Print 26 comment(s) - last by HoosierEnginee.. on Dec 20 at 6:27 PM

  (Source: The Consumerist)
Best Buy spreads a bit of Christmas cheer by dropping restocking fees

When it comes to electronic items, most of us are simply used to being charged restocking fees if items are opened and then returned to the store. After all, retailers can't sell an item for full price once it's returned in an open/used state, so they often make the customer eat some of the cost with a restocking fee.

However, Best Buy has announced that it will be doing away with restocking fees an in effort to boost its image and make customers more likely to shop at its stores. The company posted the following notice on its website:

Best Buy continually listens to our customers, and they told us they want to give confidently this holiday season and every other day of the year — and with that comes easier returns. Effective Saturday, December 18, Best Buy is improving its return policy by removing restocking fees for all products except special orders. Customers can visit for further information.

The Consumerist notes that the new policy applies to all items including iPads, iPhones, notebook computers, and digital cameras. In addition, a company email notes that customers who were charged a restocking fee between November 17 and December 17 can come back to a Best Buy store to get the fee refunded.

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Will This Last?
By Pneumothorax on 12/19/2010 10:48:59 AM , Rating: 3
Considering the bankrupt Blockbuster re-instated their late fees after customers abused the no-late fee policy, I wonder how long BB will do this after hordes return Laptops/camcorders/digital SLR's after kid's parties/events etc. I also shudder to think that they would also try to re-sell the previously used items as new.

RE: Will This Last?
By Spacecomber on 12/19/2010 10:59:03 AM , Rating: 4
Unless we see BB offering some "open box" specials, we'll know that's just what they are doing (putting on some shrink wrap and passing it off as factory sealed).

RE: Will This Last?
By lowsidex2 on 12/19/2010 11:19:54 AM , Rating: 3
They might have enough power over their suppliers that they'll just force returns back on them. Make them inspect and repackage open items then send them back out as new.

RE: Will This Last?
By Mitch101 on 12/20/2010 9:12:41 AM , Rating: 3
I believe this to be evolutionary process they have to adopt to compete. I'll also say Im sure someone crunched some numbers and it makes sense to do this.

A TV years ago was 90lbs and came in a big box. Companies that owned trucks that shipped them to their brick and mortar had the advantage of controlled shipping costs. If you could find a TV cheaper elsewhere back in the day the shipping would kill you. TV's today are lighter and come in smaller boxes. NewEgg, Amazon, Tiger Direct and many others are now able to sell TV's and ship them at costs that beat BestBuy and while you might have to pay return shipping if there is a problem its still much less than what BestBuy would charge as a restocking fee. More consumers are trusting getting bigger ticket items through the mail.

While BestBuy might drop restocking fees the interrogation methods of trying to return a defective product to Best Buy still exist. If you ever dealt with NewEgg its quick and simple while BestBuy its like a TSA search. Their customer service is why I try not to shop at BestBuy.

RE: Will This Last?
By FITCamaro on 12/20/2010 12:12:47 PM , Rating: 2
Weight is not the main factor in shipping really. It's size. While yes TVs are still smaller, the box is still quite large. Shipping a TV is not cheap.

I for one still make purchases such as TVs at stores where if I have an issue day one, I just take it back and get another one. However I also like the coverage of the service plans I get from Best Buy.

I had my DLP TV serviced through warranty and it was as simple as calling the number, telling them the problem, having someone come pick it up, and they brought it back when it was fixed. I also recently got a new laptop battery through a warranty. Just had to call and they sent me a new one. Didn't even have to send the old one back.

As far as returns, also never had an issue there. Hell I've replaced two Xbox 360s and each time just brought it in, grabbed another one, went through the exchange process, and went on my way.

Now as far as knowledge goes, I typically don't ask them any technical questions as I'll usually get a blank stare. The exception was my 50" plasma since I really couldn't decide between that and a LCD. So after reading everything I could, I just asked his opinion on which was better. Ended up going with the plasma and love the great color reproduction and true blacks.

RE: Will This Last?
By namechamps on 12/20/2010 3:41:13 PM , Rating: 1
However I also like the coverage of the service plans I get from Best Buy.

A sucker born every minute. If you looked a Best Buy qtrly reports you wouldn't be as infatuated with the "service plans". Heres a hint they aren't sold as a convenience for consumer they are sold to maximize shareholder profits from the consumer. Markup is often 200% to 500%

RE: Will This Last?
By konman795 on 12/19/2010 12:03:12 PM , Rating: 5
Lemme start by saying that I'm an employee at Best Buy and I will say it right away that it's not my favorite place to work. However I can say for sure that my store (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) never resells an open item as new, we always put gigantic open item tags on the boxes (looks horrendous). And if you ever happen to be talking to me, I always let the customer open up the box and inspect it and I run through the accessories it's supposed to come with before I sell it to them with the 10% off. I can only vouch for my store though, I have no idea how other stores operate and it really is up to how evil the managers are. Luckily my store is pretty honest about most things otherwise I'd be gone.

And yes we do actually have enough power (with certain companies) to just send the item back and get a full refund from the company.

RE: Will This Last?
By Chapbass on 12/19/2010 1:36:23 PM , Rating: 4
This is true in many other stores as well. I'm a former employee, worked at two separate stores (Ames, IA and Schaumburg, IL) and worked closely with several other stores in the iowa/illinois/minnesota region.

I've never seen any open box items sold as new, and in fact the district in IA that I was in actually was the trial district for this policy, IA has had no restocking fees for a while, and it worked out pretty well.

The obvious other side of the coin for BBY is having people "rent" equipment, especially for big events like the super bowl and such. I know for a while it was a pretty big issue, but I feel the benefits (better customer satisfaction) outweigh the costs (a select few abusing the return policy).

Overall, a good move IMO.

RE: Will This Last?
By CZroe on 12/19/2010 7:06:23 PM , Rating: 2
I always wondered why no one rented out expensive computer hardware. For example, if I had to duplicate a few Blu-Ray discs in 2006, rather than spend $600 on a burner that I wouldn't use again for years, I'd want to rent one. I thought the same thing when DVD burners were hundreds of dollars. Renting a large HDD for a customer to dump all their data on during an OS upgrade, system restore, or a switch to RAID would make sense. Renting a high-end graphics card or gaming notebook for a LAN party could make sense too (yes, I guess you could get some crap notebooks from a traditional rent-to-own place). Yes, the market would be limited, but so is the market for construction and contractor equipment rentals and yet those places thrive. You can rent a Bobcat or jackhammer in pretty much any town.

RE: Will This Last?
By rdeegvainl on 12/19/2010 7:45:32 PM , Rating: 2
Im not sure, but I think that the capacity of a back hoe hasn't changed a thousand fold in the past couple decades. While both would have limited markets, computer tech changes way to quickly to do this.

Though you do see it in limited effect. Take a look at gaming centers. You basically have people renting consoles and pc's for games. The reason they can drive a profit, I suspect, is because of either alot of sales of concession type items, and/or because of the atmosphere they can provide that you just can't get elsewhere without ALOT of prep time on your part.

RE: Will This Last?
By MScrip on 12/19/2010 9:55:21 PM , Rating: 2
I rent video equipment all the time.

I shoot big stuff only a few times a year. I can rent a professional fluid-head tripod for a week for $80... and that includes 2-day FedEx shipping both ways.

It's better than buying the same tripod for $900... and have it sit in my house for most of the year.

I think the difference is... people rent this stuff because they will be using it to make money.

You're right... renting computer components would be a limited market.

RE: Will This Last?
By fic2 on 12/20/2010 12:49:56 PM , Rating: 2
I saw an article a couple of days ago about a few websites that have been setup for people to do personal rentals through. These were person to person. The guy that wrote the article had wanted to try an iPad and rented one from someone that owned one. Sorry I can't remember what magazine I saw this in - if I remember I'll post the article.

RE: Will This Last?
By DJ Brandon on 12/19/2010 10:30:36 PM , Rating: 2
LoL As a Former Best Buy Employee some items we did reshrink and restock but they were items such as.. CDs, Movies, Cords(if possible). Now that is NOT the Best Buy way and we aren't supposed to do that however we felt it was fine.

RE: Will This Last?
By inperfectdarkness on 12/20/2010 6:25:14 AM , Rating: 2
i believe you. i don't think geek squad acutally opens the items it supposedly "upgrades" or "optimizes". i think that it just slaps it's sticker on the side of the box & the factory seal is never breeched.

RE: Will This Last?
By HoosierEngineer5 on 12/20/2010 6:27:16 PM , Rating: 1
Best Buy's markups are enough that the could sell EVERYTHING at a 10% discount and make out like bandits. In fact, I'll bet that an occasional 10% discount actually INCREASES sales, especially if the original purchaser swapped for a different item.

RE: Will This Last?
By MonkeyPaw on 12/19/2010 11:34:47 AM , Rating: 2
I bet part of it is because many other retailers now sell most electronics. Target and walmart don't charge restocking, and even do 90 day return policies. They haven't been killed by those policies, so neither should BB. Besides, I think most companies can deduct
returned inventory, but they can still count the orignal sale.

RE: Will This Last?
By oab on 12/19/2010 3:46:29 PM , Rating: 2
Best Buy in Canada has never had restocking fees.

Oh shut up
By rudolphna on 12/19/2010 6:12:04 PM , Rating: 2
To all those saying that BBY will resell the open items as new... No. No we won't. I'm a PC Sales Associate in Upstate New York, and we do NOT do anything of the sort. If it is returned... It get's marked CLEARLY open box. Every single item, every time. There is no evil best buy conspiracy trying to screw the consumer over. We actually do care, now take off you're tinfoil hats and get out from under your bed.

/end rant

RE: Oh shut up
By The0ne on 12/19/2010 10:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
Those saying BB does are actual idiots. No really, they are. They are so used to Fry's BS re-shrinking practices they think it's common everywhere now. But hey, if it makes them sleep better at night I say go for it! Darwin award is up for grabs still.

RE: Oh shut up
By Taft12 on 12/19/2010 10:46:45 PM , Rating: 2
Like the other Best Buy associate in this thread said, you can only speak for your store.

I'm glad to hear that you and your management are above-board, but there are many (MANY) testimonials from current and former Best Buy employees made online that tell a different story.

RE: Oh shut up
By LordSojar on 12/20/2010 4:56:23 AM , Rating: 2
I worked for Best Buy many moons ago (store 232 and 327) We never sold items at either store as new if they had been returned/opened/etc.

However, Best Buy does have a 3rd party company that they send overstock and liquidated Open Item returns to called DT Deals. They run a Best Buy private auction site that employees have access to, and can invite family and friends to. I've snagged quite a few items from there, as even an ex employee keeps their membership to it forever.

RE: Oh shut up
By SandmanWN on 12/20/2010 8:52:21 AM , Rating: 2
I worked for a place that bought store returns from Best Buy and others. I can attest to Best Buy bulking up their returns, shipping them off to company warehouses, and selling them off at auction.

RE: Oh shut up
By FITCamaro on 12/20/2010 12:16:28 PM , Rating: 2
Well as another ex-Best Buy employee (HS and college), nothing of the sort was ever done in the 3 stores I worked at. Anything returned with the package open was marked as an open item.

A few bad employees possibly doing it does not make it a Best Buy conspiracy.

By Falacer on 12/19/2010 12:49:25 PM , Rating: 2
Restocking fees or not it would still have to be a insane deal (like I found for my folks when I got them to upgrade to a 42" HDTV) before I spend my $$$ at BB.

I have owned 2 different Westinghouse tv's and my brother still has his. Great lcd for the price!

Public Caning
By GTVic on 12/19/10, Rating: 0
RE: Public Caning
By cjohnson2136 on 12/20/2010 12:19:37 PM , Rating: 2
Ia gree I mean I can understand why the restocking fee was there. It was to keep those people from buying 60" Plasma Tv for the Super bowl and then returning it the nest day. People that do not need to just stop and go to Rent a Center where you can rent it. Now BB could set up a program like this where they do rent TVs not computers bad idea, but renting TV could be a market BB could get into

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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