How Many Tales of iPod Can We Tell? Best Buy Adds One More…

Gothamgal purchased an iPod from Best Buy, along with the product replacement plan. Times passes, product needs replacing. Best Buy says, “no problem, bring it on down.”

Gothamgal goes to Best Buy and gets hit with a not-very-gruntled employee who seems to seriously begrudge the fact that our iPod buyer needs to replace her mp3 player. Seriously.

Inanity ensues in a police procedural fashion, after the jump…

    “So I got some money in ’04 to commemorate my birth. How better to celebrate than with a bright, shiny new 20 gig Ipod?

    I’d been looking at them for a while, and kept deciding I really didn’t need it, but I finally decided to live a little and picked it up with my boyfriend waiting patiently. The person at Best Buy kept asking questions and the whole process took about 30 minutes, but he did convince me to pick up the product replacement plan. My boyfriend and I were off to dinner, where I believe I paid, in celebration of me turning 25 (hey, wait a second, shouldn’t I have been treated?).

    Cut to earlier this year. The Ipod is amazing, it is always near and I treat it like it is a child. A very small child whose metal back is freaking freezing in an Ohio winter. But I notice that when I slide the hold on and then off after a while, the click wheel is slow to respond. The volume is weird, going in and out at weird times, despite the original files and my headphones seem okay.

    I get worried. I wonder if something is going on with the ‘Pod and whether or not I was in trouble. I’d backed up all my music, but it’s not too organized on the external hard drive I use (I like putting my music on my computer so that I don’t have to mess with scratching the CDs). So I figure that whenever I do something it is going to take a while to go through everything.

    I called my local Best Buy Friday on my lunch break. I explained the problem and spoke with Amanda in music (the automatic phone system is hard to understand).

    Amanda: Best Buy Girl
    Gothamgal: Worried Ipod Owner

    G: I’ve downloaded all updates, tested the headphones and my Ipod is still changing volumes at weird times, without touching the clickwheel.
    A: Is anything else happening?
    G: If I press the hold button and then turn it back on, the clickwheel doesn’t respond.
    A: Does it happen all the time?
    G: No, just a couple of times today. It’ll do it four or five times a day and then be fine for a week.
    A: When did you buy it?
    G: On October 2, 2004. I got the protection plan.
    A: How did you pay?
    G: I have my receipt, I think I paid cash.
    A: You have your receipt from 2004?
    G: Yes. I got a 20 gig Ipod.
    A: That’s so sweet. Bring it in and we’ll switch it for a new one.
    G: Seriously? Do I need to bring anything else?
    A: Let me check.

    A: I just checked with customer service. Just bring it in with the receipt and they’ll give you $299.99 toward a new Ipod or cash or anything really.
    G: It’s that easy?
    A: Yeah, and you’ll actually get more if you get a new Ipod. The prices dropped and they discontinued yours, so you can get a 30 gig video for the same price.
    G: Thanks!

    It can’t be this easy, right?
    Well, you’re right. I went in and spoke with Holly at the desk. She took it and said “Go get your new Ipod.” I went to the bathroom and then went over to the Ipod counter.
    When I came back Kristen was there. She seemed less willing to trade the Ipod, and she was murmering things about how it wasn’t fair she had to do this. She kept asking me questions about why it wasn’t working. Then Holly would come up and assure her to just return it. Finally, Kristen had me fill out a form and then she had to call a number and get an authorization number. All the time she is saying things about how no one should be able to return an ‘MPG’ player (?!?). Everything was done and she says “Where is your power cord? Your disk?”
    I look at her blankly and told her about my previous conversation with Amanda. She looked at me and said “If you don’t have it, go home and get it or I’ll have to charge you $200.00. It’s ridiculous.”
    My boyfriend is in the car and he’s hungry so he isn’t in a good mood. I explain again that no one had said this to me at any point beforehand. I can come back in the morning with the cables and she’s like “No, can’t happen.”
    I walk outside, sans ANY ‘pod and tell my boyfriend. He says “Get in there and tell them to take it out of the box. Tell them to cut the S*&t.” (We live about 25 miles away from the nearest Best Buy, and gas is expensive, not to mention traffic is bad at this time).
    So I walk back in and say “Can you take the stuff out of the new box?”
    She rolls her eyes and says “I guess.”
    I reply, “That’s good because you’ve already taken way too long to process this and no one ever told me I needed to bring anything else. My boyfriend is in the car and he’s not happy.”
    Kristin apologizes and takes out a disc and a computer cable (the new ipods do not come with a power cable). She tosses my old Ipod cover to me (I got it free from Johnny Walker) and grabs a bag for the item. “You have 30 days to get a new product replacement.”
    I walk out of the store, happily with my new Ipod, but kinda mad about the whole runaround, especially with an associate that a) didn’t really know a lot about the product/process or b) someone unwilling to provide normal customer service.
    Luckily I did get something better to replace something that had taken a crap, that’s what the replacement plan is there for. But if an associate is angry about having to do it, I don’t think that’s too cool.”

One day we hope to receive two emails, one from a consumer complaining about “the worst customer service they’ve ever had” and one from an employee complaining about “the worst customer they’ve ever had” and lo and behold, they concern the same transaction. That would be pretty magical.