Best Buy Puts An End To Tyrannical Restocking Fees

For years, Best Buy customers have complained about the 15% restocking fee on most electronics (10% on iPhones). So in the spirit of the holidays (and because they are afraid of losing anymore customers than they already have), Best Buy has very quietly announced that as of today, almost all restocking fees are no more.

In a brief statement titled “Statement” on its website, BB writes:

Best Buy continually listens to our customers, and they told us they want to give confidently this holiday season and every other day of the year — and with that comes easier returns. Effective Saturday, December 18, Best Buy is improving its return policy by removing restocking fees for all products except special orders.

Consumerist has also obtained a copy of an e-mail sent from Best Buy HQ to stores across the country alerting them to the policy change:

Effective Saturday, Dec. 18, the 15 percent restocking fee will no longer apply to computers (including notebooks, tablets and iPads), projectors, camcorders, digital cameras, radar detectors, GPS navigation, in-car video systems, DJ equipment and lighting, or Pro-Audio equipment. The 10 percent restocking fee will no longer apply to iPhones. Restocking fees shouldn’t be charged for any returns of these products going forward.

This policy change is being made because we want to be the best destination for gifts and technology. To do that we need to make it easy for our customers to return product when they need to, which will give them one more reason to love Best Buy.

Additionally, the e-mail states:

If customers who were charged a restocking fee between Nov. 17 and Dec. 17 come into the store for a refund, process a return transaction for the restocking fee amount.

We’ll be curious to see if any misinformed Best Buy staffers attempt to charge restocking fees next week.

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  1. J-Sap says:

    Wonder how many people will go to Best Buy and use the no restocking fee policy as a way to rent equipment for free.

    • CheesyRings says:

      Sigh..I work for Staples, and this goes on all the time. Since we have never had restocking fees, customers buy big ticket items like projectors and other things and conveniently dont need them after a week or so. Sure, some are actual legitimate returns..but I bet you a lot are free rentals.

      • Pax says:

        Charging a restocking fee after a very modest span of time, would not be unreasonable:

        Return the item, unopened, within 0-3 days, no restocking fee.

        Return the item, unopened, within 4-7 days, small restocking fee (5%?).

        Return the item opened, or after 8+ days, larger restocking fee (10%?).

        And possibly, that’s only for the first return in any 90-day period; all subsequent returns are charged an extra 5% fee? That’d more effectively target “rent for free” habitual returners.

        All this is completely “off the cuff”, mind, NOT a refined, put-in-action-as-is sort of thing.

        :)

        • coren says:

          Return the item unopened anytime in the return window, no restocking fee – if it’s not opened, no one used it.

          • FaustianSlip says:

            I believe the Best Buy restocking fee applied only to opened GPS systems, cameras and so on. To be honest, I don’t think it was all that tyrannical; people would buy stuff, use it to film their kid’s soccer game or whatever, then try and return it with pretty monotonous regularity. It sucks that the people who do that are making it harder on all of the honest people, but they were always pretty upfront about it, at least where I shopped, so it wasn’t like I bought something not knowing about the restock fee. Some kind of a happy medium would be ideal, but I’m really not sure there is one. Something where you avoid a restock fee if you return the open product within a week of purchase or something might work.

            Incidentally, Apple and various other stores will also ding you for a restock fee if you buy something from them, open it, then try to return it. It’s not a concept that Best Buy just randomly thought up.

      • dg says:

        Sounds like the Store’s missing an opportunity to offer RENTALS of the most returned items.

        Home Depot rents a lot of stuff. After so long, but before it’s burned out, they sell it at a reduced rate.

        • Griking says:

          That wouldn’t change a thing because people don’t want to pay to rent. They’d rather just buy it and return it for free. It’s why many stores have restocking fees in the first place.

    • andrewe says:

      Wow. The man’s an asshole huh? Funny. I thought the Best Buy salespeople were there to serve customers. Smirking and refusing to accept a payment would make me react in the exact same way. I think I’d also take the clerk’s name and let the store manager know how I felt.

      I suppose you like standing in a long line while employees chat.

    • FrugalFreak says:

      a valid return IMO. people buy based on use, not how pretty it looks on the box’s photo

      • theduck says:

        It’s only a valid return if you bought the item in good faith, with the intention to keep it. If you used it and found out it didn’t do what you wanted, then I agree that should be able to return it with no restocking fee. For instance, if you buy a camera with the intention of shooting your kid’s sporting events, and you found out it couldn’t capture the action because the shutter speed it too slow, you should be able to return it with no restocking fee (and shame on the retailer for not determining your needs before the sale!). But if you bought it knowing you’d use it once and then return it, you should be charged a restocking fee. Of course, the problem is figuring out what the situation is in each case, which is, of course, impossible, so Best Buy is doing the right thing here. Of course, if I were them, I’d be checking for serial returners!

        • RvLeshrac says:

          Uh, what? Shame on the person selling the product for not doing all of your work for you?

          Working for an electronics retailer, I pretty much have free reign over returns. but I *STILL* spend hours researching a purchase.

          As *SOON* as you take something out of the box, the retailer is losing10-20% on it, *PLUS* the cost of manpower to test and repack it, *PLUS* the cost of shipping, if any, to a facility to do that, *PLUS* whatever the next person manages to haggle out of the retailer.

          I’m so damned sick of paying 20, 30, 50, or even 100% more on electronics because people can’t seem to stop returning perfectly working items and costing the industry *TENS OF BILLIONS* every year.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            It’s okay, they make it up in bogus Geek Squad repair plans.

          • Red Cat Linux says:

            Soooo….. then they have to sell it for what everybody else is selling it for?

          • JohnnyP says:

            “I’m so damned sick of paying 20, 30, 50, or even 100% more on electronics because people can’t seem to stop returning perfectly working items and costing the industry *TENS OF BILLIONS* every year.”

            I’d like to see some information backing the “TENS OF BILLIONS” claim. Also if you don’t like paying 100% mark up stop buying Monster Cables.

  2. Portlandia says:

    A step in the right direction, now they just need to get rid of the receipt checkers…and I will still only use it as my Amazon showroom.

  3. brinks says:

    I spent a few years as a manager at Staples and crossed my fingers that they would institute some sort of restocking fee for open electronics. People buy it, try it, decide they don’t want it, and bring it back for a full refund. We were stuck with something that we either couldn’t sell or, if it was an HP printer, we could only sell for a slight discount after the computer techs had inspected it and “certified” it.

    Like J-Sap says, this is only encouraging electronics rental. People don’t even think about making a major purchase when they know they can open it up and test it out without any consequences. The stores lose, not them. I know MOST people don’t have the wrong intentions, but you’d be surprised at the large number that do.

    But…it’s nice to see Best Buy putting the customers first for once. I hope they don”t get screwed.

    • cosby says:

      Yea I worked in retail as a level 2 tech and would see this all of them time. We would also see people buy a camera or notebook while theirs went out for repair and try to return it when their stuff came back in.

      We also would see a lot of people buy universal ac adapters because they either lost or broke theirs and return them when they ordered a correct one from the notebook vendor.

      People like the complain about the prices but removing the stock fee will only drive them up further.

    • SinDex says:

      If Best Buy et al would portray certain electronics like TV’s in a realistic manner instead of surrounded by fluorescent lights and with the colours cranked to the extremes, people wouldn’t NEED to return a TV because it looks like crap in their TV rooms.

      As for the other items being returned, don’t like it… Petition to your company to try to change it’s policies. Buy stock in your company and go to Shareholder meetings. Sitting on the internet complaining does very little.

    • FrugalFreak says:

      People buy it, try it, decide they don’t want it, and bring it back for a full refund.

      Avalid return IMO, I want to see how it works in my decisions not just if it looks pretty in the box. If it doesn’t meet my need or has a undealable defect design, I take it back. People buy to USE!!

      • Shadowfire says:

        Except who knows what crap people have put on the computers they open and use. I would just love to deal with a computer that has been opened, had Limewire installed, and returned. Then I have to spend labor to have the computer wiped and the software reinstalled. This is why restocking fees are in place. On unopen items that are within a small time period, no, there should be no fee. But dammit, if someone opens and item and uses it for a short period, they get to pay a restocking fee. Call it whatever you want, I’d label it “rental fee.”

      • RvLeshrac says:

        That’s great. You realise the cost to the store for each returned item is *FAR* greater than the margin on that item, right?

        Do you mind paying an extra 50% on the cost of *EVERY* item?

      • CRCError1970 says:

        I bought a $500 mini-DVD based video camera at a Best Buy a couple of years ago. I got it out and tried it for a few minutes and it seemed pretty nice.

        Then I put the disc in my DVD player and watched the video. The sound of the motor spinning the media inside the camera was very distinct and distracting. Whiiiirrrr click click click whiiiirr…

        I returned it for a refund and they wanted me to eat the restocking fee if I didn’t exchange it. Seeing as that was the only camera they had that shot 1080p at the time, I didn’t want another camera that would probably have the same defect.

        I saw the sign above the returns desk that said the restocking fee would be waived on defective items. I clung to the fact I considered it defective by design and finally got it returned without a fee.

      • regis-s says:

        If a product doesn’t meet your expectations return it to the manufacturerer. Explain to them why you think it doesn’t do what they claim. It isn’t the store’s fault you don’t do your own research.

        • JohnnyP says:

          I don’t think I have heard of a manufacturer taking returns. If they did they would loose more because they would refund the purchase price but they sold it for 3/4 of the money they just gave out for free.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I had an Office Depot manager tell me one time that their return scams were so bad on certain items that she had her employees cut the seal on things like ink cartridges and other items because customers were slipping in used or different items in the return box.

      I think most stores use a restocking fee to help prevent abuse/fraud, unfortunetly a few mess it up for everyone. I’d bet they’re still going to track the cereal returnERs

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Agree. When I worked at Staples we would constantly get people who buy items like projectors, GPS units, and even laptops to use essentially as “rentals”. Sometimes they would even slip up and admit as much when I would be working with them in the aisles. “Oh, the specs of the projector don’t really matter, I just need it for one thing”. They would buy it, and you’d see them back in the store 5 days later returning it after their meeting. We’d see alot of that with projectors around the Super Bowl as well.

      The return policy was 14 days, and unless you didnt have a receipt there were no restrictions really, so it was their own fault. Unlike brinks’ store, we wouldn’t bother trying to resell it. We always sent them back after they were returned.

      As much as I like the idea that I could buy something, try it, and bring it back if it doesn’t fit my needs (you don’t always know how a product really works from its specs), I also know that a lot of people abuse these policies. The stories of Costco customers returning 3 year old TVs to essentially “trade up” show just how shameless some people can be. So I don’t fault companies that have a restocking fee for expensive electronics when there is no defect.

  4. mbz32190 says:

    As much as I hate Best Buy, I think it is justifiable that stores have restocking fees for certain categories. If they are charging these fees on unopened or defective gifts, that is just wrong. But if you open something up then decide you don’t want it (or you “bought” and used that $500 video camera for your sister’s wedding), the store now has to take a loss and sell it as an open-box item.

    • Chaosium says:

      “If they are charging these fees on unopened or defective gifts, that is just wrong.”

      Yeah, I’d rather they strengthen this consumer protection or up their pricematching policies than worry about impulse buy-cancellation.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      I don’t shop at BB nearly enough to know the reality of what their return policy was, but I always got the impression that they would try to hit you up for it no matter what your reason for returning the item was.

      Besides the fact their prices usually stink, my perception of that policy made sure I never considered them for a purchase over $20.

  5. AngryK9 says:

    Now if they would just lower their outrageous prices…

    • brinks says:

      This is going to make prices go up. Just wait.

      • Tedsallis says:

        Bingo. They’ll just tack on a little all over the store and make up the loss they take on open items.

    • Gulliver says:

      There is no such thing as an outrageous price. People will pay what they perceive the value of the service and product is. For you, paying $20,000 for a car might seem too much, but for others they will think it is worth it. This is called freedom. I am so sick of idiots on here blasting Best Buy yet, still they are a GROWING company. I have no stake in Best Buy other than being a customer who has had all good experiences in my time dealing with them. On the other hand, when I bought a big screen tv from an online retailer it was nothing but a headache. The delivery company would not bring it in to my house since it was upstairs. They said it was a “tailgate” delivery. I told the guy at that point, I was not signing, and had not agreed to that in anything, and told him, he could put it in my home where I wanted it, or he could leave it at the tailgate and take it back with him. He took it back.
      The next day I went to Best Buy and amazingly my TV was delivered and set up without a problem.
      No company is perfect, and when you do 60 billion dollars in sales a year, some people will not be happy, but overall WAY more are happy than unhappy.

    • stevied says:

      Can you name one, stand alone, product (camera, tv, gaming system etc) that the standard BB price is significantly different than the same product sold by their competitors?

      Nope. Too bad.

      Yes, the accessories are priced higher than other vendors. It is called conveniece pricing, you don’t like it, then wait 3-21 days to get it cheaper from the importer.

      • djdanska says:

        The monitor i was looking at was $176.99 at best buy. (23inch viewsonic). Went to tigerdirect/compusa store in naperville, IL and got the same thing for $112.99. Flash drive prices are just insane! My 8gb flash drive cost me under $10. Best buy wanted a LOT more for it.

        • Gulliver says:

          And the TV I just bought from Tiger was $1799.99. At Best Buy it was 1798.99. WIth BestBuy they took away my old TV, and delivered the new one. Tiger does not offer TV recycling. The funny part, guess what pops up when you try ordering at Tiger? Thats right an extended warranty. The extended warranty at Tiger is $229.98 for two years, Best Buy offers two years for $199.99 or FOUR years for $289.99. Best Buy is a better deal. Guess what, that is the nature of BUSINESS. Sometime one store has a better price, other times another will. I also get rewards dollars from best Buy which will translate into $35-$40 worth of merchandise.

          • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

            This would imply, of course, that the BB extended ‘warranty’ is worth the paper it’s printed on.

      • TasteyCat says:

        HDMI cables.

      • FaustianSlip says:

        I have to say, I don’t have any particular hate on for Best Buy (I currently have an Insignia TV that’s done just fine by me), but when I was there recently looking at blu-rays, I checked their prices against Amazon, and with maybe two exceptions, all of them were at least five bucks higher in price. That’s a lot, even if I were to factor in the advantage of instant gratification and the fact that as a B&M, they have more overhead. A buck, even two, I might have overlooked, but five? Ten? In several cases, this was when the blu-rays were ostensibly on sale! That’s just unacceptable, IMHO.

        And yeah, their HDMI cable prices are outrageous, but so are every other retailer’s, so I’m less inclined to try and take them to the mat on something like that. Anyone who doesn’t just buy a few HDMI cables from Monoprice and stash them away for when they’re needed is being a bit shortsighted.

      • anduin says:

        owned, by all the above proof

    • theduck says:

      To be honest, I get really tired of comments like “if they’d just lower their outrageous prices”. Is anyone forcing you to buy from Best Buy (or any other store)? Do your homework, find the lowest price available for what you want, and buy from that supplier. But stop moaning because you don’t like someone’s prices. Retailers are allowed to charge what they want, and to make whatever profit they think is fair on the goods they sell. And you’re entitled to not buy a product you think is unreasonably priced. Ultimately, if enough people don’t buy, either the prices will come down or the retailer goes out of business. So please feel free to shop elsewhere…

  6. Daggertrout says:

    Didn’t they do this a few years ago, at least at a couple stores? Then they came back sometime later…

  7. Kestris says:

    I was at my local Best Buy last night, picking up a couple PS3 games. Man, what a clusterfuck that was. The holidays is NOT the time to decide to do a reset of your entire store.

    • Wawa says:

      If u know what you want ahead of time, buy it online for instore pickup. You should get an “order is ready for pickup” email within one hour of placing order, assuming you place order while store is open.

      Best Buy gives you like eight days to pickup order before it’s canceled.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I think redoing the policy during the holidays gives them a chance to spread the word because of all the extra people shopping.

  8. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    Great!

    Now I can just buy a giant TV for Super Bowl Sunday and return it the following day. I can also buy a GPS and video camera for my vacation and return it when I get back.

  9. Torchwood says:

    Now wait a sec…. don’t stores have limits on what and how much you can return?

    I rarely return stuff, but I also do a whole heck of a lot of research when I purchase stuff combined with “Do I really want this?” I should be allowed one or two courtesy returns because it was the wrong item. (Plus, there should be no limits on defective products).

    Somehow, it bugs me when people abuse the system to get a “free rental”. Once an item is sold, it can no longer be a new item. It has to be sold as refurbished or used. Unless it comes from the manufacturer or Woot!, I tend to shy away from refurbished.

    • coren says:

      The only return limit I’m aware of is for without receipts (outside the holidays). I know Walmart has the most lenient.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I think it would be a safe bet to assume they are tracking cereal returners by credit card number. I think that’s how they can just swipe your credit card and the return’s over because they have all the information they need.

  10. john says:

    And as of 2:21pm CST, their website is down. “Our Site is Currently
    Being Updated

  11. VouxCroux says:

    I know most people around here are reflexively anti-Best Buy, but restocking fees are a valid charge. An employee has to use company time to verify the product still works, add it back into the inventory system, and the store can no longer sell it as brand new and must sell it at a discount.
    It’s a fair charge.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I think that’s the point of restocking fees- to help disuade abuse and fraud. I don’t think it’s the restocking fee itself that makes them money it’s the money they save/keep by cutting down on abuse/fraud.

    • JohnnyP says:

      It would be one thing if they actually did check it first though. How many stories have you read about people trying to return the box of tiles that should have been a Bluray player?

  12. bamboozle says:

    I’m officially done with Best Buy as of 60 minutes ago. Just braved the traffic, zero parking, idiot shopppers, because I needed a small pack of DVD+R’s. There were probably 150 people in the backed up line at the registers. There were two people in line at the computer counter. Computer product, I reasoned. I asked the guy if he’dmind ringing me up, and he kinda smirked and said I’d need to go wait in the regular line.

    I tossed the discs on the counter and said thanks, and walked out. A little disappointed, because I was hoping to blow-off the receipt checker as this website has inspired me to do. As well. It can wait, and for me, this was the final nail in the coffin.

    I’m especially appreciative after the crap quarter they just had that dropped their stock about 15%. I suppose I should liquidate that too.

    • crazydave333 says:

      You sound like an asshole. Boo-hoo. You didn’t get to jump the line like the “special” person you are. A single tear rolls down my cheek for you.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      You could have probably bought the DVD+R’s anywhere (unless the only store in your area is Best Buy which I highly doubt that), and I don’t see how an overcrowded store is the fault of the store. Its the holidays and people are shopping.

      When its crowded you are actually better off at a store like Walmart that has a ton of registers to get people through quicker (at least they do here, may be different for you). They also don’t upsell at the register like Best Buy, so the lines will move faster. Best Buy from the few times I have gone in there doesn’t have a whole lot of registers, I think our Walmart has 25 registers and BB has like 5-10 at the most. Toys R Us here has like 2 registers so they are the absolute worst store to patronize during the holidays because it will take forever to get out of there.

    • Stephmo says:

      Wow, how you must have suffered! It’s amazing you even made it out alive with your sanity intact. I hope that you can find a community outreach program where you can go through intensive therapy for the horrendous treatment you suffered.

      After all, I’m sure that no other customers the entire day had ever approached a single lesser-used register throughout the store thinking they too were unique and beautiful snowflakes with but meager – and unique! – purchases that were due special and super-fast treatment at their station. Every other customer was a mouth-breather with at least a dozen boring, non-unique purchases that would do nothing to benefit mankind.

      I hope Best Buy understands you not getting these discs probably set back cancer research decades. Or cold fusion. Or something that would make an endless supply of clean water for a billion years.

      Those selfish bastards.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      150 people in line? How big is this store? I don’t think 150 people could even physically stand in line in my local Best Buy. They’d be stretching all the way to the back of the store and out into the parking lot.

      • MrEvil says:

        Best Buy has some very large stores in major metro areas. Two of them here in the Austin area are quite large and could easily handle a register queue of 150 people. Any Fry’s Electronics could probably have easily four times as many folks….thankfully Fry’s has some 70 registers on their front end, and the other night they had like 24 of them open so there was very little wait for check-out.

        Probably one of the BEST things about my moving to Austin was Fry’s.

      • CoachTabe says:

        I was at Best Buy a few years ago on the 26th of Dec and the line was insane. They had a common queue for all registers with at least 50 people in it. From their it went into their appliance section and literally would through every aisle of the appliances and around to the back of the store, crossing completely across the TV section. There were well over 150 people in that line. And that’s in Spokane, WA – hardly a major metropolis (pop. 250,000).

    • coren says:

      I bet the other 150 people in line wanted to skip ahead, and all of them were waiting longer than you. Why are you more special than them? And how is the store being crowded a week before Christmas their fault? Damn you Best Buy for being so popular!

    • tbax929 says:

      The rest of us who were patiently waiting in line to get rung up appreciate the fact that you weren’t allowed to bypass the line. What makes you so damn special? You go to Best Buy a week before Christmas and throw a tantrum because, shockingly, they’re busy? You can buy DVD+Rs anywhere. Hell, I’d have gone to Walgreens or Dollar General if I needed something so mundane.

    • jedifarfy says:

      Oh gee poor baby. Go to 7-11 and get your DVD-Rs then. You might not have heard but there’s this big gift-giving holiday in a week called Christmas. Every year the last Saturday before Christmas is called Super Saturday and every store that sells anything is packed. YOU made the choice to shop for a single, common item on that day when you could have EASILY purchased it any time before OR anywhere else.

      Honestly, at this time of year, I’d have mocked you too. They have their own customers to help in their own department.

      • regis-s says:

        Can’t say I blame the guy for being upset he was expected to wait. Everybody knows Best Buy is just an overpriced clip joint with really shitty return policies, uninformed employees, and “oh my God!!!!” receipt checkers. He was probably expecting the store to be empty.

    • lincolnparadox says:

      bamboozle–

      From the number of comments, it looks like you made a few friends.

      But, I applaud your decision to shop elsewhere. Best Buy is a dinosaur that needs to go extinct.

    • dg says:

      I don’t have a problem with him trying to go to another open register in the store to make a purchase. Especially if the other registers were already busy processing other customers. The people whining about you wanting to do so were probably standing in that line and pissed that they didn’t think of the idea too….

      If WorstBuy didn’t have all their counters open and taking customers, then that’s their fault for long lines. If they had every counter open and handling customers, then you’d be irked, but so long as the delay was just lots of customers and not some WorstBuy BS policy holding things up, you’d have nothing to really complain about.

      But going up to a counter that has a working register and some WorstBuy schmuck behind it who refuses to check you out? Yeah, I’d toss that crap on the counter and walk out too – let them keep it, along with their smirk.

      As for going there today – hey – maybe he RAN OUT of discs today for whatever reason, and thought “Yeah, I’ll go to WorstBuy” – whatever the reason, he went there. They refused to handle the order, so he left. So shame on WorstBuy. Don’t blame this guy because he happened to have something to do that had nothing to do with a holiday that’s practiced by some people on the Planet. Christmas is no reason to lose your mind for a lot of crap – but the marketers like WorstBuy have turned it into that…

  13. Corinthos says:

    I stopped buying computer equipment becuase of the restocking fee. The manager was a prick when I tried to bring back a printer. The printer had all over that it would work with the mac it was a wireless one. Well I get it and it didn’t work with the newest software and it wouldn’t print wirelessly. I spent an hour on the phone with HP to find this out and best buy still wanted to charge a restocking fee on it and the manager wouldn’t budge. It wasn’t worth my time for the 70 dollars so I just will get my stuff online from now on since its cheaper most the time anyways.

  14. Tracer Bullet says:

    Only a company as bad ass as Fry’s can pull this off. I have never had an issue with their return policy.

    • fantomesq says:

      Fry’s is EXACTLY the reason why consumers should want a restocking fee… True you can return with no penalty but so can the 50,000 other people in the store before you… good luck finding a sealed box!

      • Wombatish says:

        The few times I’ve bought from Frys (they’re far) I never noticed any abundance of open box merchandise.

        • fantomesq says:

          Did ya happen to notice the little blue and white returned stickers? They’re designed to be missed but serve as sufficient notice… Yeah, Fry’s has a returned/open box problem… Doubt this comes as news to many.

      • gman863 says:

        As a former Fry’s (commissioned) associate, the smart salespeople (and customers) keep an eye out for any product of which there are several “open box” units for sale.

        One out of 20 returned in the past week? Par for the course.

        Three out of five? Avoid it like the plague.

      • regis-s says:

        I’ll bet a good percentage of these people that think they should be allowed to “try before you buy” for free would scream bloody blue murder if they found out they paid full price for something that had been used by someone and returned.

  15. nocturnaljames says:

    Tyrannical? No one is forcing you to buy at Best Buy. You deserve what you get if you are foolish enough to shop there. Running a store isn’t without it’s costs also. Restocking expenses are not insignificant to the retailer, and can often result in losses. Customers have been spoiled with this idea they can return anything for free with a full refund. But whenever you do that, it costs the store money in overhead, and often they have to resell at a discount as an “open item”. There are lots of reasons to demonize Best Buy, but charging a restocking fee on electronics is not one of them.

    • andrewe says:

      Funny how the experience is completely different at Costco. Buy a laptop and there is a 90 day return policy – no questions asked. Instead of upselling you a worthless extended warranty Costco will automatically double the warranty for a total of up to two years.

  16. Outrun1986 says:

    I haven’t found a reason to shop at Best Buy yet, everything is at retail price or higher, and the few times I have gone in they did not even have the products I want (which I found by browsing Amazon). They really have an extremely limited selection of products, at least over here. If you want to pay retail or higher for something that is mass-market then they may be your store of choice.

  17. Wawa says:

    Costo seems to do ok without a electronics restocking fee. Other mega retailers (BB, Wal-mart) move enough product to where they have leverage with the manufacturer to take back non-defective returns for full credit.

    Costco did have to tighten return policy to 90 days, because their unlimited policy was being abused.

    • sven.kirk says:

      But you (or somebody) else pays to shop there. So your %100 return is not all that free any more.
      Yes, it is greatly reduced, but it is still paid.
      You usually find better deals because the membership driven stores build up loyalty from being paid first then deals later.

    • Gulliver says:

      So you think it is a DEAL to have to PAY to have the right to shop somewhere? I have never returned anything that was electronic. I have made out ahead of morons who think paying a FEE to be a member is worth it. This who article is about BB dropping their fee, so how is it that Costco is better? Paying upfront to possibly get a savings is classic great plan for the retailer. They bank your money and use it to fund any growth they want.

  18. reykjavik says:

    People actually go to Best Buy?? They carry like 3 products, try to rip you off with calibration and extended policy and magazine subscriptions and are higher priced than any other retailer in almost every product. And of course have the requisite ill-informed employees. I have tons of TVs and gadgets and never once stepped into a Best Buy. All I have ever known them for are new scams they’ve developed.

    • tbax929 says:

      Some of us actually like Best Buy. I do most of my shopping online, but if I want to get something without waiting for it to be shipped, I have no problem going to Best Buy.

      If you don’t like it, don’t shop there. But I’m really tired of people who think anyone who likes something they don’t is an idiot. It’s called freedom of choice. You choose not to shop there, and I’ve never had a problem shopping there.

  19. XStylus says:

    Hello Best Buy rental.

  20. Dr.Wang says:

    It remains the safest way to deal with Best Buy is simply not to make purchases there. Check it out at the store and buy online from a reputable company.

  21. stevied says:

    Oh great. Isn’t the Consumerist the website that has problems with BB selling bricks in HD boxes ?

    I am sure I am right.

    And next week some average joe is going to get royally screwed when his new big screen TV is nothing more than a sheet of crappy plywood.

    Free returns suck. Not because free returns themselves suck, but because what is going to happen to the next guy down the line when the “free return” item is resold and found to be defective or missing.

    Of course if the Free Returns start costing BB a bunch of $ then the price of products to average joe (and there are A LOT of average joes buying from BB… contrary to the talk of the interweb) is going to increase.

    Sounds like a loose-loose proposition with only a few “product renters” profiting.

    • coren says:

      You could do that with lots of items that weren’t subject to this fee to begin with, for one.

      For two, Best Buy should be checking returns, restock fee or not

      For three, plywood is slightly lighter than a bigscreen tv. Slightly.

    • tbax929 says:

      It’s lose, not loose. Why can’t people learn the difference?

  22. wellfleet says:

    As a former BBY manager, I had the discretion of waiving restocking fees. I waived them almost all the time, and 100% of the time if the customer was exchanging for a different product. I tried to work with people and, you know, be a f****** human. Our store was part of a pilot to eliminate restocking fees and we had people come in and “buy” $1000+ HD video cameras and DSLRs that they used for a special event and returned the next few days. I had one guy tell me straight up that he was going to use the $1200 Canon video camera to shoot a concert and would return the camera the next day. Nothing I could do about it…
    It’s the cost of doing business, I guess but I think it’s morally dishonest to retail-rent items without payment. If anything, Best Buy should set up an equipment rental shop where if you need a projector or HD camcorder, you can rent it by the day.

    • fantomesq says:

      You absolutely COULD do something about the serial renters. Those that flaunt it to you upfront, you absolutely can refuse to sell to them. There may be no restocking fees on returns, but returning a product remains a privilege and that privilege can absolutely be revoked! Both of these were done with serial renters at a previous retailer I worked for.

      • wellfleet says:

        O RLY?! Let me see what Phil’s headline would be in that case… “Best Buy High School Droptout Pimple Faced Moron Refuses To Sell Camera To Orphan Holding Puppy”. I’ve been reading Consumerist for years and can only imagine the wahmbulance that would follow someone saying that Best Buy employees can refuse a sale to anyone.
        While that is technically true, the ensuing BS makes it completely not worth it.

        • Portlandia says:

          I kinda agree…I get so tired of “One legged, single mother of twelve, widow of fallen war hero” decides she needs the rules broken for her because hey, we should decide everything based on emotion and if you don’t agree “you’re not human and don’t have compassion” posts.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        Don’t most places track serial returners anyway? Isn’t here were many have complained the clerk swiped their drivers license because they returned something. Even if they track you by name, address or phone number they still can track your returns. I don’t think Best Buy will care if it’s an exchange of somekind(might even pay off to buy something as trivial as a pack of batteries when you return something to keep yourself off a list if you like shopping BBY AND returning alot)

        I think Best Buy is really starting to hurt at this point. I see competitors like HH Gregg in the news on tv now. Walmart and Target have to a nice chunk of the electronics market at this point. Even the office stores compete with them on computers. I’m really wondering about Best Buys long term future as BBY themselves.

  23. rbb says:

    Well, word has not gotten down into the trenches yet. This evening, I bought 2 items at the Fairfax VA Best Buy and they were sure to point out the 15% restocking fee if returned them after opening.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I guess what ever it says on reciept will go for now. The good thing is you have a date on that reciept. So if someone has to return something used tell them to point out the date of sale on the reciept.

  24. coren says:

    Yes, yes, commenters, we all know Best Buy is the most awful store ever and no one should go there. But no matter how many times they get talked down in posts and comments, people still go. People who read this site, and have any number of reasons and excuses for why they went (hell, i got 20 bucks of free reward zone bucks and got an SD card for the price of some twizzlers today – good reason if you ask me). Just because they’re not always an optimal place to shop doesn’t mean that the readers of this site shouldn’t be informed about their policies, should they decide to brave BB.

  25. jwissick says:

    These idiots tried to charge me a restocking fee on a defective laptop once.

    Unreal. Haven’t shopped there since. Best Buy sucks.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      That’s where Best Buy abused the policy which is wrong. But unfortunetly it’s the public that will abuse the no fee policy now.

      I find it no coincidence that this policy changes after they have a decline in tv sales and market share and get a settlement on a pricing complaint. The heat’s on for Best Buy and they’re trying to get out from under the fire/

    • PupJet says:

      So what, you couldn’t do your research online in regards to the brand of said laptop before purchase? Apparently not because you want to blame Best Buy for your ignorance on said product.

      I am pretty damned sure that if you had actually reviewed said product online, you would have probably made note of said defects and not have purchased it from the get-go, but again, you just want to blame someone else for your ignorance.

      • coren says:

        …even the best laptops ever have units that are defective. They didn’t say it was not to their liking or didn’t do what they wanted, it was DEFECTIVE. If it was dead out of the box, is that their fault too?

    • DanRydell says:

      They don’t do that if you exchange it for the same product, which generally people do if they get a defective product. If they allowed you to get a refund without restocking fee for a defective product, people would just break stuff before returning it.

  26. djjuice says:

    Today I exchanged a GPS and was told there is no more restocking fee, so at least they were aware of it. They even let me price match a gps at walmart.com. I have to admit this went really smooth for being best buy.

  27. homehome says:

    If I owned a company I would have restocking fees. For every guy that’s well meaning there’s an asshole who is the reason why it is necessary. I knew a guy a BB one time when I was working there bought a computer, had it for two days, then returned it, he managed to guilt the supe in the store into waiving the restocking fee, we go to check the computer to see if we can resell it, the dude put so much animal porn on the computer with viruses and wormholes out the ass. I didn’t know it was that much animal porn in the world, it was a 320 GB drive. Plus, I couldn’t prove it, but it looked like he ejaculated on the computer a few times. Of course, we couldn’t sell that to anyone. $600 down the drain. And I have numerous stories about numerous devices for nearly the same or worse actions.

  28. Rhinoguy says:

    Don’t most stores take things back for a full refund? Even the local grocery store will take back stuff and only a few of them “restock” the items! What makes Best Buy special? H H Gregg will take stuff back. Pretty much everyone EXCEPT Best Buy. BB doesn’t even sell stuff that can’t be bought elsewhere for around the same price. I just can’t see what makes them special, especially with all the complaints I read online.

    • tbax929 says:

      Amazon has a restocking fee, and I don’t see anyone on here complaining about that.

      I have no problem with restocking fees that deter folks from “renting” electronics. I don’t want to pay higher prices because some fools are dishonest, self-centered asses.

      Those of us who buy products with the intent of keeping them don’t worry about such fees.

      • hahamaximus says:

        Amazon appears to be selective, I returned a Mac-Mini with no restocking fee after keeping it for 2 weeks. Of course, it might have something to do with me being a Prime member and spending an insane amount of money with them this year.

  29. El_Red says:

    Interesting, here in Canada, Best Buy never had restocking fees. And it`s doing just fine.

  30. El_Red says:

    Interesting, here in Canada, Best Buy never had restocking fees. And it`s doing just fine.

  31. El_Red says:

    Interesting, here in Canada, Best Buy never had restocking fees. And it`s doing just fine.

  32. El_Red says:

    Interesting, here in Canada, Best Buy never had restocking fees. And it`s doing just fine.

  33. El_Red says:

    Interesting, here in Canada, Best Buy never had restocking fees. And it`s doing just fine.

  34. El_Red says:

    Interesting, here in Canada, Best Buy never had restocking fees. And it`s doing just fine.

  35. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    I think restocking fees serve a purpose, and I think it’s foolish not to have them. If something is defective, that is one thing. But, I can’t think of many reasons to return an open item if it works the way it claimed it would work. They need to cover the costs of the declined value on the item somehow, and deter people from being assholes and doing the free rental thing.

  36. The_IT_Crone says:

    There are so many fraudsters out there I can’t help but think this will effect BB’s bottom line, which will then be put on the customer’s shoulders.

  37. edrebber says:

    I thought everyone knew that Best Buy seals up the returned merchandise and sells it again as new.

  38. gman863 says:

    It’s possible BBY may have put some pressure on manufacturers and distributors to make the restock fee go away.

    When a retail chain makes a deal to buy $xxxxx in merchandise from a vendor it usually involves factors beyond the wholesale price per unit. A buyer will consider other items including the amount of national advertising the manufacturer is doing (think of TomTom or Apple), the amount of “co-op” ad money (the retailer devotes a page in their Sunday flyer to Apple and Apple pays for that page) and the “returns cap” – what dollar percentage of the order the manufacturer will buy back from the retailer in case of defects or buyer’s remorse.

    I suspect Amazon and Wal-Mart have leaned on manufacturers for years to get return caps raised or removed in exchange for carrying the product (Wal-Mart) or more favorable search results (Amazon). This is one of the reasons the number of “refurbished” products available online has increased; the original retailer cut a deal to avoid having to sell functional returns as “open box.”

    It is likely BBY has whipped at least some of its vendors onto a level playing field against Amazon and Wal-Mart on loosening or removing these wholesale return limits.

    Having spent years in retail, I would estimate at least 50% of printer, camcorder, camera and GPS unit returns were really “rentals”. When given discretion under company policies, I would only waive restock fees on these items if the customer agreed to a store credit – not a refund.

  39. meternx01 says:

    Well they figured they got enough money from that scam..

    They get you to pay restock. Then they price it as Open Box (which doesn’t qualify for sales and other offers)..

  40. faislebonchoix says:

    I consider it a privilege that a store will allow me to return a non-defective purchase. I have no problem with restocking fees for such returns. The reason I avoid Best Buy like the plague is the upsells and the lack of inexpensive accessories. I like to buy good quality electronics (which is pretty much a thing of the past nowadays) but I’ve never had any problems with cheap cables. If a cable were junk I wouldn’t mind eating the cost.