Dear Best Buy: This Is Why You Are Failing Online

The folks at Best Buy HQ may not be quite sure who should be running the company, but they all seem to agree that Amazon and other online retailers are the reason behind the company’s dwindling market share. Yes, that’s partly true, but there is no reason the nation’s largest electronics retailer shouldn’t also have a successful website. Unfortunately, Best Buy seems to be making even more mistakes — and providing worse service — to its online customers.

Consumerist reader Ally says she used to spend thousands of dollars a year at Best Buy, but had begun to lose faith in the store by this past May, when she was shopping online for a new lens for her Nikon DSLR camera. It came down to Best Buy or Amazon, and since she needed to get the lens ASAP Best Buy’s overnight shipping was less expensive, she picked the blue crew.

“Paying the extra for Amazon would have been a smarter decision on my part as I was about to find out,” she tells Consumerist.

The next day, a Thursday, the Best Buy box was delivered to her office. Ally opened it up and instead of the lens she’d paid $228.43 for, it contained a $70 Nikon CoolPix digital camera.

“I called Best Buy customer service and they agreed to send out the correct item overnight and refund me $14.45 for the expedited shipping for the inconvenience,” she writes. “Great. I’d have the lens on Friday and it wouldn’t be a big deal.”

Except Best Buy didn’t ship out the lens on Thursday — and Ally didn’t find this out until Friday when she received an e-mail letting her know the tracking info.

“I called Best Buy for the second time and they confirmed that the person the day before had not sent it out overnight as they had promised,” says Ally. “The nightmares I’d previously experienced with Best Buy customer service now start coming back.”

Given that she couldn’t sit around her office hoping the lens would get delivered on a Saturday morning in time for her to still make the wedding, and Best Buy’s insistence that it could not change the delivery address, she told the CSR to just have the package intercepted, issue her a refund, and she’d just go buy the lens elsewhere.

“I was told they couldn’t do this until the Nikon CoolPix digital camera had been received,” she recalls. “Basically they were holding over $200 hostage for a camera that retails at less than $70.”

It took more than a week, but in late May, Ally finally received a credit for $199.53.

Except… that wasn’t what she’d paid:

“For those of you keeping track, I initially paid $228.43 for the lens including the item, tax, and shipping. I was credited $14.45 on May 17th for the shipping but if you add $199.53 and $14.45, that’s $213.95. There was still $14.45 missing.”

So to recap, Best Buy sends her the wrong item; sends her the correct item but too late for her to receive it; refuses to credit her for her purchase until she returns and item she never ordered; short-changes her on the refund.

And that’s not the end.

Another call to Best Buy in early June. Ally spent more than an hour trying to explain basic math to the CSR, who seemed convinced that the earlier shipping refund of $14.45 explained the same amount being shorted from Ally’s refund.

“This person actually told me that the issue was the tax. I did the tax calculations and it did not add up to the amount missing… She insisted that when you return an order you are not refunded the tax. Um, what? I’m pretty sure my degree is in accounting and that’s not the case. You can’t charge sales tax on an item more than once. I also own a business and know that when you return an item, the entire amount including tax is refunded. Maybe a restocking fee is involved in some cases but tax is always refunded.”

The rep’s supervisor similarly tried to argue that Best Buy’s math made sense, but eventually agreed to file a dispute.

“She offered me a $25 gift card for my troubles,” writes Ally. “I politely declined and said I would no longer be giving my business to Best Buy so a gift card would do me no good.”

Another 10 days without news of a refund. Another call to Best Buy, where Ally spends 30 minutes re-explaining the situation. And even though she finally convinced this CSR of her reasoning, the rep gave her the bad news that no dispute had apparently ever been filed.

“By this point I’m getting irritated and start questioning whether or not $15 is really worth the headache,” Ally tells Consumerist. “It really wasn’t but my long growing hatred towards Best Buy kept me pushing for the money back out of principle (and spite).”

This rep promised Ally would hear back from Best Buy in 3-5 days about her dispute.

In the interim, that $25 gift card she didn’t want? It showed up anyway.

Days come and go without refund or word from Best Buy.

Yet another call to customer service, this time to find out that her refund request was denied because Best Buy determined that the correct amount was refunded.

Once again, she runs through the math with this latest CSR, who agrees to re-file the credit dispute.

Fast-forward to mid-July. Yet another call to Best Buy reveals that this dispute was never filed — again.

A supervisor tells Ally she’ll need to re-file once more.

Except she finds out on Aug. 8 that this re-re-re-filed dispute was… never filed.

“This time I tell them I’m not hanging up the phone until a credit is issued to my account or a check is sent out so I suggest they put someone on the phone that has the authority to do so. I also tell them I have a list of all the agents that gave me incorrect information and claimed to have filed things they didn’t as well as the times and dates of every time I called.

“Another ‘supervisor’ comes on the line and makes me retell the entire story once again. By this point I somewhat rudely responded ‘Can’t you just look at the notes?’

“She begrudgingly states that she can issue a check since I had been mildly inconvenienced. MILDLY? Do you know the definition of the word mildly lady? Mildly would have been if you sent the replacement lens overnight the first time you messed it up and we would have been done. No this is ridiculous and shows how loose of a handle Best Buy really does have on their staffing.”

Finally, this morning, Aug. 17 — more than three months after the initial error was made by Best Buy — Ally received her check in the mail for $14.45.

“Was it worth it? Probably not,” says Ally. “But what it did do was solidify the fact that I made a mistake in ordering something from Best Buy and giving them a second chance. I can honestly say I will never step foot in one of their stores ever again.”

Best Buy could have re-won Ally’s affection earned repeat business to its online business by simply delivering the product she’d ordered in the first place. It also could have repaired the situation by making good on the replacement shipment. Instead, it has driven a customer away from both its online and bricks-and-mortar stores.

So before the powers that be in Richfield go blaming Amazon for all their woes, they might want to have a look at a little website called


Edit Your Comment

  1. rgf207 says:

    I say good for you Ally for not giving in an letting best buy get away with it. I would have most definitely kept at it until I was fully refunded.

    • timjames57 says:

      i swear why do stores pull such bs. i will never use worstbuy ever. if i want a game ill just go to gamestop
      this is just the same stuff that makes me walk into stores

  2. dolemite says:

    “I can honestly say I will never step foot in one of their stores ever again.” “Or order online”. I have the same policy with Gamestop, Ubisoft, and Impulse.

    • bdgbill says:

      The situation the OP described really cannot happen in a “bricks and mortar” store which is why I hope Best Buy survives. For purchases like high end photography stuff, TV’s, computers etc I want a traditional purchase. “Hi I’m looking for this item. Do you have it?” “Yes we do”. Here it is”, “Here’s some money”. “Here is your item” “Goodbye”.

      It’s hard to imagine a situation where you walk into a real store, pay hundreds of dollars for something and end up walking out without it or the wrong item.

      If Best Buy tanks, our only remaining real world store in many places will be Sears and as all regular Consumerist readers know, Sears does not actually have any products to sell.

      • Murph1908 says:

        I agree completely, but I can’t resist:

        “Hi, I am looking for this item. Do you have it?”
        “Yes. But wouldn’t you like this one instead?”
        “I’ve already done my research, I want this one. Here’s my money.”
        “Do you want the protection plan?”
        “Do you want to apply for a BigBox credit card and save 10%”
        “No. I just want the…”
        “How about a subscription to this magazine?”
        “No. Just…”
        “Do you have one of our rewards cards?”
        “Sorry. I have to ask these questions. Corporate policy, you see. Here’s your item.”
        [five minutes later]
        “Hey, this isn’t a widget, it’s a brick wrapped in tin foil.”

        • dolemite says:

          You totally skipped a few steps.

          “I recommend this HDMI cord to go with your product. It’s only $35”
          “No thanks”
          “How about a cover to protect your product? Or this screen cleaner and wipes for $20?”
          “Do you need a UPS for your product to protect it from surges? A carrying case for trips?…A…”

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            Actually, I think the more realistic scenario is:

            “Hi, I’m looking for this item. Do you have it?”
            “Yes.” *walks away*

            And scene.

            • BurtReynolds says:

              You assume the employee even knows what you are talking about.

              Last time I was at a BB, I am in an aisle full of speakers and I am looking for speaker stands. Seemed like the right place. Employee comes up and asks if I need help. I explain I am looking for speaker stands. Blank stare. I explain what they are. She looks around. I mention the website said they stocked some. More looking around. Finally we reach a conclusion that she isn’t sure if they have any. I say thanks and go home to order some from Vanns for $25 less.

      • DeeJayQueue says:

        (I move away from the microphone to breathe in)

        Here’s how it actually goes:
        *get to _____ department, look around for 20 minutes for an employee, none are around. Finally go hunt someone down from the other side of the store.*

        Hi, I’m looking for this item, do you have it?

        ::Um, let me check.
        *looks at shelf*
        There are none on the shelf.

        Yeah, I can see that, do you have any in the back?

        ::Let me check the computer. It says we have 5. Let me look in the back.
        *after 15 minutes, and going to find another employee to look for the first one*
        No, we don’t have any.

        Well, your website says you have it in the store. Are you sure you looked in the right place?

        ::I looked all over the back and can’t find any. Maybe (insert excuse for poor inventory management here). Come back another time.


        Hi, I ordered this thing online at and selected to pick it up in store. Is it ready yet?

        ::No, it’ll be another 45 minutes.

        Um, ok. But I’m standing here now, and you’re helping me now. Can you or someone just grab one now?

        ::No, I can’t leave my register.

        How about if I get one off the shelf and you ring it up as the one I reserved?

        ::I can’t do that, because it’s in “fulfillment” which means it’s on someone’s list to be picked up and brought to customer service, and it won’t let me scan another one unless you want to pay for 2 of them and then refund one later.

        So you’re telling me that despite having already paid for the item online so that I can just walk in here and pick it up, and despite there being plenty on the shelf, I can’t have one until your inventory team gets around to picking one and bringing it here.

        :: Yes, and by the way it won’t be tonight because we close in 5 minutes and the inventory team has gone home.

      • milkcake says:

        Well, except… go read other BestBuy horror stories where the item in the box was actually a brick, or the new item you thought was new had naked pictures and pictures of BB employees.

      • sjgarg says:

        But the OP’s situation can and has happened in B&M stores.

        How many stories have been on this site of people buying big ticket electronic items and getting a box filled with bricks, phone books or in some cases, other merchandise?

        • lyontaymer30 says:

          You say that like there’s a been a million of them. You’d struggle to come up with 20. If out of a thousand purchases, that happen to only 20, that’s great odds.

      • JediZombie says:

        I am a big fan of Frys. Bigger store, better selection, friendlier staff. The only real issue with them is location. (At least for me they are 20 minutes away while Best Buy is 10)

  3. bnceo says:

    OP, it’s time you pay $79 for Amazon Prime and only get $3.99 per item one day shipping. You learned your lesson with Best Buy. Now it’s time to go to the real logistic pros.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Amen to that! Amazon has overnighted me a replacement item even before I returned the defective/wrong item. Go Amazon Prime!

    • Lyn Torden says:
      • bnceo says:

        I mean stuff sold by Amazon, not Amazon resellers/Marketplace. Nice try to troll. While you’re at it, search for all Best Buy horror stories and search for Amazon ones. Good luck.

      • Marlin says:

        That was a UPS error, not amazon. Unless there was another update I did nto see.

        • Lyn Torden says:

          Actually, it was a labeling error. The label on the box named the recipient who ordered a TV. How that got there is not disclosed. It could be the rifle box was in an Amazon fulfillment center. Or it could have been printed out to the vendor who was shipping it. If the latter, it was an apparent computer error.

      • JollySith says:

        1. as many people have pointed out that was an Amazon reseller.
        2. Had the cops not confiscated the rifle he could have returned it and gotten the item he ordered with very little hassle. In fact if he hadn’t been such a Nancy and panicked when he saw what he had been shipped he could have just shipped it back the same day in the same box and no-one would have been any wiser.

        • SpiffWilkie says:

          Yeah, Nancy or not, I wouldn’t risk federal charges for shipping a gun that I was not licensed to ship and that was illegal to posses where I lived. Screw that. I’m calling the cops.

          • Lyn Torden says:

            I agree. But had he decided it could not possibly be a TV, and just not opened it at all, then shipped it back by having UPS come pick it up, THEN he might have been in the clear.

            Amazon does screw up sometimes. It’s just a lot less than Bust Buy.

        • George4478 says:

          It was illegal for him to possess the gun in DC, illegal for him to drive to the post office with the gun in DC, illegal for him to enter a post office with a gun, illegal for him to ship the gun…

          Given the state of DC’s gun laws and their well-documented willingness to prosecute any firearms infraction, I’d have called the cops.

          • Lyn Torden says:

            However, had he NOT opened it (hey, that cannot possibly be a TV) and just had UPS come back and pick it up … would have have committed a crime? Well, this is DC, so yeah.

            • ncoclub says:

              Don’t know what planet you people live on but no one is going to receive a box with their information printed on it and NOT open it…I would, YOU WOULD, and 99.9999999999999% of the rest of the human race would. All you self richeous liars make me sick!!

              • JollySith says:

                Self richeaous? Wha..I don’t even…

                Is that some new term for people who made themselves a ton of money.

                i don’t mean to get all self righteous about it. I just don’t understand.

    • Scooter McGee says:

      This. I didn’t think it would be worth the $79, but I’ve more than recouped that in free 2-day shipping charges. And upgrading to overnight is generally pretty cheap too.

      • bnceo says:

        Because of this, I’m tipping my UPS delivery lady for Christmas.

      • balderdashed says:

        I’m not all that happy with Amazon Prime. I’ve still got Prime, because there’s enough streaming video included that I want to watch, sans Hulu-style commercials, that it’s worth $79 a year for that. But while two-day shipping is supposed to be free, in my case Amazon misses the two-day mark at least 20 to 30 percent of the time. Then what’s my remedy? If I’d a paid a fee for that individual late shipment, I could at least complain and demand a credit on the shipping. But since I’ve paid Amazon for shipping in advance, there’s really nothing I can do when they break their two-day promise, except refuse the shipment, or go to the trouble of shipping the product back. Recently, I was surprised to discover that in some cases, products for which two-day delivery is theoretically guaranteed under Amazon Prime are handed off to the US post office for final delivery. Amazon, are you kidding me? You’re going to take my money and pretend that you are guaranteeing two-day delivery, when you’re relying on the Post Office? Incredible. Last time that happened, I shipped the product back to Amazon and bought it from another merchant — the next day, at a higher price — just on principle.

        • PunditGuy says:

          I realize YMMV, but it’s been nothing but good news for me and Amazon Prime. I’ve never gotten anything outside of the 2-day window, and about 5 percent of the time I get the product the next day.

        • talanisen says:

          I have had this problem a couple of times, and they refunded my account with the cost of what he shipping would have been had I not had Prime.

        • Sunrisecarole says:

          I have been VERY disappointed in Amazon Prime for the last two orders BECAUSE it was shipped USPS. Tracking said “delivered” and it was not. I filled out a “Where’s my stuff” report and they refunded my money. This week, the same thing has happened, Went to the post office today to inquire. They’ll “ask the carrier.” I know I will get my money back, but that’s not the point. I want my STUFF…and I want it in two days,not two weeks! Neither order was for over $20…probably the problem! Not liking Amazon Prime right now.

    • BeelzeBob says:

      Keep in mind that one-day shipping is NOT overnight shipping.Overnight shipping means “order today, receive tomorrow.” One-day shipping occurs after however many days it takes Amazon to “prepare your order.” That means you are not getting it overnight, unless you luck out and they ship it the day you order. This gal wanted it tomorrow. Does Amazon promise that with Amazon Prime?

      • JWG says:

        But Amazon will tell you, “order in the next # hours and # minutes for delivery tomorrow” or “by DATE”.

        There’s usually no secret as to when you will get your order. I have and love Prime. Got it for the free trial one Christmas (relatives in Alaska – shipping is a nightmare) and have kept it the 3 years since. Even use the free streaming.

      • Woden says:

        It’s typically something like if you order by 7pm EST they will have it shipped out that night, and to your door the next day. In fact they actually tell you by what time you need to order on most items sold directly by Amazon to get them by the next day.

    • dolemite says:

      My only concern with Amazon is they are getting too big and too good. I notice while prices are still good, I don’t think they have as deep of discounts as before. I also notice that as demand for a product picks up, the price goes up, on the fly. Like on Slick Deals…if say, diapers were $21 on a special deal at 8am, by the time I log in at 9 am they might be $26, despite the original discounts applying. I also notice that the price on Amazon delivered products that are Prime eligible, the price is almost always $5-$10 more than a competitor (but I have to pay $10 shipping with the competitor). So I feel like I’m paying $10 for shipping from Amazon while I have Amazon Prime.

      • frodolives35 says:

        Yep its all just a shell game with the illusion of a good deal. Its called marketing. IE:how to make a customer think he is getting a good when he is really not.

    • iMuggle says:

      I actually do have Prime. the problem was that the item i was ordering wasn’t eligible for prime (I looked for several sellers and none had it as prime eligible) and the overnight shipping was more expensive.

      Either way, i’d rather of paid $50 more in shipping than deal with this again….and that’s what i’ll do going forward before EVER ordering from best buy again.

  4. bobdaniel says:

    Compare this to Amazon. I ordered two items on Thursday 8/9 morning, and select the free second day prime shipping.

    Remarkably, they go out that day, and the estimated delivery time is Friday 8/10, the next day. This happens to me often (I order about 10 times/month and live in NYC.)

    I received a text that the package was delivered, but I was away for the weekend and the item was left at my front door. When I came back, I couldn’t find the package. I waited a week in case a neighbor picked it up, but alas, nothing.

    So this morning I go on Amazon’s website, click “call me now” and am immediately connected with a CSR. I explain the situation, he says he needs to talk to UPS briefly but will be right back — I’m on hold no more than 90 seconds — and he comes back with, “Sir, we are really sorry your package was lost in transit. I can send you a replacement item immediately, and request Next Day Saturday delivery, to make sure you get it by tomorrow morning.”

    I already have a confirmation in my email and a UPS tracking link, with “Saturday morning delivery” guaranteed for tomorrow morning.

    Clearly this is above-and-beyond behavior; and it’s the kind of behavior that will keep me shopping at Amazon forever. Was it Amazon’s fault the item was lost? Absolutely not. They could have blamed UPS, and UPS could have blamed me– maybe I signed a “leave packages at my door” slip a long time ago. But they know that keeping me happy is far more important than the $$$ lost on the shipment.

    Anyway, I love you

  5. Lyn Torden says:

    Actually, if she had stepped foot in the store, she might well have gotten exactly what she wanted, even faster … if they had that lens in stock.

    But, Bust Buy (did I actually make the Freudian slip?) is doomed because their current management is still trying to scale down the store operations even more, and push their seriously flawed online service (which I have long ago figured out is totally unsafe to use). I don’t know if the founder taking over would fix that or not. I sure hope it would. But clearly the current management has absolutely no interest in keeping the company alive.

    • Sarek says:

      That’s the $64K question: does the management of BB (or any other store prominently featured in these pages) actually understand how screwed up they are? Do they think their services are hunky-dory? Or do they know they’re poor but don’t think it important to fix?

    • Scrutinizer says:

      Tried this once when buying a microwave. Amazon wanted $270 with free 5-7 day shipping. Best Buy countered, at the store, with the same microwave for $320 plus $25 3 day shipping plus $19 tax. The catch being the 3 day shipping was guaranteed(how they didn’t say) but they wouldn’t ship for two weeks.

    • iMuggle says:

      I called every Best Buy in my area before even ordering. They did not have it in stock.

  6. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Wow – she made it to May 2012 before starting to lose faith in Best Buy? That’s impressive.

  7. Zanorfes says:

    Nothing Best Buy screws up amazes me anymore. This is about par for them. I give them less than 18 months before they go the way of Circuit City.

  8. El_Fez says:

    Egads, who would buy camera gear from Best Buy? Good heavens, man – go to a dedicated camera store like Adorama or B&H. Great service, good prices and fast shipping!

    • bnceo says:

      And BB has poor selection. Amazon has just about everything. For in person service, go to a dedicated camera place. Even a local place will have good service. And sure you’ll pay more for the camera, but you supported a local business and you also sorta paid for a great guide to the products.

      • El_Fez says:

        I’d even shun amazon, but only because A) I have to pay tax there and B) they’re great if you know what you want, but if you just want to browse the search engine is kind of kludgy. Trying to find film there is a real pain. . . .

        • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

          Film and super-8 projectors and whitewalls for my 1960 DeSoto Fireflite are all difficult to find on Amazon, damn ’em!

    • iMuggle says:

      The lens i was looking for was a pretty common one and best buy had the best deal and could get it to me before that date. believe me, i wish i would have went another route… even if it was more costly.

    • dru_zod says:

      For photography and video equipment, B&H is awesome. I’ve always received the correct items, and on the two occasions I returned an item it was a super smooth process. Plus, they have everything. The only drawback to B&H is they are closed for a lot of holidays, sometimes for a week at a time. I’d only use Best Buy as an absolute last resort, and even then I would hesitate to do so.

  9. Shinchan - Please assume that all of my posts are sarcastic unless indicated otherwise says:

    Or you could have saved yourself a lot of trouble…
    1. Take $25 BB gift card
    2., sell card for approx $20
    3. PROFIT!

    • bnceo says:

      Better yet. Trade it for a $23 Amazon Gift Card. Even better

    • longdvsn says:

      Or buy a $25 Amazon gift card with it right in the best buy store (maybe online – I’m not sure). BB sells them (next to the Kindle) – it says Kindle gift card, but can be used for anything on Amazon.

  10. GenXCub says:

    We need more stories of people going to Small Claims Courts for something like this.

    C’mon Consumerist. Get yourself into the Small Claims business!

  11. kevinroyalty says:

    she never pulled the “chargeback” chain i noticed. i would have after the 1st screwup.
    she also didn’t try to take the to small claims court (serving the nearest store of course) which was also available.

    • JJFIII says:

      You do realize that a $14.45 claims in small claims means she has to shell oout filing fees first. Take the time to write up a claim. Show up in court (they work M-F 9-5 so many people would take a day off work to show up.
      So I should take time off work, just to prove a point? Sounds like you jump over dollars to save nickles.

  12. sqlrob says:

    After the first failure to file the dispute I would’ve called the credit card company, not BB.

  13. jedsa says:

    This is where consumer protection laws and small claims cases can come in handy. Depending on the state, there may be a statutory minimal damages amount, and you may be able to get the amounts tripled for a willful violation.

  14. frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

    I must be just plain lucky but I’ve never had anything but stellar service from Best Buy and Sears. Amazon is great, too. Only “ding” on Amazon was sending a 5-1/2 oz bowl of Proraso Shaving Soap in a box a 42″ TV could fit. Even funnier was UPS guy using his hand truck to bring it to the door.

    • ncoclub says:

      Same thing happened to me when I ordered a FOLDING walking stick from Amazon…I received it in a 5 foot long box when they could have just FOLDED it and shipped in a 1 1/2 foot box…Funny!!!!!!

  15. bobdaniel says:

    Compare this to Amazon. I ordered two items on Thursday 8/9 morning, and selected the free second day Prime shipping.

    Remarkably, they go out that day, and the estimated delivery time is Friday 8/10, the next day. This happens to me often (I order about 10 times/month and live in NYC.)

    I received a text that the package was delivered, but I was away for the weekend and the item was left at my front door. When I came back, I couldn’t find the package. I waited a week in case a neighbor picked it up, but alas, nothing.

    So this morning I go on Amazon’s website, click “call me now” and am immediately connected with a CSR. I explain the situation, he says he needs to talk to UPS briefly but will be right back — I’m on hold no more than 90 seconds — and he comes back with, “Sir, we are really sorry your package was lost in transit. I can send you a replacement item immediately, and request Next Day Saturday delivery, to make sure you get it by tomorrow morning.”

    I already have a confirmation in my email and a UPS tracking link, with “Saturday morning delivery” guaranteed for tomorrow morning.

    Clearly this is above-and-beyond behavior; and it’s the kind of behavior that will keep me shopping at Amazon forever. Was it Amazon’s fault the item was lost? Absolutely not. They could have blamed UPS, and UPS could have blamed me– maybe I signed a “leave packages at my door” slip a long time ago. But they know that keeping me happy is far more important than the $$$ lost on the shipment.

    Anyway, I love you Amazon.

  16. Murph1908 says:

    I just went back into the supermarket for 25 cents out of principle. I would have fought this to the end too.

    Fight on, Ally.

    • rgf207 says:

      I totally agree. I was on vacation 3 weeks ago and needed to use the ATM. My bank only had 1 branch in the small town I was at but it was out of service. I had to use another ATM across the street. When I returned I called my bank to have the service charges refunded ($2.50). They refunded without any questions.

      • Murph1908 says:

        Worthy complaint.

        Mine was in regard to a sale price that didn’t ring up, that I told them didn’t ring up before completing the purchase, but they had me go through the sale anyway, saying it would show up at the end. It didn’t. So I had to go to customer service for the refund.

        After spending 5 minutes trying to figure out why it happend, “We owe you 4.95.” So she gives me 4 singles and 95 cents. She couldn’t just round it up and give me a sawbuck after all that?

        I take the stuff to the car, and realize they didn’t refund me the tax on it. If they are going to be so specific on the 5 cents, I’m going back in for my quarter.

        • lobsterssss says:

          People who work with cash registers are accountable for every penny in the drawer. 5 cents might not seem like a lot to you, but when 892348923 people make a fuss over rounded every hour, it adds up, and you can lose your job over it.

          • lobsterssss says:


          • Murph1908 says:

            If they make 900 million mistakes an hour, that 5 cents is the least of their problems. The issue was in regard to resolving an error on their part. Not a standard transaction.

            It was a ‘whatever’ moment. That after hearing my complaint, not resolving it at the register, and making me stand there and wait for them to theorize over the receipt for 5 minutes, she barely gave an apology and counted the money out to the cent.

            Her drawer was going to be short $4.95 or $5 regardless. Actually, if they figured it out when closing the drawer, it would be heavy by 30 cents.

        • JJFIII says:

          Why would they round up? Imagine a world where there are 1000 customers a day. They round up a nickle. A store open 360 days a year would lose over $18,000. That is real money to most people.

  17. sqeelar says:

    In unrelated news, Best Buy and the New York Times have combined customer service departments, since both are expert at holding money hostage for no product received and spending months (aparently the new hire retention cycle) for the customer to figure out how to fix the situation.

    Too bad Best Buy didn’t send their customer to collections, for the money Best Buy owed her.

    Could still happen.

  18. thekaufaz says:

    I had a weird experience with straight talk recently. I just bought a sim card through them last month, switching from T-Mobile. It took three days to get the data working. I don’t know what was wrong but they eventually did something on their end to fix it. The CSR credited my account with three extra days of service to make up for the time.

    Fast forward to a month later. I get online to buy another 30 days of service. For some reason the plan I bought only added 27 days. I called them up, and the CSR told me the system saw those extra three days as a “glitch” and so it took them off when it added the new 30 day service plan. After complaining a couple times this CSR added on three days for me again, but now I’m afraid to add another 30 days until the very last day of my service.

    I guess moral of the story is, if for some reason Straight Talk has to give you some free days to make up for something look carefully at what happens after that because they may just systematically take all the days back that they give out.

    Overall I’m happy with them though if anyone is wondering. I’d suggest doing the SIM card thing and not getting a phone through them like this guy in the article did.

  19. taaurrus says:

    Anything you receive mailed to you that you didn’t order – you are NOT required to return it. The OP did NOT have to return that camera and BB had no right to insist she did and hold her rightful refund hostage until she complied. If you receive something in the mail that you didn’t order – it’s yours to with what you want. Return it, keep it donate it, whatever – and you can NOT be charged for it. Best Buy knows this.

  20. Rockfish says:

    The last time I was in Best Buy was a quick pop-in to buy a replacement 10/100/1000 ethernet card for an old 10/100 ethernet card in my media center PC, since I’d recently upgraded to an all gigabyte home network.

    “Where are your ethernet cards?” I asked the greeter (sans shoplifting cop) at the store entrance.
    “Ethernet card … ?” he said with a puzzled look on his face.

    I left immediately.

  21. lobsterssss says:

    “”She offered me a $25 gift card for my troubles,” writes Ally. “I politely declined and said I would no longer be giving my business to Best Buy so a gift card would do me no good.””

    Article should have ended there. Not only did you end up getting $10 more back than you paid, you (eventually) got another $14.45.

    • iMuggle says:

      I personally think it’s attitudes like yours that make greedy corporations think it’s okay to walk all over customers. I personally am not willing to roll over and say “Okay okay, keep the money I don’t owe you and that isn’t rightfully yours.”

      By this point I had no intention of ever shopping at Best Buy. So why would I want a card that I could only exclusively use at Best Buy? Sure I could have sold it or traded for a different gift card but the point is, I’d already wasted enough of my time.

      Justifying something like this will never make sense in my head.

    • MMD says:

      Except that a gift card is not money You can spend money wherever you want.

  22. pablohdez3 says:

    I had an issue with the website too, but it wasn’t the shipping. I has a couple of rewards coupons and I bought a coffe maker and selected pick-up at the store because there is a one right down the street from my apartment and I wanted to pick up my item after getting of from work so I placed the order and received and email that my order was received at the store, more than one hour later no news about if my item was ready, so I just showed up in store and went to CS to see if my order was ready, they told me that the item was out of stock but a glitch in the system didn’t send the email. I walk around in the store and what a surprise my item was right in the shelf, I took the item and I went to the cashier but he refused to take my coupons because they were already used online and I had to wait 72 hours for the system to cancel my order, CS was terrible after talking with several managers one of them told me that the reason why they didn’t fulfill the order is because it was a busy day and very short in staff so somebody decided to just put it “out of stock”. I spent almost an hour until finally somebody find out a way to replace the order online using the coupons and let me “pick up the item at the CS counter”. Since then I just decided to use amazon and get my items delivered at work or home; I only stop at BB to see the item phisically before buying it at

  23. regis-s says:

    I don’t think I’d be celebrating too much until the cheque clears…and even then.

    I can honestly say the only time I’ve had a problem with Best Buy was with one particular store and instore pickups. They managed to make just about every one of them a performance.

  24. ronbo97 says:

    Uh, hate to be ‘that guy’ but…

    Memo to OP:

    You’re a Consumerist reader, right ? Consumerist has had, like, five million articles on how Best Buy has screwed over their customers. Why in the name of Dog would you still patronize a business like that ?

    If it was CRUCIAL that you have THAT camera lens, for whatever reason, then find a camera store (yes, they still exist) and buy it, even if it’s a two hour drive. Don’t rely on the unpredictability of the supply chain. Murphy’s Law will show up at the worst possible moment.

  25. nikalseyn says:

    I bought my first four computers from Best Buy, going back to the early 1990s with an Adam computer—remember them? Now I buy nothing from them. I only had to experience their “customer service” once, and not as bad as Chris Morran’s, to write them off my list. Now, most of what I need I get from or directly from the computer manufacturer online.

  26. Press1forDialTone says:

    Okay, I’m done.
    Who is with me?
    We crowdsource the finale of Best Buy?
    A bunch of us pool our money and go to Vegas, find
    a for-pay arsonist, pay him/her to fly around the country
    and torch each empty Best-Buy. We really need to hurry
    the demise up a bit.

  27. Kisses4Katie says:

    It’s pathetic that every day when I get on Consumerist, there is a story about Best Buy. When will it DIE already. :/

  28. samjung23 says:

    I’m not a big fan of anyone that spends that much on a camera, honestly. Just saying.

    • Groovymarlin says:

      You mean like a professional photographer? You’re not a fan of photographers, honestly?

      Just saying. *boggle*

    • mikedt says:

      Agree. A cell phone camera fulfills any need anyone should ever had. Anything more than that and you’re a poseur.


  29. TasteyCat says:

    Sounds like Best Buy made things right months ago, yet the OP continued to hold a grudge and push to receive even more when they had already given her more than either she was entitled to or most stores would have. Rather than continuing to whine, she could have either used the gift card for something that costs $25 or sold it for nearly face value.

    • Dirt Farmer says:

      No, they did not make it right. A gift card is not the same as cash. What if they had given her Mexican Pesos? She still has to incur the cost and hassle of converting that into a readily usable form of currency.

      Or what if BB had given her two chickens for her trouble? Maybe the gas stations where you live accept livestock as legal tender, but I’ll wager that most don’t.

      Giving you a gift card to a store that you have no intention of ever patronizing again is not “making it right”.

  30. theamazingyeah says:

    Good on you. I had a similar situation but in-store where I tried to return an item with my receipt 4 days after purchase but was told that the price had since been dropped to half and that was all they could refund me. In fact, I argued for about 30-40 minutes until a manager returned from his lunch break only to tell me that the computers would not allow the full refund. I then got on the phone with his boss and he told me he would speak with the manager and ensure that I received my full refund. He “took down” (read: ignored) my name, phone number, and the number on my receipt. Went back and it was the same old song and dance, and in fact this guy tells me that his boss told him NOT to refund the full price and that was corporate policy in our state.

    I then did what you should never do in this situation. I marched back in there and informed them that since my item was 50% off, I’d just grab another one, sell them both online, and go on my way. Then a large man named Security (I didn’t know he worked there!) came out and tried to escort me out, call the police because I was shoplifting, and take both of my items – even the one I’d paid for. Finally I turned into a 30 year old infant, threw both products across the store, shouted “I don’t f****** want them anyway!” and stormed out before the police got there. 3 weeks later and the store was closed.

    It was kind of like telling your boss to kiss off – it sounds really satisfying at the time, but in the end you’re just left broke and embarrassed.

  31. timb17 says:

    I would have just accepted the $25 gift card and sold it. Not that difficult to do, plenty of places online will pay you like 90% of the cards value.

  32. Groovymarlin says:

    Amazing and sad. So many areas highlighted here where Best Buy could examine their processes and systems and try to make things better. Like shipping a completely incorrect item in the first place. WTF, Best Buy warehouse? But what gets me the most is the whole “CSR says they’re filing a dispute, OP later finds out it was never filed” problem. How does that happen?

    a. CSRs claim to be completing a dispute in the system, but they’re actually lying (training and performance issue)
    b. The system is accepting the dispute, but then sending it to the nether somewhere (IT problem)
    c. Some combination of the above

    That should just never, never happen. Especially not multiple times!

  33. David Munson says:

    I like Amazon too. Some how they shifted a while ago. I will now pay … a bit … more because Amazon customer service has earned my respect in making things right when things go wrong. Best buy lost all my respect (except to check things out there and buy at amazon) years ago.

  34. donovanr says:

    At this point all stories that start with “It started when I first entered Best Buy” will all end badly.
    Any story that has some kind of customer service hero story is 100% shill. Sort of like those Amazon books that have 20 1 star reviews and three 5 star reviews that are very literary.

    Eventually we we get, I entered Best Buy and three employees jumped me and started hitting me with parts they had torn out of appliances. When I filed a complaint with the Police they burned down my house.

  35. Outrun1986 says:

    I have not had a problem with BB, however I would not use them for certain things. They are fine for in the box same as everywhere items like iPods and video game systems, headphones, video games, accessories, kindles, tablets etc. However I wouldn’t use their services like geek squad. I wouldn’t buy a TV there either or any item that can vary from retailer to retailer or items that are retailer specific like made for Black Friday items and TV’s. I honestly can’t say I have tried buying a TV at BB but my experience with all B&M TV retailers is that they have lots of TV’s on display but none actually in stock, then it takes 20 min to find out its not in stock, Amazon it is, they always have plenty of TV’s in stock.

  36. Rocinante says:

    “So before the powers that be in Richfield go blaming Amazon for all their woes, they might want to have a look at a little website called”

    Anecdotal evidence does not prove your point.

  37. Moo Strength says:

    I honestly don’t know why you didn’t just try to issue a charge back after about 2 weeks of all their BS.

    At this point they’re basically repetitively shocking “life” into a “Frankenstein” of a retailer. Despite repeated attempts to fix all the flailing and ever increasing disaster of an invention, the problems continue to outpace the solutions with Best Buy, so much so that unfortunately the entire concept is such a useless and decrepit concept of a business model and creation, it’s time to be put down has already come and gone. Best Buy proverbially smells bad, looks bad, doesn’t work right, causes far more harm then good, and at this point, it is, basically, completely inept.

    Given the way things have continued to spiral out of control, I think it would be much better if the local villagers gathered their pitch forks and torches and collectively decided to just burn the blasted Minnesotan created company to the ground. In doing so, harmony and life can move on, because the existing entity that is known as Best Buy is something even God couldn’t possibly create that’s so inept.

    You can only hemorrhage so much disaster for so long, before you’re better off ending the creation and putting something that should have died years ago out of its misery forever.

  38. Bob A Dobalina says:

    These stories no longer provoke outrage. People, especially Consumerist readers, should realize that things like this *will* happen. If you shop at Bendover Buy, you may as well just throw your money in the door and walk away.

    Then again, these stories do provoke a little anger- at the people who continue to shop there and delay the inevitable death of Big Blew

  39. JamesBenjamin says:

    I don’t understand people refusing gift cards when a company farks up, because they dont want “their money” going to the company. Its not “your money” its them giving you free stuff! Take the GC and go buy some DVDs with it. Or give it to someone’s kid for Christmas. Give it to charity.

    • chefboyardee says:

      my guess is because it still affects their bottom line, depending on how they look at their profits (i’m not an accountant, but i would guess somehow this shows up as a ‘sale’). either way, very few people spend less than or equal to a gift card, most people want to use the full amount and go over. that means if they give it as a gift, they’re pumping money into BB’s pocket in almost all cases. if they were to keep it and spend under $25, i guess it’s not a huge deal to accept it, but in my experience with friends that’s rarely the case. nobody wants to “waste” money but spending exactly $25 is hard. just some theories.

      • Freshmaker says:

        I had a bad experience with BB that kept me away, but got a BB gift card for Christmas last year from someone not in the know. Luckily, you can walk in and use those gift cards for a like amount on an iTunes card, so there’s no chance of spending any extra cash.

  40. luxosaucer13 says:

    This is a monumental farkup by BB, but I do have to ask the question: Did Ally not know of the impending wedding far enough in advance in order to allow for a few extra days shipping for the item, and some extra time in case of a problem?

    The only scenario where she has ZERO culpability in this is if her invitation arrived a week or less away from the actual event.

    On a side note, expecting BB’s online site not to mess SOMETHING up is kinda like walking into a Sears store and getting swept off your feet by their *stellar* customer service; it just doesn’t happen.

  41. elephantattack says:

    I’m almost certain that best buy uses convergys for their call center. Explains this story I’d say!

  42. BurtReynolds says:

    I had something similar happen. I cancelled a preorder item and somehow that resulted in a credit to my order for the sale price, but also the addition of one more of the same item, but at regular price. So I had zero of that item, but an order saying I had bought two at two different prices and returned one.

    It took 4 different calls over two weeks (and several hours of my time) to finally get one person who took ownership and figured out how to fix the mess. Then she refunded me slightly more than she should have, after I laid all the numbers out for her. I was tempted to call and point it out, but had no confidence that it wouldn’t turn into another nightmare for me.

  43. Harry Greek says:

    I go to Best Buy for:
    – cheap BluRays
    – Black Friday sales
    – Killing time
    – a quick and dirty hardware need ($100 HD LED TV just 2 days ago)

    I AVOID at all possible costs, dealing with BB on the internet. I have not been bitten by any issues, but I have seen and heard SO much crap occur over BB internet transactions, I do not dare chance it.