December 20, 2007
Mr. Jeffrey Mervis
Mervis & Associates, LLC
1 Monroe Street, Suite 608
Rockville, MD 20850
Sent via email ( email@example.com), fax (301-762-0229)
REF: Motions to quash service of process and dismiss complaint (trace numbers ED301J020065782, ED301J020065781, and ED301J020065780) for C.A. Number: 2007 CA 007641 B
Dear Mr. Mervis,
I am writing in response to the December 10 motions that you filed related to my lawsuit against your clients, which I received yesterday.
With all due respect, I would like to recommend that we stick to arguing the merits of the case itself, rather than wasting the Court's, your, and my time with such motions. If you would prefer to continue to engage in this level of exchange, I certainly can and will pay legal counsel, process servers, or others to try to ensure that details are addressed to your satisfaction. However, I would like to suggest that this issue can be resolved in a much simpler, less time- and money-consuming manner, if you are willing.
Your two main arguments are that I failed to provide sufficient proof that the defendants' maintain offices at the addresses at which they were served and that the manner of service was insufficient and ineffective to ensure that the defendants personally received the summonses.
On the latter issue, the fact that all seven of the defendants have hired you to dispute this case would, in my humble opinion, indicate that they did in fact receive the summonses. If, however, this is not the case, I would like to ask that you advise me immediately which, if any, of your clients have not received or cannot obtain copies of the summons that were mailed to them.
If it is true that any of the documents did not reach their intended recipients, I will gladly resend copies to them, either at your office or at addresses specified by you. However, if, as I suspect, you are in possession of these documents, I request that you share appropriate documents with any client who lacks such, rather than requiring me to expend my time and money to do so.
In the interest of saving the Court's, my, and your time, I will try to be brief. However, I would like to address several inaccuracies and issues raised in your motions, for the record.
First and foremost, your statement that "no defendant personally signed for or accepted the purported service by certified mail, and plaintiff has failed to offer proof that any person authorized to accept service did so" is factually incorrect. Mr. Delante Lewis did indeed sign for his own summons (and for one of his coworkers' summonses). As for the other defendants, it is
difficult for me to confirm whether those who signed for the summonses are "authorized" persons, but I will simply restate that I believe that the fact that all seven of the defendants have found their way to your good offices provides sufficient "proof" that they have either received or have access to the documents, and I will repeat my offer to work with you to make sure that they do indeed receive copies if that is not the case.
Second, you take issue with the addresses at which your clients were served. Again, I will argue that the fact that you are now representing all seven of the defendants in this matter would indicate to me and any person of average intelligence that the addresses in question were sufficient to ensure that the summonses reached their intended targets, and whether or not they actually maintain offices/work at those locations is irrelevant to the issue of whether or not they received the summonses. That said, I can confirm that all seven of the defendants either directly represented themselves as being employed at or maintaining offices at the respective addresses at which they were served and/or were represented by company representatives and in company documents as working at the locations at which they were served. I will gladly share detailed information as to my methods of verification, including insulting emails that Mr. Robert Delissio sent to my friends where he clearly claims that he is General Manager of the Best Buy Tenleytown DC store. However, for the reasons stated above, I believe this matter is moot.
Third, you claim that "Best Buy.Com, LLC/CT Corporation is an internet only retailer and it is not registered in Washington, D.C., and it does not maintain a resident agent in Washington, D.C." My understanding is that I am required to summons Best Buy's registered agent in DC. As such, I confirmed with the DC government office referred to me by the Court, CT Corporation's office in DC, and Best Buy's legal department that this entity is Best Buy Corporation's registered agent in DC. I would be happy to provide information as to when and to whom I spoke with at each. In the interest of expediency, however, I would like to suggest that you confirm the actual name and contact information for Best Buy Corporation's registered agent in DC if the information I received is indeed inaccurate and if Best Buy.com, LLC/CT Corporation is in fact not Best Buy Corporation's registered agent in DC.
Finally, you argue against jurisdiction over the three defendants who are residents of Minnesota. As you are well aware, the initial theft took place at Best Buy's Tenleytown DC store against a customer who resides in DC. As long as Best Buy, its executives, and other representatives are operating within DC, my understanding is that the company and its agents are subject to the laws of DC. I would be happy to provide evidence of both my and the DC Attorney General Office's direct dealings and interactions with Mr. Feivor. As for Mr. Schulze and Mr. Joyce, they are among Best Buy's top executives, and as such, are the parties ultimately responsible for the policies and practices of their company, including their store in Washington, DC and its employees. Unless you can suggest Best Buy representatives who would be more appropriate than the Chairman and General Counsel to address Best Buy's legal responsibilities, policies, and practices in DC or otherwise, I believe these summonses are appropriate.
I suspect that you are well aware of all of the above. As such, I find your arguments for dismissal disingenuous and insincere, particularly in light of the fact that you make them without providing any evidence that would support the argument that your clients did not receive the summonses, do not represent Best Buy at the addresses I utilized, or explain why the people I summonsed are not the most appropriate people within Best Buy to address the issues that I have raised. That you would waste both the Court's and my time with these arguments is insulting.
Rather than continuing at this level, I will simply ask that you advise me immediately via email if: 1) any of your clients have not received or do not have access to the summonses; 2) any of your clients work at locations other than those utilized in serving the summonses; 3) if Best Buy's registered agent in DC is an entity other than Best Buy.com, LLC/CT Corporation; and 4) if Best Buy would like to suggest alternative representatives who can best speak to the specific case at hand and to the company's overall responsibilities and practices related to protection of its customers' property and personal information -- in Washington, DC, and elsewhere.
Otherwise, it is my hope that we can focus heretofore on the merits of the case, because I am quite curious to find out how America's largest consumer electronics retailer will justify its failure to fulfill its obligations under D.C. law to: properly process a computer for repair, take adequate measures to safeguard a customer's computer and its contents against theft; disclose the computer's theft to its customer in a timely manner, immediately notify its customer of a security breach that left the customer unnecessarily exposed to identity theft for an unconscionably long time, or address any of the above issues in a way that indicates that Best Buy would like to ensure against a repeat of such an across-the-board breakdown in its property and privacy protection practices when dealing with future customers.
I would like to believe that the Court will recognize both the merits of this case and the broader issues related that would suggest that it is in the interest of D.C. and U.S. consumers to address a need to address them before others fall victim to Best Buy's negligence and indifference. I do not have the legal expertise or financial resources that are available to you and your clients, but I do accept my responsibility to fulfill my legal obligations to the best of my ability so as not to waste your and the Court's time. In return, I ask that you show me and the Court the same respect.
CC: Hon. Mary A. Terrell
December 20, 2007
On November 16, 2007, I filed a $54 million-plus lawsuit against Best Buy. I'll be the first to admit that it is a ridiculous sum of money. That said, neither 6 months of efforts by me nor engagement of the DC Police Department, DC Attorney General's Office, Better Business Bureau, and others have succeeded in producing fair compensation* or any indication from the Best Buy Tenleytown-DC store, Best Buy "Customer Service", or Best Buy corporate "management" that they share my belief that there is something fundamentally wrong if a consumer electronics giant:
- ALLOWS A CUSTOMER'S COMPUTER TO BE STOLEN FROM ITS STORE (I believe by a Best Buy Tenleytown DC employee);
- LIES to the customer about that theft for months (further EXPOSING THE CUSTOMER TO THE RISK OF IDENTITY THEFT); and
- FAILS TO COMPENSATE THE CUSTOMER OR INDICATE THAT IT FEELS A NEED TO TAKE ACTION TO PREVENT SIMILAR INCIDENTS from occurring in the future.
I would have preferred avoiding the time, expense, and stress of a lawsuit and internet campaign, but Best Buy's response to date has brought me to the conclusion that a hard-hitting lawsuit and public scrutiny may be the only way to get Best Buy to see the error in its ways.
As if Best Buy's initial negligence, deception, and cover-ups were not enough, Best Buy's behavior since the theft was disclosed -- indifference and insult -- has been truly appalling.
- Best Buy "Customer Service" initially presented a low-ball compensation offer ($750 for the computer and $150 for the lost content) that did not even cover the original purchase price ($1110.35) of the computer that they allowed to be stolen, let alone thousands of dollars of software, music, and other content, or other costs.
- Best Buy Tenleytown DC's management and Best Buy "Customer Service" never responded to my letters and other follow-up inquiries requesting an investigation into the theft of the computer and fair compensation.
- Subsequent involvement by the DC Police Department, DC Attorney General's Office, the Better Business Bureau, and others have not succeeded in yielding a sincere response from Best Buy.
To add insult to injury, Best Buy Tenleytown DC General Manager Robert Delissio**, who never felt my inquiries merited a response, did respond to emails from friends of mine who wrote in response to an email "Best Buy/Bad Buy Boycott" appeal (posted below) that I sent asking them to weigh in on the situation with Mr. Delissio and Best Buy "Customer Service." In his response emails (posted below), Mr. Delissio unjustly likens me to a customer who "can not [sic] be satisfied" and who "demanded unrealistic compensation", and implies that I am a customer who got the attention and service that I deserved. For the record:
- My first "unrealistic" request (via 8/25/07 letter to his store. see below) was for confirmation that an investigation into the theft had been conducted and compensation for the original purchase price of the computer package ($1110.35), plus $1000 to help offset the cost of music, pictures, software, and other contents lost when the computer was stolen from his store.
- On my October 7 visit to the store, my "unrealistic" response to Assistant Manager Delunte Lewis' question about "desired compensation" was that I would settle for a $2500, if I received a check (not gift card) that week, because I needed to purchase a replacement laptop ASAP.
- I did not specify a compensation amount in my October 10 email to Mr. Delissio, but outlined for him the scope of the losses that I faced.
- When asked by the DC Attorney General's Office, I said that I would settle for $5000, which was the minimum amount I felt confident I could receive if I opted for quick resolution through small claims court.
- These figures fall thousands of dollars short of the actual expenses I have incurred and estimate I will incur. However, even these amounts, in the mind of Mr. Delissio, were "unrealistic", despite the fact that I was faced with these losses as a direct result of his store's negligence.
Best Buy's overall response to the situation -- a situation that it created -- has been unconscionable. To me, the big issue is not the low-balling and bullying tactics, but Best Buy's systematic disregard for its customers' personal information and potential exposure to identity theft.
I am hoping the attention that the lawsuit and this website generate might motivate Best Buy and other consumer electronics stores entrusted with products that contain consumers' personal information to adopt thorough procedures and policies to safeguard customers' property and personal information against theft.
I am, of course, also hopeful that court and public scrutiny might be more successful than my personal efforts have in motivating Best Buy to compensate me. While I am seeking compensatory and treble damages for my own losses, $54 million of the damages sought in my claim is for punitive damages, which are designed "to reform or deter the defendant and similar persons from pursuing a course of action such as that which damaged the plaintiff" (Wikipedia). My desire is for damages awarded in this category to be used to support advocacy efforts for consumer rights and identity theft prevention and protection. I'd welcome recommendations on worthy, effective causes.
As for the amount -- it is an arbitrary number, selected simply because it is approximately the same amount as damages sought in the now-infamous "Pants Suit Judge vs. Mom-and-Pop Drycleaners” case that played out this year in Washington, DC. I will be the first to admit that it is an absurd sum. However, I chose this amount for two reasons. First, I have no clue what amount of money might be sufficient to persuade Best Buy to reassess its ways and implement adequate policies and procedures to more effectively safeguard future customers’ property against theft and to make minimizing a customer’s chances of exposure to identity theft the priority it should be. All I know is that 6 months of my efforts have failed to produce any indication from Best Buy that it sees any error in its ways. I am happy to leave it to the courts to determine an appropriate amount to incentivize better behavior moving forward and disincentivize similar customer treatment in the future. Second, I have chosen this amount with the hope that it will generate interest among the media to share this story with the public, so that they can both add their voices to mine and those of my friends who weighed in via emails to Mr. Delissio and Best Buy “Customer Service” last month, raise awareness of the risks of identity theft in daily life, and hopefully generate enough pressure to motivate Best Buy to demonstrate due respect for its customers, their property, and their private information.
* Since posting this, I learned that Best Buy transferred $1110.35 into my credit card account in late October without consulting me. Thus, they have provided "compensation", but I take issue with the adequacy of the amount -- and the unilateral manner in which the transaction was done.
** I have questioned Best Buy's continued employment of Mr. Delissio, given the lack of supervision and leadership he has shown, his insulting responses to inquiries related to the theft of a computer from his store, and the questionable circumstances that surround his departure from his previous place of employment (See: http://www.nypost.com/seven/09072006/business/home_fires_two_business_suzanne_kapner.htm)
I am filing a lawsuit against Best Buy in the amount of $54,592,146.54, including compensatory, treble, and punitive damages. Six months of efforts to resolve issues with Best Buy both on my own -- and with the assistance of the DC Police Department, DC Attorney General’s Office, other authorities, and friends -- have been unsuccessful. The background is as follows:
- Around May 25, I entrusted a malfunctioning, 1-year-old laptop to the Best Buy-Tenleytown DC store for repair under a service plan that I had purchased with the computer.
- Records indicate that the laptop was never shipped, i.e., it was stolen from the store shortly after receipt, quite likely by a store employee.
- Despite this, after a follow-up visit on July 1, a store employee apparently falsified records, creating the appearance that the missing computer had been processed for service.
- In response to subsequent follow-up calls, “Customer Service” agents then repeatedly lied to me about the repair status of the phantom computer.
- Only after elevating my inquiries to management on August 9 was the theft disclosed.
- Best Buy “Customer Service” then proposed compensation in the amount of $750 for the stolen computer and $150 for the contents lost with the computer. As this amount failed to cover the price of the originally purchased computer package ($1100.35), let alone the actual cost of a comparable replacement computer or the value of the contents lost and other expenses, I confirmed that I considered the offer inadequate and that I found a gift card that would force me to continue to patronize Best Buy unacceptable.
- After compensation failed to materialize for 2 weeks, I wrote on August 24 to Best Buy Tenleytown-DC management to request confirmation of what type of investigation had been conducted into the computer’s theft from the store and modest compensation ($2110.35) to offset expenses related to the loss and replacement of the computer. This and subsequent inquiries were ignored by the store and by Best Buy “Customer Service.”
- I then filed a criminal complaint with the DC Police Department, and requested assistance from the Attorney General’s Office and others regarding financial compensation.
- Best Buy “Customer Service” responded to the AG’s Office with another lowball offer ($1100.35 and a $500 gift card). I turned it down, given that the amount is grossly inadequate to cover even one-sixth of the direct expenses, let alone other expenses related to the loss and replacement of my computer and its contents.
I believe Best Buy is liable not only for expenses resulting from its negligence in preventing and disclosing the theft of my computer, but also for the resulting costs and concerns of safeguarding myself against identity theft that I must bear for years to come as a result of Best Buy’s negligence in fulfilling its legal and moral obligation to safeguard the personal information contained on that computer. I am thus requesting compensatory damages to address this.
I am also requesting treble damages as compensation for the considerable time, expense, inconvenience, stress and emotional distress, pain and suffering, and other hardships that I have had to endure as a result of Best Buy’s negligence, deception, indifference, delay tactics, lowball offers, and insults over the past six months.
Finally, I am asking that the court consider Best Buy’s pattern of behavior and award punitive damages in an amount that it deems adequate to motivate Best Buy to immediately reassess its ways and revise policies and procedures to more effectively safeguard future customers’ property and personal information against theft and to give priority to minimizing a customer’s chances of exposure to identity theft.
November 15, 2007
Mr. Robert Feivor
Best Buy Customer Care
P.O. Box 9312
Minneapolis, MN 55440
Dear Mr. Feivor,
I am writing in response to your October 16 letter to [name ommitted] at the DC Attorney General’s Office. I regret that I have been unable to respond sooner due to overseas business travel from mid-October until earlier this month, followed by personal and work matters that had me preoccupied until now.
As I communicated to Ms. Carter on November 5, I cannot accept your offer of $1110.35 and a $500 GIFT CARD. Simply put, this fails to cover one-sixth of the direct expenses I have already and estimate that I will incur as a result of Best Buy’s actions, and I find it grossly inadequate and, quite frankly, disingenuous and insulting, particularly given Best Buy’s NEGLIGENCE, DECEPTION, INDIFFERENCE, AND INSULTS that have brought us to this point.
To review, I left a malfunctioning, 1-year-old laptop for repair at the Best Buy-Tenleytown DC store around May 25. Records indicate that the laptop was never shipped from the store, i.e., it was STOLEN FROM THE STORE shortly after it was received. (Based on indications from store employees who I spoke with on October 7 that proper procedure was not followed on May 25, I have concluded that the person responsible for the theft of that computer is likely a store employee.) After a follow-up visit on July 1, a Best Buy employee then apparently FALSIFIED THE SERVICE ORDER RECORD, creating the appearance that the missing computer had been duly processed for service. In response to subsequent follow-up calls, Best Buy and Geeksquad “Customer Service” reps then repeatedly LIED TO ME about the repair status of the computer, erroneously assuring me on numerous occasions that “it is at our Louisville repair facility” and that parts for the phantom computer had “just been ordered.” Only after multiple phone calls to elevate my inquiries to management in August did someone finally disclose the THEFT to me.
As if the initial NEGLIGENCE, THEFT, and DECEPTION were not appalling enough, Best Buy’s behavior since then -- INDIFFERENCE and INSULTS -- has been outright unconscionable. Best Buy “Customer Service” initially proposed compensation in the amount of $750 for the STOLEN computer and $150 for the contents lost with the computer. As this amount FAILED TO COVER THE PRICE of the originally purchased computer package ($1100.35), let alone actual cost of a comparable replacement computer or the value of the contents lost, I confirmed that I considered the offer inadequate. I also communicated that I did not want compensation in the form of a gift card, as I did not think it appropriate that I should be FORCED TO CONTINUE TO PATRONIZE BEST BUY after all that your company had put me through.
After NEITHER COMPENSATION NOR FOLLOW-UP CALLS MATERIALIZED FOR 2 WEEKS, I wrote a letter to Best Buy Tenleytown-DC’s computer customer service manager (Michael French) on August 24 detailing the background, and requesting confirmation of what type of investigation had been conducted into the THEFT OF MY COMPUTER AT THE TENLEYTOWN STORE and compensation in the very modest amount of $2110.35 to offset replacement costs for the STOLEN computer and its contents. This letter was IGNORED, as were a subsequent letter to Best Buy Tenleytown-DC’s General Manager, Robert Delissio, and other follow-up inquiries.
As I had indicated in my contacts with Bust Buy Tenleytown DC and Best Buy “Customer Service,” I then requested assistance from the DC Police Department, Attorney General’s Office, Better Business Bureau, and others. Indications are that Best Buy has been LESS THAN FORTHCOMING in response to the CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION, and, as stated above, your response to the DC Attorney General’s Office is, in my humble opinion, LESS THAN SINCERE.
To add insult to injury, Mr. Delissio (who, you’ll recall, never felt my inquiries merited responses) sent emails to friends of mine who wrote in response to an email appeal that I sent asking them to weigh in on the situation with Mr. Delissio and Best Buy “Customer Service”. In these emails, Mr. Delissio MISCHARACTERIZES ME AS A CUSTOMER who “can not [sic] be satisfied” and who “demanded unrealistic compensation.” He also states, “I will address each situation and give it the attention it requires” and “we strive to deliver the experience that every customer deserves to receive,” thus implying that I GOT THE SERVICE AND ATTENTION THAT I DESERVED. I am incredulous that Best Buy would condone such libel and open insults to its customers.
On October 24, I received a $500 gift card with no clear explanation from Best Buy “Customer Service.” I could not help but be yet again insulted, wondering “Are they actually responding with a reduction in their compensation offer?!? Do they think I’m getting stupider?!?”
I have since learned that the card had been sent, in the words of your October 16 letter to Ms. Carter, “to address other concerns and inconveniences.” I have repeatedly communicated to Best Buy that I do not desire compensation in the form of a gift card, because I no longer wish to support your business. I have no use for the card. If Best Buy supplies me with a postage-paid, self-addressed envelope by December 1, I will return it unused. Otherwise, I will donate it to the annual holiday fundraising campaign for a non-profit organization that I support, with the recommendation that they use it towards products that will not leave them exposed to the potential perils of follow-on customer service from Best Buy.
You also assert in your October 16 letter that a “refund of $1110.35 will go directly to the account used to purchase the product and warranty.” As of November 15 -- a full month after your offer -- I have RECEIVED NO SUCH REFUND* to offset the costs I have incurred, leaving me yet again to question Best Buy’s sincerity.
Weary of the inconvenience, expense, and pain (after a shoulder separation in late August) of transporting around an oversized laptop that I had borrowed from my office for FIVE MONTHS, on October 9 I shelled out $1237.25 of my own money to replace the laptop that Best Buy had allowed to be STOLEN and for which Best Buy had STILL NOT PROVIDED ANY COMPENSATION. I am just now slowly beginning the time-consuming and expensive process of restoring and rebuilding the replaceable contents of my stolen computer.
I have also spent several hours consulting with lawyers, who have confirmed that Best Buy is not only liable for expenses resulting from its NEGLIGENCE IN PREVENTING AND DISCLOSING THE THEFT of my computer, but also for LEAVING ME EXPOSED TO THE RISK OF IDENTITY THEFT, because the person who stole my computer now has access to tax documents and other personal and confidential information. At their advice, I have subscribed to a credit monitoring and identity theft protection service, a cost and a concern that, thanks to Best Buy, I will be forced to bear for many years to come.
Best Buy has had months and multiple opportunities to make good on the situation it created. Instead, it elected for deception, lowball offers, and insults. My efforts to resolve this alone -- and with the assistance of the DC police, other authorities, and friends -- have been unsuccessful. As such, I am filing a lawsuit in the amount of $54,592,146.54, including but not limited to:
- Compensatory damages of $24,146.54, covering over $9,000 in direct expenses related to the loss and replacement of the computer and its contents, compensation of about $9,000 for the estimated 150 hours of time that I have expended to date and will need to spend to as a result of the theft of my computer and consequent need to replace it and rebuild its contents, plus interest. For one unbiased perspective on the real value of a stolen computer, I will direct you to the DC Metropolitan Police Department’s website at: http://mpdc.dc.gov/mpdc/cwp/view,a,1237,q,543203,mpdcNav_GID,1548.asp, which suggests that "the cost of a stolen laptop is not just its replacement cost, but also the cost of peripherals such as modems and network cards, the installed software, the cost of configuring and loading replacement software, and the cost of lost time for the laptop owner while the computer is being replaced. An even greater cost (especially if your employer issued your laptop) is the potential exposure and liability that results from lost confidential corporate and client information."
- Approximately $500,000 in treble damages, calculated at $1500/day under DC consumer protection statutes for each of the following: 1) Best Buy Tenleytown-DC’s negligence in preventing the theft of my computer on or around May 25; disclosing that theft to me in a timely manner; fulfilling its legal and moral obligation to provide reasonable safeguards to protect my property, personal information, and me against exposure to the risk of identity theft; and providing fair financial compensation for replacement of the stolen computer and its contents and other expenses, and, 2) Best Buy “Customer Service”/corporate’s negligence in disclosing the theft of computer to me in a timely manner so that I could immediately safeguard myself against potential damages from identity theft, and failure to offer fair financial compensation, despite contact from me starting on July 11.
- Punitive damages: in the amount of $54,000,000.00. You will note that this is approximately the same amount requested in the now-infamous “Pants Suit Judge vs. Mom-and-Pop Drycleaners” case that played out this year in Washington, DC. I will be the first to admit that it is an absurd amount of money. However, I chose this amount for two reasons. First, I have no clue what amount of money might be sufficient to persuade Best Buy to reassess its ways and implement adequate policies and procedures to more effectively safeguard future customers’ property against theft and to make minimizing a customer’s chances of exposure to identity theft the priority it should be. All I know is that 6 months of my efforts have failed to produce any indication from Best Buy that it sees any error in its ways. I am happy to leave it to the courts to determine an appropriate amount to incentivize better behavior moving forward and disincentivize similar customer treatment in the future. Second, I have chosen this amount with the hope that it will generate interest among the media to share this story with the public, so that they can both add their voices to mine and those of my friends who weighed in via emails to Mr. Delissio and Best Buy “Customer Service” last month -- and hopefully generate enough pressure to motivate Best Buy to demonstrate due respect for its customers, their property, and their confidential information.
You claim in your October 16 letter that “Best Buy feels we have appropriately addressed this issue.” I guess we’ll let the courts, media, and public be the judge of that.
CC: [DC Attorney General's Office]
* I learned after sending this letter that Best Buy transferred $1110.35 into my credit card account in late October without consulting me. Thus, they have provided "compensation", but I take issue with the adequacy of the amount -- and the unilateral manner in which the transaction was done. I had checked my account for postings in mid-October before writing and sending my letter, but did not discover that the transfer had posted until I received my statement later in November.
(Best Buy Tenleytown-DC General Manager Robert Delissio's 10/19/07 email responses are posted below.)
Given that Best Buy General Manager Mr. Delissio has never once contacted me to seek resolution of the situation, I find his response both disingenuous and insulting to me and my friends and family who wrote to him with knowledge of the background.
- Mr. Delissio's statement that he "can not [sic] discuss the situation with OTHER customers" implies that he has he has attempted to discuss the situation with me. This is most certainly NOT the case.
- Mr. Delissio's assertion that "any customer that has had an unsatisfactory experience in my store [sic] I have done what I could within reason to rectify" belies the fact that he has never once made any effort to communicate with me about this situation, provided any compensation, or confirmed that any investigation has been conducted into the theft of the computer. As a reminder, it is a situation that resulted from Mr. Delissio's failure to implement adequate measures to prevent the theft of my computer from his store, failure to disclose the fact that his store had lost the computer in a timely manner (and thus further exposing me to identity theft and other potential problems), and failure to offer fair compensation after learning of the situation. Apparently a phone call to me or any response to the letters I sent and visits that I made to his store to resolve the situation is not "within reason?"
- He notes, "Some customers I have found can not [sic] be satisfied." I take this to mean that he sees me as an unrealistic and unsatisfiable customer. Apparently, disappointment that I did not receive a response to inquiries about the theft of my computer at his store makes me a raging lunatic. I am incredulous that he would infer as much to MY FRIENDS.
- Mr. Delissio's insults do not stop there. His allegation that "Customers have, on occasion [sic] demanded unrealistic compensation." is no doubt true, but it implies that he considers my request for compensation within that category. For the record, my first "unrealistic" request (via 8/25/07 letter to his store) was for confirmation that an investigation into the theft had been conducted and compensation for the original purchase price of the computer package ($1110.35), plus $1000 to help offset the cost of music, pictures, software, and other contents lost when the computer was stolen from his store. On my October 7 visit to the store, my "unrealistic" response to Assistant Manager Delunte Lewis' question about "desired compensation" was that I would settle for a $2500, if I received a check (not gift card) that week, because I needed a replacement laptop ASAP. I did not specify a compensation amount in my October 10 email to Mr. Delissio, but outlined for him the scope of the losses I was faced with. When asked by the DC Attorney General's Office, I said that I would settle for $5000, which was the minimum amount I felt confident I could receive if I opted for quick resolution through small claims court. These figures fall thousands of dollars short of the actual value of damages for expenses and time that I have incurred or will have to incur to resolve this issue. However, even these amounts, in the mind of Mr. Delissio, were "unrealistic", despite the fact that I was faced with these losses as a direct result of his store's negligence. I find his refusal to provide compensation at these modest levels particularly disturbing, given that I suspect his store probably has an insurance policy that would have covered the value of property stolen from his store.
- Mr. Delissio claims, "I understand the importance of customer service and have brought that point of view to the store." Apparently, he has forgotten the golden rule of customer service: The customer is always right. I would think this would particularly be true in the case of a customer who became a victim of theft at his store and was put at risk of identity theft because of that store's negligence and failure to disclose the theft to them in a timely manner. No?
- Most disturbing and insulting, however, are Mr. Delissio's statements that, "I will address each situation and give it the attention it requires" and "we strive to deliver the experience that every customer deserves to receive." Apparently, Mr. Delissio feels that I got the attention required and experience that I deserved?!? Moreover, a criminal act against one of his customers merits no attention in Mr. Delissio's experienced opinion, if my experience is any indication.
- Mr. Delissio closes with, "I do hope that you will allow the Tenley Town store the opportunity to continue to provide you with the service you should expect from any retailer. If by chance you come to the store and do not receive this service I would hope you would seek me out and bring that to my attention." I would like to think that the average consumer would expect a much higher level of service from "any retailer", including Best Buy Tenleytown DC. He asks my friends to bring substandard service to his attention. I have to question the purpose of such: so he can ignore and insult them, as he has me?
10/19/07 Response from Best Buy Tenleytown DC General Manager Robert Delissio to Friend's Support Email - II
From: "Delissio, Robert"
Subject: RE: Raelyn's B-day Wishes: Best Buy/Bad Buy Boycott
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2007 19:52:07 -0500
>Good evening. I am the new General Manager of the Best Buy in Tenley Town. I wanted to respond to your communication. Although I can not respond to the comments made by Ms. Campbell, I will say that for every customer that has had an unpleasant experience I can show you hundreds who have had a great experience. I have been in retail for a long time and the one conclusion I have come to is that not every customer can be satisfied. Does my store have opportunities? Absolutely! What I can say is that we strive to deliver the experience that every customer deserves to receive. When I receive negative feedback, I do my best to rectify the situation. I do hope that you continue to shop the store. If by chance you do not receive the service and experience you feel you deserve, then please seek me out so I can address the issues. Thank you for your feedback
>GM- Store 801 Tenley Town
10/19/07 Response from Best Buy Tenleytown DC General Manager Robert Delissio to Friend's Support Email - I
> Subject: RE: Raelyn's B-day Wishes: Best Buy/Bad Buy Boycott>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2007 18:18:37 -0500>
> Mr. [omitted],
> Good evening. I am the new General Manager for the Best Buy in Washington, D.C. Although I can not discuss the situation with other customers I will say that any customer that has had an unsatisfactory experience in my store I have done what I could within reason to rectify. Customers have, on occasion demanded unrealistic compensation. For one customer who may have an unpleasant experience I can give you hundreds who love the service and experience we provide. I understand the importance of customer service and have brought that point of view to the store. Does the store have opportunities? Absolutely! But I will address each situation and give it the attention it requires. Some customers I have found can not be satisfied. I do hope that you will allow the Tenley Town store the opportunity to continue to provide you with the service you should expect from any retailer. If by chance you come to the store and do not receive this service I would hope you would seek me out and bring that to my attention. I want to thank you for your time.
> Robert Delissio
> GM- Store 801 Tenley Town
To: Friends and Family (select group)
CC: Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org (General Manager, Best Buy Tenleytown-DC Store), Michael.email@example.com (Customer Service, Computer Department, Best Buy Tenleytown-DC Store), firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, I do realize that birthday wishes are supposed to go the other direction, but for my birthday this year I'm sending one to you. Specifically, I want to ask you to take 2 minutes to help make a point by doing the following 2 things:
1) Hit "Reply All" to this message, and send me and my good friends at Best Buy a list of any electronics, appliances, or other purchases you are considering buying in the next year or so.
2) BCC your message to any friends or family members you think might want to factor my recent experience with Best Buy into future purchasing decisions.
I am hoping that your friends will then follow your lead in sending a note to me and Best Buy management, with a BCC to their friends, etc.
I'll admit that it's a bit of an odd request from a birthday gal. However, I'm hoping my experience and appeal might convince you to add your voice to mine and reconsider patronizing Best Buy in the future.
The short story is as follows:
-In late May, I dropped off a one-year-old, malfunctioning laptop at the Best Buy-Tenleytown DC store for repair under a $300 service contract that I'd purchased with the laptop.
-I have since learned that the laptop was stolen by a Best Buy Tenleytown-DC employee or customer shortly thereafter -- Best Buy's records indicate that the laptop was never shipped out of the store.
-Despite this, Best Buy Tenleytown-DC employees and Best Buy/Geeksquad "customer service" reps responded to successive weeks of follow-up inquiries with false claims that the (non-existent) computer was "about to ship," "waiting for a part", etc.
-It took 6 weeks of calls and requests to elevate the claim to management before Best Buy disclosed the "absence" of the computer and offered compensation for the laptop and its contents.
-I ultimately turned down the offer after it was revealed to me that the total compensation being proposed ($900) was a gift card in an amount considerably less than the purchase price of the original laptop package -- let alone what it would actually cost me to replace the laptop package and its contents.
-2 letters and a visit to Best Buy Tenleytown-DC store requesting confirmation of what had been done to investigate the theft of the computer and fair compensation have yielded no response from Best Buy Tenleytown-DC's management
-A complaint to Best Buy HQ has similarly fallen on deaf ears.
Had Best Buy failed to repair the computer under the terms of the service contract, that would be one thing. Were it the act of a single employee rather than an organization-wide practice of disrespecting its customers, I might be able to let it pass. However, I find myself incredulous that a store that allowed a customer's computer to be stolen from its premises and a major U.S. company such as Best Buy would opt against taking responsibility for its actions in favor of systematically trying to cover up the theft for months, insulting that customer with a low-ball offer of compensation, and refusing to even respond to requests for an investigation and fair compensation.
Apparently, Best Buy -- both at the individual employee, local store, and corporate level -- thinks this is an acceptable way to treat its customers. I don't, and I suspect few do.
I am now working with DCPD and the U.S. attorney's office on criminal charges related to the theft. I have also filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau and other authorities, and am consulting with attorneys on filing a civil suit seeking compensation for costs and time expended, and punitive [sic - should be other; punitive damages are a separate issue] damages for the extra costs incurred and time and money that I have/will have to expend as a result of Best Buy unnecessarily prolonging this process with their negligence, deception, and delay tactics.
I'll be reaching out to the media, bloggers, and other public fora next.
At the very least, I hope that by sharing my story, I can spare you and others you know the grief that I have endured as a (former!) Best Buy customer. As icing on my birthday cake today, I'd welcome your support in demonstrating to Best Buy that they will lose more than just my "insignificant" business in the years ahead -- and that a single customer's opinion and experience should count.
From: Raelyn Campbell
Date: Oct 10, 2007 11:57 AM
Subject: Legal action regarding the theft of my computer from Best Buy Tenleytown Store #801
Cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Michael.email@example.com
Dear Mr. Delissio:
I am writing to follow up on a visit that I made to your store on Sunday, October 7, 2007 regarding a letter sent via certified mail on August 25, 2007 to the attention of Mr. Michael French, who had been referred to me previously as the manager of "Customer Service" for the computer department at your store.
The letter was signed for as delivered on August 28, 2007, but apparently has not merited a response from Mr. French or any other member of Best Buy's "Customer Service" team since its delivery nearly 6 weeks ago. As such, I confirmed that you are the general manager responsible for what goes on the Tenleytown DC Best Buy store, and left a copy of the letter with Mr. Delunte Lewis on Sunday. I also advised him that I would be retaining counsel and pursuing legal action if I had not heard from you by COB October 9, 2007.
As you may be aware, the letter detailed my then 3-month ordeal tracking down a laptop computer that I had entrusted to your store for repair in late May. Despite months of empty assurances from Best Buy/Geeksquad "Customer Service" team members that repairs were underway, all indications are that the computer never left your store, and I am left to conclude that the computer was stolen either as the direct result of a criminal act on the part of one of your employees or as the result of gross negligence that allowed a non-employee to walk out of your store with my computer in the absence of adequate supervisory and/or security measures. Moreover, all indications are that, despite sustained efforts on my part that should have brought the "disappearance" of the computer to light, flagged the need for an investigation, and resulted in action to track down and/or replace the missing computer in early July and/or at several points in time thereafter, the Best Buy/Geeksquad "Customer Service" Team opted to mislead, lie to, and ignore me rather than investigate and/or come clean with me about the reality of the situation until I elevated things to the managerial level in mid-August.
As I confirmed to Mr. Lewis on Sunday, Best Buy Consumer Relations offered at that point (August 10) to send a gift card to compensate me for my losses, after they verified with you personally that the computer could not be found in your store. When the promised gift card was not received by August 25, I mailed the letter to Mr. French. On August 26, "Wendy", a purported manager at Best Buy Consumer Relations, left a voicemail on my phone to the effect that the gift card (which she confirmed included for $750 for computer replacement and $150 in compensation for lost music, pictures, etc.) had not been mailed yet, allegedly because she "needed to confirm a mailing address." This claim was made despite the fact that most of the other Best Buy/Geeksquad "Customer Service" agents that I had spoken to up until that point had confirmed that they had the correct mailing address in their records at the conclusion of their calls, and despite the fact that my address was readily available to her (or anyone who has the service order #) through the Best Buy/Geeksquad website. The message was insulting at best.
On August 31, I left a message for Wendy explaining that I found it extremely difficult to believe that she did not have my address, was shocked that she thought nothing of calling me a full 2 weeks after the card had been promised claiming "lack of address" as the reason it had not been sent, and informed her that the proposed amount ($900) was inadequate to cover even the direct costs of replacing the computer and service plan, let alone its contents and other expenses. I informed her that I had no interest in the gift card (as I have no desire to shop at and/or experience the frustration of "customer service" at Best Buy ever again) and that I had mailed a letter to your store to request resolution of the matter. I heard nothing further from Wendy.
And I have never received even the courtesy of a response from you or your store. Despite 6 weeks to ponder a course of responsible action since I mailed Mr. French, it appears that neither you nor your store has any sense of obligation for the inconvenience as well as financial loss and other burdens your actions and inactions have brought on me.
Simply put, I wanted one thing: My repaired computer and its contents returned to me. In the absence of that, I had hoped you would do the responsible thing and provide me with fair compensation and a proper investigation into the circumstances that resulted in the theft of my computer at your store and, consequently, considerable time, expense, and effort on my part to try to resolve this issue – much of which would not have been necessary had Best Buy and its esteemed "Customer Service" team acted responsibly anywhere along the way. Instead, Best Buy failed to act in a timely manner and has made no indication to date that it intends to provide fair compensation for the consequences of its actions and inactions.
My "Performance Service Plan" claims that Best Buy will "try to complete service as quickly as possible, [but] we are not responsible for delays caused by factors beyond our control." Shouldn't that imply a commitment to timely service in situations when it is within Best Buy's control? Apparently not, if my experience is any indication.
As such, I will be taking the following course of action:
1) Advising the Better Business Bureau and any business and consumer advocacy groups that may take interest in this experience.
2) Requesting that DC authorities launch a criminal investigation into the theft of my computer at your store.
3) Retaining counsel to pursue full financial compensation for:
a. The full price of replacement of the stolen computer with a comparable substitute and costs related to replacing (including travel time and expenses related to shopping for the replacement). Incidentally, the $749 proposed by Best Buy does not even account for the tax amount on the original purchase price, and fails to take into account current market price realities for a similarly sized and equipped computer.
b. Reimbursement of $300 for the Best Buy "service" plan, which, when utilized, resulted in the theft of my computer when it was under the direct care of Best Buy, and is completely useless to me now without said computer.
c. The purchase cost of the 100s of movies, music albums, and songs that were lost with the computer, as well as the significant amount of time and related expenses for relocating and reloading them onto a new computer.
d. The value of 4 years of digital and scanned photos lost with the computer, including 100s of family, friends, home renovation before-and-after pictures, and experiences that are irreplaceable and 1000s that will take hours to relocate, reload, and reorganize into albums, as well as the time and expenses related to restoration of my albums.
e. The significant number of hours I have spent calling and writing Best Buy, and commuting back and forth to your store and waiting to talk to an appropriate person in an effort to locate, in the first instance, and then receive compensation for my stolen computer, and all related expenses.
f. All legal, court, and other fees related to resolving this matter.
g. Any other compensation I can legally claim for the costs, inconvenience, and hardships that I have endured as a result of Best Buy's negligence and failure to take responsibility for the consequences of that negligence in a timely manner, particularly those that resulted unnecessarily because of Best Buy's failure to address the issue when it was first brought to light in early July, not the least of which include expenses and pain related to transportation of a borrowed laptop back and forth to my office for several weeks in August and September despite a shoulder injury that required the immobilization of my arm.
I am disappointed that you and Best Buy seem to think nothing of the time, experiences, and perspectives of your customers. I assure you I will not be counted among them in the future, and I will do all I can to persuade others that they should factor the nature of Best Buy-style "Customer Service" into future purchasing decisions.
Perhaps mine is but one voice, but I will use it to the best of my ability to try to convince you to think twice about turning a deaf ear on such voices in the future -- and perhaps treat the next customer and their property with less disinterest and disrespect than you have shown me and mine.
(sent via registered mail on 8/25/07)
August 24, 2007
Mr. Michael French
Tenleytown DC (Store 801)
4500 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-4628
RE: repair order # [OMITTED]; complaint case #[OMITTED]
Dear Mr. French,
I am writing to request your assistance in resolving an issue related to a computer that I entrusted with your store for repairs.
By way of background, I purchased the computer (a Compaq V2570NR) with a 3-year parts and labor coverage plan on 1/15/06 at your store. I returned it to your store for repairs in late May of this year when the power on/off function stopped working, and was told by the service desk that it would be shipped out to Geeksquad for repairs. He estimated that the repairs would take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, and advised that I would be called when it was ready to ship.
After not hearing anything for over 5 weeks, I visited your store on July 1 and was told by the service desk that no information could be found in the computer. I was given a service order number (OMITTED), and instructed to verify status through the Geeksquad website or by calling their customer service line.
According to the website the status of the computer was “checked in at store” and there was no indication that it had been sent for repairs (see attached). On July 11, I contacted the Geeksquad helpline and was instructed by “Agent David Goodfellow” that it would be “ready within days.” I called the service line again on July 19, and was told by a female “agent” that the computer appeared to be at the “Louisville Services Center since July 4”. On July 25, I called again and spoke with Brenda, who transferred me to Daniel. Daniel confirmed that a “part had just been ordered. It should leave Louisville soon.” When I stressed that I had already been waiting for 2 months for the computer, he suggested I contact Best Buy customer service. I did so, and was told by “Will” that he would file an escalation.
When I heard nothing further, I called the Geeksquad yet again on August 7 and spoke with “Ashley.” When she could not confirm any additional information, I asked to speak to a manager. I was told that the manager, “Marsha,” was in a meeting. I asked her to call me ASAP. My call was not returned, so I called again on August 9. I explained the whole situation yet again to “Cicero”, who indicated that there seemed to be a problem with the order (“it never appears to have left the store”), and said that he would be filing a complaint (39781346) and sending an inquiry to the store for an immediate response. I asked him to find out why I had been consistently misled to believe that the computer was being repaired and shipment was imminent, when that clearly was not the case. He contacted me again on August 10 and 11 to let me know that the store contact (Robert Delicio?) had indicated that the store not been able to locate the computer. Cicero informed me at that time that he would be sending me a gift card to cover the value of the computer and additional compensation for the music and photos that had been on the computer at the time that the store lost it.
Two weeks have passed since then and I have received no gift card nor any follow-up calls from Best Buy or Geeksquad regarding resolution of this issue.
During this time, I have tried calling your store to discuss this matter, but have not been able to reach but one person – Jamal, who gave me your name when I pressed for the name of the customer service manager for computers.
In order to resolve this issue at this point, I request:
• A check mailed to me by August 31 in the amount of $2,110.35 to cover:
o reimbursement for the purchase price of the computer and the service plan $1,110.35, per attached receipt). I have no desire to ever purchase any products from Best Buy again, and I assure you that I will never, ever utilize a Best Buy service plan after experiencing the carelessness with which you handled this service request.
o Compensation for the direct expenses related to the music and photos (many of which are irreplaceable) that were on the computer that was lost by Best Buy, the significant amount of time that I will have to expend to reacquire and replace the music and photos that were on the computer, the significant amount of time that I have wasted being lied to by Best Buy and Geeksquad employees in the process of trying to track down my computer over the last 3 months, the costs that I have incurred utilizing internet cafes and other means while getting the 3-month runaround about the status of the computer while it was entrusted to Best Buy for repair, etc.
• Confirmation of what type of investigation has been conducted and what charges have been filed in relation to the loss/theft of my computer at your store.
If I have not heard from you or received a check by August 31, I will be filing a suit to claim the above and other compensation for any additional expenses incurred, and will be contacting the authorities to request that criminal charges be filed related to the “disappearance” of my computer while in the care of your store.
1) Geeksquad website “service status” report
2) Copy of 1/15/06 purchase receipt