Im not a big fan of Best Buyin fact, I really try not to go there unless I can get a fairly decent rebate or financing offer. In the past, I would visit the store just to browse or for everyday computer supply purchases, but now I do most of my buying via the web (thanks NewEgg). It seems like every time I go to a Best Buy, they find some way to irritate me. I wont get into all of the things that Ive seen/heard there, but I will share two stories. One that makes me sad and one that makes me mad.
The Sad One
A few weeks ago, I decided I would splurge for an Xbox 360 (Gears of War came out). I had a holiday mailing from Best Buy with 3 coupons inside – one for double reward zone points, one for 6 months no interest financing, and one for 10% off up to 3 regular priced video games. So, I met a friend over at BB, thought about the purchase a bit (I have to talk myself into any purchase over $50just cant stand to blow money these days). I finally convinced myself that I would get enough use out of the system and have some fun playing on Xbox Live with some friends from work etc. so I picked up a system and three games. When I arrived at the checkout area, the BB rep (I dont know what they are officially called) started scanning in my items. I handed him my coupon sheet (all 3 were together) and told him the top two were for the console and the bottom one was for the games. He looked at me a bit puzzled, then started flipping the coupons over to the backthen to the frontthen the backrepeat about 20 times. Finally, he said ok, we can do these two, as he pointed to the Double Rewards and 6 Months Financing. Naturally, I asked why he couldnt do all three. Then he pointed to the front of the coupon sheet where it read Double Reward Zone Points – see bestbuy.com for details. Apparently that statement meant (to him) that I couldnt use the coupon in the store. Now, I had already read the legal details on the back of this sheet for each of the three coupons and this was simply not the case. So, I flipped the coupon sheet over – pointed out the three bar codes that he needed to scan along with the instructions that said To Cashier: Then the lightbulb went off – he started scanning them in and rang up my purchases. While I was signing for my credit card, he turned to me and said this: I work here and I dont even know how to do this. Well said young cashier – well said. Now we both know the reason I dont like to shop there. If coupons are this hard to figure out, just imagine the advice they are giving people about computers (And Ive heard that advicebut thats for another day.)
Now, the mad one
Back in June, I bought a new DVD player from BB. During checkout, the cashier asked me if I would like to do a free trial of TIME magazine. It was 8 issues free – then they would send me a card and say that I could cancel or notif I didnt, I would be charged for a 1 yr subscription. I havent read time in a while, so I thought it might be a good way to see if Id like it or not – so I did the deal. After about 10 weeks, I started thinking about the fact that I did not receive a card to cancel. So I check my BB credit card account online. Sure enough, there was a charge from TIME for $24.95. I wasnt happy that things didnt go the way the cashier said (as I would have most likely canceled if I had the card), but I didnt mind having a year of TIME and the price was with a $5 discount anyway. So I pay the $25 and let TIME keep coming. Well, the other day (November 2006), I was checking my credit card to make sure the Xbox 360 was showing up with the proper financing deal. I noticed that the outstanding balance was a little higher than what I was expecting and when I looked into it a bit further, I found that TIME had charged me again. Keep in mind that they charged me in August 2006 – 3 months ago – for a 1 year subscription. Now they charged me again, this time for $29.95 – so $5 more than they charged the first time! I realize this isnt a ton of money, but now I dont feel that I can trust Best Buy (and this isnt the only reason) or TIME with my credit card. I immediately sent an inquiry to TIME to cancel my subscription and explain the nature of the two charges – since I should be getting a refund for both (partial refund for the first one). I am supposed to hear a response by Tuesday (2 business days) so hopefully things will go smoothly and I can get this worked out without much of a problem. But I did learn that I am going to go ahead and cancel my best buy credit card and do my best to avoid shopping there ever again. Its one thing to have sales personnel that either lie about things or have no clue what they are selling but Ive working too hard to get myself into financial shape to just let them start taking my moneysmall as the amount may be. This isnt the only issue Ive had with them, but its coming at a time when Im tired of seeing crap like this happening and the only thing I can do about it is voice my opinion with my dollars (and of course on the blog). I realize it wont hurt them at all if I stop spending my cash there – but its to the point that I just cant accept the fact that my money is helping them scam more people.