Best Buy Calls 911 On Customer Asking For Refund

Best Buy calls 911 after Consumerist reader RJH asks for a refund on a nonworking Tony Bennet CD.

Sooooo RJH buys the CD and goes to his car to play it. He gets “Disk read error” three times. RJH walks back in with his three minute old album and receipt and asks for a refund.

The clerk tells him there’s state and federal laws against refunding money. Our guy calls him a fool.

Manager comes and says the guy can have a substitute disk or leave, or else the manager will have him arrested for trespassing.

Guy laughs.

Manager calls 911…

UPDATE: RJH wrote in again to clarify some issues. Posted inside. Highlights:

• The Best Buy was in Altanta, GA, in the North Metro area.
• He paid cash, not with gift card.
• RJH says he got so incensed at Best Buy because of, “…[T]he countless times they steamroll other customers who do not have the wherewithal I do to fight ludicrous charges like this. The bottom line is that I could care less about the fifteen bucks, it was the idea that a major retailer can just sit there and make it up as they go.”


RJH writes:

    “I was out shopping with my daughter, Z and her brother yesterday, trying to use those dreaded gift cards, the one of interest was from Best Buy.

    While they are looking for music, I see the new Tony Bennett CD, kind of a Duets and I decide to spring for the fifteen bucks.

    We get to the car and I pop it in and see “Bad Disk” on my player. I tried unsuccessfully three times to get it to work, but alas, it must have been a bad disk. So I walk back into the store with my three minute old receipt and show it to the door guard who shows me to the return line. Now I have owned this thing for three minutes and I just want to swap it out. It is three days after xmas and I really do not want to go through the entire return process so when I finally get to the front of the line; the customer service trainer is waiting on me. I tell him, forget it, just give me my money back, it is a bad disk.

    He tells me there are state and federal laws against them refunding my money at which I literally laugh out loud. I said there are no such laws. He claimed there were and I said, if you believe that you are a fool. Then I asked to see a copy of the law at which point the “manager” showed up. He said that he would show me the law it was right out the front door and If I did not leave, they would have me arrested for trespassing. At this point the manager says I can have another disk or be arrested for trespassing. I asked again to check the CD, it was a bad CD.

    I am thinking this is a riot, let’s just see where this goes.

    Sure enough, he calls 911 for a trespasser in his store.

    I am literally laughing out loud. I go back to the car where the kids are and explain that I will be a few more minutes. I get my phone and call my wife and tell her what is going on.

    Then I call corporate in MN. I explain what is going on and the “senior customer consultant” tell me to please hold after he agrees that it is an out of control situation. The first question that corporate asked me was if they actually checked the CD to see if it was bad. I told him that they did not check it in spite of my requests.

    About this time the manager comes to me and says that it looks like the cops ain’t coming so he will give me the money back.

    Now the cops show up, (three officers in two cars!) I have the customer service people refunding my money, the three cops looking for me, and me on hold with corporate.

    I get my money then approach the cops and explain my side of the story. They just shake their head. I apologize for the store manager wasting their resources. I was kind of hoping that they would arrest me.

    I finally get the guy from corporate back on the line and he commits to calling me tomorrow with resolution.

    Turns out it wasn’t a call from him I got today, the store manager called. I went over the details with her and after what seems like a thirty minute discussion she admitted there is not a federal or state law against a store refunding a customer for a defective product. She then asked what it would take to make it right, I told her to think about it and call me back. She did call back later today and offered me a twenty five dollar gift card. I asked her to donate it to Salvation Army and guess what, they can’t do that either.”

Pathetic. Kudos to RJH for standing up to these Best Buy mendicants. They didn’t count on a customer calling their bluff. Doubt RJH will be purchasing many Tony Bennet CDs from them again.

What this means for your weekend: If you believe a store is wrong, stand up for yourself.

Meet their threats with complete confidence.

Be like Violent Acres, who, on the advice of her Marine father, kicked a bully in the nuts with her Cabbage Patch rollerskates and yelled while standing over his body, “I’LL EAT YOUR EYES! I’LL EAT ALL OF YOUR EYES!”

See you in 2007.

— BEN POPKEN

UPDATE: RJH writes in again to clarify some issues.

    “Ben it was in the North Metro Atlanta Area, I’d rather not share their names….

    to refute some of the bullshit claims…. (and the temperature that day was in the 60’s) I originally talked to a male manager then the store manager called me later (the she).

    I paid for my purchase with cash, not my daughters gift card.

    As soon as I walked in the store, I told the door guard that I just needed to swap it out it was a bad disk. He referred me to the exchange line. I mentioned the “customer service trainer” moniker because if anyone should know how not to lie to a customer, it should have been him. Had he simply said that is against store policy, I would have asked for the manager. As soon as he lied, all bets were off with him. The first thing the store manager said was leave and if you don’t I’ll call 911 and have you arrested.

    One of the real reasons I get so upset in these situations is the countless times they steamroll other customers who do not have the wherewithal I do to fight ludicrous charges like this. The bottom line is that I could care less about the fifteen bucks, it was the idea that a major retailer can just sit there and make it up as they go.”