We walked into the Rockaway Best Buy store on December 28, 2012 to purchase a projector and after selecting this Optoma model we had to wait for about 30 minutes for the item to be brought to the register, as this was the last unit they had as we were told. Since this was my first ever projector purchase I confirmed the return and exchange policies in case there is any issue and we were assured that the item was returnable within a 30 day period. Once home, we turn the projector on only to find out that it does not work. Also, like any such purchase from an Electronic store, say like a TV, Projector or a computer nobody unpacks the item inside the store to check if it is operational but customers bring the item home, unpack and then when connecting it is when we find out flaws. Since it was late night we could not get back to the store and went to the store on December 30, 2012 to return this unit.
At the customer service desk, the store clerk was processing my return when suddenly the store manager, Alvaro Goncalves, walks up and without saying anything takes my unit into the closed office behind the customer service desk. I am standing there clueless and was made to wait for 40-45 minutes without knowing what is happening. Once the manager comes out of that office, he handed me the unit and said that they cannot accept the return stating that this was an incorrect item. I am shocked at this statement as I have never purchased a projector before this one and the unit I was returning was the unit that came out of box. I have several witnesses to support this case who were with me at the store and later at home. This should also be evident from the store’s CCTV recordings.
Now I get into a spiraling battle with my credit card company to get the credit back on a defective item. I am already at the second level of my arbitration with Visa. The first dispute was filed on 12/30/2012 and Best Buy had 45 days to come back with their side of the story and at the 44th day all they had to give was a copy of their return policy which is the generic version and nothing specific to my case. The second time the dispute was filed on 03/04/2013, they were given another 45 days and this time and they came back stating that an incorrect item was returned.
This is a very clear case of fraud. Either Best Buy is tampering the manufacturer packaging and re-packing defective and incorrect items or the Store employee has switched the unit while I was made to wait 45 minutes outside the return desk. In either case this is not fair to the consumer who here has spent over a $1000 and has a defective and incorrect product. Both Capital One and Visa have been totally ignorant of any consumer protection rights as they have not taken any extra step to recover our money as they seem to support only what Best Buy has to say while down-playing our concern.
While I would like to escalate this matter to the highest possible authority, a case has been filed with the Better Business Bureau and the local media has been contacted on this as well. I have also reached out to the Consumer Affair division in NJ and finally this will become a registered Civil case so that Best Buy can be dragged to the court. Also, as we try to research such fraudulent cases on the Internet, we have come across thousands of such practices by Best Buy, in fact, there are several web sites recording cases like mine, some of them are listed below. I wonder how such a publicly traded company is still in business and no government authorities have taken any action to shut this business.
We are seeking the utmost compensation in this matter, including replacement of this item with a new working unit, monetary compensation since we have been deprived of such entertainment for so long since we could not purchase another projector awaiting resolution to this matter.