"Why Does Best Buy Hate Its Customers?"

My problem started yesterday morning when my wife and I decided we would either purchase 3 Microsoft Zunes or 3 iPods from Best Buy for part of our children’s Christmas gifts. I checked prices by going to bestbuy.com and searching Zune. [ed.note— item no longer on sale.]

When I clicked “See price in cart” you get this (no where does it say Online Only here):

Reg. Price: $149.99
You Save: $7.50
Sale: $142.49

We went to the store (Saginaw, MI) which is about 20 minutes away from our home and ultimately decided on the 4GB Zune based on its size. We told the CSR in the mobile electronics area we wanted three of them and he started ringing up three of them for us. I gave him $15 in Reward Certs and one certificate that needed to be scanned to see it’s worth. It was worth $5. I then asked him about the price since it rang up $149.99 and he pulled up the kiosk right next to him, went to the site, showed me this page:

He quickly pointed to the $149.99 and said that was the price then closed the page. It was so quick I couldn’t see the “See price in cart” option to point it out to him. We came home and I confirmed the price online was indeed cheaper and finally saw the ‘Online Only’ note.

Today I called the Saginaw store and asked for a Manager. Of course the Manager was “busy” and the CSR asked if there was something I could help her with. I explained the situation with the cheaper price and she went onto her Kiosk and she saw this which in the middle of the page shows “All on sale” and below that “Online only.” – I heard her talking on a radio with her “Manager” about it, she mentioned the word “Online Only” and she told me that it was an online only price.

I asked her why then can I order it online and pick it up in the store? She didn’t have an answer, so I asked her if what she is telling me is I have to return the Zunes I purchased go into the parking lot, place the store pickup order on my laptop and pickup the Zunes I just returned to get the price matched? I then heard her manager suggest exactly what I said is what I would have to do, to which she said I could use the Kiosk inside the store.

So tonight we drove the 15 miles back to the Saginaw store and I went to Returns/Exchanges and returned my Zunes. The CSR said I would get the certificates back in about 2 to 4 weeks, this was frustrating since I didn’t know what would happen to the $5 certificate and didn’t understand the need for this. I then asked her where the Kiosk was so I could order three new Zunes for store pickup, she pointed to the mobile electronics department.

I went over and told the CSR I had to order three Zunes online for a store pickup and he asked why. I explained what the manager said and he said “Oh we price match those all the time”. He then asked another lady there who said “But where not supposed to!” however she told him to go for it anyways. He asked if the Zunes I returned where still at R & E and I said yes, he walked me over and told the CSR there to go ahead and price match the Zunes I returned!!!!!!

I was very frustrated at this point, I kept my cool, received my Zunes back less my reward certificates of course and left the store.

I don’t understand this process, why do you have an “Online Only” clause that can be ordered and picked up from the store? I understand companies that don’t sell items in the store have ‘online only’ or companies that offer discount since you are not interacting with a brick and mortar store but this is completely ridiculous. In a time when your Geek Squad agents are stealing customers pictures and music, and a time shortly after you scammed customers with a second internal bestbuy.com you would think it’s time – especially during the holidays – to be customer friendly. I guess NOT!!

There is nothing customer friendly about having that stupidly light gray ‘Online Only’ on your site when it serves no real purpose, nor is it customer friendly for a manager to require me to drive to another city only to end up price matching – especially after if I had known that first, I maybe could had gotten use of my reward certificates and the extra $5 certificate.

How do you explain what I should had done in this situation? I couldn’t decide between the Zune and the iPod, I guess all I could had done was decided and ordered the Zunes for store pickup! Why is it that if you follow my original path of finding the Zune price, NO WHERE does it say “Online Only”???? What kind of business plan is all this? I don’t get it!

Beyond frustrating from a long time Best Buy customer.



Best Buy’s policy in this case is purposefully frustrating. They hope that you will either pay the in-store price or go buy the Zunes elsewhere. The in-store pick-up option is there so they will have an opportunity to sell you extended warranty protection in person, rather than just shipping you a Zune for very little (comparatively) profit.

There really isn’t anything you can do to convince them that you’re a “good” customer, so you might as well take your business elsewhere.


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