Here's the letter I wrote them recapping the misery they caused, and am awaiting their response. Yeah, right....
BY EMAIL AND OVERNIGHT MAIL
Best Buy Corporate Customer Care
P.O. Box 9312
Minneapolis , MN 55440
The letter is to inform you of the extraordinary and unreasonable difficulty I have had with delivery and installation of a stackable washer and dryer pair purchased from Best Buy. Your employees have consistently displayed a lack of knowledge regarding the product and the installation and display little, if any, genuine care or concern for customers' time or money, even to being downright rude about it. Calling these people Certified Appliance Specialists and claiming they are extensively trained and tested on new models so they have the most up-to-date product knowledge, (Fn1) is misleading at best, as Best Buy is offering installation and service contracts for an appliances that your own lack of warehouse inventory and installation policies and procedures prevent you from properly executing.
On Saturday, November, 22, 2008, I purchased a Whirlpool Duet Sport Front-Loading Automatic Washer (Model No. WFW8300SW) and Whirlpool Duet Sport Electronic Gas Dryer (Model No. WGD8300SW) from Best Buy Store 764 located at 4500 Van Nuys Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, California 91403 (Phone: 818-501-0933). At the time of purchase, the salesperson informed me that I would need to purchase either rubber or steel washer inlet hoses, (Fn2) new flexible dryer vent ducting, (Fn3) both to be brought from the warehouse at installation, and I requested a stacking kit, which I was told the warehouse was out of but she had one in stock, all of which she rang up as part of the order. I would also need gas dryer hose connection, 3/8" by 6', which she explained I would need to procure myself from a hardware store. She presented the Best Buy no payment/no interest for 18 months offer (which is more correctly simply no interest, as payments are required something which I would have refused), which I applied for and was told was approved. For reasons I don't remember (possibly the credit application), she had to re-ring the order.
We completed the sale, arranging for delivery and installation on Friday, November 28, 2008. She then realized she forgot to ring up the Whirlpool stacking kit, proceeded to do so as a separate transaction, and I then took the stacking kit and left the store. The next day, Saturday, November 23, I purchased the gas dryer hose from an Orchard Supply Hardware store.
On Wednesday, November 26 at 6:46 p.m., I received a call from the Best Buy Delivery Distribution Center in Chino notifying me that delivery and installation would take place on Friday, November 28, 2008 between the hours of 12 Noon and 2 p.m. on Friday, and asking me to call back. I called back as requested and confirmed the delivery.
On Friday, November 28, I sat and waited by the phone, but the scheduled delivery window came and went without any contact from Best Buy. At 2:07 p.m. I called the Best Buy Delivery Distribution Center and informed them the delivery had not taken place as scheduled. The representative took my name and placed me on hold; when she came back on the line she told me that Dispatch was having difficulty locating the truck and Dispatch would call me in 5 minutes; no such call ever came. At approximately 2:50 p.m. the truck showed up, no explanation, excuse or apology offered by your employees.
The installers proceeded to remove my current washer/dryer combo from the upstairs laundry closet and bring in the new washer and dryer. While moving in the washer, the taller of the two installers noted that the gas dryer hose I purchased was not the correct size -- I needed a 1/2 hose, not a 3/8 as I had been told by the salesperson, and the 1/2 hose they brought in from the truck was only 4' long, not 6' long. In addition, he stated that the stacking kit was the wrong kind (it was in fact, the right kind, but the wrong one for my model) and insisted that I should get a different kind of stacking kit because the type I had was not safe. (Fn4)
I called the Distribution Center again and questioned why I had been given the wrong information regarding the gas hose and sold the wrong stacking kit. While I was on the phone, the installers kept working on the installation despite not having the correct parts, and during the course of my conversation, the Distribution Center agent I was speaking with asked me to put the installers on the phone. I handed the taller of the two men my cell phone, who proceeded to talk to the representative in Spanish, which I do not speak. After several minutes he hung up and handed the phone back to me, even though I was not done speaking with the agent. The installer told me that he had been instructed by the agent to proceed with the installation, despite the incorrect parts. I again called the Delivery Distribution Center and asked to speak with the agent to whom I and the installer had previously been speaking, but never reconnected with them. The agent who answered that call, Blanca, informed me that under no circumstances would someone at the Distribution Center ever tell the installer to proceed on an installation without the correct parts. By this time, the installers had pulled the dryer from the truck and had it unpacked and sitting on the walkway in front of my condo. During the course of my conversation with Blanca, it was decided that in order to ensure the installation was done correctly, the correct parts should be obtained and the installation rescheduled. I was initially informed that the earliest available installation appointment was not until Sunday, December 7; however, when I told her that was unreasonable, given that I had been misled by the salesperson and the need to reschedule was only due to Best Buy's error, Blanca obtained her supervisor's approval give me an appointment on Sunday, November 30, based on my ability to obtain the correct parts. She specifically asked me, How soon would you be able to get the correct parts? The installers left the unpacked dryer with me, moving it into my living room. The taller installer instructed me to run the washer through one time before use and started the washer without adding any HE detergent, as is specified by Whirlpool. (Note: There was a 96 oz. container of Wisk HE detergent sitting on the shelf immediately next to the washer, at eye level.)
During the empty cycle, the washing machine shook violently during rinsing, evidencing the fact that the machine had not been leveled. Upon closer inspection, the tile floor around the washer was filthy, likely due to years of lint accumulation, but also freshly spilled water. I had recently cleaned the area around the old washer/dryer, but now it was covered in muddy boot prints and the beige carpeting on the stairs and landing in front of the washer was dirty. No attempt had been made to clean up any of it, in spite of a roll of paper towels sitting in plain view on the closet shelf (right next to the detergent), nor was I given the opportunity to clean it. Heading back downstairs I also noticed dirty handprints on the stairwell walls, probably made when they were moving the appliances. Finally, when I walked outside my door a bit later, I found the walkway outside my unit littered with garbage that they simply left where it dropped as they unpacked. (Fn5)
Later that evening I took the stacking kit package and went online to see what other stacking kits might be available. What I purchased is apparently the only type of stacking kit available for that model. I then noticed that the stacking kit I had been sold was for other Whirlpool Duet models, not the Duet Sport model I had purchased. My stackable pair required Part No. 8572546, but I had been sold Part No. 8541503. Nowhere on Best Buy's website did I find such a stacking kit, I found it only at Lowe's, so I ordered it online for pickup on Saturday morning.
On Saturday evening, while still running around to obtain the 1/2 x 6' gas dryer hose, I received a call from the Delivery Distribution Center notifying me that the installers would be out the next morning between the hours of 10 a.m. and 12 Noon.
On Sunday morning at 10:07 a.m., two more installers showed up at my door. One was quiet and polite, the other I will simply refer to as Mr. Snotty -- enough said. I showed them upstairs to the closet where the washer had been installed, then came back downstairs and went through the parts I had with them, including the stacking kit I picked up and gave them back the 4' hose left by the first installers. The partner looked at the stacking kit and then had Mr. Snotty look at it. Mr. Snotty sneered when I told him I had to go pick it up because the store gave me the wrong kit, but Mr. Snotty later stated out loud that it was the right kit, and installed it anyway. However, Mr. Snotty snapped that the 4' hose was too short. I showed him the 6' hose I had procured and he informed me that he wasn't installing it because it didn't come from Best Buy. I told him I had been instructed to purchase the hose by the salesperson, the other installers, and the Distribution Center, but he was adamant that he couldn't install it because unless it came from Best Buy they couldn't guarantee the installation. (Notably, that had not stopped Mr. Snotty from using my stacking kit.) Mr. Snotty grabbed the 4' gas hose, handed an end to his partner, walked partway down the stairs and the two of them proceeded to tug with great force on the 4' hose in an attempt to stretch it out. When I dared to question the possibility of damage to the gas hose, Mr. Snotty snapped back that it was fine, and that if they didn't install today, they wouldn't be coming back, and that would be too bad for me. Mr. Snotty also complained that there was not enough clearance for the dryer venting and the closet door would be unable to close. (Fn6)
I went downstairs to the living room and, once again, called the Delivery Distribution Center. While I was on hold, Mr. Snotty and his partner came down and started to move the dryer towards the stairs. I asked them to wait, as I was on hold, until I talked to someone. Mr. Snotty clearly took offense to this, waved to his pal and snarled, Come on, she doesn't want us here, and proceeded to walk out the door, never to be seen again. When I finally spoke to an agent , Sybil, recounted what happened to date, and asked why I had not been previously told either by the salesperson, anyone at the Delivery Distribution Center or the previous installers of the policy regarding only installing Best Buy procured hardware with the dryer, Sybil stated that she was sorry that no one had told me but that was, in fact, the policy. She then stated that the dryer requires an 8' hose not a 4' hose, or 6' hose, but an 8' hose -- for proper installation, and confessed that Best Buy does not and has never carried such an item. When I asked what on earth I was supposed to do, being required to have an item which did not exist, she informed me that the Store Manager at my local Best Buy could arrange for someone to go out, pick up the correct hose and arrange for installation. She repeated that advice again and again, while offering no explanation as to why things had gone so far before this critical bit of information was made known. Approximately two minutes after I ended the call with Sybil, I heard the installers' truck drive off.
At 10:36 a.m. I called the Best Buy store and asked for the manager. I spoke to Store Manager Eric Rader and, once again, recounted the situation as briefly as I could, and asked he bear with me while I expressed my anger and frustration over having had two days wasted sitting and waiting for installers, in addition to running around looking for unusable parts all for the fruitless installation appointments, and finally asked that he resolve the situation. Eric stated he was taking the information down and told me he would be consulting with the most qualified person to handle this, his Appliance Manager, Tara. I was told I could expect a call back in around 30 minutes.
While I was waiting for the call, I went back upstairs to look at the washer and found that they had, in fact, hooked up the 6' hose to the gas line and simply left it hanging there. The foil dryer vent duct had also been attached but had fallen behind the washer. (Fn7)
In addition, they had opened the stacking kit from Lowe's and begun applying it to the top of the washer. I have to wonder what they were thinking by knowingly making such an install, after stating and therefore knowing full well that I would likely have problems should I have to call Best Buy for service, and wondered to what extent, if any, Mr. Snotty's actions voided any warranty(ies) by Whirlpool and Best Buy.
At 12:12 p.m., having received no response from either Eric or Tara, I again called the store and the call went unanswered, not even going to voicemail. I redialed and spoke to a salesperson who informed me that Eric had left for the day. I told her that I needed to speak to a manager and she eventually took my name and put me on hold. She then came back on the line and told me that all the managers there had been advised of the situation by Eric and someone would call me back. I told her that was not acceptable as the problem was I was already waiting for someone to call, and I was then again placed on hold. When she came back on the line, I was told that one of the managers, Angie , was standing right there on the phone working on my problem, and because she was on the phone, she could not speak to me and would call me back. Angie did eventually get on the line, while still talking to someone else, and said she was working on it. I explained that I was extremely tired of the runaround and time wasted. Angie was apologetic and said she would do whatever it takes to make it right, even if it means taking 10% off or whatever, to get someone out there as soon as possible, to get me the right parts and to resolve this. I asked if there was possibility of an installer coming today because otherwise I had to find a laundromat, and she said she was looking into it but had not been able to reach anyone. Angie proceeded to run down the list of installation parts, including the dryer venting, brought in from the warehouse by the first installers, which she noted I had not been charged for, but was one of the things that the salesperson had covered with me; I assume that it was dropped when she re-rang the purchase. Angie pointed out with glee that I had gotten a freebie, and not to mention it to anyone lest I be charged. (Fn8) While we went through the installation parts, I informed her that Lowe's would probably not take the stacking kit back because it had been opened/used, but she repeatedly stated that they would because they have a 30-day return policy and I needed to get the stacking kit from Best Buy.
Just before 1 p.m. I was again called by Angie who informed me that she had both good news and bad news: Bad news first. She had called around until she found the stacking kit, but the warehouse didn't have the 6' connector (they had never, ever, stocked an 8' connector), but since I did have one, she had contacted an outside contractor called Ultima[?], who they use who would be willing to use my hose and install the dryer at a cost of $150 which they would absorb (as if there was a possibility that I might be expected to pay it) though the earliest possible date would be Wednesday. Since she could not tell me whether they would be coming morning or afternoon, there would be no way I could schedule around my meetings during the week and I would have to wait for installation until Saturday, December 6. Angie would make the arrangements, ship me the stacking kit, and I could return the other one later. She just wanted to confirm one thing and she would call me back in 30 minutes. I do not recall anything that constituted the good news.
Just under two hours later, Angie finally called me back to say that the stacking kit would be in on Wednesday (a change in her story), so I could come in and pick it and bring them the old one for exchange, rather then her sending the part to me as she originally stated (another change in her story). She again confirmed that the contractor which she now referred to as "A-1" not "Ultima" would be coming on Saturday to do the install, but still would be unable to give me a time until Friday, so "everything is all right" (her words). Angie clearly decided that she needed to do nothing, offer nothing and has left this situation as is, with me still having to run around swapping parts (Fn9) and then waiting around for the installation. Perhaps the contract installer will tell me how to remove the adhesive backed stacking kit from the washer without ruining the stacking kit or damaging the washer? Let us remember that this is an adhesive designed to hold a 127-pound dryer in place. I still sincerely doubt that Lowe's will be delighted to get the used stacking kit back and gladly refund my money.
So, to recap, as it stands right now my losses consist of three days of my holiday weekend (9-1/2 hours spent waiting around my condo or on the phone with Best Buy personnel on Friday and Sunday), plus an additional four hours either calling or driving around (plus gasoline and cellular charges) on two consecutive Saturdays, (Fn10) and $21.62 on a now-worthless stacking kit from Lowe's (despite the fact that your Best Buy's installer, Mr. Snotty, determined the stacking kit is, in fact, the correct part), carpet and walls to be cleaned, (Fn11) all for naught. In addition, I am supposed to drive back to Best Buy today or tomorrow to pick up the new stacking kit and exchange it for the one I was incorrectly sold, return the other hoses to O.S.H., and then spend another weekend waiting around for an installer. In the end, after all the time and frustration, I may or may not have a property installed washer and dryer, using parts and methods which Best Buy deems unfit, and which may violate Whirlpool's warranty and may create a fire hazard in my home!
After enduring all of the foregoing, Best Buy and it's employees have done nothing to make this right, to make me whole, not even by way of apology, save for Angie who clearly said she was sorry only as a means to temporarily mitigate my anger on the phone. I am not only in the same position that I was before this weekend began, I now have the inconvenience of a major appliance sitting in the middle of my living room, preventing me from so much as watching television, a gas line hanging loose, an unbalanced washer, and no way to do my accumulated laundry (at least with my old appliance, I could partially launder my clothing) save the time and expense of sitting around a Laundromat, or having wet clothes hanging from every surface.
I would like to know what Best Buy intends to do to rectify this situation, to compensate me for my lost time and money, and to ensure that I (or any other customer) absolutely do not have to suffer through this misery ever again.
FN2 This statement was made in spite of the fact that rubber-coated steel hoses were actually included with the washer, so I was mislead into an unnecessary $26.99 purchase. The included hoses were pointed out to me by the installers only after they had installed the steel ones I purchased.
FN3 Note that Whirlpool's installation instructions regarding dryer venting call for a rigid or flexible heavy metal vent, with the warning that, Failure to follow these instructions can result in death or fire.
FN4 So, Best Buy knowingly sells unsafe stacking kits? How interesting
FN5 I picked up the outside litter and paid my handyman to come over and move the washer and clean the floor.
FN6 I measured both the space and the existing laundry unit carefully before purchase. I measured again after the last installers' departure: With the closet door clearing the front of the washer by the specified 1, there are still 7-3/8 inches of clearance behind the unit, exceeding the manufacturer's spacing requirement of 5.
FN7 Again, Whirlpool's installation instructions specifically state Clean lint from the entire length of the system and make sure the exhaust hood is not plugged with lint. Replace any plastic or metal foil vent with rigid or flexible heavy metal vent... and WARNING: Failure to follow these instructions can result in death or fire. No one mentioned my cleaning the vent either prior to, during or after the purchase or installation process, stated that task had been performed.
FN8 Let us note three things here: 1) If I wasn't charged it was the salespersons' fault (as was pretty much this entire fiasco), 2) I was sold hoses I didn't need, so at best I would consider the free vent a fair tradeoff, and 3) that it appears use the type of flimsy foil vent supplied by Best Buy violates the manufacturer's warranty on the dryer. According to the manual the dryer requires a rigid metal exhaust, not a flexible one. Indeed, this type of exhaust may pose a fire hazard.
FN9 Apparently the illogic of hiring a contract installer because of the non-Best Buy gas hose yet requiring me to purchase another Best Buy stacking kit -- when even Mr. Snotty conceded the part I had was the correct one was completely lost on Angie.
FN10 As far as I was able to ascertain, the 6' gas dryer connection hose is not carried by either Home Depot, Lowe's or O.S.H.; this required that I contact or visit a number of smaller, independent hardware stores.
FN11 The tile floor was cleaned at my expense by my handyman, who was able to move the washer as I cannot.
Sherman Oaks, California
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