12 OCTOBER UPDATE: After several unanswered emails, and tweets that have fallen on deaf ears, it’s clear to me that Best Buy has given up on my appeal for them to help me deal with my local store regarding the fact that their stereo installation has ruined the electrical system of my car. I knew that Best Buy was in serious trouble as a company, but had no idea there was this level of fragmentation between their fairly responsive social media customer service, and their actual stores.
8 OCTOBER UPDATE: After @Jesus_BestBuy was able to get their corporate team to email me back, I received a Best Buy gift card for $100 last week. According to the email, this was for my troubles regarding the Little House DVD fiasco (see below). We immediately went out to Best Buy and picked up DVDs of The Avengers, and The Artist. We also picked up Wii games for MLB and Barbie. Anyway, I’m still waiting to hear back from the corporate office regarding my car and the bad wiring job that has already cost me $100 (to have it assessed) and possibly a new battery (or many new batteries until the problem is fixed.) The email from Best Buy corporate simply asked me to revisit the store to work it out through them. But my experience with this particular store hasn’t been very good at all (see below) and so I do not want to have to go back there and rehash everything – especially considering that I had my stereo installed several months ago. In my mind, and based on my reference point with the management of this store, they’ll never agree to fix my problem. So my request (via two emails over the last week) is for Best Buy corporate to communicate with the management at this Best Buy store directly – so that me (the valued customer) doesn’t have to rehash everything, and then (likely) barter like hell to (possibly) get the problem fixed. Do you think this is too much to ask?
The original post from 16 SEPTEMBER follows:
This is the story about a love affair between a consumer and a brand. As with most love affairs, this one has had its share of ups and downs. Most recently however, the relationship has been in a tailspin.
I’m a something of a technophile. Back in the mid-1990s, I started investing in technology that would allow me to be part of the digital revolution. Including a new thing called the Internet. Over the years, I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on various electronic components. Retailers like Circuit City, Comp USA and Best Buy were always happy to see me walk through their doors.
Thanks to attrition, since 2000, my loyalty has been to Best Buy. I purchased our first (and second and third) flat screen television there. I’ve purchased multiple computers there. Whenever I needed any peripheral equipment, I headed over to Best Buy. Our microwave, our vacuum cleaner, the batteries required to power our daughter’s toys – all purchased at Best Buy. Based on my recommendation, all of the electronic equipment we needed at my company, Boxman Studios, was procured from Best Buy (we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars here.) And until 2011, the relationship I had with the massive retailer was quite good. Whenever I needed stuff (or my company needed stuff) – Best Buy sold it to me. Everyone was happy. But then something happened.
Lastfall we decided to get my wife’s car stereo hooked up to play music from her iPhone. She has a mid-2000s model car, so we needed special equipment. Of course I went to Best Buy (Midtown Charlotte.) We left her car and picked it up a few hours later. For the next few weeks we enjoyed music from streamed from her phone instead of commercial radio or scratchy CDs. But then we went out of town. Usually, when driving around town, we don’t utilize the DVD player in her car as we reserve that for longer trips in order to keep the kids happy. But when we tried to play a DVD on this trip, it was completely inoperable. When we returned to Charlotte, I took her car back to Best Buy. I was told that in order to get the new audio equipment to work that they had to disconnect the DVD player. Only, no one told us about having to sacrifice our DVD player for the new audio functionality. Because they didn’t carry anything that could work with our DVD player, we asked for the audio equipment to be removed. However, the manager of the store was reluctant to refund us for the part since we had waited several weeks before returning it. We explained to her how we don’t always use the DVD feature and simply didn’t think to test it – and besides, no one told us the DVD player was going to stop working. After a few minutes of bartering, the manager agreed to refund us the money for the actual part – but not for the installation charge. My wife was livid. I took my frustration to Twitter in hopes that they had better sense than the local store manager. They did. I exchanged emails with someone from their social media team and they sent me a gift card for the cost of the installation.
Then, last Christmas we purchased Season One of Little House on the Prairie. My wife and I enjoyed that show when we were children, and we wanted to share the series with our daughters. When we finally got around to cracking open the DVD sometime in February, we were shocked to discover that despite the packaging, we were watching a different season – Laura was grown and Mary was already blind. It was hard explaining that to our daughters, so I took the DVD back to Best Buy (at NorthLake near where I work) along with the receipts, and they happily exchanged it. Only, when we tried watching again – the same thing occurred. Evidently, the whole batch of Season One of Little House on the Prairie were mislabeled in production. So my wife took the DVD back to Best Buy (again, to the Midtown location near our house) and they told her they would neither let her exchange it, nor refund it. At that point, my wife swore never to walk into another Best Buy again (and she hasn’t.) Once again I went to Twitter with my frustration, and once again I was asked to send an email explaining our scenario. I did. A few weeks went by and I didn’t hear anything. Meanwhile, I was in the market for a stereo for my own car – and so, like always, I went to Best Buy (Midtown). Because I’d had such excellent experiences with Best Buy in the past, I assumed that the experience with my wife’s car was an anomaly. I was perfectly willing to let them replace my factory stereo with their equipment.
I chose a really nice stereo with an audio component specifically for iPhone connectivity and left my car with them for installation. When I picked it up, the stereo worked great. I was really happy that I could stream Pandora or MLB radio or just listen to my iPod playlist in my car. Within a week, I decided to test the DVD player. It didn’t work correctly. It played the movie, but there was no way to pause or move between chapters using the on-screen controls. Oh no. Could they have actually been so negligent as to let this happen again? I didn’t care. I decided that when we drove long distances, we’d just use my wife’s car – even though her stereo was lame. I loved my new stereo and all of the positives outweighed the fact that the DVD player didn’t work correctly. Plus, I didn’t want to deal with running the customer service gauntlet with the managers at the Midtown location again.
I decided to follow up with Best Buy on Twitter about our Little House on the Prairie experience. Once again they asked me to email them. I did. I received an email within a day stating that they were extremely sorry and that they were going to send me a Best Buy gift card for $50 to make it up to me. However, it’s been a couple of months, and I’ve yet to receive the gift card.
Meanwhile, strange things started happening with my car. Specifically – none of my electronics would shut off when the key was removed from the ignition. Most notably the stereo. After a few mornings where I had to jump start my battery, I decided to take the car to CarMax – since I’d purchased it there earlier in the year. After running diagnostics, they told me that I had to take the card to a Ford dealer because the problem appeared to be proprietary. Last week I took the car to Ford. They ran a diagnostic, which cost me $100, only to determine that the problem was stemming from the stereo. Without ripping the stereo out to rewire it, they recommended that I take it back to Best Buy.
So now I’m stuck. I just want my stuff to work. And for the brand to be honest with me. And to be reimbursed for my out-of-pocket expenses that I’ve accrued as the result of doing the due-diligence necessary to determine that they screwed me. Again.
Based on my past experiences with their management team at their Midtown Charlotte store, I have zero confidence that driving my car down there to try to get anything done is going to work out. Frankly, I feel like they could care less about me as a customer (to say nothing of being a decade’s long loyal customer who has spent thousands and thousands of dollars with them), and more about not getting screwed over by customers. But my car’s DVD player doesn’t work, the battery drains every time I forget to unplug my stereo when I turn the car off, and I’m stuck with a DVD of a movie that isn’t even what I purchased.
I understand that Best Buy has some serious issues right now, but for them to take their issues out on their most loyal customers is something that none of us should have to tolerate. I haven’t given up on Best Buy forever, but man – this past year has been trying in terms of my relationship with them.
I’m hopeful that this blog post will help resolve these issues so that I’m 100% satisfied. Is that too much to ask? I just want to be happy. Over the past ten years I’ve invested heavily in them. But lately, it seems as though they could care less.