for Best Buy Returns, Refunds at Best Buy, Warranty Service at Best Buy, including Price Matches and any transaction
We have made our last purchase at BestBuy. It is our opinion that, at BestBuy and other retailers, collecting data has become more important than the sale itself.
We spent $450 plus cash at Best Buy on 2 iPods, keyboards, etc. (in late June of 2011) and were astonished when we returned home to see the following policy printed on the receipt: "To help keep prices low for all of our customers, Best Buy Tracks returns and exchanges on an individual level..." The following types of [GOVERNMENT] ID is required -
Best Buy requires Drivers License, US, Canadian or Mexican driver's license, U.S. Sate ID, Canadian province ID, U.S. military ID (the military ID is a social security number - thus, Best Buy records your social security number), US passport or other Passport.
We would never expose our Government ID, drivers license, passport or other personal information to data theft because we returned a purchase to Best Buy. - Read on!
The Best Buys requirement include Best Buy Returns Policy, Best Buy Warranty Protection Policy, Best Buy price match policy and Best Buy Refunds Policy. ALL REQUIRE THAT YOUR GOVERNMNET ID be recorded in their database! This database will be accessible at all Best Buy Stores
Showing your ID: Passing your Photo ID in front of one of Best Buy associate's eyes is not what they want. They demand that your Government IDs are RECORDED, including Driver License Number, or a Passport Number or a military ID etc and other personally identifiable information. You will not get a refund, price match or warranty service without Best Buy collecting this information.
Best Buy has been hit with a class action lawsuit accusing the major retailer of violating the federal Drivers' Privacy Protection Act. Click on the link for more info
We researched the Best Buy Return Policy and the Best Buy Refund Policy on the web after making the purchase and found, in other postings, that this policy was established in February 2011. We did not see the posted policy while we were in the store. We would have headed for the door without purchasing anything if we had seen it.
We will not shop again at BestBuy.
In case anyone reading this wonders: we've bought tens of computers at Best Buy for ourselves, family and business associates, Best Buy gift cards, CD's, iPods, and iPad, games, cameras, small appliances and so on over the years. We are sure that the amount measures in thousands and thousands of dollars; and probably over $10's of thousands. Our returns have been very limited; limited to times when something did not work or circumstances when an item was unopened; the items were almost always (one exception) returned with a receipt. Once we did return a $10 or $15 lens cap that was the wrong size but we had lost the receipt, we grudgingly gave our drivers license when BB insisted - at the time we thought it a marginally valid request but regret having done so.
Here is what we did after becoming aware of this totalitarian new policy:
We find this policy troubling: if this Best Buy Return, Refund and Warranty Policy is deemed successful and holds, other retailers probably will follow suit. Do you want your Government ID recorded when you return something to Walmart, Staples, Sears, Penny's or any other retailer too?
But wait; further web searches reveals that other retailers are doing this too. We've discovered that major retailers such as Victoria's Secret and Michael's requires a Government ID too. We recommend you avoid shopping at retailers that require Government ID for returns. This privacy cancer is spreading and shopping at the local mom and pop store is more compelling than ever. In other words SHOP LOCAL. See CODA at the end of this opinion for more Best Buy Customer deceptions and other remarks
The US Supreme Court ruled in May 2011 that a drug store's medical prescription records can be data mined and shared with anyone. We suspect that a third party or credit reporting agency would probably "data mine" Best Buys data ( combined with a bunch of other retail companies too) to profile you for any use they see fit. Additionally, Banks are now sharing your credit card purchase information - all to be combined and data mined with your Best Buy returns, prescription profiles and other databases.
Beware Best Buy Returns:
The policy is enforced regardless of the method of payment - cash, credit card, debit card, every manner of purchase; enforced regardless of the amount of the purchase; enforced if the merchandised is never opened, used or abused in any manner; and enforced with a receipt or without a receipt.
Parents beware of your kids purchases If they do not have government issued ID nothing can be returned, refunded, serviced or price matched, you will have to make the trip to the store to show your ID. Gift givers beware too - your gift recipient won't know that they have to give up personal ID to exchange anything
Beware Best Buy Refunds:
Once you give up ANY information, including GOVERNMENT ID information, it is totally out of your control and it is likely stored (almost) forever. You MUST ASSUME that it will be used somewhere, sometime, by someone who does not need to see it or by someone who should not see it, or by someone who wants to make mischief.
As mentioned above, some government ID's actually use your SS number - do you want that recorded in a Best Buy data base?
Companies assure us that our data is private and that our data is safe but this requiring a Government ID for a cash purchase is an intrusion! And, companies assure us that their policies* protect data; and that their policy is for our benefit. DO NOT BELIEVE IT. Even Best Buy says that your ID information is retained by a "secure" third party. Ha. Give up your Government ID to BestBuy and already two companies have put your data at risk - Best Buy and the third party and not to mention the clerks that have access to the data.
Where is it stored? We are not told and who knows. It could be anywhere in the world - probably in India or the Philippines or Pakistan or Bulgaria or somewhere else that doesn't give a flit about (really) protecting the data (your privacy) although their contract with BBY says they do and they must.
Best Buy claims that the policy is to assure they have competitive prices and oh, yes, by the way, they want to be sure you are not fraudulently getting a refund. Best Buy claims that it is secure when recording your government ID while it actually adds more exposure to theft of your identity.
We work in the IT industry and know that no computer data is "secure". Almost every day we read about some company having data stolen and identities stolen or put in jeopardy. We know how easy it is.
It is our personal belief that Best Buy's Return policy requiring a government ID an affront to an unspoken American social contract: the right to privacy, the right to be believed innocent, the right to be anonymous and the right to be left alone. We believe that this policy is anti-consumer. We believe Best Buys policy is a trivialization of your Government ID and its security
Overall, we just plain feel insulted and resent that Best Buy, or any company, feels entitled to government information about us. Best Buy can deter suspected fraud in other ways without invading our privacy.
We make an anonymous Best Buy purchase and we want an anonymous Best Buy refund. Far too many Best Buy customers and consumers are not aware or don't consider the dangers and risks when personal information is given up. Further, we are dismayed by the number of other internet postings where many defend this intrusion or appear not concerned about data theft probabilities.
Remember - No Computer Data is safe or secure.
It just happed to us personally, Walgreens and a several other companies had their "secure third party" email data base broken in to and hacked. Now our mailbox is full of many pieces of junk mail because of this breach of security and thrust with Walgreens. We have been using that mailbox for 10 years without appreciable junk before Walgreens carelessness with our personal information.
Update: We understand that Best Buy had the same theft of email data (they use the same third party as Walgreens) Are you convinced now that your GOVERMENT ID is safe at Best Buy? You can see a far better review of this ID requirement with user comments about the email break in at ChristopherPrice.Net.
We would never expose our drivers license, US passport or other personal information to data theft because we returned a purchase to BestBuy.
You should be curious to why any retail store wants to record your zip code or phone number or government ID. Wonder why? It can be used for selling more or sold to others; the sale of the data sometimes gives companies more profit than product sale itself
So long Best Buy, you had us for a long time. We will shop where our returns are not treated as national security threats.
Register on this site to send us a note about this opinion or have other thoughts
* If you've ever read policy statements / privacy statements on the internet you may realize that most have the caveat that the policies are subject to change at any time for any reason, without notice to you; for example, especially if a company (with its data) is merged, sold or goes bankrupt etc. Those acquiring the information don't give a hoot about your data being private
Once a company records data about you, data that you give up freely, they own it and can choose what to do with it.
We are only half kidding: Somehow we suspect that this policy change might even have something to do with the Patriot Act and / or the TSA about who is using what digital products.
We believe that Best Buy will sell and share this data, if not now, eventually. They already share your phone number, email, and addresses in universal data bases.
There goes your credit score because you returned too much to Best Buy
Finally, we are not naive and hope you are not too. Best Buy and many others have been asking for phone numbers, email, and addresses, etc. They have been sharing data about you for years. In fact, I was told at Christmas time, when I bought a $700 Best Buy laptop; " the sale could not complete without a phone number". (I told them that my phone was unlisted - still they could not get the computer to complete the sale without one). A phone number is not the same as a Government ID however - with the Government ID it is much easier to steal; for any one to get your bank account, SS and everything.
Collecting your Government ID and other data is not about the consumer's interests; it is only about the retailers.
Retailer's frequently ask for zip codes when you are checking out. The demand issue was taken to a California Court and it was ruled illegal. Government ID requirements by Best Buy and others claim that ID collection is legal. It is laughable. Where are the class action lawyers when we need them - we would sign up
Best Buy once had an agreement with Microsoft to promote MSN Internet service. Best Buy asked for (demanded) email, phone and address; Microsoft gave them kickback rebate for each address collect. Best Buy almost forced you to give up this information. I bought a desktop computer for my mother; The Best Buy associate asked for the info and I refused. The associate took the computer to the customer service counter and the clerk insisted on the information. I snatched the computer away from the service desk and paid for it at the regular check out without giving any information
Best Buy advertises and sells computer "already set up" - the set up fee covers Norton Anti-Virus or Norton Internet Security set up (or McAfee, etc), registration and so on. The set up charge (estimated at $50 to $100) is added to the published price. I shopped for one of these advertised computers at Christmas time 2010 but the store only had the model (about 10) in-stock that were already set up. I did not want or need the set up services so I refused to pay the add cost. The store manager insisted the ADVERTISED item was out of stock. This is bait and switch as far as I am concerned so I walked out. (Best Buy will happily record all your private info for themselves and give it to Microsoft, Norton and and whatever other software company's stuff that is contained on your computer)
Retailers know they are at legal risk by collecting and sharing data because the insurance industry is newly selling data collection policies to protect them.
I wonder now why it took so long to stop buying at Best Buy.
We have had enough. By demanding data, such companies are dragging you around like an animal with a leash or ring in the nose and we question the propriety, ethics, morality, and legality of it.
We were in the market for a Nintendo DS 3D - we called our local BestBuy and again inquired about the refund Government ID requirement. No change - we bought the item elsewhere.
Friends from Brazil were in town. Helped them buy 2 laptops for a total over $1,000 and an iPad at $500 but not at BestBuy even though they would never ever try to return these items. BBuy would have been our first stop in shopping if had not been for their Government ID Required Policy
Best Buy reports a huge loss of of 1.7 Billion for the year and announces store closing. There are many reasons of course but no financial analyst reports named possible contributing causes such as Best Buy's anti-Consumer policies mention here, especially the requirement for Government ID. We predicted as much.
We had guests in town again in March 2012. They had ordered 1 iPad at Best Buy on-line for in store pickup before they arrived, unaware of Best Buys Government ID policy. While they were in town, they decided to purchase a second iPad - they avoided Best Buy and bought elsewhere (yes, at a brick and mortar store). Best Buy again lost $900 in sales (including the more profitable accessories) due to the Government ID requirement
1) We have kept our commitment to stay away from Best Buy.
2) Our neighbor's 15 year old kid bought $20 worth of blank DVD's at Best Buy for cash. Before he left the shopping center, he called his father with the news, found that his father had just bought $100 worth so the kid was told to take them back. You got it! 30 minutes later the Best Buy store would not refund the item. The kid had the bag, receipt, perfect merchandise but no ID. Neighbor Dad is PO'd of course and Best Buy is now off his shopping list too.
3) We've read in the financial news that Best Buy has reduced the return period to 15 days.
This review should be titled: Best Buy, or how to distrust your customers and hate them.
Opinion of Best Buys return policy. Beginning in February 2011 Best Buy started requiring a Government Issued ID for all refunds, warranty service and returns.
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- The review is our personal opinion of Best Buy's Return Policy
- Government ID required for Returns, Exchanges, Refunds,
Warranty or other Best Buy Services
- Effective change was February 2011
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