Update: A small clarification (thanks to the folks who sent this in). When starting the new replacement process you will call Best Buy and they will send you a replacement phone with a prepaid box to send the old phone back. This appears to be a bit more sound strategy, as it allows the customer to dispute the replacement phone they are getting before giving up the phone they have. However, it still is not comparable to what they were selling before and are not holding up their end of the deal… which was to give the consumer choice in phone replacement if the phone in question was discontinued.
Best Buy, one of Sprint’s national retailers has offered a Performance Service Plan. The plan was pretty simple, it was a three year extended warranty that allowed customers to swap their phones in-store. Should the phone be no longer sold, a customer simply needed to point out a defect and would be sold a current model (of their choosing), or receive a store credit for the purchase price of the phone. If the selected replacement phone was more expensive, the customer would simply pay the different.
And now… the bait and switch. Best Buy has decided to, effective today, remove the customer choice and optional gift card provisions from the PSP. Customers must now pay to send their phones off, and will be given a replacement of Best Buy’s choosing.
Luckily, I, your humble consumer advocate must once again step in and tell you how to fight back against this illegal behavior… read more to hear the classic consumer repair kit…
The most important thing to do is to go back to the store and ask to have your phone replaced. If they refuse, and give you a phone number, ask to speak to a manager. Tell them the story as it is, you bought a PSP with your phone, and were told that Best Buy interpreted the terms to you so that you would be able to have your phone replaced in-store, with the model of your choosing provided the old model was no longer sold. Ask the manager to either provide this, or to refund the purchase price of the phone. Don’t just assume you are going to be denied, actually go to a store and follow this process.
If this fails, then you must file the claim. Yes, it’s lame, but they think you will remain a happy customer. Send your phone off, and if you don’t either get the identical model, or one you’re fully happy with, go back to the store and ask to speak to the manager. Again, tell them the full story, and ask again for a full refund of the purchase price of the phone. If that does not work, ask to be placed in contact with the district/general manager of the store (they may or may not assist you with this).
If none of the above works, it’s time to get tough with them, as they are no longer interested in keeping you a happy customer. File a complaint with the BBB and your state’s Attorney General’s office. Wait for them to respond, as they most likely will, to one or both of those. If that fails, you must sue in small claims court. File the claim against the company and the local store’s general manager. Good luck…