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Author: tpault Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 190340  
Subject: Best Buy illegal tactics? Date: 12/6/2012 6:13 PM
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I am using a recently purchased TV to illustrate my frustrations and confusion from a Best Buy purchase. I have purchased my share of computers from Best Buy and am considering several more, but am uncertain if I will ever purchase from them again. Maybe your input can help me decide.

Let me start out by saying I wound up walking out of Best Buy last night with a free replacement tv, so I am happy with the outcome. What happened before they gave me the replacement is what bothers me.

37 days prior, I had bought an Insignia 39" tv for $399. Tuesday I turned it on, it worked fine. Shut it off for awhile, then turned it back on about 1/2 hour later and it was messed up. The best way I can describe it is washed out, and like a negative image. This You Tube clip comes pretty close:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEfa-vjTeTI

I called Best Buy and they said to bring it in, so I did. This young kid, maybe 20 years old, but not a Geek, plugged it into a dvd player and got to the "Insert DVD" screen. That's all the further he looked at it, he didn't view any actual live action or people on the screen. He shut it off, shone a flashlight into the dark screen, then said "it was a power surge. That's not covered under warranty."

I'm like, excuse me, you said a minute ago you'd never seen the negative/ghost imaging before, but now you know it was a power surge?

We looked up the purchase date (didn't have my receipt) and he said it's 37 days old, that's past our 30 day return policy. I'm like, it's got a warranty, what about that? He's like, that's invalid because you didn't buy the Geek Squad Protection extended warranty.

Now, I'm starting to feel my blood boil, and was confused. I said why would I need an extended warranty when the thing is 37 days old? He said because a power surge fried the screen, factory warranty won't cover it but Geek Squad Prot. would have. I said a few things like, you just tell me I'm out in the cold based on your opinion and because I didn't buy GS protection? I've shopped here since this store opened years ago and the 1st time I bring something in, you tell me it's not covered? I will never shop here again I said, now please get me a manager.

Manager comes up, all smug looking, and says "what's the problem?" Now, I wasn't loud or using 4 letter words, but I was angry. The customer service counter was small enough that about 10 other customers could hear everything. I said can you please explain to me the return procedure here? He's all smug and says I can't return the tv. I said please answer my question, can you please explain the return policy? Head's all cocked one direction, trying to like give me attitude and says I don't know what you mean.

I mean, where do they get these guys, from "The Really Sh1%%y Customer Service Employee Store?"

So I thought to myself, ok, this guy's trying to blow me off and make me look stupid in front of the "audience." So since he was trying to treat me like I'm 5, I tried to come down to his level. I says, please explain to me the procedure to get warranty work.

He says, well, it's not covered due to a power surge. Everyone's looking now. So I'm like, what, is that your cookie cutter reply? You can say that about almost every electronic return but that doesn't make it true. Then he says, I might be able to help you ship it back to the manufacturer where they can determine what caused this.

I'm like, you ARE the manufacturer, it's an Insignia. He said oh we don't make anything, it's just like every other tv, and Sony makes this one. So then I said so Insignia is just some off brand seconds from another manufacturer. Oh no he says, it's our signature brand, it's exclusive to us, Insignia is us. Oh really I says, cuz you just told me it's no different than any other brand of tv, it's made by someone else, serviced by someone else, warrantied by someone else.

So by now I'm seeing the writing on the wall. I get more relaxed, and say yes, if you would be so kind as to help me return it to this mystery factory somewhere so they can tell me to throw the tv in the trash, I'd appreciate it. How do we proceed? He went and got another manager who may have been a bonafied Geek. This guy asks me what's wrong with the picture and the smart alec 1st guy (the 20 year old), about 6'3" tall and wearing an elf hat and ears, cuts me off and says "It's slow, and putting up ghost images and tracers of moving objects." I'm like huh? You never even watched a moving image on it. I told he manager it makes negative images, like opposite colors and faces are glowing and other colors are washed out.

He takes the tv into the back and is in there for like 20 minutes. Comes back out and says "We're just going to give you a new tv. The system won't let us send this one in, it won't accept the request."

Well, now we're getting somewhere. I go over to where I originally took the tv from the shelf, and nearly tripped over a new display where they had about 20 of the exact same one. I thought to myself, no wonder the system won't let them send it back, they have a ton of these to sell. Sending them back is a step backwards for them. Not to mention the issue I had is probably common or whatever.

By the way, when they were telling me it was a power surge, I told them the setup guide and the owners manual say nothing about using a surge protector. They argued with me, so late when I got home I checked again and the literature only says plug into a 110v outlet. It says unplug during a lightning storm, but nothing about a surge protector!

While finishing the conversation with the Geek manager I told him, you know, I understand now that the tv was purchased more than 30 days ago. I understand about not being able to bring items back to the store you bought it, after 30 days. It's the same at most places like Walmart... you need to do a dropship to the service center or manufacturer. I told him I understand. But what I didn't understand was why they advertise Insignia as Best Buy's own, exclusive brand, but when there's a problem, it's just another tv made by someone else? And,why none of them would say "I'm sorry you've had this problem with this tv sir. We will do everything we can to fix this. Again, sorry for the inconvenience. We will send it to the service center sir. Now we can't say what they'll find, but there's a possibility they may say it was a power surge, just want you to know that up front. But we will go to bat for you and do everything we can, and sorry for this problem, and thank you for your patience."

They are all standing there looking dumbfounded at me. No acknowledgement of what I just said, nothing.

So now I'm left wondering if they go to some kind of commando "fu customer" training that helps them get out of any kind of warranty work whatsoever. The smart alec 1st manager said "Oh we're happy now, aren't we, you got a new tv." I said, yeah, against your will... it's a good thing I stayed here and argued, cuz you would have had me throw the thing back in my truck or in your dumpster if you had your way. You gave me a new tv against your will.

By the way I shelled out $70 for 4 years Geek Protection which supposedly does cover power surges, of which I can just about guarantee I didn't have anyway. It would have had to occur with the tv off. And it would take a major surge like a lightning bolt to jump past the on-circuit when the tv is off. I told them I know the city electricity superintendant and they can tell me if there was a power surge. I had other things running as well... no flickering of lights or anything. They never even watched 1 second of "tv" before trying to get me to leave with my "junk."

And so now, I feel that they've effectively intimidated and coerced me into being so afraid not to buy their extra insurance even for intial warranty to be effective, that I may be done with BB. And maybe add another B to that, and go to the BBB to see what they have to say about it.

Paul T.
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