Will "the Mighty" Strohl

Best Buy Doesn't Have the "Best" Customer Service

Whenever I think of consumer electronics and overall guy toys, the first place I think of is either Best Buy or BestBuy.com.  I have been shopping there almost exclusively for many years now.  And I have always enjoyed the customer service that I received while in the store and online.  I wouldn't dare post how much I spent there any given month online, but it certainly was not a small amount.

About 3-4 months ago (I am estimating), I was solicited by Best Buy to accept a Rewards Zone Mastercard.  I accepted.  I soon received the card in the mail, but it arrived during our move to the new house.  So, the card was forgotten for 1-2 weeks before it was activated.  If you read my blog, or know me, you know that I keep myself pretty busy these days, so it probably wouldn't surprise you to hear that I completely forgot that I had that credit card.  I didn't try to use it until a couple of weeks ago. 

Here is a wrist slapper for me...  I didn't completely read through the fine print and notice the annual fee that gets immediately charged to the brand new card.  (In fact, had I known that, I would not have accepted the card in the first place.)  No you should fast forward to yesterday.

I finally am getting caught up on my mail, thanks to my wonderful office manager (my woman).  She is wonderful... 

One of the items that stuck out was the Best Buy card.  I never thought that when I'd open the most recent statement that I'd see overdue charges!  But once again, that one was my fault.  I immediately begin to attempt to create an account online to rectify the problem.

I have a bunch of issues logging in to the online credit card management area on the Best Buy website.  I was able to create the account without any problems, but once it was created, I could not stayed logged on to their system.  I called their phone support and was extremely frustrated to speak to someone who I was barely able to understand.  That call ended as it normally does with me.  I just keep answering short answers to promote the end of the conversation.  I no longer care about the problem at hand.  I just want to get off of the phone.

I was able to understand one thing.  He couldn't do anything to help me because I had locked my account with unsuccessful login attempts.  I had to wait for the lockout to expire.  I couldn't understand the amount of time that I had to wait though.

Well, about an hour later, I tried to login again, and I was in!  Yeah!  I proceeded to bring my account up to date.  I immediately paid off my balance.  There was the original annual fee of $35, and then enough late fees to nearly reach $100.  However, I wanted to get this taken care of quickly.  I chose their quick pay option to expedite the time that it takes for the payment to post.  That cost another $15, bringing the total beyond $100.

Yippee!  I paid my account.  I was happy.  That is... Until I noticed a status message at the top of my account page.  In red text, it said, "Your Account is Closed"  I immediately freaked out and e-mailed their customer service folks through a web form that they provide in the account area.  I was pleasant, and asked for my account to be opened.

Well, something I didn't mention up to this point is that there is a wonderful gentleman on Twitter who assists people with the Best Buy problems.  He was trying to help me out with the login problem, and was very helpful.  Fortunately, it logged me in before he had to really do anything.  But I tweeted him back, telling him about my account problem I just mentioned.  Since accounts were not his area of expertise, he suggested contacting another Best Buy employee that frequents Twitter, and even went as far as to shoot her an e-mail to contact me when she got in this morning.

She tweeted me first thing in the morning, asking about my issue.  Once I described it to her, I was instructed to send my problem details to an e-mail address she specified.  I understand that certain things need to go through certain channels, and the bigger the company is, the more true this is.  So I e-mailed my problem.  No problem.  About 10-15 minutes later, the e-mail was sent.

I made sure to include all of the details of my experience up this point, in greater detail than here.  I even owned up to my mistake of not paying the annual fee.  All that I asked for was my account to be reopened since I paid off the balance.  I explained all of this at great length.

I told you before that I am a fan of Best Buy.  I really do enjoy my experience in their stores, and I enjoyed spending my money there.  But after I left there this evening from purchasing 2 last Christmas presents, I opened an e-mail from the accounts department that really ticked me off. 

After all of the hoops that I jumped through to make this payment and bring my balance to $0, here is what was in my inbox:

Dear William Strohl,

This Account is not eligible for reinstatement.  Your Account was  closed on 12/12/08 due to inactivity.  If you would like to reapply for a new account, please visit us online at www.rewardzonemastercard.com.

You will be mailed a letter of confirmation.

Sincerely,

Frank
RewardZone Program MasterCard Customer Care

I understand that they had to close my account to handle its delinquency.  I even understand the late fees.  Credit cards are still pretty new to me, so I am used to paying cash.  At least to me, it is understandable that I forgot about a credit card even existing.  Overall, even though I don't like paying "free money" like this to any company, I understand why and did so.

What I don't understand is their unwillingness to see that I had a human error where I did not mean to "stiff" them, but rather just completely forgot about the account existing.  (Seeing my stack of mail, you'd understand.)

As it stands, this reply from their accounts department tells me one thing.  Best Buy does not want my money anymore.  I am genuinely discouraged, and upset at how this situation was just handled with a blanket policy.  I am even more saddened to say that they are going on my boycott list.  RIP, Best Buy.  I already miss you.  :'(  (That's not something I have ever said before when making this decision.)  At least the account is paid off...

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