posted February 10, 2008 and revised June 13, 2017
My experience with the Best Buy electronics and appliance store entails several tales. They've accused my little sister of shoplifting, detaining her and trying to bribe her with a Britney Spears CD--which she took as an insult--once they realized she hadn't done anything. The door man in the Albany, NY store shouted obscene epithet at me, insulting my family. Then there's the extended warranty plans.
Against my advisement, when my dad bought himself, my mother, and my sister mobile phones with a T-Mobile contract, he also got the warrant plans. It turns out that the model of Nokia phone that two of them bought had a known defect, and after 18 months some glue would loosen, and the screen would move away from its electrical contacts and stop being useful. We took the phones back and asked for them to be replaced.
Unfortunately, we discovered, Best Buy did not carry that model anymore, and they had no model that was "equivalent". They offered us to refund the subsidized price paid on the phone, not the full price we paid them. It's like the feeling you get when your auto insurance company says that your car is totaled and hands you a check for the book value of the car, but keeps the rest of what you originally paid for it. This means we got $30 for the Nokia phone from the plan (subtracting the cost of the plan).
My dad's phone, an Ericsson, also failed and we brought it in too. The subsidized price was less than that of the warranty plan. Since they wouldn't replace the phone, they offered to pro-rate the warranty. In other words, we paid them for two-thirds of the warranty, they decided they wouldn't honor it, so they were giving us the third year for free and weren't responsible for anything. This was never resolved, and we kept the broken phone, and they kept our money. This is The Best Buy Way.
As for the Nokia we did get a pittance for? It turns out that, not only did we need to return the phone, we needed to return the SIM card. That means another $20 we needed to spend to replace the SIM card. Suddenly, we've gotten only $10, and lost use of the service until we buy a new SIM card. Best Buy is simply mismanaged from the shopper's perspective.
OK, this is working pretty well. Time to upgrade for no reason.