"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.



Edit Your Comment

  1. Freedomboy says:

    Today CompUSA tomorrow Best Buy, time and karma are both a bitch.

  2. warf0x0r says:

    BestBuy ! = BestBuy.com

    – End of Line –

  3. bunnymen says:

    I got my 30GB Zune for about $100 on Amazon last month.

  4. SaveMeJeebus says:

    Aren’t the kiosks inside the store diverted to a bizarro Bestbuy.com with prices that match the store prices?

  5. mexifelio says:

    Your kids are going to hate the Zunes.

  6. quiksilver says:

    Good luck with the Zune….

    Sorry man, but being a reader of this website, you should know that Best Buy sucks, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

  7. pengie says:

    The way I always understood the process was this: if the item was marked (and I mean *clearly* marked on the product page at the time of purchase) “Online Only,” price matches were usually out of the question. Otherwise, the store would match the price on their website.

    This question came up frequently when I worked at a certain red-shirted competetor of BB, and we always price-matched anything that wasn’t plainly marked an online only special. It may have been just my manager who thought that our store was merely an extension of the online store, and thus obligated to match the price, but I always liked that approach.

  8. emona says:

    @warf0x0r: Bears repeating

  9. TexasScout says:

    You went though all that bullshit to save $23? You spent more in gas and agrivation.

  10. ldavis480 says:

    Wow, you shop at Best Buy *and* you’re buying a Microsoft Zune?


    I’m just sayin…

  11. elroyerni says:

    Sorry dude… shopping at brick and mortar stores just isn’t worth it sometimes. Especially when dealing with crappy ‘store policies’ like this. Better luck next time.

  12. smitty1123 says:

    “Why does Best Buy hate it’s customers?”

    Statistically speaking, most consumers are un-informed idiots. Of these un-informed idiots, electronics consumers are the worst. Ergo, Best Buy employees are in the 9th circle of consumer hell (right in there with Judas, Brutus and Cassius). And if you worked there, you’d learn to hate the customers too.

    /You don’t get to reply to me unless you’ve worked a retail job at some sort of big box store.

  13. snazz says:

    best buy stores and bestbuy.com are held to different sales quotas and operate ‘independently’ from each other. kinda like they compete with each other for sales. i have found MANY occasions where i cant get the two to cooperate.

    it seems like a silly idea to make the two entities work against each other, im not sure why they do it this way. i dont understand how this is a successful business model because it inevitably pisses off the customer who cant differentiate the two.

  14. sheas says:


    We ran into this when trying to purchase our LCD TV. Online it was clearly on sale (and no where did it say “online only”). In the store, it was on sale for a different price. When the Best Buy associate brought up the page on a kiosk in the store, it showed the in-store price on the kiosk page, NOT the price we had just seen at home. Instead of explaining this to us, he just said, “This is the price it is online, it says right here on the website” like as if we were idiots. So, we went home and printed out the page that showed it was on sale for $200 cheaper than in the store. They met us halfway and gave us $100 off the price.

    I still felt gypped, but a week later we stopped in and the price in the store was even lower than the price online, and they gladly gave us the price difference.

    Best Buy usually makes me want to poke my eyeballs out, but sometimes…like .05% of the time…they can be okay.

  15. cheddar says:

    I agree…all of that for $20 some bucks? And you lost the reward certs. Sure,you’ll get them back in a month but…..

    Seems like way too much of a runaround for $20. Once you had the Zunes in your home and they were paid for I would have just let it go….at some point it’s not worth it. Plus,you saved $20 with the certificates. I mean…gee wiz. It’s not like it was $50 difference.

    Most stores do have different online prices than in store. I mean,yeah it’s stupid but unless you just came from Mars you should know this.

    I went to SPRINT but found that by getting service online you can A) save on the activation fee and B) get instant savings with no rebate. So,rather than pay Sprint $35 for activation and wait 3 months for my $50 check I went back to cancel and get service online….well,AFTER the one guy pulled the plug on my account another guy comes over and say’s “oh,we would have priced matched the phone”. THEY TELL ME AFTER THE FACT!!!!!

    What you went through happens all over.

    Oh,and by the way…I had a 4GB Zune. It’s complete garbage and the software will induce a psychotic episode guaranteed.

  16. Frostberg says:

    in all fairness, this is the stuff that happens when you get seasonal employees. Some work as second jobs just for a little extra money and don’t want to work at Best Buy forever. Employees can get confused about a policy, and some are more lienent while there are by the book. There is not much time to train seasonal employees about much of anything. The same thing happens at every store this time of year.

  17. Soldier_CLE says that Hideo Kojima has to make MGS till the day he dies! says:

    …At the same time, this certainly has me thinking twice before going to “Best Buy”.

    people in blue shirts, trying to sell me an extended warranty on a DVD is pretty rediculous, anyways…

  18. ARP says:

    SNAZZ- my guess is that the store doesn’t get credit for an online order and in-store pickup, credit goes to the website. Therefore, the stores are going to do as little as they can to support this because it depletes their stock and they don’t get credit for it as a part of bonuses, incentives, etc. Of course, in the end, we lose.

  19. louisb3 says:

    Heh. Zunes.

  20. Woofer00 says:

    Bestbuy != bestbuy.com
    staples != staples.com

  21. freshyill says:

    Zunes for Christmas? You’ll be parent of the year!… In the same sense that Alberto Gonzales was named Lawyer of the Year, and George W. Bush was once Time’s Person of the Year

  22. ex_ea_slave says:

    I guess this will teach you to pay more attention for the Online Only disclaimer next time you look stuff up online. If I was the manager, I would have told you the same thing, just because it doesn’t seem you are smart enough to shop at my store. But I’m a vengeful person in that way.

  23. Copper says:

    I work for BestBuy.com and the website is definitely very different than any stores. Website items come from a warehouse, in-store items come from stores. Different stores have different prices for items. Zunes in your area are probably higher than they are in my area and are apparently higher than on the website. The store down the street from me is usually cheaper than our website because everything is really cheap where I live.

    Oh and the reason we offer in-store pickup for items that are available in your local stores so associates can sell you more things. Definitely. That and we don’t have to pay to reship the items that UPS loses.

  24. evilkoala says:

    @freshyill: @mexifelio:

    Wow. Why do you children have to be jerks about the gift. Focus that teenage angst towards best buy and not towards the product itself.

    for the record zunes are nice. i love my 30 gig zune esp with the new software.

  25. gingerCE says:

    @TexasScout: I would go through all that for $23. I’ve gone through a lot for $5. It’s not the amount–but the principle. I’m glad this guy got his money back.

  26. marsneedsrabbits says:

    I went through a similar sort of thing at Circuit City last month, different item, same potential mess when the price in-store was almost 100 dollars different from the price on their website (expensive item). I tried to explain it to the first guy, who didn’t seem to “get” it.

    But he got another guy, and once I explained the situation to the second clerk in detail (including the part where it did not say “online only”), he immediately got a manager to do an override on the sale and honored the correct price right then and there.

    It took all of 5 minutes and they were all very polite and helpful. even the guy who wasn’t sure he could help.

    Moral: there are non-Best Buy places that want your business and will treat you fairly. Places like… well, pretty much anyplace that isn’t Best Buy.

  27. Coder4Life says:

    Now with compusa out of the picture and circuit city doing bad. Best Buy’s the big boy in tonw and they can do whatever they want.

    What they don’t understand is that one day, places like NFM and American TV, will take over their sales. Because they are ablet o provide better customer service and have even more Margin than best buy does w/ a ton of furniture they sell.

    But that is 10 years down the road possibly.

  28. gingerCE says:

    Not that I’m antizune, never had one, but kids are label conscious. If they’re okay with a zune instead of an ipod, that’s fine, but just in case, I’d keep the receipt safe and know what their return/exchange policy is.

  29. UpsetPanda says:

    @gingerCE: What about iPuds?

    10,000 points for anyone who knows that reference.

  30. remusrm says:

    I had something happened to me with best buy. Recently I get fridge from them and online was 675 and in the store was 749. Of course while in the store they try to show me the inside bes buy page and i tell them show me the real page, not your intra net, and waved my printout. They price match it and used the saving the buy a warranty, yes I know, I should of not, but after all is a 5yr warranty and a fridge you keep for 10 yrs.

  31. nickripley says:

    Zune? and from Best Buy? it’s like reading a book where the main character gets killed in the first sentence!

  32. Televiper says:

    I think it’s definitely fair to say that Bestbuy.com and Bestbuy are two different stores. It doesn’t help that the online store and the website that represents the brick and mortar store are just about one in the same. Online only, and In Store only prices is always clearly marked though.

  33. spryte says:

    Jeez, the worst part about this is reading that horribly written letter. I’m sorry, but if you want to be taken seriously it helps to compose proper sentences and not use five question or exclamation marks at the end of them.

    Plus, I agree with the sentiment about going through way too much trouble for such a small amount of money. The principle thing? Come on. Corporations like Best Buy have never and will never have any principles or care at all about having them. All you did was inconvenience the crap out of yourself for a few bucks. Yay for you.

  34. nickripley says:

    @smitty1123: As a retail employee, it’s YOUR JOB to deal with that. YOU are the representative of you store, and worse, for you, YOU CHOSE THAT JOB! Don’t be all “high and mighty.” Maybe if you had a good attitude at your job, people would find you helpful and listen to what you have to say. I don’t generally listen to condescending store clerks, but, then again, I am very selective about where I shop.

  35. macpiper says:

    after all the posts about how customer service at best buy is horrible, why are people still surprised about this? and why do they still shop there?

  36. MommaJ says:

    Another poorly written rant about not much of anything. Cosumerist, if the submissions you’re getting are no better than this, please stop printing them.

  37. flamincheney says:

    In the end if you do not like a policy return the items, and from then forward boycott. In the end headaches will be saved and blood pressure reduced. At this point I have quit shopping more places than I do shop.

  38. arkitect75 says:

    I went to Best Buy this past weekend to purchase an iTouch for my father-in-law. I had seen it on Best buy.com for $15 cheaper (in the shopping cart) and for $17 cheaper in Circuit City’s shopping cart. I had to go to the Customer Service counter to complete the purchase and I just asked them if they would honor the online price (knowing that like others have mentioned, brick and mortars compete vs online). I even mentioned the Circuit City price. And they looked up their own online price, asked me again the Circuit City price and price matched it, just like that. Honestly, most of the people working in the Best Buy near me are idiots, and I always wave them off. I continue to go there, b/c I’ve been a Reward Zone member for years, thus getting discounts in the mail all the time.

  39. parad0x360 says:

    @ldavis480: i hope you arent making fun of the new Zune because its better then the 5g ipod, in fact its better then every ipod aside from the touch and even thats subjective.

    The new zune is easier to use then the 5g and older ipods, its got better features too so…no need to bash.

  40. alfista says:

    Last year, in an attempt to solve some holiday season headaches, I ordered two items online from CircuitCity.com, about 2 hours before the store closed. I arrived the next day at opening, confirmation in hand, to learn that they only had one of the two items in stock. I pointed at the confirmation and the ‘$24 gift card if it is not ready in 24 minutes’ guarantee, but the manager refused to give me the gift card. Conference calls to corporate, including a conference call with the manager did nothing. I wasted way more than $24 of their time, but more than that of mine as well. Never shopping CC again…

    Wait, this is a Best Buy story? Same difference…

  41. chibixleon says:

    I absolutely hate best buy and this is just more reason why. They treat their customers like trash, over price their products and screw people in to paying for things they don’t need.

    I bought a laptop from best buy once and they told me I would not be able to reformat it without paying 150 dollars for their “service plan” which basically involved installing all these useless programs i didn’t need. Turns out, by ability to reformat they meant burn me some DVDs of the back up information on the harddrive, in other words paying for something i didn’t need, and ended up getting screwed over BIG time.

    I wish Amazon would ship electronics to Canada :(

  42. lemur says:

    @marsneedsrabbits: I’ve got a story which suggests a different moral.

    Last year, my wife and I bought an HDTV. We first ordered from Circuit City. As we were closing the sale, the clerk there gave us a boatload of bull about how Consumer Reports said that extended warranties on HDTVs are a must, blah blah. Anyway, I gave him a firm “no”. I was pretty sure he was full of it but I checked anyway what Consumer Reports said and indeed there was no such recommendation. He said we would have the TV in a week. Yeah, I was naive but that’s the TV I wanted and CC had the best price, even better than reputable online stores. The week passed and we did not hear anything. We went to the store and got to talk with other people and eventually I was able to extract out of them that CC had a supply problem and basically had no clue when the TV would be in. I was pissed so I canceled the order.

    Then I found that BestBuy had the very same TV in stock. I told my wife that it would be worth going and see if we could get them to match CC’s price. We went. We talked to a very nice and helpful clerk. I told him CC’s price and asked him to match the price. He checked on CC’s web site. He corrected down the price I had given him. Yep, I had made a mistake when I quoted the price to him, about $100 more than the real price on CC’s site. We concluded the deal and we were on our way happy as clams, TV in car. He did not at any point mention an extended warranty.

    The moral I propose is this: the quality of service you get from those chains depends more on the people working there than on the chain. For sure the chain sets the broad parameters of the deals but the people in store have a fair amount of leeway. They can totally screw you over but they can also give you a better deal than what corporate would allow for. Case in point: I read BestBuy’s price matching policy after we came back home with the TV and found that if the clerk had followed the policy to the letter he should not have matched the price.

    There are two BestBuys near where we live. I’d definitely go back to the one we bought the TV from for big items, if the price is right, but I would not go to the other BB near us. Obviously, I would never go back to the CircuitCity near us for anything. Then again, I buy most of my electronics online.

  43. mclov1n says:

    as a customer, i think we should organize a consumer take over of best buy and reorganize the whole company!!!!!!!

  44. Benny Gesserit says:

    @gingerCE: Sorry, I have to agree with TexasScout.

    If the guy researched the Zunes on the BB site, saw the price he liked and knew they had in-store pickup, why didn’t he take things to his logical conclusion and finish the order for in-store pickup?

    I do this all the time at FutureShop (Canuck for BestBuy) – short line and only one snotty, inexplicably self-important nerdling. (And, I can say “No” to extended warranty as many times as necessary.)

  45. normanm4 says:

    Every time I feel the need to go to best buy I just crush my own testicles, drink a glass of hate, and order “it” online. This way I can enjoy my “holiday feelings” at home.

  46. rickhamilton620 says:

    @SaveMeJeebus: yep….shady

  47. Michael Belisle says:

    @Freedomboy: Tomorrow Best Buy! Fat chance. They’re the Wal-Mart of electronics retailing (with a customer-service record to match). And they’re expanding into China… (Disclaimer: I am a Best Buy shareholder.)

    To second Jim (The Canuck One), in-store pickup is great. As a bonus, you know it’s in stock and it’s yours and how much you paid before you leave your seat.

    I think the online-only/local store discrepancies have to do with geography. Online, they’re competing with Amazon in a homogeneous market. But locally, the optimum price for Best Buy in Oakland is not the same as that for Best Buy in Beverly Hills.

  48. whitjm5 says:

    Apple fanboys need to STFU and quit knocking the zunes. I own both a 60GB iPod video and a Zune30 and am quite happy with my zune. It’s never needed to be reset (unlike my iPod), the screen is bigger (for watching college lectures on the go) and adding WMVs to it is SOOOOO much simpler. Cool it with the anti M$ stuff already. It’s so last decade.

  49. I’m sorry, frustrated consumers, but I’m siding with Best Buy on this one. The Best Buy store and Best Buy website are two different facets of the business. It is not uncommon for a company to have “online only” deals not available in the stores (see also: Cyber Monday). Why? I don’t know; I’m not a business analyst. I just know, as an informed consumer, that they are two separate entities.

    The consumer failed when he agreed to purchase the three units for $149.99, when he clearly knew that they were somehow available for $7.50 less. He should have pointed out that it was showing for $142.49 when he was at home and asked to demonstrate so himself, by adding the item to his cart. Sure, at that point, he would have noticed the Online Only, but he could have asked the manager to match it. Depending on the manager’s response, the discussion could have gone two ways:

    “Yes.” == Most likely scenario, especially for such a minor price adjustment. Profit!
    “No.” == “Well then, I would like to place the order on the website and do the in store pickup.” He easily could have done this (you can place orders online via the kiosk; that’s a big reason why they’re there). The manager may then realize that A) it’s simply ridiculous to have to do that, and B) his store would lose the revenue, since it would go to the website, and in turn, would likely grant the customer the in-store discount.

    At no point in the argument should you ever enforce the logical fallacy of appealing to pity, as in, “I just drove twenty miles,” because if that is such a distance for you to have driven to this store, you should have made sure that what you came for was available on the shelf and at the price you expected.

    I absolutely disagree with the Consumerist’s opinion that they want you to pay the in-store price or pay elsewhere, or use in-store pickup so they can sell you the replacement plan. They are not that hell bent on replacement plans that they would prefer you buy elsewhere if you weren’t going to buy it (I know this; I worked at Best Buy for around 2 years). Same goes for the in-store pickup. Sure, they’d like the chance to sell it (it’s they’re job), but that’s not the main goal of offering such an option.

  50. Good lord, I can’t believe I used “they’re” for “their” :(

  51. BlueModred says:

    QFT, buddy. 99% of ANY retail managers/employees will save you ~$20 off of a $450 purchase, if only for the revenue. The margin on the zunes is decent as well.

    I work in retail, and when people ask me to match things that specifically limit that, I get really frustrated, as I know I will have to say no, and I know they will be pissed.
    There’s no getting around it, but it’s their fault.

  52. ldavis480 says:

    @parad0x360: I’m afraid so parad0x360. I’ve been in IT for 20 years, long enought to know not to trust or use Microsoft products. There’s an old saying that says the day Microsoft makes something that doesn’t suck is the day they go into the vacuum cleaner business.

    You go ahead though and spend your money on one, it won’t offend me (and I’m sure even if it did, it wouldn’t stop you ;-)

  53. rubberkeyhole says:

    oh man, I know that Best Buy. I wasn’t really excited about it until the Midland, MI store opened – you’ll think you’re a celebrity shopper in the Saginaw store after you go to that POS Midland store!

  54. ninjatales says:

    Feel sorry for you but the store and online stores are separate entities which similar to what a lot of businesses have including WalMart.

    Seriously, Zune or iPod. mmmm. Which one shall I pick? Ugly device which plays mp3s and videos or fashionable device which plays mp3s and videos?

    I guess that’s BestBuy’s way of saying “Welcome to the Social!” xD

  55. NickRB says:

    No offense, but I feel so sorry for your children. Christmas morning they’re going to open up their presents and find they got Zunes instead of iPods. To add insult to injury, they are going to be made fun of at school for having Zunes. I’m sure you looked at features and prices and tried to make the best decision, but your gifts are going to end up stuffed in the sock drawer, or “stolen/lost”. Take them back and get them iPods.

  56. Cerb says:

    His first mistake was shopping at Best Buy.

  57. scoosdad says:

    @lemur: “the clerk there gave us a boatload of bull about how Consumer Reports said that extended warranties on HDTVs are a must, blah blah. Anyway, I gave him a firm “no”. I was pretty sure he was full of it but I checked anyway what Consumer Reports said and indeed there was no such recommendation.”

    Actually they did say that. Large screen TV’s are one of the few purchases that Consumer Reports recommends an extended warranty for. They make the point that some repairs to these sets after the warranty expires frequently cost more than the set cost originally. Check out the report in the November 2007 issue.

  58. reeg2 says:

    this story was very long for a very lame product.

    a zune. seriously?

  59. Topcat says:

    @ninjatales: @NickRB: Naw….I couldn’t think of any reason someone would want a player that isn’t referred to as a ‘chubby’ in popular lexicon. Wireless sync? Who’d want that? Nobody uses FM radio any more. Good audio quality is for suckers, too.

    Seriously, the new flash-Zunes are far from ugly, and the software no longer sucks. In fact, the new Zune software is stunningly beautiful, and beats the socks off iTunes any day (aside from the smaller selection of songs on the Marketplace).

    It’s like the multitude of iPod owners are the people who like the Black Eyed Peas, and 2nd-gen Zune owners are into Ted Leo. Nothing is cool if other people like it.

  60. deserthiker says:


    And how long have you worked for Microsoft?

  61. dalieu says:

    Fry’s != Frys.com


  62. blkhrt1 says:

    Too bad Michael is an idiot. Or should I say moron? That might placate his ego a little bit. Also, Meg should be classified in that category because she knows jack squat about that as well. 9/10 times, the employee will match the BestBuy.com price. BUT ONLY IF IT ISN’T ONLINE ONLY. Like stated earlier, BestBuy.com and the actual store do not have a good working relationship. In fact, they are considered competitors, with the only facet in common is the actual NAME “Best Buy”. AND YES, it seems completely stupid to have you buy the Zune online and pick it up in the store to save the $23 dollars you could’ve been putting towards those kids’ college funds, rather than a gift that will break in 3 months. Michael screwed up when he said “Yeah sure, lemme have those for full retail price, but I know they’re cheaper online.” Why admit that? Just go buy them online and pick them up in the store. OR take them for what they are and go home and enjoy your day as opposed to spending it fighting. I swear, Best Buy wins in this case because you, sir, are an idiot.

    On to Meg Marco, editor extraordinare. The whole reason the In-Store pickup option is available is for people who DON’T want to hassle with human contact and live in their tiny hole of a domain, only breaching the light for that split second to get their precious gifts. NOT to have a sales pitch in person, because you have that option as the purchaser to get the service plan on it AT THE TIME OF CHECKOUT. But its ok, because you’ve worked at a Best Buy before and know exactly how every store works. Congrats.

  63. lemur says:


    1. My story happened last year, not in November 2007. I refuse to believe that this clerk had powers of foreknowledge.

    2. I should have given more details. Yes, I have seen extended warranty being recommended for some HDTVs: namely, for those who have bulbs that need replacement but only if the extended warranty covers the bulb replacement. Our TV is LCD. And the clerk was claiming that Consumer Reports recommended extended warranties on all HDTVs. No matter how you cut it, that’s bull.

    3. After I bought the TV I went to the web site and checked where the clerk told me to check: nada. I searched for extended warranties and found nothing about LCD HDTVs needing extended warranties. I’m a subscriber (and I was at that time too) so it is not an issue of some parts of the site being unaccessible to me.

    4. I’m not going to scour the November 2007 issue to try to see if you are right. I’ve been fooled once (see above). I won’t be fooled twice. Why don’t you provide a link if you want to substantiate what you are saying?

  64. econobiker says:

    Is it me or is this story like buying an eight track tape player from Crazy Eddies in 1984?

  65. scoosdad says:

    @lemur: OK, so you say this was a year or so ago, here’s what Consumer Reports was saying about extended warranties on big screen TV’s in late 2005:


    So while maybe bending his interpretation of they said to try to push the warranty on you, the sales clerk wasn’t that far off base with his claim. They certainly weren’t saying universally “don’t buy extended warranties on HDTV’s!”

    For the record, this is how their stance on that has modified just recently after getting enough customer repair history to base this on: (December 2007, note that this change only covers their recommendation on rear-projection type TV’s, not flat panel LCD’s or plasmas)


    (these were all found on the free section of their website, BTW, no subscription required)

    And yes, I own an HDTV, and no, I didn’t buy the extended warranty.

  66. Jeff asks: "WTF could you possibly have been thinking? says:

    I can attest to the ignorance and arrogance present at the Saginaw Best Buy. While trying to get a cell phone warrantied (yes, I bought the worthless extended warranty) I was refused the warranty and I naturally requested to speak with a store manager. I was told they were all “busy” to which I replied, “I would be glad to wait”. I was told I would not be permitted to speak with a manager and I would have to leave the premises. I whipped out my other cell and said I was calling corporate to see what they had to say about it. I was then told I would have to do that off their property and was escorted from the store by security (4 pimple-faced kids, probably stockboys, and one guy in a suit).
    That was 3 years ago and I have never been back to that store.

  67. guymandude says:

    So when are you dumb mutherf****rs going to STOP buying ANYTHING from Best Buy? How many times do you have to hit yourself in the head with a hammer to figure out life would be much more pleasant if you just stopped doing what you’re doing?

  68. kJeff says:

    Having used both iPod and Zune (and now a solid Zune fan) I generally see it this way:

    People who prefer iPod over Zune tend to prefer looks over functionality.
    People who prefer Zune over iPod tend to prefer functionality over looks.

    To each his own. You can also make the same statement above replacing iPod with Mac and Zune with PC. It still works! This coming from someone who uses both.

  69. guymandude says:

    @kJeff: Dude! I can’t actually believe you used the words “Zune” and “functionality” in the same sentence!

  70. BlackAdder says:

    I was set on getting my 16 year old son a 60 GB iPod for Christmas until I read the reviews on the new 60 GB second gen Zunes. I always research new electronic purchases thoroughly. I guess the old Zunes weren’t so hot but apparently, the new Zunes blow them away in every category except maybe battery life and that’s because the new optical glass screen is 2 to 3 times larger than the iPod’s easily scratched small plastic screen. The sound quality is also better and the included earbuds are much better than the iPod’s. They’re also about the same size now and the software is supposedly awesome. Plus, they look beautiful. Especially with the nice big screen and new touchpad interface. Apparently some of you guys haven’t bought an MP3 player in a while or are just trying to justify your giving Apple $250. Check out CNET’s reviews and comparison article. Not buying the new Zunes because you hate Microsoft is bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face isn’t it?
    P.S. – I asked my son about this and he wanted whichever player I thought was the best. He’s a smart boy.

  71. Monster Rain says:

    I just wished that people would stop doing business with Best Buy.

    If we ignore them, they WILL go away.

  72. Okiedog says:

    Audio quality on the Zune is much better than the ipod and I have the 30GB version (older model).

    It’s a PITA to put movies onto the Zune. I use clonedvd to put movies I OWN onto the zune. I start the process and it runs for 2 – 5 hours. Then it has to sync and convert to wmv. Lord. But it beats carrying a portable dvd player and dvds for my 4 yr old.

    Besides, once I burn all the movies onto my external hd, I can then set up a NAS and send it anywhere in the house.

    What was the point of this thread?

    For the record, not all kids have to conform to the “norms” of society. Owning an ipod doesn’t make you immediately cool. Being confident and raised by involved parents does that. I know plenty of teenagers who are cool and don’t care about music or texting one bit.

  73. conjecture says:

    General public, let’s use some common sense here! The prices online and the prices in store are almost always different. Everything you see in an online store is not always available in the brick and mortar store.

    With that said, general public, if you’re looking at products online that you’d like to buy, just buy it online! Most of you probably shouldn’t be out on the streets…or breeding even…oh, the humanity!

    /halfway serious sarcasm

  74. lemur says:

    @scoosdad: Thanks for the links. Again a few things to note:

    1. We bought the TV in December 2006. The clerk was not telling us that “a year ago (Nov 2005) Consumer Reports said xyz”, he was saying that in a recent issue of Consumer Reports there was such statement. According to him there was a recent article on extended warranties accessible from the front page of the web site that substantiated his claims.

    2. If he had been referring to the Nov 2005 issue, I would still consider him full of it because CR released a new report in Nov 2006. Unfortunately the 2006 report does not seem to be accessible because when I follow the link I obtain through a search (extended warranty 2006), I get to the 2007 report. This tinyurl encodes Nov 2006 link:


    Doing a search in Google also shows other sources reporting on the fact that CR issued such a report in Nov 2006. (There might be a way to get out out of the Google cache but I’m not interested in looking for it.) Feeding obsolete information to your customers amounts to lying.

    3. However, in the final analysis he was not in fact feeding obsolete information, he was flat out lying. There is no statement in any of the pages you refer to that state that for an LCD HDTV an extended warranty is a must. The clerk was not saying that it was just something to think about, he was saying that according to CR we should buy an extended warranty for our LCD HDTV. No such statement is to be found anywhere to substantiate this claim. If you do see a paragraph that does, please cite. At most, the Nov 2005 report says that for an LCD HDTV the customer should not rule it out but there’s a difference between saying “you should not rule it out” and “you certainly should get it”. Those statements are not equivalent.

    So no matter how you cut it, the Circuit City clerk was a liar.

  75. VidaLondres says:

    The guy did all that to save 7 fucking dollars? Not *driving 30 miles* would have done that. Geeeeeeeeezy peets.

  76. pragakhan says:

    Never mind that I did it to save $25, never mind that I did it for Zunes, never mind I wrote a shitty letter.

    At the moment I sent this to consumerist and cr@bestbuy.com I was a very frustrated consumer and reporting my story to a site dedicated to such would bring up an important point. Best Buy and Bestbuy.com is still messed up.

    Even when I thought for sure I was right, they where $142.49 vs $149.99 – after the employee showed me on his PC what it said I thought either A) I was wrong or B) they where still using a separate bestbuy.com in store.

    Regardless here I am defending my self on a consumer site, strange. If anyone cares Best Buy responded with what a lot of people said, they are two separate entities as far as they are concerned, however the CSR noted the poorly positioned “Online Only” and filed a corporate complaint about it. They also offered me a $25 gift card.

    Guess I learned both my lessons for one week.

  77. rikkus256 says:

    Take your business to other places with much better customer services, like Amazon or Costco.

  78. Kaneohe7 says:

    Walmart.com is the same way. I tried to purchase a camera for my wife yesterday but they sold out before I could complete the transaction. I went to the store and they had the exact same camera in stock but it was $30 more. They said that they would not price match their website. I ended up buying from someone else. Strange thing was if I would have waited 3 weeks for it to be delivered to the store I would have been able to get it for the lower price even though they had one already in stock. Three weeks is a little too late for Christmas.

  79. 1ucky-strik3 says:

    So to begin with you did get raw treatment. To be honest the general purpose of the “On Line Only” pricing is to compete with other on-line merchants..i.e. Amazon. The prices are normally below cost. The main purpose of the in store pick up, isn’t to sell a warranty, its to give the option for a quicker pickup. The comment that stated it saves Best Buy ups shipping cost is false. Generally shipping isn’t free on line. Unfortunately it is tough at times to receive great help during the holidays at many retail stores because of seasonal hiring. I can not understand the point of the second Best Buy.com on the in store kiosk. i suppose it is in hopes that employees use the local one (in store prices) rather then the national (on line prices) to save price matching. No excuse you received poor service. Happy Holidays

  80. blkhrt1 says:

    @Monster Rain: You think a multi-billion dollar company will go away with ignorant people like you “ignoring” it? Good luck getting that fish his bath.

  81. cmt3 says:

    Yesterday I purchased a digital camera, it was defective. Today I returned it and was charged a 15% restocking fee. As a household, over the past five years we have purchased four computers, three mp3 players, two televisions, one cell phone, an Xbox 360, a Wii, a PS3 and numerous video games. NEVER EVER AGAIN! It’s true Best Buy does HATE their customers!

  82. techforumz says:

    Not as bad as wal-mart, their players break on 16th day of 15-day warranty (which was microscopic practically)

  83. sumer22 says:

    1) websites do not have as much overhead as actual brick and mortar stores (ie: rent, labor, etc) so they have the ability to charge less for items and still maintain a profit.

    2) reward certs can only be used on in-store purchases and the .com price is available online only which is probably why they did not want to price match the website.

  84. blkhrt1 says:

    @cmt3: They shouldn’t have charged you the 15% restocking fee for a defective item unless their policy specifically states that ANY open item, defective or not, would be charged the 15% fee. Sounds to me that particular store is doing all it can to do nothing at all.

  85. bramble says:

    I can actually defend that one sadly. I’ve been working at circuit city for three years while attending high school and college and have seen just about everything. While I do think restocking fees are very inconvenient and are mainly used to protect their profits, there is some sense to them. While many consumers, like I, try to abide by human decency when I’m shopping every now and then I can get a little stingy. Many people will buy, say a camera, use it for a project (best case scenario) and then return it. While this is a great money saver, it really hurts not only the company but also the person who buys it afterward. For the store to resell it however, we have to take off 15% off the price, why should we have to pay for you renting it? At times its completely stupid, but at times its completely valid. Thats what it is for.

  86. bramble says:

    As for defectives. People just started saying they’re defective so that was added on. The theory is, if its really defective why wouldn’t someone just want a new one? I’ll listen to anybody’s story and ifits a valid reasoning for not buying a new one, I’ll waive it and will make sure any of the associates I’m in charge of will do the same. *Tip* Don’t get pissed off at the person helping you or start with an attitude, the odds they will bend over backwards are slim to none afterwards

  87. anm801 says:

    My boyfriend and I were treated so badly at the Lansing Michigan Best Buy store. We purchased an Xbox 360 and it wasn’t working properly. Also, we got the extended service plan which “guaranteed” us if something went wrong with it. We took it back and Best Buy tried to tell us that we altered the system and voided any type of service plan. Which we still don’t know how it was altered? We were treated like criminals and they couldn’t do anything for us. They are awful there! Never shop at the Best Buy again!