Best Buy Quotes Four Different Exchange Policies

Best Buy quoted four different policies to Mark when he tried to exchange his step-daugher’s iPod speaker. The speaker was purchased as a gift from by her father, who is currently serving in Afghanistan.

After we received the items, we decided that she would take back the iPod speaker set because we already had one in the house. That way she could get something that she would enjoy, and she could still use our speakers. It sounded simple, just return the item, get a store credit, and let her pick something out. We were so wrong on that one.

Mark brought the speaker to Best Buy, where he was told that the stores could only return, not exchange items purchased through the website. Not wanting to argue, Mark went home and called customer service. A supervisor said only the corporate office could help. When Mark reached corporate, he was told stores could accept exchanges. The CSR gave Mark a case number and an 800 number to call if there was a problem exchanging the speaker at the store.

Mark’s problem exchanging the speaker at the store, inside…

Mark returned to Best Buy and asked to speak with the store manager. The manager refused to call the 800 number and adamantly declared that their system was not set up to process an exchange from the website. Disappointed, Mark again called customer service. This time, he reached a CSR who told him that exchanges at the store were possible at the manager’s discretion.

Mark’s full email, below:

My stepdaughter’s father sent her 2 birthday presents, which he purchased through Best Buy online. He had them shipped directly to our house. As he is currently in the military and serving in Afghanistan, this was really the best way for him to get her something for her birthday. He purchased an iPod and a speaker set for her. After we received the items, we decided that she would take back the iPod speaker set because we already had one in the house. That way she could get something that she would enjoy, and she could still use our speakers. It sounded simple, just return the item, get a store credit, and let her pick something out. We were so wrong on that one.

My first attempt at returning the item was on 02/16. I was told that since the item was purchased through, it could not be returned at the store. The girl who told us this almost seemed happy about it. As soon as she saw the receipt, she just cut me off and said they wouldn’t take it back, that they didn’t have to take it back. Not wanting to argue with her, I said OK and left.

I decided to call the number from the receipt, and talk to someone there. I figured that in our case, an exception might be made considering the circumstances. I called and held for 30 minutes, and finally got through to someone. This representative told me that the person in the store was correct, and that the item could only be returned at the store, not exchanged. This would mean that the credit would go to my daughter’s father’s credit card, and he would have to turn around and purchase something else for her, then have it re-shipped. He is on a base with about 1000 troops, and it’s hard for him to get to a PC to do anything. I explained this to the rep, but she wouldn’t budge. I asked to speak to her supervisor. His name was Gerard A. Here’s how the conversation with Gerard went:

Me: I understand the policy, but do you see the circumstances surrounding this particular item? Can’t an exception be made?

Gerard: No

Me: So you want us to return it, credit her father’s card, have him call to ask what she wants, then have him re-order another item online? That could take weeks. He only gets to a computer on rare occasions, and this is her birthday.

Gerard: That’s what you have to do. That’s our policy.

Me: Can you explain why this policy works this way? Why can the store take the item as a return, but not an exchange or store credit?

Gerard: I don’t know why the policy works that way. I just know we have to follow it.

Me: Can you put me in touch with someone who can explain it a little better for me?

Gerard: No. That’s the best explanation anyone can provide.

Me: Can I speak to your supervisor then?

Gerard: I am the supervisor.

Me: Can I speak to the person you report to?

Gerard: I don’t report to anyone.

Me: Then you own Best Buy?

Gerard: (long pause) You have to call corporate if you have a problem.

Me: No, I want to speak with someone at the online department who you report to.

Gerard: I can’t do that.

Me: Why not?

After several minutes of back and forth, Gerard gives me a number, which he told me was a direct line to his supervisor. The number ended in 1000, so it made me suspicious. I asked him, “You just gave me the number to the corporate office anyway, didn’t you? This isn’t your supervisor’s number.” Gerard admitted that it wasn’t. Disgusted, I hung up.

I called the corporate office the next day, and talked to a rep. I went through the whole story again. She said “hold on”, and blind transferred me without letting me know where I was going. And behold, I wind up right back with the same department I spoke with the night before! I talk to Muhammed, tell my story again, and he tells me that it’s ridiculous that the store couldn’t handle my exchange request. He gives me a case number, and tells me to go back to the store. He says if they give me any trouble, tell them to call the 800 number and give the case number to someone in online customer service to straighten everything out.

Back to the store I go. I’m told by the store rep about the policy again. I explain to her about my phone call, and show her the receipt from the box, the phone number, the case number, and tell her about my conversation with Muhammed. She tells me no again, and refuses to call the 800#. I ask to speak to a manager. She leaves the counter and goes to a table in the middle of the store and starts speaking to another employee for about 5 minutes. She comes back and tells me the manager said no. I ask to speak to the manager. She speaks into her headset “Yeah, he wants to talk to you”. The person she was talking to comes up and is immediately confrontational. He says no they can’t do it. He refuses to call the online customer service number. He says that is their policy, that they have no way in their system to accept an exchange or give a credit for an online purchase. I ask him, if they are able to scan the item to return it, why can’t they scan it for an exchange, given the amount of time and effort I have expended up to this point. He repeats their policy, and says nothing else. He tells me the case number is useless, because it only means that I called customer service and talked to a rep. He said they have no power over what happens in the store. I ask him why the rep would specifically tell me to come back to the store to get an exchange if it was not up to him to do so. He says he doesn’t know. He won’t discuss the matter any further. Frustrated again, I leave.

I made one more phone call after this fiasco. I thought surely someone at Best Buy online would rectify the situation. I called and relayed my entire story again, give all my info, including the order# from the receipt, which I have given 3 times up to this point. The rep then tells me that the store was right. We discuss it for a while, and she just keeps repeating the same thing back to me over and over. I ask to speak to her manager. At this point, I don’t even care about the item. It’s the horrific service and conflicting information given by employees of the same company that is driving me nuts. I speak to the manager for 15 minutes, explaining my story, the situation, and the 3 different versions of their policy that I have heard so far. He then tells me it is up to the manager’s discretion at the retail store as to whether they will return the item! That would make version #4 of the Best Buy online return policy. He says there is nothing they can do if the manager doesn’t want to return/exchange it. After that, he was totally unresponsive to my issues with the way this situation was handled. He just wanted to talk about the item and how to return it.

So, I guess this is Best Buy’s policy for anyone who receives an online gift from someone else:

1. Receive the gift in the mail
2. If you don’t like it, return it to the store, and have them refund the original purchaser’s credit card
3. Call the person who bought it for you, and tell them you didn’t like it, and to buy something else for you
4. Wait
5. Receive the new gift
6. If it’s broken or damaged when you receive it, go back to step 2 and repeat
7. Don’t call online customer service, because they won’t help you

Sorry this was a bit long winded, but the service I received was legendary on this one, and I had to tell you the whole story. Since we’ve received the item, I estimate 4-5 hours have been wasted trying to exchange it.

What’s the policy, Best Buy? — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
(Photo: Maulleigh)


Edit Your Comment

  1. cedarpointfan says:

    Reason number 9702 why I hate best buy.

  2. TheManUpstairs says:

    Best Buy, of course, is a disaster. However, I’ve applied the “fax the big guys” principle TWICE with them, with excellent results both times. Get on the Net, and pick out five or six high-ranking BB executives. Call BB HQ, and ask for their fax numbers; you’ll get them, politely. Write a reasonably short letter, and fax it to EVERYBODY. I guarantee you’ll get a phone call from somebody within a week, fixing the issue, if you’re not asking for a blood transfusion.

  3. daveistrad says:

    E-mail this story to the CEO of Best Buy, and your local newspaper.

  4. andrewsmash says:

    This is why store sales numbers shouldn’t be linked to a managers bonus – it turns them into penny-pinching dicks. Why yes, I did work at a big box store in college. How did you know?

  5. The Big O says:

    Yeah, I agree. Send it to the local newspaper and CEO. Make sure you push the “Best Buy screws the child of a soldier” angle. Press like that make companies go crazy.

  6. robertgp124 says:

    Definitely let the local newspaper and TV stations know. If you have a consumer reporter worth his/her salt, there will be a column up or a feature segment done very quickly.

  7. defectiveburger says:

    This is why Walmart is wonderful. If they carry the same product, you can return it sans receipt, you just have to give them ID (like a driver’s license) so you can only return items w/o a receipt 3 times per year.

    Best Buy Sucks

  8. Scazza says:

    I can tell you what their policy is… It really is at the managers discretion… HOWEVER, that manager needs complaint filed against him at their head office ASAP. I know for a fact that even without a reciept any item in BB’s inventory can be returned IF THEY WANTED TO. And give instore credit for it.

    Also, before you pull your hair out finding a solution, take it to another best buy in your area if you can and see if they will do it this time. Again, it really is down to the manager at the time and if you explained your story and they STILL didn’t budge, they are complete pricks.

    After the 2nd internet site fiasco, you would think they would have got a memo to be nice to people… oh well, another media black eye for BB in the making.

    Call their corporate HQ, explain the situation, then say you don’t even care about the item, its the horrid service and ask “How will you compensate me for my trouble?” BE FIRM! And good luck mate.

  9. hop says:

    buy still sucketh………………..

  10. magic8ball says:

    “Best Buy quoted four different policies to Mark when he tried to exchange an iPod speaker for his step-daughter.” Frankly, I’m surprised that Best Buy even has a policy on exchanging children for merchandise.

  11. SkimLatte says:

    So, best buy is the new walmart for you people?

    I’ve been looking for a new company to mindlessly berate…

  12. acambras says:

    So now Best Buy has TWO websites, FOUR return (or non-return) policies, and a bunch of assholes working in its stores?

    Glad I got that straight — another good reason not to shop there.

  13. 1nsider says:

    Yes, all returns are at a managers discretion but ALL orders can be returned to the store. You just happened to deal with someone who didn’t read the policy correctly. With that said you could try another Best Buy and return your item there. But if you really want to be vidictive, post the city and state of the Best Buy in which you recieved such terrible customer service. Another way to get back at those managers and customer service reps is to buy something really cheap. Some gum or something so that you have a receipt in hand. Look on the receipt and go to the website to give your “Customer Insight.” What people don’t know is that everybody looks at these comments by customers. They are even read at morning and evening meetings. How stupid would you feel if you were the manager and your employees thought of you as such as dumbass?

    In the store that I work at, we try to please the customer as much as possible. But there are some cases in which we can’t do anything. For example we had a customer that purchased a $2000 refridgerator that was still in the box. He and his friend put it on the bed of the truck and didn’t strap it down. Some where along the road the fridge fell off the truck. These guys had the balls to come back to the store and say that they opened the box and the fridge was all dented up and the LCD screen was broken. Fortunately for us, one of our employees had seen the guys trying to put the fridge back on the truck in the middle of the road.

  14. umbrellaman says:

    For all you Best Buy haters, here’s an amazing prank pulled on a New York Best Buy by Improv Everywhere. This group infiltrated a Best Buy with 50 confederates dressed in blue shirts and khakis, and filmed it. Watch as Best Buy management melts down!

  15. Legodude522 says:

    I had a good experience with Best Buy recently.

    Bought 512mb of DDR ram using cash and a gift card for something like $70 a few months ago.

    RAM went bad after a month and a half. Tons of errors on it. So I went back early last week and asked to exchange it. I had no receipt. I was able to exchange it for another no problem and no cost to me. The new one works fine so far.

  16. long_cloud says:

    I just called best buy customer service at 1-888-237-8289 and told them that I won’t be shopping there until they fix this problem. This is horrible, but yet it is indicative of a culture that is over-run by morons managing morons.

    I would encourage you to call the 888-237-8289 number as well…

  17. kerjo says:

    Here’s another return policy:

    I bought a season of a TV show as a gift online at Amazon. I received the package, and then found out that the person I was going to give it to already owned that season. So I did the sensible thing: I took it to Best Buy to exchange for another season of the same show.

    Best Buy’s seasons of this show were $10 more than Amazon had them for, but they had absolutely no problem holding on to the season I brought it while I went in the store to grab a different season. They didn’t seem to care that it had no Best Buy markings on it.

    So I guess that’s return policy 5.

    Note: That doesn’t mean I told them it came from Amazon originally :-)

  18. krunk4ever says:

    I’d just return it to the store and stick it to them as it counts as their sales lost and just have your grandfather order something new from somewhere other than Best Buy.

    //krunk (^_^x)

  19. musictech says:

    Your best bet, if your wanting a store credit, is to loose the receipt. I have been able to return items to Best Buy without having a receipt, even if I didn’t buy the item at Best Buy. Just tell them it was a gift from you poor Aunt Fannie, who doesn’t believe in anything but using cash, and never gives out her information.

  20. That’s because Aunt Fannie stole my identity, and is on the run, from the Feds.

  21. slowenuff says:

    Hmmm all the best buys return policies for their different stores are like snowflakes… none of them are the same.

  22. ski081 says:

    Just a follow up. I was the person who originally sent this story in. I returned the item to the store to have it credited to the original purchasing card. I gave up on it out of sheer frustration. I didn’t have the will (or the time) to continue fighting over it. After that, I called Best Buy corporate to inform them of the situation, and once again was told I had no grounds for a dispute. They didn’t care very much about the poor service, and were more concerned about the item and the return policy, namely to make sure I knew I was wrong. Their customer service has been the worst. I figured at least by returning the item, BB will have to eat the cost of the return for the product. My only other avenue of protest has been to avoid Best Buy entirely. It’s hard to do when you need something, and BB is right down the street, but I’ve been going out of my way to go to Circuit City or other places to get what I need.

  23. ski081 says:

    Thanks for the advice. At the point that I finally returned the item for good, I had been to 2 different stores with the same result. I might have to try that thing with the Customer Insight, though, if I can find a receipt laying around from an old purchase. I didn’t get anywhere going the direct route.

  24. Sterling6 says:

    I would love to tell you of our experience my wife and I add with the Big Blue Box (Best Buy) in Green Bay Wisconsin. Trust me if I would have know of your Web site I would have heeded the warnings and advice of others that have had just horrible experience with Best Buy.

    Well here goes:

    My wife and I decided to take some of our Tax Return to buy us a new Washer, and Dryer. Well as usual we went to BB as we have done for in the last (9) years to buy all of our Big Price appliance items, as we have bought our (3) Desktop Computers, (2) Refrigerator, (1) Dishwasher, (2) TV’s (3) DVD Player’s, (2) VCR’s, (3) Surround Sound Systems…. etc…well you get the picture, close to $10,000.00 over those (9) years.

    Things seem to go smoothly with the purchase of both of them till the arraigning of the FREE delivery that was with the package deal. But the sales person worked out the glitches an made the delivery on Wed’s the 14th of February in the late afternoon. I informed the sales person that we had some serious plans made, and could they arraign it before or after the 14th. “No” was the reply that it was the only day they could make the delivery. Well ok I said, “but let’s make sure it happens”. No problem was the reply; a they would call us the night before to confirm the time in the afternoon. “Great”, I said, let’s do it.

    The night of the 13th we waited till around 9pm for their call. Nothing, no call. So I called the store a talked to the sale person that sold us the Washer/Dryer, and asked when they would be delivered. I waited on hold for over 20 minutes. Finally I called back and asked for the Manager on Duty. Waited other 10 minutes till he came on the line. I explained the situation to him; he stated he would check into this. After other 10 minutes he game back on the line. He stated that the Order for delivery was CANCELLED and that there was not going to be a delivery. Well my jaw dropped to the floor. “What the Hell was going on”, I asked, I know we didn’t cancel the order for delivery. I informed him of this and said this was not acceptable and that they would need to make the delivery as promised and that we would not be available for any other day. And why the Hell had this had happen. After waiting for other 15 minutes on the phone he finally came back on with ” it will be delivered tomorrow between 4pm an 6pm” OK I said great. As I was about to thank him he hung up, without an apology of any kind, or any explanation of what was going on? Well this should have clued me into Best Buy’s customer service policy of SCREW’EM AN LOSES’EM. Well as promise they did deliver the machines on time, but not with out some hassles there too.

    Where comes the good part:

    The following week my wife an I decided to buy a new laptop computer, and of course BB was having a Package Deal on a Toshiba laptop with Windows Vista installed and also with Mini mouse, and carrying case. This sounded great, and in our price arrange too. So we went into the Store and as usual we had to hunt down someone in the computer department to help us with the purchase. After finding a fresh Snot Nose Narcissistic Kid barely out of high school to help us, we decided to ask a few questions about the New Windows Vista system. We wanted to know if this laptop would be able to communicate with the other (3) computers we have in our home running Windows XP? And would it work with our Linksys Network Router System? And will we be able to share files, and to use our Lexmark Printer with this new Windows Vista, and our Network? ” Well of course it would…was his reply, with no problems. ” Well with that, and the blind trust I put in people we bought the laptop, and the extended service plan. And back home with our new toy.

    Well we got it home and started to set it up, and everything was going as smooth as silk till we tried to set up the Network to share files/folders with the other computers, and the printer. Now I am not illiterate when it comes to computers, nor am I an expert, but I knew something was a miss, and something was not right. Well it was late and we decided to wait till the morning to finish the setup.

    The following day was the Worst Frkin Nightmare I have had in 35 years (showing my age of 55) of dealing with any big business, and of course the worst day I ever had with Best Buy.

    I kept trying to make the Laptop communicate with the Network, and my other (3) computers. I would keep getting a Microsoft Windows Error of “not finding a Network”. After spending an hour on their web site I could find nothing, so I called them. I spent over 45 minutes waiting; finally I spoke to someone about the problem (because I thought since it was a Windows Error the would be able to help) no such luck. They said I would need to contact Toshiba about this since this was an OEM (original equipment manufacture) problem, and not theirs. “Great” Called Toshiba, nothing, this were their service person informs me that the new Windows Vista program will not work with the network, router, a printer if my other (3) computers are running Windows XP. “HOLY COW POOP”. This was Frkin Peachy. Toshiba suggested to call Best Buy to see what they can do for me, buy asking someone there if they could help set up the network to communicate with the other computers. Sounded like sense. So I did.

    So I called the Big Blue Box (BB) and spoke to same manager I had dealt with on the delivery problem. Wow that was the most stupid mistake I ever made. This manager was the biggest “DICK” I ever spoke to. I calmly explained the problem to him, an how I was led to believe that there would be no problem with this Laptop running Windows Vista to work with my computers, network, and printer. He told me point blank told me that his sales person would have “never would have told me such a thing”. God I was outraged, not only was He calling me a Lair but also it was quite clear that this worthless manager was not going to help me at all. I asked to speak to his Boss, (the store manager) SHE was not there. Then I asked how to get in contact with his District manager…. guess what…that’s right, he refused to give me that info also stating he did not know how, an even if he did he would not give me that info, because all customer concerns, and problems are handled at the store level, and that this problem did not warrant any further attention. What a worthless piece of human waste. I asked what was the name of his store manager, at first he was very hesent, and then he gave me her name.

    Well for the next (4) days I spent calling the Best Buy customer service line, (what a gdamn joke this is), calling their Corp Office, calling their District office, trying to get someone to listen and care about my problem. Again No-one gave a Royal flying Rats Ass about what was going on. Only to inform me that all the customer relation problems needs are handle at the Store Level. “My God, don’t they understand that here in lies the problem the Store Management and the rotten little peckerhead that sold me the Laptop. “NO>>>HELL NO”. So after nearly going to the Hospital because on my Blood Pressure I decided to give it up. Knowing that Best Buy had SCREWED ME IN THE ASS AN NEVER USED ANY TYPE OF LUB TO EASE THE PAIN. Then out of the Blue the lousy Store Manager called an gave me the lamest apology I ever heard but still would not help me with my problem only offering to send out the GEEK Squad to make my Laptop work with my other computers, an network. But of course this would cost me other $200.00 for their service. God what kind of sick joke these folks live under, what kind of CON-Game they are playing on the costumer, what kind of people believe they would have me come back an waste my money in their store after this kind of Bull Sh___t.

    God I pray, and beg anyone reading this not to buy your need’s at Best Buy, they will Lie, Cheat, an screw you up the behind so hard, that you will see stars. If any one reading this and still believes they will get good service from BB, all you will get is a Stroke.


  25. slvrnmph says:

    I just had a rotten experience at BB myself. I came in with a brand new still in plastic wrap 30GB ipod video that I wanted to exchange for a more expensive purchase (new digital camera or home theater system). But since I have no receipt they can’t help me. The operations supervisor I spoke to even said they bend the rules, and will allow exchanges without receipts during the holidays. SO if I had gone in the store two months earlier, but since I happened to come in with my exchange after the holidays I was SOL. I would never spend money at this store.