… if you were one of the lucky ones, at least this time you got a few free iPads to give to people in need instead of getting nothing or unexpected free porn (as some people did earlier this year, as chronicled in Best Buy Experience? Not at Best Buy! Part I) or, in some cases, getting completely ignored (as chronicled in Best Buy Experience? Not at Best Buy! Part II).
As chronicled by Mark Rush over on Evan Schuman’s StorefrontBacktalk next year, now Best Buy has an iPad Dilemma. Apparently they shipped at least five iPads to at least two customers who had only ordered one. (See a recent article on iTechPost for example.) But at least this time they owned up to the error right away and instead of insisting that the customer ordered five and needs to pay for five, or pay the return and handling fees to return four, they decided to take advantage of the holiday season and find a little holiday spirit. They told the customers to “keep the additional iPads and give them to people in need” and get some valuable good press that they desperately need, ignoring the fact that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission Q&A stated that federal law required that the consumer could keep the extra iPads and not pay for them, referencing laws intended to punish retailers from shipping items to people who didn’t buy them in an attempt to extort them for payment later.
Now, as noted in the article, Best Buy could probably have gotten the issue to court noting that the customer did order one item, but I would have to think in this case that, given the nature and value of the item ordered, the court would reasonably conclude that an end consumer didn’t want more than one and the company should have appropriate checks and balances in place to appropriately manage such valuable inventory. Thus, it is likely this is a case Best Buy wouldn’t win.
My conclusion? They weren’t being generous and simply making the right decision to circumvent the PR nightmare that would have inevitably resulted had they handled it any other way and they still need to fix their systems. I could be wrong, but Amazon does a lot more shipping and seems to make considerably fewer screw-ups, or at least deals with them better as I haven’t seen nearly as many articles about Amazon screwing up compared to Best Buy in the past year.