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New Member
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎02-15-2021

"Serial # on box does not match serial # on receipt"

I've already read through the best buy support forums and there seems to be a lot of these issues. I recently purchased a new Microsoft Surface Home 3 from my local Best Buy. I decided to give it a try as it was the most powerful they had in stock at my local store and I was working on a project with an impending due date and did not want to wait for a different system to be shipped. I was assured, since I am a Best Buy member, that if my purchase did not meet my needs I could refund it within 15 days. The first one I took home had a defective keyboard and I wasn't able to complete initial setup. I take it back for an exchange immediately. No problem. Unfortunately, the device seems to not be suited for data analytics, as it underperformed my old Lenovo Thinkpad from 2019. I literally used it that single time, it couldn't handle what I need, and I system reset it and packed it back in the box. This defuct was certainly an omen of things to come. I go to return it, and they tell me the serial # on the box does not match the serial # on the receipt, which they are correct about. However, this is the exact box they gave me with the exact receipt they just gave me. Further, they tell me that the device they gave me had its warranty activated in November of 2020, basically implying that I'm trying to switch out my 3 month old laptop for a slightly newer version of the same thing, and that the warranty for the device for the serial # on my receipt was activated on February 1, 2021, which is when I made my purchase. I have never purchased one of these laptops before and this is the exact one they gave me just a few days before, so this is obviously impossible. They even tested the laptop to ensure nothing was wrong with it, which it obviously wasn't since it's been used a single time. There is clearly some sort of mixup on their part, but they refuse to work with me at all and make me out to be some sort of scammer and sent my on my way empty handedm no help, no reconcilliation.


I do some research on the problem. As I said, judging by forum posts here this issue seems to be quite frequent. I become extremely suspicous of Best Buy practices. I double checked the serial number on my box and on the laptop. They did match. I searched the serial numbers on Microsoft's website, and they added up to the times the store notified me of. Of course, I knew I only had this laptop for a few days and that it was the exact one they gave me in store - but how can I prove that when somehow a situation has been manufactured to make me out to be a scammer to the outside world, when only in my own mind do I know I'm innocent? Did Best Buy actually take a used laptop that had been registered by someone else and sell it to me as used, then sanned a different box so if I found out it would be impossible for me to return it and prove what happnened to me? Seemed unlikely, but what else could explain my experienced discrepency?


I do more resarch on similar cases. My first recourse is contacting Best Buy online support. They were, expectedly, no help at all, referring me back to the same store which just denied me. I then go to Microsoft to find out what could be going on with the warranty situation. I talk to three different members of support staff over a span of two days, for multiple hours. I explain the situation to them. What I find out from them is: The device that the store gave me, which had its serial number activated last November, has never had a Microsoft account associated with it until I activated mine on February 1, 2021; the date that I purchased it. Apparrently, all it takes for a warranty on a device to be automatically activated is for the device to be turned on, which they say happens all the time when the machine is sent to the store. That explains the strange warranty situation - why the warranty was activated before I purchased it but an account was never activated on it until I actually did purchase it - the warranty was activated in store back then. They quickly and easily updated the machine's warranty infortion to reflect the date I purchased it - February 1, 2021. One mystery solved. I emailed this updated information to my local store manager, certain that this is more than enough evidence to verify my simple refund. He was unmoved and basically just reiterated the same error that they had already associated with me - the serial #s don't match and that's too bad for me, my problem not theirs (even though they're responsible for the mixup and I have to take the consequences).


The next, and more pressing issue, is why the store gave me a box with a serial number different from the receipt they rang up for me (also the digital receipt emailed to me and the associated laptop is on my Best Buy account still). Microsoft further informed me that the very original machine I purchased - the defective one - had its warranty activated on February 1, 2021 (again, the day I purchased it), but never had an account activated on it. This must have been from when I initially turned it on to set it up but couldn't due to the malfunctioning keyboard. The exchanged laptop - the one on the receipt at least which they are claiming I have and am trying to replace with the one they actually gave me - also had its warranty activated on February 1, 2021. However, this laptop also had an account activated in association to it - an account that all they could tell me for privacy reasons was that it wasn't mine. I pushed a little harder, saying that I have the receipt for that device's serial number, the card associated with its purchase, the machine on my Best Buy account and credit card account, and that I need access to more information about who has this laptop, notably their location. I uploaded all these documents to them and they are currently reviewing everything to update my permissions in order for the to tell me those details.


In summary: Best Buy sold me a laptop one with a different serial number than the receipt they gave me, and some unknown entity is using the laptop with the serial number on the receipt, and they STILL won't give me a refund for the one I bought!


At first, I thought Best Buy was scamming people by putting used machines in new boxes and selling them as new. But after learning about the warranty situation with Microsoft, that seems to be an innocent mistake on their part. However, I am now beginning to suspect an employee at that store set me up and now has a free laptop. How else would I walk out with a different box (which they handed to me) than the device they scanned, yet the device they scanned was still activated on that same day by someone else? Either way, why am I the one stuck investigating this situation? Shouldn't it be Best Buy's job to investigate their own internal issues? I am literally being held hostage by this refund situation and now am forced to do their investigative dirty work.


Can someone PLEASE help me with this situation ASAP, as it's taken more than enough of my time as it is and it's still ongoing. Of course, I have the full transcripts of all my contacts with Microsoft as well as all the receipt and payment information - both physical and digitial.

New Member
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎02-15-2021

Re: "Serial # on box does not match serial # on receipt"



The store manager checked the video of the sale and said that my box was the only one scanned. He did, however, tell me that the brown shipping box, which has the label that was actually scanned, may have been different than the one on the actual laptop box inside it that I have. Unfortunately, my trash company has already taken that box though since I never would have imagined this scenerio and that I would need to keep it for weeks. I still have Microsoft investigating further into how the laptop with the serial # on my receipt has been activated by someone else.


I presented all this new evidence to the store manager and he's being much more reasonable about it than at first, which is totally understandable. I know what it looks like from the outside - I've worked in retail before like many of the rest of us and had my share of scamming/crazy customers. It's just frustrating because I know this is the laptop I got and have ever had and all the evidence is showing that besides the bar code fiasco.

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Registered: ‎08-21-2017

Re: "Serial # on box does not match serial # on receipt"

Good afternoon, samyers,


Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us here on our community forums and providing this summary of events regarding your recent purchase. I know how important it is to get a computer that does exactly what you need it too, especially with a deadline approaching. I would be glad to help you explore what options we may have to assist you at this time.


Based on your update, it sounds like you are working the management team at this store towards a resolution. Is that correct? Is there anything I can do to help at this time?


Please let me know if I can do anything!

AndrewB|Social Media Specialist | Best Buy® Corporate
Give Kudos if you like this post or Accept as Solution if it answers your query!
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Registered: ‎10-19-2017

Re: "Serial # on box does not match serial # on receipt"

This topic has been moved to its own thread under the board Best Buy Store Purchase for further review.