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After thousands and thousands, I have spent my last dollar at Best Buy

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#1 of 73 OFFLINE   Vince Maskeeper

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Posted October 10 2004 - 06:48 AM

An open letter to Best Buy. On October 3rd, I visited my local Best Buy store (#393 on Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angeles) to purchase some DVDs. While over the years I have shifted many of my purchases from retail stores to online merchants, I find myself still buying DVDs every week from brick and mortar stores like Best Buy. As a bit of history, I started shopping at Best Buy in the early 1990's, when the first stores appeared in my native Ohio. Over the years I have shopped at Best Buy for the majority of my media and electronics purchases: everything from my first DVD player (back when simple single-disc players were $500 and there were less than 50 films available) to appliances to car stereos to digital cameras. Add to these major purchases a weekly visit for DVDs and CDs, I have spent in excess of $30,000 in Best Buy stores over the past ten years. In the past year alone, my purchases at Best Buy locations in Ohio and California have exceeded $5000. This brings me to my purchases of October 3rd, 2004. I picked up several new release DVD titles, including "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." I was not aware the film had been released on DVD, but since I had a friend who had missed it in theaters- I picked it up along with $200 worth of additional DVD product. A few days later I sat down with my friend to watch the DVD. As I popped the cellophane wrapper off the case, the sticker that sealed the top of the case caught my eye. The printing across the top read 'FULL SCREEN." I stopped immediately. Because I am an avid fan of film making and am an artist working in the film industry myself, I have a high level of respect for the work that goes into making movies. As a result, I only purchase films in their original aspect ratio and thus do not purchase "Full Screen" versions of widescreen films. Because I had not known about the DVD release of this film in advance, I was not aware that multiple screen versions of the film existed. In my haste to add the film to my collection, I had missed the small "FULL SCREEN" marking on the disc label when making my purchase. I apologized to my friend, and set the disc aside to return to Best Buy for an exchange. The disc was left "unopened" - although the cellophane had been removed, the labels on the spine were intact and the case was never opened. On October 9th, I returned to Best Buy #393 with the disc to exchange it for a Widescreen copy of the same film. I am well aware of Best Buy's return policies but I have never had a problem with exchanges for the same title (in the case of defective discs for example). The staffer explained to me that she would not be able to accept a return because it was not for the same title (the Widescreen and Fullscreen editions being "different"). She then went on to insinuate that because the cellophane had been removed that I probably removed the disc from the unopened case and copied it before returning it. I politely asked why I would copy it, only to return it and ask for the same title. She shrugged and simply started helping the next customer. I was a bit surprised by her logic and even more surprised that she just walked away and started dealing with other customers. I told another girl behind the counter she could dispose of my "Full Screen" copy in the garbage. I walked out the door and purchased a Widescreen copy from the Target next door. While I completely understand the need for policies concerning returns and your desire to not have employees interpret policy, I just wanted to write a brief letter to let you know that the refusal of a $20 exchange on a still sealed DVD for the same title will cost you at least $30,000 in lost sales over the next decade. Your policies are anti-customer and the level of service I have received clearly illustrates that your store does not appreciate my business. I will never spend another dime in a Best Buy store and will encourage anyone who will listen to make the same decision. Vince Maskeeper Los Angeles, California
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#2 of 73 OFFLINE   ChrisMatson



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Posted October 10 2004 - 07:00 AM

I think that you would have gotten your way if you spoke with a manager and explained the situation. Alternatively, you could have tried an exchange at Target or Walmart or another store with a more liberal return policy. I am sorry for your trouble, but it was an honest mistake on your part and you have some responsibility in the manner.

#3 of 73 OFFLINE   WillardK


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Posted October 10 2004 - 07:38 AM

Sure the customer has some responsibility in a purchase, but Best Buy can be draconian with their policies. I experienced it myself with a software purchase a year or so ago. I haven't shopped there since. If a seller considers that humiliation and insult of an honest customer is acceptable 'collateral damage,' I will shop elsewhere. In this instance, the implication was that Vince had opened and resealed the package. That was overstepping the policy and he should indeed be angry.
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#4 of 73 OFFLINE   James W. Johnson

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Posted October 10 2004 - 07:44 AM

I agree, I bet youd have gotten your way if you pushed the lady harder or grabbed the store manager. Personally id have either gotten my way or gone balistic. Ive had a few blowouts with my local Best Buy, the worst case I had the cops called. I have since learned how to work Best Buy. Best Buy has its pluses and minuses , the pluses are pretty good and I uses the store for those. Best Buy is a huge company so one incident in one store means nothing in fact thousands of incidents mean nothing....I bet Best Buy gets thousands of complain letters/emails every week. The only thing that would cause them to change would be a dramatic hit at their bottom line and even then if they hired on a crew worthy of satisfying an HT nut's needs then expect some major price increases. Best Buy is like the neighborhood crack dealer...hes got the goods, you can either buy the rocks or the next crack head will.

#5 of 73 OFFLINE   Tina_H_V


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Posted October 10 2004 - 07:56 AM

Actually, Vince, your frustrations are duly noted.

For, I, myself almost stopped patronizing Best Buy last year. I had purchased a 27" Sharp 4:3 TV with 16:9 imagery open box. The person who helped me set the TV aside for delivery to my home in a couple of days. I got it for about circa 30% off.

Two days later, the TV never came.

I called them. Their answer was, "the TV was gone." So, they would send forth another one factory new in a couple of days.

A couple of days came. Nothing.

I called them back. They gave me an asinine answer about there were none in the warehouse until December. December!!!!???? Yes.

Then, I studied my receipt and went to Sharp's website to compare serial numbers.


I called back Best Buy. They gave me a round-about answer to my disclosure of the wrong model number and told me I could get a credit or my money back. But I was not getting another TV.

I decided to give them one last chance in person.

I brought everything--receipt, etc. Pointed out to the salesperson the differences in the two teleivsions and asked for customer satisfaction.

He agreed to do so--albeit reluctantly--at a store/company loss.

I paid the difference minimally (in tax) and was told to wait three days for the new TV.

It arrived three mornings later in my home theater. Brand new. Box, manual, remote and all. (My open boxer did not have a remote nor manual to it.)

Best Buy saved themselves a customer with my confrontation. Posted Image

This Sharp shall become my new bedroom TV--my intent all along, actually--once my TBD HDTV arrives towards year's end.

But again, Vince, I am very sorry to hear of your situation with Best Buy.

This reinforces my need to always check the contents on the cover to make sure this is the title I want. Because, like you, I only care for OAR on my movies as well, first and foremost.
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#6 of 73 OFFLINE   Adam_R


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Posted October 10 2004 - 08:10 AM

Best Buy is a great place to Buy DVDs. They always have an amazingly low price on new releases.

I'm sorry that the Best Buy experience has been ruined for you. Posted Image

Fortunately, I think your problem is the exception, not the rule.

I have had the exact same situation with the exact opposite outcome at my local Best Buy.

Maybe you should ahve asked to see the manager instead of throwing your copy away. Maybe the manager would have helped you and advised the person that helped you to be more sensitive to customers. All those years, DVDs and dollars seem like a big investment in a place to let one incident end it.

Jusy MHO.
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#7 of 73 OFFLINE   GlennH



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Posted October 10 2004 - 08:37 AM

Posted Image Maybe on a few specific titles, such as this week's Jerry Lewis releases. But from what I've seen it's rare that their price is better than the best online price or beats the price at Wal-Mart or others.

I enjoy browsing in Best Buy from time to time, but don't often buy there. I've also seen too many sad stories of poor customer service like Vince's. It's funny, back in the Divx wars days Circuit City was the enemy and DVD enthusiasts flocked to Best Buy as a superior alternative. Now they're just as bad or worse.

#8 of 73 OFFLINE   ScottCor


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Posted October 10 2004 - 08:41 AM

Though I sympathize with how you were treated, I also think that no longer shopping there is a bit extreme. It's the nature of retail..You could go to almost any store..Target, Walmart ,Fry's..wherever, and run into a ignorant sales person sooner or later. I don't think this is a islolated incident, and I do think that maybe if you had talked to the manager all would have been fine. I know it's hard to think rationally at that moment but looking back I would give them another chance if you enjoy buying DVD's in person..in the long run your just robbing yourself of soemthing you enjoy doing. Besides Target has a crappy selection...
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#9 of 73 OFFLINE   Ernest Rister

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Posted October 10 2004 - 09:15 AM

"Best Buy is a great place to Buy DVDs. They always have an amazingly low price on new releases." They don't beat my local Fry's, not only in price, but in content. My Best Buy typically has at least a $2-$3 price differential between their inventory and Fry's. Hence, I don't buy anything at Best Buy unless I'm feeling particularly lazy and don't want to spend the time driving to Fry's.

#10 of 73 OFFLINE   Damin J Toell

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Posted October 10 2004 - 09:18 AM

I ran into the same problem with the fullscreen version of Mean Girls. I removed the cellophane, but did not open the security stickers. The next day, the customer service desk exchanged it for the widescreen version without a problem.


#11 of 73 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted October 10 2004 - 09:43 AM

I'll never understand some of the heat Best Buy gets across the net. If you're only buying "mainstream, new releases" then their prices are being beat by Target and Wal-Mart but for catalogue releases they are great. With a few exceptions they always have what I want and this is coming from someone who buys 5-15 titles a week.

I also don't understand this "ignorant sales person" bit. I really don't think their 16-year-olds should know EVERYTHING like some of us here do. When I read some stories on the net about people talking down to them I'm very thankful I wasn't one of those workers because I wouldn't have been so kind after being called an idiot. Posted Image I'm a movie dork so I'm not expecting some 16-year-old kid to know more than me. I don't expect them to know release dates off the top of their head. I'm sure none of us were "that" smart when it came to our first jobs. They are simply teens making money for their first car or to have some cash on the weekends. I think we should cut them some slack if they don't know Buster Keaton made silent films.

#12 of 73 OFFLINE   greg_t



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Posted October 10 2004 - 10:10 AM

My question would by why this is in the software forum. It's not about the DVD but more of a rant against best buy. It shouldn't be in this forum.

#13 of 73 OFFLINE   WillardK


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Posted October 10 2004 - 10:11 AM

Not where I shop.
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#14 of 73 OFFLINE   Kelly Grannell

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Posted October 10 2004 - 10:38 AM

BestBuy = WorstExperience Why should one go to BestBuy when Costco offers the same (if not lower) price?

#15 of 73 OFFLINE   Greg Madsen

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Posted October 10 2004 - 11:24 AM

How is this Best Buy's fault? If you do not check to make sure you are getting the correct dvd, why should they be held responsible? I think Best Buy did the right thing. I managed to get my copy at Wal Mart and make sure it was widescreen and I did not know there were two versions until I looked at the rack.

#16 of 73 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted October 10 2004 - 11:24 AM

One may - and by "one", I mean "me" - live in a city, not own a car, and not consider the time and money I'd spend going out of town worth the difference. I've had similar experiences - I currently have a fullscreen A.I. DVD that likely won't ever be watched. I tried to exchange it, but the language on the back of the receipt isn't exactly unclear, and it's not like I could argue the fullscreen and widescreen DVDs should be considered the same product if exchanging one for the other was important to me.
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#17 of 73 OFFLINE   Drew Reiber

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Posted October 10 2004 - 12:10 PM

Not only have they given up on remaining competitive most new titles (Target or Walmart usually wins hands down), but their bizarre catalogue pricing has driven me to do most of my casual buying elsewhere. They started adding random figures of cost onto DVDs between $10 and $25 that I find outrageous. Most older titles run an extra $2-$4, with prices like $12.99 or $18.99. If I have to worry about tax plus the extra $4 a pop, when I planned on buying several movies, why even bother shopping there? This only just happened in the last two years as the shift came when I moved to Orlando. As a previous Best Buy employee, I'm also appalled by the extremely low quality of service and attention the company currently affords their stock and customers. Their ads are more confusing than ever, with frequent mispricings and incorrect cover box art... not to mention confusing price tag configuration that is usually shared among product imagery. I know several people who have already had to get into it with managers over being lured to the store with misleading/mispriced ads. I'll frequently find myself frustrated over the inability to find titles that the computer says are in or give up on trying to figure out what the prices really are when their labeling department fails to upgrade the stickers every week. I think there are still some Halloween 2 DVDs labeled at $22.99 despite having already pointed out to the manager that the specific problem is rampant throughout the store. The employees don't care, the managers don't care and I'd be hardpressed to believe the company cares. Again, when I used to work for them, this kind of nonsense didn't fly and you would have higher management looking in every now and then. They have enjoyed beating their competition for so long that they don't think they need to try, and that's where stores like Circuit City and others will end up luring away their business if they're not careful. But these days, it's almost impossible to even walk into my local Best Buy without coming out very disappointed and frustrated.

#18 of 73 OFFLINE   Chris Wagner

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Posted October 10 2004 - 12:14 PM

Way to go Vince! I have not made a single purchase at any Best Buy location in over 6 months. I have always believed in voting with my money. Either earn my purchase and respect or I'll go elsewhere. Best Buy has gotten increasingly more evil over the years. Everyday prices have been creeping up, resulting in less impulse buying. My final straw came with respect to Service Plan issues. They've essentially blown me off over a defective CRT in a $3200 HDTV purchase. So where did my $400 for the Service Plan go??? I've spent thousands there, and now I'm done. Lesson learned.

#19 of 73 OFFLINE   Drew Reiber

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Posted October 10 2004 - 12:39 PM

Easily, actually. I bought the fullscreen version of Predator from Best Buy because the new release shelves marked WIDESCREEN were full of them. The marking from Fox weren't very clear, but my job isn't to stock the shelves. A couple extra lovely tidbits about fun at Best Buy. * 4 out of 5 responses that I get whenever I ask for any DVD or CD titles is "you can order it through our store online." Why did I bother going to your location if I wanted to use the Internet? * Their labeling is so bad over here that a friend of mine currently has a "saved by mislabels" total of close to $200. He walked out with the Claude Chabrol collection (SRP $109.95) a year or so back for just $14.99. Moments like that are the largest reason to go! * Their in-store catologuing system is so incorrect that I've had employees argue with me about the release dates of titles that came in that day saying that it wasn't coming out for months (sure enough their monitor had the wrong date). I just drove to Borders and bought the freaking thing.

#20 of 73 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H


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Posted October 10 2004 - 12:56 PM

I used to buy all my new DVDs at Best Buy, but Circuit City has consistently beaten them on first week price for a long time now. I don't think I've purchased anything from BB since the spring at least.

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