Eight phone calls.
Two hours and 28 minutes total on hold or explaining my problem to a "Customer Service" representative.
That has been my experience with Best Buy in the past 13 days.
And my $32.01 problem has not been solved yet.
I considered myself a loyal Best Buy customer. In the past year alone, I've purchased three laptops from Best Buy. Apparently, I thought the store was reliable because I never had problems with any products.
Woe to ye who must sit on hold waiting for a Best Buy "Customer Service" agent.
Nevermind the fact that the speakers and the hold music on Best Buy are horrendous. If you ever listened to the hold music on Best Buy, cracking and popping its 1960s tunes, you would never buy any stereo equipment or phones at Best Buy. You'd expect a cutting edge technology store to have at least decent technology. Believe me, I've had 148 minutes of mostly hold music, rarely interrupted by a representative, to listen to.
The original problem was complicated. I tried to buy something as a download and I got an error message. It didn't download.
So, I tried to buy it again, and again. Each time it seemingly got turned down. Then I looked on my checking account and saw that I had been charged for it four times. I still didn't have the darn product. That was my first call to Best Buy "Customer Service." When I couldn't get a person, I drove to the bank for help.
Now, all of the mistaken charges have gone away, except for the original charge of $32.01. Because it was a download and I don't have an actual product to return, they can't seem to wrap their head around me getting a refund.
The next day, I went to an actual store -- Target, not Best Buy -- and bought the product I wanted. Now I have the product, but I've paid for it at two places and only have it one.
"Take the product back to the store," one of the Best Buy reps told me on the phone today.
I never went to the store! I have no product to return.
"Well, why'd you leave the store without the product?" she asked.
I wanted to bang my head against the wall over and over.
I thought I was onto something last week. I got a southern accented man who told me the refund would be processed by Wednesday. It wasn't.
Today, I got one hour and six minutes into a call. The woman was helping. She said, "I'll stay on the phone with you while you talk to this department." She walked me through three different departments without success. Then she said she knew the right department and she put me on hold. That's when my call got lost. The loneliness overwhelmed me. She was the only one who understood my problem and she drifted away on the crappy phone system.
I went to the end of the cue again as an operator said, "Please tell me the problem so I can direct your call."
"No, no, no.... Give me back to the woman who was about to solve my problem," I begged. They couldn't. And the system is set up so she can't call me back or even notify a supervisor that the person she has worked with for an hour got dropped.
Sorry. Start over.
And that's why I question whether it's actually customer service. Service would indicate that someone got some sort of help, which I haven't gotten.
The supervisor I insisted on speaking to today was a little surly.
I mean, I wasn't his cheeriest customer, I'm sure.
"What's your last name, Mike?" I asked.
"I can't tell you that," he said.
"What's your supervisor's name, Mike? Even if he or she isn't there, could I have a name?"
"I can't tell you that," Mike said again.
Maybe the CIA should take some tips from Best Buy because they appear to be good at keep information on the QT.
Unhelpful Mike left it by saying he had to send a note to another department. A note? Really? Is he sending it by pneumatic tube? Is he handwriting it and dropping it in interoffice mail? Where's the technology?
I would hear from the mystery department when they had resolved the issue, unhelpful Mike said.
"So, if it isn't resolved, I won't hear anything?" I asked. "I'll just have to use another 148 cell phone minutes on the phone with Best Buy?"
He didn't have an answer.
Neither do I, but I know where I won't be turning for help next time.
Addendum: About a week after I wrote this blog post, which I sent to Best Buy, I got a call from a Best Buy representative. At the beginning, I wasn't hopeful, as she again reiterated that her records showed I had purchased the software at the store.
Trying not to get frustrated, I promised that I had been sitting in my dining room at the time of purchase and that there was nothing I could do other than forward her the email the company sent which showed the day and the price, nothing else.
She suggested she could give me a credit to Best Buy.
I declined, saying I didn't plan to shop there any more.
This customer service rep was apparently allowed to take a little initiative though. She said she couldn't reimburse me for something bought at the store (I didn't scream at her when she said this) but she did credit me the same amount on a computer I bought online the month before. So, after much frustration, I did get my money back.
I'm not sure that's true for most people who get caught in the ring of hell known as "customer service."
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