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Businesses The Almighty Buck

Best Buy Scans Drivers License For Returns — No More Allowed For 90 Days 503

rullywowr writes "A customer with a defective Blu-Ray disc returns to the Best Buy store where he purchased it. After having his driver's license scanned into the system, he is now banned from returning/exchanging goods for 90 days. This is becoming one of the latest practices big-box stores are using to limit fraud and abuse of the return system — for example, the people who buy a giant TV before the big game and then return it on Monday. Opponents feel this return-limiting concept has this gone too far, including the harvesting of your personal data."
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Best Buy Scans Drivers License For Returns — No More Allowed For 90 Days

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  • by CoderExpert ( 2613949 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:29PM (#39636913)
    It's quite obvious that people are abusing the system and that results in increased prices for everyone. As someone who doesn't abuse that, I welcome the move so we honest people get things cheaper. Screw those who ruin things for everyone else.
    • by Soporific ( 595477 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:31PM (#39636951)

      I can see this as a good thing if it's for similar or big ticket items, but a bad thing if it's for DVD's, etc. -DNRTFA


      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:41PM (#39637105)

        So if your second TV is also defective, you can't return it because this 90 day delay outlasts the defective product return time.

        There are situations where this is a bad idea, but I have nothing against trying to crack down on the 'free rental' or 'free replacement' scams that drive up prices for honest buyers. The proeblem is, I don't know if there is any solution that won't have a greater detrimental effect on honest buyers than on scammers. Repeat scammers should be relatively easy to recognize in some data mining, so you can give them restricted return rights, maybe that would be the best way to handle it.

        I'm also curious just how much product is stolen through swapped return scams, I've heard it discussed, but nothing resembling an official dollar value.

        • Presumably, it's one unique item per 90 days.

          This is not a new policy. I bought a Kindle Fire on release day and ended up returning it - they scanned my DL then. This was November of 2011.

          • What was wrong with the Kindle tablet?

            Forgot to add to my post below: No hassle buying from amazon/paypal is why online retailers are succeeding, and restrictive buying is why Best Buy is failing. Buyers want an easy experience for returns, not a hard one.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by badpool ( 1721056 )
              I'm not sure what you're saying. At least for me, shipping an item back is much less convenient than driving to the store.
              • by Keith Mickunas ( 460655 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @06:38PM (#39637787) Homepage

                Amazon provides you a return label. You seal up the box, put on the label, drop it at a UPS Store or some other such place. No lines, less fuss.

                Granted for me there's a UPS Store on my way to work, so it's easier than most other stores, but even if that wasn't the case, the lack of waiting in line is a plus. Particularly at Fry's, where every return has to be approved by multiple people, and sometimes you have to take a form back to the register to get your actual money or credit back. While Fry's is good about taking just about anything back for any reason, the process is a nuisance.

                • by uncqual ( 836337 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @06:51PM (#39637937)

                  While Fry's is good about taking just about anything back for any reason, the process is a nuisance.

                  Although always read the return policy carefully. Unfortunately the guy in front of me a couple years ago apparently hadn't done so before "renting" a portable air conditioner from Fry's for a couple days during a heat wave. He wasn't at all happy when Fry's refused to take it back.

                  As a customer who doesn't do such things, I was happy to see them enforce their policy as every time a customer "rents" via buy/return, it raises prices for everyone else. (I think they would have exchanged it if it was defective which seems fair enough).

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          So if your second TV is also defective, you can't return it because this 90 day delay outlasts the defective product return time.

          No, presumably, defective items can always be exchanged.
          It's high time that USA also gets "All sales are final" rules, like most of the world.
          Having people return fully working items that then have to be sold cheap drives up prices for all of us who don't play that game.

          • From what I can tell, allowing returns is a store policy thing rather than a US law; see e.g. http://www.enotes.com/consumer-issues-reference/purchases-and-returns#returning-consumer-purchases [enotes.com]

            I've also found returns to usually be possible the other countries I've lived in (Norway, Ireland). I would suspect that this does not drive up prices, because it presumably leads to higher income for the store than not offering it, or the stores wouldn't. I know I've seen recommendations to offer this for new busine

            • by TheRealGrogan ( 1660825 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @08:09PM (#39638775)

              Most of the manufacturers that sell to big box retailers take the returns back from the retailers no questions asked, too. It's just the price of doing business with big retailers. It works out in the wash.

              I first learned this when I was younger... I had a job at a factory owned by a popular carpet cleaner/vacuum/sweeper manufacturer. My job was to manage the returns from Canadian retailers. At first I was doing what I thought was right. They entrusted me to do a job. I had places on the forms I was given to reject the returns, and give a reason. Most of the time the units were just used and jam packed full of dirt, and the reason for the return was "doesn't work". Obviously, it did work. Anyway, the head office got on my ass (yes, the suit talked to me himself on the phone) and basically I wasn't reeaaallly supposed to do that unless they were just some joe blow appliance store. When it was a big retailer I was to just process the returns no questions asked and salvage what I could. Once I received them, they were mine to deal with... clean them up for sale as "seconds" or "reconditioned" or keep any useful parts. It was a big "whatever" to the company.

              These big box retailers have a lot of clout and get treated differently than smaller stores. They don't need to give people a hard time about returns.

          • It's high time that USA also gets "All sales are final" rules, like most of the world. Having people return fully working items that then have to be sold cheap drives up prices for all of us who don't play that game.

            Liberal return policies make customers more likely to buy items due to the perceived safety net of said policy, resulting in greater sales, driving down prices for all of us. Plus, restocking fees exist expressly to discourage those who "borrow" items. The only time ID should be requested is when the customer cannot present a receipt.

        • What they are attempting to prevent is those folks who buy the damn thing on Friday and return it on Monday as not being what they wanted. If it's being returned because it doesn't work, that's a different issue and should be gladly handled by the retailer as usual.

        • Maybe it's a lot like piracy and you can't hurt the bad guys without hurting the good guys even more.

      • by slack_justyb ( 862874 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @06:24PM (#39637617)

        but a bad thing if it's for DVD's

        I think the problem is that people forget consumer protection laws. If something does not work out of box it fails merchantability (see UCC Article 2 subsection 2-314 paragraph 2 for a clearer picture.)

        DVDs can and do have manufactoring flaws, I reject the notion that exercising the right to merchantability requires the party to enter into agreements with third party services. I can see where this kind of monitoring service would be great for items that are still in working condition, but if it is broke, the person who sold it to you, unless stated "as-is", has the implied duty to repair and if it cannot be repaired, replace the item in question.

        Consumers should reject this whole notion on bad-out-of-box items, especially Blu-Rays and DVDs.

      • by Aighearach ( 97333 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @06:37PM (#39637771) Homepage

        In Oregon they can't refuse a return for 14 days, 30 for defects.

    • by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:32PM (#39636961) Homepage Journal
      License scan?
      Listen, man:
      Call Holder, and
      Say it's voting, man.
      Burma Shave
    • by Ferzerp ( 83619 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:32PM (#39636965)

      You assume that the store has the right to refuse a return if you refuse to provide this information or if you're a frequent shopper that has more than one purchase of faulty goods. The agreement with the store is to exchange your money for a working product. If the product doesn't work, and the store refuses to refund or exchange it, they may have issues.

      They may have a leg to stand on if it were refunds only, but the summary specifically includes exchanges in to this mix.

      • by kidgenius ( 704962 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:38PM (#39637067)
        And do you have a copy of your receipt that shows that the store and you made the agreement to which you refer? No? Then too bad. Otherwise, they don't need your info, and they aren't saying they need it. For instance, Target only uses your DL when you don't have receipts.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dahamma ( 304068 )

        Actually, stores aren't required to take returns - if an item is defective it's the manufacturer's responsibility to honor the warranty. Stores take the returns because if some do and some don't, unless there are other significant reasons to prefer the ones that don't no one will bother shopping there (which hopefully happens to Best Buy after this crap).

        What they don't have the right to do is state a return policy and then change the policy on you after you buy something. It's not very clear if that's wh

        • by mcavic ( 2007672 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:51PM (#39637263)
          The store may not have to take a return, but then I can go to my news station and report my experience with the store. Honoring the return would be cheaper than negative publicity.

          It's true that the manufacturer is responsible for their products. But then again, I'm not doing business with the manufacturer. I'm doing business with the store.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @06:04PM (#39637407)

          That depends on the jurisdiction. My province has consumer laws that specifically require goods be sold in merchantable quality, and that defects be corrected by the seller within X days. If I buy a defective TV from Best Buy, they are 100% responsible for correcting the situation. This may be an exchange though, IIRC supporting refunds isn't mandatory.

        • Where I'm from it is the store that makes the agreement with the customer, not the manufacture. Its covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act. Not only must the product not be defective, it must also be fit for the purpose it was sold for and last a "reasonable" amount of time.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by AnttiV ( 1805624 )

          That is probably wildly different from location to location. For example, here in Finland, any store is required by the law to handle any returns/warranty. The store you bought the product from is required and responsible for all exchanges and repairs the product in question needs while under warranty, to the extent that it shall not cost anything to the customer.

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @06:17PM (#39637527) Homepage Journal

          Actually, stores aren't required to take returns...

          At least in California, that's not true. Under sections 1792-1795.8 of California Civil Code, unless the seller explicitly disclaims a warranty by attaching something to the product itself that explicitly states that the product is being sold as-is with no warranty. Otherwise, as a general rule, the seller must accept the product back for a minimum of 30 days, by law.

          • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @08:19PM (#39638855)

            I meant to post the link as well, doh. From the CA Attorney General's office (is that official enough? ;)

            http://oag.ca.gov/consumers/general/refund_policies [ca.gov]

            Consumers have come to expect stores or catalog companies to offer a refund, credit or exchange when they return items. Sellers are not required by law to accept returned items unless they are defective. However, California law requires that retailers who have a policy of not providing a cash refund, credit or exchange when an item is returned with proof of purchase within 7 days of purchase must inform consumers about their refund policies by conspicuously placing a written notice about their policies, in language that consumers can understand, so that it can be easily seen and read.

            As I said in the other comment, it doesn't have to be as-is (which is a separate statue) - as long as it's not defective when purchased they don't have to take it back...

        • by countach ( 534280 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @06:17PM (#39637529)

          I don't know where you live and what the law is there, but I think this is a fable that stores would like you to think. Imagine if you had to research what little manufacturer in western China made the widget you bought, and you had to contact them to get your widget fixed. Nope, that's not what the law says.

        • by Galestar ( 1473827 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @06:19PM (#39637561) Homepage

          Actually, stores aren't required to take returns

          Not according to the laws where I live - any probably any contract law where you live. Buying a product from a merchant is a contract, and said contract includes an implicit understanding that the product is of merchantable quality. If the product is defective, the contract is void and the price you paid for it must be returned.

        • by pla ( 258480 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @06:24PM (#39637621) Journal
          Actually, stores aren't required to take returns - if an item is defective it's the manufacturer's responsibility to honor the warranty.

          Most US states have non-disclaimable "warrant of merchantability" laws for anything represented as "new" - Which means, in summary, that the store guarantees that they have sold you new, fully-functional merchandise. So yes, they have to take it back, end of story.

          That said, good luck getting that enforced this without paying more in court costs than most consumer goods.
      • Yep. I really don't belive that denying refunds or exchange will fly.

        What they can do is to make the process more complex if you got a refund recently, like actualy testing the product you are claiming is broken,

      • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:49PM (#39637223)

        Well said.

        If the item is genuinely defective, stores have credit card agreements that REQUIRE them to accept the item for return or exchange. No exceptions.

        Even if the store still refuses, you can just mail the item back to the store, use delivery confirmation, and then provide the DC number to your credit card. You will get refunded the money. And the store will lose the money regardless of any 90 day or 3-strike policy.

        BTW this is why I like amazon and ebay/paypal - no hassles. Though I've received a lot of junk over the years from dishonest sellers, so far I've not lost any money (except for return postage). Just recently I bought a used Wii that was never delivered and amazon gave me a $105 gift card only two days later. I already spent that cash on another item (kindle w/ web browser).

    • by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:38PM (#39637075)

      It's quite obvious that people are abusing the system and that results in increased prices for everyone. As someone who doesn't abuse that, I welcome the move so we honest people get things cheaper. Screw those who ruin things for everyone else.

      The policy is unnecessarily invasive and it will easily hurt legitimate customers. While it might be rare, it is completely possible that a legitimate customer will purchase at least two items in a 90 day window and more than one of them ends up being defective.

      They need to find a better way to prevent fraud.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:59PM (#39637353)
        The guy did A LOT OF RETURN ACTIVITY:

        Peel said he had several returns after Christmas, then a few other returns and exchanges — all with a receipt. That, apparently, was enough to put him on The Retail Equation's most-wanted list and Best Buy's no-returns-or-exchanges-for-90-days list.

        The Retail Equation says its consumer profiles use frequency of returns, dollar amounts, whether a return-receipt was involved and purchase history. It does not use information on age, race, gender, nationality, marital status or whether the consumer is a Yankees or Red Sox fan.
        • by Matheus ( 586080 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @06:42PM (#39637831) Homepage

          I'm glad AC's comment got modded into visibility. He's apparently the only one who RTFA. This is not an across the board policy for all purchased merchandise. This is a "probation" of sorts that people who fail the analytics get put into to reduce at least the frequency of fraud.

          As stated in the article they accept over 99% of all returns. Only people who show a pattern of potentially illegitimate returns get put on this limitation.

          A lot of people are crying foul for a variety of reasons... maybe this isn't the best method but it's about all they have and they are literally losing Billions to a pretty damn widespread abuse of their extremely friendly return policy... so give them a little credit for trying. Other policies such as well advertised prohibitions on returning Big Screen TVs around super bowl time have been in place for years. (Yes sir... you can purchase a TV right now but we're just saying that we will charge you an automatic restocking fee if you return it no matter the condition or reason.) those methods were not sufficient.

          Best Buy has a lot of problems to fix not the least of which is the decimation of their business model by internet retailers. That being said there are a lot of people who are going to legitimately miss them if they do go out of business. (There goes your free "demo room" and "rental shop" or just place I can grab something that I need "right now" not shipping time.) Something to consider in the midst of all this Best Buy bashing.

          • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @07:53PM (#39638605)

            and they are literally losing Billions to a pretty damn widespread abuse of their extremely friendly return policy

            Citation needed. Citation needed to prove that bad management practices are not the real cause of the 1.7 billion dollar loss.

            That being said there are a lot of people who are going to legitimately miss them if they do go out of business

            They earned the epithet "Worst Buy" through customer abuse and stupid sales practices. So much of what has happened is self inflicted. Do you remember when they fired all their knowledgeable long-term floor sales staff because they were "too expensive?" Go ahead, walk into any Best Buy and try to find a sales clerk that actually knows what he/she is selling and isn't trying to be a bullshit artist. They are few and far between.

            Return customers (not customers that return things) are a business' bread and butter. Best Buy went on the "quick cash now" binge to "satisfy investors" while ignoring the long term implications of pissing off the customers. Sure, people are using online retailers. They wouldn't if the brick&mortar service didn't outright suck.

            There are electronics retailers that don't suck. One is MicroCenter. You can walk in, talk to knowledgeable sales people, get what you want for a decent price (sometimes cheaper than Newegg), and not hard sold on hundred-dollar HDMI cables and extended warrantees. And I find myself continuing to go back there. Repeatedly.

            Best Buy *can* turn the ship around, but they have to abandon the practices that got them to this point to do so. Most businesses in this situation can't or won't because few in upper management are willing to accept the fact they fucked up.


            • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @09:43PM (#39639521)

              Do you remember when they fired all their knowledgeable long-term floor sales staff because they were "too expensive?"

              That was Circuit City [washingtonpost.com] not BBY. BBY never had that problem in the first place because they never really paid senior staff much of a premium to begin with and consequently they've pretty much always sucked.

        • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @08:30PM (#39638963) Homepage Journal

          I dunno. That doesn't sound like a lot of return activity, especially if it includes Christmas returns. What's he supposed to do with a three or four blu-ray disks he already owns? Also, it hardly makes sense to penalize someone for returning defective merchandise. And Retail Equation *clearly* takes into account returns of defective merchandise in labeling your customers as dishonest. What legitimate purpose could that serve?

          This sounds like one of those cases where managers are suckers for snake oil based on their wishful thinking and innumeracy. Retail Equation promises its magic software will identify people likely to engage in fraudulent returns in the future. It fingers a bunch of customers, and management is delighted; they said they'd finger crooks and by golly they did! The question is: where is the proof that those people will commit the future offense? Or that they've committed any past offenses.

          Suppose a vendor claims he can finger crooked customers with 99.9% accuracy. And suppose Best Buy has a million honest customers over the course of the year. That means one thousand people get incorrectly branded as dishonest. It'd be find if Best Buy refused to sell stuff to those customers, but it *doesn't do that*. It is happy to sell merchandise to those customers, but if the merchandise is defective it refuses to give the customer his money back. In that case the character of the customer has nothing to do with the transaction; he has a just claim to get his money back even if he is a crook.

    • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:43PM (#39637139)

      As someone who doesn't abuse that, I welcome the move so we honest people get things cheaper

      Are you someone who might honestly need to return two items at two different times in the course of three months?

      A number of less draconian methods come to mind: A) restocking fee for opened items that are not defective. B) Issuing a second (...nth) refund via check mailed from the refund processing center in Mongolia.

      But returns are only allowed for 30 days, so buy a second item within 59 days of your first return and you're stuck with it and that sounds rather nasty for a business in the US. Of course, it's all relative. I lived a couple of years in China and once purchased there, it's yours. Nobody takes returns in the first place.

      • A) restocking fee for opened items that are not defective

        Now THERE is a way to piss people off. Not saying I don't think it's an idea, but it makes the returns desk into a semiregular battleground of "I never used it!" or "It didn't fit!" or "I just needed to see the color!" or "I'm in a hurry, why are you plugging it in? Just give me my money back!"

    • Will this cut down on abuse of their return policies? Perhaps. Will it result in lower prices? Definitely not.

      Am I the only one that is very concerned about the privacy of my personally identifiable information on something like my driver's license? Businesses who ask me for items such as my social security number or driver's license to conduct a transaction lose me as a customer. I'm unwilling to let my personal information enter their sales databases housed who-knows-where and accessed by some pim
    • by Flammon ( 4726 )

      I absolutely would agree if the system was honest and fair. Unfortunately, consumer's would never see the savings, they'd be be pocketed by the greedy corporations.

    • When companies start getting in financial trouble they cast desperately about for ways to improve the "bottom line". Usually they light on access, inventory and returns as places to cut losses, presumably without changing volume. Also "building the ticket" and pushing customers to higher margin products.

      You saw this at Blockbuster when they implemented sally ports on entry and employee gauntlets on exit. Future Shop, CompUSA and others all went the same way.

      But there is no limit to these measures and t

    • by ad0gg ( 594412 )
      Especially during xmas, everyone is returning their gifts. Hopefully this ID requirement puts a stop to that.
    • How does this solve the problem though? I've twice bought GPS units for my tour van and returned them at the end of the tour because they either had bad maps or didn't track accurately. If a DL scan was required to return them, I would refuse because it's absurd, and then never shop there again. Even if I allowed them to scan my DL just to get that one return, I still wouldn't shop there again, certainly not for the 90 day period. Either way, they lose business, their volume-purchasing discount drops, t

    • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

      It's quite obvious that people are abusing the system and that results in increased prices for everyone. As someone who doesn't abuse that, I welcome the move so we honest people get things cheaper.

      Except that it never works that way. If all return fraud and abuse was eliminated today, not a single price would be reduced as a result. There is often the "official" reason and the "real" reason for these policies and I want to know more about the latter.
      For example, everyone knows that you have the see a cashier at a gas station if you are paying cash. Officially, that's because of "drive-offs", i.e. people who would gas up and drive away. In practice, this happens (almost) never. In reality, peopl

    • long ago, i had a saga with a series of defective stereo systems. all from the same store.

      in another instance, i bought a 2CD set of Physical Graffiti only to find it did not play on any CD/DVD device i owned. i exchanged for another copy, same deal. turns out it was a shit batch from the replication plant (Australians: never buy a disc from D.A.T.A. read the inner ring on the disc, or the embossing on the plastic jewel case). i never managed to get the fucking store to bring in an import so i stood a

    • by Renraku ( 518261 )

      Why not punish the abusers and not simply everyone that has to return things? A while back I purchased an LCD monitor from Walmart. There was a problem with the screen so I took it back and got an exchange. Well, there was a problem with THAT screen too, so I took it back. The second time they went through a lot of trouble of writing down serial numbers whereas the first time they didn't. They also checked it for any signs of tampering to make sure maybe I didn't crack it open, take the innards, and ha

  • by rmac1813 ( 1090197 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:31PM (#39636947)
    ..just another reason to go to Frys. Until they cross the line .
  • Well gee.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:32PM (#39636967) Homepage

    This kind of anti-customer behavior couldn't possibly have anything to do with Best Buy crashing and burning, could it?

    Nah. I'm sure the MBAs must have thought the policy through carefully.

  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:33PM (#39636979) Homepage Journal

    If something is broken how can it be legal to "ban" someone from returning it? Or do they just mean discretionary returns?

  • Seriously? (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 )

    The service at Best Buy wasn't shitty enough already that they're actively making it shittier?

    Way to encourage everyone to only make one purchase every 90 days at your store. How stupid can they be?

  • by parlancex ( 1322105 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:34PM (#39637005)
    It's not like they scan your driver's license at time of purchase, so would-be abusers I'm sure could easily to find a friend or family member to return their product (still using the same receipt of course).
  • by Golgafrinchan ( 777313 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:34PM (#39637011)
    With all the problems Best Buy has been having recently, it's hard to believe that they think this will solve anything.

    A customer who knows they can't return a defective item at Best Buy will simply go shopping somewhere else like Walmart, Target, or Amazon, who have more lenient return policies and/or are just more customer-friendly altogether.

    I don't expect this particular decision will hurt too much, but with these kinds of stupid decisions Best Buy will be out of business within 5 years.

  • If a sales clerk scans your original sales receipt or swipes your driver's license (a government-issued ID, like a passport, is also accepted) then you're probably shopping at an affiliate of The Retail Equation.

    (Emphasis mine)

    Uhhh, I would have thought that scanning the original receipt was standard practice at every retail store (ok granted I've only worked at one). Why would a large retail store not do that to verify the receipt is valid?

    Anyways, yet another reason to shop online, and yet another nail in Best Buy's coffin. Hint to Best Buy: the way to get business back isn't to make customer's experiences worse.

  • for example, the people who buy a giant TV before the big game and then return it on Monday.

    How does this system eliminate that example? The customer was still able to return the Blu-Ray.

    Won't be long before Best Buy joins Circuit City.

  • by Megor1 ( 621918 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:40PM (#39637099) Homepage
    If you read the article it says that only people who have a history that indicates possible return abuse are given this type of ban. The service works across multiple stores to find people who use retail stores like free rental places. The article fails to mention what else the guy had been doing. If he has a history of buying and returning items then I see no problem with them cutting him off from abusing their store.
    • Amazon will stop taking returns too if you abuse the system. They are normally extremely nice. If you have something you can send it back for any reason, including not wanting it, within 30 days and they are ok with that, no restocking fee or anything.

      However if they notice that you are trying to use that as a rental service, they'll cut you off.

      • True - I chased Amazon once for a failed book delivery. Sorry, they said, and shipped another. Of course, I ended up with two. I contacted Amazon and offered to return one at my cost. No need they said, enjoy it.

        I donated it to the local library. And I shop at Amazon again, and again ...
    • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

      It affects everyone returning an item, as it requires them to surrender their identity. There are other ways of dealing with fraudsters. For example, if the device isn't broken, they are not required to take it back. Also, they aren't treated like a "free rental service". The "fraudster" exchanges the use of the device for the use of his money during the same time.

  • by Picass0 ( 147474 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:45PM (#39637169) Homepage Journal

    Customer: Look! I came here to make a return.
    Best Buy: Oh! I'm sorry, this is abuse.
    Customer: Oh I see, that explains it.
    Best Buy: No, you want room 12A next door.
    Customer: I see - sorry.
    Best Buy: Not at all. Stupid git.

  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:45PM (#39637173)

    for example, the people who buy a giant TV before the big game and then return it on Monday.

    I used to have a roommate that would pull shit like that all the time. He treated stores like his free rental services. It really pissed me off, not just because it was dishonest (and that was bad enough), but also because I always knew it would come back on the rest of us who DIDN'T do that--either with higher prices or stricter return policies. It sucks that the decent always end up paying the price for the pricks out there. But it seems almost a given that there are always bad apples looking to spoil the barrel for everyone.

    BTW, my roomate's favorite target was Walmart. They had a very liberal return policy. But eventually they caught on to him. One day he went to return something and they called the manager out, who told him that this would not only be his last return, but also his last visit to the store. He then had the audacity to come back home bitching about how it was this grave injustice (as if I hadn't noticed him repeatedly scamming them). What a guy.

    • It would be more just if they put him into a database banning him from all Walmarts.

      I'm not really sure he'd be missing anything, though. :-P

  • Legality? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alaffin ( 585965 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @05:48PM (#39637219) Journal

    Easy solution - don't buy product from there for 90 days.

    In all seriousness - how is this even legal? I know in Canada any goods sold must be of merchantable quality - which means they must work. If they are defective than the sale is void and the merchant must take them back. Even if I've returned another product within the last 90 days. Is there some kind of American consumer protection loophole they're exploiting here or do the laws not protect consumers at all south of the border?

  • Returns policy (Score:5, Informative)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @06:07PM (#39637441)

    Here's the returns policy found on their website:

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Help-Topics/Returning-Online-Purchases/pcmcat260800050014.c?id=pcmcat260800050014 [bestbuy.com]

    Returns Tracking
    When you return or exchange an item in store, we require a valid photo ID. Some of the information from your ID may be stored in a secure database used to track returns and exchanges. Based on return/exchange patterns, some customers will be warned that subsequent purchases will not be eligible for returns or exchanges for 90 days. Customers who are warned or have been denied an exchange/return may request a copy of their Return Activity Report by calling 1-800-652-2331 or by mail at P.O. Box 51373, Irvine, CA 92619-1373. Please be prepared to provide your transaction ID, ID number, full name, address and phone number.

    Valid forms of ID accepted are: US, Canadian or Mexican Driver's License, US State ID, Canadian Province ID, Matricula Consular, US Military ID, Passport, US Laser Visa, or US Permanent Resident Card.

    It sounds like only certain customers will be subject to the 90 day policy, depending on their return history.

  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @06:11PM (#39637469)

    TFA didn't mention the fact that the restricted person had a fairly active history of returning items. Many retailers, not just BB will clamp down on serial returners.

    That probably means the vast majority of Best Buy customers are unlikely to run into this issue.

    Not that I would be a Best Buy customer. I'm just not a B&M kind of guy. And the few times I shopped there I didn't get a feeling that I wanted to be one of their customers. Salesmen trying to push cables that cost 25 times what I could get online are a real turn off.

    Which is probably why they are heading for the .BK list.

    • Salesmen trying to push cables that cost 25 times what I could get online

      What? There are salesmen at Best Buy?

      Pics or it didn't happen.

  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @07:03PM (#39638085) Homepage

    There's laws in California governing returns, and BB's policies likely violate them. But rather than fighting it out in small-claims court, it's easier to avoid the whole problem. I pay for stuff like that using my American Express card. If the item's defective and BB won't accept a return, I just call up Amex and dispute the charge, explaining that I've attempted to return the defective item to the merchant and they've refused to accept the defective item even though they're legally required to (law trumps return policy, the idea here is to cut off the merchant's "Our documented policy doesn't allow that return and the cardholder knew that." argument before they can make it). If I'm legitimately entitled to return the item, Amex will simply take the money out of BB's merchant account and put it back in mine, and then it's up to BB to fight it out with Amex.

    Caveat: have the item packed and ready to return to the merchant. Amex will cut you off at the knees if you're trying to get your money back but keep the item. Also, I use this only for defective or not-as-advertised items, not cases where the item's in good working order and as advertised and I just don't like it now that I've got it.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @08:58PM (#39639183)

    ... Best Buy will still be in business in 90 days.

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