Don’t Buy from Best Buy Using PayPal, or Maybe At All?

I recently had a purchase and return experience from Best Buy that certainly does not qualify as “best” by any means. Here’s what happened along with a rough timeline.

Time: 0

I purchased an electronic item (computer accessory) from BestBuy.com and paid via PayPal.

Time: 2 Weeks

I returned the item to a Best Buy physical store for a refund and was told that since I paid via PayPal, I could expect the refund to take up to 10 business days.

Time: 2 months

Far after the initial deadline had passed with no refund processed, I initiated a live chat with Best Buy to inquire about its status. It turns out that Best Buy’s live chat system is pretty useless, as I was told I needed to call to get help regarding this issue.

Time: 2.5 months

After not receiving the refund nearly 2 months after the return, I called Best Buy and spoke to a rep. I was then told that the deadline for the refund was 2 months after the return, not 10 business days. The rep also asked me to contact PayPal to confirm whether the refund had been processed.

I could clearly see that PayPal did not have any transaction entry for the refund, but contacted them anyway via secure message and got a reply just on the 2 month deadline saying that no refund had been issued for the payment to Best Buy (as expected).

Time: 3.5 months

I got busy for a while, but then finally found some time to call Best Buy again. This time, I spoke to another rep who said I had been misinformed about the refund timelines, and that it should have taken no longer than 30 days (yet another different timeline).

To try to resolve the issue, we did a 3-way conference call with Paypal. The PayPal rep confirmed that no refund was found in the PayPal system. However, since the Best Buy rep was not the account manager for Best Buy’s PayPal account, we could not proceed with further diagnosing the issue. At that point, the PayPal rep said that she would email Best Buy’s PayPal account manager and also pass along my contact information. I was told I could expect to receive some sort of response within a few days to a week. I was given a case number by the Best Buy rep that I could reference if I called in the future so Best Buy could bring up the case notes more easily.

Time: 4 months

I had not heard any response or communication from Best Buy or PayPal regarding this matter. I tried calling Best Buy twice. Both times, I gave them the Best Buy case number I received on earlier from the Best Buy rep, and they claimed to go look up the details of the case while putting me on hold. Both times, after being on the call for approximately 9 minutes, I was disconnected.

Time 4.5 months

At this point, I felt that Best Buy had basically stolen the money from me and I had wasted so many hours trying to get it back. Calling Best Buy support clearly did not work, so I was going to try 2 other avenues: The Best Buy Forums and PayPal Support. I decided to give Best Buy one more chance before trying to reverse the charges through PayPal.

So I made a post to Best Buy’s support forums outlining all the events that had happened thus far. After a day or two, I received a reply from a support rep asking for a private message some details about the order, which I gave. About a week later, the rep had investigated the matter and was able to get the refund processed. Finally, after about 5 months, I was able to resolving this transaction and get my money back.

Conclusion

As I read the Best Buy forums, it became evident that many others had experienced similar issues of not getting their refunds when they had paid with PayPal. Two possibilities exist:

  1. There is a flaw in Best Buy’s refund processing system that does not actually submit the refund to PayPal.
  2. They are not providing PayPal refunds on purpose, hoping people won’t notice.

I would hate to think the latter, but I do wonder how many more people never bothered to check and go through the several months of contacting support to try to get their missing refunds, resulting in Best Buy simply pocketing that money.

One moral of the story is that if you encounter similar issues, jump straight to Best Buy’s forums to get help and skip the hours of time wasted on live chat and phone calls.

In the end, I was able to get my money back without trying to reverse the charges through PayPal. However, to avoid such headaches again, I probably won’t be buying anything from Best Buy using PayPal in the future, or maybe at all?

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