Best Buy: Lies and Bad Customer Service

Yes, another rant about poor customer service, which anymore seems to be the rule rather than the exception. What makes this rant different is that until today, I was a loyal fan of Best Buy. “Was” being the operative word.

Back in January of this year we bought a big TV from Best Buy. My husband did the research, found the TV he wanted, then found an “open box” at Best Buy that made the cost hard to beat. Great. We spent somewhere around $2,000.

In March, I bought an iPod – the $300 kind. The clerk talked me into joining the RewardZone program so that I could earn “points” that would accumulate to become merchandise credits as they added up. I wasn’t especially interested in spending $10 on this program, but I asked the clerk if they could apply the TV purchase to the program – which would then make it worthwhile for me. He called the manager over and the manager assured me that I could go to the RewardZone web site and have the purchase applied. Great. I forked over the money.

Fast forward to my actually getting around to doing this (why the store manager couldn’t arrange to make this happen for me is a topic for a different blog post). I went to the web site as instructed, entered the “PIN” on my TV receipt and got a lovely red error message stating that the purchase was too “old” to be applied. OK, maybe there are parameters programmed into the form and I need to talk to a human who would honor the store manager’s promise. Being the email inclined person I am, I emailed Customer Service.

Here’s how the email chain unfolded:

Me:

When I enrolled in the reward program I was promised (by the manager of the Montgomeryville store) that I could come to this site and have my TV purchase (1/31/06) applied to my account. This was the only reason we chose to enroll – if it was not possible, I would not have enrolled. The PIN for that purchase is 0525 020 4771 013106. Please credit this purchase to my reward account. Thank you.

Best Buy “Customer Care” (as in, I care about myself or as in they supposedly care about their customers? not sure on that one):

I am Laura with Best Buy Customer Care.

I am sorry to hear that you were misinformed by the store manager. We are unable to award points for purchases made more then 30 days before the activation of your membership. If you have any purchases made after the activation of your membership, we will be happy to award them to you.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns. We look forward to your next visit to one of our stores or to www.BestBuy.com.

Thank you,
Laura
Best Buy Customer Care Team

Me (getting slightly snarky at the obvious boilerplate response):

Be that as it may – his misinforming me led me to spend money on a program that did not otherwise hold value for me. Either I want the purchase credited or I want the membership fee refunded. Your choice.

Best Buy “Customer Care” – a new name, to boot:

I am Ashley with Best Buy Customer Care.

As perviously stated we can not apply this purchase to the membership for you. You joined the program on 03/31/06, since the purchase was made more then 30 days prior to you joining (on 01/31/06) it is not eligible for any points.

Regarding a credit for your emmbership fee, since you are outside of the return timeframe (30 days), you cannot receive a membership fee refund.

Thank you for your understanding.

Thank you,
Ashley
Best Buy Customer Care Team

My commentary: OK, first of all, don’ t thank me for understanding – I don’t. Second, what exactly does “perviously” mean? What’s a “emmbership fee?” Do they not even spellcheck their replies, especially when this is a situation that is clearly escalating?! Although at least it wasn’t something Ashley pulled from a template somewhere, at least one would hope not with a misspelling.

Me (done pretending to be nice):

OK – so the message you want to send your loyal customers is – our manager lied to you and we won’t make any remedy at all. Good – I will be sure to pass the word along to everyone I know.

Best Buy “Customer Care” :

(silence)

Hence this post – my way of telling everyone I know, and many I don’t, about the customer experience Best Buy delivered to a formerly loyal customer. How much would it really have cost them to honor their manager’s promise? Or, even easier for them, to refund the purchase price of the program ($10) and, since I have not yet received any reward rebates, end this situation without any cost, other than the cost of the human being’s time to process the refund? How much will it cost them to lose this customer and, hopefully, several others who read this post?

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