Today, I attempted to do something very simple: purchase a product on BestBuy.com, walk into the store to pick up the product, and walk out. Sounded too good to be true. The item I was seeking was a Wacom Intuos4 Medium Tablet. While I rarely buy items this expensive from local stores, Best Buy’s price was about the same as everyone else’s online, so I was thought I could save myself the wait and shipping cost by using In-Store Pickup, and collect some RewardZone points in the process. Delaware is sales-tax free so that wasn’t a concern for me. On BestBuy.com, the store locator showed that store #575 in Wilmington, DE had the item in stock. I placed the order online, and used some RewardZone certificates to further knock the price down.
I placed this order at 8:36 AM today, and at 10:20 AM, I received an e-mail saying “Your order is ready to pick up.” I left my house (which is about 30 minutes from store #575), and when I got there, the employee at the Pick-Up Counter said, “Oh, you should’ve gotten an e-mail saying that we don’t actually have that in stock.” So, I showed him the printed e-mail saying my order is ready to pick up, and he said his inventory guy must have accidentally marked the order as picked. So, after much frustration, I had him call store #465 to confirm inventory. They confirmed they had the product and put it on hold. The employee simply said to go to the other store and I would be good to go.
I drove to Best Buy #465, which is about 11 miles (20 minutes) from store #575. I went to pick up, and they said that I should have been instructed to call 1-888-BEST-BUY to have them change the pickup location to their store. So, I said, “Can’t you just do that for me?” They said I had to. So, while standing at the counter, I called and after about 10 minutes of being on hold and talking to a customer service rep, they said that I should be good to pick-up. So, the rep I am now dealing with at this store said that the system would take a while to update. So, I waited. After about 15 minutes, I checked e-mail on my phone, and I got one from Best Buy saying “Billing Problem Encountered – Action Required”. I knew immediately what this meant. It meant that they tried to charge my credit card twice. So, I told the rep I got this e-mail, and he then called 1-888-BEST-BUY for me. He explained the situation to another customer service rep, who put him on hold for about 8 minutes. When she came back on, she confirmed that they tried to charge the card twice and then refund one of the charges, which then locked out the funds. It being a Saturday, I could not call MasterCard to resolve the issue. He advised that I provide him a new credit card to put the order on. While he was explaining this to me, the rep he was on the phone with hung up.
So, I advised to him that I would just buy the item on a different card, and then I would call 1-800-BEST-BUY to cancel the online order completely. He agreed that would be the best approach. The downside is that I had used RewardZone certificates, but those would be re-issued after the order was canceled. This rep was very helpful and even took 10% off of the item for my troubles.
This is the 2nd time I’ve used Best Buy In-Store Pickup. The first time was for a Samsung BD-P3600 Blu-ray Player. There was a free Blu-ray movie offer if purchased online. For that order, the item was not available at the store that originally showed it, but I got an e-mail saying I had to change the pickup store or have it shipped. Fortunately, another store had this one and I was able to pickup with no problems. However, they did charge my card twice that time too.
I suppose the moral of this story is to simply not use In-Store Pickup. It’s a gamble at best. What should have taken about 3 minutes took me over 3 hours to get resolved. Perhaps it is good during the Christmas season to avoid the lines… but I imagine the inventory tracking would be worse then. From now on, I recommend simply calling the store to verify product stock and have them put something on hold if desired. The only time I would suggest placing the order online for In-Store Pickup is if there is an online-only promotion or if pricing is different. On the flip side, if you want some chaos, you could talk them into knocking 10% off of your order for the inevitable trouble.