Why I Will Never Shop At Best Buy Again

On December 17, 2010, Jay bought me a brand new Canon Powershot SD 1400 camera for Christmas.  On March 5, 2011, I dropped the camera at my engagement party.  It still took pictures but it wasn’t correctly focusing on pictures taken not right up close.  Because I basically drop everything and fall down and break things all the freaking time on a daily basis, Jay had thought ahead and bought me the super duper biggest warranty possible: a 3-year, premium with accidental coverage plan, worth $60.  I shamefully brought the broken camera to Jay’s attention and he shook his head and went, “Oh, that’s my poops…” and took it in to be repaired by the Geek Squad on Monday, March 7.

Cut to Friday, March 18.  Jay got a call from Best Buy to let him know that my camera was either damaged beyond repair or would cost too much money to fix.  I had been approved for a new or (most likely) refurbished camera to replace it.  So I went in yesterday (Sunday March 20) to pick up the new camera.  After waiting for a little while for them to get my info together, the girl helping me gave me my camera.  Then she asks me, “Do you want to purchase a warranty for this camera?”

“Excuse me?” I asked her, confused.  “My finacè bought me a 3 year warranty when he bought me the original camera.”

“That was for that camera,” she replied.  “If we replace the camera, it’s considered fulfilled and can’t be used for your new camera.”

Now, I hate confrontation.  What she said made some sense enough to me, even though I thought it was bullshit.  She told me I should get the one year warranty and then continue to renew it each year because in the event that I needed this “new” camera replaced due to damage, it too would basically be null ‘n’ void and I’d be in the exact same situation again.  I bought the one year warranty & didn’t push it too much more.

I told Jay what had happened and he was not happy.  No one had told him that if we actually had to USE the premium, most expensive warranty for what it was supposed to be used for, that it would basically become void, especially only 3 months after purchase.  We went back to Best Buy to see if perhaps the girl who helped me just made a mistake because she didn’t do all of her homework on my particular plan.

We spoke to a member of the Geek Squad at first.  He was very nice and explained the policy to us again.  We had politely expressed our concerns.  First, we were upset that no one had made it clear to Jay that the Terms & Conditions of Best Buy’s warranty program were not quite what the pamphlet handed out with the product said.  The Best Buy employee who sold him the camera and warranty simply told him, “Yeah this should cover you for three years; you’re good to go.”  Second, we were a disturbed that no one could tell us, there was no report anywhere, of just what the damage to the camera was.  We’re not talking the camera was completely shattered.  It still turned on, the different lighting settings still worked, it still took pictures.  They just weren’t focused unless taken up close.  Technically, Best Buy could just tell a customer that their camera was beyond repair or would cost too much to repair without any proof and then force them to buy a brand new warranty for a replacement camera.

Jay wanted to see where in the literature it said that I had to spend more money on a new warranty.  The Geek Squad guy and the girl who helped me the first time around from customer service searched through full booklet of terms & conditions.  It took them a good few minutes to find the exact, technical phrasing: “Your warranty is considered fulfilled if…”  We weren’t given this booklet at the time of purchase of either warranty so we couldn’t have known that.  Had Jay been informed back in December, he would have spent way less money on the one year warranty and then had me renew it each year.  I have a bad track record.  There was like a 75% chance I’d break it within the first year because I freaking break everything.

We ended up speaking to a manager who couldn’t do anything to help us at all.  He asked us after a few minutes of civilized discussion what exactly would make us happy.  We said that we’d like the money back for the new warranty & the old one to cover this new camera.  He said the best he could do for us was add on an extra year to the new warranty free of charge.  This essentially means nothing because if something happens to this new camera in less than 2 years, I’m still in the same boat.

So why am I upset?  Why will I never shop at Best Buy again?  Because I feel as though we were taken advantage of with a bullshit policy that was never properly explained to us until we decided to question it.  Then when we pointed out that Jay had paid $60 for a 3 year warranty that was “fulfilled” aka VOID after just 3 months, we were SOL.  In this economy, when companies like Best Buy are threatened by cheaper options like iTunes or Wal-mart or Target or better companies like Apple, you would think that they’d be looking to gain more customers rather than push them away.  From day of purchase to the day it was brought in for service, I had that camera for less than 3 months.  Was it that difficult for him to give us a one time pass on the new warranty?  Sure, it’s a corporation who can’t give a shit about one little customer like me but if they do it to us then they probably are doing it to a lot of people.  I remember back in 2006 when my first iPod stopped working and it was outside of its one year warranty.  Under the Terms & Conditions of Apple’s care plan, I should have had to buy a complete new iPod.  They were cool enough to replace it for me for free and I was so impressed that I knew I would definitely shop at Apple again.

So that’s why Best Buy has now lost my business.  They would have made us more likely to go back to Best Buy in the future because we’d have felt that, as customers, we mattered.  Whatever happened to “the customer is always right?”  We were not asking for something unreasonable and technically, Best Buy failed to provide us with all of the terms of the warranty.  So sayanora, Best Buy.  I won’t be seeing ya.

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