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  1.    #1  
    This is a follow up to my posts in another thread, but as it has grown from a simple accessory purchase to something much larger, I believe it is time to start a new thread. Read on for a happy ending...

    I decided, even though the other 2-for-1 touchstone thread stated it wasn't going to work, to give this a try myself. After all, if I'm able to go through the entire order process and lay down my credit card, then the item has not really been removed, am I right? Plus I'll give pointers on how to get what you want from a customer service rep or manager, and never have to raise your voice (or blood pressure ).

    Okay, so here's what happened:

    I linked in to the Best Buy (BB) website from this forum thread:, and proceeded to place my order...

    “Palm - Pre Touchstone Charging Dock (2-Pack) – Black”
    * Palm Pre Touchstone Charging Dock (2-Pack)
    * International power charger
    * Touchstone back cover
    * Owner's manual

    Note: So, I count 4 items and a manual. This plays a key role in my conversation with the rep and manager later.

    Now, I'm well aware that this link is no longer accessible from the main BB page since it was a major mistake by BB to post this item for such a low price in the first place, but the link was still live, and I was able to go through the entire checkout process and choose "in-store pickup" from a local BB that had this item in stock. So I thought, 'what the heck, its worth a shot' and waited for the email confirmation after I hit "SUBMIT" on the order confirmation page. I recieved both emails within an hour as I normally would; the first stating that my order was being processed, and the second, *key* email stating that my order was in stock and ready for in-store pick-up.

    I proceeded to the BB after work and arrived around 6:00pm local time. I walked over to the Customer Service desk and gave them my information so I could get the gears turning, so to speak. The girl behind the counter took a look at the order, and left the desk to get the item, though she did look a bit confused right before she left.

    To my initial dismay, the rep brought back the item that only had the backing and touchstone inside (2 items). I took one look at it and mentioned, "I'm sorry, but this seems to be the wrong item. Its missing the other Touchstone and charger cable." We then went over the printouts that I brought (BB ad, BB website receipt, both emails, Palm website listing the item for $140, and the California Dept. of Consumer Affairs Fact Sheet... just in case ).

    She tried to pawn off the "two-pack" as being the back cover and dock, even after I kept telling her I bought an item that is supposed to carry 4 separate items, and a manual. She also mentioned that the item she brought back was the only SKU that matched. I'm using my confused/professional/calm voice throughout the entire conversation.

    TIP: never raise your voice; you will come across as rude, impatient, and unreasonable. They will be more inclined to NOT help you since you don't look like you will be satisfied. Lay on the "confusion" a bit heavier when you anticipate the conversation is not going your way

    Though I am able to make some progress with the rep, it has already been 20 minutes, during which point I feel it was necessary to elevate the situation to a manager.

    TIP: give the rep a chance to resolve your issue. If you ask for a manager too soon, you will again seem unreasonable and belittle the rep in the process. Empower them to try and help you; bring them to your side in your struggle against “The Man” (i.e. BB corporate or website department). 15-20 minutes of stating the facts and making your case in a reasonable tone of voice is the key, after which a manager should be called.

    After a few minutes the manager walks over and listens to the situation that we have ourselves in. I used my understanding/professional/confused voice. As in, I was understanding of the situation yet still not satisfied, and turned the professional up a notch since I was dealing with a higher-up, but still kept the confused part in just in case, so as to let him feel like he was guiding the conversation.

    TIP: again, do not demand anything. Allow the manager to do what he/she is paid to do: manage the situation. If you come off as too aggressive, the manager with get defensive and be less inclined to help resolve the situation to mutual satisfaction. Let him feel like he really is able to make a difference.

    I used the "I paid for 4 items and I only see 2 in the box" many times during my conversation with the manager. He was actually very understanding of the situation and then said he would be right back. Well, nearly 15 minutes past and when he came back he said, "we are going to take care of you." I was cautiously optimistic, seeing as they could not offer what was advertised, I was wondering what they would do to satisfy this unhappy, yet reasonable customer (that's me, by the way).

    TIP: It may be difficult for some folks to remain persistent and patient at the same time, but its a winning combination. Trust me.

    I let the manager take it from there, with very little intervention needed from me from there on. Here is the resolution that we came to:

    ---BB would refund my original purchase of the now-unavailable 2-pack touchstone kit

    ---Since they confirmed the Palm price of the kit to be $139.99 and the difference to be $70.00, they would 'reverse price-match' what was available on the official site

    ---I walked out of the store with no accessory, but a gift card worth $70.00!!!

    Yes, that's right. After about an hour of talking with the rep and manager, I received a free $70.00 gift card for my troubles (not a bad hourly wage, if you ask me). Their reasoning behind this was that I would spend $140 on the Palm site and then make up the difference by using the free $70 card in their store. So, in reality they win since in the grand scheme of things they are still moving merchandise since I will use the gift card eventually (I frequent BB often, so its not a big deal at all). And honestly, that's exactly what I intend on doing. Also, if BB ends up selling the 2-pack for real in the near future, I will basically be able to purchase it for $70, which is where the price matching part comes in.

    I could easily refrain from buying the 2-pack touchstone kit and just act as if I just received a free $70 gift card, but I believe in being honest, because the BB I went to was honest to me and was simply trying to satisfy a customer. And I am definitely satisfied with the resolution. Besides, I had every intention of walking out of there with what I had paid for.

    So, that’s my story, true and accurate to the best of my recollection (it happened a few hours before I had a chance to sit down and type this out). If you have questions, just post below and I can give more advice and tips on how to deal with reps and managers to get the most out of your experiences.

    Note on myself: I do not practice professionally, but I have an extensive education in the field of Psychology. Not that I’m bragging, but I blow the minds of my friends with what I know sometimes. I am usually very successful at bargaining and complaining at brick and mortar stores, which is why I’m asked by friends to tag along when they run into similar situations. Not that I like complaining or look forward to it, but if you’re smart about it you can get what you want most of the time (not every time, since you will sometimes run into people who just don’t want to help you out).

    Caveat: if there are any holes in the story, please let me know as I simply tried to get my thoughts down as quickly as I could before I forgot. Most likely I was just typing too fast and perhaps left out a detail or two.

    ***California Department of Consumer Affairs Fact Sheet***
    Never needed it, but just in case anyone else finds it useful:
    Department of Consumer Affairs Fact Sheet - California Department Of Consumer Affairs
  2. #2  
    Nice write up.
  3.    #3  
    Thanks, nio. If anyone else has tips or advice to handle customer service reps, successfully, please feel free to do so.
  4. #4  
    I'm not sure i quite followed the end result. You bought the error listing from the website for in-store pickup, to which I assume expected that they would provide said items even though it was an error (here in Michigan they would have had to give you the stuff for the price advertised as far as I'm aware but anyways back to the point), and in the end just got a refund of the purchase price in the form of a gift card? If so I would have tried a little harder to bargain. After all even if it was an error they still listed it that way and be held accountable to the error for as long as it was there. I assume after a large handful of people getting what was advertised the powers that be corrected the error but the correction is only good for those who processed orders after the correction.

    I walked into a brick and mortar department store who had priced a whole end cap of dirt devils for half the price it was supposed to be. Despite the fact that it rang up the proper price at the register because of the law they had to sell it to me for the half price they erred in pricing the item for. Of course I informed them that if they didn't want to lose even more money they would best send someone right away to the end cap to properly price everything. I behaved much in the same way you did, calm, rational, and professional.
  5.    #5  
    Perhaps my math needs a bit more explaining. Hopefully this will make more sense (not being sarcastic, I just know I wrote it up pretty quickly):

    I start with a zero balance before purchasing anything:

    Balance: $0

    Touchstone 2-pack listed for $70, which I charged to my card

    Balance: -$70

    Store refunded my original purchase

    Balance: $0

    Store ALSO gave me a $70 gift card

    Balance: +$70

    Purchase Touchstone 2-pack from ($140)

    Balance: -$70

    So in the end, I ended up profiting by $70, which I will of course have to use in store. But this made up for the difference when I purchased the Touchstone 2-pack from the Palm website.

    Yes, I realize that I will be spending $140 total, but it is made up by getting, essentially, $70 worth of free BB merchandise in the future.

    I hope this makes more sense. Let me know if it needs more explaining.
  6. #6  
    Now I understand, in a way it makes sense for them to give you $70 in free stuff via gift card than to give you parts to form the description of the item purchased. In the end you still get what you wanted to buy and money to buy more stuff from them. I love it when I see businesses make happy customers. In the end happy customers means more money for them.
  7.    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by StoneRyno View Post
    Now I understand, in a way it makes sense for them to give you $70 in free stuff via gift card than to give you parts to form the description of the item purchased. In the end you still get what you wanted to buy and money to buy more stuff from them. I love it when I see businesses make happy customers. In the end happy customers means more money for them.
    Yup, and keeping me coming back to their store is a win-win for them. $70 in free merchandise, in the grand scheme of things, is not a big deal at all. Having loyal customers is the key.

    On another note...

    In reality, it was THEIR MISTAKE. I know others on the forums disagree with me and reason that we were taking advantage of the system and exploiting a flaw. However, I believe this will make BB a better retailer and pay closer attention to their online ads. They have made mistakes in the past, especially with the off-contract pricing of some of their phones as of late, but maybe that's because quality control is sub-par on the website front. When they have to pay for their mistakes, money speaks louder than words in this case.

    Just my $0.02 on that.
  8. #8  
    Yup totally. I typically only shop BB when they are willing to beat the best price I find elsewhere. I got my home theater receiver that way. I bargained with the sales rep for the department and got them to match an online price so I payed less than I would have buying it online since I didn't have to pay S&H. Sometimes they have good buys in the computer departments and cellular department too.
  9. davbaugh's Avatar
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    Yep, you have to find the right combination if communication skills; it's really an art. You seem to have mastered it !
  10. #10  
    You have more time than money. But congrats.

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