My wife has been going through Best Buy hell after an incompetent salesperson ordered the wrong cooktop.
Laurel had taken a Consumer Reports rating of induction cooktops into the Salem Best Buy store, pointed to the General Electric model that she wanted, and trusted that the paperwork she got was correct.
Sure, she should have double-checked the model number. Or I could have. We admit that we weren't completely blameless in the mixup that led to Best Buy taking out our current radiant cooktop and installing what turned out to be a newer model GE radiant cooktop.
We simply assumed that what Laurel had asked for was what we got.
Well, until the Best Buy installers left and I turned on a cooktop burner and said to Laurel, "Hey, it's getting hot. Induction cooktops aren't supposed to get hot." That's when the real Best Buy problem started.
Because we figured it would be easy to talk with someone at the Salem Best Buy store, explain that we didn't get the induction cooktop that was supposed to have been ordered, ask for a return of the radiant cooktop that we didn't want, and order the correct GE induction cooktop.
Actually that wasn't easy to do at all.
After several frustrating hours on the phone, Laurel discovered that it is completely impossible to talk with someone at the Salem Best Buy store using that early twentieth century invention, the telephone.
Instead, she got Best Buy "customer service" (the quotation marks indicate irony) people who gave every indication of being in China. Or at least somewhere else where English isn't spoken very well. Not that English was the main problem.
The problem was that even the simplest question or request involved Laurel being put on hold for long periods of time, which sometimes ended up with the phone call being terminated, which meant she'd have to call the Best Buy "customer service" number again, reaching a different person, who she'd have to describe the cooktop problem to all over again.
After each call to Best Buy I heard more swearing from Laurel than she usually emits in a week. To her credit, she'd tell the Best Buy "customer service" people that she wasn't mad at them; she was mad at the incompetence of Best Buy.
At long last, after maybe a dozen phone calls, an appointment was made for Best Buy to uninstall the mistakenly ordered radiant cooktop. But Best Buy even screwed that up. Because the two guys who came to our house didn't know how to remove the radiant cooktop.
In halting English, one of them said, "You may need electrician." No, we didn't need an electrician. We needed someone competent.
This led Laurel to make more frustrating phone calls to Best Buy. Eventually she learned that Best Buy had sent out a pick-up crew, which is different from an uninstall crew, even though it seemed obvious to us that since Best Buy had installed a radiant cooktop that we hadn't ordered, it would be necessary to uninstall it for the cooktop to be returned.
Fortunately, by this time Laurel had learned that working with Kelly's Appliances was heavenly rather than hellish.
We'd bought quite a bit of stuff from Kelly's over the years. So Laurel had the bright idea of giving them a call after the Best Buy "customer service" people had told her it would take quite a while to order the GE induction cooktop that we thought we were getting from Best Buy to begin with.
Laurel spoke with a Kelly's salesperson who told her that there were 27 GE induction cooktops available, and we could have one installed within a few weeks. Whenever she had a question about the order, Laurel could talk with that salesperson at the Salem Kelly's store right away, or get a different salesperson who was just as knowledgeable about our order.
Today a Kelly's employee took out the Best Buy radiant cooktop and installed the GE induction cooktop. He was pleasant, efficient, and competent -- three words that, sadly, don't describe any of the Best Buy employees Laurel dealt with.
Saturday Best Buy is supposed to pick up the radiant cooktop. We'll then get a refund, aside from the installation fee of $149, I think it was.
The lesson we've learned from this is that it makes sense to buy appliances from a local company who has genuine customer service. Probably buying something from Best Buy is fine if you can walk out with it, get it working by yourself, and take it back to the store if you want to return it.
But for something fairly complicateed, like a cooktop or other appliance, trying to return something to Best Buy can be a nightmare. At one point Laurel was so frustrated with the "customer service" people in China, or wherever they were, she thought she might have to go the Salem Best Buy store and demand to talk to a manager.
We're very happy with Kelly's, though. Just something to keep in mind if you have a choice between getting something at Best Buy or at Kelly's. Our recommendation is to go with Kelly's. Unless you love to spend many hours on the phone getting nowhere with incompetent people.