Reader Ed says he tried to buy an iPad from Best Buy, only to be told that someone was on the phone buying all of them, and that he could only get one if he bought the “black tie protection
plan” for $129. Ed told them to get lost and instead reported them to Consumerist and Best Buy.
At varying times I was told that they had either 2 or 4 left in stock, I’m not sure which number was correct, I never actually saw one except the display model.
They made clear that they could only sell one per person, which is fine… I only wanted one. The Best Buy employee went and had a used-car-salesman-worthy chat with his manager. Then, suddenly, I was informed that “someone on the phone” was buying ALL of the ones that they had left in stock.
I told them that I wasn’t aware you could arrange for the payment and purchase of items by phone with Best Buy. No response to that.
They then indicated that one of the iPads that was in the process of being purchased by someone on the phone at that VERY moment (who apparently gets to buy more than one?) could be sold to me instead, IF I would buy the black tie protection plan, which I was informed costs $129. On a $499 item that comes with a factory warranty. I was informed that Apple employees frequently come to Best Buy just to they can purchase their Apple items with Black Tie protection plans. They did not name any of these Apple employees, however.
I considered agreeing to buy the plan and then having it removed at the register, or coming back later to get a refund for the plan, but I was on my lunch break and didn’t feel like dealing with Best Buy customer service hell.
Ed cc’d this to Best Buy and to their credit they sprung into action. Ed says he found another iPad at a non-shady Best Buy and considers the matter resolved to his satisfaction.
Here’s Best Buy’s response to Ed:
I am writing in regards to your email below that was directed to the Consumerist; a copy of your correspondence was also sent to [redacted], who referred it to my attention to investigate and respond accordingly.
I’d like to apologize on behalf of Best Buy for the difficulties you encountered regarding this matter, but I appreciate the time you took to voice your concerns to allow us an opportunity to properly address them. Indeed, we value this sort of contact as it provides us with important feedback to make decisions regarding our future direction.
I’m sorry for the disappointment that surfaced from this incident, for the events you describe are both rare and unfortunate and not reflective of the optimal experience we strive to provide our customers. Please note that I’m currently investigating this issue in conjunction with the [redacted] store’s leadership team and will follow up with you again as soon as possible. In the meantime, please let me know if you have additional questions or concerns.
Good thing Ed is out there, keepin’ ’em honest.
Oh, and we snooped around to see if this protection plan is real and according to this chart, it is, and it does cost $129.00. Now excuse us while we mop up the milk that just shot through our nose.