Here at Business Pundit, we read a number of stories about companies acting nasty. For example, credit card companies canceling accounts without prior notice. Or broadband companies slowing customer connections when they use more bandwidth than the company wants.
The business world can be a mean place–especially when it comes to consumers. That’s why we’ve decided to start a new series called “Shame on You!” Every time a company does something sneaky, we want as many people as possible to know about it. We hope, with your help, that we can make it harder for companies to get away with deviant practices.
If you’ve had a company scam you, take your money, or cheat you in some other way, please write to us through this contact form. Tell us your story. If appropriate, we will publish it on our site anonymously, bringing it to the attention of thousands of readers.
Our first Shame on You! cheater is Best Buy. A reader named Rick wrote in with his story:
I bought a new laptop to deal with a server emergency while on a business trip. I picked one out that I thought my wife would like since she needed a new laptop anyway.
The Best Buy salesman went back to look and came back to tell me “the only one we have left is optimized. It will cost you an extra $40. Is that OK?”
I told him that I didnt like being forced to by a service I didn’t really want. So he came back and said “we can lower it to $20. Is that OK?”
“What does it include?” I asked.
“We did all your windows updates and removed all the junk from your computer that gets pre-installed,” he said.
I figured that for $20, if they really did all that stuff, it was worth my time.
After buying the laptop, I went back to my hotel room. I turned on the laptop. It told me it needed to go through 11 Windows updates. There were still half a dozen bloatware offers from companies like AOL and Norton.
And maybe worst of all, the computer had been de-Googlized in favor of Bing. It was like Microsoft had paid
In other words, i was paying best buy an optimization fee so they could justify turning the computer on to get a kickback from Microsoft. It was disgusting.
Upon investigating the case above, we discovered a couple of things:
1) This isn’t the first time Best Buy has acted sleazy around customers. In 2004, the state of Ohio sued the company for selling used products as new.
In 2007, it was accused of bait-and-switch tactics by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
More recently, there’s word of Microsoft training Best Buy employees to discredit the Linux operating system.
2) Best Buy knows about this. There have been many complaints on Best Buy’s official forum.
Recommendations for Best Buy:
1) Offer the service, but don’t shove it down people’s throats. It is not necessary.
2) Be clear about what exactly you’re doing. Give the details. Don’t say you’re doing something, then let customers be surprised when they find that you haven’t done what they thought you promised.
If you feel scammed by Best Buy–or you have a good defense for their practices–please comment below.
Do you have a Shame on You! story to share? Email us here, and we’ll consider it for publication.