The American company in Canada called BEST BUY has long been a favorite store of mine when electronics, computers and car audio equipment are concerned. They offer the best prices in town and somewhat the best customer service.
Their best, however, may not be the best in town after all.
On September 13, 2009, my son and I visited a recently opened Best Buy store in the South Side where we met a Mobile Phone rep named ELIO. He promptly talked to us and explained the features of Blackberry Storm 9530. and the benefits of the optional PRODUCT EXCHANGE PLAN, and from which we promptly bought three cell phones on that day with the optional Product Exchange Plan. What happened over a year later was a ‘catch 22’ and runaround thing involving the product Exchange Plan.
One of my Storms developed an intermittent problem in which a message is received that printed “Unable to recognize the Sim card.” So we brought the phone to the Mobile Department of the store in the South Side, since the Product Excange Plan guaranteed that ‘it will be replaced on the spot if it should ever have a problem.”
The phone was to be replaced on the spot by the South Side Store alright, but the Blackberry model chosen by the store was a “Curve 9300” because the Storm is not available anymore. This model we refused to accept outright because the replacement phone, to follow the contract is to “have the same features and functionality of the original cell phone”. The Curve 9300 is not a touch screen phone and the screen does not automatically rotate like the Storm. (It would be analogous to replacing a Porsche with a minivan because the Porsche has depreciated). These particular touch-screen features were stressed by the guy named Elio and for which we bought the phones. He, by the way, was not in that store anymore. I was deducing that he had made his plans come true already, or his plans to install mobile phone outlets in all the malls and some particular stores.
So now we were held up by the problem of which phone replacement we are going to get. We were further annoyed that it was explained that the PEP contract allows for a replacement phone to be of the same value as the Storm which they said is now worth only $129.99 instead of the non-contract price of $500.00. From this statement, I already had the idea that some particular policy is not what it appears to be.
So I phoned the Product Exchange Plan people and hailed a lady named “Jen” who, after much hassling told me to tell the store rep to call her. If she is not around, my issue will be on file with the contract ID No. I did remind her that from what I have paid the Plan so far, the intended replacement phone would be worth a lot less.
Anyway, I did what she told me and told the Best Buy rep to phone Product Exchange Plan, even providing him the phone number, and the contract id number where the files of the issue can be found. Of course the rep will not phone me back, so I phoned the store again and lo, somebody else from that store told me over the phone that it was the PEP girl named Danielle that he talked to. And then, of course, names on the phone change every time. So I called PEP again and a very much-accented-english of a Nigerian answered me. He then told me to go to another store, and if there is a further problem, the store should call PEP.
So we went to the North Store of Best Buy where we realized that this truly is a big runaround. The guy we talked to is named Kenny who suddenly realized that he might have run to the same problem as this. Or, my guess is that he was forewarned of our coming. So he proceeded to slowly dial some numbers on a list which was taken from some parts of the store. We did tell him that the problem is intermittent and it might not come out in the store, especially if he is to call a number which is inside the store. After much arguments about some points in the contract, I asked to talk to the Manager.
The manager arrived and lo, who did it turn out to be——Elio, the man who sold us the three cell phones and the three product Exchange Plans. After greeting him, he promptly and rudely told us that he does not know us and does not remember selling phones to us, even after if he remembered that time when he worked for Best Buy South Side. My son is a witness to everything, though, and we know he is lying through his moustache? And then , for the umpteenth time, I told them what the Nigerian PEP guy (his name is Kayode) told me to get the Best Buy people to call PEP. But every time I do this the Best Buy people refused to call PEP saying that there is no problem. I told them that the issue is on the files at PEP, and that the problem is intermittent.
Finally, my son and I were told with much insult at this, that there is no sim card in this phone. What it has is a cdma card and that this can be bought at any Telus store for $10 and that if we provide him with a receipt, he will gladly reimburse the $10.00. We left the store because my son is going to his work. But I thanked Elio for denying that he knew us and that he denied also that he was the one who sold us the phones. Some manager, eh, and with Best Buy, too?
So I took the Storm to Telus to have the cdma replaced, and this is where I learned that the cdma card is only for roaming and that this is not necessary for use inside the US or Canada, and the price to replace it is $35.00. The Telus guy, a Persian, said he doubts if the people I talked to really know what they are doing, and promptly took out the cdma card from the phone, and gave it back to me for safekeeping.
It is clear that the cdma card has nothing to do with the problem since the problem did come out only now after more than a year of use, and for only one of my phones. And if the cdma card was responsible for this problem, Best Buy is to be blamed for it since they were the ones that installed it in the first place.
BEST BUY stores may still be the best buy in town.
Just mull over the Product Exchange Plan ten times before you jump into it. It is not optional like car insurance. It is still your money if you have it, not anymore if you have to let go of it! Make sure that the item you are buying from Best Buy will not be discontinued in the future. As for me, I have to pay a penalty to cancel the contracts for my three cell phones.
(this plan is secured by American Bankers
5160 Yonge Street, Suite 500, Toronto, Ontario M2N 7C7)
I really am not keen on flying to Toronto just to show the American Bankers people the annoying problem on my cell phone which just comes and goes, eh? I am given sixty(60) days to notify them, though, if my claim is not settled after that time.