Best Buy Sells Broken PS3 With Mismatched Serial Numbers, Denies Return

Reader Daryl writes:

“Bought a PS3 from my local Best Buy yesterday. When I got it home I found out it was broken. On boot up it would say “Need to restore hard drive, press X to continue”. Pressing X would cause it to say “Restoring…” then after a few seconds it would restart, and would come up to the same exact thing, and repeat.
So, I take in my broken PS3 to Best Buy today, to replace it of course, and they refused to because the serial number on the console is different from that of the box. They accuse me of trying to trade back a different PS3 than the one I bought (I guess there are idiots that do that), in order to get out of paying to have it replaced. This, of course, is total crap because I bought this EXACT PS3 the night before.

I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out what they are trying to do. See, before, people were getting away with trading in their, out of warranty, broken PS3’s. This means that Best Buy had many PS3’s that were broken, and had different serial numbers than the boxes they were in (Which, is only their fault because they didn’t check the serials on return). Normally Best Buy would just send these PS3’s back to Sony and get reimbursed. Problem is, Sony won’t reimburse for PS3’s with different serial numbers then the box. So, what is Best Buy to do with all these broken PS3’s with different serial numbers than the boxes? Well, resell the PS3 to the customer, in order to make back their 400 dollars. Once that’s done, the customer can’t prove anything, and now has to go to Sony in order to get their problem solved. In the end, Best Buy gets their 400 dollars, and doesn’t have to back up the product they sell, and the customer is stuck with the problem. I will be calling Sony to figure out what’s up with these serial numbers, but I’m not going to let Best Buy get away with this. They are the ones at fault, and I’m going to get my PS3 from them.”

It’s a nice thought, but if we were you we’d save ourselves some time and aggrivation by calling our credit card company and explaining what happened. Changes are that they will either advise you to do a chargeback against Best Buy for fraudulently selling you a broken, used PS3 with an incorrect serial number, or, they’ll replace your item under their own purchase protection plan. You see, they know you paid $400 for a PS3 the other day, and that’s really all they care about.

Make sure to have all your receipts and relevant information at hand and then give them a call.

The more we see complaints like this, the more we realize that you absolutely must check your items while you’re still inside Best Buy. They will literally sell you a box full of shower tiles instead of a hard drive and no amount of complaining and filing police reports and reporting them to your state’s attorney general will make them realize that it’s fraud. Way it goes.


Edit Your Comment

  1. hubris says:

    This shit’s getting ridiculous. Pretty soon we’re going to have to plug the things in and boot them up/load some mp3s/play a game/watch a movie while we’re in the store to make sure everything works. Bah.

  2. mrm514 says:

    Best Buy sends PS3’s back without boxes all the time. Therefore, your logic is faulty.

  3. vastrightwing says:

    I’m sure best Buy will take your claim “very seriously”. So now Best Buy won’t honor an in-store extended warranty (I purchased), they are trying to stiff you on a new purchase. If Best Buy wants to make real money, they should put on display real merchandise, but stuff all the boxes with wood blocks.

  4. sp00nix says:

    The PS3 serial is scanned DIRECTALLY off of the PS3, not the box. that serial is recorded on the receipt. I have seen many people try and pull on over on us, usually its pretty obvious when the thing looks like it has been in use for a while

  5. sp00nix says:

    @sp00nix: Sorry brain fart in the morning, i was thinking of PS2 and PSP, where the box has an opening for the serial to pop out :)

  6. OminousG says:

    @sp00nix: Except we’ve seen more then one story on here about the wrong number being scanned.

  7. hubris says:

    Directally you say? Well then, slam dunk!

  8. Pupator says:

    I call BS on this one. Best Buy does get their money back from Sony, this is not some giant corporate conspiracy against you.

    Come on folks, I know Best Buy is a crappy company, and it’s possible the OP isn’t lying here. But if he is telling the truth, it didn’t happen because of some evil Best Buy plot, it happened because some crappy customer got away with returning a mismatched serial unit before and it caused this guy to get screwed.

  9. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @sp00nix: So there’s no serial on the box at all?

  10. BlondeGrlz says:

    The PS3 my husband bought from Best Buy was also used. Someone had linked their online account to it, so he couldn’t save his games. We figured it out eventually, but were PISSED that what looked like an unopened box that we paid full price for had been screwed around with – my guess is Best Buy employees playing on their breaks. It’s our own fault for buying something at Best Buy, even though I read Consumerist every day.

  11. Pro-Pain says:

    This kinda thing happens ALL the time @ Best Buy. This isn’t even news. Best Buy is the worst retailer in our country PERIOD. If you shop there after all these stories I don’t even feel sorry for you.

  12. hubris says:

    @Pro-Pain: Whoa, whoa, whoa. I’ve stopped ever going to Best Buy, but calling them the WORST retailer leaves out such fine places as Wal-Mart and Home Depot, and that’s just plain not fair.

  13. Pro-Pain says:

    Another thing about Worst Buy and chargebacks – A lot of banks are now siding with Worst Buy and not allowing chargebacks. They have somehow manipulated (paid off) the system. Try to do a chargeback with your credit card company on a Worst Buy purchase and see what happens. You will LOSE 99% of the time now. This has only come about in the last two years. Worst Buy had so many chargebacks because of the shady way they do business that their bank has evidently found a way to just “blow off” disputes. I dare you – try a chargeback NOW.

  14. metalhaze says:

    Just install your own hard drive and it will have more space than anything you can buy off the store shelf.

    It’s soooooooooooooooooooooooo easy:


  15. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:

    I’m no huge fan of Best Buy, but this guy needs to take off his tinfoil hat if he thinks it’s a corporate conspiracy to intentionally sell back defective systems.

  16. takotchi says:

    Make sure the box is factory sealed before you buy it. I do this for everything I buy. If I recall correctly, the PS3 had a round sticker over the little box flap that can’t be removed without making a mark.

  17. Doc Benway says:
  18. Pro-Pain says:

    This is Best Buy. What exactly do you think an EECB will accomplish? A joke for their lunch break maybe? They don’t CARE. AT ALL. EVER.

  19. henwy says:

    So it’s not like the PS2 where there’s a cutaway and you see the serial number on the machine? I actually had to swap those stickers when I returned a busted PS2 the last time.

  20. sp00nix says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: There is for PS3 systems. The way they used to do it is leave a window so the serial on the unit it self could be viewed, XBOX still does this.

  21. dandd says:

    You better hope BB takes care of this because Sony sure as hell won’t. As another poster said, you might be better off buying a different HDD and just cutting your losses.

  22. Draconianspark says:

    The serial number of the PS3 console is scanned directly off of the barcode on the back of the console, through a hole in the box. Unless the ‘serial number’ on the receipt is a scan of the UPC or some other barcode listed on the box, I’m very skeptical of OP’s account.

  23. sp00nix says:

    @Pro-Pain: Well maybe its the shady ways customers are trying to pull fast ones. I see it allot, i cant tell you how many times we have had customers walked out by the police for trying some sort of scam and getting busted. Blame them.

  24. Taed says:

    Twice now at Fry’s, I’ve had the cashier type in the product number instead of the serial number. I of course don’t realize this until I go to return the item and they tell me that the serial number doesn’t match, I assure them that it’s the same item, then we realize the mistake of the cashier, and finally they say they’ll do the return anyway “just this once”.

  25. odhen says:


    Unless Best Buy has different PS3 boxes from where I work, this is not true. The only systems that still do it this way (the obviously superior way, I might add) are the 360 and the PS2. PSP, PS3, Wii, and DS all have you scan a sticker on the box.

    I also don’t know how best buy works, but the registers where I work won’t accept a scan of an incorrect barcode as a serial number.

  26. RenStrike says:

    There is no hole on the PS3 box, they only scanned the box, which is how I was able to buy a PS3 with the wrong serial.

    I’m not accusing best buy of doing it on purpose, it was just a theory I had. And I still think it is viable. And no, they don’t get reimbursed for broken PS3’s with a different serial number than the box, best buy customer service said this to me on the phone. That’s what made me realize the ONLY way they could get their money back if someone returned a PS3 with the wrong serial is to sell it back.

  27. sp00nix says:

    I think scammers are starting to turn to this site to leverage there scam. Its as bad as the Nigerians e-mailing me about my ebay and craigs list posts.

  28. sleze69 says:

    @odhen: /agree. I just bought a PS3 for my girlfriend from Gamestop and it was scanned off a bar code on the back of the box. There is no window.

    She opens it on Monday. Hopefully it works (but I bought it with my Amex so I should be ok if not).

  29. cwlodarczyk says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: This may not be a corporate conspiracy (though it wouldn’t surprise me after seeing the profiling info in the last few days), but that doesn’t mean that someone at the store level didn’t do this in order to increase profit for the store.

  30. crabbyman6 says:

    I’ve heard of stuff like this before where you get a used console in a new box. I have no idea how it happens, but I always match the serial number on the box with the serial number on the machine. I can’t believe there’s no window on the box XBox and Wii have this and I think even the NES and Genesis did too, what was Sony thinking?

  31. Pro-Pain says:

    Best Buy frequently receives manipulated returns. This is a fact. For instance, an expensive high end video card for a computer is replaced by an inexpensive low end one that escapes the return counter person AND Geek Squad. Best Buy will figure out they got burned upon return inspection later by a smarter Geek Squad person. They WILL put that card RIGHT BACK OUT ON THE FLOOR to sell knowing full well it’s not what it’s supposed to be. THAT my friends is why BEST BUY SUCKS. This guy is NOT scamming. I believe him. Read his last paragraph and ask ANY X Best Buy employee how things work around the return desk. You’ll see.

  32. puddleglum411 says:

    This why I buy electronics from Costco. Better prices, better return policy, better customer service – where’s the downside?

  33. arch05 says:

    @Pro-Pain: bitter much?

  34. Pro-Pain says:

    @ arch05 – Bitter much huh? What are you talking about? Stupid post much??

  35. ianmac47 says:

    Or you could always sue in small claims:


  36. 3drage says:

    Sony needs to do what Nintendo did with the Wii, there is a hole in the box where the actual serial number of the console is as well as a serial number on the outside of the box. When I purchased my Wii at target, they scanned both the console and the box, and what I hope is that the inventory computer compared the two numbers before purchase. Just goes to show that Sony pays too much attention to preventing their customers from using what they purchase, how else are you going to sue your customer base when they give up and get the DRM-free stuff elsewhere?

  37. Doc Benway says:

    @Pro-Pain: Ok, a wise man once said to me, “You don’t ask and then you don’t get”. At the end of the day all the advice on this post is nothing more than that advice. That said, if the person getting screwed takes no action, then they are screwed. However, should they choose to take some action. Then at the very least they tried. At then end of the day those who actually try and keep plugging away will get the results that they desire. Rather than take a defeatist attitude I encourage this person to take every possible avenue to see resolution to his dilemma. Having experienced something similar, I bought an empty box at Best Buy once, I can assure you having a sound and well reasoned argument can go a long way. Now if all you want to do is whine, then just say so, and people like me will just breeze over your post.

  38. KyleOrton says:

    @omerhi: Thank goodness it’s directally. Can you imagine taking a PS3 RECTALLY!?

  39. kc2idf says:

    This problem could be very simply fixed with a little engineering.

    What needs to be done is that the packaging needs to have a transparent window that lines up with an opening in the packing material, which in turn lines up with the serial number tag on the unit. This will prevent all sorts of fraud, including those that involve replacing the unit with something of similar weight (tiles, for instance) and will also save packaging costs, because it will no longer be necessary to print unique serial numbers on the box, nor will there be a need at the factory to match the box to the unit correctly. The benefit to the manufacturer, retailer and customer are all the same: reduced fraud.

  40. Xmar says:

    What probably happened?
    –An employee opened the box & replaced it with a busted one. Resealed the box to make it seem like it was never open.
    –A customer bought a PS3. Took it home, placed his busted PS3 in the box, resealed it to make it seem like it was never opened. Returned it to best buy.

    Probably no big conspiracy here.

  41. toddy33 says:

    Figuratively speaking…he did. ;)

  42. dorkins says:

    @puddleglum411: Uh-uh. I bought a video card from Costco some years back. It didn’t work too well. When I went to return it, there was a huddle of their staff and some kind of discussion. They came back to me and told me it was the wrong type of video card! The implication was clear (and I don’t blame them) – I was trying to pull a fast one.

    They let me return it, but boy did I feel dirty.

    So it’s hard for me to tell if this guy is trying something funny or not.

  43. Beerad says:

    @sp00nix: “I see it allot, i cant tell you how many times we have had customers walked out by the police for trying some sort of scam and getting busted. Blame them.”

    Ummm, it doesn’t work that way. Just because some unethical customers rip off stores does not give stores the right to cheat all customers. If stores need to implement more serious anti-theft measures, that’s fine, but if they try to do that, bollocks it up completely, and innocent customers get hosed as a result? Yeah, that’s a problem.

    IIRC, Xbox purchases have the same thing as others have described with other systems — a little cardboard window tears out of the box so the actual unit serial number can be scanned. As much as I dislike Gamestop, my local store seems to have their act together for crap like this.

  44. arkitect75 says:

    My Dreamcast had an opening in the box in order to scan the S/N from the console.

  45. ConsumerAdvocacy1010 says:

    I bought a GPS system from Best Buy [Before you yell at me…they were the only store in the area that had the system in stock….and yes I literally checked about twelve other retailers before giving in and going to Best Buy….oh, and I had a flier so I could price match].

    The box was unsealed…as was virtually every other GPS unit that Best Buy had. I ask for a supervisor…raise my concern…and I’m told that the units are locked in the display cases where only associates have access (oh…so safe). Anyway, I go home, open the box and turn on the GPS system.

    The GPS system already has a “home” address (a McDonalds) with a variety of routes saved…and the GPS system would NOT sync with the satellite(s).

    Took it back, and when I went to return/exchange it… I asked for the manager, and got another model that was SEALED in hard plastic casing…and they gave a discount similar in percentage to what I got on the previous model.

    I contacted Garmin and let them know what happened (and since, I’ve seen that other retailers have the SAME models and units wrapped in plastic…Best Buy did not). Garmin simply told me that what the retailers do with merchandise is their concern…they can’t tell them what to do…

    That’s the problem today….blame the other guy…

    For the OP, I’ve heard that Mastercard and Amex are great if you have disputed charges…hopefully you used one of those cards.

  46. rjhiggins says:

    @puddleglum411: I love Costco, too, but if you’re looking for a specific brand/model you’re not always going to find it there, as you know. For some people that’s a downside.

    Plus, depending on where you live there may not be a Costco anywhere nearby. Here in the Seattle area, home of Costco (yea, Kirkland!) that’s not an issue, of course.

  47. Draconianspark says:

    @odhen: I’m remembering @ launch, if they changed the boxes since then, I stand corrected. What I can say is the PS/2 definately has the S/N window as I just purchased one a week ago ( Not from BBY )
    Unless BBY has changed from their coalition POS system, the system will accept *ANYTHING* scanned in for the alternate info field, I remember dealing with many warranty / return / cell phone activation issues where the serial number or ESN field was just a second scan of the UPC.

  48. ShadowFalls says:

    First, this story lacks information. I would assume since you said $400, it was the 40GB PS3 model. If so, the model is still in warranty as these consoles are all less than a year old. Only the 20GB and 60GB models can be a year or more older. The 80GB bundle with Motorstorm is also less than a year old, and has been already been discontinued.

    You do want to blame Best Buy as a whole, but more likely it is employees who are doing this.

    Hasn’t an issue with the Xbox 360 happened similar to this when they scan the wrong UPC on the box or something? I think I remember some story about that before.


    I am surprised there isn’t some nice database that registers with Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft when the console with the serial number has been bought (This could work as a nice database for any and all companies really). When attempting to be purchased later after being bought that one time, it would kick back where and when it was originally purchased. If the item is returned, there could be two choices to put it back into the system, the first is defective and gets returned to the manufacturer, the second would be unopened and gets put back into the system and on the shelf.

    This system would make it so you can not be screwed like this. It also would make it so people can’t buy something at Best Buy and return it to Walmart without a receipt.

  49. Primate says:

    It’s far more likely that he broke his PS3 and bought a new one and tried to return the broken one in the new ones box.
    It happened all the time when I worked there.

  50. Milkham says:

    Isn’t it also possible that an unscrupulous employee switched out the hardware for his broken ps3? How many people have to get a brick or a can of soup instead of their expensive electronics before Bestbuy does something?

  51. UX4themasses says:

    I know it might be overly inconvenient, but can you open the packaging in store and do a visual check? Even a slightly used system will invariably receive a smudge or 2 here and there. The wrapping of the cords/externals won’t be as tight or the tape looks like it is torn.

    For any higher profile products (over 250 in my world and this includes large sized products like TVs), I open the package right there and make sure it is what I want to take home with me. My philosophy, when dealing with BB or anyone else is that once it leaves the store, I am now responsible for any future dealings (whereas if I am still physically in the store, my chances are better of keeping the accountability with the retailer).

  52. y0shidono says:

    @cwlodarczyk: Or cover their ass.

  53. specialed5000 says:

    @sp00nix: Heh heh…you said rectally.

  54. Eric says:

    Best Buy scans the serial number on the console, not the box (they did when I worked there before the PS3 was released). If the PS3 has a similar arrangement with a hole cut in the box to make the console serial number accessible then there is no way that this person is telling the truth.

  55. Beerad says:

    @Primate: Except that his allegedly broken unit would still be under warranty, and except that he would get a replacement and then have two working PS3s of which yes theoretically he could then sell one, but isn’t that an awful lot of work rather than just repairing his initial box under warranty? Not to even go into the fact that he’s so upset that his scam doesn’t work that he goes online to write a lengthy diatribe about it to Consumerist?

    I guess I’m saying that given a choice between “Wow, Best Buy is really incompetent” and “Some scammer has an absurdly complicated plan to replace a broken PS3 that would be under warranty anyway that involves manipulating Consumerist to perpetuate his fraud” I know which one is the safe bet to be right.

  56. Beerad says:

    @Eric: Unless the checker screwed it up somehow, which is far from impossible.

  57. SuffolkHouse says:

    Why in the hell does anyone shop at Best Buy. I’ve gathered from several posts here that all Best Buys have unaccountable to corporate. Well, if you can’t hold the outlets accountable and they are responsible to no one, why shop there?

    Screw Best Buy

  58. KogeLiz says:

    “(I guess there are idiots that do that)”

  59. superdynamite says:

    I don’t believe the consumer’s story. The seal on the box would have been broken. Does Best Buy have a roll of SONY seals???

    This sounds strange to me. I don’t believe it at all.

  60. soulman901 says:

    Seriously folks, where is the Photo Evidence from this little jerk-off crying, some bad man returned a bad PS3 in the wrong box, Best Buy sold it to me and now I can’t get my money back. I want Pictures of the Box, Front Side Back and I want a Picture of the PS3. I bet anything those have a Window on them that the clerk scanned. The little brat is just trying to ripoff Best Buy. If the PS1 had it, if the PS2 had it then the PS3 will have, the Window to the Serial Number on the back.

  61. RIP MRHANDS says:

    Consumerist mods, is there any way for me to block jerkoffs like @soulman901?

    I honestly want to know WHAT PURPOSE is served by someone wanting to scam Best Buy and complaining about it here. What purpose could an actual thief accomplish? People who play the ripoff game aren’t going to waste their time here and expose themselves to public scrutiny over A SINGLE PS3.

    You people need to use your brains a little more.

  62. RenStrike says:

    Thanks to those of you who gave me helpful advice.

    To those of you who think I’m lying. There is no “window” on the PS3 box, if so, this wouldn’t have happened. Giving you pictures wouldn’t prove anything, I don’t know what you’d be looking for in the pictures to believe me. And, a seal on the box. You mean that flimsy little circle sticker that “seals” the top flap? Yes, that was on there, and didn’t look tampered with or anything. Now, the other PS3’s around it looked tampered with, that’s why I dug deep into the pile to find one that hadn’t been tampered with, and I came out with this one.

    I’ve called my bank and filed a claim. After work I’m going to go to best buy, and talk to the manager. I’ll let him know about the claim, and that I can cancel it if they either give me my money back, or give me a working PS3. I’m also going to let them know that the other PS3’s looked to have been tampered with and i suggest they check them all to make sure they have matched serials with the boxes.

    Hopefully this will end soon and I will FINALLY get the PS3 I paid 400 bucks for!

  63. Counterpoint says:

    @RIP MRHANDS: Being devil’s advocate:

    1) We’ve heard many tales of people getting things resolved after complaining about them here on Consumerist. It’s very little effort to send an email to this site in hopes of a last resort save of $400 to purchase a new PS3.

    2) You break your prized possession, a PS3. You saved up for quite a while to buy one, and now you’re SoL. You have this grand idea to buy one from a store and return it, only they bust you on the serial which you didn’t expect. Now you’re pissed and want to get back at the store (or find a way to get your exchange) any way you can. Sending an email is a lot less work than buying a PS3 to return your defective one in the first place.

  64. mrm514 says:

    The second you tell the management at Best Buy that you filed a claim, they will immediately refer you to corporate (which will do you no good), and show you the door.

  65. RenStrike says:

    @Counterpoint: I agree with what your saying. But, I can assure you this is totally legit. I’ve done much more than just e-mail Consumerist. I’ve also sent many e-mails to other websites, and posted on several blogs. Not to mention calling my bank and opening/filing a claim. All I want is the working PS3 that I’ve paid 400 bucks for, but it seems that is just too much to ask.

  66. oakie says:

    @RenStrike: contrary to popular belief, Best Buy stores do not stock “Sony Holographic Sealing Decals” in their back room.

    stop trying to exchange your previously broken PS3 under the guise of your conspiracy theory.

    and the part of you saying BB corporate told you that Sony doesnt accept mismatched returns? that’s a lie. either you’re lying or BB is lying… and so far, it doesnt matter because you both suck for trying to cheat everyone else.

  67. Beerad says:

    @Counterpoint: But the point is this is a site set up to discuss consumer issues (or at least provide “info-tainment”). The goal isn’t “We’ll post stories that may or may not be true, and commentors should then argue about which ones are BS and which ones are real.” Great, yeah, there’s an infintesimally small chance that this is some brilliant scammer who has an elaborate scheme involving Consumerist — cheers to everyone who pointed that out. Me, I’m more interested in actually discussing how to solve or avoid problems described by posters, and Consumerist can weed out suspicious e-mails they don’t want to post.

    There’s really no point at all to comments like soulman901, who apparently just want to get off on flaming the OP.

    Furthermore, don’t you think a scammer would be better served by pulling a stunt like this using a credit card with buyer protection? And are you really so incredulous that Best Buy could muck something like this up?

  68. RIP MRHANDS says:

    @Counterpoint: Maybe so, but the people who are nay-saying this have absolutely no proof that he is committing a fraud.

    (2) doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as a viable form of fraud.

    The problem is that this sort of thing can actually happen to people and there is no real way for the victim to prove their honesty or for BB to prove fraud.

  69. magus_melchior says:

    @omerhi: Okay, they’re the worst electronics retailer around, and I wouldn’t set foot in one even if they paid me. Better to have a no-questions-asked (or as few as possible) return policy and eat the losses, than risk ill will from customers because of stupid policies dreamed up by local managers.

  70. Scotus says:

    Two points. First, the “You’re an idiot if you shop at Best Buy” comments are never helpful, and they’re getting old. People are going to keep shopping there, and by doing so, don’t forfeit their right to complain when they get screwed. Deal with it.

    Second, if a chargeback doesn’t work, small claims court is definitely the way to go. Best Buy will probably settle, using the logic that it’s cheaper, and that if the OP is willing to take it to that extreme, he’s probably telling the truth, anyway. But if not, he should try and get something from his credit card company proving he only bought one PS3. If Best Buy tries arguing that he could have paid cash for the first one, I think it’s a safe bet that the judge would find the plaintiff’s claim more plausible.

  71. @soulman901: I’ll take you up on that bet. How’s about $1000 via Paypal? Yes? Ok, I’m staring at my PS3 box, and lo and behold there’s no window for the serial number. And my PS3 was wrapped completely in one of those styrofoamy blankets so a window wouldn’t have helped. Could you get that deposited today for me? Thanks.

    Several things could be happening. The units and boxes are mismatched at Sony or BB employee incompetence, be it granting mismatched returns or committing fraud by returning their own broken systems.

  72. RenStrike says:

    I admit that there is a chance Sony mismatched the box with the PS3. The things is, I think that if you combine the mismatch, AND the fact that the PS3 is broken, the chances become VERY slim that Sony is at fault. The most believable thing I’ve figured out so far is that some employees PS3 broke, and in order to get a new one as fast as possible/for free was to swap it out for one from the stock. Nothing leading to him, he gets away scott free, and I’m stuck dealing with his busted PS3.

  73. puka_pai says:

    “Sony Holographic Sealing Decals”? What are those? The PS3 I received last Wednesday had a plain clear round sticker over the flap. I bought it from a very reputable retailer — a military exchange — and still checked it over very carefully when I opened it. The clear sticker itself peeled off very easily, leaving no evidence it had been lifted and replaced. Nor was the box marred in any way.

    Also, as has been asked and answered repeatedly, the PS3 box does not have a hole to read the SN through. There’s just a sticker that says “Serial number for registration” and the number under it.

    Thanks for reminding me to add the SN to my files, RenStrike. I hope everything works out and you get unscrewed on this.

  74. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @y0shidono: God knows bb would never think of doing anything like this…

  75. Michael Belisle says:

    @magus_melchior: No, that’s preposterous. Then Best Buy would become the go-to store for people who pull the common scam of buying a new item and returning a broken one in its place. (Heck, I did it, years ago. It came off eBay. I had fewer morals and more hate for BB then. I’m sorry, Best Buy. I truly am.) And the guilty will tell the same story as the innocent. It’s a tough call, but there’s an easy solution: open your shit before you leave.

    Here, by Daryl’s account, the box looked unopened. So it’s quite possible the perpetrator in this case did a great job of making it look that way and the customer service staff didn’t open the box. I think that’s far more likely than a willful attempt by Best Buy to screw an unsuspecting customer. But it really doesn’t matter how it happened, because we’ll never know.

    @Pro-Pain: Where does this story come from? That’s not Best Buy policy, so that oddly specific story sounds like an individual example of someone who should be fired. And they have an internal, confidential hotline for cases like this. Corporate would love to hear about it.

  76. RenStrike says:

    So I called my bank and they are investigating the purchase. I also called Sony and they said that, of course, they can’t do anything to help me, and that it’s all best buys fault. What I did figure out, and doesn’t really help, is that not only is this PS3 I purchased broken, and has the wrong serial, it is also a (Discontinued long ago) 60GB model, and the box I bought was supposed to contain a 40GB model. Doesn’t help me, but it’s interesting.

    Calling Best Buy customer service didn’t get me anywhere, the agent said the same thing as before, even after calling my local best buy, and when I asked to speak to a Supervisor he went and told me the exact same thing as every best buy person has told me so far. I can’t prove anything, and the serials are different, so It can’t be exchanged.

    So, I’m stuck between two companies that both blame each other with no help from anyone on this matter. I’ve called the local news station, and my Dad is currently talking to his lawyer to see what can be done.

    I am now positive that it was a Best Buy employee that switched out the console. It is the perfect crime as it is VERY easy to peel that sticker off, and the serial never gets scanned.

    One could blame Sony, BUT, what are the chances that they would not only package a broken PS3, with the wrong serial number, with the wrong product type (60GB instead of 40GB), and is broken? Yeah….exactly. Although, Sony is partially to blame as they made these boxes WAY to easy to tamper with, and they don’t have a window to scan the serial number inside of the box.

    No idea what to do about this, and I see no end in sight.

  77. Michael Belisle says:

    @RenStrike: I hope you get everything worked out, but why are you still pushing outlandish internal Best Buy scam theories? You accepted a simple explanation yesterday:

    Johan: You’re only one customer and not a trend, I’m left with the more plausible explanation that some jerk bought the thing, took it home, swapped our his/her busted one and put it in there, resealed it all nice, and returned it.

    RenStrike: I agree, that’s exactly what I think happened. Maybe I didn’t explain it right. That’s what I meant to say anyway. Best Buy is supposed to check those serials during every return, which they obviously didn’t do to the previous owner of this PS3. []

    It starts to look like you have an agenda when you come over here and go back to Best Buy proactively dumping a mythical stockpile of mismatched PS3s, followed by Best Buy employees swapping stuff from the stock (also known as “stealing”, which is illegal).

    @blondegrlz: Employees playing on their breaks? Do you think they just take it into the break room, open it up, plug in the internet, link it to their online account, and the Store Manager says “Alright guys, party in the Break Room! Let’s play some Gran Turismo!” followed by “That was fun. Put it back on the floor. Be careful with the sticker now: we want it to look unopened”? No. No no no. Probably a customer used it and returned it. It’s a simple proposition.

  78. darkclawsofchaos says:

    hmmm… for all those people say you are dumb for shopping at best buy and stuff but they forget that they are talking to the educated ones posting on a consumerist forum, a good deal of us are what Bestbuy calls devil shoppers. I don’t buy consoles from retailers, only from Costco and Amazon. What you aim for is the loss leaders that are definately 100% good. Picking up 3-4 X360 games at $20 using coupons and/or sales in one run at a severely discounted price is awesome. Its not dumb if you shop smart. Cheapassgamers and slickdeals tend to stick it good into best buy, we win twice as they lose money and we gain nice things cheap.

  79. Michael Belisle says:

    @RenStrike: Did you say the word “chargeback” or “purchase protection” to your bank? I’m not sure what you mean by “they are investigating it”. You already know what Best Buy will say to them.

    But you bought a PS3 and didn’t get what you paid for. Tell them you want to do a chargeback, code 53: “Not as Described or Defective”. There’s no investigation. You’ve done all you can by dealing directly with Best Buy and Sony for now. The chargeback means that your bank is going to send the charge back to Best Buy to respond, which is exactly what you want.

  80. RenStrike says:

    @Michael Belisle: No, I didn’t say any of those things to them, I “Filed a Claim” or something, never done it before, not even sure how it works.

    Also, I don’t think my previous proposition is outlandish at all. I talked to several people at my work who have worked in retail like this and they say many employees swap out their consoles like this. It could also be a customer. Either way, it’s primarily Best Buys fault.

  81. MrAutomation says:

    I had a similar experience. After parading a Buyer Beware placard outside the store for 10 minutes, the store manager finally looked into my problem and after exhaustive investigation, traced the return (credit card purchase by a 70 year old who returned a DOA phone). Turns out, this very honest person returned a DOA product which was promptly re-shrink wrapped and put back on the shelf and sold as new.

    Don’t just take this lying down, get a sign together and walk the walk outside the store – this will certainly get the attention of the store manager. Call some friends get them to do the same. Call the local news station. Make some noise.
    EECB with BB is a waste of time, almost like over prescribed anti-biotics it’s no longer effective.

    Needless to say, I’ve never set foot inside a shitbuy store since then and as long as my ass points down, I never will.

    Get with the program – Boycott BB, tell everyone you know to do the same tell them to tell everyone they know. Eventually (we live in hope) they’ll get the message and change their ways.

  82. Michael Belisle says:

    @RenStrike: Regardless of your conviction, it doesn’t really matter how it happened; all that matters is that you didn’t get what you paid for and Best Buy refused to accept the return. Some retailers (Home Depot, at least, didn’t see it in Best buy’s Policy) reserve the right to refuse a return at any time, for any reason.

    But that’s what credit cards are for: Call the bank back and make sure a chargeback is in the works:

    You should write your credit card company’s customer service department as soon as you discover the problem. Tell them that you are requesting a chargeback under the special rules of the Fair Credit Billing Act…

    You’re allowed to withhold payment only on the unpaid balance of the disputed item at the time you first told the merchant or credit card issuer about the problem….

    The credit card company will contact the merchant to investigate the dispute. If the dispute is resolved in your favor, you won’t be required to pay the credit card company for the merchandise, and the charge will never reappear on your statement. []

    If that’s what they’re doing, then all’s good. Best Buy will eat the cost if the chargeback goes through or if your credit card convinces them to accept the return.

    Call off the attack dogs until the chargeback plays out. It shouldn’t take long. Go get some ice cream (or beer, if you’re >21) and play your friend’s PS3 for a few days.

  83. Michael Belisle says:

    @RenStrike: Oh and the chargeback has been successful before.

  84. Deusfaux says:

    I REALLY doubt this guy’s story, even though I believe some of the other similiar ones.

    It is EXTREMELY unlikely Sony would ship a PS3 with mismatching serials, and likewise that Best Buy both A. accepted numerous returns for mismatching serial #s and/or B. Willingly sold mistmatching serial # PS3’s.

    There is an outside chance ONE slipped back into the store on a return, and was bought again by this fellow, but then he never said it was an open box item – which is something that would be very obvious – either because of the stickers and pricing Best Buy gives open box items, or because you can clearly see the seal has been previously broken and the inside contents are not factory condition.

    I call shenanigans on this one.

  85. ngth says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:

    There is a serial number on the box – its on the top, next to the UPC.

  86. says:

    you scan the serial through the box at the time of purchase…this is totally a fake complaint and this guy is a fraud (i just checked a PS3 box on the floor to verify)

    Consumerist…do you just post anything negative people give you about best buy without researching it for legitimacy first?

  87. RenStrike says: The PS3 box I have has NO window on it to scan the console inside, NONE! Everyone else who has checked has confirmed the same…except you.

    @Deusfaux: And this “seal” on the box is a simple little piece of circular tape. Any idiot could peel it off with and put it back on without it being noticed.

  88. Zwitterion says:

    Whats this about scanning the console and the box? Shit, a small heatgun to the lil S/N sticker on the unit, and it most assuredly could be peeled off and swapped.

    I recently got to be a victim of the BEST BUY bullshit of OPEN BOX crap. A friend bought me a DVD CD Player Stereo for my new truck for Christmas. When I got it home and opened it up, it looked like someone nicely packaged their old worn out Alpine shit, and returned it to the HIGH SCHOOL kid working the return desk. My issue hasn’t been resolved as of yet. This also happened to me at Wal-Mart on a printer cartridge, so it isn’t Best Buy alone.

    I don’t think Best Buy is intentionally swapping out old broken shit at consumer cost.

    Seems like it is standard practice to put some KID who prolly just smoked a joint on break at the return booth, someone who is supposed to be FULLY inspecting returns.

  89. RenStrike says:

    Bought a 160GB hard drive after work and installed it. Booted up the machine, formatted the drive, and what do I find but the culprits first and last name saved as a user on the PS3’s internal memory. Seems the user names don’t get saved on the hard drive. Called my local best buy, after some talking and searching they finally found the guy. He lives in a town near here and, go figure, “returned” a 40GB PS3 recently for a full refund. There’s the answer, FINALLY. This is EXACTLY the proof I needed to finally get Best Buy to listen to me. Seems the guys 60GB PS3 borked on him. So he goes into best buy, buys a 40GB, and swamps it out for his broken one and returned it for the total amount, getting himself a new PS3. The manager is going to investigate it further and figure out what to do next and get back to me.

    It seems this is finally almost over. It’s about time, I was stressing out something fierce.

    So far I’m loving my PS3 though. Can play “most” of my videos off my PC, seems it doesn’t support several of them, :(. Still, very cool. Watched The Road Warrior on BluRay. Looked amazing. I forgot how good that movie is. Gonna watch No Country for Old Men tomorrow with the fam when they visit. I recommend that movie to anyone, it’s one of my new favorite movies of all time.

  90. captainleah says:

    @sp00nix: blame cahill ;-)

  91. VereHaruhism says:

    For my part, this guy is not lying. My son bought an x-box 360 from bb two
    days ago. He’d saved for months. The console didn’t work properly and when
    we returned it to bb to exchange they “discovered” that the serial number on
    the console and the one on the receipt were different. BY ONE DIGIT!
    Obviously, we were trying to pull a fast one on them. They told us our only
    recourse was to contact Microsoft for a replacement. Shockingly, the tech
    at MS was very helpful and agreed completely that we were right and bb was
    wrong. His records showed that the serial number from the console was
    registered to us and the one on the receipt didn’t register at all. (the
    complete opposite of the story from bb). The problem is that if MS replaces
    the faulty unit they replace it with a refurb model. Plus, we get screwed
    out of the extended warranty we were counting on as insurance against a
    product with known issues. This isn’t over by a long shot. If bb doesn’t
    do right by me tomorrow I’ll be adding another post with plenty of names. I
    hope this won’t be the case. As bad as they are, they’re convenient and

    Jeff Pitcher

  92. igotscammed says:

    I believe the OP, as this just happened to me. Bought a PS3 this Saturday with extended warranty. PS3 boxes do not have a window showing the serial number. Took it home and the blue ray player doesnt work. I think ‘no prob’ I’ll take to get an exchange. Well not only did I not get an exchange, the Lady accused me of lying..I see her anyone can claim this. I ask her what I can do, she directs me to her manager..he gives me the same story, that anyone can claim this.. So I ask to speak to the store manager. He was a little more helpful as he is going to conduct an investigation (whatever that is)…I set up a police report, my credit card company has been notified, the better business bureau has been notified as well. If the store manager doesnt do anything about it, i’m just gonna keep going higher…this isnt about the $$$ I paid..its now come to the point of principle…BTW this is after I spent over $4500 in the store as well. The guy at Sony told me there is nothing they can do. He was helpful in the fact that he advised me to always check serial numbers before leaving the store. The worst part is that the PS3 that was in the box was a 40GB not an 80GB…so if nothing gets done…I’m stuck with sending to sony for an extra $150 to get it fixed and its only a 40gb…to all the people that think that the O.P is faulty…he might be in the theory but I believe that Best Buy and Future Shop (same parent company) have some internal staffin issues…whether it be staff switching product..or staff not checking serial numbers when customers retun items…To the O.P …I havent read through all the comments…but did you and up getting any sort of remuneration??? I will also be contacting Silvermans on CP24 News to see if he has had consumers complain about this…..will post back what i find out or if I get this resolved…

  93. Hugome says:

    I have this problem this moment right now, I purchased today a Sony DVD+/-R DL dru-842a and inside I saw a totally different cd-r/rw used and with grease from some other computer.

    But I have to my daughter as a witness because she saw that I opened the box, she is a 9 year old and ofcourse she does not need to lie, I don’t need to lie for 60 dollars, so I will dig and see how I can complaint against best buy I don’t care how millionares they are.