Best Buy Trained MePossibly Trained Other Employees I Heard About To Commit Credit Card Fraud, And 4 More Bad Things

A commenter to our Worst Company in America nominations picked Best Buy, his employer of six years, to win it all. His reasons, including the credit card fraud, phony bundling scams, and other schemes they made him do to keep his job he heard rumors about happening at other Best Buys, inside. UPDATE: The original commenter has contacted us to say that these things did not actually happen to him and he was not trained to do them by Best Buy. Rather, he heard about them happening at other Best Buys or read about them in other Consumerist articles, and, in a pique of anger, wrote a long comment that remixed all this information together and framed it as if it happened to him. Consumerist regrets the error, and the commenter has been banned.

1. Watch out for extra charges
“They forcefully signed up ignorant customers for internet contracts and magazine subscriptions without the customers knowledge,” writes our insider. “I was trained in the way of how to act like the credit card wasn’t recognized the first time through since we needed to scan it once for the contract and later for the purchase, and also to do a little X on the screen for them when they had to sign the contract.”

2. They don’t like warranty repairs
“If we found one single scratch on the phone, we would tell the customer it was sign of abuse and refuse their warranty . . . I think I saw 1 out of 20 phones handled under the service plan because of that.” Eventually Best Buy corporate took over because of the complaints.

3. Tart it up if you’re gonna ask for a favor
“You better be attractive if you want the easy road through a policy or friends with somebody. If you don’t have much on your side, you won’t qualify for a ‘case by case’ policy procedure.”

4. Best Buy loves unnecessary charges and services as much as the next big box store
Remember the story about Staples charging $390 for a basic computer repair? Best Buy can beat that: “I remember when Best Buy first started selling VPR Matrix Computers. The machines came with virtually nothing on them but the operating system, yet we still heavily pushed a system optimization to eliminate background programs and make it work so much better. I think all we did on this particular PC was turn on automatic updates, and install the latest patches… There were no unnecessary programs on boot.

5. Bundles are a ripoff
“You want the 299 advertised core system? We have plenty in stock!!! But it’s only available in the package with 10 extra controllers, all 32 games, 15 memory cards, 2 extra hard drive kits, and the Replacement plan! Oh and 10 years of xbox live subscription!”

Our insider didn’t offer any advice for escaping these pitfalls, but one obvious solution would be to stop shopping at Best Buy.

(Photo: greggoconnell)

Comments

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  1. winstonthorne says:

    Best Buy has the distinction of being the only retailer thus far to land on my “gift card only” list – I’ll only shop there if someone gives me a gift card.

  2. B says:

    I don’t get #2. Doesn’t Best Buy get paid by the manufacturer when they do warranty repairs?

  3. olivia2.0 says:

    Look – I HATE Best Buy, and now I hate them even more, but I am buying a PS3 with my economic stimulus check, so, if Best Buy is shitty, and I know Circut City is too…where SHOULD I buy a PS3? Suggestions?

  4. WingZero987 says:

    My anecdotal experience for (formerly) working and shopping at a local Best Buy is that the company, on a local management level, is offensively misogynistic and high school girls are often taken advantage of by their superiors after they’re promoted for their quality “assets.”

  5. Alex Chasick says:

    @olivia2.0: Costco?

  6. nicless says:

    As a former employee of Best Buy, I can tell you that just because this ONE person’s store did this doesn’t mean it was the whole company. We never did any of this. Plenty of reasons to hate Best Buy, but this is just a reason to hate the Best Buy this person worked at.

  7. diddy0071 says:

    @olivia2.0: Where ever you buy it, HOLD ON TO YOUR RECIEPT FOR DEAR LIFE!

  8. KyleOrton says:

    @B: Yeah, that was confusing. From the text, I think he means **extended** warranty/service plan repairs.

    As I recall, they could care less about the manufacturer’s warranty stuff.

  9. highmodulus says:

    @olivia2.0: Amazon.

  10. mariospants says:

    Never heard about anything like this in Canadian Best Buys.

  11. arniec says:

    @olivia2.0

    Amazon where you don’t pay sales tax?

    Wal Mart where they have a fairly lax return policy compared to everywhere else?

    Toys R Us where at least they’re not Best Buy?

    Gamestop where…um…uh…yeah….don’t buy at Gamestop.

    But there are other options for something as common as a PS3.

  12. Turcicus says:

    @olivia2.0: Gamestop, Wal-Mart, Target, Costco (as Alex mentioned), Toys R Us, etc., etc. Best Buy and Circuit City ain’t the only games in town.

  13. ivanthemute says:

    @Alex Chasick: Costco +1, Sams, Walmart, hell anywhere other than CC or BB.

  14. parad0x360 says:

    Yea that sounds about right. Its not really the store managers fault or the people working under them at fault. Its corporate who demands they meet quotas or lose their jobs. If every manager stepped up and was very vocal about all this crap then maybe it would end and the customers would come first.

    I think these big box companies would be surprised that if they treat customers fairly and honestly that they would make more money on repeat sales and more walk ins from good reputation. Instead all you hear is horror stories and chances are they will sell the average person 1 high ticket item and then lose them as repeat customers later on.

  15. Coder4Life says:

    @B: I think she is talking about the extended warranty repairs.

    also they don’t like basic manf. warranty repairs b/ they don’t always get paid for them rather they just ship them out. Or they know you didn’t buy a service plan so they hate you.

    The store sees backend dollars and nothing up front…

  16. Gamestop is bad?

    I’ve only been there once, but it was the most pleasant retail experience I’ve had in a while. Beat the hell out of EB and the other gaming stores. YMMV, naturally.

  17. hi says:

    I have to say I don’t like BB either but my camcorder broke and i didn’t have an extended warrenty or anything and they fixed it for me no charge or hassles. I guess I got lucky. Sometimes it’s who you deal with and not the company itself.

  18. B says:

    @KyleOrton: Well, even with extended warranties sold by Best Buy, the store is still compensated for the work.

  19. spartan789 says:

    @Ash78: EB and Gamestop are the same company now. I think most of what people complain about is the fact that GS and EB Games buy your games for low, and sell it high. I don’t see why people hate them. I don’t think margins are too high on video games alone, so if they figured out a way to make more and people will fall for it, all the more power to them.

  20. Byzantine says:

    Once a BB cashier asked me if I wanted a free subscription to Sports Illustrated. I asked if I would ever get charged. She said I would not get charged, and when the free issues run out, I would have to call up SI to pay for more. No automatic billing according to her.

    Low and behold I was charged for SI. The next time after that a BB cashier asked if I wanted free magazines, instead of just saying no and getting more sales pitches, I told him the story. That shut him up quick.

  21. forgottenpassword says:

    Yeah, I got signed up for an AOL account when i bought a laptop there. I SPecifically said that I did not want it. But months later I got a bill from AOL saying my 3 free introductory months were up & had to start paying. I said that i didnt sign up for it & thankfully they cancelled their bill/contract.

    I later found out that it was common practice for best buy employees to sign you up for things you didnt want.

    Another reason best buy is the devil!

    ps. the dude who was “helping” me while I was buying the laptop was being a REAL PRICK about the fact that I didnt want to buy a battery or lcd screen failure insurance policy. I mean he was being an insipid prick about it…. saying that they break all the time & I was stupid for not buying it. He was pissing me off so much that I almost walked out without the laptop, but it was such a deal (and I needed a laptop) that I was willing to tolerate it.

  22. ikimashokie says:

    @winstonthorne: It’s called regifting, haha.

    I have an aunt who likes to give me gift cards to BB, because she remembers me talking about them (but apparently not full of burning hatred. Go figure).

    I try to hold onto the card in the hopes that maybe I can find something that is worth sucking it up and setting foot in a store, but I always end up giving it to my mom or my brother.

  23. MayorBee says:

    @B: No they’re not. They’re compensated when they don’t perform any work at all. If they sell 100 “performance plans” and have an expected warranty rate of 5%, they make more money by denying legitimate warranty issues. They aren’t spending the money to repair the item (i.e. parts, shipping, labor), so they get to keep more of the money they allocated for that warranty repair work.

    The manager’s bonus was probably somehow tied to the amount of profit tied to the service plans. One way of increasing that profit would be to sell more plans (that’s when the salesperson pushes you to buy the warranty). The other way would be to deny as many claims as you can.

  24. As a former BBer myself, I can say that while Best Buy isn’t perfect, this is not what every store is like.

    There are bad stores, and there are good stores. Most stores are a direct reflection of their General Manager, though. That is true of almost any retail store, Best Buy or not.

  25. sp00nix says:

    @B: they do. Some of this is either BS or bad management. i would believe either or.

  26. @forgottenpassword: “ps. the dude who was “helping” me while I was buying the laptop was being a REAL PRICK about the fact that I didnt want to buy a battery or lcd screen failure insurance policy. I mean he was being an insipid prick about it…. saying that they break all the time & I was stupid for not buying it.”

    That’s when I say “why are you trying to sell me such a piece of crap?” and walk.

  27. lostalaska says:

    @olivia2.0: I purchase my game systems from Costco when I can, they have (or at least had) a really solid return policy on their electronics. Yeah, generally they’re bundled with a couple unspectacular games and an extra controller, but I live in a small town <30k in Alaska and it’s the only local place with a decent return policy.

    Online options like Amazon or okay, but it’s nice to be able to return a product to a store and get it swapped out if you have a problem. I’m still kicking myself for not buying a 360 through them. I’m on my 4th Xbox in 2 years because of the Red Ring.

  28. Shadowman615 says:

    @olivia2.0: Amazon’s where I got mine.

  29. rawsteak says:

    hold on, couldn’t you buy things at best buy and pay with cash instead of a credit card? that seems like a good way to not get scammed into other things because you can show the guy right there, “i only have this much, so i don’t want any magazines or internet contracts.” then they would have to ask for your information to fill one of those things out, which you would refuse.

  30. KarmaChameleon says:

    @InfiniTrent: This can’t be said enough. At 99% of big box retail stores, it depends on the store. I’ve shopped at Best Buys in three different states and have never had anything but good experiences. The last major purchase I made at a BB was for a 42″ Sharp Aquos LCD TV the week before the Superbowl. My regular store was all sold out, and there was only one left in stock in the area. The salesperson who helped me called her friend at a BB across town *on her personal mobile* and asked him to hold it for me despite the fact they weren’t really supposed to do that. I picked it up and had it in time for the game. I can tell you that this experience is par for the course for me at BB. Maybe it’s because I’m a hot lesbian, but I doubt it.

    Bottom line, hit or miss customer service experiences will continue to be the rule of big box stores as long as the prevailing corporate retail culture emphasizes bean counting and metrics above all else, including employees and customers. It’s this kind of atmosphere that allows rogue GMs like the one who ran the OP’s store to exist. Less pressure to meet ridiculous goals set by corporate to make the CEO and shareholders happy means less desperation and resorting to fraud tactics.

  31. rmz says:

    @forgottenpassword:

    the dude who was “helping” me while I was buying the laptop was being a REAL PRICK about the fact that I didnt want to buy a battery or lcd screen failure insurance policy. I mean he was being an insipid prick about it…. saying that they break all the time & I was stupid for not buying it.

    Happened to us at Fry’s, too, when we went in to buy a loss leader laptop and nothing else. The salesman gave us the hard sell on a warranty, going so far as to forcibly bend the screen on their display model as hard as he could with his hands, to show how “fragile” it was. He also claimed that if we needed warranty service, we “would have to send it to Korea” and we wouldn’t see it for three months.

    Three years later, the laptop is still working just fine, and other than one warranty claim (which we had to send it to Illinois for, not Korea!), it’s been fine.

    My only consolation is the knowledge that he got NO commission for that sale, given that we bought nothing extra.

  32. a511475a says:

    I have worked for BestBuy for 4 years after retiring from teaching electronics at a community college. This story is absolutely false. ANYONE AT MY STORE WHICH WOULD DO THESE THINGS WOULD BE FIRED ON THE STOP. I do not respect the persaon who wrote it. SHAME

  33. rmz, you must tell us how to make a quote box!

  34. trujunglist says:

    @hi:

    “You better be attractive if you want the easy road through a policy or friends with somebody. If you don’t have much on your side, you won’t qualify for a ‘case by case’ policy procedure.”

    Or maybe you just caught the fancy of some BB geek.

  35. @KarmaChameleon: You’re right – when I worked at BB during college, I was aware of all the bad stuff that takes place at some BBs, and I just did my best to do a good job and do things the right way. That’s what it comes down to – GMs that hire good people and then support them making the right decision for the customer.

  36. trujunglist says:

    @InfiniTrent:

    rmz, you must tell us how to make a quote box!

    Type ..<..blockquote.) and .<../blockquote), like html, but remove the periods and close the ) with a reverse of <.
    I can’t type the actual commands for you.
    good luck understanding that.

  37. MayorBee says:

    @InfiniTrent: Just encase the part you want to quote with <blockquote> and </blockquote>.

  38. SuffolkHouse says:

    @olivia2.0:
    Buy it direct from Sony. Why do you need a high school kid, spiffed up in his blue polo to sell this to you?

    [www.us.playstation.com]

  39. PhoenixMI says:

    Long time reader, first time poster here.

    With the exception of waiting around FOREVER to ask a question and some pretty lousy customer service desk representatives, I’ve only had good experiences at BB.

    I bought the extended warranty on a cell phone there then exchanged it no less than two times each after a year or two of use to upgrade for free (and they weren’t in perfect condition).

    I think if you’re careful and patient you can find some pretty good deals there too.

    My worst experience was when they switched the BB card to HSBC. I was trying to buy a laptop and they told me I would have to re-apply for the card. The manager wouldn’t (couldn’t?) budge but I called up corporate and explained that my credit was good enough for BB before the switch, it should be good enough now and that they would be losing a $2,000+ sale if they didn’t let me through. They saw it my way and I got my computer.

    I DO agree with number 3, however. I have certain “assets” and I guess a friendly, flirty personality so that could very well be why I’ve not really had any trouble. Of course, I’ll argue a point in a very nice way until I get my way, ;-)

  40. olivia2.0 says:

    So, Amazon it is apparently. (I’m pretty sure Wal-Mart is evil, and I don’t have a Costco membership.) No one worries about having something that expensive shipped? Also, what if I want it RIGHT NOW! I might have to go to Target, and put my receipt in a safe deposit box…

  41. Olivia, Amazon is a great idea – I do all kinds of shopping there, including most of my Christmas shopping.

    They ship lots of electronics without incident. If there is a problem, they’ll replace it for you – Amazon is known for great customer service.

  42. olivia2.0 says:

    Oh – and thanks everyone for suggestions, and no, I’m not stupid, but you know, once you cut out Wal-Mart, BB, Circut City, Gamestop/EB games….I was hard pressed to come up with something!

  43. @MayorBee:

    Just encase the part you want to quote with blockquote and blockquote.

    Thanks! I had forgotten the exact command – blockquote it is.

  44. Crymson_77 says:

    @olivia2.0: The best idea would be Newegg…they take customer service to the level of the 50s (back when customers mattered)

  45. Crymson_77 says:

    And just so you have a link…

    [www.newegg.com]

  46. tremans says:

    Is that why I’m now receiving ‘Details’ magazine in the mail? I just bought a TV @ BB- then all sudden I’m getting this garbage in the mail.

  47. @Crymson_77: And if you still hit Best Buy for electronics when you really don’t feel like waiting for Amazon or someone else to ship you the goods, know that NewEgg is phenomenally fast both in processing orders and shipping methods. Ordering both from Boston and from San Diego over the past few years, I _always_ get my stuff within three days with the basic (and usually free) shipping. Unless you absolutely can’t wait, go NewEgg every time. Oh, and they’re usually _way_ cheaper than Best Buy.

  48. diddy0071 says:

    Haven’t Seen anyone post it, but does anyone else think the girl in the picture is cute?

  49. edosan says:

    I like it when Consumerist takes anecdotal stories of one store and decides the entire chain works that way.

  50. Juggernaut says:

    @diddy0071: I think that’s my step-daughter…

  51. diddy0071 says:

    @Juggernaut: Sir, Can I date your stepdaughter?

  52. NYGal81 says:

    I have a family member who formerly worked at best buy, and he quit because he hated the fact he was forced to “upsell” stupid crap like cables and power strips and stuff. The worst part was that our less computer-savvy friends would often shop when they knew he was there, so they’d get him as a salesperson and feel like they weren’t going to get ripped off. He would get written up when he was observed not forcibly upselling. That was his breaking point. He left and never looked back.

  53. DeltaPurser says:

    I don’t get it… Best Buy has been great to me. I’ve bought two laptops from them. No problems. Several computer accessories. No issues. A few odds and end. No hassle… ALL my mail-in rebates have been honored.

    I wouldn’t trust their employees to sell me a toaster, but that’s another issue… They know jack squat about computers, but I read up on stuff at home and take it from there.

  54. get a better deal on electronics and never leave your living room…

    www. (wait for it) Amazon (wait for it) .com

  55. pecheckler says:

    I tell my managers to go fuck themselves when I’m scolded for not upselling service plans and accessories. Ive had that attitude for two years, and I still work there and still don’t sell any of that bullshit unless the customer wants it.
    I keep my job because of huge amounts of customer compliments. I’ve single handedly raised CSAT (customer satisfaction survey results) like 5% for my department.

  56. Dick.Blake says:

    haven’t had much beef with Best Buy lately personally (that is, unless they screw me over on that copy of Wii Fit I just pre-ordered on Sunday…) but they recently sold my girlfriend a used guitar for Guitar Hero.

    Someone bought it, put stickers all over it and then broke it, then sealed it back up and brought it back. So they put it back on the shelf and eventually sold it to her. Last one in stock. So we’ll promptly be getting our money back on that one and going to Toys R Us…. it was 5 bucks cheaper over there anyway.

  57. Hi, it’s the resident Best Buy sympathizer here. I’m skeptical of facts in this post. It seems that the poster is either A) overstating things or B) describing a piss-poor Best Buy that went off the deep end.

    To start, when corporate has to take over handling something, there’s something wrong. Not with Best Buy, but with that individual store. Even still, I have a hard time believing this laundry list of stuff:

    1) Corporate attitude changed exactly in 2003, no earlier, no later (and that before 2001 it was a “such a great company!”*)
    2) Tricking people into signing up for internet was SOP
    3) 95% of cell phone repairs were refused
    4) Only attractive people or employee’s friends got problems handled
    5) No game systems were sold unbundled

    * I worked in a Best Buy store from 1999–2001. Best Buy was not magically better back then, but it was about 25% of the size it is today.

  58. Antiestablishment says:

    It funny, some stores do this because they maybe hurting on certain key hot buttons that were mentioned on a conference call. This is what CompUSA practiced and we know what happened there. The old bait and switch has a key selling point on Sunday meetings. The we dont have it in stock if you dont buy the service plan, but if buy the service plan it magically appears in inventory…Also the Compcare, that was a joke. All they would do is start the machine insure it would turn on and seal it up. The internet connection was so slow that you couldnt do a windows update without causing a 3 hour delay for the customer. So the customer paid 20.00 for us to open and seal the computer. Tip of the iceberg for a former employees knowlege.

  59. gomakemeasandwich says:

    @olivia2.0:

    Gamestop? Walmart? They’re the same price everywhere.

  60. gomakemeasandwich says:

    @Michael Belisle:

    Dude, I’m sorry to ruin your Best Buy fantasy, but I worked there much later than you did and I’m sorry to report that everything in that story is probably accurate, and even missing a few things.

  61. diddy0071 says:

    @diddy0071: Still digging that honey. Are you going to respond, or should I assume you give me your blessing to impregnate?…..thank you, I love your silence.

  62. gomakemeasandwich says:

    @winstonthorne:

    Why don’t you sell the gift card instead?

  63. gomakemeasandwich says:

    @Big Flicker:

    Or how about Newegg?

  64. gomakemeasandwich says:

    @AtomicPlayboy:

    Fuck yeah, I don’t understand why anyone would shop at Best Buy as opposed to Newegg unless they had to have the product NOW.

  65. spinachdip says:

    @edosan: Let’s assume that you’re right and Consumerist is taking an isolated case and painting the whole company with the same broad brush.

    If this was a bad apple store that was sullying Best Buy’s otherwise Mother Teresa-like approach to customer service, wouldn’t it be indicative of Best Buy’s lack of control over and communication with individual stores? That in and of itself isn’t a big deal, but a chain that mismanages its stores to the point where it has rogue stores operating in its midst probably has, at the very least, serious quality control and customer care issues.

  66. howie_in_az says:

    His reasons, including the credit card fraud, phony bundling scams, and other schemes they made him do to keep his job…

    Quit and tell the local authorities and/or news media. No excuses for knowingly ripping off others, especially when there are other job opportunities available. The fact that this person proceeded to do these sorts of shenanigans for 6 years makes me sick.

  67. henrygates says:

    This is what happens when:

    1) Corporate suits create policies and quotas that are impractical

    and 2) Managers are college drop-outs, who staff their stores with other college drop-outs and their buddies.

  68. @gomakemeasandwich: I’m sorry to report that everything in that story is probably accurate, and even missing a few things.

    Probably accurate? So the description is accurate and you too have observed and played a role in the schemes (having been, for example, trained in the art of committing fraud by Best Buy)? Or you just think they’re possible, but your experience was different?

    Since it’s “missing a few things”, please do elaborate with the missing details.

    Let’s get alllll that laundry out here.

  69. Lambasted says:

    This story might not be representative of all Best Buys, but it is indicative of Best Buy’s corporate culture. A culture that obviously caused this store to behave in such a scurrilous manner in the first place.

  70. userla says:

    I worked at Best Buy for a stretch also and completely agree with this. I was constantly in trouble for not pushing subscriptions, service plans, BB credit cards, and other unnecessary add-ons on people. I quit when they wouldn’t let me go home for a holiday (I was in school at the time).

  71. @henrygates: I think you have a good point about the employees.

    Nothing on paper is bad about Best Buy, but they do have a philosophy that you can train anyone to perform heart surgery. I think the significant segment of their retail employees who may be
    • young,
    • poorly trained,
    • condescending, or
    • have questionable ethics
    lead some people to understandably hate Best Buy. Customers don’t care if CEO Brad Anderson is a great guy.

    But that labor is ridiculously cheap and by all economic measures the formula is working. Heck, their score in the ACSI is merely average (better than Circuit City, Sears, Home Depot, and Wal-Mart at least) and they’re winning awards.

    @userla: There’s a subtle difference between being encouraged to sell PSPs and being told to commit fraud. So when you say “I agree” I’d ask, “Were you encouraged to commit fraud?” The latter is described here.

  72. FromThisSoil says:

    @olivia2.0:

    New Egg

  73. WraithSama says:

    @a511475a:
    Considering your account is brand new and that’s the only post you’ve ever made, I’m tempted to write you off as a corporate shill.

  74. esthermofet says:

    “…one obvious solution would be to stop shopping at Best Buy.”

    I’m not one to state the obvious, but, “DUH!”

    Okay, maybe I am one to state the obvious.

  75. Towelie404 says:

    @nicless:

    I agree. I used to work at Best Buy and my store was great. None of this whatsoever. The managers were all very honest and completely willing to help customers without scamming them.

  76. biswalt says:

    @olivia2.0:

    If GTA IV is out for the PC by then I might sell you mine.

  77. Kounji says:

    @Towelie404: Its probably one of those cases with knuckle headed management at the helm. Your store probably was the honest one in the district, but retail is full of snake managers that want to make sales, and shrink numbers so they can bonus and move up and out.

  78. Xerloq says:

    I remember vprMatrix! I loved those computers. Mine lasted for years before it broke down. It outlasted every computer I’ve owned by more than two years.

    I hate Best Buy.

  79. Phildawg says:

    I have been into Best Buy lately and noticed a real change in attitude.

    I regret ever making the exaggerated claims as I did and I have asked Alex to remove this article.

    I am sorry that my frustrations lead to what I posted that day.

    Best Buy has been working hard to show their ethics since I worked for them and I am a regular shopper of theirs now. I feel anything unethical was something done by unethical management, and as far as I know they are no longer with the company. Best Buy Corporate would never tolerate unethical behavior.

  80. Phildawg says:

    It has taken several years for me to see that Best Buy has changed, but it really has.

    I also believe that corporate would have fired any managers for unethical situations that I had described. The problem was they didn’t know. I most recently worked with my Best Buy on a warranty exchange and I had an incredibly smooth experience. There was no hard sell on buying another service plan, and they let me retain my full value for the replacement printer. These are things that never would have happened in the past.

    I have purchased items and been treated fairly when returning them or doing price matches. I had switched to Circuit City for a couple of years, but since my warranty exchange and the way I was treated, I decided to give them a try once more. Since, my faith has been restored in Best Buy and their founding principles. I truly feel they are returning to the store prior to 2002, where they valued each and every customer.

  81. mrm514 says:

    @edosan:

    And then everyone jumps on the band wagon, even though you know mots of them probably shop @ BBY regularly…

  82. mrm514 says:

    @gomakemeasandwich:
    False.
    I still work there, and none of the things listed in this story apply to BBY today.

  83. wellfleet says:

    When I started as a cashier, I saw the same shady behavior from some of the cashiers: they would take the customer’s credit or debit card and swipe it to “verify” their address for the magazine sign-up. Now, while the customers should have read what they were signing on the pin pad, i.e. that they would be charged if they did not cancel, the shady cashiers made it a point to distract the customer or tell them something other than what was written. I was horrified and refused to sell magazines and almost got fired for under-performance in magazines. When I was taken into our admin office and scolded, I told them I didn’t feel right doing what the other cashiers were doing it and was called a liar and told they did not do that when I saw it.
    We did have some atrocious managers who cared about customers and cared about their own ass and numbers more. Sadly, many of those people get promoted.
    My only hope is that my integrity gets me farther and their lack of scruples comes to light eventually. As a current manager, if I heard any of my employees lie to a customer, they would be termed immediately.

  84. Eels says:

    My brother works at our local Best Buy, which from the sound of it is one of the “non-evil” ones because I have never been asked to sign up for anything when I go. Not even a rewards card.

    Anyway, he was just promoted to the person who handles the returns and customer complaints before putting them through to an actual manager. This lady came to have her laptop repaired under warranty, and when he asked her what was wrong, she said “something is wrong with the cupholder and now it won’t turn on.”

    Seriously, who in 2008 thinks a cd drive is a cupholder. I mean we do live in a pretty rural area but come on.

    And to answer your question, no Best Buy did not fix or replace the computer.

  85. dweebster says:

    Does anyone ever shop at “Best” Buy anymore?

    Why, oh why?!?

    I’ll source my appliances at Salvation Army before I give those “Best” Buy bastards another dime.

    Maybe the best thing about the recession/depression we’re heading into will be the jobs created for wrecking ball operators knocking down those obscene blue and yellow big boxes of hell.

  86. farker says:

    @a511475a:

    I’d like to know how you can guarantee that nobody at any Best Buy has ever acted in such a dishonorable way, and therefore prove that this man’s story is false.

    The obvious conclusion is you cannot make such a guarantee, because you haven’t been to this store.

    As many have noted, each store is unique. There are bad ones, there are great ones, but in my experience, most are decent.

    The worst experience I had was with getting a 3-month subscription to Entertainment Weekly when I wasn’t paying attention to the clerk, and I went online to cancel it with no problems. The cashier even apologized when she realized I didn’t know at first why I was getting the magazine, and simply explained that I’d need to cancel before the 3-month period was up.

  87. bigmil87 says:

    @mariospants: You mean Future Shop…there are no BBY in Canada. Anyways, I currently work at Best Buy, I love my job and I can say from personal expierence that none of what this supposed “insider” occur at my store. I work in Eagan MN so maybe because we are so close to HQ we have to do things differently in case someone from corporate shows up. In any case, I understand that BBY makes mistakes but so does CC and all other big box retailers, sometimes this site just loves to post stupid articles defacing BBY like the one about the game that Geek Squad could install. It’s obvious that a company would reuse security cases instead of buying new ones everytime someone buys a game or something. I like the site keep it up but come on, BBY isn’t all that bad.

  88. blkhrt1 says:

    In my store, no means no. Yes, you are asked to always try to sell a service plan, push Geek Squad services, enlist magazine subscriptions, and ensure the complete solution for a customer. If the customer declines all of those, then its no big deal. They get the product they want, spend what they want, and we just want to make them happy. Goals are set for each store to meet certain standards, but you aren’t “judged” by them in terms of putting your job on the line. At least, my store is like that, that is.

    But its nice to see Phildawg coming to his senses. I’ve seen worse stores. *coughcoughfryscoughcough*

    Let’s not go there.

  89. zenmonkey says:

    You mean Future Shop…there are no BBY in Canada.

    Actually Canada is full of best buys (well south western ontario) They’re often across the street from Future Shop (though I believe they’re owned by the same parent company now).

    My experiences with BB Canada have been pretty good. Other than lazy sales people. Sure they try to sell me the upgrades but I never take them and they don’t push. And I guess this magazine thing is a US BB policy because I’ve never experienced it here.

    Some of the horror stories I read here shock me because the worst behavior I see it most big box stores is sales people who run and hide when you look like you need help. And thats enough to drive me to shop online anyway.

  90. bms says:

    Do people still shop at Best Buy and the like? Electronics and computer systems can be found much cheaper online by doing a 30 second search. I cannot remember the last time I bought something from Best Buy, Circuit City, and Comp USA.

  91. HOP says:

    BEST BUY SUCKETH

  92. Phildawg says:

    I am glad so many employees and people are posting about their positive experiences at Best Buy. I would also like to add that since I started shopping with them, I have not had one person ask me about a magazine subscription or try and pressure me into anything. My store is very relaxed and seems to very ethical in how they operate.

    I look forward to buy an HDTV system in the near future and after doing comparison shopping, I’ve had my best experience at BBY and will be making my purchase there.

    As somebody said previously, Best Buy took the ethical situations in the past seriously and appears to have accepted that when a customer says No, they should not try to pressure them any further.

  93. RMcR says:

    In my search for the right LCD television, I bought three units from Circuit City and one from Best Buy and ended up returning them all.

    Circuit City took the televisions back without so much as a glance inside the box.

    Best Buy, on the other hand, kept me waiting without explanation while a Geek on Call came out from the back to unpack the television, set it up on his bench, hook it up and turn it on. The whole time I’m thinking, these Best Buy bastards are looking for a reason to refuse my return.

    Whenever I return anything to Best Buy (which is increasingly rare since I tend to limit my shopping there to low-priced new release DVDs) I steel myself for an unpleasant return experience.

  94. mike says:

    Bundles are usually there to help make money.

    Don’t get me wrong: I mega-loathe Best Buy. (Anyone else have them going all the way to being the worst company?)

    Best Buy makes no money on PCs, game consoles, or printers. They make their money on over-priced accessories. That’s why their employees are pushed to sell them. Firedog/Geek Squad services are completely unnecessary. Most of them can’t tell the difference between the working end of a screwdriver and a light bulb.

  95. CharlieInSeattle says:

    @olivia2.0: Newegg?

  96. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    @olivia2.0: Amazon, Target, GameStop, Toys R US, Costco, Sony.com, etc.

  97. Pro-Pain says:

    This story is absolutely true. Our local Best Buys did all this crap. It even made the local news. They respond to this by tranfering the GM, shaking up management a little, stopping these practices for a few weeks, then starting them all up again. If you still shop @ Best Buy you deserve whatever grief you get in return for it.

  98. Pro-Pain says:

    @Phildawg: How long have you worked for Best Buy?

  99. darkryd says:

    “Best Buy” my ass.

  100. RobertW.TX says:

    @olivia2.0: Amazon all the way. No tax, free shipping, and an unbeatable returns policy. If you are really worried about returns try tigerdirect.com and add the Assurz protection for about $14. That gives you 90 days to change your mind no questions ask, no restocking fees, return shipping paid. Not a bad deal for $14.

  101. @Pro-Pain: Six years. Phildawg is the repentant, unwitting OP. If you read his earlier comments here, there’s some truth and some embellishment. This story is a wash: no smoking gun yet but Best Buy might still be guilty of the crime. See you next time.

    Oh and yes, people are still shopping at Best Buy. Stop blaming the victim.

  102. Geekybiker says:

    People with postive experiences with best buy-

    Just remember that the true measure of customer service comes when things don’t go right. It’s easy to be nice when thing don’t go well, but alot harder when they might have to eat some charge because an issue.

  103. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    What’s funny about Consumerist’s “regret the error” here is that it shows what’s generally wrong with these type of blogs. The assumption is that everyone writing in – using anonymous names – is telling the truth and only if someone proves something wrong (or in this case e-mails his error) then there is a retraction. The reality is that one should assume everything people write on a blog is a steaming pile of s*** and only trust something that can be proven. Including what I’ve just written.

  104. @Phildawg: Why would you lie and say all this stuff happened to you?

    @stanfrombrooklyn: Agreed, but at least they started off the story by saying a commenter wrote in, so you can take that for what its worth. I tend to give more weight to the stories that cite actual papers or news outlets instead of anonymous commenters. Things like this though, definitely don’t help the consumerist, thats for sure. Of course, if we don’t like it, we can always demand our money back.

  105. 10intheCrunch says:

    When you buy more, you save more, so you can buy more, to save more, so you can buy more.

  106. Quickness says:

    About 3-4 years ago, I used to work at Best Buy and we used to do this trick to get people to signup for stuff they didn’t want.

    So, let’s say you bought a new PC and it “came with” a free version of AOL. 99% of the time, they turned it down. But, what we were “trained” to do is sign them up anyway, and when the machine asked for a credit card, we’d take a Best Buy gift card (which is just an AmEx card) and swipe it through.

    It would be read as a normal card, and they signed up, and we got the $68, and it boosted our “package” numbers.

    Now, I’m not proud of this, but this is what we did. Oh the stories I could tell about how Best Buy screws its customers. Becoming buddy buddy with management gave me a whole new insight on how that company was ran.

  107. HeartBurnKid says:

    @olivia2.0: Patronize a smaller game shop. They’d love to have you.

    If you don’t have any small game shops in your area, Amazon. Definitely Amazon.

  108. pecheckler says:

    When you buy an extended/additional/protection insurance/warranty plan on a product you are buying coverage from a 3rd party company that has nothing to do with that retailer.
    It may only appear that way since some retailers are authorized service centers for repairs of some products.

    If you have a problem with a product of which the retailer has an open Return Merchandize Authorization with it’s manufacturer or vendor… then you may find it extremely simple to get a “replacement” under an extended warranty… versus having it sent out to a repair facility (which is paid for by the insurance company that underwrites all of these extended warranties).

    Take for example. HP products. Most retailers are allowed to return good or damaged HP printers back to HP for a full refund for up to 3 years. While only one year for HP laptops and desktops.

    These open RMA schemes are how many retailers profit off of service plans.
    Your $99 hp photosmart printer wont pickup paper anymore? Okay, here’s a new one for you… now give us another $15 to insure your new printer.
    The retailer can send your broken printer back to HP… and it’s now HP’s problem. $15 profit for the retailer.

    This has been going on for years… and it’s slowly starting to piss off manufacturers. This is why manufactures sell warranties for much less than retailers now. It’s also why in a few more years some of the big electronics manufacturers are not going to allow such easy product returns.
    Companies like Costco, Best Buy, or Staples are going to lose significant revenue when these changes come to pass.

  109. Charlotte Rae's Web says:

    @ikimashokie: ok that’s just silly. You can always get a DVD, extra CD, headphones, something. You can give away the card but I bet a ton of us on here would happily take it.

  110. RetailGuy83 says:

    @graffiksguru: Yes, but as we have learned so many times here on the consumerist, it’s not about the money, it’s about the principal. How many stories this week have been about people either A) being lied to by a company, or B) having their time wasted by someone at a store? If I had wasted the same 20 minutes it took me to read this article and the posts at a local McDonalds waiting for french fries that turned out were out of stock that would have been enough to make a consumerist post (at least on a Sunday.) :)

    For eveyone thinking (How does Mc Donalds run out of fries, that what they do… right and reporting acurate stories about companies doing the wrong thing is what the consumerist “does” too.

  111. u1itn0w2day says:

    Stuff the like the profitable warranties and services are well known.So is butt sucking.And most sales are bait for warranties and service or upgrading to spend more money.

    The swipe your card twice for something else is possible I had it happen at a bank.Just finished giving information for a new account and the rep asked almost the same information again-said it was for the banks records-NOT.she filled out a credit application which she did NOT admit to but I saw the screen.There are unscrupulous employees and attitudes out there.

    One thing with Best Buy I noticed is I get better service during a weekday than at night or weekends-no pressure or endless questions.I think the rewards program was the only one.

  112. S-the-K says:

    This article is another example of why what you read on The Consumerist needs to be taken with a grain of salt unless you know it to be true from personal experience. The other example of this was the one where The Consumerist railed against the police for arresting a guy who claimed he did not steal the case of soda, although security camera evidence showed the guy actually DID steal the case of soda.

    But I thought it was a nice touch that The Consumerist, although saying that the claims in the original article are bogus, posted the content of the original article again, just for good measure.

    Maybe Snopes should audit The Consumerist to verify the veracity of the claims posted? :-)

  113. wellfleet says:

    @RMcR: Of course we have to check flat panels when they are returned. What if it’s returned broken? The forum screams bloody murder when OPs end up buying an open box product that was put back on the floor without being tested, but you don’t want us to test something that costs thousands of dollars?! How does that make sense?
    We open TVs on the way out to make sure you don’t drive all the way home only to find a cracked LCD panel, and we test them when they are returned for the same reason. How would it affect your customer experience if you purchased something, took it home, and it was broken.
    People try to return stuff they broke every day, and frankly, because we can’t trust everyone, we can’t trust anyone. Sadly, that means honest people get lumped into that.

  114. poddys says:

    2 weeks ago I bought an iPod for my girlfriend from bestbuy.com.

    I used a CJ (Commission Junction) affiliate link on my site to place the order, so I got 1% commission, as well as the $12.50 special savings that they were giving, and I opted to pick up the order from the store.

    All well and good, until 4 days later when the iPod goes faulty and I try to return it…

    At the store where I picked it up, they insisted that they had to credit me for the original purchase and that I would have to pick up a new unit from the floor.

    Well it’s not on sale in the store – only online!

    They insisted that bestbuy.com is a different entity, so they can’t exchange the item or give the same price in the store.

    And so, since my girlfriend was travelling back to the UK that evening, I had to pay full price for a replacement iPod, which I was very reluctant to do. I even spoke to a senior manager at the store and he would not give me the same price. All I wanted to do was to return a faulty iPod and to get an identical one that worked.

    So, not only am I down by $12.50 plus 6% Sales Tax, my CJ sale got reversed, and my credit card company refused to accept the payment (see below) so I had to use a different card, costing me an extra 1.5%.

    I have good credit, however the previous evening I had tried to book a flight on British Airways for my girlfriend to return in July, and the site would not accept my card. Even when I was on the phone to Capital One the site still refused and the agent could not get it to go through. So in the end I had to use a different card for that purchase as well.

    Within 10 mins of leaving Best Buy the bank called me to check on fraudalent purchases, so now the card is ok, but thanks to Best Buy I’m rather peeved… and out of pocket… well rather peeved is an understatement…

    In a nutshell, regardless of whether I purchased the iPod in the store or on their web site, I should have the option of having it replaced without being penalised.