Amazon, Best Buy, Sears and ‘ware the Season

An update on my recent difficulty with Amazon: I received the product, but the company still showed it as ‘in process’, to be shipped in January. It took four emails and finally a phone call to get this one removed so that I wouldn’t get shipped another.

On the other hand, when we opened the second season of a TV show my roommate purchased (through my account), we found three duplicate disk 1′s and a missing disk 2. Since we had bought the series over two months ago, I wasn’t expecting Amazon to replace it, but they did–sending out a replacement season via 1 day shipping, and a pre-paid mailer to return the defective one. Now that was good customer service.

Ooops, spoke too soon. The item I’ve been trying to get removed has reappeared on my ‘to be shipped’ list.

Unlike that shown at Best Buy: Recently, a Missouri couple bought an expensive camcorder, but when they got it home and opened the box, they found a jar of pasta sauce instead. $1600.00 for a jar of pasta sauce was a bit much. The Best Buy store would not provide a replacement, and eventually Sony ended up replacing the camcorder because of the publicity. Sony did make a point that the only reason they stepped in was Best Buy wouldn’t–there was no way this item would be shipped as it was, because the camcorder comes from Japan, and that type of pasta sauce is rare in Japan.

According to another St. Louis Today story, this is typically the result of a ‘returned item’ scam, where a person buys a new item, replaces it with worthless items of equal weight, tapes up the box and returns the item for a refund. The store’s employees don’t have the time (or don’t take the time) to ensure it is the proper item returned, and just restocks the item.

Many stores will make good when this happens, but I gather from a few of the more coherent entries in a discussion thread, Best Buy is not one of them. In fact, from the stories, I gather that Best Buy thinks if you sell something cheap enough, you don’t need to provide customer service. I’ve not had problems with Best Buy purchases, but I have returned an item and noticed that the customer service person did not check to ensure what I returned was the actual item. Before you ask, no it was not a camcorder.

A good rule of thumb seems to be if you’re making a closed box purchase at Best Buy, for yourself or as a present for someone else, you might want to open the box and check the contents before you leave the store. In fact this is good advice for buying more expensive electronics at any store: open the box, make sure everything is there before you leave the store. Oh, and try not to get arrested for having a big knife or box cutters along.

Another person in the thread mentioned about having problems with Sears. I stopped shopping at Sears when I read the story of the company sending a representative to a bankruptcy proceeding in order to demand that the used toaster and other items of this nature bought on a Sears credit card be returned.

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