I wrote a complain to Mr. Dunn, CEO at Best Buy and got a preset regurgitated response from one of the peasants working there. It is further irritating to imagine that Best Buy thinks to send a sanitized email response is the right way to address a complain from a paying customer. I have since begun a camping of telling everyone I know and everyone I have contact with to never shop at Best Buy and go shopping at other electronics stores.
Best Buy executives at one point got the impression it is the only deal in town but they are missing the mark in customer care and their return policy is ridiculous.
Here is the just of it:
>>>>>>> Email sent on 2/10/2012 to Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn at Brian.Dunn@bestbuy.com:
Dear Mr. Dunn.
There is a matter that I would like to bring to your attention regarding the requirement for imputing an identification number in order to return an item purchased at Best Buy.
On 2/9/2012 I stopped by the Best Buy store in Signal Hill, CA after spending one hour trying to process a return without identification and speaking to two service desk clerks and one manager I was very dissatisfied about my experience. On the way out I spoke to a second manager who listened to my issue, empathized and told me about another store where returns are easier and their customers are happier. That manager said what I wanted to hear and gave me the best piece of mind by showing that in practice refusing to process returns is a bad business practice.
I want you to convince me not to boycott Best Buy and recommending everyone I know and everyone willing to listen to go to another store.
Below is a brief list of the reasons why I am considering this:
First, among other things Best Buy or any other store that sell products needs to protect their profits, their reputation and prevent fraud. CEOs need to keep their share holders happy and make them rich.
Second, Best Buy needs to do the above while protecting their customers and honoring their rights to privacy and if they choose to remain a private citizen while performing any transactions at Best Buy they should be allowed to do so and not be inconvenienced with intrusive requirements that are not supported by any law or mandate and further expose the customer to identity theft. It is irrelevant where the systems that store the data are located or if the information is in segregated systems. Once it is collected it is outside of the customers control and that loss of control can cost business. Imagine a disgruntled customer spreading the following as far and wide as possible in today's viral media: Don't go to Best Buy stores, they invade your privacy and make it hard to return products. Go to Costco, Wall-Mart, Staples, or buy at Amazon online.
Third, I had my identity stolen several years ago which has made me hesitant about allowing my driver's license number to be collected to perform any basic transactions.
Fourth, there is no legal precedent that allows a merchant to deny processing of a return request because the customer objects to the scanning and collection of any personal identification numbers.
Fifth, there is no legal reason, backing or recourse why Best Buy can refuse to process a return if the customer cannot provide identification either because they do not have it with them, or it their ID was stolen, or they do not remember the number, or it was lost, or they plain do not wish to provide it. Posting it as a requirement on a policy section on Best Buy's website and/or printing it on a store receipt does not make it an enforceable law either. If the receipt is in hand, the product is in hand and it can be proven it is in working order or its malfunction is due to a manufacturing defect then that is sufficient to satisfy several requirements to process a successful return, keep the customer satisfied and willing to continue to do business with Best Buy.
Sixth, a private citizen can return a product if there is a valid issue with it and there should be no quota of 3, 4 or 5 returns per calendar year. That is a fast way to discourage and lose a customer.
Seventh, you only need to read on the 6pm.com and other recent customer data hacking fiascoes for evidence merchant data is not secure. Why give additional pieces of personal information to Best Buy to hold for an undetermined amount of time?
Eight, in today's privacy weary world, if you can give a merchant the least amount of personal information to perform a transaction then do it. There are exceptions of course when you purchase something that requires an identification to buy for registration purposes like a vehicle, a house or a yacht.
Ninth, there is no effective protection provided to the customer by requiring identification to process a return. It only protects Best Buy and increases the surface exposure of the customer should an additional piece of information fall in the wrong hands.
Tenth, If the customer has the receipt and the product is in working order inside the original package then quickly process the return and send the customer on their merry way. If the customer does not have the receipt and the product is in working order and in the original package then give them a gift card or store credit and send them on their merry way. It is that simple, why complicate it?
Eleventh, one immutable law or consumerism can be phrased as follows: Put the customer first and the profits will flow into the store. Put the customer last and the profits will flow...away from the store. This is happening to Best Buy now.
Twelfth, according to recent financial news, Best Buy is bleeding money and losing customers to other brick and mortar and online competitors. Angering customers who advocate privacy, have access to blogs and other media outlets with viral reach and better business bureaus is a sure fire way to lose the battle on multiple fronts.
I am not discouraging brick and mortar merchants like Best Buy stop tracking what people return, when and where they do so in order prevent fraud. Simply do not infringe on the privacy of a customer or intimidate them with the baseless threat of refusing to process a legitimate return simply because they wish to remain private and not provide an identification number.
My advice: Make it easy to "return" to Best Buy. You might see an increase in profits and that stock ticker may show faster movement in the upwards direction. Because last I heard, there is no government bail out money for Best Buy.
If you wish to retain and attract more customers then make it easier to "return to Best Buy". That would be a step in the right direction.
Dissatisfied Best Buy Customer.
>>>>>>> This is the reply I got from them from Jill Nezworski at Jill.Nezworski@bestbuy.com:
Thank you for your email to Best Buy describing your frustration with our recent policy change that requires an ID for a return. Please allow me to respond accordingly.
First, I am sorry that you are unhappy with our executive decision to require an ID. Please know that I don't disagree with your points below; however, I want to provide you with some additional information and context for our decision.
We have chosen to work with, The Retail Equation (TRE), headquartered in Irvine, Calif.. They are the industry leader in retail transaction optimization solutions at the point-of-sale and point-of-return. The company has been in business since 1999 to help retailers prevent retail fraud/abuse while at the same time providing consumers with a streamlined return process. The company has a variety of technology solutions used by retailers nationwide. The most common in use today is Verify Return Authorization, which uses statistical modeling and analytics to detect fraudulent and abusive behavior when returns are processed at retailers' return counter. TRE's Verify Return Authorization System (the current version is called Verify-2â„¢) is designed to identify the 1 percent of consumers whose behaviors mimic return fraud or abuse "”a $13.9 billion to 17.7 billion per year problem in the United States.
When a consumer wants to make a return, we will scan the original sales transaction receipt and/or swipe the individual's driver's license or government-issued ID card to make an identification of the person and his/her unique return behavior. As customers return merchandise, the system compares variables such as return frequency, dollar amounts and/or time against a set of prescribed rules that form that particular retailer's return policy.
Data collected by Verify-2 is stored within a state-of-the art, secure data center. To safeguard consumers' personal information, TRE takes security measures including maintaining physical, electronic and procedural safeguards. Verify-2 provides far greater security than practices that are common in some retail stores, such as collecting consumer information on hardcopy return slips or saving consumer information on paper logs. Verify-2 complies with all local, state and federal laws regarding the security of the information; and TRE also conducts regular audits to validate that Verify-2 exceeds industry standards, including the Payment Card Industry (PCI) and ISO 17799.
Verify-2 does NOT use any of the following factors in authorizing returns:
Consumers can contact TRE by sending an e-mail to ReturnActivityReport@TheRetailEquation.com or a letter to The Retail Equation, P.O. Box 51373, Irvine, CA 92619-1373. Requests should include the consumer's name and a phone number where he/she can be contacted. When TRE calls, the company will ask for the consumer's driver's license number and state, to enable a database search. TRE representatives prefer to call consumers to avoid sending personal information via e-mail or mail.
While I know that you are not happy with the implantation of this policy, I hope that you better understand the process and the reason for our decision. We do appreciate your feedback and you can be assured that it will be forwarded to the decision makers in that area.
Thank you again for contacting Best Buy. We appreciate your business and do hope that we can serve you in the future.
Senior Executive Resolution Specialist
Best Buy Co. Inc.
>>>>>> This was my reply to them:
The response tells me nothing I did not already know and it does nothing to improve my disposition. My dissatisfaction with Best Buy grows the longer the issue remains unaddressed. I eagerly await a non-copy-pasted or sanitized response from "the decision makers in that area" as you so eloquently put it.
I wonder what Best Buy can do to prevent dissatisfied customers from adding to these headlines:
The Death of Best Buy
Best Buy stock falls on bad news from RadioShack
Can Best Buy Recover?
Further Dissatisfied Best Buy Customer.