Best Buy Goes Above And Beyond To Make Up For Selling Busted Camera As New

Michael is happy to report that he got a really great resolution from Best Buy, who had sold his grandma a broken camera as new and then accused them of breaking it themselves. The shots of Best Buy employees Michael found on the camera, and the repugnant attitude he encountered when they tried to return it and disinterest when he complained to corporate multiple times, only made the story that much juicier. After Micheal’s story went up on Consumerist and hit Digg, Best Buy contacted him. Here’s what they did to make nice:

* Formal letter of apology (you never see these! this is amazing)
* Refunded the stop-payment charge for the check
* General Manager let Michael’s son pick out any camera in the store he wanted
* Manager threw in a bag and memory cards
* And a $35 gift-certificate

I’d call that an unqualified success! Leveraging your true story to the internet wins again.

Above And Beyond [101 Dead Armadillos]
PREVIOUSLY: Best Buy Sells Busted Cam As New, Blames You. Oops! Employee Pix!


Edit Your Comment

  1. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    Sounds like an abusive relationship. Husband slaps wife. Wife crys. Husband buys shiny new necklace for wife. Everybody’s happy.


  2. bickman2k says:

    I think it’s too bad that it actually took making Digg and Consumerist before Best Buy contacted him. How many customers have had to deal with this type of customer service with nothing extra done to “make nice”?

  3. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    Alternative headline:
    “Best Buy treats customer right only because of massive, widespread, internet PR shitstorm that gets hundreds of thousands of hits”

    • Homerjay loves stars. :) says:

      @TinyBug: BINGO. There is nothing above and beyond about this. This is nothing more than damage control.

      • dragonfire81 says:

        @Homerjay loves stars. :): This is exactly what I thought too. I mean, I think it’s great that Best Buy is making this right, but it should NOT have taken a huge shit storm to make it happen!

        Companies need like Best Buy need better baseline service. What happened to the OP above should happen EVERY TIME BB messes up something this bad.

    • axiomatic says:

      @TinyBug: NAILED IT! Court of public opinion wins every time.

  4. milrtime83 says:

    It’s nice that it got resolved but I wouldn’t say Best Buy went “above and beyond” considering they should have replaced it right away instead of waiting for it to get online first. They’re basically just doing it to stop the negative publicity.

    • cuchanu says:

      @milrtime83: You are absolutely right but I think it’s great because people remember bad things better than the good. So in this case the guy got a great resolution but in people’s minds their customer service still sucks and they are just kissing the internet’s ass, so it’s a win win for everybody except those who have already been screwed.

      • RedwoodFlyer says:

        @cuchanu: Actually, people remember good things and tend to let bad things go… Basically explains all those people who break up and get back together every 2 months…

  5. PencilSharp says:

    It is sad that customer service does sound like an abusive relationship sometimes, especially since BB only made good once the neighbors found out and started gossiping about it.
    Of course, wife most always takes slap-happy hubby back…

  6. crazyasianman says:

    (since my reply is kaput)

    “diamonds, because she’ll pretty much have to”

  7. TEW says:

    Good job Consumerist. I always find it amazing how bad publicity makes these companies pay up. You would think that corporate would have responded without the backlash from the internet but I guess the web was needed.

  8. Zachary Beck says:

    I hope that kid picked the EOS-1Ds Mark III, just to teach them a lesson. When is BB going to crack down on their stores? None of them are consistent in the way they treat customers. When I worked for them, it was this sort of ordeal almost every day.

  9. nataku8_e30 says:

    Yeah, it’s pretty obnoxious that it takes publicity to make a company do the right thing.

  10. joeblevins says:

    Agreed, this isn’t a ‘You Go Girl’ comment for Best Buy. This is a recovery from a significant customer service failure. ‘Above and Beyond’ would apply to those situations where the offending entity responded quickly and offered a significant resolution to the problem.

  11. crazyasianman says:

    @ PunditGuy

    bah, close enough it’s too early for my brain to perform logic and thinking and words.

  12. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    It looks like “Above and Beyond” is in the headline because that’s how Micheal described it in his blog; the story doesn’t actually have the “Above and Beyond” tag.

    I am amazed that not only is there an apology letter but that the letter includes the word “sorry” but I’m not buying that they didn’t knowingly sell a used camera as new since one of the BB employees themselves used it.

    • Real Cheese Flavor says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: Call me a Best Buy shill, but it seems remotely possible to me that not every single employee in the store was involved in whatever shenanigans were going on and might not have noticed that the box had been opened when they sold it.

      Both of the Canon Powershot A-Series cameras I bought had boxes that had no shrinkwrap, seals, or anything else to indicate whether or not the box had been opened previously. I vaguely recall that the Pentax film camera body I bought ages ago came in a similar box.

      All that aside I don’t think any of what Best Buy did was either “Above” or “Beyond.” They were as other people said, trying to do damage control on a PR shitstorm.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        @Real Cheese Flavor: I don’t think every single employee was involved but I think that at least one employee knowingly put a used camera back out on the floor for sale.

  13. Stuey says:

    That’s great news, but what about all of the customers that aren’t able to take the fight to this level?

    It looks like Best Buy’s bribe amounted to about $300 (retail value) of merchandise.

    I wonder if anyone was fired over this.

  14. logicalnoise says:

    @zachary beck(reply still broken):
    it’s a Canon PowerShot SX110 IS. still a very nice camera, rmeeber he was helping his grandma get her camera replaced. a powershot is more casual user friendly.

  15. nakedscience says:

    Best Buy did not go above and beyond anything, they were horrible and screwed up from beginning to end. They only fixed the problem because of the bad press. Shame, consumerist, shame.

  16. redskull says:

    One would think that in this crap-hole of an economy that each customer would be met at the door of every business establishment by a throng of women in harem attire, then gently seated onto a plush couch (supported at each corner by a brawny eunuch) and carried aloft throughout the store while being fed grapes and being fanned with a large palm frond.

    One shouldn’t have to get the President involved just to get some decent customer service.

  17. ThinkerTDM says:

    Anything in there about retraining the customer service people?

  18. Damocles57 says:

    BB went “Above and Beyond” for one customer after trying to perform “Below and Less” as is their usual practice.

    So, for one customer (customer’s son-in-law) who called their bluff and had the assistance this website and his blog, they spent a few dollars on one customer to stop the negative reviews and generate a positive review of this one action.

    Calculate the hundreds or thousands of customers who receive less than stellar service, the hundreds or thousands of customers who are over charged, the hundreds or thousands of products that are misrepresented in some way, the hundreds or thousands of warranty claims that are denied, and this one resolution is fairly inexpensive to the individual store.

  19. TheBursar says:

    “Above and Beyond” should be reserved for good customer service and doing the right this from the get go.
    Stop-loss customer service due to media pressure is not above and beyond.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @TheBursar: The article is not tagged with “Above and Beyond”. I think you should be making this complaint to Michael.

  20. Skaperen says:

    More needs to be done by Best Buy. The people who screwed up need to be fired. In this economy, they are easy to replace.

    My bet is they will get a wrist slap for getting caught.

  21. Randy Treibel says:

    Sounds like as long as you have the power of the internet, digg, consumerist and yourself you are fine. Everyone else.. Sorry you’re fked

  22. forgottenpassword says:

    has there been any punishment for the store manager who was a complete ass?

    I’d settle for his firing over a bunch of extra crap.

  23. Christopher Sean Powers says:

    Obviously that was a major screw up on Best Buy’s part. But what is with all the hate? They made a mistake…and they made up for it
    We can all sit back and say how we would handle things…but it is not that simple. For every case like the one above…you have 3 more of people trying to scam a store because they were irresponsible and want that store to pay for their irresponsibility.
    Again…not saying Best Buy (or any other retail outlet for that matter) is perfect…but how about some recognition when a store does go “above and beyond” (and what they did was “above and beyond”…sorry)

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @Christopher Sean Powers: How convenient…you’ve never posted here before!

      I’m sorry, but as a paying customer, I don’t care if the scammers:real problem havers ratio is 10:1…I’m not going to give my $$ to a company that presumes that I’m a thief. The checkpoint charlie BS is bad enough…especially with a layout like they have (I can somewhat understand why Sams and Costco need them, since items aren’t bagged).

      I ordered some Bodum glasses on Amazon, and they arrived shattered. They could have insisted that I made that up, and told me that I need to upload to youtube a video that covers the package from the second the UPS guy drops it off until it’s opened…but they didn’t. They just resent another shipment and life went on.

  24. MoreFunThanToast says:

    Does this “any camera” offer include DSLRs too?

  25. Anonymous says:

    FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a Best Buy employee.

    Anyways, screw ups of this magnitude are in fact very few and far between. It’s unfortunate that it took the store this long to respond but this is hardly a common issue. I know that a lot about The Consumerist focuses on the negatives and a lot of it does need attention. However, for every problem like this, there are a minimum of a hundred happy customers that leave.

    I am glad that they got taken care of.

  26. Slow2Whine says:

    I noticed it was a little late for them to add up a NDA with their offer…

  27. YOXIM says:

    No, this was not “Above and Beyond”. Like many have already said, this was simply a floodgate to stop all the negative PR. Had they responded after they were shown the photos of BB employees on the camera, that would have been something, but this was purely a PR effort. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for the customer, as I’m sure everyone else around here is, but look what all he had to go through just to get a resolution?

    I can understand BB not being willing to accept the camera at first. It was completely logical of them to assume that maybe just maybe the guy broke it and was trying to return it. Happens all the time. HOWEVER, once it was proven beyond any shadow of a reasonable doubt that the camera was in used condition when it left the store, the buck should have stopped right there. The store manager should’ve taken care of the situation, kindly apologized to the customer for the inconvenience, and that would have been it.

    It’s bad enough when a situation has to be escalated to EECB level (all too often these days it seems), but when even that doesn’t work, that’s when you know the shit has really hit the fan. Best Buy gets zero brownie points because the posters around here have seen way too many cases of BB being a shady and overall shitty company. That is why we discourage people from shopping there every chance we get.

    The only thing “Above and Beyond” about BB is how far out of their way they’ve gone to earn the hate and scorn of Consumerist commenters.

  28. scoosdad says:

    Am I the only pessimist in the bunch who wonders if Best Buy had a sudden inventory reduction in the late evening hours before the OP’s son came by the store to pick out “any camera in the store” he wanted?

    Naaaahhh, wouldn’t happen. Hope he got a good one.

  29. ben gardners boat says:

    When is Best Buy going to learn that it costs them a shit-ton more money to try to screw people. If they had handled it appropriately in the first place, they wouldn’t have to shell out all that extra stuff, and they’d save themself the public humiliation.

    Also, there are a lot of very eager yet unemployed people out there right now. Stop hiring the pricks.

    • Garbanzo says:

      @ben gardners boat: It only costs them a shit-ton more money when they get caught *and* when it goes viral on the internet. Otherwise, most of the time they screw people they profit.

  30. komodork says:

    Are you kidding me? They only went above and beyond because the camera had picture of their employee. If it did not have any of those picture, then nothing would of happened

  31. PlasmaMachine says:

    Canon PowerShot SX110 IS

    Nice camera, I bought one late last year to replace my Powershot S3 & I’m very pleased.

  32. calchip says:

    Did anyone notice how, in the blog entry, Jill from Best Buy said that “”several” of [Best Buy’s] departments were reviewing the matter and were treating our concerns with the urgency and seriousness that it deserved.”

    I believe that is the latest PR speak for “Taking this matter very seriously.”

  33. calchip says:

    Oh, and… “Senior Executive Resolution Specialist”????!!! That’s a bull$#|+ job title if ever I heard one.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @calchip: To be fair…the SERS had a long career path…she began as a domestic engineer, then became a sanitation removal professional…and finally wound up at BB

  34. Pal says:

    Aw, should have gotten a DSLR.

  35. Batwaffel says:

    I want to see the scan of the apology letter.

  36. RedwoodFlyer says:

    See if they bought the camera at B&H, the give away would have been a pic of a bunch of guys in Yarmulkes on the cam…

  37. Trick says:

    So the lesson here is when you have bad service at Best Buy, make sure you are able to have it posted at The Consumerist and Digg or you will not get any service at all.

    Sounds to me the easier thing to do is just not shop there. I don’t and the 25+ people I have steered elsewhere for over $30,000 are happy about that too.

    Wow, Best Buy does the “right thing” after they are exposed as liars, cheats and since they would call their own customer a criminal if they tried to cheat Best Buy, criminals.

  38. girlleastlikelyto says:

    Personally, I’m not so happy with an “above and beyond” resolution when someone has to go through a crazy rigmarole and contact the media in order to get it.

    And, guys, I know grandmas make for better stories, but, just as I mentioned in the original post about this, the woman who bought a broken camera is Michael’s mother-in-law, not his grandmother.

  39. InThrees says:

    It is great that this particular incident was resolved, but the assumption I have to make is Best Buy only cares if they’re publicly taking one on the chin. If this guy hadn’t blogged or otherwise publicized his problem; if he had continued to approach this issue as a broken sale contract between his relative and Best Buy, my money is on him still having a problem.

    Really, all this episode has done for me is reinforce the negative image I have of Best Buy. When we see articles where a customer has a problem and associates and management don’t lie and/or ignore the issue on his/her first visit to rectify it, THEN I will be impressed. Somewhat. Somewhat? Well, yeah – “congratulations on finally meeting the bare minimum of proper sale support and customer service.” Because, you know – they totally don’t right now.

  40. nacoran says:

    Fixing an individual problem does not mean that the system that created the problem is fixed. If I was Best Buy I would have sacked the employees. At the very least they should have been suspended. It’s one thing to have an employee make a mistake. It’s another to have employees who lie and cheat the customers.

  41. From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

    This is not “Above and Beyond” at all.

    Best Buy did their “Business as Usual” treatment on him (“Customer is Always Wrong”) and unfortunately for them he found evidence that could prove it. By embarrassing and shaming Best Buy into responding, it hardly counts as an “ethical” response by Best Buy. They’re trying to buy him off to plug the leaks of light shining on their dark business methods and customer service.

    Without the visual evidence, he’d be S.O.L. as any other Best Buy victim. One more “criminal” trying to leave the store without submitting to a search by the receipt nazi.

  42. rikkus256 says:

    I wouldn’t call this above and beyond as BB had no other choice after all the negative publicity they got. A true above and beyond is when a company treats a customer above and beyond at the very first place.

  43. pratzert says:

    The bigger question is … “WHY” ?

    Why did he have to post the story on consumerist and digg before BB took any action on his complaint.

    If they REALLY cared, they would have done all of these things when he originally complained to BB.

    BB deserves no kudus for their actions in finally doing what they should have done in the first place !

  44. tworld says:

    Of course it took Michael getting through a huge pile of crap, but Best Buy finally saw the power of Consumerist AND the American people.

  45. Christopher Sean Powers says:

    Wow…so much bitterness. was “above and beyond” They screwed up. They did not HAVE to give the customer what they did…although they did RIGHTLY so. What would make you guys happy? I am being serious. A million dollars? $500k? The WHOLE store.
    Again…they screwed up. They reviewed what happened through normal channels. They made things right BY THE CUSTOMER.
    In the end..that is all that matters.
    Now if you want my definition of not “Above and Beyond”…that would be to replace the camera and a gift card.
    Things like this are not supposed to happen…but they do(human error, lack of communication). It is unfortunate..but this “Whats in it for me” bs is disheartening.

  46. Jeremy W. Simmons says:

    I am going out on a limb here, but whatever happened to that old saying “the customer is always right?” I know someone that got fired from Walmart for not listening to the customer. Loooong story.

  47. clickable says:

    @Christopher Sean Powers What would make you guys happy? I am being serious.

    In this specific situation? After I discover that the camera was used by store employees (photographs of employees were stored in memory), and I bring this to the attention of the store manager, what would make me happy is if the store manager would then respectfully acknowledge the store’s error, apologize for the inconvenience that was caused to me, immediately replace the item with a new, factory-sealed product, and acknowledge and apologize for the value of the time I had to take to deal with what turned out to be the fault of the store.

    This did not happen. After the buyer discovered that the camera had previously been used by store employees, the store continued to give him a runaround and refused to exchange the item, and he only got a serious response when he went to upper management levels at Best Buy. That should not have had to happen. The store manager should have handled it, certainly from the moment that he had proof (photographs of the store’s employees stored in the camera’s memory) that the customer was correct and the camera was, indeed, used.

  48. iSecks says:

    Hahaha, I would have picked the most expensive camera in the store. Oh man that would have ruled.