Everything You Wanted To Know About BestBuy.com

Someone who says he’s worked with BestBuy.com for a couple of years now sent us an exhaustive list of topics related to buying from the website. Learn about the Satisfaction Matrix that determines how a CSR treats you! Discover the best way to ensure a new shipping address is accepted into the system! Exciting stuff like that follows.

Obvious note: we can’t confirm that what this guy writes is 100% true, so treat it as a guide and not the final word on shopping at BestBuy.com.

I have worked for BestBuy.com since 2007. After reading a lot of the articles about issues with their website, I thought I’d send you guys something to clear things up.

When you place an online order and get a BBY01 number, Best Buy tries to authorize your credit/debit card. They place an authorization for the entire order total. If your card doesn’t have enough funds or you input your info wrong or your bank simply declined the charge, you will get an email saying there was a billing problem and to call 1-888-BEST-BUY.

Ship to Home

If your order is ship-to-home, when the item actually ships, your credit card will be charged. The authorization is removed and Best Buy charges your card. Some banks will show both the authorization and the charge at the same time for a short period if you used a debit card. In my experience, this happens frequently with smaller, regional banks and not large ones like Bank of America, USAA, Chase, etc. Now, if you have multiple items on the same order that ship separately, you will end up with separate charges for each item. The system tries to dole out authorization removals/charges per item if they ship separately, but sometimes the banks don’t realize what we’re up to and things seem off in your online account. So, it’ll look right on our side, but not right on your side. We can call the bank to fix it right then (we can, seriously). Insist on this, some CCRs don’t like to do it; it hurts their call time, which hurts their bonus.

If you need to make changes to your order before it ships, you generally have 1 hour to make these changes. Once the warehouse has acknowledged the order, no one can make changes. Not even a supervisor. CCRs can’t call the warehouse and tell them to fix your address or cancel your order. Once it’s in that status, your item will be shipped. During the holidays, this time goes down to about 20 minutes. This time is also not a guarantee, just an estimate, so if your order gets fulfilled quicker than you can call, there is nothing a CCR can do.

In-Store Pickup

As soon as you place the order, a request is sent to the Best Buy store you chose, asking an employee to confirm inventory. Either they have it like they say they do or they don’t. That’s when you get the second email from Best Buy. It is supposed to take less than 45 minutes, but sometimes it doesn’t and that is the store’s fault. The inventory system is an hour behind so when the website says a store has an item, but it turns out they don’t after you order, it’s because someone else already bought it.

In-Store Pickup: Higher Price Online

If you place an online order for in-store pickup and the website price is actually higher than the store price, you will be authorized for the higher online price when you click submit. When you go to pickup the order, the customer service computer will check the store price against the online price and if it is lower, you will be charged the lower price. This is not something the employee has to do manually.

Backorders, Preorders and Authorizations

If you preorder an item or your item goes on backorder, Best Buy will authorize your card the entire time the order is placed before it ships. Visa and Mastercards, whether they are credit or debit, can only have an authorization for up to 7 days. So after the 7 days, the original authorization expires and we place a new one. American Express and Best Buy credit cards can hold the authorization for up to 30 days. There is no way around this policy so if your item is on backorder and you don’t want Best Buy authorizing your card over and over, either wait until it comes back or use a Best Buy giftcard.

Backorders and Sold Outs

When an item goes on backorder, it means that our warehouses have run out. This usually happens when an item is extremely popular or when a manufacturer has discontinued it or is about to. Almost every time an item goes on backorder, it will not return. Your options are to find the item in a nearby store, find it elsewhere or cross your fingers and wait. Sold out is reserved for items that Best Buy knows isn’t going to be discontinued (Wii), but we are out of. These will be back when we get more in stock.

Authorization Removal

If you cancel your order (or Best Buy does) and your authorization is set to expire in more than 1 day, you can have a CCR call your bank right there and fix it, if they’re open. Only “Enhanced” agents can do this.

Enhanced vs. Regular Customer Care Representatives

Best Buy hires a lot of seasonal reps just before November to take on the holiday rush. The incredibly majority of these people will be “ramped down” at the end of January and don’t have very much authority. If you get a person who can only credit up to $25 on an order, or who can’t give you free shipping until after your card has been charged, this is a regular agent. They also can’t call banks, can’t use the ROS delivery system (for large TVs, furniture, appliances that come by Best Buy trucks), can’t send you emails. Enhanced Agents are agents who have been there a long time and Best Buy will keep after the holidays are over. They get a lot more training and have a lot more authority to help you beyond changing the shipping address and canceling your order. They also tend to know more about Best Buy and their policies.

Old Shipping Address on Newly Placed Orders

If your BestBuy.com account has your old shipping address and you are placing an order that needs to go elsewhere, be very careful. Best Buy’s systems have this glitch which really gets people angry, but leaves only a short window to fix it (usually an hour, sometimes less). To make sure your new order doesn’t default to your old address, go into your BestBuy.com account and delete your old address. Now, add your new one and make sure your old one is nowhere to be found. Wait 30 minutes, at least then place your order. Your old address will not be used and your order will go to your new, correct address. This happens a lot and has been on the list for Best Buy to fix for over two years, but they haven’t fixed it yet.

Late Shipments

If your item is late, your shipping will be credited back to you. To qualify as late, it must be delivered outside the delivery window we give you. For ground shipping, that is 3-7 business days; for expedited (2 day), it’s 2-3 business days; for express (next day) it’s 2 business days. And this is not from the time you place the order, but from the time your order is shipped.

Lost Shipments

Your item is considered lost if it does not arrive within these windows at all. You have to wait until the window is over, even if the tracking number doesn’t work or the item is stalled in one location for days. Once your item is considered lost, the CCR will reship it (assuming you don’t have a history of lost items). The reshipped item is charged at $0 on your order so your card will not be charged or authorized again. If the item was USPS, we go by your word, unless your history says you do this often. If the item was UPS, we file a claim with them and reship your item. The claim takes about 10 business days to investigate. The UPS investigation will determine what happened to your item and there are a few outcomes. Usually, when packages are lost, it’s because the UPS guy left it on your porch and someone swiped it. In these cases, UPS pays our claim and you get to keep your reshipped item. If your package was actually lost by UPS somewhere and was never delivered to you, UPS pays our claim and you get to keep your reshipped item. If UPS says they delivered it and someone signed for it (they have tried to do this even when they actually didn’t and until they are shown evidence otherwise (your plane ticket showing you were out of town or something), they won’t budge and you will be charged for the item even if you didn’t actually receive it. If Best Buy determines you actually have the original item and the reshipped one, you will get an email saying to return the reshipped item or your card will be charged. This will actually happen and your best way to fight it is to call, get a case started and escalate it. This takes time. Cases do get escalated to corporate, but this doesn’t happen often.

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Enhanced CCRs are given a huge amount of discretion so when things differ from these policies, it’s because of that. If you are a good enough customer (our system tells us whether you’re important or not), we can give you more leeway on issues. We have something called a Satisfaction Matrix that basically determines how much we want to please you. If we don’t like you, we do what the matrix says we should do according to the situation and no more. If we like you, we can give you everything in our arsenal. Enhanced agents can credit up to $150 on one order or up to $400 with a supervisor’s approval.