You read that correctly, my gamer friends.
If you are on a budget, and wish to spend your carefully saved, hard earned money on expensive electronics, please do yourself a favor and don’t spend that money at Best Buy.
Allow me to regale you with a 100% factual real life story.
Cassie and I, last Christmas, splurged and purchased a nice, new Westinghouse HDTV.
A 32″ Westinghouse, with HDMI inputs, yadda yadda.
And of course, we were pressured about buying a service contract.
Magnolia Home Theater, which sells things in the Best Buy stores here, brokered this exchange of money for goods and the promise of services.
And so, we purchased a $600 tv, and we spent $100 extra on the 4 year in-home service plan.
But wait, in home?
Why yes… if you purchase a TV that is over 27″ in size, EVEN IF the TV weighs only 25 pounds and can be carried around by Cassie’s 70 year old mother (true story, she bought one from Best Buy after she saw ours and liked it) you are not allowed to bring it into Best Buy if you have problems.
We have used the HDMI input for a while, and it’s always been a bit flaky when changing input sources from AV to HDMI. Sometimes it would change, sometimes it would be hash or scramble.
We suspected it might have something to do with the DVD Upconverter we had also purchased from Best Buy at the same time, that was our HDMI source. I only spent $100 on the DVD Upconverter, and they are notoriously iffy on signal quality sometimes.
Well, two weeks ago I upgraded our Comcast cable to HD, and connected the Cable up to the HDMI input instead of the DVD.
Last Thursday night, boom. HDMI input ceases to function when going from AV (hey, video game consoles, what do you think?). Dead. Screwing with it, letting the tv sit off for hours to cool, it finally came back on for a while, totally screwed.
In the meantime, I rigged the Cable output to the AV input (losing HD capability) so at least we could see TV, and put in a call to Magnolia Home Service.
They told me that my service plan required a technician come to the house. Bringing the tv in was not permitted. The store could do nothing.
So okay, when can someone come out? Friday?
Oh no… earliest is next Tuesday. A technician will call you between 7 AM and 9 AM, to let you know when he will be able to be at your house. Please make sure an adult over 17 years of age is present to receive him, and that the back of the tv is accessable.
Okay. Well, Cassie works from home. It sucks, since she actually works, and she does voice interviews during the day, but okay. At least I don’t have to blow a day of vacation time in mid-summer because I’m not allowed to bring my light ass tv into the store.
So here it is. It’s Tuesday.
And I’m at work, and I get a call. It’s 9:30, and Cassie is letting me know she never got a call.
I am arms deep in an AOI machine program, so I can’t do anything. I ask her to grab the receipt and call to follow up.
So 11:24 rolls around, and I check in with Cassie. She talked to Magnolia, and they told her that they would call the technician, and she would definitely get a call back from the technician within two hours. That was at 9:30, it’s now 11:30, there’s been no call back yet, and she has a phone interview she has to do to grill some poor job applicant.
We’ll give them a little more time.
I get busy again, and then it’s 2 PM. I call Cassie… Nope, never a call back from anyone.
So I call Magnolia Home Theater and ask to speak to a supervisor.
I get a supervisor, and explain the situation, and she is horrified on my behalf. She is shocked.
She says that she’ll call the technician immediately. She puts me on hold.
When she comes back, she tells me he didn’t answer, but she left an urgent voicemail.
I explained that, at this point, that is not exactly inspiring a lot of confidence in me.
She then assured me she was writing an email directly to the local service manager and lead technician, detailing all the things that had happened so far, and I would absolutely totally get a call back, and we confirm the phone number. Totally.
So I get home at 4:30. It’s been two and a half hours.
Nope, no call back.
All right, I’ll make dinner.
And I call during dinner prep.
And I ask to speak to a supervisor.
And I get a supervisor, and explain the problem.
And she is horrified.
And she will totally help me with this. After I explain what happened, because all she sees is that we had service scheduled for today.
I ask, “But didn’t the last supervisor I talked to write this all up on the account?”
“Oh yes, I see that here.”
But it is after working hours at the local sergice desk, so no one is available to talk to her. Of course.
I ask, “So this means that your local manager and lead technician went home without following up on an open service ticket in any way, shape or form. They just went home.”
So I ask, “What exactly can I do about this? An entire day wasted, TV out of service since last Thursday, and no one has bothered to even call. Not like the guy was late or didn’t show… no one made an effort to even call. No one cared. And no one from the phone center cares enough to call and follow up either. What am I supposed to do? Can I bring it into the store? It’s light, really, I can carry it. My mother in law can carry this thing.”
“NO! You cannot return it to the store!”
Okay… “Why not?”
“The technican has to do diagnostics in home. If the diagnostics show it needs a part, he’ll order the part. If it’s more serious, then he can authorize replacement. If you take it to a store, they will have to ship it at your cost to a service center, where they will do that same diagnostic. You will gain nothing except added shipping time and cost.”
Okay. Gotcha. That actually makes some sort of sense. So. Where’s the dude?
“We will have to reschedule your appointment.”
Okay, well, how about after working hours, like 4 PM?
Okay, how about the weekend? I’m not having another workday blown, my wifes or mine.
“I have an appointment available on Saturday.”
Okay, I’ll take that.
“Okay, the technician will call your house between 7 AM and 9 AM to arrange the time he will be there. Please make sure that an adult over the age of 17 is present and the back of the tv is accessible.”
Are you kidding me? You’re reading me the standard cue card again?
Saturday is the weekend. What assurance do I have I’m going to get a call?
“If you do not get a call by 9:15, call us and let us know.”
Yes, because calling you and letting you know is working so well. And you’re sure I can’t bring this damn thing into the Oakdale, MN store? I’d kinda like to not wait over a week for my tv to work again, with this fantastic $100 service plan.
“No, you cannot bring it into the store. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
How do you answer that question? Do you go with the “What have you done to help so far?” or do you go with the defeated “Nah, it’s all good. I’ll wait till Saturday before calling you again. Whimper.”
So yeah, I tell her I’m good and I’ll call if I don’t hear from him Saturday. (What the hell did you think I was gonna say?)
So after I get off the phone and inform Cassie that apparently one of our days off this weekend will be spent waiting for a call, she tells me to call the local store. She absolutely cannot believe that the store manager at Best Buy in Oakdale, MN, where we bought this tv, and where she sent her mom to buy the same damn thing, would seriously tell us that we had no choice but to wait another week.
So what do you think I did?
Yep, I called. What a schmuck.
I get an assistant manager. He informs me there is no store manager working at that time, that he is one of the assistant managers and he would be delighted to help me.
I explain the situation.
And he informs me, very politely, that they have nothing whatsoever to do with service in any way for tvs over 27″ in the store.
I ask him, “You mean to tell me, in all seriousness, that I buy this tv, I pay the $100 for the service plan, I get totally blown off by in home service, I call for help to the store that I bought the tv from… and you are telling me that I need to reschedule for the exact same service people that blew me off the first time, in the hopes that this time they call. Or show up. And I need to wait for them to help me. They are the only ones to help me, no other recourse to a customer is available. So… if they never actually take care of me… you’re good with that?””
“There is nothing we can do, sir,” he repies, “That is correct. We do not handle service of tvs over 27 inches in size in the store. We just can’t do it.”
Notice this guy isn’t even admitting they would ship them out for service. He’s saying I can’t bring it in, period.
I verify this.
“You’re sure I can’t bring it in?”
And all through this, I must admit, everyone I have talked with on the phone has been absolutely, unfailingly polite. Very nice. Well spoken. Sympathetic.
And absolutely unable to provide any help whatsoever, because every one of them is a person sitting in an office somewhere far, far away from the local service center… where the people that actually are responsible for DOING the service do not answer emails or phone calls, or call or visit the people who have scheduled service appointments.
So I thanked the assistant manager of the Oakdale, MN Best Buy. What the hell else am I supposed to do? The guy was nice, he just couldn’t help me.
So I get to wait. Until Saturday. And sit on my butt all morning and see if I get a call. And find out if he is going to tell me he can visit me in the morning, or the afternoon. And then sit and wait to see if he shows up, or calls to be late, or never shows.
And no matter what happens, I have no alternatives. I am stuck. I got a tv that doesn’t work, and they’ll see me when they decide to see me. Period.
My recommendation has to be a big, fat NO FREAKING WAY if anyone ever asks me to purchase anything larger than a video game or CD from Best Buy again.
You have been warned. I’m serious.
Knowing what I know now, there is no way I’d ever buy a large purchase from Best Buy again. And this is me, who has bought every game console, most games, most music (yes, I’m a sucker, I buy my CDs at BB if I don’t buy em from iTunes) and a lot of computer hardware from Best Buy because I have always liked knowing there was a brick and mortar store to bring a problem purchase back to.
When I tie up a lot of money in something, I want to know that, if there is a problem, they will take care of me. Especially when they charged me $100 for the warranty.
MOST ESPECIALLY when they charge me $100 for the warranty.
All I’m saying is, buyer beware. And don’t go to Best Buy.