FutureShop Accuses You Of Scamming For No Good Reason

Adam was shocked when he tried to return a router and a switch to FutureShop and they accused him of being a scammer. All because of a little dust on the items. Well, that little dust turned into quite a dustup when a huffy assistant manager at the Canadian Best Buy subsidiary got involved. “Fine, I will play along with your little game,” she ended up saying to Adam once the actual manager overrode her and made her stop getting in the way of the return. What the heck?

Greetings from Canada! I am writing to you to inform your readers about a horrible return experience I had from FutureShop (Canadian subsidy of Best Buy). My family has just moved and began renovations to the basement. One major addition to the basement is several in-the-wall Ethernet jacks. To connect them together, my technologically literate friend told me I required an Ethernet router and switch. So I went to to buy a D-link DGS-1008D 8-port Switch and D-link EBR-2310 Broadband router. I proceeded to install them and to my dismay, there was no connection to the internet. My friend blamed my lack of technical proficiency and suggested that I return both items and instead buy a 16-port switch as it is simpler to install and maintain.

That night I went to the same FutureShop to return the 2 items. The lady at the customer service desk took a quick look at the items and said she cannot possibly accept them. Her reasoning was it far too dusty for them to accept. Since my basement is currently under renovation, I gave her the benefit of a doubt and decided that I will clean it up and return it tomorrow.

The next afternoon, I went back to the same FutureShop and another employee helped me attempt to make a return. She was very pleasant and was almost done refunding me my money when the same lady from last night came to the desk and asked to void the transaction. I asked why, and she responded that it was in no condition to be returned. I asked her to inspect the items (now sparkling clean) and she concluded that I must have cleaned it. So I asked again, what is wrong with the item that it cannot be returned? She responded I must have switched them. Getting rather agitated, I asked that she check the serials from the items to see that they match the serials from the box. Even after checking to see that they matched, she refused to accept the items. I was getting frustrated and said, “Just to get the fact straight, are you accusing me of attempting to scam FutureShop?”. I cannot blame her from trying to protect the store from real return scams, however, she responded that she isn’t but she can’t trust me. Seeing that this is getting me nowhere, I asked to speak to a manager. She replied that she was the manager. However, the actual manager (unlike the lady, he had the manager tag on him) walked over and asked if something was wrong. I explained my situation and asked him to inspect the item if he found it too dusty or in not in an acceptable condition. He replied that there was nothing wrong with the item. The lady was obviously flustered and responded “Fine, I will play along with your little game”. While the statement is highly offense and immature, I tried my best to be patient and thanked her for the refund. The rest of the transaction went without incident I left the store with my money.

I write the letter not in hopes of getting compensation or getting the employee fired, however, I hope this letter will be a lesson that being patient, polite and firm is by far a better way of resolving a dispute than making a scene.

Good on you Adam for keeping your cool. Just stick to the facts and don’t let other people’s personal neuroses deter you from your goal and many a customer service conundrum will go smoother.

For more tactics along these longs, check out our post, “How To Mind Control Customer Service Reps.”

Comments

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  1. dancing_bear says:

    Umm, that gal shouldn’t be working in retail, if she gets fired we are all better off.

    • magus_melchior says:

      Or temporary exile to the stock room.

      Or anger management.

      But yeah, firing would be better for her and the company.

  2. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Oh shit… A Canadian business is on the Consumerist!?

    Out economy’s collapsing! Quick, everybody to the lifeboats!

  3. BBG says:

    What’s funny about Future Shop is that it wasn’t always the Canadian subsidiary of Best Buy, but by the time BB bought them out, they had already decided to expand to Canada. This leads to the odd sight of BB and FS stores stupidly close to one another. They still operate as completely separate stores.

    • AI says:

      When FS wasn’t owned by BB, they had awesome extended warranties. Spill coke on your Xbox, walk in, and they hand you another one.

    • Tongsy says:

      At one point in Ottawa, there was two futureshops across the road from each other, and a best buy beside one.

    • Navillus says:

      I was at a Futureshop in Dartmouth, NS last week… They didn’t have what I wanted, but lucky for me, there is a Best Buy directly on the other side of the street that did.

      • BBG says:

        Also, one since they have different specials, you don’t have to wait as long for an item to go on sale.

    • unimus says:

      Fortunately, Besy Buy and Future Shop’s sales aren’t completely in sync. That means once in a while I can price match at the other one, plus the extra 10% of the difference.

    • nonsane says:

      Actually this is no accident. They build the stores next to each other on purpose. The reason is, people at a strip mall will go to future shop, and then they go to best buy. They believe they’ve done a price comparison and will make a purchase not knowing they are the same company and likely same pricing.

  4. Zarf says:

    I worked with a guy who was *exactly* like the mean lady in this account. He would say “I am the manager!” to customers all the time, and even claimed to be the general manager to a customer over the phone. The customer asked for the general manager by name, “Can I speak to Jason?” And he said, “This is him.”

    He was a computer repair technician, which was ironic because he was as clueless about computers as he was about customer service. I have a feeling that everything this guy does for the rest of his life is going to be because he bluffed and scammed his way there.

    I wonder how often people falsely claim to be a manager.

    • SkokieGuy says:

      I think almost every time ya’ talk to a customer service rep over the phone and ask to speak to a supervisor.

      “Hey Bob, wanna be supervisor to the jerk on the phone? Pick up line three.”

      • doughrama says:

        Long ago when I used to work tech support, my co-workers and I would regular take turns playing manager. We worked the midnight shift and there were, at most, 3 of us (usually 2.) There were no managers to talk to and when a customer demanded to speak to one, off they went to an “authority.”

        • tinmanx says:

          Reminds me of the old days. Only that we did have managers, they just didn’t want to talk to anyone.

      • Doubts42 says:

        When i worked for Hotels this was pretty common. i would have the rare situation where I had to tell a guest no, usually for someone wanting alcohol after 2am. Whichever one of us 2 agents on the overnight could repeat ourselves over and over telling the guest that in TX it is illegal to serve after 2am. They would demand to speak to a manager. The other agent would put on a generic Manager name tag and tell the guest the same thing and then they would believe us.

    • CantCookToast says:

      At Best Buy Canada/Future Shop, one person (typically at the customer service desk) at any point during the day is designated Manager-On-Duty (MOD). This person may or may not be an actual manager, but a senior customer service associate given the same authority as one (overrides, customer service decisions, etc). These people are placed there for resolving basic issues and providing guidance to the other staff while the “real” managers run around the floor doing “important things”. According to company policy, she’s really not out of line by claiming to be a manager, because in the company’s eyes, as of right then, she technically is one.

  5. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    While the outside may be clean, the inside certainly isn’t, and dust can conduct electricity and short the whole unit out. Also, dust can inhibit the ability of the unit to shed heat and cause it to overheat.

    But I can understand, even IF the serials match between the unit and the box. It would appear to them that a new unit was bought, and the old ones being returned in their stead, or as I call it, an in-store product warranty exchange.

    • mastershake407 says:

      “or as I call it, an in-store product warranty exchange.”

      Exactly, When I do this, they ask me “is there anything wrong with it?” You tell them “yes” and off it goes back to the manufacture. I did this when my xbox got the RRoD and had a new one the next day instead of 3 weeks later. It’s the same outcome, just a different road to get there.

    • Techy_Tech_Guy says:

      and what kind of dust is that? Normal household dust conducting electricity!!!!

  6. zacox says:

    Example of horrible customer service. Also an example of horrible loss prevention.

  7. ALP5050 says:

    Sounds like the woman who refused the return should have 0 authority in that store.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      The only authority she has it seems is the authority she makes up inside her own head. :/

  8. Zeniq says:

    To be fair, it wasn’t really FutureShop that was making accusations. The real manager, the real and true authority over the FutureShop, and therefore the acting voice of the FutureShop, did not accuse the OP of running a scam.

    • ALP5050 says:

      Very true. He just had a problem with an employee who decided to pull an attitude and not with actual store management.

  9. dreamfish says:

    I agree entirely with his last line. In these sort of disgusting customer service situations, what is better for you and *much* worse for the company is publicity for this sort of behaviour.

    Of course, you just know what the stock answer will be from FutureShop corporate:

    “isloated incident”
    “not our normal standard”
    “customer has highlighted a retraining opportunity”
    “”

  10. MrBounce says:

    It’s Futureshop for heavens sake, what did you expect?

    Take a look at this thread regarding some Starcraft 2 key giveaway FS was doing as a promotion. Their advertisement mentioned you will get the key within one business day, and yet hundreds, maybe even thousands did not, and some still haven’t after weeks! The kicker is Futureshop was sending keys to people who had cancelled their preorders, while people who patiently waited to get their key without cancelling did not:
    http://www.futureshopforums.ca/t5/PC-Gaming/Starcraft-2-preorders-and-beta-keys-Master-thread/td-p/205346

  11. Trick says:

    Once the real manager showed up and the one pretending to be manager was exposed, I would probably start making snarking little remarks after she said “I will play along with your little game.”

    Something like “that is right, you will do what you are told to do by the real manager” and “don’t you just hate when you try acting all big and bad only to be put in your correct place, serving people that don’t like you or think you are good at your job?”

    It would be with a smile and it would not be loud. Just a little reminder that some people will stand up for what is right and put those who think they are god behind the counter in their place…

  12. Mad Monarch says:

    To be honest, I find the Best Buy stores in Canada to be far more friendly and competent then any of the Future Shop stores in the same areas. That said, I worked for the Circuit City (Now Bell) owned The Source and we always had complaints daily about the Futureshop across from us, all the same things complaints. Lying, lack of customer service, and no knowledge of their products. I personally think they should create/modify any training programs they currently use to teach their employees about the products they sell.

    • Paladingo says:

      Future Shop is on commission, Best Buy is not — so people get harassed and lied to a whole lot more at Future Shop. Best Buy they just can’t find a sales associate if their lives depended on it.

      I was told that if I bought a laptop at Future Shop I would have to pay for their upgrade plan because “Your laptop won’t work unless we install the icons on the desktop for you, and nobody can do that except for our technicians”.

    • Englishee Teacher says:

      I stopped going to Future shop because they always have this ridiculously loud alarm going off in the computer department.

  13. common_sense84 says:

    You are not a scammer, but I think the store would have been right to deny the return. Did they hit you with a restocking fee? If you returned it with no restocking fee after getting dust all inside of it, I’d say you are no worse than the guys that put rocks inside of hard drive boxes and return the rock so the next customer gets screwed.

    • ben says:

      Um what? How is stealing (replacing a product with rocks) the same as returning a dusty product? The store knows the item has been opened. It will either be returned to the manufacturer or sold as an open-box item. If the store tries to resell it as new, then they’re the ones who are screwing the customer.

    • DH405 says:

      Actually, you’re completely wrong. You really think that the OP is no better than people who actually steal items by means of return fraud? OP didn’t STEAL anything. The OP just returned an item that was nonworking. Seems like that’s exactly what return policies are for.

      The OP never even said that there was a bunch of dust IN the item. Most switches and routers don’t have big open vents to pull crap like that into the shell.

      You’re showing no “common sense” in posting like that. In fact, you’re showing yourself to be an asshole.

    • regis-s says:

      I don’t agree with your analogy but I do see your point. I assume all the people high fiving the original poster would have no problem paying full price for this particular router and switch.

      • ben says:

        Since when does one pay full price for opened and returned items. Like I said below, if the store resells it as new, then they’re the ones who are screwing the customer.

        • regis-s says:

          That’s my point. People want to be able return purchases willy nilly but would never dream of buying a previously purchased product at full price. They think either the store or the manufacturer should eat the cost.

  14. Confuzius says:

    I’m sorry Consumerist. This is my fault, years ago I “rented” a 16 port switch from Future Shop for a LAN party…

    I’ve also been hassled, but given the benefit of the doubt at Future Shop before too. I bought an open box videocard, the card in the box was not at all the card it should have been. I brought it back to exchange for the other open box of the same card, they accused me of swapping it, which I understood, but in the end they gave me the benefit of the doubt and let me exchange it for the other one.

  15. CantCookToast says:

    I’ve worked at both Best Buy Canada and Future Shop for a number of years as both a regular employee and a supervisor. The dustiness of an item was never something we were instructed to take into account when processing returns. This girl is obviously either a) crazy or b) acting on instructions from store-level management based on levels of shrink (theft/losses/fraud) in the store.

    Call head office and they’ll send you a gift card of $25-$100 usually just to keep you happy.

  16. unpolloloco says:

    Pretty sure that the router/switch combo was what OP actually wanted. Unless he has a router already, the switch alone probably won’t do anything.

    • theholymac says:

      Yeah, OP is getting in waaay too far over his head with built-in ethernet if he has no idea what hardware he needs to hook it all up.

      Also, consumer-grade stuff from a big-box electronics store is the wrong answer for a hard-wired system. Why spend $$$ to hardware the basement, and then cheap out on the stuff that actually matters?

      • bwcbwc says:

        Disagree about the hard-wired system being too high-end for consumer grade equipment. It’s a residence, not a small business.

        I think what really happened is our non-tech OP tried to plug the WAN port of the router into the wall outlet and expected internet magic. Probably has to find the “router room” that the wall outlets come out of and connect the WAN port to the jack for the outside line, and the LAN ports of the router (and switch) to the in-house wiring. The internet was probably never linked to the wall ports.

    • Doncosmic says:

      agreed, unless his “friend” is willing to set up one of the machines that are connected to be a DHCP server.

  17. kylere1 says:

    Friends do not let friends Best Buy (or Futureshop!)

  18. SilentAgenger says:

    I get the same sort of suspicion cast my way sometimes when I return an item. Funny how they clamp down on this kind of thing, yet they seem fine with letting shoplifters run amok.

    • jessjj347 says:

      It is a form of shoplifting when people try to return things they didn’t buy. They try to bring up an item from inside the store to get store credit or exchange it for something else.

      I’m pretty sure that’s part of the suspicion.

  19. Tongsy says:

    When I had an issue with Futureshop, i emailed the CEO.
    I got a response from Katsura Maihara, email kmaihara@futureshop.com

    Maybe you could contact them directly and get some results?

  20. jefeloco says:

    Back when we still had a Future Shop here in [redacted], er, I mean Boise, ID, they would pull this crap and worse. I took a friend in to get her set up with her first PC and flags went flying everywhere. They kept trying to get her to “upgrade” to a package that included a fancy monitor but I had an extra 17″ Trinitron sitting around so that wasn’t needed. The crap went on and on reaching the boiling point when we picked one (not the super high-margin ones either) and asked to get checked out.

    We had every single computer rep, the assistant manager, the floor manager, the stock room manager and the store manager all tell us that we “had” to get a warranty with it. My friend was about to give in and spend almost $400 on the warranty when I told her that it was just plain dumb; the store manager then said “I’m sorry but I really can’t in good conscience let you leave without an extended warranty on this.” I replied “then we’ll leave without the PC too.” My friend got her computer, minus fancy pants monitor and with a hundy off the cost after I got done with the manager. They closed up shop less than six months later so the three year warranty wouldn’t have done much good anyways.

  21. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    It is a sad fact that here in Canada you often have no choice but buy items from Future Shop or Best Buy, I a pinch they are usually open and have stock. But are they ever a bitch to deal with.

    I was in Future Shop two weeks ago and needed to buy 6 digital voice recorders, 2 digital video cameras, 2 digital cameras and the associated crap that goes with all that. I was looking to spend about $1500. I approached the snotty nosed dipsh1t in the camera area to request help and received none. He was too busy talking up a girl (hoping for something no doubt). These folks are on commission! I was about to leave the store when a sales rep who I have dealt with in the past came over to say hello (he’s now in another part of the store unrelated to my needs at the time). He quickly provided the information and help I needed…

    I don’t want to shop in a store where service is hit-n-miss…

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      Fortunately for me, there’s a TigerDirect across the street from the local Best Buy, so if I need something high tech, I can usually find it much cheaper at Tiger.

    • btrthnnothing says:

      It’s worse in the East Bay Area, there’s only Best Buy (at the moment) unless you want to buy from RadioShack/Gamestop

  22. sk1d says:

    Futureshop used to be pretty good before BestBuy bought them. They used to have sales people who actually knew their stuff. Now there’s a tonne of them all over the store, but no one is willing to help you and none of them know anything more than what’s on the description next to the price tag. Many of them will lie to you to make a sale, telling you the product has a feature that it really doesn’t have.

    At least they still have their very good return policies, they’ll take back pretty much anything for any reason. Sales person lied to me is a completely valid excuse even if there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the item.

  23. waltcoleman says:

    Perhaps she thought she was the Assistant Manager, but is actually just the Assistant TO the Manager…

  24. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    What really irks me about Future Shop is that they try to con uninformed consumers into making them believe they’re actually a Canadian operation. Ever notice the giant red maple leaf on the outside signage of most of their stores? Of course you’ll know who really owns them when you actually buy some big-ticket item from them and the shipping label on the box reads “ship to: Best Buy warehouse.” Nice ploy, douchebags.

  25. no_wallmart says:

    My family lives in Montreal. I’ve been to FutureShop there 3 times and EVERY TIME I have had problems with employees there, so I stay away. I’m really not sure how they stay in business.

  26. dg says:

    I got a little game for ya eh! It’s called “You nota gonna work here no more biatch…”. If there was ANYONE else in that store within earshot when she accused me of scamming – I’d sue their asses for liable immediately. When their general counsel called – I’d offer to drop the case for costs + $500 + terminating the employee.

  27. notfred says:

    No, get her fired. She belongs in a back office, stamping papers.

  28. flyromeo333 says:

    how’s the store employee supposed to know your basement is being renovated.

    At the same time, if someone returned an item to MY store and was covered in dust etc,..what makes you think that I’d be able to resell it? How do I know its not damaged? Typically a visual inspection doesnt necessarily mean said item isnt in working condition but, if their practice is to resell returned items.then I presume they need the returns to APPEAR in new condition.

    Yes, there are scammers out there. Which is why most retail stores have been asking for ID when doing returns.

  29. colonel62359 says:

    Some Future Shop stores are awesome, some are OK, some just plain suck. I live in an area where there are 2 stores, approximately 15-20 minutes away from one another by car.

    The first one is in town, in a fairly densely populated area (high sales volume), is notorious for incompetent salespeople and unacceptable customer service. The other one, however, is in a less densely populated area, lower sales volume – their service is impeccable – they always have friendly, helpful and knowledgeable associates at the ready.

    I worked in the Staples store next door to the high volume Future Shop – needless to say, we got a lot of their disgruntled customers.

  30. devilsadvocate says:

    I tried to return an item at future shop that was defective, and the manager refused to take it back or even try to send it out to the manufacturer on my behalf to see if it could be repaired. I asked what I should do with the item and he said he could care less what I do with it, he said I could use it for a paperweight for all he cared. will never buy anything from Future Shop ever again. even if he was in the right to tell me what he did, it’s the way he did it that was unacceptably rude.

  31. h.bonzy says:

    i totally agree with you. i work for a best buy and i see what happens sometimes. some of our employees are ridiculous, making stupid accusations and just dont know what customer service is. but at the same time, you have see it from our side. all the time i get peoplle in trying to scam us and steal from us, and treat us like crap like we’re not people too. we get screamed at and cussed and and people even throw things. now i cant speak for everyone but i try to help customers whenever i can cuz im a customer just like you. i buy things from best buy and everywhere else. in this case, the employee was in the wrong. but other times, we’re totally in the right and still get sht no matter what we do.