South Chicago Suburbs, Illinois
I recently had my old refrigerator fail, and bought a replacement at Best Buy. It was ultimately returned due what I believed was a defective product that I now attribute to poor customer service and lack of training of support/sales staff.
I purchased, for a very very good price, a slightly dinged up open box refrigerator. A week later it was delivered. I tipped the delivery people and waited for it to get cold. When it didn’t refrigerate, and several internet searches failed to provide a solution, I called customer support.
First call. 20 minutes. Support person laughed when I told her my problem, but attempted to schedule a repair. I did not get a good feeling this was actually scheduled.
Second call. 33 minutes. Support person asked if I had received a ticket number (I had not), and made a new appointment. When I asked for a ticket number, this took 10 minutes with me on hold to wait for it.
Frustrated, and not wanting a problematic product, I drove to Best Buy and spoke with a very nice manager, to discuss the issues and inquired how I would return it.
When I returned home, I discovered that when the delivery people left, they had driven across my lawn, straddled a 2 foot diameter boulder, dragging it 8 feet to my driveway, and tearing an 18” deep trench with a wheel approximately 8 feet long. A third (20 minute) phone call to customer support to open a support ticket. I was instructed to hire someone to move the rock as I wasn’t able to move it myself. I found a lawn service company, who used a snowplow to push it off my driveway. In the spring I will have to move it back to its original location.
On the day of the repair appointment, my frustration level had gotten to the point I just wanted the refrigerator gone. I told the (very nice) repair man my issues with the refrigerator, and said if it isn’t a super simple issue, it was going back. He indicated that it probably wasn’t simple, tried out a few buttons on the unit, and I sent him away.
I found help and loaded the unit on my pickup, and drove to Best Buy, as I had discussed this with the manager the previous day.
After getting someone at the store to unload it and wheel it in, while I was waiting in the customer support line for a refund, an employee (I’m assuming a manager), started loudly talking to me from a distance of about 20 feet. (Not yelling, but not normal conversation level). At this point, with the unit back in the store, and a lot of difficulty in that physical process, was the first time I was asked if the unit was taken out of demo mode (Or for that matter, was even aware that was a thing).
Each time I had called customer support, I made sure to mention it was an open box. When I went to the store the day of the delivery to discuss the repair, same thing, and likewise when the technician visited my house (but by that time my frustration level had gotten to the point I didn’t give him much chance). Google searches to get a non-working refrigerator operable failed to detect this scenario, and no one had suggested a demo mode issue. Only when I had, out of sheer adrenaline, gotten the unit onto my truck, and back in the store did someone (angrily) mention demo mode.
I have no way of knowing for certain, but I highly suspect there wasn’t anything wrong with the unit, other than a missed setting. If I had received a manual, I might have found that on my own, and at no time did any support person suggest that could be the issue. This should be in the phone tech support dialog for any open box item, as it would have saved hours of everyone’s time, expense on Best Buy’s dime, and a loss of a $2000 sale and likely future sales. Taking the unit out of demo mode should also be performed before any open box item is loaded on a truck.
It’s now the next day, and my task for today is again trying to buy a refrigerator. It’s been two and a half weeks since I’ve had one, and I’m getting tired of that.