Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Best Buy Customer Gets Box Full of Bathroom Tiles Instead of Hard Drive

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the newest-in-ceramic-drives dept.

Businesses 990

The Consumerist is reporting that a Best Buy customer recently purchased a hard drive only to discover that the box contained six ceramic bathroom tiles instead of the Western Digital drive he had expected. The rub of it is Best Buy is refusing to grant a refund or exchange for the non-existent drive. "The employee and assistant manager were more than willing to help, saying that it happens. So they set up the return and I repurchased the drive and while I was checking the contents to ensure it was a hard drive this time, the store manager came up, took the box from me and said to take it up with the manufacturer. Now to my surprise, I argued with the guy saying that they have already accepted the return and I have now purchased the new one. He said I was shit out of luck. I followed up with the manufacturer today and they said they would get the complaint to the Best Buy Purchasing department. Best Buy corporate said that they stand by their manager's decision."

cancel ×


Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

It happened before. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21160893)

This reminds me so much of the story of someone I know who back in the mid-90s had a shrink wrapping machine. He bought a CD-ROM drive from some department store, took it home, took the CD-ROM drive out. Then he took a brick and placed it back in the CD-ROM box, srinkwrapped the box and then returned it to the store like it was unopened.

Now can you imagine what the next person who bought that had to go through?

  • Customer: "Hi, I bought this CD-ROM drive, took it home and it had a brick in it."
  • Store Manager: "Sure it did, where's the drive buddy?"

So thisb fhf could just be a case of someone trying to trick Best Buy and trying to use a grass roots campaign scam Best Buy.

Re:It happened before. (5, Funny)

bluelip (123578) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161105)

Wow... imagine how the guy at Home Depot is going to feel when he finds this whiz-bang-blinkenlights metal brick in his box of tiles.

Re:It happened before. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161143)

I remember a common scam back in the 80s was getting two 1541s for the price of one.
The old 1541 floppy drive for the C64 tended to go out of alignment. My drive seemed to be the one of the rare ones that didn't. The trick was to go to the local Kmart and guy a new one. Take out the guts and swap in the dead guts then return.
Yea it is scummy but people do things like that all the time. Sounds like someone did that to Best Buy. Of course Best Buy should eat it and not pass the grief on to the customer.

Re:It happened before. (2, Insightful)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161157)

Hah! My guess is that's close to what happened here, except that the guy in the story is honestly getting filched, I bet Best Buy is selling him a hard drive that had been previously returned, but the sales clerk accepting the return didn't bother looking in the box, thereby not realizing the box contained tile instead of a hard drive. It also sounds like some Best Buy manager wasn't making his sales target so is deciding to boost his apparent profit by not issuing a return. An auto parts store manager I used to work did the same sort of shenanigans when he was in trouble, the store went out off business about six months after I left. They don't call it "Worst Buy" for nothing though, this just adds to a long list of reasons to look everywhere else first.

One problem with this theory however is that the newspaper is dated 09/16/07 whereas the WD claims the hard drive was manufactured 09/04/07. With only two weeks lead time, that might put the date of the switch at the factory rather than the store, but I don't know, could they even get their merchandise out the door that quickly?

Re:It happened before. (1)

truesaer (135079) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161177)

I've re-shrink wrapped boxes so I could return them before. Back in the 90s most stores wouldn't accept returns at all for software if the shrink wrap was broken. At the same time compatibility was much more sketchy, it wasn't uncommon to buy software and have it just not work at all on your computer even running a mainstream OS, etc. Where did I get the shrink wrapper? Well I knew some guys at another computer store, so I'd take opened items there to reshrink-wrap with their machine if I had bought it elsewhere.

Of course I returned the software along with it in perfect condition, too...anyway, point is that its really easy to do this and the employees of that store are almost certainly responsible because they have everything you'd need to do it in the back office or warehouse.

And it will happen again. (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161323)

It still happens, even without access to a shrink-wrap machine. Blame lazy or unmotivated employees for not checking the content of returned boxes. I'd actually advocate opening all boxes in these stores on-site so that this can be addressed on the spot.

Prove it happened. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21161359)

Why are all you sheeple insistent that this guy isn't just a scammer exploiting the system? This would be an easy exploit based on past publicized complaints, and your sympathy is apparently easily-milked.

Re:It happened before. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21161361)

This reminds me so much of the story of someone I know who back in the mid-90s had a shrink wrapping machine. He bought a CD-ROM drive from some department store, took it home, took the CD-ROM drive out. Then he took a brick and placed it back in the CD-ROM box, srinkwrapped the box and then returned it to the store like it was unopened.

Now can you imagine what the next person who bought that had to go through?

Funny you say that. When I bought a camera are Futureshop (a Canadian variant of Best Buy), they took the box, opened it, and verified with me that all the components were present before ringing up the sale. Given the generally crappy service at Futureshop, I was impressed.

Of course, you can't do that online...

Just looks like... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21160895)

Just looks like another America/capitalism hater. Case closed.

Retail theft, and not the kind you're thinking of. (5, Insightful)

PockyBum522 (1025001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21160903)

This is absurd. From reading TFA it sounds like the best buy manager took his new hard drive away from him. This is absolutely criminal. I hope best buy learns from this after they get posted all over the internet. Oh wait, they just did! If you don't want to give your customers service then you really shouldn't be accepting customers. Also, shouldn't this be "Your rights Offline?"

Re:Retail theft, and not the kind you're thinking (1)

sricetx (806767) | more than 6 years ago | (#21160957)

The person this happened to should file a complaint with the state Attorney General. By giving him a box of tiles instead of a hard drive, Best Buy is committing fraud.

Re:Retail theft, and not the kind you're thinking (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161149)

"The person this happened to should file a complaint with the state Attorney General. By giving him a box of tiles instead of a hard drive, Best Buy is committing fraud."

Well, maybe at first, however, in TFA, I got the idea, that BB had already accepted the return, and the customer had bought and paid for a NEW harddrive and had that in hand.

The manager then took the drive from his hand, etc. Now, if the customer had a drive and receipt...I would think what the BB manager did to him was plain and simple theft. I'd contact the Atty General about that.....

Re:Retail theft, and not the kind you're thinking (1)

buckadude (926560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161001)

I would contact the Attorney General of your state. This is clearly something they would like to be informed about as it sounds like fraud. I would also tell the store that you plan on taking said action.

Re:Retail theft, and not the kind you're thinking (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161331)

Forget the Attorney General. Contact your local District Attorney. The Manager committed robbery, possibly [guessing at this point] coerced via store security. The customer returned the item. Best Buy accepted it. The customer purchased a new hard drive, and the Best Buy Manager _Stole_ the harddrive, then cursed at the customer. I'd love to be there when this Manager is escorted out in handcuffs.
IANAL, but if Best Buy fully supports this Manager's theft of private property, does that make the corporation criminally liable?

Re:Retail theft, and not the kind you're thinking (4, Insightful)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161007)

In this situation, just take it up with your credit card company if you bought using your credit card. Otherwise, you're in trouble, no?

Incidentally, that's why I buy everything I can (except for low-cost stuff) with my credit card. If I'm unhappy, I can complain. More importantly, I can threaten to void purchases. The threat of voiding purchases via your credit card, in my experience, is more useful than actually voiding purchases. The only time I've actually had to follow through on the threat was when charged my card but didn't reserve a room for me. refused to cancel the payment because I hadn't given them enough warning. (Ha!) I couldn't get the CSR droid to give up, so I just reserved a new room at the same hotel (for a lower price) and then voided the purchase.

Most of the time, though, your credit card company will be on your side, especially if you are a high-value account that buys lots of stuff and have a high credit limit.

Re:Retail theft, and not the kind you're thinking (5, Interesting)

daeg (828071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161151)

This is why I use Amex exclusively and do not shop at stores that do not accept Amex. I have, unfortunately, had to use the Amex privilege several times to get merchants to cooperate. Amex has always been grand -- on one horrible purchase that a merchant refused to refund, Amex credited the charge but didn't void the transaction, so the merchant got paid. The merchant subseuquently refunded my purchase, and even after I alerted Amex that they had given me a few hundred bucks for free, the service rep told me it was all taken care of and it was my lucky day. That's pretty damn sweet considering most credit card companies are the root of all evil.

Re:Retail theft, and not the kind you're thinking (1)

Generic Guy (678542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161261)

In this situation, just take it up with your credit card company if you bought using your credit card. Otherwise, you're in trouble, no?
Oh sure... go ahead and use your credit card at Best Buy! I mean, it's not like they use unsecured wireless point-of-sale machines [] , or do something like sign you up for unwanted ISP services or anything [] . Of course, that's only if you aren't considered a devil customer [] to begin with.

Re:Retail theft, and not the kind you're thinking (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161315)

Similar thing happened to me with Washington DC. Hotel desk claims that the reservation does not show up in the computer. But they had identical room available. 10$ cheaper to boot!. Took the room, figured the hotel is scamming out of the commission it had to pay. The hotel charged me twice for the same room. Once through the reservation and once again through the "new" walk-in booking. Had one charge annulled. I have a hunch they do it regularly hoping the double charge will be overlooked by busy business travelers. Made a mental note never to stay in that hotel again if I go to DC.

Re:Retail theft, and not the kind you're thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21161025)

yeah, but not unusual. There's a reason I call the bastards "Worst Buy"

Re:Retail theft, and not the kind you're thinking (5, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161247)

First of all, how do you prove that you didn't just stuff the box full of crap and try to exchange it so you could wind up with two drives for the price of one? It may be legitimate and the blame may be at some point in the supply chain at or before Best Buy, but how does one prove it? And how do you - as a retailer - not end up with a bunch of morons returning boxes that they've stuffed crap into, as well?

It would seem the only reasonable thing to do from this point on is to open a box and make sure your item is in there before leaving the store. That's what I intend to do after hearing enough of these stories. If you haven't left the store, then they can't put the blame on you and you can return it right there.

Obvious (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21160905)

That was obviously not the Best Buy....Oh god I hate myself....

yep! (4, Funny)

jkinney3 (535278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21160907)

Sounds like Best Buy. With all the great press they get on/., why do people still go there?

Re:yep! (1)

MagusZeal (1156955) | more than 6 years ago | (#21160965)

It's why I tend to grab all hardware at Compusa. As every time I've had an issue their extra warranty has resulted in a shiney new piece of gear replacement immediatly. It's a bit further then BB, but the more horror stories I hear about BB the less I go there.

Re:yep! (5, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161003)

It's why I tend to grab all hardware at Compusa. As every time I've had an issue their extra warranty has resulted in a shiney new piece of gear replacement immediatly. It's a bit further then BB, but the more horror stories I hear about BB the less I go there.
"I was tired of North Korea's harsh penalties for being a citizen. That's why I moved to Iran!" ;)

Re:yep! (1)

HardCase (14757) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161341)

Sounds like Best Buy. With all the great press they get on/., why do people still go there?

Probably because not as many people read /. as you think...

Re:yep! (1)

Rainbird98 (186939) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161343)

Low prices, the same reason people shop at Fry's. Go figure!

Western Digital or bathroom tiles? (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21160911)

Keep the tiles; they're more reliable.

Re:Western Digital or bathroom tiles? (1)

SnotBob (970745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161175)

Yes, but will they blend?

Dumbasses (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#21160927)

The bad publicity will cost them hundredfold of what they gained from not giving the customer what he should have gotten.

Re:Dumbasses (1)

bramp (830799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161131)

Bad publicity will only hurt them if it reaches the media. Obviously this case has, but imagine the 100 of cases which didn't.

Re:Dumbasses (1)

absent_speaker (905145) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161285)

More like a 10,000 fold. The slashdot community is all tech eager nerds. We probably 1% of the population but, make 10% of the purchases. Plus, we're what advertisers would call the "influential" crowd - those other's turn to for advice. Changing the impression and attitudes of we "influencers" would be quite a challenge, assuming Best Buy's marketing people were to even to stumble upon even one intelligent decision. A campaign to reach us and those we influence over the 2-3+ years it would take to change our attitude, would probably cost them somewhere along the lines of $80 million. But that assume that they stop screwing over their customers and invest in having decently trained tech support people who don't just go in and reformat your hard drive w/o permission. Unfortunately, the impact of these sorts of stories and any resulting behavioral change is indirect and extremely expensive and difficult to measure. Thus, best buy's executives are unlikely to understand what's going on until years of poor customer relations manifest themselves in ways that are blindingly obvious. They won't know until it's almost too late to prevent the collapse of their company, and even that idea may be wishful thinking.

Re:Dumbasses (2, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161305)

The bad publicity will cost them hundredfold of what they gained from not giving the customer what he should have gotten
And if word gets around that they'll trade boxes of tiles for hard drives, how much will it cost them? I feel for the guy but if I were running a store I'd have to be skeptical and not unquestioningly and immediately accept returns like this.

Not a dime. (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161333)

It won't cost them a single dime in bad PR. Why? Best Buy sucks. Always has. Most big box stores are equally sucky. Everybody knows this. The people who still shop at those places are looking for what every other red-blooded American wants: CHEAP! Those people don't care about service, quality, reputation, where their money is going, etc. If they can get it cheap, they're going to continue to buy as cheap as they can, damn the consequences.

Chargeback (5, Informative)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21160935)

If you purchased with a credit card, can't you issue a chargeback? []

Granted it is only wikipedia, but it does list 'failure to issue a refund' as a reason for a chargeback.

Re:Chargeback (1)

wilsonjd (597750) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161079)

RTFA. He did.

Re:Chargeback (1)

Seismologist (617169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161109)

Hopefully this person charges using visa/mastercard. Every purchase you make, VISA/mastercard insures you get what you purchased and you can get your money back if you weren't satisfied wit you purchase. Just read the fine print for you membership agreement and you'll see what your options are when you dispute the purchase that you make with the vendor.

Re:Chargeback (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21161281)

Ditto, go to your credit card company and dispute it. I have done this numerous times for lost shipments or wrong has never gone to "stage 2" where the merchant objects and the CC bank has to investigate. Can't say I got building materials instead of electronics!

You can also make life fun for the PC sales department. Back with XP home (not sure about Vista) reboot the PC to F8 safe boot. This allows you to get in and change the passwords for all accounts. You can also kindly use gparted to erase all partitions. This won't physically damage the PC either so I it might not even be criminal, where as they have committed a crime against you!

Revenge is beautiful.

Using Anonymous Coward in case Best Buy ends up with 100s of display PCs they can't login to or use.

Good Luck, I hope your chargeback serves you justice. Where they nice color tiles?

The future revealed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21160941)

After PR nightmare, this person gets their hard drive and Best Buy apologizes profusely saying it will communicate the proper expectations with respect to returns to its management.

Awww geez... (-1, Troll)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 6 years ago | (#21160951)

...not this shit again.

Was it an open box item..... (3, Insightful)

yoder (178161) | more than 6 years ago | (#21160953)

that didn't get checked upon return? If not, then I'd have to be as doubtful about that return as the manager was.

It happens? (2, Interesting)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21160961)

Getting bathroom tiles in the box rather than a hard drive "happens?" I'll stick to what I can get from Newegg and Wal-mart from now on, thanks.

Re:It happens? (1)

MaineCoon (12585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161167)

My father-in-law ordered a $250 digital camera from Newegg, on my recommendation (both the camera and Newegg). The box arrived completely empty... that is, the shipping box did not contain the camera box. Newegg swore that 'they never ship empty boxes' and it took them a while, being treated like criminals on tech support. First they were told they'd get a new camera, then they were told 'sorry, no camera for you, deal with it'. Eventually they got their camera, but they swore off Newegg. The additional kicker is, they ordered a Canon printer with the camera, and the printer was DOA and had to be returned, but that went through Canon direct and went very smoothly.

And the worst thing is... (4, Funny)

tomknight (190939) | more than 6 years ago | (#21160967)

...they'll somehow find child pornography on the tiles.

Don't Shop at Best Buy? (4, Funny)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21160977)

I mean, seriously. Any time I'm in there it's nothing but a bunch of assholes trying to shove sales down your throat, sign you up for credit cards, etc. No one that works there ever knows what they're talking about either, so unless you're completely ignorant, they usually are of no help if you do happen to have questions.

I guess the one positive thing we could say is that at least the Best Buy employees don't drool on themselves within customer eyesight like RadioShack ones. :P

Seriously (2, Insightful)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 6 years ago | (#21160999)

Why do companies do shit like this?

Any possible praise (ha ha) a manager would get from corporate higher-ups for following this policy is going to be more then offset by all the bad press and lost sales because of any customers who are turned away by hearing of this story. It takes a lot of effort to get new loyal customers, much less effort to retain loyal customers, but it's exceptionally easy to piss them off to the point where they won't come back.

Re:Seriously (1)

EvilSS (557649) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161297)

At Best Buy, store sales numbers are #1, customer service is a far 2nd. They honestly don't care if they lose a customer here or there if it keeps their numbers up.

More Best Buy Shenanigans. (2, Insightful)

dmacleod808 (729707) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161013)

But seriously, how does one prove that BEST BUY was the one at fault? Goodwill towards customers only extends so far when battling fraud.

Why so surprised?? (1)

HouseArrest420 (1105077) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161015)

This isn't the first time this has happened at Best Buy, it is (at least as far as I know) the first time tiles where used as a filler! lol.

I side with Best Buy here (1, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161017)

I'm sorry, but I have to side with Best Buy on this one. Here's why: Best Buy has gotten tons of bad press here on /. and other places for years now for crap like this. So as far as I'm concerned, anyone shopping there deserves whatever happens to them. It should be no surprise when you get screwed over while shopping at Best Buy, so it's your own fault if you go there and get screwed.

As they say, "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

Re:I side with Best Buy here (2, Funny)

xarnx (917943) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161097)

Shouldn't that read "Fool me once, shame on.... shame on you. Fool me twice...... .... .... Fool me can't get fooled again?"

Re:I side with Best Buy here (2, Funny)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161145)

Dammit, our stupid President has forever ruined that fine saying.

Re:I side with Best Buy here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21161257)

I'm sorry, but I have to side with Best Buy on this one. Here's why: Best Buy has gotten tons of bad press here on /. and other places for years now for crap like this. So as far as I'm concerned, anyone shopping there deserves whatever happens to them. It should be no surprise when you get screwed over while shopping at Best Buy, so it's your own fault if you go there and get screwed.

As they say, "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."
Having worked for best buy in the past I've seen a few of these situations. I've seen the return go through some times and get blocked others, it all depends on the item being returned, the person working the counter and the customers attitude at the time of the return. Having the asst manager and store manager conflict in public isn't that uncommon either.

As for managers getting praise, yes they do. They are rated on 2 things. The numbers the store puts up and how little their district manager hears about problems. If the manager can get away with denying a return(legit or not) and not have the customer call district, then thats what they will do. "Taking a loss" doesn't matter as much as numbers, I've seen them allow returns from 2-3 years ago simply because the customer buys the replacement plan on whatever new item is being given out(buying replacement plans on a return spikes the stores percentage)

That's (1) (793321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161021)

...what I call a solid state disk. Thick as a brick, so to say.

You Americans and your Crazy Laws (5, Informative)

igb (28052) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161029)

In the UK, and it's similar in most of Europe, we have the Sale of Goods Act. If a business sells things, it is responsible for those things being of merchantable quality. If they're not, it's the vendor's problem. Yes, he will then back that responsibility off to the manufacturer or the wholesaler, but the issue is his problem. I'm constantly astounded by the shambles the US gets into because so far as I can tell the retailer adds precisely no value: if he sells stuff that doesn't work, he can just wave his hands and pass the problem off to the manufacturer.

If I buy something and it doesn't work, I take it back to the store and they replace it or repair it. They can then take it up with the manufacturer, or not: I don't care. Repair is a high-stakes game, because if trading standards believe that they're doing it to delay, or that the failure was unreasonable, they vendor has a problem. SoGA protection is a movable feast, but applies for at least a year.

Re:You Americans and your Crazy Laws (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161141)

I honestly can't speak to the legal differences, but I can tell you as an American I have an expectation that I can return problematic goods to the retailer. As you mention, this seems pretty important to their added value.

Re:You Americans and your Crazy Laws (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161197)

The problem is not the laws. It is essentially Best Buy claiming that there is no proof that the box they sold had these tiles. It is possible that this guy took the drive, put some tiles in and claim this is what was inside the box. On the other hand, a scam artist like that would not create a hue and cry and issue stop payment order to American Express. The store should have used some judgment. Most stores actually track the purchase/return history of every credit card used in their store. Recently Walmart puts people who return merchandise too often in a watch list and restrict their "no-questions asked return policy."

My guess of what happened: Someone orders the drive, gets it, removes it repacks it with tiles. If this guy has access to shrink wrap machine, he reseals the package and gets full refund. Store thinks the package has not even been opened and restocks it and sends out again to this honest customer.

Given the numbers and bar codes and the tracking they do, BB should be able to find out who ordered and returned the drive and pursue that scammer. To prevent the recurrence, BB should use shrink wrap with its logo and other counterfeit proof shrink wrap.

Re:You Americans and your Crazy Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21161231)

And then (in the UK at least) we can take them to the Small Claims court. This is a consumer friendly court. Most big businesses don't even bother to fight cases. You get damages awarded on the nod if they don't appear.
One recent case resulted in damages against a bank. They didn't pay up so the Bailiffs were sent in. They soon paid up in full including the cost of the Bailiffs.

If as described in the article the replacement disk had been repurchased then this was then a case of theft by the Store Manager. Perhaps he was on the fiddle and it was him who put the tiles in the disk package? We will probably never know. But If I were a store manager in the USA then I would be wary of behaving like this. There are just too many Firearms around and people willing to send a magazine of shells into the store at 3:00am just to get revenge for my liking.

Meh (2, Insightful)

Simple-Simmian (710342) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161035)

People still shop at this crappy place? You can get better buy at your local white box store or new egg.

The Right Target? (1)

kilo_foxtrot84 (1016017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161049)

I agree that Best Buy should do something for this guy (i.e. replacement or refund) and talk with the manager in question, but really the ultimate culprit may be unknowable. Unless you can check the entire transport chain of the item, you can't really be sure how many different people handled the project, or might have something to gain from performing a switch.
That, or now some guy in Malaysia has a 1-TB tile on his bathroom floor.

Re:The Right Target? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161191)

The right thing to do in this situation is to give the customer what he paid for, and for Best Buy to recover the loss from the shipper.


Re:The Right Target? (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161335)

Yeah, a Malaysian that reads the NY Post...
There is no need to check the entire transport chain. It is enough to just check returns and maybe keep track of your warehouse personel.
Anyway, the craziest part is that the manager TOOK THE DRIVE HE PURCHASED (the second time) from his hands! They didn't just give him a drive, they refunded him and he purchased a new drive. Hello police! If that is not stealing, I don't know what is!

Obligatory (5, Funny)

Psychor (603391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161055)

Receiving those tiles must have driven him up the wall.

Re:Obligatory (1)

phoenix.bam! (642635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161179)

I figured he was floored when he opened the box.

Re:Obligatory (1)

Fx.Dr (915071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161327)

I'm betting he shat bricks.

Re:Obligatory (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161185)

I heard he was floored.

How can we be sure that Best Buy isn't the victim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21161069)

Customer X buys 1 TB drive, repacks drive with ceramic tiles and then attempts to return to best buy, 2 drives for price of one

Where's the verification? (5, Insightful)

Paeva (1176857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161083)

This story has been published in the Consumerist and now on Slashdot without either publication checking facts and looking for at least talking points from Best Buy itself. As far as I'm concerned, this story may yet be true, but all I can safely assume is that someone took some pictures of bathroom tiles wrapped in newspaper next to his HDD box in the hopes of scamming Best Buy out of a second drive for free or perhaps just defaming them as revenge for something unrelated. I agree with the columnist in the Consumerist that if this fellow does want to take the issue seriously he should file a complaint for theft and/or a consumer complaint with the Attorney General's office. Up to now, all we're doing by disseminating this story is continuing to feed the anonymous-libel monster.

Re:Where's the verification? (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161223)

Up to now, all we're doing by disseminating this story is continuing to feed the anonymous-libel monster.

[insert 'you must be new here' joke]

Re:Where's the verification? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21161303)

Yup, a very good point indeed. Reading this comment thread is almost scary - nearly every single comment just assumes that Best Buy must be at fault and the guy got ripped off. Far more likely is that he's trying to scam the system. Nobody at the factory is going to swap a drive for tiles - way too easy to trace back to the individual responsible, and way too likely to guarantee discovery. If they wanted to steal a drive at the factory, they'd have taken the whole thing and not replaced it, making it harder to trace. Meanwhile, on Best Buy's part - the only way the issue could happen there is if the drive had been sold, returned without being checked, and resold. However, for one thing the guy would very clearly know he was getting a refurb (in which case he's stupid not to have even looked at it before leaving the store), and for another this story has been shown not to pan out anyway - the drive wasn't old enough to have been sold twice yet. But, ya know, don't let that get in the way of everybody's desire to have an anti big business flame-fest...

Re:Where's the verification? (1)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161309)

It's impossible to verify, but this kind of stuff happens all the time. I personally once had an order shipped from Amazon arrive with somebody's old VHS tape in the box instead of the new DVD I ordered. Amazon immediately corrected the problem, but that sort of thing is scary when it happens since you're afraid the company is going to think you're trying to get a free product.

It seems incredible of Best Buy to just assume that the customer is in the wrong. Why would he need TWO terabytes anyway? One terabyte ought to be enough for anybody.

Just think! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21161101)

Somewhere, a contractor is trying to fit this weird new shiney metal tile into place on someones new bathroom floor...

Solution? (3, Insightful)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161115)

Think of this from the store's point of view for a moment. Should they just go on good faith? What's to stop tens of thousands of people from buying anything they want and coming back with am empty box demanding their money back? Once word of Best Buy's honor system policy gets out they would be bankrupted by scams.

Re:Solution? (1)

bmwm3nut (556681) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161203)

But in the case of this story, the guy wanted _another_ hard drive. So chances are that he's not defrauding them. If someone buys an item and returns it for refund, there's a higher probability of it being fraud than if someone buys an item and returns it for replacement.

Re:Solution? (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161205)

This wouldn't be a problem if Best Buy (and Fry's, for that matter) would check that returned boxes (shrinkwrapped or not) contain the product in question. The problem is with the store, not with asshole customers who found a way to game the system.

Re:Solution? (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161219)

Solution is to create packaging that has a small, cellophone-covered hole (no bigger than a cm^2). This allows both the buyer and seller to verify the contents of the case. Many mailing envelopes have a small hole punched in them for the same reason.

Re:Solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21161229)

The honor system doesn't seem to hurt wal-mart. They'll accept *ANYTHING* on return and they're still in business.

sounds like what happened at target recently (3, Informative)

dargon (105684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161117)

This isn't any different than the iPod boxes full of gravel that Target just recently got to play with. Assuming the box was brand new and not previously owned and repacked, there is probably a warehouse worker some place with a nice shiny hdd

When I was a Best Buy Manager ... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21161121)

I was a customer service manager for a Best Buy in Houston, TX for a little over a year. Best Buy Store #291 - "The PowerHouse" Galleria. This store did incredible revenue. My specialty was dealing with overtly horrible Best Buy politics on a daily basis. I sat in on numerous Geek Squad and Home Installation meetings where Management would tell the service sales people to increase their service revenue "by any means necessary." I kid you not, I saw employees express concern about the prices and methods of invoking cash from vulnerable customers, and the management would repeat itself by saying, "by any means necessary." I saw an employee charge a customer $59 to "diagnose" her computer when a CD was stuck in her CD-rom drive, when all he did was pop it out with a paper clip. I saw more horrible Best Buy policies than you could imagine, and I made a good living for a year of my life, trying to negotiate comprimises between customers who had been ripped off bluntly, and Best Buy's corporate ladder, to try and salvage any sliver of dignity that company could possibly salvage, and this speciality of mine only lasted until I'd expressed my concern to the corporate level enough that they realized it would be easier to push me out of their store than it would be to address the concerns that I brought to their attention with regard to their return, exchange, and serviec policies. Being on the inside of that place blew my mind. As for their "service plans," they use the rock-bottom dollar lowest-bidder service centers that broke as many things as they repaired, if not more. Seeing this bit on /. reminded me of the days I spent with customers who were literally crying infront of me because of how this company had wronged them. I'm not saying don't shop there - frankly I could care less and I still buy the occasional item from Best Buy out of sheer convenience, but stories like this one never surprise me, in the sense that Best Buy's business model is to make money by any means necessary.

video tape opening stuff (2, Interesting)

amigabill (146897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161147)

Sounds like the small number of bricks and crap is growing. We should all start video taping opening stuff to use in small claims court as evidence that we aren't trying to screw the store.

Re:video tape opening stuff (1)

Skater (41976) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161273)

But I'd have to buy a video camera first... see a problem here? :)

My feet were made for walking ... (1)

kingsack (779872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161153)

All I can say is this makes me even more happy that Fry's built a store in my area offering an alternative to BB(S)!

Re:My feet were made for walking ... (1)

guru zim (706204) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161295)

Can anyone confirm or deny the fact that Fry's will sell all customer returns three times before pulling a product as defective?

Let's all just avoid Best Buy. (4, Interesting)

Enahs (1606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161161)

My mom made the mistake of buying a service plan for her Toshiba Satellite.

She asked me to pick it up for her at the Carbondale, IL store (dead HD, laptop still under warranty) and after they'd left me to cool my heels for 20 minutes, had me sign paperwork, etc. they handed me the, paperwork, old HD (in case she chose to send it to Toshiba for data recovery) and then stated that they "weren't sure" if the OS installation fee was covered by the service plan and wouldn't let me leave with the computer unless I paid $130(!) for OS installation (Toshiba recovery CD) and that if (IF!) they found that it was covered, I would be refunded.

I called her (I had places to be right then) and she called the store manager, corporate, etc. and after 1.5 hours decided they could waive the fee if I was willing to wait for them to REPLACE THE DRIVE, a wait of 1-2 HOURS. Well, no, I wasn't willing to wait, so I left. Shortly afterward she received a call that the recently installed drive was WIPED and the computer was ready to be picked up.

I'm going today to pick up the computer. My bet is that either 1.) they'll conveniently "forget" that they were waiving the fee, or that 2.) they've lost either the old HD or the entire computer. Bets, anyone?

No frickin' way would I buy a computer from Best Buy. DVDs and CDs, sure, and maybe hardware with decent factory warranties, but not computers, and if I were dumb enough to, I certainly wouldn't take it to the store for warranty work! I've heard too many horror stories from other people who've ended up spending the same amount of money they'd spent on their hardware, only to have to wait for half a month for a computer just as bricked as it was when it went in.

Best Buy and Geek Squad is about as crooked as the crookedest used-car dealership.

That's why you open the box & verify (1)

Isaac-Lew (623) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161165)

That's why I open the box & check the model number *before* I leave the store to verify my purchase (and not just for electronics - once at an auto parts store I found out someone had switched a cheaper oil filter for the more expensive one I had paid for). Doesn't everyone do this?

I'm done with Best Buy (1)

franoculator (714656) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161181)

I've been bitching about Best Buy's customer service for years, but I've continued to shop there because they're the only Electronics shop in town.

Then, I discovered in-store pickup, and things got better.

Then, last week I ordered an SD card, via in-store pickup. When I went to pick it up, they told me that it takes 48-72 hours to prepare the order. (As I recall, it only took 15 minutes to pull my $1000 laptop).

I'm done shopping there. Most of my purchases can be made at the locally owned PC shops, Gamestop or Target. I'll have to leave town next time I want a new HDTV, though.

I also had this happen to me at BB (4, Interesting)

EvilSS (557649) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161201)

I purchased a sound card a few years ago, got it home, opened it up and there was an old Jazz drive and 3.5-to-5.25 bracket inside. Lucky for me, I had some leverage when returning it and did get my exchange. When the CS rep started giving me trouble about it I threatened to return the $3,000 in merchandise I had purchased in the prior 30 days.

When I got the new box, I noticed the shrink wrap was different. I always check the shrink now and often will open it after I purchase it while still at the register. I also NEVER buy the first item on the shelf, but go to one farther back.

Big Screen TV (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161211)

It was on the "Clark Howard" radio show a few months ago that a guy bought one of those big screen TVs and picked it up himself - he didn't want to pay their delivery fees. When he and his buddy got home, th TV's screen was busted. Circuit City says he and his bud broke it.

Who's the guilty party? I don't know. I never accept anything that has a damaged box. And once, I insisted the clerk get me a new item when she dropped it on the concrete floor in front of me. And I made sure she got me a new one - watched her fro the door.

I'm sure there's folks out there who damage or steal and run back to the store saying, "Hey, I got screwed!" But it's my opinion that that's the cost of doing business and if you treat ALL of your customers as crooks, soon, you'll have none.

Bad PR for Best Buy (1)

zootjeff (531575) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161213)

I love how slashdot helps the little guy. 80,000+ hits on this story will be bad advertising for corporates decision. I wonder if they think that decision was cost effective now..

Moore's Law (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161221)

If he had just waited two more years, the tiles would be twice as small and the box would hold twice as many.

Looking at this from the other side. (1)

Giranan (762783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161237)

I hate playing devil's advocate, but there's no way of knowing if the purchaser put the paper-wrapped tiles in the box, kept the hard drive itself at his place, then returned the box and raised a stink, or whether he was legitimately scammed. I'll agree that what the manager did was definitely criminal, regardless of anything else that happened, as the money was put forth for the transaction and already charged to his AMEX card. But there's no way of proving whether the tiles were in the box before he took the first HDD home. I certainly hope that this guy's in the right, though.

I've seen it happen before (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161239)

One of my friends purchased a video card from Best Buy once and after opening the box found an old sound card in its place. He was able to get the store to substitute the purchase for a new video card after raising a fair amount of hell over the problem. Recently I had to return a coffee bean grinder to the store after I found out it was defective. They asked for my name when I returned it, but I'm not sure if they'd do this if the package was unopened.

I'm assuming it's not terribly hard to pull something like this off. Simply buy something from the store, take it out of the package and substitute it for something else. Return it a few days later and tell them that you accidentally purchased the wrong item and ask for your money back or some store credit. If you put new shrink wrap around the box so that it looks completely unopened they probably won't check inside the package or think much of it. Paying in cash also eliminates a paper trail and depending on how long it takes them to restock the product and for someone else to buy it, they may not even have any surveilance footage of the person who did it. It's probably not something that's heavily repeatable, but if the store is fairly careless about returns, it's going to happen.

Anyone work at a store like Best Buy that knows how often stuff like this happens?

I had a problem with this similar to this (3, Insightful)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161255)

I bought a wireless mouse/keyboard combo (LogiTech brand) that was a returned product (i didn't even notice it was a returned product until customer service was inspecting it). I opened it up and it had the wrong brand keyboard/mouse in there. some third party i had never heard of. at first they were refusing to replace it. they kept saying they can't accept the return because its the incorrect product inside. i said, thats all well and good, but i'm not leaving til i either get the same product or a refund. they were unwilling to help and i kept complaining saying i'm not going to lose approx. $50 because one of their employees was too lazy to check their returns. the customer should never pay for an employee's mistake. this is one of those cases where people forget that the CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT. why are they always right? because a majority of the time, they are. You *always* give the customer benefit of the doubt. If you don't, most of the time you're turning away honest customers who will no longer shop with you and you therefore lose a lot more money as opposed to the cost of that one product. sometimes you'll scammers, but the only reason they thrive is due to lazy employees who don't check to ensure the contents are correct. it shouldn't matter if it looks unopened or not. they should always check (unless its blister packaging... thats *much* more difficult to fake). eventually they gave me a replacement product because it was way too complex of a scenario to just get a keyboard and mouse. plus there were a bunch of people on the customer service line and it was completely obvious that everyone can hear me complain that they were essentially charging me $50 because they hire lazy employees.

Similar incident (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161269)

While I was shopping at an Office Max about a year ago, a man returned a "router" that, as he explained, was in fact a box filled with rocks. They exchanged it for him on the spot.

He said, they said... customer is alway right... (5, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161279)

Best Buy has no way of knowing whether the guy is telling the truth. But it doesn't matter.

Unless they want to have their sales slowed down by every customer insisting that a salesperson open the box before the customer leaves the store... and plugging in it... and testing it... and initialling the sales receipt... which would add about half an hour to an hour's work time to every sale... they've got to believe the customer.

At least the first time.

If they've got records that show that this customer has been repeatedly returning items, each time claiming that the factory-sealed box had worthless contents, that's another matter... but one that should be handled by legal process.

There is no set of circumstances under which what Best Buy allegedly did was appropriate.

P. S.

When she was in college, my daughter once bought an item from L. L. Bean. UPS delivered it, not to my daughter, but to the front desk of the dormitory, and got an signature that wasn't my daughter's signature and that couldn't be identified. My daughter called UPS. UPS insisted there was nothing they could/would do, they'd delivered the package and got a signature. She called L. L. Bean. They said, "Oh, that's too bad, we're sorry, we'll send another one out right away." L. L. Bean made several customers for life that day.

4 things happening (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161283)

1. The guy here is trying to pull a scam at Best Buy's expense, not too bright to be doing this when he could be caught rather publicly.

2. An Employee at Best Buy is helping themselves to some hardware for free and using Home Depot and a shrink wrapping machine to cover their tracks.

3. A previous customer is helping themselves to a free hard drive and they own a shrink wrap machine. (This is actually very possible and could be happeneing in this case) Even if they don't own a shrink wrap machine maybe they bought the hard drive, took it home, replaced the item with tiles, took it back and the Best Buy employee doing the return was a button pressing monkey and didn't look inside the obviously opened box.

4. Somone at the Factory is having a laugh at someone else's expense and pain.

Now if this was a previously returned Item it should have been sent back to the manufactuer, and should have been examined when returned, "Sorry sir you cannot return a box full of tiles, try Home Depot instead you dumbass!" If it was returned it shouldn't have been returned back to the floor without inspecting it, EVEN IF IT CAME BACK STILL SHRINKWRAPPED!!!!!!!!

This is why I shop for computer stuff at microcenter, No problems with Microcenter and they are pretty darn cool there as well.

They even sell hard drives that are OEM, so you can acturally see the hard drives, COOL!!!

Maybe Hard Drive Manufactuers should sell their Hard Drives with cut away boxes with plastic windows like all the other Hardware makers, even video cards come with the "Window to your product" in the box.

If it was a previous customer screwing them they had better look up all the previous RMA Hard Drive receipts and they should really scan in the serial numbers cause if this was the case they could catch the bastard that screwed over a customer and Best Buy if it is the case.

oh yeah (-1, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161289)

and some woman found a finger in her chili at wendy's

wendy's, their such cheap aholes

oh wait []

hey, let's all here at slashdot pile on the bash best buy bandwagon

mob justice is always flawless

Best Buy stole all five (yes, 5) of my hard drives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21161293)

I had two separate RAIDS, and the machine wasn't turned in for drive problems. I initially wasn't going to leave them in the machine, but they said they needed the drives to run the testing software or something. ANyhow - with two RAIDS I wasn't worried about accidental data loss, so I let the guy talk me into leaving the drives with them. Big mistake. A few weeks later, I get them to admit they have no idea where the drives are. Then, in the ensuing months of trying to get anything in compensation, they variously claim the drives were

  • stolen
    • accidentally destroyed, then thrown out
      • just lost. I eventually got 5 new drives, and a pat on the head. No data. Ten years of email, account information, business info and plans, source code, everything in my digital life. Gone. Lessons learned :
      • Best Buy has the shittiest customer service, end-to-end I've ever experienced NEVER, I say NEVER leave your hard drives with a company. Ever. One RAID is not enough for data security. Neither, come to think of it, is two. Offsite backup isn't just for big business anymore. Upload shit to your gmail account if you have to, although that doesn't sound too secure.
      • I know this isn't directly related to the original poster's situation, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to rant about my experience with Best Buy. They are evil. Seriously.

I was at Home Depot ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21161311)

I was at Home Depot and bought a box of tiles. To my surprise, it had a hard drive in it.

It Happens?!?! (1)

greysky (136732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161319)

The employee and assistant manager were more than willing to help, saying that it happens.

Yeah, I remember the time I purchased a laptop only to get home and find that the box really contained a faucet...

Joking aside, I'd understand if it had been the wrong size or speed of drive in the box, or something along those lines. THAT "happens", but bathroom tiles? I mean...come on!

Obligatory XKCD (1)

Vampos DeCampos (928691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21161357)

This guy [] must be working at Best Buy now.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>