The Most Alarmingly Typical Best Buy TV Buying Experience Ever

Reader David wrote in describing the level of customer service he got while spending $1,300 at Best Buy. It’s about what you’d expect. But… shouldn’t it be better? According to David, the salesperson didn’t know basic information, like how many inputs the TV had, tried to harass him into buying a $150 Monster Cable, and then made up some nonsense about the percentage of that particular model TV that came back for repair.

David writes:

A little bit of background before I dive into my recent best buy experience. I am 22 years old and have recently got a new job, so in celebration of my first pay check I went out this last weekend and bought a LCD tv from Best Buy. I did my research for weeks before and had my tv narrowed down and all that was left was to go and get it, which was this last Friday. After standing in front of the home theater department and confirming my selection I waited for a salesman. Eventually one came over and our conversation went as followed:

Him: Hows it going, can I help you?
Me: Yeah, I would like one of those right there. (Pointing at the TV)
Him: Don’t we all.
Me: No seriously, I want one of those TV’s (Again pointing at the TV).
Him: Alright, can I ask why?
Me: Well, (Not that it mattered why I wanted the TV – I had made up my mind and just wanted to bring it home. No warranty, just give it to me) I had it between these two and I finally picked this one because I think that the picture looks better.
Him: (Looking at the difference between the two TV’s) Oh yeah, that picture is pretty horrible.

I went through the motions and asked him a couple of questions some friends had mentioned to ask. I asked him to put it on the default settings, to which he replied “All of the TV’s are on default settings, we don’t have enough time to change the settings around for all them on the wall. They go right out of the box and on the wall.”

I asked him to put it on the cable instead of whatever looped DVD was playing, and he said “The live feed is a much lesser quality picture, they would look the same there.” I asked him other things about the TV’s like number of inputs and outputs, and every request or question I never got a strait answer or what I was looking to see.

There were even a few times that he mentioned he would go check his specs sheet and could tell me, but never did. However my mind was still made up and I stuck to my original choice.

He then spent the majority of our time together trying to sell me the service plan and a calibration of the TV (two services which combined was about half the price of the TV). I refused them both and he asked if there was anything else that I needed.

I knew that there was a deal going, buy the TV and a Blu-ray player is on sale. After I told him that I wanted to get the Blu-ray player he told me that he wasn’t aware of the deal, so we walked back to the wall display where I showed him the bright yellow card that said the offer.

I went over and picked up the Blu-ray player and I asked if I needed any specific cables to go with it. He tried selling me on a Monster cable for $125 and told me that I would regret it if I did anything less. So once I made up my mind on a cable that was about half the price he continued to tell me how I made a bad choice.

I then mentioned how I wanted to make sure I had the right cables for my Wii, to which he said they were in the gaming department. With no assistance I went over and found what I needed and came back to the home theater department to see my TV at the register.

So, now that its check-out time he had one more shot to sell me on a service plan. The salesman that had no clue about the specs of this TV somehow knew that “40% of these TV’s come back to the store for repairs”, and that if I “dont get the service plan I might as well hook a car battery up to it.” I was aware of my “risks” and politely said no again. He wheeled it to the front and that was the last time I saw him, no thanks – no have a nice day – nothing – he didn’t even come outside, instead someone else put it into the trunk of my car.

Consumerist – I know its not the most horrifying Best Buy story out there, but is it worth my time to send a letter to Best Buy. I understand that I am only 22 years old and they probably get a lot of people wasting their time, but considering that I walked out of there with a receipt for close to $1,300 the customer service could have been a little bit better.

We’re pretty sure that from Best Buy’s perspective, the salesperson did everything right except get you to buy that service plan and calibration.

Still, we’re sure they don’t want you to be unhappy, and would probably not like to hear that the salesperson didn’t know very much about the TV or was unfamiliar with the DVD player promotion. We suggest you do let them know that you were disappointed in your experience.

As far as the calibration service goes, here’s some stuff our sister-publication, Consumer Reports, put together. It looks like you can pretty much do this yourself — either using a DVD or just by following these tips.

CR says:

For the ultimate fine-tuning, consider a professional calibration—but be prepared to pay hundreds of dollars for the expert touch. In most cases, we don’t think it’s worth it.

Good job sticking to your guns.

How to fine-tune your HDTV [Consumer Reports]
(Photo:Timothy J Silverman)