The buy that wasn’t the best…


I decided to buy my mother a laptop for a combined Mother’s Day & birthday present and further rationalized the capital expense by thinking I could spend dad’s Father’s Day & birthday money on it as he is no longer with us.

So, after a bit of research I found a laptop I thought would be suitable and found the cheapest price was at Best Buy.   On Sunday we toddled down to our Best Buy store where we found they did not actually have one on display and where there was a bloody useless computer salesman!   If he works on commission his family must be starving!

Knowing that the laptop was on BB’s online store, and having spoken to an incredibly helpful Intel rep in the store who confirmed that my choice was a good one for an 80 year old woman (even though he had no vested interest as this laptop does not use Intel), we came home where I proceeded to order it online.

Put in my credit card number – declined.  Oh, that’s weird – pretty sure I paid this month.    Oh well, they take PayPal – let’s do that.   Declined!?  What’s going on?!   Seeing how utterly frustrated I was (major hint might’ve been the F-words!)  the manservant whipped out his credit card and the purchase went through smoothly.

A while later I checked my email and found that order confirmation but also a message from PayPal saying they’d debited my account for a Best Buy purchase!!!   Of course there’s no “cancel order”  button so I rang PayPal & explained that the website said it was declined so I wanted this cancelled.  PayPal guy says “we’ll have to conference in Best Buy to get it cancelled”  –  I’m thinking “what does that even mean”…   After about 10 minutes waiting a Best Buy man comes on the line and I repeat my issue and he says he’ll have to transfer me somewhere else….

Enter Best Buy woman….   I repeat the whole “it was declined, but now I’m charged”  story.  She asks me to confirm billing address and phone numbers and then shipping address and when I give the manservant’s work address as the shipping address she says “I will need his permission to talk to you”   What?!!!   I said “It’s *my* PayPal account.  Doesn’t matter she says I can’t talk to you without his permission.   Furious I stropped upstairs with the cordless phone, jabbed it at the manservant and said “tell them you give your permission to talk to me”   – his expression said WTF  but he obliged.  BB woman then agrees to cancel that order and PayPal man who’s been listening in confirms the charge is being taken off.   Afterwards I asked the manservant “did she ask you to confirm that you were actually the manservant?”   –  no, she didn’t.   How ridiculous – first I’m told I have to get his permission to talk about *my* Paypal account and then they didn’t even bother to confirm his identity!

This entire idea is the result of having to use mum’s  7 year old laptop on my recent stay with her and being frustrated at the slowness of it; – mostly lack of memory because she’s filled it with photos.  This new Dell Inspiron has a 1Tb hard-drive so that should take her a while to fill and the manservant has just brought it home so now I’m off to set it up. I’m sure it’s going to go really smoothly…..




22 responses

  1. You should’ve just deepened your voice and said, “Yes, this is the manservant speaking,” and then switched back to your regular voice once you fooled the Best Buy rep. You could’ve even clomped your shoes on the floor to make it sound like he was walking to/from the phone.

    • If I’d known they weren’t going to bother confirming who he was I might’ve tried this….. jeez, I could’ve just grabbed someone walking past the front of the house which is closer than where he was sitting.

  2. I stopped going to Best Buy, both its brick-and-mortar stores and its website, after they botched my purchase of a new laptop for my son. The sales rep at the store was actually helpful, but they were out of stock of the Sony Vaio I wanted to buy. He suggested I order online. I did, then discovered they had added $50 to the charge for their extended warranty program, which I hadn’t requested. A phone call to Best Buy got this “yeah you did so!” and a call to the company which administered the Best Buy credit card got this snarky, I-don’t-give-a-shit “customer representative” who repeated the same thing the Best Buy rep said. I wanted to return the laptop after that, but my son was in desperate need of a new computer—he managed to destroy the one I’d bought for him earlier for college—so I sighed in disgust and chalked it up to “never again.”

    Anyway, I’m sorry you had to go through this. I guess I’d suggest if you ever have to buy a computer for your mother again, do it in Australia. Or bring your own laptop, if you can stand lugging it through security and onto the jet!

    • It’s so frustrating when customer service people don’t seem to care when it’s their job to at least pretend they do! Electronics (actually *everything*) is so much more expensive in Australia than here. I have a Samsung tablet that my son gave me which I take – even that I have to take out of my backpack at security. I end up on mum’s laptop as my fingers get tired of trying to tap out more than a line on the tablet. I don’t know how people do emails on phone screens.

  3. Oh my. Same problem here – little by little I am changing accounts and so on in to my name, since I am sick of having to get his authority. A case of “do you want to speak to the man – or to the person who knows what is going on?” And I am still trying to get a refund from an electricity supplier from a mistake six months ago. One department keeps approving the refund, and another department keeps re-instating the original account mistake. Sheeesh . . . Lucky we are not still living in the ‘dark old days’ of face to face service and payment in cash LOL

    • LOL re the reinstatement of the same mistake – it’s not funny but it is..They could use that example in a training skit. My mother had so many problems when my father died – most places wouldn’t transfer things over so she had to start again with new accounts which in some instances meant higher charges.

  4. Geeeez. I hate BB, I have for a long time. The few times I went in there the music was almost deafening and I actually needed help, but the sales people either would ignore me completely and help someone else before I could grab them or else they had no idea where to look for a recently released DVD I wanted for one of my nephews. Like, you spend hours here every day, I just walked in, where are the endcaps with the new ones? And I found it before he did–even after he looked it up. I think it was by the register. I don’t think I’ve bought from them online, unless it was something that I bought elsewhere and was fulfilled by them but if I did I had no problem. I would continue to check your CC for charges from them for a while.

    • Oh yeah – that’s a good idea. I didn’t think of checking my credit card – makes sense to as it was “declined” same as the PayPal.

      And – I was looking at FitBits there and they were all mixed up on the hangers so I asked a guy which was which and he said “I’ll go get someone to help”….. we waited about 10 minutes (there were other things near there to look at) and we saw him come back out and never even looked our way as he went past. LOL – I said to the manservant I bet they just go out back and wait until they think the person has given up waiting! If he really wanted to help he would’ve come back and said he couldn’t find anyone or someone would be with us soon or just bent his back a little and looked at the tags!

  5. Someone I work with just bought a new laptop from Best Buy. Told the sales rep they wanted it (partially) as a DVD player for her grandkids on trips. She got home and couldn’t figure out how to get the drive to open in order to load a DVD. She brought the thing to work to ask for help. We found that there is NO DVD drive – it requires an external drive. And it said exactly that on the box the thing came in. Something she should have noticed and the “salesman” should have known.

    I’m still trying to figure out why the “permission” of the recipient (or shipping address) was required for your purchase. I mean, what if it was a surprise gift for him?

    • Exactly! That’s what I said – what if it’s a surprise for him. I could almost imagine the PayPal guy laughing at the conversation he was hearing – it was so stupid.

      Yeah – this one doesn’t have a DVD slot but that doesn’t matter as mum uses USB sticks to put things on. For an 80 year old she’s pretty savvy.

    • I was so happy to see the email saying one had shipped. I imagined that woman cancelling everything. I hope mum is not too attached to her old one and enjoys this – I think she will once she sees how much faster it is. There will be a bit of a learning curve at first.

  6. Happens all the time here. The other one is if I am talking to say a bank and ask Mr FD for some information and then repeat it back to bank and they reply that they cannot take information supplied by a third person! I am the one on the phone and they are just overhearing his voice in the background – how can I remember policy numbers or car registration? I bristle and remind them that they are speaking to me!

  7. This confirms all my experiences at Best Buy! I’ve never bought a computer there (I’m a Mac gal and the Apple stores are grand, in my opinion) but they are equally clueless with digital cameras, etc. Hope your mom ends up loving that computer!

  8. Oh crap, that sucks. This is why I love separate accounts. There’s so much sexism if most people had their way wives would still be called “Mrs. John Smith” and so on. Anyway, the Best Buy sales folks do not get commission. I have no idea what motivates them, but we noticed they’ve gotten worse. We went in recently and asked a question; the sales guy actually walked over and read the tag on the product. We could have done that…..then he handed us the wrong memory card. Fortunately my boyfriend knew the right one to buy. Useless.

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