Best Buy Holds Discounted Netbook, Delights Customer

A story about a great customer service experience at Best Buy? On Black Friday? It doesn’t seem possible. And yet, it happened to Brian and Briana when they shopped the early sale for Silver Reward Zone members.

Brian tells us:

It started when Best Buy announced “early” access to Black Friday prices for all Silver Reward Zone members. Since my wife and I just purchased new appliances for our house, we were recently upgraded to Silver status and decided we’d take advantage of a budget netbook sale price without having to face the crowds. We go into our store, ad in hand, which does clearly state that we must call a phone number to receive the special price. We only went in to view the product and make sure it was something we could live with as a secondary computer. While they didn’t have the actual computer on display, they had a similar model that we tested and liked. We ask politely if they can just sell us one of their Black Friday inventory at the price advertised to silver members so we don’t have to through the hassle of calling and waiting for our order to be shipped. The manager says that he can’t do that, so we go ahead and call in the store while shopping. We get through and are informed that they no longer have any available for this special advertised sale and we are instead offered a higher priced laptop. It felt a little suspect (bait and switch?), but I asked if a Best Buy store was allowed to sell me the same laptop in-store at the advertised pre-sale price. The associate said it was the general manager’s discretion, but that there were no specific rules against it.

I spoke with the general manager and as professional as could be, you could tell he really did sympathize with our situation and did not brush it off with a simple no. He wanted to help and was trying to think of ways to make it right, and although I didn’t really feel we were wronged in any way, he truly cared about our satisfaction since we took the time to come into his store. He said he couldn’t simply override the price that day because the laptop rung up as $999.99 and any sales prior to Black Friday would not go through. I told him that we simply could not come in Friday morning with the crowds and he understood. He said he valued our business as silver members and didn’t want this pre-sale gone wrong to leave a bad taste in our mouths about Best Buy, offering to hold one of the units WITHOUT any type of payment received, and to simply show up on Black Friday in the afternoon after things calmed down to pay and pick it up. He said he’d be there all day and just to see him if we had any trouble and he’d make sure we were taken care of.

Sure enough, we showed up [on Friday] at 2:30pm. The crowds were still around of course, but there he was and without hesitation, he remembered and greeted us, told us to look around for 5-10 minutes while he went to the back and got our laptop. He met us at customer service, helped process the sale, and even jokingly laughed at the insane service plan price of $60 on a $170 item. Upon ringing it up, we realized this was actually the more expensive model with WIndows 7 and that he held the wrong one for us, but he still honored the lower price, so we ended up getting an even better deal than we expected without any hassle.

Was this a small gesture for an inexpensive sale that likely didn’t earn them any profit? Yes. But it was something he didn’t need to do and the whole experience left me feeling a lot better about shopping at Best Buy (at least this particular store) because clearly the manager cares about his customers.

What a great story. We hope that Best Buy finds–and keeps–more managers like this one.

(Photo: Vincent J. Brown)

Comments

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  1. dragonfli-labs says:

    Too bad the only reason they got excellent customer service was because they wasted over $2500 just to get the Silver status on their RewardZone account… for only one year. Best Buy sees them as profitable, thus, bending over for them in any way they can.

    I, as a regular RewardZone account holder, who can only get to a Best Buy once every couple months due to the lengthy travel, wouldn’t get such a privilege. Nor would I be daft enough to spend several thousand dollars just for said privileged.

    • coren says:

      I doubt they went out to Best Buy with the thought “let’s earn ourselves that silver reward zone!” They bought appliances, and if BB had a good deal on them, why not?

      • Akanbe says:

        Exactly. They “wasted” over 2500? Get real. Even they have great deals and bargains from time to time on items that could be equal (or be better) than other companies.

    • Mr_Human says:

      Yeah, a company tries to keep a profitable customer by employing good customer service. Shocking!

      Anyway, I doubt the couple spent that money at Best Buy to buy themselves into Silver status — that’s a silly charge to make.

    • Bee says:

      I can honestly see where buying a lot of appliances for a home could cost $2500, and honestly, if they had to get so many big ticket items for their home, that Silver status sounds like a nice bonus for buying all those appliances. I mean, they probably would have needed whatever they bought anyway, right? They just chose to get it all at BB, and got a little extra for doing so.

    • friday3 says:

      The first post and the guy rips Best Buy, First, why shouldn’t a company take care of those who spend the most with them? I am waiting for the next moron to say how they can buy appliances online cheaper than at Best Buy.

    • Psychicsword says:

      I too am a regular reward zone member and I must say that Best Buy probably wouldn’t give me the same treatment as they received. On the other hand this manager went way out of his way for this customer and I do think he would at least treat me decently and with respect. It makes perfect sense that Best Buy would give up $60 on an item for someone who spends enough to be a Silver member where as I wouldn’t get such a deal.

    • roguemarvel says:

      I have silver status and I can tell you I didn’t waste $2500 just for the privilege. I don’t have that kind of money to waste. My sister decided to buy a macbook pro and decided to get it at best buy so she could finance part of it for no interest for a year (I did this previously when i bought a new TV). She didn’t have a reward zone card so we ran it on mine and I promised to give her the gift card. A month latter I got a letter saying I was now a silver member. It very nice and I’ll be sad to see it go when the year is up.

      So yeah, you know sometimes people just have large purchase and get a nice perk. I actually thinks its very nice that best buy treats big spenders well.

    • TVGenius says:

      I, as a ‘plebe’ standard RZ member, have always gotten excellent customer service at our Best Buy. As far as ‘wasting’ $2500, I think a big screen TV and maybe an appliance or computer or two would cover that amount. For that matter, it’s cheaper to get Apple hardware at BB than an Apple Store since then you’d get the RZ credit back on it too.

  2. starryeyed0806 says:

    My dad wanted a video camera marked down from $179 to $129 only for this Friday and Saturday and the first Best Buy he went to in the afternoon had “just sold the last one.” So yesterday we called a different Best Buy and they had one, they held it for him and he went and picked it up. Really easy. Usually though I’m not the hugest Best Buy fan although I used to shop there a lot.

  3. KimmishKim says:

    Wow. That’s a great experience. My experiences at best buy have usually been positive as well. I think it does have a great deal to do with the people you are dealing with.

  4. coren says:

    Silver Reward Zone

    Well, yeah. When you know someone’s dropping over 2 grand a year with you, it changes your perspective

  5. AngryK9 says:

    In a world dominated by severely poor customer service, it’s not hard for a single transaction to shine brighter than the thousands that suck.

  6. RobThy says:

    “We hope that Best Buy finds–and keeps–more managers like this one. “

    Luckily the specific store this was said to occurred in is not mentioned. I’m sure he would certainly be let go very quickly.

    Helping customer? On a Black Friday no less! Have you forgotten all your corporate managerial training?!?!

  7. Batwaffel says:

    But did they make you buy their shoddy service plan with the laptop after joking about it?

    • Modred189 says:

      You mean the one that cost $60 for 3 years covering any normal, legit failures, AND gives you a free replacement battery (easily ~$100 retail)?
      I am not a gigantic Best Buy fan, but for every laptop I have bought there (3-4 over the years), I always bought one of their service plans and ALWAYS came out on top. Two of them never had a problem, but I broke even or better with the free battery, or THREE batteries back in the day. Of the two with issues, one was an HP that had a bad stick of ram. When I bought it, DDR2 was crazy expensive for a 2gb stick. They swaitched the ram out in front of me in 5 minutes. That, plus the battery, again, and I came out on top.
      The last was an Apple Macbook pro that had the bad Nvidia graphics chipset. I took it in and they gave me a new computer, even cloning my existing hard drive to the new system for free.
      And when it comes time for the new battery… more win.

      So I, personally, wouldn’t classify them as lousy. From what I have seen in most stories about them, and folk”s problems, it’s usually due to people not reading the fine print.

  8. Ben Clayton says:

    “…because the laptop rung up as $999.99…”

    “…on a $170 item…”

    Am I missing something? Two options come to mind, one being Best Buy had a $1k laptop on sale for less than $200, or the price is just a failsafe at the POS system to deny the sale.

    • Pilkington says:

      It’s just an overly inflated price to avoid accidentally selling it prior to intended sale date.

    • mmmsoap says:

      I was wondering the same thing….$999 does not a netbook make, but the $170 is more appropriate (although surprisingly low, for something functional…I would have expected $250-350).

    • Modred189 says:

      Best Buy started doing this last year. They would get their stock for BF a few weeks in advance, and to keep employees from buying them and coming back later to price match, they pegged the prices at $999 until BF.

    • Tuxedo Jack says:

      RSS (Retek Stock Systems), the system that controls the SKUs that BBY sells, has the ability to set prices based on times and automatically change them when a time-based trigger happens. So basically, the alarm was set, and when the date changed to Black Friday in BBY’s big central system, it sent out a price-change request. Boom, done.

  9. DH405 says:

    The untold story here is the person in line who had counted how many people were ahead of them, compared it to how many the store was supposed to have in stock, and knew that they were going to get the netbook they wanted.

    Then tickets were passed out to everyone up until the person in front of them. Sorry, buddy. You waited in the cold all night for not a damned thing.

    This happened to me last year. I had limited funds to buy a laptop for my girlfriend, so I camped out all night. I had a place where I would be GUARANTEED a laptop. They had some sort of deals worked out and screwed me out of it. Thanks, Best Buy!

    • fredmertz says:

      took the words right out of my mouth. Consumerist supporting a company that screws the little guy in favor of a customer who spends more!

  10. tc2020 says:

    Hopefully there is a follow up in a couple of months when the netbook dies, and they have to buy a new one because they did not get the PSP.

    • Polarix says:

      And yet, they could still (more than likely) walk into best buy, provide their receipt, and either A. send it in to get repaired or B. exchange it for a new one because they don’t have parts to fix a netbook.

      Good try though.

      • tc2020 says:

        I did not know you could do that. When this happened to me on my 13-month old laptop (the inverter went bad), I had the receipt and BB asked me if I had a PSP. I said “No”. BB said that there is nothing they can do.

        So, I suspect when this netbook dies, they will be in the same boat, or has this policy changed?

        • Hyman Decent says:

          You expected the reseller to help you out 13 months later? In some cases, the reseller tells the buyer to take it up with the manufacturer if the product is defective out of the box.

  11. narq says:

    On a positive note, great customer service. You don’t usually hear about that and Best Buy. On another note, icky buy. Looks like a Best Buy only model. At that price this is a really good buy, but I’d be wary of the quality. Also benchmarks and industry testing has shown that Windows 7 and netbooks don’t get along too well in both speed and battery life. Thanks to that worthless atom processor. If you have any problems with that thing don’t hesitate to take it back… even if it was a good deal.

    Watch out for store models. Especially on black Friday. You don’t want to buy a model made specifically for one store or for a major sale. They are usually made cheaper so that the store still gets the same profit margin on the item.

  12. Deezul_AwT says:

    Jesus crap on a stick.. I’m sure you’ll find crappy customer service from your favorite Internet retailer, but it just never seems to make it here. But throw in a B&M store, and it’s guaranteed to generate traffic on Consumerist.com.

    Yet again this week, I shopped at Best Buy and had to go to customer service to return something. Went off without a hitch. So will this generate another story.

    For the record, NO, I am not a Best Buy employee. But maybe going into the store not acting like an ass probably helps when I have a problem.

    • psm321 says:

      I don’t get it. It sounds like you’re complaining about negative Best Buy stories… on a positive Best Buy story.

  13. mandy_Reeves says:

    Never have an issue with BB, except once when a sales rep tried to get me to buy a 50 dollar universal remote when I just needed the 5 dollar one.

  14. Tuxedo Jack says:

    You can bet that when any customer calls in, the employee is opening (Ctrl+Shift+ZZ) Employee Toolkit and Customer Contact Manager, then putting in the guy’s phone number (their new phones DO have Caller ID, though the “customer assistants” rarely use it – the Geek Squad and managers do, though) into Customer Contact Manager.

    There’s a field in there that contains a number, which is from 1 to 5, five being the kind of customer they kiss ass to keep, up to and including keeping Geek Squad field agents out at their homes until 3 AM. As an ex-employee, I’m still a class 5 customer, merely because I used to buy two or three cokes a shift (for three years) from the cooler up front. The average guy is a 1 or a 2. Class 4 kicks in around $2500 spent in two years, and Class 5 is at $4,000 or so.

    The more you know…

    • imsnowbear says:

      Sounds like a great system-designed to keep 1 and 2 level customers from ever becoming 4′s or 5′s

    • cowboyesfan says:

      You bought $4,000 worth of Cokes a year?? Did you have to buy a PSP on them or what?

    • sakanagai says:

      Does this apply to the 1800BESTBUY as well? UPS lost a package with a BF netbook yesterday and the Best Buy rep on I spoke to seemed more interested in getting me off the phone than resolving any issues.

  15. Winteridge2 says:

    Your best part of the deal was getting windows 7 instead of, what, vista? That is another story.

  16. Winteridge2 says:

    A $999 computer for $170? I might have even camped overnite…well, no, I guess not. Free, maybe.

  17. parrotuya says:

    Sometimes, they actually come through for customers…

  18. JjSeVdT says:

    “…this was actually the more expensive model with WIndows 7…”

    Now you’re stuck with a limited OS since they only put Win7 Starter on Netbooks and you can only run three programs at a time. But I guess it was worth more.