Best Buy offered a trade-in deal, but then asked us to leave the store when they weren’t able to figure out the logistics. Read all about our experience.

We have become big proponents of trading in older equipment for newer technology. A couple of weeks ago, we took advantage of a trade-in offer from Simply Mac that allowed me to upgrade from a 2010 MacBook Pro to a 2014 MacBook Pro Retina for only $400. We were also able to take part in a promotion that Best Buy had going on that gave us up to $200 credit towards a new iPad Air 2 with a trade-in of at least an iPad 2. We had 2 iPad 2s and were given $350 credit from both of those towards a new iPad Air 2. As a result, we only ended up paying $150 out of pocket for a new iPad. This was a wonderful promotion in both instances and even though the Simply Mac process meant we had to leave my old laptop with them for a day so they could evaluate it, it was worth it. We worked with some wonderful customer service associates that were helpful and understood their offers. I said all that so that I can mention a less fortunate experience at our local Best Buy.

A few nights ago, we discovered that Best Buy is offering another promotion similar to the iPad trade-in offer, however, this one is for the new Xbox One gaming systems. The promotion stated that with any working Xbox 360 with 250GB hard drive a customer would receive a minimum of $150 towards a new Xbox One. Plus, they would receive $10 for each Xbox 360 controller up to 4. The promotion stated that all components had to be in working condition, but there were no other limitations.


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We decided to pack up our older Xbox 360 and headed to our local Best Buy to complete the trade-in. When we arrived, we were directed to the Customer Service counter. As soon as we told the associate what we were looking to do, she moved us to a specific computer station and immediately told us that only black Xbox 360 controllers were being accepted into their system. We pointed out that the advertisement did not make that distinction. She was adamant that she would only be able to accept the black controller because they couldn’t code in the white controllers. “It wasn’t available in our system,” she said. This was our first red flag. We stood by waiting to see what they would be able to tell us about the rest of our equipment.

She moved over to the console and began to question whether or not the 250GB hard drive was the original one or not. We told her that it wasn’t, but again, the ad didn’t specify that it needed to be the original hard drive for the console. The associate then proceeded to tell us that she may not be able to complete the trade-in because the serial number of the console wouldn’t match the hard drive size. We pointed out the ad, which did not have any fine print that stated mixed hard drive and console wouldn’t be accepted. She apologized and said, “I’m sorry, but our system doesn’t let us do that.”

The associate called over another associate to review the situation to see if she was missing anything. He told us that maybe the problem was that their store wasn’t accepting that promotion. We pointed out that we had called earlier in the day and someone told us to bring the system in. The apologized, but we didn’t feel that they were actually trying to resolve the situation or help us in any way. They ended up calling over a member of management over to discuss the situation with us. When they called him over, the two associates said to each other that maybe he could do something. This comment led us to believe that maybe this manager would have the ability to unlock the promotion or would even maybe just make up the difference of the trade-in that they couldn’t complete with a gift card. After all, we were just going to buy a game system from their store when this transaction was completed.

Unfortunately, that would not be the case. When the manager got to our area, he didn’t introduce himself and ask us to explain the situation. He simply started the exchange with, “Our system won’t let us trade-in the white controller for any credit. If we can’t find it in the computer we can’t trade it in.” I went on to explain to him that it wasn’t just the controller that was the problem – his associates couldn’t find a way to give us credit for any of the thing indicated in the ad that Best Buy put out. We also mentioned to him that one of his associates left it on the screen so he could review it. The manager then said, “I don’t need to see it.” He was rude and condescending towards us. In my experience as a retail manager, I always found a way to make the customer happy especially if there was a system limitation that shouldn’t have been in place. This manager did nothing to try to keep our business and after we stated that we thought this advertisement might cause a lawsuit, he told us to get out of the store. We asked him if he would put any of what he was saying to us in writing explaining how their ‘policy’ went against a promotion put out by their corporate office. He again said, “No I won’t and you can leave.” We gathered our lot of older Xbox gear and left the store.

When we got into the car we noticed that we had about an hour to make it to another Best Buy. It was about 45 minutes away from our city and in another state, but we were under a time crunch due to my work schedule and the limitations of the promotion timing. When we arrived at the store, we told the security guard what we were there for and he directed us to the customer service desk. We were greeted by a very pleasant customer service rep and we quickly explained what we were there for. She took the power cord, console and 250GB hard drive and checked to make sure the system powered on. This was something the first store associates never did.

Once she established that it was a working unit, she began trying to process the trade-in. She started to run into the same issue where she couldn’t find the exact matching item in their system, but shortly after she discovered she was having trouble, she called over another associate and when he wasn’t sure, he called over a third associate who was also a team leader. He worked with us to ensure we got the credit that was promised by the promotion. We got the $150 towards the new system and $10 per controller regardless of their color. The entire time this transaction was going on, the associates treated us with respect. They never talked down to us or made us feel inadequate because they didn’t understand the promotion fully.

Because we were able to complete the transaction at the second Best Buy, we felt validated that our reasoning was correct and that the first Best Buy just didn’t understand their own trade-in system. The next day, I did contact the corporate customer service office by phone and explained what had happened. They assured me that the experience would be passed along to the store manager. I told him I would appreciate a call back from them along with an apology from the member of management that asked us to leave the store. That was more that 48 hours ago and I have yet to hear from that store.

My advice to anyone who plans to do any sort of trade-in or promotional deal, make sure you read the fine print and go into the retail establishment knowing what the promotion is for. Because we understood it, we were able to complete the transaction with a cooperative, knowledgable staff. If we hadn’t known the promotion as well, we wouldn’t have bothered to venture any further than our local Best Buy.