Saturday, July 28, 2012

Best Buy's awful customer service

Yesterday I joined the cast of "Lost", that is lost in the phone system of Best Buy customer service.

Last weekend I placed an order for a $300 camera. I realized after the fact that I probably should have picked up one of their extended warranties. Without one, I will undoubtedly drop the camera on the pavement or accident scratch the lens. I looked around online to see if there was a way to order the protection, after having received the merchandise; the camera arrived on Thursday. When I couldn't find a way, I used an email link to ask customer support about picking up the protection. They emailed me back that I had to call customer support to do any post-delivery order modifications.

The call experience did not go well. After more than 12 minutes in the phone system, only about half of which was spent talking to a somewhat baffled customer service agent, I was supposedly transferred to the '.com' area. After about a minute 'on hold' the music stopped playing, but the line did not disconnect. Four minutes after the music stopped, I gave up and called back. Explaining the situation to a young man who got on the line after only about 30 seconds, I was transferred to the ".com" area as requested. Unfortunately, the young woman who picked up the phone less than a minute later couldn't help me. She said she needed to transfer me over the Geek Squad people. I told her that they were the ones who sent me over to the online orders department, since they could not see my order in their system. She kept me on hold for THIRTY FIVE minutes while she attempted to achieve a consensus with the Geek Squad. In the end, she told me that I have to go to a Best Buy store to take care of my request!

Fortunately for Best Buy, I was already planning to visit the store on the way home to pick out a new camera sleeve. My last camera was a Cannon ELPH. The new one was Power Shot. ELPH's are extremely small. Power Shots still qualify as 'pocket' cameras, but just barely, so none of my ELPH sleeves were large enough to properly hold and protect the new camera.

When I presented the situation to the customer service personnel at the Best Buy store, they were quickly able to pull up my order records. Unfortunately, they could only sell me the extended warranty based on the price of the camera in the store. (The online price was $50 less.) I explained to the clerk about the horrible phone experience, saying that I probably deserved at least a year's worth of extended protection for the investment of my time on the phone. She totally sympathized with me, so she asked a colleague if they could somehow sell me the warranty based on the lower base price of the camera. He said that there wasn't a way to override the price of a warranty in their system. I really wanted the warranty, so I paid the extra seven dollars for the in store 2 year extended warranty.

This investment of time and money will probably guarantee that nothing goes wrong with the camera, for at least two years then all bets are off.

This experience has me severely jaded against Best Buy. In summary, their online support told me to go to their phone support. Their phone support ultimately had me go to a store. Their store charged me more for the product I was trying to purchase. If it weren't for the lack of brick-and-mortar options and the fact that their prices are pretty good, I would probably stop shopping there.

Update:  Best Buy sent me a survey about my telephone customer service experience. ROTFL. Both barrels.

Another Update:  Best Buy actually read my feedback and had someone from their customer retention program contact me.  They basically credited me about $40 to my Rewards program to make up for the time and aggravation in the situation.  Not too shabby.

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