How Much Of A Guarantee Is Best Buy’s Guarantee?

Written by Evan Schuman
January 6th, 2008

Retail marketers have always been in love with the word "guarantee," without feeling the need to embrace its meaning. CRM vendors, for example, have always been fond of promising guarantees without specifying what they’ll do if they can’t deliver.

BestBuy’s buy-online-pickup-in-store guarantee program promises $10 to consumers if their order isn’t given to them within one minute of their presenting their confirmation E-mail. But this Web posting raises a fascinating question: Is the guarantee legitimate if the retailer controls the terms?

The guarantee excludes items priced less than $10 fair enough, I suppose but also excludes the time waiting on line. That’s a grey area (writer observation. The dictionary accepts both grey and gray, which I suppose makes the spelling of gray a gray area). Is the guarantee intended to tell consumers that they’ll get in and out quickly with the program? If so, line waits shouldn’t be excluded. Then again, line waits are sometimes not the fault of the merchant, especially if the customer comes in an hour before closing on Christmas Eve.

The full guarantee, though, gets trickier. It’s not merely the confirmation number, but the "one minute starts after you have presented your photo ID, purchasing credit card and your confirmation e-mail or valid order number to us, and when Best Buy enters your order number into our computer system. Best Buy will track the time, which will end when you have the product in your possession."

As the poster asks, what if the store associate doesn’t allow the customer to present all three of those items until after the product is delivered? Doesn’t that fully undermine the intent of the guarantee? Indeed, if true, what does the guarantee actually mean? It’s something to consider when you’re considering making the guarantee offer that your marketing people are pushing. Give it too many exceptions and the only thing it guarantees is that you’ll never pay.


Comments are closed.


StorefrontBacktalk delivers the latest retail technology news & analysis. Join more than 60,000 retail IT leaders who subscribe to our free weekly email. Sign up today!

Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

Our apologies. Due to legal and security copyright issues, we can't facilitate the printing of Premium Content. If you absolutely need a hard copy, please contact customer service.