Complaint / review text:
Perhaps Best Buy should rename thier stores - Best Buyer Beware! I've been a long time patron of Best Buy but all that has changed since this incident. I'll try and keep this as brief as possible.
In 2005 I purchased a Panasonic hdd dvr w / hard drive for $499 plus tax and an extended warranty for 4 years. The warranty cost $49.99.in 2009 I renewed my warranty for 3 more years at a cost of $95 through Best Buy's affilliate N. E. W.
Last week the recorder crashed and I took it to B. Buys' Geek Squad and two days later they called and said the unit will have to be "junked out" because repair costs would be higher than units' worth and come to the store and they will help me find a replacement.
After an extended wait to talk to an associate my turn came and he began to search store inventory for a replacement, I knew this could be a bit of a problem as these hard drive dvrs are being phased out of retail stores by the cable and satelite companies. After 15 min. Of searching for a comparable replacement the rep. Said "this vcr/dvd unit is as close as I can come to finding a comparable replacement. That's when the "fun" began.
I explained to him that "that" unit had no built in hard drive and anyone who has owned one of these knows how great they are for editing etc. As opposed to the regular vcr/dvr combo unit without a hard drive. I told him this type of replacement was not acceptabe for me as it was not even close to the product I had under extended warranty. I asked to talk to the manager and he gave me the same story - "we're sorry but this is the best we can do and it is store policy, your unit has depreciated and the value of a comparable machine is estimated at $291, I will upgrade the unit to a $309 unit but that's the best we can do, it's not our fault that we don't carry the hard drive type units anymore". They would not look "outside" at other stores for me to get me what I had and said take this unit, a gift card or a store credit, that's all we can do.
I asked about a cash refund but my answer to that, again, sorry we are not allowed to do that. I took the $309 dollar vcr/dvr combo home and put it into service and there is no comparison in features etc between the old and this new unit. I contacted Best Buy customer relations after sitting on hold for 35 min and got the same run-around and he transferred me to the warranty people themselves.
I talked to two different people there and the first lady was "half way intelligent" and understood my problem but said "this is above my paygrade, I'll let you speak to my supervisor". Well the supervisor lady was absolutely useless as a customer relations person, she simply said " I'm sorry, there's nothing more I can do, have you talked to the manager at the Best Buy store?" Another dead end...
Now here's the exact wording of my extended warranty contract - "At our discretion, your product may be replaced with a new or rebuilt compareble product that meets the manufacturer's specifications of the original product, or you will receive a reimbursement (in the form of a check, voucher, or gift card) in an amount equal to the original purchase price."
Notice, there's no mention of depreciation or "as close as we can come to the original product" I have since purchased, two days later, a Magnavox hdd dvr from amazon.com. Best Buy has lost me and several future customers after I spread the message of how I was treated and the indifference by all those that should be interested in keeping customers. I have also filed a complaint with the B. B. B.
I hope this helps someone else decide where to do their shopping and be wary of extended warranty contracts. This company N. E. W. And Best buy make up the wording as they need to to to keep them from fufilling their contractual obligations and certainly are not interested in losing "just one more customer". Very short sighted and another example of "hooray for us and sorry Charlie", that's the best we can do.