Best Buy Bungles Sale, Denies Me Refund

Ian tried to take advantage of a sweet laptop and printer pre-Black Friday sale at Best Buy’s website, but couldn’t check out with the advertised price. A customer service rep suggested Ian pay the higher price for the items, then apply for a refund for the difference later. The plan didn’t work out so well.

He writes:

I have never had an issue with Best Buy. The Monday before Black Friday, Best Buy online had a sale for all Silver Reward Members. During that day they had many offers listed on their website as a pre Black Friday sale of deals they would be offering for Black Friday.

One of those items was a Toshiba Laptop and HP printer for $479. This is normally a $1100 laptop and $80 printer. So to get both for $479 seemed like a great deal. I attempted to purchase the items on their website where their was a link to purchase. When the items were added to the card, the sale price did not ring up correctly.

I called the 1-800 number I was given for the sale and they said they would need to process the order on the phone. They were unable to process my order of the phone because they claimed it was sold out. I was told by a representative I spoke to a supervisor which I did not get a name for, that if would be to successfully order the item online that I would be able to file a claim to get the refund since there appeared to be a mistake with the price. They told me that they would make a note of this in my account for when I call back. With tax this is about $700.

I put the order in of the items that were still in my cart. Both items shipped and I received them Monday November 28th. That same day I called in to report the error in the price. In order to file the refund of the difference they would need to send the claim to their Promotions Department. I was told that the promotions team would have to contact me.

On Sunday 12/5, I received a call from a woman from Best Buy. She said they were declining my refund because the item had to be purchased over the phone. She said that on the email I received regarding the sale that the item had to be purchased over the phone. Nowhere on the email that I received did it say that nor did it say it on the webpage for the item before purchasing.

Ian’s leap of faith didn’t work out, but he could return the items and look for a better deal. What would you do?


Edit Your Comment

  1. Baxterjones says:

    Escalate one more level if there is one, then EECB.

    • wkm001 says:

      Say goodbye to $165 for that awesome restocking fee. Since you are a “Silver Reward Member” I’ll assume you already know that. I find it hard to believe people belong to loyalty programs for Best Buy. Wow!

      • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

        According to, they only charge the restocking fee on notebooks and printers if they’ve been opened.

        Has our little friend here been wise enough not to play with his new stuff?

      • cigsm says:

        Actually, Silver Reward Members DO NOT EVER pay a restocking fee, FYI.

      • BurtReynolds says:

        I can only imagine how much this guy has overpaid over the past year to reach RZ Silver status. BB should take care of him just for that reason.

  2. Sidecutter says:

    He should tell Best Buy they will either honor the sale price or he will return the items. They can either have his money for the goods at the agreed rate, or not at all.

    • homehome says:

      Honestly, if I was BB, I’d rather him return the stuff. Cause then it could be sold back at it’s original or a higher price and make more profit off of it.

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Return and/or partial chargeback. BBB complaint. AG complaint.

    Then call Consumerist.

    • Dover says:

      Chargeback the difference for sure.

      • mszabo says:

        Chargeback doesn’t seem like it will fly in this case. The OP did press the button and confirmed the web order at $1100. He has only the CSR’s word that the price would be different.

    • spamtasticus says:

      The BBB is a scam so that is pointless:

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        If a business is a BBB accredited, they must comply with certain things, including always responding to and working with customer complaints.

        While I am aware of this investigation, and while the fraud may be true, it doesn’t change the BBB’s code of conduct requirements for BBB-accredited business.

      • evilpete says:


        Every complaint I have bad ended in a call from the BBB strong arming me into closing he complaint as satisfactory resolved.

        One case was where a tree trimmer butchered a apple tree on my property, it never recovered, the BBB closed the case as “satisfactory resolved ” cause they “responded” to my complaint ( I had to eventually chop it down )

      • joescratch says:

        Dunno if I believe that, but in my experience BBB doesn’t do jack shit. Not worth the time or breath or keystrokes.

    • tanyaandkarl says:

      BBB is a rope-a-dope.
      Its purpose is to get you to waste your time and effort in a completely ineffective forum.
      You walk away satisfied that you “have formally registered your complaint with the authorities and action will be taken!”
      The offender “replies” to the omplaint, and it goes where nobody else can see it.

      Everybody is happy; and nothing changes.

    • barty says:

      Don’t ever accept the word of someone who is making $9/hr over a phone that you’ll be able to get the difference refunded to you after the fact. If they’re sold out, just accept it and move on. That fine print that nobody ever reads usually says “quantities limited at this price”. So once they were out of stock at that price, the deal is gone…sorry!

      But the Attorney General of the state? Really?

  4. c!tizen says:

    “What would you do?”

    What any responsible consumer would do. Load the computer with porn, send it back for a refund, then keep an eye on Consumerist to read the “Best Buy sold me a new computer filled with porn” story.

  5. eirrom says:

    Remember the 15% restocking fee for computers that BB charges. Its not like he is going to get that waved. $700 x 15% = $105 down the drain!

    • bender123 says:

      If you are a silver member, they do not charge the restocking fee. I have had it waived several times.

    • ludwigk says:

      He’s not returning goods, he’s rejecting them for BestBuy’s failure to uphold their end of the bargain under the Maguson Moss warranty act. They cannot charge a restocking fee.

      At least, this is the approach I would take, if I was trying to get rid of these good. If OP actually wants them, then obviously this doesn’t work.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    So how many people would trust a company that says pay more than the advertised price and trust us to refund the difference later?

  7. Alexk says:

    Something that awful? I’d be tempted to actually picket the store.

  8. framitz says:

    Request a full refund and send it all back.

    And don’t give so much credence to any advice from a BB customer service Representative going forward.

  9. Beeker26 says:

    Yeah, I would never trust any company to grant a refund after-the-fact. No no no. Just a bad, bad idea. If they can’t manage to give you the sale price while you’re on the phone with a rep just hang up and walk away.

  10. sopmodm14 says:

    how would the CSR know what was on the emaiL ?

  11. sanchezizme says:

    For situations like this, I would make sure to get the name of everyone who helped me, and have them send me an email or fax (preferably while you are still on the phone) confirming that they will honor the refund. I would also make a screen print of the BB page showing the laptop/printer promo price.

    • davebu3 says:

      The best buy CSRs do not have access to email or fax…

      • BurtReynolds says:

        Same with an issue I have at Target. I asked if I could speak to the same CSR if I have a problem and she said they aren’t able to do that, but “there are plenty of notes” on the order.

  12. AI says:

    If it’s within the return window, RETURN THEM NOW!

  13. ThinkerTDM says:

    So, what we have here is someone who knows enough about Consumerist to know this is the place to complain, but also someone who doesn’t actually read the articles, especially the 90% dealing with Best Buy.

  14. Amaras says:

    As Wilma says, Chargeeeeeeeee Back

  15. llsee says:

    It amazes me that anyone still purchases products from Best Buy after all of the recent horror stories. Especially computers. In the interest of full disclosure, I have purchased from Best Buy in the past, primarily because I live in a smaller town with limited choices, and because I just needed that instant gratification. But, I have never found a price on Best Buy, that i could not beat on other online sales sites. And, I know better than to ever believe a Best Buy employee. I may be a retired old fogey, but I still know more about tech than any Best Buy employee I have ever met!

    • Mamudoon says:

      Best Buy is terrible. Every single thing I’ve ever bought from there has been broken or defective right out of the box. Fortunately, I never had any trouble returning anything, but for god’s sake, stock some things that work. Every other store seems to be able to do that.

      • Bby says:

        Ya right. They have to be terrible, since they only lead the US market in terms of retail electronic sales. Apparently, all you Consumerist tards know more than the actual buying public. And old fogey, I would bet you that the average Best Buy employee that works in computers, home theater, or media knows more about tech than you do. Their job is to learn about that stuff, after all.

        • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

          ” I would bet you that the average Best Buy employee that works in computers, home theater, or media knows more about tech than you do. Their job is to learn about that stuff, after all.”

          Epic fail. Their job is to remove the cash from customers wallets, and upsell them a $100 Monster HDMI cable in the process. I AM an old fogey, and I DO know more than almost every Best Buy employee.

          Proof? THEY WORK AT BEST BUY!

  16. BayardMozie says:

    Escalate and tell them you would prefer to return the items and NOT pay any restocking fee.

  17. Bby says:

    OP, you have a 45 day return policy as a reward zone silver member. Quit your bitching on Consumerist and go back to the store and return the items. It’s not that big a deal.

    This whole thing smells of fail because there is NO WAY they would mark an $1100 computer down to $479 including a printer. Good try tho. At least you got the sheep on Consumerist message boards stirred up, and you gave Phil something to do with his life.

  18. BBP says:

    So… maybe you should, oh, I dunno… RETURN THE STUFF?

  19. TVGenius says:

    Sounds like he didn’t follow the instructions in the email right. You had to follow the link in the emails, then log into your BB account for the RZ Silver Premier prices to show up. And the quantities were pretty limited too, I saw a few things sold out when I checked on that sale. The limited quantities were pretty explicit in the email, so this sounds like a lot of sour grapes.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      …much like their in – store sales: “Minimum of 2 per store” (that’s usually the maximum per store, too). I was told one Black Friday after standing in line forever, “We never got any”. That’s the last time I went to a Best Buy for Black Friday.

      Best Buy: Yea, we ain’t got that.

  20. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    “I have never had an issue with Best Buy.” – ROTFLOL

  21. Danjalier says:

    For those of you claiming that Ian shouldn’t have posted the tip to Consumerist, that he should simply return his purchase for a full refund, shame on you.

    Companies screw up all the time. That’s why this website has stories daily. If a business does something consumer unfriendly, I want to know about it. I don’t care of it was something “not serious”. Aside from voting with my wallet, bad PR is the only way they might be convinced to get their S#!+ together.

    If I think a story is not a big deal, I can just not comment on it.

    • BBP says:

      Yes, yes they do screw up all the time, but in this case, the only real solution is to return all of the merchandise OR deal with the consequences. They aren’t being cooperative, they aren’t being helpful, so the best bet would be to return the merchandise and to Hell with Best Buy.

  22. Griking says:

    Trying to read that made my brain hurt.

    Other than that, the part that gets me is that the rep on the phone told him that he couldn’t process the order because it was sold out. Well then how was he able to place the order on the website?

  23. Kingsley says:

    One Toshiba was enough to put me off of laptops forever. (TOSHIBA m55-s1001)

  24. sfled says:

    >”What would you do?”

    Haven’t bought at Best Cry since 1999. Every time I see one of these stories I remember why.

  25. sfled says:

    >”What would you do?”

    Haven’t bought at Best Cry since 1999. Every time I see one of these stories I remember why.

  26. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Return. Sounds like there are numerous mistakes on Best Buys’ end, but you are asking them to take a huge loss on your order.

  27. davebu3 says:

    Consumerist has a list for best buy executives with phone numbers and all. Give them a call, they helped me out before. Just keep calling them until one of them refunds your money.

  28. BurtReynolds says:

    I am giving Target a chance to pull this move right now as well, against my best judgement. I ordered a Garmin GPS on BF for $141.89 shipped. Eight days later, I get an email saying that since they incorrectly listed the GPS as having bluetooth (I knew it did not, didn’t care, and in fact don’t remember reading it on there), they are canceling all the orders. If I still want to buy it, they provided a promotion code so I don’t lose the BF discount.

    So I go to reorder and guess what? The price is now $162.89. I called CS and was told they couldn’t adjust the price at that time, but she would reorder it for me, and when it shipped they would adjust the price. Well it apparently shipped over the weekend…for $162.89. I’ll give them a business day to adjust the price before I start calling again.

    Now if this had happened the day after BF, when deals were still plentiful, I would have never placed the order again. Yet since Target waited until all the big sales were over to find a small discrepency and then cancel all the orders, I am left with hoping they come through. I haven’t seen a price anywhere close for this model since BF. Why Target is unable to just adjust pricing on the fly is beyond me. I had an Amazon Gold Box deal come up incorrectly in my cart once and the CSR fixed the price a minute after I placed the order.

    If Target doesn’t come through here, I think I’ll be done spending my money there. There were many deals to choose from that weekend and I went with this one. They reward my business by canceling after I ignored all the other deals that were available (didn’t think I needed to order a backup gift), changing the price, and then aren’t able to make it right without me ordering again. There are too many other better retailers out there to give business to, than to risk this mess again next year or anytime in the future.