I can’t find my refrigerator (and neither can Best Buy)
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My long, slightly sad, somewhat surprising letter to Best Buy:
(Spoiler, I still can’t find my refrigerator)
My name is Corey Floyd. My wife and I just bought a new home in Philadelphia. One of the first things we needed to do was buy a few new appliances. After talking to a great appliance specialist at your Philadelphia store, we decided to purchase them from Best Buy.
On February 1st we purchased a washer and dryer. We came back on February 4th to purchase our refrigerator and dishwasher.
Your specialist also explained the your outstanding service plans, so we purchased 4, 4 year plans, 1 for each of our new appliances.
We were really excited.
The washer and dryer arrived on Monday the 6th, on time. Unfortunately the delivery crew would not take the washer and dryer up to our 2nd floor wash room. They explained that it was against Best Buy policy. We were disappointed to hear this as we were not told this before hand, nor had anyone asked us if we had a 2nd floor laundry. All the same, I was not very bent out of shape since I knew that I could have a few friends help me get them up the stairs.
Since we live in an older section of Philadelphia and have a very narrow front door, I knew that the refrigerator would be much more of an issue to deliver. In fact, prior to purchasing the refrigerator, we did a lot of research, and decided that in order to had reasonable priced newer style of refrigerator, we would need to take remove the frame from the front door. Anticipating this, we scheduled a delivery date 3 weeks in the future. We then made arrangements with a trusted contractor to remove the door frame (and then reinstall it) on the day of the delivery. We picked Feb 24th to do this.
(Ok, we’re back)
At purchase time it was explained that we would receive a call on the night of the 23rd to coordinate a delivery time. I planned to forward this information to our contractor as as soon as I received that call.
We never received a call.
On the morning of the 24th, I found the receipt and the number to your delivery hotline. They were able to tell me that our delivery window was 4pm-8pm, which would work out really well. I called our contractor straight away and made arrangements for him to arrive around 3pm to begin removing the door frame.
At 1pm we received a call that the delivery truck was 5 minutes away. Normally being early is a good thing, so I cannot fault your delivery crew for this, but I knew we would not be able to take delivery until later in the day.
As I explained the situation to one of the crew, I was surprised when he told me that they did not have a refrigerator to deliver, only a dishwasher.
He said they could install the dishwasher, and that I should call Best Buy. So he began to install the dishwasher.
I immediately called your delivery number and after waiting 10 minutes on hold, spoke to a representative. I explained the situation and gave her my name and phone number. She put me on hold and looked up our information. When she came back, she was also surprised to learn that the crew did not have the refrigerator. She further discovered that no one from the other warehouse (installation/delivery) had picked up the refrigerator from her warehouse (just a delivery warehouse). At this point I started to learn about Best Buy’s delivery logistics.
She asked to speak with one of the members of the installation crew. At that time, the call failed. Since she had my phone number and delivery information, I waited patiently for 5 minutes for her to call back.
She did not call back.
I called again, and waited about another 10 minutes. A different representative answered the phone. She told me that she couldn’t help me, but that she would forward me to the other delivery warehouse, the one that also handles installations. I was placed on hold and then forwarded to another line where I was hold again.
Eventually another representative answered, and I also explained the situation to her. By this time, I was getting good at explaining what had happened. So I was quick and to the point. She placed me on hold so that she could find out what had happened. She discovered the same thing that the first rep (at the other warehouse - the one that delivers, but does not install) had discovered. She also explained that the crew at my house did not work for her warehouse. They worked for another independent contractor. It was a little confusing.
She then asked to talk to one of the installers (like the first representative). I was very careful this time. I made sure I stayed in a part of my house with good phone reception and had the installer take the call there.
After some brief talk, he handed phone back. She explained that the “they” should have picked up the refrigerator, but didn’t.
At this point it became unclear who had not picked up the fridge from who. I was dealing with at least 4 independent entities now: The Best Buy store. The Best Buy Delivery Warehouse. The Best Buy Delivery / Install Warehouse. The independent Contractor who actually performs the installation. (I’m being liberal in my use of “Best Buy”, I am actually not sure if either warehouse is actually owned by Best Buy)
I wasn’t as much of an expert at Best Buy logistics as I originally thought.
Back to the representative. She put me on hold to call the delivery crew’s boss. (That’s the boss at the independent contracting company) After a few minutes, she returned and explained she had left a message. Unfortunately he had not answered so she was also sending him an email, just in case. I asked asked what the next step was. She told me we would have to wait and that she would call me as soon as she heard back him.
She never called back.
At this time the install crew was just about finished with dishwasher. It had been a little more than an hour, not too bad.
The installer asked me to sign a sheet confirming the successful install. I signed (they did install the dishwasher, so that seemed fair).
Then, I have to admit, I told a lie. I said that the representative from the warehouse asked to have him call his boss to see what was happening. He did. After a few words, he hung up and told me that his boss was checking on it and let me know a little later.
He never called.
After about an hour or so, I began to think it was time to call again. I called the 2nd warehouse, since they were in charge of installations. I spoke to another rep. I explained what was happening - very succinctly (I said I was getting good). She said it was still being looked into. They had not heard back from the contractor boss. She said she would call when they did hear back.
She never called back.
Another hour or so passed, it was almost 4PM and I had been holding off the contractor I hired to tear off my door frame. He was finally on his way. I still had hope since my delivery window was 4-8PM.
I decided to call the Philadelphia Best Buy where I had purchased the appliances from. After waiting on hold, a young lady picked up. I explained what had happened. (I was still good at explaining the situation this point, but the story was getting longer and I wasn’t as enthusiastic about telling it.)
She took my name and number and said she need to look something up. She put me on hold, at this point I think something happened because the call failed. I waited for a few minutes.
She did not call back.
I called back. This time being on hold was much longer but I waited.
(At this point I should note that this was a Friday afternoon. Though I work from home, and can make a few calls if needed, I did have work to do before the weekend.)
After a few minutes the same rep answered the phone. She recognized my voice. She immediately offered to provide a number to the warehouse where they could help me. I explained that they actually were note able to help me, though they were trying, that is why I was calling the store.
She insisted that I call again. I then asked if she could find out what was going on. (I must say I was a little “firm” here. I was doing my best to remember that all these employees are trying to help and did my best to remain respectful, but I am sure she could detect some stress in my voice.)
She was a taken aback a little. She said that she couldn’t help. I suggested that if she could call the warehouse, maybe they would tell her what was happening. She reluctantly agreed and said that she would call back in a few hours. I then explained the I had a contractor on the way and the whole “door frame” situation.
After pleading, she finally agreed to call in 1 hour. It was 5pm.
At about 6pm, there was a knock at the door. I ran downstairs, but was quickly reminded I had ordered Chinese food. I paid the delivery man and we went on his way.
At 7pm I called Best Buy. Buy this time, the contractor I hired had come and gone (he did fix my running toilet and a leaky pipe though, so not a total loss) and I had finished my Hot & Sour soup. I was on hold for a few minutes, but not too long. Amazingly the same representative answered the phone, and recognized me. She said she was just about to call. (I am not too cynical, I really believe that she was).
She said the delivery warehouse (I assume she meant the delivery / installation warehouse) could deliver Monday.
At this time I was frustrated and beaten down. All my coordination and planning were down the drain and I had lost an afternoon of work.
I had an idea though… I thought to myself “Best Buy will really want to make this up to me. I bought 4 appliances, I bought 4 service plans. I applied for and used the Best Buy credit card. I used their home delivery and installation. I was a high value customer!”
So I asked that the Best Buy installers remove the door frame since I could no longer secure a contractor. She said she couldn’t promise BUT she would forward my call back to the Geek Squad Install center to confirm. So I was forwarded. Then after several rings I was forwarded back to her.
She picked up and forwarded me again. I was forwarded back.
This time she said she would tell them, then forwarded me. The phone rang different. I was excited. It kept ringing. After about 2 minutes I hung up and went back to work (I was really falling behind now).
I wasn’t as high value as I thought.
After another 30 minutes, I was in better spirits, so I called again. The same representative answered and said I should call the warehouse with my request. I was firm again, and said that I wanted to speak to a manager.
The manager immediately got on the phone and I began to explain the situation. This time I did it slow, with a lot of detail. After I finished, I suggested it would be appropriate for Best Buy to assume responsibility for removing my door frame. He said it was unfortunate and could not help - He could not tell the delivery company what to do.
That seemed a strange thing to say. Since I can tell people that I hire what I would like them to do. I asked again, and he confirmed that he did not have the power to direct a installation crew what to do.
At this time I felt compelled to point out that it was very sad that Best Buy cannot deliver goods that they sell. In fact it was a horrible, pitiful situation when a multi-billion dollar company can not get a contractor to remove deliver and install a fridge just because they need to do a little extra work.
At this time, he paused. he didn’t answer my question, but instead asked the only thing he could ask: “How much was my contractor charging me to install the fridge?” I told him how much, knowing full well his intention. I felt cheap. I was not calling to get money. I just wanted our new fridge installed in our new home.
In the end I acquiesced, took the money, and asked when the fridge would be delivered so I can try to make arrangements. Surprisingly he told me did not know. Sometime Monday, but he couldn’t be sure. He said the warehouse would call to confirm. He gave me the warehouse number once again just in case.
So here I am, it is Friday night, I MAY have a fridge delivered on Monday, and if I do, I will have to beg a contractor to get it in the house.
Your organization failed me at every level. As nice as all of your employees and contractors were, they were all impotent and powerless to do anything to help.
And as nice as everyone one was, after speaking to no less than 8 individuals, not one person has ever called me back even though almost all of them assured me that they would.
It cost you $250 to buy me off, and leave me bitter about the whole experience. You could have used the same $250, contacted one of your contractors, and worked out a way to have him do the whole job AND you would have had a customer for life.
You had an opportunity and you blew it.
I have 4, 4 year service contracts with Best Buy, so I have to have a relationship with you for at least the foreseeable future. But for me to ever spend money in your store ever again, I really need someone from your company to convince me as to why I would do that, and honestly, I am not sure that is even possible.
Monday Feb 27th, 10 PM Monday has come and gone. Around 4PM I decided to call the warehouse since they never called me to confirm a time. I was place on hold. After about 20 minutes, a representative answered. I told her her my name, and after a few minutes on hold, she certainly knew who I was and how many times I had called before the weekend. She only knew that her warehouse no longer has the refrigerator. She said to find out anything else, I would need to contact the installer. So she gave me 2 numbers.
I called the first, and there was no answer. I called the second and a surprised man answered in the way that a person answers when you call the house. I asked “Is this the Delivery company?” He replied “Who is this?”. I never got his name or his company’s name. He did say that he would look up my order and call me back to schedule delivery.
He has not called back.
Tuesday, Feb 28th, 2PM It is now Tuesday afternoon and I am on hold again.
One of your representatives is trying to reach the installation company (Optima?). She was on the phone with them making arrangements, and placed them on hold for minute so that she could tell me why was going on.
While she explained the situation to me, they hung up on her. She is now calling back…
I think it is important to note that no one from your company or any of your contractors has ever contacted me. Not once.
I hope you’ll excuse the slight bit of humor I weaved in and do not take this letter lightly because of it. It was quite a long letter and I needed a way to break up the monotony of writing it ,and quite frankly it helped me divert some of my anger over the situation in a less destructive way.
Wednesday, Feb 29th, 12PM No one called me. Surprise. So I called again. After being on hold for about 20 minutes. I spoke to a rep who after putting me on hold for 5-10 minutes researching the situation, gave me the number of Optima Service Solutions. She had no information since the rep I spoke to yesterday was not in.
I called the number, but it was CLEARLY not for customers. I spoke to another woman who also put me on hold. When she came back, she told me that I was getting the fridge delivered tomorrow. I asked what time, she didn’t know, BUT, she said I would be called tonight to confirm a delivery window.
If they call tonight, it will be the first call I received from anyone affiliated with Best Buy since this problem began, 5 days ago.
Update 5 (final update)
I have been a bit busy, but I can report that the refridgerator finally arrived on March 10th. But not without a fight.
I skipped a few updates, but suffice to say I made many more phone calls, and the delivery company missed another delivery on March 1st.
Tasha was even more fed up with me and on that night we went down to the Philadelphia Best Buy and had the fortune of running into the General Manager, Jared. He let Tasha vent and took another $500 off of the refridgerator. It was appreciated, but was honestly hard to even deal with at that point. We insisted that he are care of all the coordination with the delivery company. He did, and they scheduled delivery for March 8th.
If I told you they missed the March 8th delivery, would you believe me?
Anyways, at this point we were locked in, we had a $1200 for $400, it was almost impossible to get out of. Tasha had a quick phone call with Jared, and he finally sent his own geek squad crew to go get the fridge from the contractors and deliver it themselves.
I no longer believed a word they said, but at the same time still needed to get the fridge through our front door. I couldn’t keep bringing our contractor out. So I did the only thing I could: I had the front door removed, widened, and had a new door hung.
So yes, I had to replace my front door because Best Buy could not deliver an appliance in 3 tries.
The good news is that they did come on March 10th, and the saga has officially come to a close.
In all honesty, I cannot recommend buying an appliance from Best Buy, but it is not entirely about the missed appointments. It is more about the fact that no one ever seemed to care, even at the very end I felt like we were perceived as more of a nuisance. Although Jared was nice enough and eventually got our refridgerator to us, I never felt like it was a priority.
Aside from a message board conversation with 5 day turn arounds, I have never been contacted by Best Buy corporate. I filled out a customer feedback form with very unsatisfactory ratings (but without any angry language), and no one has ever called/emailed me about my experience. Even after the fridge was delivered, no one called to confirm that the delivery went well.
If any of the above had happened, I could imagine that someone in the Best Buy organization took our situation seriously and that they were taking steps to improve their process. But instead I am left to conclude that my experience is not unique, and this is just business as usual.