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.


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.”


Edit Your Comment

  1. feralparakeet says:

    Why do people continue to shop at Best Buy? Why?! Have you still not learned your lesson?


  2. mackjaz says:

    These Tony Bennet fans, they’re hoodlums, they’re crazy! Call the authorities! They’re worse than the Rat Pack!!!

    I bet this guy wants to call 911 if his floormats are uneven.

  3. pr1nc3ss says:

    I agree with standing your ground, but not every customer is right. Sometimes, people do try to get their money back and they shouldn’t. Let me explain. As a store manager for a men’s clothing store, I have come across some pretty absurd things customers expect. How about buying a wool sweater a year ago and then coming in to say that moths in your closet ate holes and we should refund or replace it? Cleaning out your closet over this holiday week and deciding you didn’t need these 4 suits you bought and had altered, that are over a year old, and wanting your money back? If it’s a manufacturer’s defect, I will gladly help you. That happens and I will stand behind the merchandise. But it’s when they get ingdignant about the fact that it’s obvious they’re trying to abuse the policies. I don’t care if I lose a customer, how much more money should I lose on this guy? You know who’s going to do it again, and especially if they already have. No thanks.

    Sorry, going through the past month of holiday hell and I’m a little bitter. And one more thing, is it really necessary to mess up every pile of clothes, making it unshoppable to other customers and throwing piles on the floor of the fitting room? We’re their to help you, not be your servant. A little kindness goes a long way!

  4. AcilletaM says:

    So where is this store?

  5. Chongo says:

    I would like to know why they can’t follow through with the donation? Is this because they can’t donate to the Salvation army itself?

    I thought I read somewhere (maybe here?) that certain companies like best buy only donate to specific charities. Any ideas folks?

  6. ElPresidente408 says:

    I don’t know if it’s a law, but most stores won’t refund a CD/DVD once it’s opened. You said you asked for your money back and it seems the situation degraded once you started challenging them about getting a refund. Why didn’t you just ask for a replacement CD?

  7. pr1nc3ss says:

    By the way, state laws allow for stores to make their own return policies and adherence of it as long as the product or service was delivered as described and no deceitful practices were involved.

    I do believe Best Buy was in the wrong, in this instance. They should have played the cd and returned/replaced/refunded to make the customer satisfied.

  8. princ3ss: “How about buying a wool sweater a year ago and then coming in to say that moths in your closet ate holes and we should refund or replace it?”

    My husband returned a $275 cashmere sweater to Jos. A Banks after a year because it developed a hole along the seam. The store apologized for the failure in workmanship, reccommended we look into moth control just in case, apologized again, and gave him the option of a replacement sweater or a refund.

    And that’d be why we pay Jos. A Banks prices.

  9. pr1nc3ss says:

    McGee: I would believe a hole in the seam could also be a manufacturer’s defect and do the same thing JAB did. The person I am referring about paid $29.98 on clearance and wanted a new one that was for more expensive for an even exchange or his money. Sorry, it had obvious wear and we don’t do pest control. I truly love working with people and my job for 15 years now, meeting great people and it’s never a dull moment. I love the brand that I am selling and truly believe in the product. But there is a limit. That’s all I’m trying to say.

  10. B says:

    Stores generally have policies against accepting returns of stuff like CDs, video games and other things that could be easily copied. They’ll exchange it for another of the same item, but won’t give your money back. Calling 911 in response to somebody trying to return something isn’t the right response, of course, as is telling him it’s against the law to accept a return.

  11. GlassBottleLoveAffair says:

    Wow, seriously, Best Buy has got some problems! I think after I spend the gc’s I have, I will be hard pressed to go into their store! I mean, sure, I’d like to sympathise with the ‘manager’ on this one since I’ve had to tell people to remove themselves from my store or I’m calling the cops, but this guy had a legit complaint. Also, why train your people to lie to customers? I could see saying that it’s against store/corporate policy to do A, but offer B as a solution to the problem, but why the hell would you tell someone it’s against the law!? I have a feeling theres gonna be some job openings at this guys local BB..

  12. viriiman says:


    Eyebrows McGee: That’s fine, as it’s one hole in the sweater. Rereading princ3ss’s comment, they say “…moths in your closet ate holes and we…”. I’m going to guess that there were multiple holes in the garment (which would be why theres an s).

    I’m glad that you pay Jos. A Banks prices. Someone has to, and I know it isn’t me. But you don’t have to buy expensive items to always receive quality workmanship in a product.


  13. pr1nc3ss says:

    McGee: Everyone who shops at JAB knows that everything is always on sale every other week. You wouldn’t have paid $275 for it. It’s been priced from $99-$150. So, though a pricey sweater, it doesn’t warrant to allow for wear and multiple moth holes in it and a refund a year later. That couldn’t have been the only item in the closet/drawer affected and over a span of time.

  14. Karl says:

    The “easily copied” argument isn’t really valid anymore. With DRM, it’s often MUCH easier to download a pirated copy than it is to try and crack the protection yourself. Furthermore, some types of DRM (like those on audio CDs) tend to be incompatible with various players, and it’s asinine that consumers should be SOL in this case (an identical replacement will also be incompatible).

    I’m guessing the safest bet is to buy these types of items with a credit card and try doing a chargeback if they don’t work and the store won’t take them back.

  15. “You wouldn’t have paid $275 for it.”

    Never. :) Only on sale!

  16. flag8 says:

    The RIAA actually has a law against buying a CD and then returning it in a short ammount of time.

  17. Christopher says:

    As much as it sucks, most retailers had to enact these no returns policies for opened media because of people ripping/copying their CDs and then returning them. When I worked customer service at Circuit City I had to turn many a customer away. Granted, I did use much better wording than that Best Buy associate seemed to, and I also used a little personal discretion. If you had come back to me after 3 minutes, I would have taken the return. If it were 3 hours, probably not.

    flag8: The RIAA doesn’t have laws, the government has laws. As much as they try think to the contrary, they are in fact not a governing body.

  18. Falconfire says:

    The RIAA actually has a law against buying a CD and then returning it in a short ammount of time.

    thats good for them… too bad they arnt any part of the federal government and break more consumer rights laws than they try to make.

  19. The RIAA actually has a law against buying a CD and then returning it in a short ammount of time.

    Trade associations make laws now?

    Someone get me the RIAA’s telephone number. I want to ask them to make a law forbidding my neighbor from buying anymore 311 CDs. While they’re at it, the can make a law requiring my neighbor to invite me over when I smell rope burning.

    I’m sure you meant something else…

  20. pr1nc3ss says:

    McGee: LOL Always a sale!

  21. Optimistic Prime says:

    The manager’s actions do seem very extreme, but he probably had to deal with many frustrated customers trying to return gifts that day and had just reached his boiling point.

  22. mojohealy says:

    a bit off topic but…
    the original letter makes it clear that the manager was a “she”, so why does each commenter that addresses the manager use a masculine pronoun?

    manager does not = man.

  23. Amry says:

    I’ve had to call 911 when a belligerent “customer” (read: shoplifter or return fraudster) wouldn’t leave my store/began threatening employees/created an unsafe situation. This doesn’t sound like one of those situations, but its not unheard of to call the cops if someone is yelling at employees or won’t leave the store.

    Also, not being able to donate the card to the Salvation Army probably has something to do with store management not being empowered to make a charitable donation in the name of the company. Doesn’t mean she couldn’t just drop it off anonymously, though!

  24. Derek, IN says:

    Where was this? I saw cops at my best buy today.

  25. spanky says:

    What Karl says. It’s possible that the CD had some kind of copy protection that made it incompatible with the car CD player.

    To avoid this, make sure whenever possible to buy CDs that have the logo that reads “Compact Disk Digital Audio” on it. This is the official red book standard for audio CDs, and it’s supposed to ensure that a compliant audio CD will play in any compliant player. The standard does not provide for any (serious) copy protection measures.

    This is not to say that there aren’t CDs with that logo that don’t comply with the standard, but you’re probably on firmer ground for getting your return if they do.

    None of which really matters in this case, but it might work at a store that wasn’t staffed by lunatics.

  26. infinitysnake says:

    “Where was this? I saw cops at my best buy today.”

    That was probably the guy getting cuffed
    over the two dollar bills…

  27. infinitysnake says:

    “Where was this? I saw cops at my best buy today.”

    That was probably the guy getting cuffed over the two dollar bills..

  28. Optimistic Prime says:


    I referred to him as a man because that is what the letter says he was.

  29. Mike_ says:

    Most stores won’t let you return music, movies or software. It’s too easy to take it home (or to your car), duplicate the content, and return the media for a refund. DRM will stop law abiding citizens, but anyone who wants to pull this scam will find a way to bypass the copy protection.

    One of my newer CDs (Sony/BMG) says this on the label:

    The audio side of this disc does not conform to CD specifications and therefore not all DVD and CD players will play the audio side of this disc.

    … or “maybe it will work, maybe it won’t”.

    When you buy software, the hardware requirements are clearly printed on the package. If you buy incompatible software, it’s probably your own fault. That’s not true for music. You have no way of knowing if it will work until you try it. It’s not your fault if it doesn’t work. Why should you pay?

    One way the music industry could fix the problem is to standardize their copy protection schemes, and offer free demo discs to consumers. That way, you could test a protected disc in your player, and know if it will work before you buy music in that format.

    Buying music should not be a crapshoot. If the store cannot tell you whether or not a disc will work in your player, they should allow a refund if it doesn’t work. It’s not your fault, so it shouldn’t be your problem.

    I bought a DVD at Target a few years back. As I was getting in my car, I heard the disc rattling around in the case, so I opened it. I found the disc had been badly scratched, so I returned to the store to exchange it. They didn’t have any more in stock, so I asked for a refund. Initially, they wanted me to exchange it at another location (30 mins away), but eventually agreed that was a little too much to ask. The store manager overrode the policy and voided the sale.

    As for Best Buy calling 911, well, that’s just crazy.

  30. Triteon says:

    I’d like to know what it was about the “customer service trainer” that made RJH decide to change his mind and ask for a refund. I agree he should have received a replacement disc, but not the refund…too many bad apples spoiled that for the honest among us.

  31. Fuzzy_duffel_bag says:

    Wouldn’t the problem with getting a refund here be related to the gift card that was used for the purchase? (I mean, aside from all the nonsense with the cops). A lot of places won’t give you money back if you purchased with a gift card, store credit only.

  32. kerry says:

    While stores can have rules against returning opened media, they should at least test the media to confirm that it’s defective before denying a refund. They never appeared to state that the openness of the CD was the issue, they claimed that it was illegal to allow any refunds at all. This is insane and the customer deserves to get a little snitty in that situation.
    Also, the male/female manager confusion is that the floor manager he spoke with at the store was male, the store manager who he spoke with on the phone was female. Nobody is claiming all managers are equipped with testicles when they take the job.

  33. Funny how many people think the stores have a “right” to not offer refunds of some merchandise, even if it was obviously defective/broken and had been purchased less than 24 hours ago. In some states, like mine, the Buyer’s Remorse Laws don’t cover small purchases, but wow, it seems like they need to. (Also, while stores are allowed to make their policies — the idea being that customers will avoid stores with bad policies; oops! — it’s also state law pretty much everywhere that any store with a “money back guarantee” must honor it with a REFUND, not an exchange.)

    The only thing I would have done much differently than the poster was letting them get away with it scott-free. I’m sorry,you CALLED THE COPS on me for trying to do a perfectly legitimate thing. I’d demand the job of the man who called the police, or inform them that I was taking it to the local news. A serious payoff (>$100) might have talked me out of it, but sure as hell not $25. Is it worth $25 to you to almost go to JAIL, you moron? Are you going to continue employing someone who threatens your customers with ARREST if he gets angry? What the HELL, man.

  34. Plasmafire says:

    Time to sue them into the ground, it seems BestBuy is only a front for massive customer fraud in some areas. BestBuy must have the worst CEO ever.

  35. SexCpotatoes says:

    I had bought a movie a year or two back at Wal-Mart. Ghost World, if you must know the title. While watching it, the image froze and pixellated at a certain point of the movie. There were NO scratches etc anywhere on the movie and ever other movie I’ve owned has shown no compatibility issues with my dvd player. After I made sure it was the proper region disk, I took it back, exchanged it for a new copy, explaining it was defective. Pop new copy in, jump to the offending chapter, FREEZE/pixellate, bad. I return it AGAIN, immediately, explaining that this is the second copy that has done this to me, and I am not pleased. Well, when the third one did the same thing, I took it right back and DEMANDED to be allowed to exchange said movie for a different title of the same price. Not to mention all the gas and time I’d been wasting to verify they had a bad batch of movies on their racks. I suggested they pull the rest of the copies they had left, and I successfully traded that final one bad copy in for American Beauty.

  36. madderhatter says:

    We bought a DVD at Wally World a while back, got home and opened it, and the disc was missing. The security decals and all were intact when I opened it but the case was just empty. I thought “great”, this should be fun to try and get them to believe this. Took it in and they had no problem with us getting another one. Opened it on-site this time and there was a disc in this one.

    As for the Best Buy Federation – a Federal Law ? That’s pretty damn funny. Wasn’t that enacted when the Department of Homeland Security was created ? I think the FBI used to be in-charge of investigating all CD refund violations didn’t they ?

  37. jkfan87 says:

    So, the guy acts like an asshole, and then whines like a bitch about the consequences?

    You DON’t have a right to shop at a privately owned store. they can ask you to leave at any time. If you don’t, you are trespassing. Period. Don’t complain about their return policy (and MOST stores do not allow cash refunds of gift card purchases moron), cause a scene, laugh at people’s faces and call them a fool and expect them to be all courteous to you. I am saddened that there are people in the world like you and hate to thnk of the horrible way you are raising your children. PLEASE..for their sake, give social services a call to take them away.

  38. spacehaven says:

    I’ve wished for a long time that anyone (private citizens or corporations) could automatically be penalized criminally for misrepresenting the law by some kind of federal justice department police force.

  39. con40dmitri says:

    I agree with Mike – it is way too easy these days to take the media and copy it to your machine. Coming back to the store and asking for a refund is another way the industry is suffering from piracy.

  40. thetourist says:

    It’s hard to decide who the bigger asshole is in this story.

    As for the ‘guest’: Best Buy’s return policy is clearly stated on the receipt, in large letters above the return counter, and likely on signs hanging around the store. Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy-every major electronics retailer has a similar policy with regards to opened and defective media: you get another copy of the same title. That is the policy. If you dislike it, suck it up this once and find somewhere else to shop next time.

    As for the manager: This is clearly a smug, self-righteous prick. He keeps his children waiting unattended in a car on a cold day so that he can cause a scene over a Tony Bennet CD. But calling the police? Seriously? He clearly gets off on this sort of attention (I’m sure this story has been told to countless others before it was posted online.) Just swap his CD and ignore him. If you can’t handle a simple asshole customer without police backup, then you probably shouldn’t be a retail manager.

    Note to readers: We only have the story from one perspective. I work in retail. I’ve had to call the police on customers. Usually it’s only done as a last resort-after bloodshed or racial slurs or broken glass. This is among the busiest shopping days of the year, and it seems entirely possible that CD Shopper might very well have been a completely obstinate and obnoxious asshole, blocking off the swelling return line and refusing to leave until he had his way. If he started shouting and refused to leave the building, it might well have made sense to threaten him with forcible removal-that is, threaten to call the police.

  41. TheConsumeriste says:


    Your last arguement in the form of a paragraph holds no H20 as RDH has reported that he was NOT arrested, thereby proving either the police believed the RDH story over the day manager’s or the day manger’s version was too similar to RDH’s report of the incident here to us, either way most cops arriving on a scene initiated by a report of an agitant or potential agitant and seeing a calm and collected “agitant” would want the manager to show them any security footage to help back up any claims of “agitation” brought by the manager upon a customer. Also, once the police (in NY or IL anyway) find out from a manager that “the customer apperantly didn’t take me seriously that I would call you guys”, the manager is screwed as it is a proprietors duty to ensure that a customet understands they are to leave, must actually say the words “Sir/Ma’am you must leave now” or “ it is time for you to leave, Goodbye”. Something like, “I am afraid I am going to have to ask you to leave” or simply threatening a call then making that call when it is reasonably clear – by laughing – that the customer does NOT understand , legally does NOT cut it (in NY or IL).

    Your 2nd to last paragraph goes in and out of 2nd person /3rd person too much to know what you are saying at all.
    Also,, RIAA? Pa-lease!
    IL may have an equivelant law = Buyer’s Remorse, don’t recall what it is, but for any property purchased that is Not land and is not parishable, any citizen of Illinois may return for full CASH refund (up to $300.00 as of 2001, used to be $500.00) or Company Store Check issued AT THE LOCATION up to $1500.00 and company check “in the mail” with Company Store voucher for single items purchased costing more than 1500.00 dollars.

    The reason that a store can put up signs to the contrary is becuase retailers have the right to sell anything legal, including refunds (which in the law is a legal transaction and thus sellable). However, the IL staute of Severablity is an assumed customer right and therefore, although it is legal for a store to ask that a customer take the store credit or return for equal title or value, a retailer cannot legally demand it. Legally, in IL, the monent a customer asks for or demands the cash refund choice, any retailer OPERATING in IL MUST honor that request as per outlined above.

    BTW, Tandy is based in TX, however, their individual stores in each state must abide by that state’s retail laws, not TX law. TX law may only be invoked when a manager or higher up violates a internal store policy that is deemed by IL as illegal, and then only if the TX corporation wishes to prosecute locally or remotely or even, ad hoc – as in; many corporations incorporate in yet anohter state altogether!

  42. TheConsumeriste says:

    “Your comment was not inserted because it is a duplicate.”

    Well, No. I hit the submit button twice because the system asked for a password confirmation after my first press. Naturally anyone would think that the first press did not “take”. Hence the “duplicate”.

    So just in case it didn’t get posted at all, I repeat it here on purpose, but of course cut it to just pne copy if I goofed even a 3rd time!

  43. bestbuy-staff says:


    This story is false and I would like to tell what really happened. I won’t say who I am to protect my identity, but I can say that I was only a staff who witnessed the situation.

    We only said it was our “policy” to not accept opened media and never mentioned anything about the “law”. We just wanted him to accept the exchange or leave but he refused. The disgruntled customer was making inappropriate sexual and racist comments to the CSR. The manager asked the customer to calm down but he became more enraged.

    Because there’s no 24/7 security in the plaza, the manager called the police for the safety of the staff and himself. The customer didn’t believe he called and insisted he wait for the police. The police came and the customer told the police he wasn’t causing any problems.

    The police escorted the customer out of the store and said they won’t lay any charges as long as the customer doesn’t cause any more problems. The customer agreed and left the scene without exchanging the item.

    We do not know why the customer became so disgruntled. It is true that the customer did purchase the item several minutes ago and the item was in like-new condition. We believe it was partly due to the fact that we could not satisfy his demands for a refund.

  44. peglet says:

    I also work retail and you cannot imagine how downright nasty some people get. They yell, call you names, and/or threaten to beat you up. The worse ones are the one who think you must take last years merchandise back for a full refund. I have had childrens filthy coats with rips in them and the parents want a new one. Items taken off the shelf and brought to the return center for money–no reciept on stolen goods.

  45. joeylopez says:

    Judging from the glossing over of details and lack of recorded evidence other than ‘a story’, I highly doubt that the manager simply said he’d call 911 or give him an exchange. The part about calling the person a fool is the real story, SOMEBODY doesn’t know how to talk to people or treat people with respect. You’d be suprised how far that goes. Having a background in retail, many of us have mused about writing a book, something like ‘how to get everything you want from a retail store’ and most of it would be about BEING CAREFUL IN HOW YOU SPEAK TO PEOPLE. coming in being beligerant and demanding will get you nowhere but begrudging compliance. So congratulations, you’re an a-hole. and lots of people hate you. Yay! happy life.

  46. zl9600 says:

    I’m sorry, tourist, I think it’s pretty clear to see who the bigger asshole is here. Perhaps you’re fresh off the most unnerving time of year for retail.

    Apparently they agreed they were in the wrong here. Read the story again and see where it ended up.

    Maybe you work for Best Buy. If so, it’s exhibit A why most retail employees could use a refresher in customer service.

  47. some_yahoo says:
  48. AndyAndy719 says:

    Hey TheConsumeriste–

    I just moved here to Illinois a while back – what law is that regarding the refunds? (i’m not asking to question – I’m asking to get clarification)

  49. best-buystaff said:
    We do not know why the customer became so disgruntled. It is true that the customer did purchase the item several minutes ago and the item was in like-new condition. We believe it was partly due to the fact that we could not satisfy his demands for a refund.

    I’ll tell you why the customer was “disgruntled”. He was sold a disc that does not play in all CD players, but which not clearly labeled as such. He had no use for a replacement, as it would not work in his CD player either. Hence his request for a refund – a perfectly reasonable request in light of the facts – and your refusal to do so caused him to become upset.

    So, tell me again why all this had to happen? Oh – that’s right – you have an apparently inflexible, customer-unfriendly policy that made the customer angry, despite clearly faulty merchandise (a copy-protected non-CD-comptible audio disc (non-CDDA) not clearly labeled as such) being unsuitable for his needs (a car CD player that plays only CDDA discs).

    Even if the customer was an ass, why not just give him his money back and call it a day? Instead, you wasted taxpayer money by CALLING THE COPS on a CUSTOMER. That’s why most of us regulars at the Consumerist think Best Buy is a crappy place to spend money.

  50. AcilletaM says:

    well, since your name is best-buystaff, obviously you must be who you say you are and be telling the truth the whole time.

    Please, whatever. Telling us the location of the store won’t give away your identity. You want to prove this story is false, provide more details.

    The lack of details in your post makes me believe your really an intern at HQ instead a somebody from the store.

  51. wholzem says:

    Wait a minute… Didn’t they, in fact, offer to replace the defective disk? That’s a reasonable offer. Why wasn’t it accepted? It seems to me that refusing to accept this reasonable offer is the unreasonable action that set the rest in motion.

    Sure, they could have — and maybe should have — just resigned themselves to the idea that they were dealing with an unreasonable customer, and handed over the money before spending so much time and resources fighting over it. But if it’s a virtue for us, as consumers, to stand-up for what’s right no matter what the cost, why shouldn’t it be right for them to stand up for what’s right, and not let someone take advantage of them?

    A fair resolution was offered when the store offered to follow their (industry standard) policy, and replace the disk. The fair resolution was refused by an unreasonable customer. Spinning the story to make the jerk who wouldn’t accept a fair resolution into some kind of a hero is wrong.

    If more business would have a backbone and refuse to let unreasonable customers take advantage of them, the returns counter wouldn’t have lines of scammers there driving up costs for the rest of us who are willing to play by the rules.

    The customer didn’t accept the reasonable offer of a replacement disk, and instead decided to stand his ground to the point of absurity. What a fine example he set for his children: Throw a tantrum if you want more than your fair share.

  52. AcilletaM says:

    OK, industry standard doesn’t mean good, it just means everybody does it. People toss industry standard out in the comments like it’s some golden stamp of approval. “Gasp! How dare they disagree, it’s the industry standard.” It is a rare occasion that the industry standard works in favor of the consumer.

    If you’re going to defend something, tell us why and leave the “everybody does it” out of it.

  53. spanky says:

    wholzem, it may be that the disk was defective by design, rather than as a result of a manufacturing error. That is, it may not be a compliant audio CD, meaning the replacement wouldn’t work, either.

    I just looked it up, and Tony Bennett’s label is Columbia, which is owned by Sony, famous for malevolent “copy protection” schemes.

    That falls mostly on Sony, but if Best Buy is selling intentionally crippled media, they should be doing a better job informing their customers.

  54. As others have mentioned the cause of the disc read errors may have actually been the result of over-zealous copy protection. Odds are, this Tony Bennet CD didn’t conform to CD standards. In such cases a replacement disc will do the consumer no good.

    In either case, it is certainly not too much to ask to get a refund…

  55. yellojkt says:

    The Sony settlement over root kits and other DRM protection does not include any Tony Bennet albums, so bad software probably isn’t the reason. Still stuff like this puts Columbia and Best Buy in a bad light. IANAL, but the implied warranty of merchantibility means that a CD should play in a CD player, any CD player, no ands, ifs, or buts.

    I got burned by a Foo Fighters album where the music was unrippable and only available in pre-compressed WMA format. Never again will I buy music that is not Red Book compatible. Dual Discs are slightly different because the disc thickness is out of spec, but the music files are still untampered CDA.

  56. Ben Popken says:

    RJH writes:

    “”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.”

  57. spanky says:

    yellojkt, the Sony rootkit settlement only affected specific types of DRM that included the rootkit.

    Sony still uses DRM, just not that specific type, XCP. So the CD would not install a rootkit on his computer, but it is entirely possible that it still wouldn’t play on his car CD player because of another DRM technique.

  58. orbit23 says:


    My last paragraph wasn’t designed to hold water molecules of any sort; my apologies if I said anything that gave that impression. Also, since it engendered such confusion, I’ll offer a word of clarification regarding my second paragraph. It was addressed to the unnamed Best Buy manager. “You” referred to the manager; “he” and the first occurrence of “this” referred to the customer. Fair warning: In what follows I will make free use of personal pronouns–first, second, and third person might make an appearance. If you find yourself confused, simply ask a native English speaker for help.

    I don’t think, and never said, that the customer was doing anything criminal which might lead to his arrest. That he wasn’t arrested does nothing to vitiate my suggestion that he was doing more than he lets on in his tale. I was simply stating the obvious-that this is his account of what happened, and therefore shouldn’t be taken as an objective view of the events. The story seems carefully calculated to make the situation maximally outrageous and absurd. (Does anyone else think it somewhat unbelievable that the manager abruptly decides to call the police for no apparent reason?). It’s certainly possible that things were just as he described them, and that the manager wildly overreacted. I just doubt it.

    If this is precisely what happened, if the manager really did handle the situation just as described, then it doesn’t justify all the hand-wringing going on. Perhaps the manger was poorly trained, or perhaps he was just overwhelmed at that moment, or perhaps he just isn’t very good at his job. Whatever the case, this seems like a peculiar incident and it certainly doesn’t seem indicative of corporate malfeasance. It was simply a stupid and rash decision by a harried manager in response to what was clearly an abrasive and rude customer.

    Having worked in retail, my sympathies and loyalty tend to extend to the manager. But whatever actually happened, it doesn’t seem worthy of praise. The customer was demeaning and condescending and the manager, while likely abrupt and bumbling, was just a single individual, not the head of some massive corporate organ. This isn’t as a glorious triumph of the little guy over corporate “mendicants.” It’s just a depressing tale of meanness and stupidity.

  59. Nygdan says:

    Seems the request for a cash refund was pretty darned reasonable. The dolts at the store could’ve at least checked originally if the disc was playable.

    Whats up with the supposed Best-Buy Employee responding here, and saying that the RJH was yelling racist slurs all over the place and being a liar?

  60. Stargat3 says:

    I just read this thread and decided to add a little something, Location Best Buy in Valdosta Georgia, I know this is true because I witnessed it, my coworker bought a digital camera and purchased the extended warranty. after 6 weeks the camera stopped working, she took the camera back to best buy and requested a replacement, now you have to understand she is a not very assertive blonde, the maager proceeds to tell her that sorry the camera is discontinued, it was pointed out to the manager that thats fime the extended warranty said comparable replacement and a comparable camera was pointed out that was on sale for 350.00 the price was not the issue comparable product was. she was bullied into accepting a 200.00 dollar 3.1 megapixal camera to replace the 500.00 dollar 5 megapixal camera with docking port.

  61. says:

    Our small company used to spend $4-6 thousand annually in the Hickory, N.C.
    store on computers, software, cameras, etc. We unfortuately received the same shitty “arrest”
    threat over defective on-site repair work…result: total purchases made by our company since 2001..$-0-..screw them, hope they piss off more people, so they suffer a bigger $$$
    loss..we will actually pay more $$$
    just to avoid Best-Buy..

  62. gravion17 says:

    When will WE learn? DO NOT SHOP AT BEST BUY!!! as a former employee I tell you truth when I say that the employees are trained to LIE and CHEAT you out of your money!!! NO LIE….