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.

* * *

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.


Edit Your Comment

  1. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    This bit about price differences between online and store interests me – ” 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.”

    They should make that work in both directions so that when a store price is higher than online, you get the online price. I bought a replacement laptop drive yesterday and didn’t know it was less online until later in the day. I went back to the store and got credit for the price difference, but it was a pain to have to go through all that. (and before the usual peanut gallery chimes in, I needed the drive immediately, and Newegg was actually a bit higher on this item.)

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      The difference is that when you order ship to store, you actually visit both stores as part of the order process (the online store, and the brick and mortar store). When you buy in store, you don’t visit the online store as part of the order process.

      That being said, I think that brick and mortar stores should price items online the same as in store at the least, and even better offer online orders a small discount to offset the costs of running a retail store (maybe with a disclaimer that all returns / exchanges must be done through the mail).

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      The reason why they wouldn’t do this is probably because the online store can afford to have lower prices because it doesn’t have to maintain brick and mortar stores. Most retail companies operate the brick and mortar store separately from the website. The online store can afford to take a hit because the brick and mortar store changes the price so the online store gets less money. But the brick and mortar store can’t do that all the time because prices are almost always lower online.

      This is why Best Buy’s brick and mortar stores do not price match Amazon. It can’t lower its prices all the time to compete with an online store.

      • thompson says:

        The problem with BB though is that they offer “pick up in store” at the ONLINE prices. Generally speaking I agree with you about the differences between B&M and .com operating costs.

        The other day I actually had Best Buy tell me that, in order to get the lower price ($80 cheaper) I would have to order it off my iPhone and wait around for the order to complete.

        This made no sense to me.

    • Corporate_guy says:

      Just be happy best buy price matches their own website. Next time check before hand and print it off. Then go buy it at the cheaper price. Or order it online and do in-store pickup if you can handle the delay.

      Walmart doesn’t price match their own website. As far as they are concerned the website and the store are completely separate.

      • larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

        I’m not going to bother explaining to you the process I went through before going to the store, but you ought to lose the demanding tone there, bucko.

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I paid particular attention to the bit about backorders vs. sold outs. With Amazon, things can be backordered (and are sold out) but they aren’t being discontinued. It’s important to know the distinction varies from place to place.

    • midwestkel says:

      Yea it’s the same way with the prices if it ends in 99 then it good but 98, 97 or 96 the the item is being discontinued.

      I can’t remember the levels but 96 is the worst like they stopped making it 20 years ago but they can’t sell the remaining ones at the store, something like that.

    • lim says:

      Yeah, the backorder/sold out thing seemed backwards from everywhere else. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was an error.

    • vesper says:

      I learned a lesson three years ago with Amazon. If the item(s) are sold by Amazon, you’re good to go for any issues because they’ll take care of you. But if the item(s) are sold by a third-party, you have to work it out with that person. It made sense after I realized this but at the time of my first order through Amazon, I thought that Amazon took care of all issues. Stupid me.

  3. EatSleepJeep says:

    On paper this all seems very reasonable. As a person that has gotten the short end of BestBuy.kom’s crappy service in the past, I declare “shenanigans.”

    • Copper says:

      There are plenty of shenanigans with BestBuy.com. This is how it’s supposed to work and for the majority of orders and customers, it does.

  4. pezjohnson says:

    It drives me nuts that they don’t honor the online price unless you print it out and bring it in. Even then they give you the glare of doom. Sometimes I’ll see the item online, but I don’t have my credit card with me (like I’m at work) or I want to pay cash, so I’ll run by the store without the printout. The item will be two dollars more. I probably should fret over two dollars, but for a DVD, that could the cover the tax. The Harry Potter Blu-ray I bought was like that. Leaving the store to go home and purchase it online saved me much more that the two dollars.

    • chiieddy says:

      They let you show them the live site on your cell phone. I had about $200 taken off both a washer and dryer by showing them the online price. No argument.

    • shepd says:

      Maybe that’s because of people like me that go for the jugular: I want the online price matched under the price match policy, so that’s the online price -10% of the difference. Of course, you’re not always going to get it, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

  5. MDSasquatch says:

    I smell a Corporate Shill

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Why is the poster a corporate shill? He is simply explaining internal policies – whether it is accurate is another matter. But if it is accurate, it’s an interesting look into Best Buy’s policies and it goes a long way in explaining how clusterfracases happen, and how you check the stock of a store and it’s not the same when you go into the store.

  6. DoubleEcho says:

    So if put in the wrong address it still goes through, and you only have an hour until it ships? What if the address doesn’t match the address your card is linked to? That sounds to me like an easy recipe for credit card fraud.

    If I have a different address than my residence address on an order to NewEgg, they won’t process it. Neither will Lenovo as we’ve seen on a previous article here.

    • sharkzfanz says:

      Keep in mind he is referring to shipping address.. If you put in wrong billing address it will not finalize in 99.99% of cases but the scenario is correct billing and wrong shipping.. That would not be fixable after transmitted to warehouse.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Any college student who doesn’t live at home or permanently off campus will have a different billing address and shipping address. As long as the billing address you enter to the website is the same that is on file with the card company, it isn’t an issue. When you get it wrong, that’s when the card company will step in and flag for fraud (if it’s doing its job).

    • Seanumich says:

      It would be VERY common to have a bill to and ship to address. All my credit card addresses are a PO box,which cannot accept Fed Ex or UPS packages. I also buy items for relatives during the holidays, and have them shipped to them instead of me lugging items on a plane. What he is saying, if I ship it to my brothers home, I can not call back the next day and change the shipping to my moms.

  7. mipo777 says:

    I’ve got to be honest, I used BB.com for a camera & a GPS this Christmas. Both items were black friday tyoe deals & both came a few days later to the correct address & packaged appropriately(not huge box but plain & brown). It was painless & effiecient enough for me to look at them as weell as Amazon for the future.

  8. hills says:

    Ordered a tv before xmas with in-store pick up – never got a confirmation email to pick it up because they are out of stock – was told they were shuttling the tv from another store, so I waited, and then was finally told they were sold out – at both stores. Would have shuttled it myself. Frustrating part is that I have never received an email from BB saying my order is cancelled or unavailable. To be sure I could get the low price, I ordered & paid over the phone at my local store so that when the tv finally arrives, one will be reserved for me (since my online order, was cancelled, in essence). Not a big fan of being charged before getting my tv, but put it on my amex just in case, which is easy to do chargebacks with…. Hope to have my tv Jan 2

  9. Sorta Kinda Lucky Soul says:

    ahhhh, the explanation about backorder rings true, since every time I’ve placed an order and item(s) were under that status I’ve never gotten them. I’ve had probably a total of 6 items over the past two years fall in BO status and none of them ever came. Now I’ll know better!

  10. coym says:

    “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. ” Dell is the same way.

    nudge nudge Mister Dell won’t let me cancel my order even though it won’t ship for another month (even though my ship date is still days away)

  11. themichael says:

    Why can’t Best Buy put this in plain english on their website??!?! Have the information plain as day on your website, so that if there is a problem the customer won’t feel like you’re pulling policy and procedure out of your ass!!!!

  12. Sumtron5000 says:

    I propose a group New Year’s resolution: stop shopping at Best Buy. Even Bestbuy.com. I hate when people go to the brick & mortars and are charged more, or the item is out of stock, or the item has been molested by Geek Squad, so they go online, order the product, and pick up it. WHY ARE YOU STILL GIVING THE COMPANY THAT PISSED YOU OFF MONEY? It’s not like we all don’t have 5000 choices of where to shop.
    Who’s with me? I’m voting with my dollars. 2010 will be a Best Buy free year for me.

    • madanthony says:

      I shop by price. I don’t need handholding, so I don’t really care how incompetent their employees are. If BB had a significantly lower price on something I wanted to buy, I’d shop there. But that hasn’t happened in a very long time.

  13. jeffbone says:

    All I need to know about BestBuy.com:

    Don’t let any IP packet leaving this connection land there.

  14. jeffbone says:

    All I need to know about BestBuy.com:

    Don’t let any IP packet leaving this connection land there.

  15. dwrichards says:

    If you need a guide to navigate the pitfalls and quirkiness of an e commerce website, you should probably avoid the site to begin with. Why isn’t this obvious to most people?

  16. Sigil says:

    I purchased two items this Christmas from BestBuy.com I recently moved, so I deleted my address a bit before. When I placed the order, it defaulted to an address that I sent a gift to someone a LONG time ago. I reported this immediately. It seems sales is open 24 hours, but customer service isn’t. That says much! I was told that it wouldn’t ship by morning, so I should call back then. I called and it was too late. Best Buy said they couldn’t do anything about it. They said I should contact UPS. I called UPS. It had been shipped, but UPS says that didn’t have it. I called Best Buy back…They had broke my order up into two shipments. I requested the second be canceled or rerouted. It hadn’t shipped yet. (This was 2 days after the initial order.) They said it was connected to the first. Best Buy and UPS both kept saying call the other. Long Story Short… The person who is living there now states that they never received the packages. If I had used Amazon this wouldn’t have happened…. I could cancel or edit my order vis their Web site without much effort.

  17. MSUHitman says:

    Definately right on the old address listing. Got screwed on an order because it was sent to the wrong address, my old apartment on the other side of St. Louis. Thankfully the Post Office was able to fix it as no one was currently there so they were able to retrieve the package.

  18. shepd says:

    Backorders *do* return, though. bestbuy.ca and futureshop.ca (Both owned by Best Buy) screwed up and placed a couple of DVDs on their site for 1 cent each. Cheap bastards like me bought them, and they decided to fufill them. For about 12 weeks they were on status “backorder”, but I have now received them both.

  19. kyle4 says:

    I’ve been ordering online from Bestbuy.ca for nearly three years now am satisfied with them. No problems with pricing, returns, matching the prices or shipping. In fact they used to give free UPS shipping on any order, even $2 items. That stopped quickly though.

  20. miss_roxxan says:

    i’ve had the shipping address snafu happen to me. not fun. i ordered a record and it shipped to my ex-husband at an old address. i had even updated to the new address and had no idea it was shipping there until he sent me a message and asked for my new address so he could send it to me. ugh.

  21. duffman13 says:

    I’ve had good luck with best buy both in-store and online, never felt like i got screwed unless I did it to myself by trying to game the system. That said, there are a plethora of places where you can order mechandise online from, but how many pace still exist where I can see and manhandle the merchandise in person to decide if I like it before i bring it home? Best buy is the only place left in most of the US AFAIK. I don’t count walmart because they don’t have the mid to upper end selection theat BB does.