How a 5-Minute Email Saved Me $140
This time, Best Buy and I almost came to blows. But thanks to a stellar customer service experience and some wonderful Best But employees, it became a story with a happy ending. Now, I’m sharing it with you with the hope that some of you may benefit from it. (See also: How to Get a Customer Service Phone Number, Fast!)
Let’s start at the beginning (which, unlike in a Tarantino movie, is usually a good place for these stories to start).
New Home, New Appliances
My wife and I finally bought a new home after almost a decade of living in one that was too small for us. With the move, we had budgeted for new appliances, and Best Buy was the store we chose. They had a stellar deal on LG and Samsung products, and it was all within our budget. It also didn’t hurt that the store is about four minutes from our new home.
We opted for stainless steel and picked out a range, microwave, and dishwasher. The range and microwave were LG, the dishwasher Samsung. The dishwasher looked cool and was on sale, plus it had a stainless steel tub as well. We got free delivery, but I had to install the dishwasher/microwave myself or pay an extra $150 per appliance. I've done it several times before, so no problem. Everything was delivered in a timely fashion, and it all looked great!
The Grim Reality
The Samsung dishwasher sucked. I mean really sucked. Despite being hyped as quite the cleaning machine by the appliances associate at Best Buy, it left food gunk all over the dishes and sounded like a jet engine taking off. We needed an exchange.
We did our own homework this time. Kind of. We sought out stellar reviews of dishwashers and found one that was sold by Best Buy for almost the same price as the Samsung, in steel, but it was a GE. We went in to do the exchange and were informed that it wasn’t sold in stores. But the reviews were good, and we plumped for the exchange.
The “Special Order” Fee
As it turns out, some items that aren’t stocked by Best Buy stores, but sold through them, require a special delivery fee — $69.95 in this case. It was a bit much considering delivery is supposed to be free on appliances, but we wanted a better machine so we paid it. A few weeks later, we got the exchange done.
Bad Dishwasher, Horrendous Restocking Fee
The new GE was not good either. It looked about four years out of date for a start, the inside was cheap plastic, and the whole thing wobbled when the door opened thanks to a tough latch at the top. So much for trusting reviews. We didn’t even want to hook this one up; we thought it would be better to get it swapped out while it was still unsullied. But, one call to the store and we discovered that although the exchange would be no problem, there would be a 25% restocking fee. That’s about $140 to return it unused! And despite my polite protestations, the store associate’s hands were tied. The restocking fee had to be paid if we wanted a different machine.
Time to Contact Corporate
I did some digging, found out the email addresses of the CEO and several members of the executive team, and fired off an email explaining the situation. It wasn't snarky or aggressive. In fact, I did point out that my family has had good experiences with Best Buy in the past. As I have said before, no one likes to deal with an irate customer. And you get further treating someone with respect than some kind of corporate bellboy ready to do your bidding. At the end of the day, we're all people doing a job.
Anyway, it wasn't long at all (I think one day, in fact) before I got a reply from head office. They were very concerned about the “special order” restocking fee, and also that I had two bad experiences with dishwashers already. I was told they would look into it, and sure enough, I got a call from the local Best Buy store the following day.
The Wonderful Resolution
They say “third time's a charm” and they're not wrong. This time, the manager of my local store was a glorious example of great customer service. He instantly waived the $140 restocking fee and put me in touch with someone in the appliances department who could recommend a quality dishwasher in our price range. That person was great. Within minutes I had a new dishwasher picked out, and the old one was ready to be picked up and replaced within two days.
When the dishwasher arrived, it was everything Best Buy said it would be. The useless GE was taken away, the delivery guys were great and everything was taken care of.
The Moral of the Story
It's simple. If you have a problem, don't take the first answer as the only answer. Most of the time, the staff you are dealing with have neither the authority nor the fortitude to make the kind of decisions you're requesting. Take it to someone who can help, and then the people you were originally dealing with will have the power to help you out. Everyone wants a happy customer, and it often doesn't take a lot of effort to get one.
Do you have any similar stories? Did you go to the top and get a result, or were you turned down? Let us know.
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