Best Buy is the Worst Buy!

My office is in the Lansing, Michigan, area. My family and business have been with Verizon Wireless since the mid-1990s. I had a Franklin planner until 2000, when I bought a Handspring Visor PDA. I went on from there to Palm products, until the most recent, a Palm Pre Plus. The one prior was the Palm Treo 755p, which was my first combined phone/PDA, now called a smartphone. For 18 months, I’ve been wanting to get a “Verizon” iPhone and reading up on all the rumor rags regarding if/when Verizon would finally get the coveted iPhone.

Not until this spring did I hear someone from Verizon unofficially say that “even when Verizon does get the iPhone, it’ll be an iPhone ‘light’.” Well, if I can’t have a full-blown iPhone with Verizon, then I don’t want one. I went in to my local Best Buy (Lansing, MI) and talked with one of the representatives in the Mobile Department in early May. I told her what I was looking for, and she strongly urged me to wait until June, when the iPhone 4 would be released. So I waited. And I researched a switch and inevitable early termination fine, because I just got my Pre Plus in January on a new 24-month plan.

On June 25, I went back in, hoping to get an iPhone 4, only to be told they had only pre-orders in stock, which were of course reserved for those who pre-ordered them. So, I settled for a 3GS. The salesman who assisted me assured me that AT&T [or Apple] has a 30-day Buyer’s Remorse Policy that would allow me to fully test the phone and the AT&T service for 30 days. I told him that what I really wanted was the iPhone 4 and would test the service with the 3GS and then upgrade to the 4 if the service was satisfactory. He assured me that I could, indeed, upgrade to the 4 without penalty or restocking fee under that policy, or even cancel my service and stay with Verizon.

Anyway, I got the 3GS and decided that would be for my husband, since he needed a new phone now and my Pre Plus was fine. It solved two issues: he needed a phone, and we could test the iPhone and the AT&T service. He liked it so much that we decided we’d be silly to think that we would now be able to go back to Verizon, so I called AT&T and ordered the iPhone 4 for myself.

My plan at that point was to play with both phones and decide whether he would like to have the iPhone 4, instead of the 3GS, so we would have the latest technology for both of us. I knew that, by the time I received my iPhone 4, I would still have two to three weeks to test it out and let him play with it and decide whether to upgrade it.

Well, the time came; we’re into his plan like 27 days. He said to go ahead and make the leap, pay the extra $50 and upgrade him. Here we come Face Time! Geeky, I know, but I thought it could be cool. Anyway, I back up his phone and restore it to factory settings and head off to Best Buy, which has confirmed for me that they have iPhone 4 in stock but only in the 32 GB model, which I’ve decided I would requisition for myself and give him mine: upgrade price $150.

I walk into the store and take a seat. I explain to the salesgirl why I’m there and my entire plan and how I can’t wait to upgrade to the iPhone 4 for Frank, since I love mine so much. And she says, “Is it within the 14-day return period?” HUH?! Oh, no she didn’t.

I spoke with the department or area manager, and then had them call over the store manager. I explained the whole scenario and who told me what, and she said, “The policy is straight from Apple. We can’t override it. They instituted the policy just before the iPhone 4 was released because they [Apple] didn’t want people returning their 3GS phones to upgrade to the 4.” She printed out a duplicate receipt for reference on the date and handed it to me and asked if there was anything else she could do for me. I asked her why the phone is 14 days if the service is 30, and she said the policy applies only to Apple phones; all others are 30 days.

I went over to the AT&T store across the street. They rolled their eyes and said “our policy is 30 days. Go back over and ask for Jay, the guy who runs the AT&T Mobility area, and tell him Willis [AT&T Manager] sent you and see what he’s willing to do for you. We can’t exchange their inventory.” I went back. Jay was out for several days, past the 30-day period. I got back into the car and called AT&T and explained it all to them. They asked for the number to the store and called to get the story. She told me she talked to the salesgirl I talked to and were told the same story, and there’s nothing they can do but suggested I contact Apple directly.

Once I returned home and calmed down, I looked at the receipt. There is no mention of this policy anywhere on the receipt. I’m including shots of the pertinent language on the receipt regarding Returns and Restocking of Apple products. 

It was too much hassle for me to pursue it further at that point, because Frank then says he asked for the upgrade only because I seemed to like the phone so much. He’s really fine with the lines of the 3GS.

BE FOREWARNED! If you’re planning to buy an iPhone, don’t do it at Best Buy. Just go straight to AT&T, where you can get the full benefit of the 30-day trial period.

About Kris Krol

Kris Krol is an attorney in private practice in Lansing, Michigan. Since 1998, she has increased her knowledge about the “business” of practicing of law. Specifically, she has learned how to streamline her practice and to maximize various software solutions in the practice of law. In 2005, she began an 18-month transition to a completely paperless office.
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2 Responses to Best Buy is the Worst Buy!

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Best Buy Is Not a Good Source for iPhone | Michigan Legal Technology Solutions --

  2. GALE says:

    I have recently had the same experience returning an iphone. I felt that I was at war with a store. Even when I showed the clerk my contract stating a 30 day return policy on equipment and contract she insisted it was 14 days and since I had the iphone past the 14 days she would charge me the 325.00 penalty. For a solid week I was on the phone with the carrier or at the store where the iphone was purchased. I finally was able to return the iphone and cancel the contract 2 days prior to the 30 day return/cancel date. What an ordeal. I now have a prepaid phone and I feel like a very heavy weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I still have flash backs though. Scares me. Not because I would have to pay a penalty but because a clerk in a small store could have so much control over what I can or cannot do with my property/money in spite of documents that disputed the clerks demands. I was preparing to go to court.

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