@BestBuy shocking experience.

Part 1, Introduction

Last weekend Irm and I decided to purchase a portable GPS. Even though some of our friends recommended us to just use a printed map, which I thought was too much early 2000 (i.e. MapQuest printed paper), we decided that for convenience reasons it is better that we go with the portable GPS.

I researched the topic for a few weeks, and concluded that the Garmin 265WT is the right device for my driving purposes.

The device offered the basic features of turn by turn, announcing street names, POI locations, a wide HD 4.3 inches screen, and some other great features such as hotels, restaurants, store addresses, etc locator gadget.

What really made the deal for me, however, were the two extra features Garmin added to this model that the cheaper model, the Garmin 255, did not have.

The first feature is the Make Hands Free Calls. This feature is designed to connect with your cell phone using Bluetooth wireless technology, hence eliminating the need to use hands when receiving a call on your cell phone while driving (illegal in NJ/NY). In addition to receiving calls, it also offers the option to use the device to dial numbers on the screen, again eliminating the need to use your cell phone.

The second feature is an integrated FM traffic receiver. What it does is quite innovative. It receives alerts about traffic delays and road construction that lie ahead on your route, and then provide a detour around the problem area. I thought it was a needed feature since there were many times I found myself stack in traffic on Route 1 (sometimes for hours!).

I will write a full review of the Garmin 265wt functionality once it arrives, but in the meantime let me share with you this experience:

Part 2, Best Buy

In order to save time on shipping, we decided to drive to Best Buy to purchase the product. They had a good deal on the Garmin 255 model (this is before I knew about the other features the 265 offered), which seemed like a fair deal so we decided to purchase it.

We asked the Salesman, the cashier, and another sales person in the store if we can return the product, and they all said “yes of course, but within 30 days”. Fair enough.

We left the store at 4:00p.m and drove back home using the device. The Garmin 255 worked well, but it lacked the other features that I wanted, so we decided to return it to the same store. We drove back, and entered the store at 6:00p.m, nearly two hours after we purchased the device.

This is were things took a wrong turn (from a customer perspective), which is why I decided to share it with you so you will know what to expect next time you purchase any product from Best Buy.

We approached the customer service desk, presented the open (but neatly packed) package, and asked to use our right to return the product.

The customer service specialists (CSS) agreed to our demand, but added that there is a 15% fee for “restocking”. Still puzzled with the request we asked for some explanation. The CSS pointed our attention to a sign on the wall, and the back of the receipt, that stated this policy.

We nicely explained the CSS that we specifically asked this question earlier when we purchased the product, and none of the staff mentioned anything about a 15% fee. Frankly, we would not have opened the package had we known.

After a few long minutes of exchanging arguments, we asked to speak to the manager.

To cut a long story short, the manager said exactly what the CSS said, leaving us frustrated.

This is when Irm used the one tactic that works so well in the Middle East, The Guilt, and the Relation to the Client Tactic.

She gave a profound argument that at the end of it the manager decided to refund us with the full amount!

This was great news, but I am still irate with Best Buy policy of charging 15% on Restocking, especially when no one in the store notified us with this information when we specifically asked for it.

Although I am pleased with the manager who understood our argument, I do not intend to buy any major product (beside maybe an iPod cable) from Best Buy anymore as part of my retaliation for what I call “cheat the customer policy”.

Best Buy (as a corporation) gets 1 star for Customer Policy Service. Too bad.

facebook comments:

  • Itai,

    Thanks for alerting everyone. This “soak the customer” must be a new policy. I’ve returned things before and the only annoying thing was always the endless long lines. This is very bad for business!

  • Annoying indeed! Like I said, it will be a cold day in hell when I decide to purchase anything over $10 at Best Buy.

    Make sure you subscribe to my blog. :-)

    Plus, Welcome back!

  • Marilyn Ham

    I don’t think I’d expect to be charged a 15% restocking fee. That has never happened to me personally, just once at work. I know you’re going to think I’m picking at details, BUT the restocking fee was posted on the wall and was on the receipt…so strictly speaking the customer was informed of the policy… :-(
    I wonder whether the restocking fee was due to the fact that the item had been taken out of the box (affecting the packaging)…I think customers are not as keen to purchase items that have been opened and returned. In the back of their mind they are wondering what was wrong with it which might affect it’s resale value…just a random thought… I hope you like your Garmin 265WT. I love my Garmin (but it’s not as cool as the one you describe)…

  • First of all, 15% is a lot of money for restocking. Best Buy does not pay 40$ to repack the package. They probably pay about a 1$ to some manufacture in Bangladesh, or some other remote poor country. But this is besides the point. The point is they can print out signs (in small prints) all over the store, but it does not change the fact that when I asked the staff this question, they did not inform me about the policy. This is why I am irate. Plus, I do not get the receipt until i actually pay for the product, so the argument falls there :-)
    Also, the printed sign is only at the Return&Exchange department, which clearly I do not go there until I actually leave the store and open the box.
    Bottom line, 4 of their staff should have informed me about the policy when we asked. :-)

  • Irm Haleem

    Great point Itai! RE: getting the receipt with the 15% restocking information ONLY AFTER purchasing the product)!