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How have you previously resolved disputes with retailers?
February 4, 2006 9:44 PM   Subscribe

Today, I attempted to exchange gift without a receipt or a credit card at a Best Buy store. It did not go well. Please help me resolve the dispute that resulted from my experience.

Long story short, I entered my local Best Buy with an unopened box of software. I explained the kind of exchange I was hoping to do to a CSR. If she had said that I needed a receipt then and there, I would have left the store immediately and contacted the gift giver for a receipt. Instead, she responded by taking the box out of my sight to the Geek Squad area. While out of my sight, the box was opened and rummaged through, then returned to me. The CSR reemerged and explained that Best Buy did not accept returns or exchanges of any kind without a receipt. She then handed me the now obviously opened box, to which I demanded a replacement so that I could leave the store with my personal property in the same condition it was when I entered. She refused, took the box once again, disappeared, and returned with a manager. The manager repeatedly insulted me, didn't take a second to listen, outright refused my request, and accused me of lying.

After sharing a few choice words, I was banned from the store permanently and chased out of the store. To be fair, I had remained calm and collected the entire time I was in the store, though I did defend myself. However, when the manager simply rubber stamped his employees opening of the software, I shared a few choice explatives in my normal talking voice, and saluted Best Buy with my middle finger as I walked out of the store. I'm not proud of how I handled that part, but my behavior did not have any bearing on why they opened the box in the first place.

How would you get your money back? The resale value of the product is a few dollars on Amazon.com or eBay, so simply turning it around is not acceptable. Has anyone ever had luck with Best Buy's email or telephone customer service? Previous experience tells me that I'll get a scripted response. Is it worth the effort to file complaints with the FTC, my state's AG, and the BBB? Previous experience tells me that virtually nothing will come of the effort. Any suggestions would be welcomed.

(And don't hesitate to vent about your experiences, as that may be the best answer in the long run.)
posted by sequential to Shopping (36 answers total)
 
Yes, contact all three of those agencies. Also write a letter (not an email) to Best Buy corporate and cc: the BBB and your state attorney general.

You might not get your money or software back but at least there will be official complaints logged against the store and you might help future consumers.
posted by ryanhealy at 9:51 PM on February 4, 2006


I second writing a letter to Best Buy and cc:ing the BBB. Writing polite letters that express that you have been a loyal customer but have been disappointed in the way you were treated can sometimes get some great results.
posted by tastybrains at 9:58 PM on February 4, 2006


Normally, the Law of Retail states that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, that you can get anything if you bitch long enough and are willing to climb high enough up the ladder. But Best Buy is pretty well-known for telling people to fuck off, even on a corporate level.

You should have called the police. No, I'm not kidding. They committed larceny, and surely the incident was videotaped. You should have stood right there in the store and telephoned the police. If you had acted then, you probably would have won. Since you didn't, you probably lost for good.

There are lots of routes you can pursue, including those you listed. If it'll make you feel better, have at it. But I spent three years as a retail manager, and my experience tells me you're screwed. Once the incident is over, the incident's over. The exceptions are rare.

No offense, but I've heard probably a dozen stories similar to yours (regarding Best Buy, actually) and I don't understand why y'all are so easily bullied by retail workers. They took your property, ruined it, and ordered you out of the store — and you complied. Next time, stand your ground. Grab your cellphone and call the police.
posted by cribcage at 10:05 PM on February 4, 2006


I'd actually go ahead and call the police right now. File a report and reference that report in the letter to the BBB / BestBuy HQ. Seriously.
posted by pwb503 at 10:09 PM on February 4, 2006


Might be worth a shot. Also, just thinking out loud here, but the police might ask the store to produce any security tapes that might've shown your altercation, possibly. I imagine they won't like being shaken up by the cops.
posted by Gator at 10:18 PM on February 4, 2006


For similiar incidents check out Best Buy Sucks (aka bestbuysux.org).
posted by ericb at 10:18 PM on February 4, 2006


Go to the Best Buy web site. Find the corporate information (officers, press, investor relations). Write your email, exactly as you have written this post, and send it to every single email you can find on the site.

Every stinking one of them. Don't just send it to customer service. Got the email for the investor relations guy? Send it to him. Find their press releases -- each release should contain a contact name and email. Send it to them. Figure out how they construct their emails (e.g. first-initial-last-name@bestbuy.com) and send the email to the CEO, the vice presidents, the board members, etc -- literally every single named person you can find. Call the BestBuy in question and ask for all the manager's names. Call all the BestBuys in the area and ask for their manager's names. Send them copies of the email, too.

At the bottom of the email, include a cc: list where you point out exactly where you sent this email, so everyone can plainly see who was cc'd.

This email gathering shouldn't take more than 30 minutes.

I did this with two separate companies where I had disputes. I was amazed at the swift responses. You'd be surprised how many people will jump up to respond to an email like that.

More importantly, with an email like that, you increase by a hundred fold the odds that your email will get to the right person. Even if the CEO doesn't see it, it's likely that one of his assistants will, and he/she will forward the email directly to the right person, and that person will jump on it because it's coming from higher up.

The first time, I had vice presidents of a major corporation calling me to make sure everything went well. The second time was an national auto dealership, and in an attempt to embarass the bad salesman I dealt with, I emailed all the salesmen from the chain's other outlets, and they ALL called me to try and sell me a car at the price I wanted. ;-)
posted by frogan at 10:25 PM on February 4, 2006


Did she return with _a_ manager, or _the_ manager?
That is, the guy who runs the department, or the guy who runs the store?
If the former, then you've got one more person to talk to before you leave the store. Sometimes they'll back up their employee, but a lot of the time, they'll give you what you want just to shut you up.

Second, never leave the register. Don't "Step over here for a moment, sir" or "Just move to the side while I get the manager". Make it as inconvenient for them to stall you as possible. If you can, make the entire line stop moving until they deal with you.

Third, make them call the police.
I know it sounds like an odd thing, but generally, if you complain long enough, someone will eventually threaten to summon the police. Call their bluff, and tell them to go ahead. About half the time, they'll give you what you want because they know and you know they aren't going to call the police. The other half of the time, the police show up and escort you off the property, but hey, at least you tried.

Regarding the letters, a letter to the BBB doesn't do much.
If you are going to write a letter, CC the store manager (presuming that's not who you talked to ), the district manager, the regional manager, and the president of BB.
If your goal is a resolution, the more people that see your letter and say "Hey, Bob, what happened in store #392" to a subordinate, the better your chances.
posted by madajb at 10:27 PM on February 4, 2006


I agree with the people who urge you to call the police. File a report. Perhaps even take them to small claims court, if you're willing to spend the time.
posted by jayder at 10:35 PM on February 4, 2006


When writing the post, I neglected to share the following, namely because I was embarrassed:

I did not leave the store when ordered. The cowardly store manager screamed my permanent ban at me as I was already leaving the store. I was not about to risk being abused by the loss prevention person or being arrested over the cost of this software. Not to mention, I don't carry a cell phone and the police department is located two or so miles from the store.

Thus, my first stop was the police department. Though they were very nice and could appreciate my situation, the two officers I spoke with responded with the exact same, single word response, "Civil." Though I knew what it meant, I asked why, they explained that Best Buy had not broken a criminal law and they were unable to respond. (If I had stayed, they would have responded and become involved at the behest of Best Buy, but my understanding is that they would then become involved in a trespass complaint, but not the events that would have caused me to trespass.)

I asked if they could stop by the store, speak with the store manager, and get a copy of the security tapes for the time in question. They said they did not have the authority to do so.
posted by sequential at 10:36 PM on February 4, 2006


Did she return with _a_ manager, or _the_ manager?
The store manager. I've done this routine before on both sides of the counter.
If you can, make the entire line stop moving until they deal with you.
I had done so for approximately twenty minutes. Where there had been no line when I started, a line of about 15 people had formed while the events unfolded. I think you and I have had similar experiences with customer service that would lead us to do similar things to call the traditional customer service bluff. My leaving the store had to do with pre-existing time constraints: today is my birthday. If I stayed longer would have been unable to visit the police and would have been late for my own birthday party.
posted by sequential at 10:53 PM on February 4, 2006


I dunno but I call Bravo Charlie on this.

If I had no proof of purchase it is customary to ask the security guard or greeter to tag your item as yours. Usually they rotate a different colored dot sticker every day and place the sticker on the item before you hit the sales floor so as to protect you from being accused of taking something off the shelf and claiming you came in with it. Otherwise it's indistinguishable from the product on the floor.

And why would the csr need to take the item from you and then quote you the return policy? The Return policy as i've seen in a few stores is usually plastered on the wall above her head and is readable from like 30 feet and satelites in orbit even. For reals, check it out on Google Earth.

Just to be wacky I'm going to speculate that the software box/jewel case/shrink wrap appeared to be tampered with or opened to the staff member. Otherwise it wouldn't make sense to put your job in jeopardy over some crummy software return. There must have been a red flag of some sort during this attempted exchange. I only say this not only to be wacky but referring to the follwing submitters' version of events in the pivotal moments.

"The manager repeatedly insulted me, didn't take a second to listen, outright refused my request, and accused me of lying. After sharing a few choice words, I was banned from the store permanently and chased out of the store."

Just being in a Best Buy for more than 15 minutes drives me nuts with the chaos, noise and kids running around. I can't imagine being on the other side of the counter with a line full of people returning and exchanging stuff all day. And deciding I'm going to start a scene with some guy over a $10 sale. All thats going to get me is a longer line of people who are now doubly annoyed and nasty.

These guys have clowns all day trying to scam stuff in their stores and they usually know to give the benefit of the doubt rather than have a disruptive scene in front of customers and coworkers. The Manager and the police for that matter have bigger fish to fry and bigger balls to bust if that is what they were looking for.
and as for the best buy sucks website, every corporate company has one with grassroots griping about their horror stories.

and again I say this because over something that is worth a few bucks I would never waste my time and energy to flip the bird and get in a yelling match and exchange choice words. It just isn't worth it.

and maybe I can't even empathize with the submitter because we are having riots in LA prisons, embassies are being torched over a cartoon strip and babies are being beaten to death and neglected in NYC.
I'm punching out.
just my 2 cents YMMV.
posted by stavx at 12:13 AM on February 5, 2006


No real answer here--sorry--but I wanted to add that you're not alone. Having worked too long in the service industry, and just generally avoiding confrontation wherever possible, I'm always super-polite to salespeople and other store workers.

Having said that, about a year and a half ago, I was actually walked out of a Best Buy (they were careful not to touch me, of course) after a particularly humiliating experience trying to return a car CD player whose "free" install was going to cost more than the player itself.

I don't know, there was something so infuriating about the whole process...I'm sure part of it was the horrible music BLARING throughout the entire process. (In terms of aural obnoxiousness, Best Buy is trumped only by Urban Outfitters.) And the other part was this: after requesting to speak to the store manager specifically, he eventually showed up, accompanied by a grossly obese "bodyguard" / employee.

Like, WTF? We're going to FIGHT now? I mean, I'm a weightlifter, but I'm hyperaware that the smallest gestures by me can get misinterpreted as antagonistic, so I try to be more of the "speak softly and carry giant biceps" school. And what was that call like? "Larry, you're needed at the front, but homeboy's BIG. You better bring someone willing to take a punch for you."

Long story sorta short: it ended with being escorted out of the store by the fat-ass while yelling "What's your name? What's your FUCKING NAME!?!?" as he yelled "Don't you come back! Don't you step foot in this store...I'll kill ya!"

The whole thing was super-humiliating for everyone involved. The upside is, I just drove across town to the other Best Buy where they happily exchanged everything for an iPod and let me go about my business. I don't know what that means.

Sorta off-topic, I guess, but I wanted to let you know that you're not alone in having out-of-character confrontations in Best Buy. I wonder what it is specifically that makes their stores so infuriating to normally-rational people?
posted by Ian A.T. at 12:53 AM on February 5, 2006


Best Buy are evil and as noted above often your best bet is to go to a competeing Best Buy nearby and tell them your tale of woe. I have no idea why this works but it seems to.
posted by fshgrl at 1:41 AM on February 5, 2006


I'll have to agree with Stavx. As long as the item was stickered immediately upon entry, and you desired to exchange the item (not try and get cash back), the process should have gone ahead fine. As someone who has spent several years in the retail industry, the only time I've ever had to deny a return/exchange was when someone wanted cash back and not store credit or exchange for another item of equal or greater value.

Also, many major companies will start keeping records of individuals who have "excessive" returns. So if you had had too many returns within a time period, they may have been suspicious.

From your post, it does sound like they acted horribly over the ordeal, however. I'd recommend the email route, but also, call in to the store, pretend your someone else, and ask for the number of the district/regional manager. Usually those guys do "not" like hearing about problems. At worse, he blows you off, at best, he calls the store manager, chews them out, and does something for you.
posted by Atreides at 6:54 AM on February 5, 2006


cribcage writes "Next time, stand your ground. Grab your cellphone and call the police."

Do not remain in the store after being asked to leave. When the police get there they can arrest you for trespassing. The irony that you got arrested by the police you called might kill you.
posted by Mitheral at 6:59 AM on February 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Best Buy's return/exchange policy has become very strict in 2006. Without a receipt, they will not do an exchange or give you a store credit, period. Apparently this policy (at least at the store at which I attempted to return a gift earlier in the week) went into effect on January 24.

However, I was one of those in the back of the line who witnessed a meltdown by a customer, involving multiple managers and threats to call the police, regarding exchanging a DVD player. By the time it was my turn, I was a Stepford Customer, and simply said ok, thank you, and left.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:34 AM on February 5, 2006


I've had them refuse to trade a sealed digital camera (a gift - but I had bought the camera I really wanted a couple weeks earlier) for store credit so I'll call bullshit on both Atreides and Stavx since they so kindly called it out on the poster. This was a few years ago, I don't know where it was originally purchased but I do know that Best Buy carried the identical camera and was the only local electronics retailer.

I didn't really care about the money so I didn't press it, I just gave it to my friends son instead.
posted by substrate at 8:04 AM on February 5, 2006


I dunno but I call Bravo Charlie on this.
Tell me, why would I have bothered to post this on AskMe if my story is BS? Why would I have gone to the police asking for their help if it were clear to me that my story was fabricated or in some other way false?
and again I say this because over something that is worth a few bucks I would never waste my time and energy to flip the bird and get in a yelling match and exchange choice words.
The item was worth an order of magnitude more as an exchange as it is now as an item I could potentially sell used, less seller, transaction, and shipping fees. Perhaps money is of no object to you, but as a student, the exchange would have been significant to me.

All in all, nice troll. Hope you feel better now.

Thanks for your kind support, substrate.
posted by sequential at 8:08 AM on February 5, 2006


Best Buy's return/exchange policy has become very strict in 2006. Without a receipt, they will not do an exchange or give you a store credit, period. Apparently this policy (at least at the store at which I attempted to return a gift earlier in the week) went into effect on January 24.
SuperSquirrel, do you have any evidence of this? I can't seem to find anything that clearly illustrates a change in their policy.
posted by sequential at 8:12 AM on February 5, 2006


I just went through a similar situation, although mine did not include being thrown out of the store. I bought two laptops as holiday gifts, and asked the department manager at that time if I would be able to get two rebates, since they are usually one per customer. The clerk said there wasn't a problem, so I bought them, and was of course, denied one of the rebates.

When I went back to ask about getting an adjustment, the department manager -- who was also the monager on duty -- didn't even try to deny that the clerk promised me two rebates. His official response? "You could have gotten two rebates if you'd used two addresses."

After a few minutes of polite discussion regardinbg Best Buy's officiaal policy of encouraging their customers to defraud their own company, I was told to call 888-BESTBUY if I didn't like his answer. When that voice maze didn't get me anywhere, I sent a letter to Brad Anderson, CEO.

That was two weeks ago, and I still haven't heard back.

With reputable companies, contacting a regional manager will usually get you some satisfaction. I work for a national retailer, and our senior management does not like hearing horror stories from customers, and will usually give on the side of caution rather than risk the damage caused by bad word of mouth. Unfortunately, Best Buy seems to be an exception.
posted by mkhall at 9:38 AM on February 5, 2006


The Customer is Always Right? Not Anymore.
posted by gimonca at 9:53 AM on February 5, 2006


Former Best Buy employee here.

Sorry to say it, but as soon as that software left your hands your options became severely limited. Best Buy takes the stance that they will NOT return opened software, as it's so easy for someone to buy the software, copy it or steal the CD key, and then reutrn it.
At this point, you have three options. I'll describe each of them in turn.

1) Take the high road with Best Buy
2) Take the low road with Best Buy
3) Avoid them altogether to get satisfaction elsewhere.

For option 1, you can write letters, emails, etc. as described above. Email addresses at corporate follow this convention: firstname.lastname@bestbuy.com. You should write not only to the CEO, Customer Service, etc. but also to the Chief Counsel, Joe Joyce, and the corporate Ethics Officer Kathleen Edmond.
With this option, you will be fighting uphill. By this point, the store General Manager likely has written a report describing his perception of what happened. For what you described to have happened, two different employees had to screw up and decide to open the software. Corporate will not want to believe that such a thing would happen.

For option 2, you can use Best Buy's policies against them. While they will not return opened software, they will exchange it for another copy of the identical title. You can go into the store and claim that the disc would not work on your computer - maye it was scratched, or maybe something else was going on. Once you have a new, unopened copy of the software, you can atempt to return it to a different Best Buy store.

Option 3 is to go to a different store. Is there any reason you went to Best Buy to do this exchange? Did you have some inkling that it was the store at which the software was originally purchased?
It could be just as easy to go to a Circuit City, CompUSA, or another store that carries the same title. You can try to see if they'll give you store credit there, or try the process described in option 2 to get an unopened copy that you could sell. Personally, that seems like the best option to try.

Upthread, SuperSquirrel mentions that the return policies have tightened since January 24. This happens every year, and it's another quirk of the company that you can use to your advantage. In the 30 days after Christmas, all stores are instructed to return ANYTHING that scans, even without a receipt. During my last year there, we returned a unidirectional printer cable that we had last sold 15 years earlier. It scanned, so the customer got store credit for the last price on record. If you have stuff that you need to return without a receipt, and you know that Best Buy sells it, the 30 days after Christmas are your best opportunity to exchange this stuff for store credit.

Good luck! Email is in my profile if you need more details.
posted by Coffeemate at 10:59 AM on February 5, 2006


"All in all, nice troll. Hope you feel better now.

Thanks for your kind support, substrate.
posted by sequential"


Well, there ya go...that pretty much sums your awesome birthday yesterday you had getting bitch slapped by the best buy geek squad dept manager.

You call me substrate because I haven't lined up to pat you on the head and high five you for sticking it to the man. And you wonder why your ass got banned?! Looks like you got a short fuse and no people skills, hence your dilemma.

But, the whole point should be to be able to process the different ways your encounter could have been handled on your end BEFORE and AFTER your humiliation on the service line. Your cluelessness in both is clearly illustrated.

Many folks here have given solid proven methods to deal with your situation and you never thought of them yourself.
Many of us had enough foresight and common sense to not let it get to the point you did.

You need to deal with that.

Part of being an adult is being able to accept some or part of the accountability in an altercation with another party.
You chose to curse and flip the finger and consequentially get chased out of the store and banned.

Like most people I have had bad service @ restaurants, thorny return issues on the retail level, bill disputes on invoices , metrocard not swiping, airport check in issues etc etc etc...and have never been thrown out, had my stuff confiscated or been turned away. I also have never needed to call the police or make a fool of myself in public.

So instead of flipping folks off or calling them substrate do a michael jackson and look at the man in the mirror and ask yourself why you were a failure and maybe hear and understand other folks' experiences and maybe you might learn something.
posted by stavx at 11:00 AM on February 5, 2006


Arrrrr, the only person who was "called substrate" was the person/user substrate.
posted by Gator at 11:16 AM on February 5, 2006


Regarding Coffeemate's Option 3: I've been told (haven't had to test this thankfully, so it could be an urban myth...) that Target accepts returns on anything they sell, whether you've got a receipt or not.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 11:32 AM on February 5, 2006


stavx: substrate penned by substrate. Now unwad your panties.
posted by Fezboy! at 11:35 AM on February 5, 2006


doh!
posted by stavx at 12:03 PM on February 5, 2006


i'm trying to unwad, but i'n SOL.
Oh well, go steelers!
posted by stavx at 12:09 PM on February 5, 2006


Eh. I wasn't aware of such a drastic change in the return policy (as updated here by Super Squirrel). At one time, the company I worked for was owned by Best Buy, so our exchange policies weren't so far off. On top of that, I returned a few things in January, myself, without any troubles (opened computer hardware).

So it appeared, initially, that there was more to the story (not that the story was entire BS), than what was being let on. Mea culpa, then, with the information concerning the new policy. Its always been my experience that at the least, a store would offer credit.
posted by Atreides at 12:19 PM on February 5, 2006


Take it or leave it, but here's your options:

(a). Sue them in small claims. Not as tough as you'd imagine, and no where near as time consuming as you'd imagine either. At least, if you don't feel the issue is worth 4 hours of your time, then it probably wasn't worth the time to post here! Just the cost their legal department will charge corporate to read the damn letter will be more than the software, so even if you don't win, you can feel satisfied they spent more dissatisfying you.

(b). Call the the company that makes the software and make a stink with it about them. Explain how disappointed you are that their product is sold by terrible stores like this, etc, etc. Depending on the company (and it's probably not necessarialy going to happen with a software company) they may phone the Best Buy in question and get you some satisfaction. This is for when you need to go for the throat: Getting your money back just offsets their profits by a bit (I'd guess it sets them back about 10 minutes). Managing to stop them from carrying a product stops their profits on it dead.

Of course, Best Buy is probably too big for (b) to work, unless (unlikely) they're like some other chain stores where products aren't bought/sold on a chain basis, but on a local basis.

The BBB ain't gonna to nothing if Best Buy has already dug in its heels, I'm sorry to say.
posted by shepd at 3:44 PM on February 5, 2006


Option 3 is to go to a different store. Is there any reason you went to Best Buy to do this exchange? Did you have some inkling that it was the store at which the software was originally purchased?
I chose to return the software to Best Buy because the software was purchased at that exact Best Buy on January 15 at approximately 16:45 at the register by the portable media players. The software was purchased with an iPod Nano. The software box has a yellow Best Buy price tag on it, in addition to the Best Buy loss prevention sticker.

Despite what I've been accused of in this thread, I do not return things for fun, profit, or because I enjoy creating a scene. There is nothing fishy going on here regarding my behavior or my retelling of the story. I have nothing to gain by posting mistruths here as I've come to ask you all for help.
posted by sequential at 4:50 PM on February 5, 2006


stavx, you did not help me answer the question at any point during your first post and expressed a concrete lack of understanding of AskMe etiquette. Though I believe your comment, as well as any comment relating to it, do not belong on AskMe, it is forgivable. I'm also thankful for those who helped you understand your mistake. We all make mistakes.

Despite the small mindedness you have accused me of, I'm certain if you actually had the slightest clue as to who I am, you'd conclude that I am an exceedingly polite person in the vast majority of my life.

Your second comment is inexcusable and should be deleted in its entirety. It demonstrates that you did not read all of the posts subsquent to your own and were not responding in the spirit of helping me find an answer. If an admin reads this thread, I'd hope they delete at least your comments and those responding to it, including my own.
I also have never needed to call the police or make a fool of myself in public.
Well, maybe half of that statement is still true, but don't sweat it. I don't have any hard feelings.
The BBB ain't gonna to nothing
That's the BBB policy. They simply facilitate complaints and provide the public information about complaints. I've only filed a single complaint to the BBB in my life, which did result in an acceptible resolution. Thanks for the advice, shepd. Hopefully the matter will resolve without having to go to small claims.
Mea culpa, then, with the information concerning the new policy. Its always been my experience that at the least, a store would offer credit.
Thanks, Atreides. I appreciate it.
posted by sequential at 5:20 PM on February 5, 2006


Within 24 hours of having sent a letter, as described by the answers marked as the best above, to the corporate offices, I received a polite, apologetic response, a full refund to the original credit card, a gift card for the amount of the purchase, and am allowed to keep the software. Furthermore, the employee who wrote it invited me back to the same store the incident happened at in hopes that I will remain a loyal Best Buy customer.

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions, especially frogan and Cofeemate. Your detailed responses were instrumental in resolving this more quickly and effectively than I had imagined possible.
posted by sequential at 4:10 PM on February 7, 2006


ORIGINAL POST:
Today, I attempted to exchange gift without a receipt or a credit card...

If [the clerk] had said that I needed a receipt then and there, I would have left the store immediately and contacted the gift giver for a receipt.
FOLLOW-UP:
Within 24 hours of having sent a letter...I received...a full refund to the original credit card...
I don't understand. How could they issue a refund to the original credit card without the card, without a receipt, based on an email from someone other than the card owner?
posted by cribcage at 4:22 PM on February 10, 2006


cribcage, every Best Buy receipt has what is called a val number and a customer service number. These numbers allow Best Buy to track purchases in various ways, one of which is to tie a receipt to a credit card number, without printing the cc# on the receipt. In this case, the original purchasers was able to provide a val number, which allowed Best Buy to verify my information in addition to issuing a refund. The initial response from Best Buy asked me to verify the address of the original purchaser.

As for why a refund was allowed to be initiated by a third party, I presume Best Buy verified my complaint in some manner. If Coffeemate's assumption is correct, the manager must have filed a report. I presume such a report would include something along the lines of "CSR A suspected fraud and asked GS employee B to verify this. In the process, the software was opened. At the manager's discretion, the return was denied." With a paper trail like this, I believe my contact at corporate would have been able to see the mistakes made on the part of the store's employees and resolve the matter without hesitation.

Of course, I could have wasted the valuable time of the executives and board of directors by emailing them all directly and someone along the way could have said, "Shut this guy up!" Of course, that begs the question, why would they want me back in the store? Better yet, why would they pay me to go back?
posted by sequential at 11:47 PM on February 10, 2006


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