Consumerist reader Jonathan recently received a box set of CDs from his brother for Christmas. Unfortunately, one of the CDs that was supposed to be in the box was nowhere to be found. Compounding the problem, his brother had lost the receipt. Oh, and did we mention he made the mistake of buying the box set at Best Buy?
Jonathan went to Best Buy’s website to find out what, if anything, he could do to get an exchange on the item without a receipt. He followed the instructions on the site and Tweeted his question to Best Buy’s @twelpforce account.
He received a reply Tweet telling him he should “Talk to a manager at your local Best Buy, they should be able to assist with exchange.”
So that’s exactly what he did. Except when he spoke to the manager, he didn’t exactly receive what one would call “assistance.”
I explained that I had been told by Best Buy customer service that he could offer an exchange, and showed him the tweet on my iPhone. [Ed. Note: the @twelpforce Tweets are also archived for posterity on bbyfeed.com] That’s when he responded dismissively at the notion that Best Buy’s twitter account was a reliable place to get customer service help. This is despite the fact that if you go to Best Buy’s customer service website the only ways you’re given to directly ask questions are the twitter account and a toll free number.
Jonathan says the manager dismissed the Tweet as “just social media” and said “that could be anybody.”
“Putting aside the issue of whether they should make it so difficult to exchange a defective item purchased at their store,” writes Jonathan, “it is totally ridiculous that they have embraced social media as a customer service tool, but aren’t actually instructing their employees to treat it as an authoritative voice of the company.”
So the situation here is either that the @twelpforce Tweet was mistaken or that the manager is choosing to be difficult. Either way, Jonathan says, “This experience has reinforced for me that online shopping through amazon.com and other internet retailers, or small locally owned shops is the way to go. They actually understand that the internet is more than just a marketing tool, and don’t make it impossible to exchange or return items.”