn’t wrong. So he stopped a sale from someone selling a potentially shitty device. People talk all the time.

    What this should tell people is that Bestbuy is into ripping people off and will call the police in to defend their slimy tactics…

    People should wake up and stop buying from these large box stores and just buy online from somewhere else and probably be a lot cheaper!

    I would make a bigger stink about to just this website. Obviously informed people don’t shop their only sheep…

  169. yellowsub says:

    @jjtal:

    What can’t you buy these days that can’t be delivered to your door?

  170. jjtal says:

    @yellowsub: Practically nothing. My point wasn’t that you couldn’t get it online; it was that sometimes you can’t (or just don’t want to) wait for it to be delivered. Another consideration that I didn’t mention but that enters into the equation for some of us is that sales tax paid to brick & mortar merchants goes to help the revenue base of our communities, while shipping charges paid to online merchants do not. It’s often a wash as a percentage of the total cost, so why not spend it where you might recoup some return on your inveestment?

  171. xDimMaK says:

    What a shocker. People are yet again defending Best Buy for horribly mistreating a customer. This time for helping out his fellow man. And not even that, but trying to make up scenarios to make the customer seem like the bad guy.

    Unbelievable.

  172. YohannRoebuck says:

    Don’t give your comments to customer service over the phone. Rather, send
    your comments via a handwritten letter to the CEO and mail it to the CEO’s
    mailing address. The CEO won’t answer it personally, of course, but they
    will usually send it to their assistants to take care of. Most people never
    do this, so when someone DOES send something to the CEO, it usually gets
    noticed pretty quickly.

  173. Anonymous says:

    I work at Best Buy and I have never in the years I have worked there seen anything like this happen. I believe in logic and this manager didn’t use this. This manager is probably not working at Best Buy anymore because of this. Best Buy likes to take care of their customers. I have seen many managers go for reasons less than this where customers were involved. I am just a full-time associate while going to college and if I ever saw conversation like that. I would approach the customer asked where he saw it at verified that it was a retailer and matched the price as it states in our policy. It sounds like they forgot this rule. But don’t say that all associates don’t take care of customers and that they don’t know their product. Some might not but to say all is just a poor statement because you haven’t met all of us. And Best Buy does good stuff too my store single-handedly raised over 50 thousand dollars this year in money that Best Buy will donate to the organization we volunteered 40 hours at. So go easy on us we care too.

  174. BMonster says:

    First: Let’s not blame the victim; Best Buy is clearly out of line here.

    Second: No, stores in NJ do NOT have the “right” to refuse service to anyone they please. If you don’t believe me, check with NJ’s Attorney General. So long as you are not creating a disruption, they cannot eject you (nor can they eject you preemptively for previous behavior).

    Third: Yes, you DO have First Amendment rights in a store. A large store is not exactly private property — it is “quasi-public.” Heck, the Supreme courts of NJ and the US have both upheld the right to hand out literature at malls, because malls are essentially public venues on private property.