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Of broken laptops, outsourcing and staying the hell away from BestBuy.com

This is a public notice intended to spare you the agony I had to go through while performing a seemingly simple task of ordering a computer through a supposedly reputable source such as BestBuy.com. Comrades, don't do it.

The saga began about a month ago, when my genius son dropped his laptop off his bed and broke the motherboard. Must be some kind of a rite-of-passage for young geniuses--either drop them or sit on them.

The price of computers in Israel is rather prohibitive, so I decided to ship one from here. Not so fast, cowboy. The cost of shipping alone(appr. $180) is just the tip of the iceberg, there is also such a thing as duty tax which is totally incomprehensible not just for us dumb Americans, but also for seasoned Israelis. Our dear comrade annie, to whom I am forever grateful, spent considerable amount of time and effort dealing with Israeli bureaucracy when a much more elegant solution presented itself--Michael's friend was coming over for Pesach and agreed to bring a computer back with him. Hallelujia! With a very narrow window of possibility, we chose the company with the shortest (claimed) processing time--the venerable BestBuy. And that's where real fun begins...

[What follows is the blow-by-blow account that I kept for my own records, so if it's kinda dry and boring, please forgive me, it definitely didn't keep me bored.]

On April 7 (Friday), around 7:30 am, placed an order with Bestbuy.com by phone for a Compaq notebook Presario V5120NR at $749.99. Asked Vikram-the-sales-support if there was a problem with shipping to an address other than my own address. Assured that there was no problem at all. Also informed that it is imperative that the computer is delivered next week, as the recipient will be leaving the country next Sunday. Was assured that this would not be a problem, as the orders are usually shipped in 0-1 days. Ordered second day delivery to make sure. Provided the sales rep with two telephone numbers, one at home, one at work. Received the following confirmation:

April 7, 7:50 am

Order Confirmation
April 07, 2006
Order Number: BBY01-113030000055

Dear packen:

Thank you for shopping at BestBuy.com. We have received your order, and it will be processed as soon as possible.

Shipping: We will send you an e-mail that includes the shipping date and tracking number of your item(s) once they are packed and ready to be shipped from our warehouse. Your credit card will not be charged until we ship the item(s) to you.

Cool.


April 7 (Friday), 5:30 pm

Came from work, found a voice mail from Jennifer at 866-597-8428:

“We need to verify some information.” No indication given that there is a problem in processing the order or what kind of information is needed. Called back, office closed.

April 8 (Saturday), 9 am

Called Jennifer, office closed till Monday.

Checked on-line status, order in process. Called customer service number to make sure everything is in order and asked if any additional information was needed. No information needed.

Well, obviously, whatever Jennifer needs can wait till Monday.


April 9 (Sunday), 8:19 am

Order Update
April 09, 2006
Order Number: BBY01-113030000055

Dear packen:

We encountered a problem while processing the order you placed on 04/07/2006. We will process your order as soon as possible.

Thank You.
Best Buy Customer Care

Called Customer Service, was assured that there are no problems, credit info verified, order in process. Was informed that the e-mail was just “a computer-generated e-mail, please ignore.”

Fine, whatever. Computers are known to generate ignorable stuff.


April 9 (Sunday), 4:23 am

Order Cancellation
April 09, 2006
Order Number: BBY01-113030000055

Dear packen:

There's been a change to the status of your order.

Your order has been canceled because we were unable to verify your information.


Called Customer Service, s/w Julie/Vikram. Per Julie, credit company declined, delivery address not on their files, need to call credit company to add address and call back for the completion of processing.

Called credit company and added delivery address.

Called Customer Service back, s/w Tiara/Vikram, informed that credit company has delivery address on file. Tiara said cannot reprocess order, because price went up from $749.99 to $849.99. Need to re-order at higher price. Asked to speak w/supervisor, was transferred to Gayle/Vikram (second level of Customer Service). Per Gayle, need to order at higher price and appeal with their “Investigation Department” for refund of $100, which may take 3 days to reply. Asked to speak with her supervisor. Obviously, second level of CS is as far as they go.

Incidentally, Gayle was not as nice as other Vikrams. The gloves were off. I'm nearly in tears, stuck between a rock and a hard place. I need the damn computer. Now.


Called Bestbuy.com, s/w Brendan (an American!), placed new order at $849.99, explained the situation, was transferred to Corporate Office.
He was very sweet, btw, and basically told me that I was being screwed, it was his idea to transfer me to Corporate office.
Spoke w/Janet, the only helpful person so far, explained the situation. Janet created a case #261925. Her e-mail address janet@bestbuy.com. While on the phone with Janet, Janet called bestbuy.com and spoke w/Mavik/Vikram. Mavik’s case #261930. While still on hold with Janet, received following e-mail from Bettina/Vikram at 6:28 pm:

packen
Notice: no "Dear".

I am Bettina with Best Buy Customer Care.

I understand your concern about your order having been canceled, however I suggest that you contact your lending institution concerning your order. As a result of your order being canceled we can not honor the sales price.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
We look forward to your next visit to one of our stores or to www.BestBuy.com.
Yeah, right.


Sincerely,
Bettina
Best Buy Customer Care Team

Informed Janet of the above e-mail and forwarded to her. Janet informed that the case with Mavik will be reviewed and I should hear from them in 3 days. If no reply, or a negative reply from Mavik, need to call Janet at on Wednesday after 12:30 pm. She will speak w/her supervisor re a refund from Corporate Office, but cannot promise anything, since the Corporate Office deals with retail and is has no authority over bestbuy.com, even though technically they are the same company.
WTF?


Meanwhile, decided to reply to Bettina’s e-mail, the rationale being that if I don’t reply, they may take it as my acceptance of their decision. Sent the following e-mail to Bettina:

Bettina,

Please explain why my order was cancelled without any prior notification.

I received the following e-mail at 8:19 a.m. on April 9:

Order Update
April 09, 2006
Order Number: BBY01-113030000055

"Dear packen:

We encountered a problem while processing the order you placed on
04/07/2006. We will process your order as soon as possible.

Thank You.
Best Buy Customer Care"

I immediatly called Best Buy and was assured that there is nothing wrong with my order, it was just a "computer generated e-mail", my credit card has been verified and the order is in process.

At 4:23 p.m. I received a cancellation notice.

You give me no reasons to believe that this was done solely to extract an extra $100 from me. I find such business tactic from a reputable company highly inappropriate.

Sincerely,
packen

April 10 (Monday), received the following reply to the above e-mail.

packen,

I am Kimberly/Vikram with Best Buy Customer Care.

Your order was canceled because our Verification department was unable to confirm your information with the resources they have available. Please verify your personal account information at: [blablablah] and make any necessary changes concerning shipping and payment data.

Or, if your personal account information is correct, contact your
lending institution to verify that all your information matches their
records. If you feel this is an error, please place your order again.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.
We look forward to your next visit to one of your stores or to the www.BestBuy.com.
Oh yeah, don't hold your breath, bastards.


Thank you,
Kimberly
Best Buy Customer Care Team

April 10 (Monday), 11:45 am. Called credit card company to verify that they have all the necessary information and whether they approved the second purchase. S/w John. Per John, there are two purchases pending, one for $749.99 approved on Fri and for $849.99 approved on Sunday. Credit card never denied credit and couldn’t care less which address it is delivered to. All BestBuy had to do was press the button and have funds transferred to their account. John said that the decision to cancel the order was solely Bestbuy’s. John advised to call Bestbuy and have them process the order placed on Friday.
Easy for you to say, John.


Called Janet and informed of the above. Janet placed a call to Bestbuy’s Fraud Department, s/w Trisha. Trisha transferred her to Jill who promised a refund on credit card for the balance between the sale and non-sale price, which may take a few days.

Called Bestbuy.com customer service, s/w Ivy/Vikram, to verify status of the new order. She informed me that it is on hold for verification with the credit card. Informed that I just spoke to credit card that both payments are approved and pending withdrawal. She then said that they may be looking for other information, probably from me. Advised that I’m on the line and will be more than happy to provide whatever verification is necessary. Ivy stated that this needs to be done by the Verification Department. Asked to be transferred to the Verification Department. The Verification Department does not accept inbound calls. Informed Ivy that if they are calling my home number, I’m not there and am trying to prevent the same scenario from happening again. Ivy verified my billing information and shipping address. Asked her if this means that my order will be processed. No, it doesn’t mean anything, still needs to go through the Verification Department. Asked what happened to their guarantee that orders will be processed within 0 to 1 days. Was informed that this claim is false and it normally takes 3 days. Also said that the Verification Department needs to verify that the recipient actually lives at that address and they have to follow their “procedures”. Terminated the call due to sheer frustration.

As an aside: I was calling from work and may have raised my voice somewhat. The bitches sitting on the other side of the divider from me ran to the supervisor and ratted that I was rude to the customer and using profane language. I think I said "imbeciles" and "damned" in the course of the conversation. This is just to show you what I work with.


Arrived home at 5:30 to find a voice mail from Scott asking to call back within 24 hours for verification. Called the number, office closed. Left voice mail with name, account number and shipping address. Asked for call back at work with verification.

April 10 (Monday) 9 pm: Checked status of order: Order in process, checking inventory. Bestbuy.com website indicates
Item Sold Out.


April 11 (Tuesday), 7 am. Called Customer Service, informed that order is process, delivery will be posted as soon as the item is shipped. Asked if the item is sold out. No, the item is in stock and will be shipped later today or early tomorrow morning. Informed in no uncertain terms that if item not shipped not shipped by tomorrow, there will be hell to pay.

The item was shipped Wednesday, at 4:30 pm.

WHEW! And it looks like they will refund me $100, will see. So, a few more questions remain:

1. Who will refund me for at least 7 hours I spent on the phone?
2. If I do get my refund, will it be followed by
We look forward to your next visit to one of your stores or to the www.BestBuy.com
?
3. Will it be addressed to "packen" or "Dear packen"?

Posted by guest author: packen on Apr 16, 2006 1:00 pm

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