Report: #508285

Complaint Review: BEST BUY - Black tie Protection

  • Submitted: Mon, October 12, 2009
  • Updated: Sat, March 24, 2012
  • Reported By: WalterLW — san jose USA
  • BEST BUY - Black tie Protection
    United States of America

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...


My wife and I have purchased over $10,000.00 dollars in electronics from Best Buy within the last 10 months or so. We've purchased 4 big screen t.v., 2 lap tops, 1 camera, 1 g phone and service with warranty. This review is about my experience with the Gphone on t mobile that I originally purchased from the Sunnyvale Best Buy store on El Camino. When I initially purchased the phone the salesperson asked me if I wanted to purchase a "warranty" for the phone. I asked what kind of warranties do you have available? He told me they had a warranty from Best Buy that would repair a damaged phone or replace it if it could not be repaired. He told me the cost would be $10.00 per month for the warranty. I agreed and purchased the warranty. After having the phone for several months and dropping it a few times, the case was cracked slightly and I was thinking of having it repaired. I called T mobile to ask about the warranty and they told me this; Your warranty is with the Best Buy store," We do have our own warranty that is sold through the store for $5.00 per month, our warranty covers any damage or loss of phone". The Best Buy warranty does not cover loss of phone, but more importantly the salesperson at Best buy never told me about the T-mobile insurance option. As I found out later, the Best Buy insurance is more profitable to the salesperson then the T-Mobile insurance option. So my first complaint is that I was misled by the Best Buy salesperson into purchasing an inferior insurance product for more money.


Then recently I called the Sunnyvale store to bring my G-phone in for repair or replacement and was told that none of the stores in the South Bay will service the T-Mobile accounts any longer, and that I would have to go to Mt. View or San Carlos to do this. Keep in mind, I actually live in San Jos less than a mile from the Almaden Best Buy.

(The reason I purchased my G phone in Sunnyvale to begin with is because the initial salesperson there spent about 30 minutes demonstrating the G phone to me and I wanted to make the purchase from her, which by the way, the day I went to purchase the phone, she was on lunch).


In any case, I drove to the Mt. View Best Buy and met with Matt Medina. Matt was unfamiliar with the process of handling the returns for repair or replacement,. He asked another associate to assist him, that associates name was Brain Ogata.  Brian told Matt that he would show him how to handle this situation. In the time being other customers came into the department and Matt went to assist them. During that time Brian went to customer service to pull up my purchase receipt for the phone, which they successfully did.


Matt was still assisting other customers. Brian after some research told me that my insurance was  the Best Buy black tie insurance, which required an up to 4 week repair period. Brian periodically left the department, while he was away I place a phone call, he returned while I was on the phone and asked me if I wanted to proceed with the repair process. I told him one second please, and he said he would return after my mind was made up. I completed my call, and he returned, I told him I was prepared to proceed. He told I would have to wait until he took care of another customer who came into the store about 20 minutes after my process began. I told him I was there before those people, and he told me that I lagged in making a decision therefore he went to the next customer.

What happened after that is interesting. Brian goes over to Matt, talks to him for about 5 minutes. Matt comes back to the department and after 5 minutes or more says to me "I'll be with you in a minute". After about 10 more minutes he returned to tell me that they will send my phone in for repair and that it will take up to 4 weeks. In the time being Best Buy will give me a loaner phone, which is comparable to the phone being repaired. Its been about 45 minutes at this point but so far so good, the process has begun. Then Matt proceeds to tell me that "I" need to fork over $150.00 deposit on the loaner phone, which will be reimbursed to me when my phone is repaired. I told him I already paid $100.00 to date on the insurance and that I was not paying Best Buy another dime, particularly since they conveniently forgot to tell me about the T-mobile insurance which would have been better for  me. He then suggested that I purchase a "GO" phone, or one of those throw away phones. Once again I told him no-way. I already paid over $200.00 for the phone that I was leaving with them for repair and I already paid over $100.00 for the insurance to date. And furthermore, nothing I was given by Best Buy indicated that I would have to fork over more money for a loaner phone if I decided to bring my phone in for service on the Best Buy Black tie insurance warranty. Then I aksed to speak to the Store manager, a young lady who only identified herself as Michelle, came over to explain to me the policy of Besy Buy in the loaner program. The policy was something to the effect That no phone can leave the store without a sales receipt. That is the problem of Best Buy since they are selling insurance and not relating this information at the time of the insurance sale. This is clearly Fraud on behalf of Best Buy, its sales associates and it's executives who created this insurance plan.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/12/2009 07:58 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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Updates & Rebuttals


#1 Consumer Comment

I suggest..

AUTHOR: Ronny g - (USA)

...we continue the trend to rebut to this complaint every one-two years or so.
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#2 UPDATE Employee

Customer Confusion - Not Fraud

AUTHOR: jacobcrandall - (United States of America)

I have worked for Best Buy for almost a year now, gaining experience in multiple departments including a Mobile Department very similar to the one you purchased your phone at. I have also sold and personally support Black Tie Protection when it falls under the  Accidental Damage claims (BTP ADH). I am taking the time to write this article to resolve some confusion or misinformation that you may have received at your BBY Store and to provide a few important reasons why Black Tie is better then most protection plans on most products. 

First off, as employees of Best Buy, it is our job to sell you our goods and services. That is how our company makes a profit and how we improve our position in the store. This is the same for any business you go to, and you should expect every employee that you interact with to do there job as a salesman. That being stated, it is also our responsibility to do our best to clearly explain the good or service you may be purchasing. However, if you go to and look at the terms and conditions for a service such as the Black Tie Protection, you will see that there are multiple pages for each type of product, and each type of plan that each product supports. It is absolutely impossible for employees to remember and accurately recite the entire policy, and it would be impractical to take the time to do so for our customers. To avoid this, employes give the customer the short version of how the plan works and what it covers, also providing the terms and conditions in a pamphlet or by informing them of where the complete terms are located on the website. Regardless, if a customer purchases a protection plan or is considering it, it his/her responsibility to familiarize themselves with the protection plan and all that it entails. If they choose to simply "take our word for it" that is there choice, but you cannot expect a company to simply change there policy because the occational misinformed employee gives false information to a customer. That is why the policy is posted publicly. 

Finally I will directly address the issue you have with Mobile Black Tie. Is this service costly? Well, yes, it is. It is simple to see that 10 or 15 dollars a month, depending on what phone you have, will add up quickly. However, you also have to ask, is it worth it? I believe that it is, but worth is determined by the individual. Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, the three carriers we offer in our store, all offer a protection service. I see that you mentioned T-Mobile, but as you experienced it is now mostly offered only on our website, and I am not familiar with the entire terms and conditions of there protection service. With the previously mentioned carriers, however, I do know that there is a deductible which can be anywhere from $100 to $200 which you will have to pay on top of your monthly protection charge every time you bring your phone in to be service. With Best Buy, you never have to pay a deductible. It is simply the 10 to 15 dollars a month. Also, some carriers have to send phones to service as well and do not provide loaner phones. We do offer loaner phones, and we charge a deposit to ensure that we will see the phones returned to our possession. Keep in mind, the phone we give your belongs to us, and many customers have that need one have a history of breaking phones. This is why we charge the deposit which we return to you after your return the phone in good condition. This is hardly unreasonable. 

As I mentioned before, we have many different protection plans for many different products. I do not agree that every single product need a protection plan, mainly due to the fact that some products have outstanding warranties. However, many big ticket items such as TVs, Appliances, Computers, and Phones need these plans because they could break at any moment because they are what we use the most, and when they do, we do not want to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to replace them. 

The final thing I would like to say is in reference to your comment about this being Fraud. We were not out to confuse you or steal your money. I and the majority of my coworkers do our best to help our customers and try to meet your expectations. Confusion does occur from time to time as much as we try to avoid it, but in future reference to any company you deal with (especially the large ones) take the time to read the fine print on the services you are considering to buy. Many companies including best buy have an entire team over the phone that can clarify anything that you may not understand. 
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#3 Consumer Suggestion

Standard Operating Procedure

AUTHOR: IntheKnow - (USA)

For both the OPs, what BBY is doing is SOP.  They are under orders to sell their Black Tie Protection Plans, at the expense of any of the carrier plans; and as the stores and management are under pressure to exceed their service plan goals.   It is "assumed" on behalf of the BBY sales associates that if a customer wants the carrier insurance, they do it on their own time.
We beat a dead horse trying to get the word out that the saleperson's "WORD" is worth jack. It is no wonder that the TERMS and CONDITIONS of their plans are not readily available. In fact, you cannot view the "Ts & Cs" online either until you buy something and checkout.  This is obviously intentional to mask the truth.  For phone service plans, there is no condition of a like loaner; it's a loaner, it's a phone....period.  There is no condition of an exchange as opposed to a shipped out repair - which certainly can take time.
From many blogs relating to the phone carriers, dealing with the carrier's stores is much easier and a friendlier experience.    Is it Best Buy or Buyer Beware?
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#4 Consumer Comment

The Best Buy Employee Who Sold It To Me Mislead Me, Too

AUTHOR: nodoubt99999 - (United States of America)

I have been a customer of Sprint's for over ten years.  I went down to Best Buy to get my son his first cell phone on his birthday.  (I had just bought my Evo from there a couple months before and THOUGHT that the experience was great.)  Keep in mind that Sprint charges $20/month for the extra line (this is my third line on the account) and I had to agree to a 2 year contract on the line to get the low price, so if I cancel it, I will have to pay a $200 cancellation fee.  I got him an Android phone so he could play games on his own phone instead of sneaking on my Evo.  While she was getting the phone turned on and ready, she asked me if I would like to get Best Buy's Black Tie protection insurance for the phone.  This is what she said "It's the same as Sprint's, only we charge a couple dollars more a month because we don't have a deductible.  We even provide a loaner phone if your phone is in for repair."  I thought Great!  Because Sprint now charges $100 deductible on smart phones if you need a replacement, for ANY reason.  So, I got the Best Buy insurance and cancelled my insurance with Sprint. 

Now, it's a month later and my son has lost his phone.  I know that someone has it, because Family Locator shows it an hour's drive away from here and my twelve year old son lost it at the park down the street from the house.  I had no paperwork on the Black Tie insurance to tell me what to do, so I went down the the Best Buy store I bought it from and asked the girl who sold it to me what I needed to do to get the replacement.  She looked at me like I was stupid and said that I had to go online and message the phone with a pin number and it would tell me where it was.  I asked her what good that would do me because I wasn't about to go knock on some stranger's door asking for my phone.  (I've been robbed at gunpoint before so I'm a little leery of strangers.)  I said the phone's gone, I need to get it replaced now, so what do I do.  Deseree says, "Well we don't cover lost or stolen phones."  I told her that that's not the impression she gave me when I bought the insurance.  So, I told her I wanted to talk to the manager.  (By the way, I had to ask her TWICE to get the manager.)

So, here comes the manager.  I explain it all again.......and he says they've never covered lost or stolen phones.  I told him that she should not have told me that it was the same insurance as Sprint's if that was the case.  So, now he says, "Well, I don't know how I can help you because I don't know how the conversation went."  (Duh!  Didn't I just tell him how the conversation went?!?!?!)  I then told him again that she said it was the same insurance as Sprint's, but with no deductible.  And here's what he asked me, "Well, were you specifically told that it covered lost or stolen phones?"  and when I said no, he again said that he didn't know how I expected him to help me. 

And, I finally walked out with a parting comment that I was never buying anything at Best Buy again.  Oh, and it really rubbed me the wrong way as another employee tells me to have a GREAT day as I'm storming out!

Now, I'm stuck paying $20 a month for two years for a line I have no phone for because I don't have $400-500 to buy another one outright.

So, I've filed a complaint with Sprint, and I've filed a complaint with Best Buy corporate (not that I expect anything to come of that since it looks like this is a normal occurrence with this company).  And now I'm finding as many avenues as I can to get the word out that nobody should buy from Best Buy.  Not only did they mislead me, but then treated me like an idiot.  Yes, I understand I should have read the fine print, but, guess what, I didn't get any fine print.  I had left all the paperwork in the Best Buy bag that I brought home......The Sprint service agreement is in there, the receipt for the purchase is in there, but absolutely NO paperwork on the Black Tie insurance.  I wonder why?
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#5 UPDATE Employee

Not sure this is a case of "fraud"....

AUTHOR: Ronny g - (USA)

I do agree that you should have been told about the T-mobile warranty..I will need to look into that, perhaps there is a reason they didn't tell you other then for the salespersons commission. If that was the sole reason they didn't tell you then it does require looking into.

As far as leaving a deposit for a loaner phone..I do agree as well that seems like an inconvenience..But it is not fraud unless they won't return the deposit when you bring back the loaner.

What I will ask you to do is read the terms of the BTP and see if it discusses the policy for being issued a loaner phone. If it mentions anything about giving you a loaner without having to leave a deposit..let me know.

I imagine they must of had issues with customers not returning loaners...otherwise I see no reason for the deposit. I know it seems silly because what you paid for your phone and the plan most likely exceeds the value of the loaner phone..but they must have a reason..the salespeople do not just make up policies as they go along..this was a corporate decision for what ever reason or people would be fired. Yes, BestBuy is a for profit business..but I believe they strive to be an ethical company..which may be why they are surviving and growing during a recession where others have closed the doors.

If the deposit is truly for the sake of That no phone can leave the store without a sales receipt..surely they could have made the deposit be 1 dollar instead of $150.00.... so that does not jive.

Has far as any additional wait time while in the store due to you being on the phone..I have to side with the salespeople on that one. They are there to service customers. I have been on the sales floor enough to know that it is really annoying to be dealing with a customer who gives you the old "one minute I am on the phone finger"..and then expects you to drop everything else once you are off the phone. If your issue in the store is that urgent..either the phone call can wait..or the next customer that walks up is going to get service. What do you expect the salesperson to do...tell every other customer that walks up..."sorry I can't help you today..I have to wait until the last customer is done with a phone call" any of that so unreasonable? Ever have that done to you? Don't you just hate it?
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