BestBuy getting better

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about a video camera that I bought at BestBuy in Shanghai. It was an out-of-the-box camera, meaning that the box had been opened, and therefore I got a small discount. However, that same evening I found that the camera was not new, but had been used for several months already. I went back to the store, and they offered me a new camera for the discounted out-of-the-box price. Things seemed to be settled, except for the fact that the camera was suddenly out of stock. They would check when new stock would come in and call me in a few days.

Well, I waited a few days, but no phone call. After a week I decided to go to the store again to check myself. The camera was still on display, so I checked with one of the sales man. He had no idea what I was talking about, but he helped me to track down the guy who had helped me the first time. This guy was talking on his mobile phone with his back to the waiting customers (he seems to be always on the phone when I go to BestBuy), but hung up quickly when his fellow sales man acknowledged him of my presence. I asked him when the model would be restocked, and he told me the model was out of production and would not be sold anymore…

So I asked him why he had not called me. His answer was that he ‘just found out’. Right, that sounds very believable. So I asked him what would happen now. He had no idea of course, but I can’t blame him for that as he is probably not in a decision-making position. Another sales man then came over (who spoke good English), and he was a bit more helpful. At first he offered me to buy a more expensive model at a discounted price, but I told him that after this experience I did not want to spend any additional money, because this was not my fault. He then offered to talk to his manager to resolve the issue, and get back to me soon.

I have to admit that at this point I told him that I am a blogger and also involved with Tudou, and that I would not hesitate to put a video about my negative experience online. I don’t like to use this kind of ‘power’, but I got so sick and tired of the way Best Buy had treated me, that I felt this might be a way to get a solution. The sales people knew Tudou very well of course, and my strategy seemed to help. Already few hours later I got a phone call from BestBuy, giving me the option of a) returning my camera and getting not only my money back but an additional payment for what had happened, or b) they would try to find my model camera somewhere else in China, and if that would not work give me a better camera without additional payment.

Because I wanted to have a camera and not money, I went for option b), and a couple of days ago BestBuy called again. They told me they did not find the same model, and they would give me a better Sony handycam. I went back to the store this week, where of course the staff had no idea what I was talking about. The sales person told me nobody can return a camera after 2 weeks, and certainly not swap it for a more expensive one. I told him to look in his computer, but he told me the information would not be in there. Sigh… Luckily after a few minutes one of the other staff recognized me, and he explained the situation to the others. Of course the information was in the computer, but the sales guy was probably too lazy to look in there. Anyway, I now have a good (and new) camera. It’s a bit bigger than the original one, but the specs are a lot better. Thanks BestBuy, it took some time, which is something I have grown used to in China, but in the end the problem has been solved.

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  1. Good to know you’ve finally managed to get the camera with all problems solved.

    But don’t you think it’s so troublesome to visit the store a few times, talk on the phone, making the staff to understand what you were trying to explain, simply just for a little camera?

    I think lots of people encountered this problem in China, though it’s usually the expats who will return to argue with the staff; normally locals are pretty shy or they simply don’t know they have their right, as a consumer to complain.

    From your story, it’s nice to hear that after-sales service in the Middle Kingdom is improving. So do the Chinese consumers, when they have more buying power, they’ll tend to improve their lives, and will demand for more……they’re becoming smarter too.

  2. Hi Cintia, sure it’s troublesome, but it’s the only way to get your problems resolved. I am not happy that it took me so much effort, but at least it paid off.

    By the way, I don’t think local Chinese are that shy anymore, or don’t know about their rights. Certainly not in the big cities. I think they fight just as hard as the foreigners nowadays, and also use the internet to complain.

  3. Did you happen to see and “Wii’s”
    at Best Buy? I talked to a manager
    there and he promised to Email me
    when they got them but still no response. Haven’t come in to check
    in person – it’s a long trek for me. I know you got your’s in Hong Kong.

  4. @Bill: I did not really pay attention to Wii’s, so I don’t know. I played on a Wii once in BestBuy, but that’s quite some time ago. I would give the store a call before going there, that might save you valuable time.

  5. I sure wish that I had been smart enough to start a successful online video sharing web site… maybe then the staff at BestBuy would be more helpful to me. They don’t seem to care when I tell them about my company 😉

    BestBuy staffers were great when the store first opened, but now they are not much better than the scatterbrained folks at Guomei.