Trapped In An Infinite In-Store Pickup Loop At Best Buy

Michael normally likes Best Buy–which may reflect on the management of his local store, rather than making him an uninformed consumer. Yet he placed an in-store pickup order a few weeks ago at another nearby Best Buy, and the situation has become a case study in bad customer service. Or perhaps nonexistent customer service. See, nobody at this store will pick up the phone. At all. Michael even called the store from inside the store and watched employees work very, very hard at not picking up the phone.

First, let me say that I am in no way a Best Buy-hater. Yet. I purchase things there weekly, am a Platinum Reward Zone member, and have had very few problems with Best Buy. Everyone there has always been nice, courteous, and usually helpful. That’s why this sucks so bad.

Let me explain: On December 26th of 2010, I saw a good deal at Best Buy on assorted Blu-ray discs. Having received a Best Buy gift card from my sister for Christmas as well as $15 in Reward Certificates, I jumped on it, purchasing four, and selecting In-Store Pickup at the store nearest to me. Shortly, I received an email from Best Buy stating that one of my discs could not be located, and giving me the option of removing the disc from my order, or selecting another store for pickup. I decided to drive a bit further and get all the movies for which I was hoping, so I called the provided 1-800 number and talked to the customer service representative. She was very courteous, finding the next nearest store to me with all the movies in stock. She told me to proceed to the store, I thanked her and hung up.

I drove 45 minutes to the second-nearest Best Buy store, only to be told that my order had not been processed yet. I asked the customer service rep if I could simply pull the discs from the shelf to fulfill my order, but she said that it was not possible, that they had no control over online orders. She told me to head home and wait for the email telling me my order was ready. When I got home I had already received an email, but since it was well past closing, the email simply stated that “Store is closed”. No big surprise. I figured I would just have to make another trip out the next day, or stop before I went in to work.

Sure enough, I received another email. Unfortunately, this one also stated “Store is closed”. ‘Well’ I thought, ‘that’s funny.’ No big deal. I wasn’t in any real hurry, right? Except this continued for the next week. Receiving the same email every night.

Eventually, I went to Best Buy’s web site and sent them an email regarding my order. I’m still waiting to hear back. Then, I decided to call the 1-800 number. They were so helpful when I was placing my order, I thought that this would surely solve it. After only a few minutes on hold I was talking to a customer service rep. He says, “It seems to be “In Process”. And I said, “Yeah, I know. It has been like that for over a week.” I told him about my email to BB. And he said he would be happy to help. He stated that in order to solve the problem he would need to get in contact with the store. He placed me on hold while he called the other store. After 20 minutes of holding, I was hung up on. I thought maybe he would call me back, but: I’m still waiting to hear back.

Well, I wasn’t able to call back right then because I had to get ready for work, but I did try again the next day. I explained to the rep what I had already done. She put me on hold, and then, after 20 minutes, hung up on me. I thought maybe she would call me back, but: I’m still waiting to hear back.

OK, so this isn’t going so great. I thought maybe it would be better to talk to someone local. I proceeded to call my pick-up store and found out why I was placed on hold with the 1-800 number for so long. I let the phone ring for more than TEN MINUTES, with no one ever picking up. I called again, same thing. I tried a little later, and someone finally picked up after only 4-5 minutes of ringing. I told him my situation, and exactly what I had done so far. He took all my information down and promised to get back to me, “in a few minutes”. I’m still waiting to hear back.

Alright, I decided to talk to someone in-person. I drove 45 minutes again to Best Buy. As a test I decided to call from inside the store. I thought, “Surely when I tried calling a couple of days ago, the phone wasn’t actually RINGING FOR TEN MINUTES. Right?” So, I pulled out my phone, dialed the store number, hit 0 for customer service, and proceeded to watch a mass of employees ignore my call. I can admit, in all my days working retail, I have never seen a ringing phone so studiously ignored.

Done with my test, I approached the customer service desk. Explained EVERYTHING I had already been through, and was told, “Sorry, there is nothing I can do.” And that was that. No offer of help or facilitation. Just a “Sorry, nuttin’ I can do” I asked for her to please have someone who could help me call. But, as you can imagine: I’m still waiting to hear back.

I have no movies, I have no money, and I have no more patience. Please help.


Edit Your Comment

  1. IphtashuFitz says:

    Call your credit card company and file a dispute over the charge, explaining everything to them. Call Best Buy and tell them to cancel the order and that you’ve already disputed the charge with your credit card company, also explaining everything to them. Then never go to Best Buy again. Consider this a lesson in how terrible their overall customer service is.

    • FuzzyWillow says:

      “Having received a Best Buy gift card from my sister for Christmas as well as $15 in Reward Certificates, I jumped on it, purchasing four, and selecting In-Store Pickup at the store nearest to me”

      Unless Best Buy gift cards and reward certificates have a charge back option, I don’t think that will work.

  2. femiwhat says:

    Clearly, this store is the reason why most of the comments are going to skip any attempt to be helpful and blame you for shopping at Best Buy. You got some help from their online support… Can you try that again? Maybe cancelling the order entirely?

  3. FuzzyWillow says:

    “Having received a Best Buy gift card from my sister for Christmas as well as $15 in Reward Certificates, I jumped on it, purchasing four, and selecting In-Store Pickup at the store nearest to me”

    Unless Best Buy gift cards and reward certificates have a charge back option, I don’t think that will work.

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      Even worse if his reward zone certs were near expiration. He might get a gift card with the balance of the certificate on it, but chances are, he’ll have to either go in person to customer service, or wrangle it out on the phone.

  4. FuzzyWillow says:

    I think what we all really want to know, is did they ask to see your receipt? Did you comply?

  5. Christopher Wilson says:

    Go back to the store and demand their district manager’s contact information.

    • kc2idf says:

      I like this idea.

    • Tom Foolery says:

      I also like this idea. There’s a store closer to you where you’ve had positive experiences…go to them for help. If they have the same district manager as the store 45 minutes away, so much the better. S/he’ll want to keep your business, be detached enough from the situation not to get defensive about it, and likely have enough authority to resolve things.

    • Verdant Pine Trees says:

      Bingo. This will help.

  6. AstroPig7 says:

    Wow! I want to get paid to pretend I have no authority and don’t know how to answer a phone. On a serious note, the use of a gift card will make any restitution impossible without going through Best Buy. Have you tried explaining to online or corporate support that this store is not answering their phones?

  7. zomgorly says:
  8. fantomesq says:

    My god, man, the solution to your issue is in your first sentence! You are a Platinum Reward Zone member! Most of the Best Buy stores would be fawning all over you! Try going back to your Best Buy, speak to the Store Manager, and see if he can’t pull together a few DVDs for you… Request the contact info for the regional manager to complain about the other store. Make sure that every complaint STARTS with your Platinum status… the kids at the customer service desk may not take note of that but every member of management will…

    • TooManyHobbies says:

      I agree, you need to elevate complaints about this store. It sounds like that store needs a management clean-out. It’s in the best interest of both consumers and Best Buy itself to make sure that people who treat customers like that find out that it’s a bad idea.

  9. quail says:

    It saddens me. Best Buy was my favorite electronics retailer in the 90s. Bought a ton of CDs from them in the day and clearance merchandise. I did watch them as their quality began to fall even back then.

    Seems to me the guy’s biggest problem is that the online system doesn’t seem to be communicating with the store’s system to release the purchase and force those guys to put his order together. Probably human error with some jerk putting the order on hold because he/she didn’t want to do the work at the store and now it’s sitting in limbo.

    His best bet is an executive email carpet bomb.

  10. wackydan says:

    Just another electronics retailer that will be out of business in the coming years. Move along people.

    • homehome says:

      Dude they have had a significant increase in profit margin for 10 plus years. They’re getting more business now than they ever have before. If you’re going to make comments like this at least do some research and realize that the companies that went out of business were losing money for a long time before they went under.

      And for the consumer, like someone said before, speak to a store manager directly and before you do that, go back to online support, because when you have a problem with a sales you’re supposed to go back to the point of sale, as the resolution is quicker and easier for both sides. I know it’s the holidays, but it shouldn’t take that long. This is more the online stores fault than the physical store.

      • bravohotel01 says:

        It is doubtful that they will be able to compete with online-only stores forever.

        Once Netflix goes streaming-only, then there goes their cash-cow of overpriced DVD/Blue-Rays. (Speaking of which, who buys their overpriced CDs? Clueless!)

        Clock is ticking…

        • Random_Tangent says:

          Actually, profit margins on Blu-Rays and DVDs are pretty thin. Many of the ones on sale are loss leaders.

        • Firevine says:

          My sister works at Best Buy, and has told me the profit margin on CD’s and DVD’s is almost non existent. Plus, so far as brick and mortar stores, Best Buy is cheaper on both than nearly anywhere else, their selection is just garbage, though less so than Target or Wal-Mart. You want overpriced? Go to FYE, or any other Trans World location. Jesus, you’d think CD’s were made out of solid gold at that place. They’re a solid $7-$8 higher than at Best Buy. Can’t imagine how high costs would have been had Trans World been able to buy out Tower. Both were utterly ridiculous, Tower just had fantastic selection. It was like a wonderland of magical awesome every time I went in. I listen to some pretty obscure stuff, and they always had it…it just cost way too much.

  11. Buckus says:

    Am I too late for the “Blame the OP for shopping at Best Buy” party?

    Seriously, though, that is a pretty bad case of not serving the customer. If I owned a retail store, I would empower my employees to do whatever it takes to make the customer happy, because a happy customer is a repeat customer.

    I believe there is a store like that: Nordstrom’s. They cost a little more, but the service is worth it.

  12. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    If the OP canceled his order, could he get a refund on everything in its original form of payment? If he could, I’d just cancel right now.

  13. u1itn0w2day says:

    A bit pricey to say the least. There’s local repair shops around here that guarantee a repaired computer for under 100$ and that’s basically BBYs/ the geeks fee just to diagnos. last time I looked at their prices I virus removal was another 100$.

  14. danmac says:

    It’s too bad that we can’t control the gift cards people give us. For Christmas this year, my wife and I were involved in various “Christmas lotteries,” and in every case I asked for Amazon cards as one of the gift options. That didn’t stop people from giving us ~$100 worth of Best Buy cards…wish I could use them to purchase Amazon gift cards…

    • junip says:

      I got my nephews $50 visa gift cards for christmas this year. They’ll get a kick out of having a “credit card” for a short while, and they can spend it anywhere they like. Win win!

      • danmac says:

        I hope you didn’t get them a card that charges you to make purchases, charges you to look at the balance, charges you if you don’t use it for a year, etc…those can be a real hassle.

        • AstroPig7 says:

          You forgot “make it difficult to purchase things online since it has neither a name nor an address associated with it”.

    • coren says:

      supposedly they now sell amazon cards in store..not sure if it’s true or not.

  15. !caybay says:

    I worked at BB Canada for years. I don’t know if in US the web pick up is different, but here is how it worked:
    -You go online, select items, choose pick up in store
    -Your card has not yet been charged
    -Store (customer service) receives e-mail with your order
    -Employee (customer service) goes around the store finding the items and taking them from the shelf, putting them aside at customer service with your order information, and then changing them in the inventory system so they are web pickup and not factory fresh
    -Employee then tells the web pick up system that the order is ready, you receive said e-mail
    -You go in store, to customer service and ask for your order
    -Customer service gets the items from their area, then processes the sale.
    -Your card is now charged and you now have the items.

    Soooooo yes, the OP should be able to just go get them from the shelf himself.
    Either the employees at that location are seriously incompetent, or maybe they don’t want to process the sale – if the sale was web only, then the store has to manually discount the items (because in store pick up still qualifies for web only sale prices) and that makes their numbers look worse. Neither of those reasons are good.

  16. framitz says:

    What was the cost of the disks? What was the savings? How much time was wasted trying to get resolution?

    Lesson learned?

    • MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

      What lesson? That you should never try to buy anything because the experience might turn out bad?

    • runswithscissors says:

      You can ALWAYS count on a “OP’s fault for shopping there” comment in any story involving big box retailers.

  17. wellfleet says:

    1. Speak to a manager at the location you’ve had a good experience with. A manager with some know-how and tenacity can work this out for you.
    2. As a Premier Silver RZ customer, you have access to a dedicated phone support line. You can find the number by logging in to your RZ account, and it may be directly on your RZ card.
    3. Cancel the entire order and have money go back to your GC/have RZ certifivcates reissued online, and repurchase order. Again, if you speak to store manager, they should honor the discount since you’ve had so much trouble, not to mention Premier Silver status.

    Good luck, I hope this helps. You sound like a nice person who is getting stuck in human/system error failboat.

  18. skapig says:

    Good grief. Guess you learned the hard way how Best Buy has earned its reputation for lousy customer service. Typically in a retail operation heads would roll if the phone was not answered promptly. You have to love the beautiful disconnect between the online and brick-and-mortar operations (granted a lot of companies fail at this too). From all that I’ve read about the in-store pick up, it’s clearly more trouble than it’s worth.

    I want to tell you to take your business elsewhere, but with the gift cards and rewards Best Buy makes out even better if you walk away. It’s really a matter of escalating the issue to managers who have the interest and authority to actually resolve the issue. Kind of disappointing that this wasn’t done on the spot (of course the drone at the counter is going to ignore this tricky issue!).

  19. PBallRaven says:

    “So, I pulled out my phone, dialed the store number, hit 0 for customer service, and proceeded to watch a mass of employees ignore my call. I can admit, in all my days working retail, I have never seen a ringing phone so studiously ignored.”

    He should have videoed this and put it on YouTube.

  20. Invader Zim says:

    Even if he eventually gets his dvds, he will still be out all the gas and time he has put into this transaction. It seems to me that they owe him more than just dvds and a hand shake. He is haveing to chase around stuff over and over again and again just to go home with nothing.

  21. Keep talking...I'm listening says:

    I have consistently had problems with In-Store Pickup at Best Buy. I don’t bother anymore.

    10 times out of 10 it has been quicker to go to the store, pick out what I want and pay for it — rather than wait several hours for the email confirmation, get to the store and stand at the unstaffed pickup counter to find out that they haven’t picked my order yet. Then wait while they try to find my product, then tell me they’re out of stock — or as a comedy option, they return with a completely different item than what I ordered. Then walk to the shelf, find the product I ordered and return to the unstaffed pickup counter.

  22. davidsco says:

    Very simple. A. The usually give the option to have your order shipped, for free, if they end up not having it in stock where you ordered it. Take that option and save the hassle. B. You should’ve called a manager over to allow you to pull the item from the shelf, OR, just bought it there normally and cancelled the original order when you got home. I’ve had cases where the items were never pulled by the time I got to the store, they always let me get it off the shelf, and, in fact, encourage it

  23. outlulz says:

    If you don’t pick up an in-store pick-up order in two weeks the order is canceled and your money is refunded, I believe.

  24. Extended-Warranty says:

    I wanted to side with the OP on this one, then I remembered that he tried to purchase sale Blu-Rays the day after xmas, including one that was not available. It’s not an excuse for the service he encountered, but come on…

    Too bad we couldn’t read about all of the good experiences he had to where he earned a PREMIER status

  25. Kingsley says:

    Can’t they change the order to shipping instead of pick-up. I’ve never dealt with but isn’t that part of the site?

  26. props says:

    Tweet your situation to:!/Coral_BestBuy

    They may be able to help.

    • jbohanon says:

      I’ve dealt with multiple Best Buys that are too lazy to pick up the phone. One way that is nearly guaranteed to get someone to pick up is to dial 2180. You know the mean guy at the front of the store who occasionally forces you to show a receipt? That’s him, the Loss Prevention Guy. Ask him to page someone. It usually works. (I got this tip from Consumerist years ago).

    • digital_sextant says:

      Agreed. I was having a problem with a router that I bought there, I tweeted about it with the hash tag bestbuy and got a very quick reply making sure I’d gotten the customer service I needed.

  27. prismatist says:

    Walk in, steal them, walk out.

  28. gordon435 says:

    Wow, the phone thing sounds exactly like the Best Buy near me. You can call them, set the phone down, come back 30 minutes later, and it will still be ringing. Virtually every time. We’re either talking about the same store, or this policy is spreading… What I find hilarious is that the Store Locator on Best Buy’s site actually has a space where you can post reviews for that particular store. 6 of the 8 reviews for this store are 1-stars, every single one complaining about the impossibility of contacting them by phone. Wish I’d thought of calling them in-store…

  29. apb says:

    So, all due respect. There actually is absolutely nothing they can do at the store level.

    Seriously, they have no control at all over in-store pickup. Also, you were put on hold with 1800, so you called the local store to ask why you were on hold so long? Sweet.

  30. coren says:

    They are lying out their ass. One time I had an in store pickup where i took advantage of a coupon that had run out and they wouldn’t match since it had run out. The item I wanted was out of stock at my nearest store, but the one across town had it.

    I bought the item across town, returned it at my store, and they used it to fulfill my order. So yes, they can just go pull the items off the shelves. Where the hell do they come from otherwise – certainly not the website.

    My advice – get the order switched back to the store that’s done you so well in the past – and if they don’t have all your items, help them get a little extra inventory the same way I did

  31. Cyfun says:

    A more entertaining solution: Go to the store, grab items from shelf, walk out of store. If accosted by their door guard, explain that you already paid for the items a week ago for in-store pickup, but nobody there fetched them from the shelves, so you did it yourself. Also, invite a local TV news crew.

  32. K_R_H says:

    RFLMAO……..have you been to their Face Book page yet? Its consumer complaint hellarious.

  33. Bang Uchiha says:

    Actually I had a similar experience after Christmas too picking up a BluRay movie too…I had it sent to another store twice. Good thing I live next to a few Bestbuys.

    I realized they all run differently and some are crap and others not as good. I now only go to the better staffed Bestbuy with a dedicated person handling pickups and online orders.