This one bugs me, a lot. Within weeks of the California Supreme Court ruling that stores could not ask for your zip code during a purchase, Best Buy now wants to track returns with a state-issued form of identification.
It’s clear why they want to do this; they want to ban customers who return too much stuff. However, there is a secondary motive; they want to track customer data with a serial number: your personal serial number.
What is unreasonable, is turning state-issued forms of identification into a customer tracking tool. Presently, we use state IDs to track credit data, for pre-sale long-term commitments. Your driver’s license or state ID is usually run when you buy a cell phone (or your social security number, same idea).
However, to use this for returns makes me much more unsettled. Nobody would want to have their driver’s license swiped when purchasing something sans long term commitment, so why be okay with that at the point of a return?
I have a Reward Zone Card (Premier Silver VIP standing, no less). Best Buy already tracks my every purchase, coupon, redemption, and yes, return. I do this in exchange for a 1.25% discount on purchases (in the form of gift card rebates). It’s a fair exchange, in my opinion. It also gives me convenience; if I forget a receipt, I don’t have to remember how I paid for the item, I just have to pull out my Reward Zone card. Why? Because Best Buy is keeping tabs on me, and I’m letting them do that.
Here, Best Buy is offering me nothing for handing over my private information, other than to tell me that if I don’t, I won’t be allowed to return the item. Now Best Buy is keeping tabs on me, or I don’t get to return items. Big Best Buy Brother is watching, and if you don’t like that it’s mandatory, you don’t have to shop there. Well, I don’t like it one bit.
Returning an item that was purchased before this policy was, needless to say, unpleasant. It took a manager, and two re-runs of the policy, to remind them that I was grandfathered into not having to show my ID. I was told twice that this was a one-time exception.
My advice: If you have to buy something at Best Buy, use your passport upon returning the item. Best Buy will not be able to track Passport ID numbers the same way they track driver’s licenses or social security cards.
I know one thing’s for sure… I’m a lot less likely to hit Premier Silver status on my Reward Zone card next year. I may lose 45 day return periods, I may pay a little bit more buying from Fry’s or Micro Center… or even Wal-mart, but I will keep my identity a lot more secure, and a lot less tracked.
If someone wants your ID, you should make sure there’s a darn good reason, or else you’re helping to contribute to the downfall of privacy, and the rise of National ID and National Serial Numbers for us all.
Absolutely agree, this is very bad. I am very worried about this because during the past 5 years I have had 3 banks and 2 government agencies inform me personal information had been compromised by hackers. Are we supposed to believe Best Buy can properly safeguard it? I found out Best Buy, as of Jan 30, 2011, started using a relatively small 3rd party vendor called The Retail Equation (TRE) – they use government issued ID numbers to track returns and they DO link it with other customer data such as name, address, DOB, etc., (http://www.theretailequation.com/CFaqs.aspx) and store it on their servers. Even assuming they have the resources to provide better security than the U.S. Government, know what happens to expensive company servers if it looks like it is going to go bankrupt? Yup. Creditors petition a judge to impound said servers for sale at auction. Think they give a hoot about your personal information?
A driver’s license is generally accepted anywhere in the U.S. as de facto proof of ID, nothing else required. If the data is compromised, individuals can get a replacement birth certificate or Social Security card with it, and then open up all kinds of accounts in your name or start receiving government benefits. Not to mention they can make a fake license that can come in very handy if they are pulled over for a DUI or booked for something worse – good luck getting that off your record. Think a cop will recognize a fake? Only if it’s not done by a pro and the perp is stupid enough to use it in-state, but unlikely if it’s a cop looking at an and out-of-state license. He’ll just run the numbers and it will come back valid.
Worst of all, Best Buy has gone about this unprofessionally and surreptitiously. I am also a rewards program customer and didn’t think much of it last week when the returns clerk asked for my license. The item was purchased with a debit card that I had with me, and I had a receipt, and I had verified my rewards info, but she was about to give me cash. I thought she would look at it and hand it back. But next thing I know she is punching in data while looking at it. I said “whoa,” what are you doing. Too late. I said I did not want it recorded and asked her to remove it. You guessed it – “we can’t do that.” Store mgr: Same answer. Corporate Customer service supervisor: same answer. And NOBODY was able to answer any questions about data security or whether it was linked with other info. Anyway, I called TRE to and asked them to remove my info and they refused (said Best Buy has to do it). Still fighting Best Buy, but imagine I’ll end up having to sue to have it removed.
Shame on you Best Buy – VERY poorly implemented and a stupid idea to start with. Target does it for returns WITHOUT A RECEIPT only, and it is not associated with any other data. That I don’t like either, but I can live with it. Best Buy is pissing off its best customers. I’ll be leaving their rewards program. Looks like it’ll just be New Egg and Amazon from now on.
Yelling at the clerks isn’t going to change anything. They HAVE to do the returns the way that their headquarters wants them to, or they risk termination.
That being said, a lot of the time that information that everyone else yells and causes a scene over giving is used to deter potential thieves that walk into stores, grab up merchandise, walk out walk back in, and try to return it. Since a retail worker can’t prove it unless they physically saw the person take it, and there is video footage around to prove that they took it, they HAVE to do the return. By asking you for your license, they ensure that their own assets are protected – they ALSO have to ask EVERYONE, otherwise they can get sued for discrimination, even if discrimination isn’t happening. IE, someone who looks one way (white) doesn’t get asked, but they suspect that a (black) thief is stealing. (In the scenario where race isn’t the issue, the stealing is, but it becomes ABOUT race BECAUSE that person who is stealing happens to be black… but they make a huge deal about their own race, and accuse the (white) clerk of discrimination…) It’s loss prevention, it’s compliance with laws on discrimination, it’s asset protection. So regardless of whether or not your stuff is safe, remember that argument too when you kick up a fuss about a policy. It is NOT the worker’s fault, they have NO power to give you what you want.
Retail Worker, nobody is suggesting that you yell at clerks.
However, the retail workers are the people you should complain to. They are the ones that tell their managers what the feedback is at the consumer level. That feedback goes up to the district managers, regional VPs, and (ideally) the decision makers that made this (idiotic) policy.
So, I do encourage everyone to express their discontent with this change to the return counter. I do suggest you ask to speak with a manager to lodge your complaints. I suggest you do that on every return at Best Buy. And, I suggest you vote with your wallet.
That’s what good consumers do in any situation, and if Best Buy wants success… they’ll encourage it to. Otherwise, unfortunately, they’ll be the next in line behind Circuit City.
“Retail Worker” totally missed the point (all of them). This has nothing to do with “yelling” at clerks. Don’t think anyone suggested that. But “complaining” to clerks is entirely appropriate, since they are your initial point of contact with the company. This is also NOT about fraudulent returns. There is no need to STORE and TRACK government ID data to reduce fraudulent returns. They could simply ask to VIEW the ID to do that, which I have no problem with.
And as Chris points out, Best Buy already had rewards program info on many customers. They could also have used that (at least for those in the program) for verification by asking you to verify phone # or zip code, etc. That would be perfectly legal “discrimination” by making returns easier for those who join the program.
But Best Buy has gone down the road of capturing and storing of the DL for TRACKING purposes for all returns. That’s why I am no longer a Best Buy customer.
btw, went thru a small office computer component/accessories upgrade cycle this past month and saved a lot by shopping Newegg, Amazon and Buydig (guess that’s one upside to the new policy). Don’t miss you Best Buy.
Walmart has tracked returns for years I have to show Drivers license for returns other places as well. There is alot of fraud going on people returning stolen merchandise without receipt. This is to help deter this and keep cost down.
I went to my local bestbuy in Merced CA. today to return a camera battery charger I had bought few days back. I had my receipt with me. To my shock and surprise the person behind the counter entered my Drivers License into their computer. I had bought the item using my American Express card. Money was going to be put back to my AMEX card. And my AMEX also has my picture on it. No cash was changing hands. Money was going back to the same credit card. Where is the fraud?
I was willing to show my ID to prove that I indeed was the person whose name was on the AMEX card. The Clerk entered my Drivers License Number into their system despite my protest. He said its necessary to track things. Now its in their server for ever. Who gets it, where it ends up, we dont know. Do I trust them with my information? No I do not. I asked to speak with the manager. She told me the same thing – that its a new policy. She was polite but could not explain why I must surrender my Driver License Number to Best Buy. Finally she asked me to call BesyBuy corporate customer service at 1-888-BestBuy.
They think they can gather personal information without showing reason. They think that they got me because I was at their mercy because I had to return the item. That is pure arrogance. I will not shop at Best Buy again. I want other shoppers to know what happens if you have to return an item even with a receipt. If you value your privacy and vital information avoid shopping at BestBuy.
PS- Just now 12:30am PST on April 4, 2011, I received an email from Best Buy’s CMO Barry Judge saying that due to security breach the customer e-mail information was accesed and stolen. Now these are the same people who took my Driver License Information as a condition for returning an item.
I will never shop at BestBuy again.
Retail Worker, you are misrepresenting the facts. Walmart only asks for your DL if you do not have a receipt. They do not ask for a State ID if you have a receipt. Best Buy is.
Here is a latest news about Epsilon data breach, including Best Buy customers
Imagine, it can be also system with your scanned ID by Best Buy
Had the same problem at an Ohio Best Buy store. Their problem is that their in store policy – clearly posted at the time of purchase and return – did not state the policy of storing the Driver License information. The purchase receipt had the information printed on the front AFTER the purchase was made.
The Ohio laws require the return policy – if clearly posted – to be respected.
I made a number of high value purchases at Best Buy and this was my first – and I assume it will be the last – return experience. Clearly these “trained” clerks have no idea about their databases vulnerabilities, so it useless to try to explain them that it is irresponsible to make the claim that “your information is completely secure with us”.
Anyway, this is the last time I will step into a Best Buy store.
This is happening at most large retailers. I have, in fact, complained sucessfully enough to get a cashier to forgo the id. I made a cash purchase (also had the receipt) and needed to exchange sizes of the exact same item. The clerk said he would need my license, for an exchange. I simply refused. So, my plan now is to shop online as much as possible. I will just go to the store to try or examine the item I need, and then buy it online.
BEST BUY SUCKS. I also have noticed this…I made a return of two items (an unopened CD and DVD) which I paid CASH for, specifically because I don’t want BB having my info for spam or privacy reasons. I was also required to provide my driver’s license….I plan to research whether or not this is even a legal practice in my state.
oh you guys are a bunch of babies. Maybe one day when you go into the retail world you will realize that its not all about you. First of all they do this so idiots who pay cash and then loose there receipt can get your money back. people think that the world revolves around us and that best buy or any retail can just give you your money back. Well here’s some news we cant so maybe keep your receipt and then you wouldnt be looking up ways to make yourselfs miserable. Plus any reatil you go to does this and they are starting to do it. Best Buy employees are not able to acess your information and they do it because there are stupid people who buy tons of stuff and then constantly return them. So next time you want to complain try and think that the employees have a life and they dont want us (customers) to cry and yell about how we are so paranoid about giving our information, to tell you the truth they DONT CARE they are there to do their job and go home. You give Your driver license to people all the time to people you dont know, when you do a credit application, and when applying for stuff so who says they cant be “stealing” your information. If you dont agree that sucks but it is stated on the receipt. Get of yourselfs Guys they are not going to steal Your info so get off your high horse and stop being those customers that employees laugh at as sooon as you turn your back. And to the person who wrote that they should complain to the employees, THEY DONT CARE THEY PROBABLY WOULD JUST LAUGH AT YOU!!!
Mel: What a load of unadulterated horsepuckey. First of all, the retail world **IS** all about the customer: if it weren’t for the customer, retail business would dry up and blow away in very short order. The customer is the source of income that pays every dime of the salaries for retail employees and management.
Second of all, I don’t give a damn whether Best Buy employees are annoyed by customers complaining about their employer’s policies: interfacing with customers (even irate ones) is part of their job, so they need to just deal with it.
Third of all: http://goo.gl/qJrR8 http://goo.gl/JgtNI http://goo.gl/QHEkq … and that’s just in the first page of search results. Customer data breaches are becoming more and more commonplace, and customers are growing increasingly wary of providing unnecessary personal information to retailers who can’t seem to protect it properly.
So basically every one of your “points” is a fly-circled load. Thanks for playing, sorry you didn’t win anything.
Excellent article, Christopher!
(I also am a BB Premier Silver Rewards customer) As a loyal customer of many years, this policy is extremely alarming to me (if not insulting) !! While I fully understand the need to mitigate fraudulent transactions, alienating your loyal, legitemate patrons is not a very wise business model. It pains me to say this but- I am definately changing my purchasing habits with this company imediately. Now I will be more likely to visit Best Buy stores only to review or demo new products and will be opting for other retailers to make my purchases.
Thanks for this. Check out my blog post on my experience at http://tinyurl.com/bestbuyDLfail . I’m just stunned that Best Buy thinks this is a good thing. Why would anyone take on storing that kind of data in the current environment?
Excellent article. We were so incented by this Best Buy Return policy that we wrote our own review. It is not written as well as this one but it may give you an additional perspective. And, we’ve linked this page to ours. http://prorganize.com/reviews/pages/Best-Buy-Return-Policy-Review.html
We consider this Best Buy policy, too, to be an insult to consumers and a dangerous risk to theft of identity and privacy.
We’ve purchased probably tens of thousands of dollars at Best Buy over this years. We were shocked when our receipt of our most recent purchase of over $450 had the policy printed on the receipt. We did not see the sign in the store about the Government ID requirement but would have bought elsewhere if we had.
The best we can do is stop buying at Best Buy, tell our friends and family and voice our objection. We called the store, the Best Buy Corporate headquarters and even wrote a short letter to our state attorney.
As we considered our review, we realized that Best Buy has been having anti-consumer policies for years. We wonder why it took so long to have had enough of them
We as so angered by the new policy we are almost of a mind to do a personal protest at Best Buy by taking a large purchase to the checkout, let them process it and then refuse to complete the transaction as we ask about the refund policy.
Our hope is that Best Buy suffers sales loss because of this policy. Companies have went out of business because of such rude changes and it seems that Best Buy should consider that fact. (The consultants that recommend such things will not even see these policies as the problem – they will blame other brick and mortar competition such as Walmart or web sites such Amazon or NewEgg)
I hardly return anything. I brought a laptop from best buy recently that had a faulty charge port. I exchanged it for another one. And they did take my DL. I thought this was normal. Reading this, I guess all retailers does not do this. Thanks for the info I will be careful of my DL from now on.
Just a question, but is it somehow “safer” to enter your full home address when shopping online than simply giving up your DL # to a return clerk to enter into a database?
“Is online better”, not really.
Your address is probably in plenty of public search records. It is automatically less secure than a unique identifier.
Putting it simply, someone knowing your name and address can do a lot less damage than the information contained in your drivers license.
As we saw with the Epsilon and Sony breaches, once it’s stored in Best Buy’s computer system, all someone has to do is find a way to break in… and they have all your data, along with everyone else’s.
There are several issues:
1. One suspects Best Buy is doing it not to deter fraud but to deter returns — that is, to stick the customer with unwanted merchadise.
2. My local Best Buy says it informs customers oin the receipt, but the receipt is given after the transaction. The Returns Policy above the registers does not specify a database so there is an issue of lack of full disclosure prior to sale. Responsible retailers do full disclosure before sale.
3. Databases belong to the retailer and can be sold at any time.
4. Googling “Best Buy complaint” shows entire bulletin boards devoted to customers asserting they were scammed by Best Buy. The situation cries out for a full investigation of the chain by consumer organizations or consumer protection authorities.
5. I suspect Best Buy cuts its price by forcing many costs onto the consumer, and so undercut brick-and-mortar competitors like CompUSA. Now that CompUSA is out of business the consumer is left with just one brick-and-mortar chain for computer techie stuff (like internal drives) and so competition may have been unfairly stifled.
I suggest Chris and those here get together to try to interest consumer orgs or authorities in an investigation of Best Buy practices so as to stop the charade and give competition an opportunity, so in the end the customer can be better served.
Never going to buy there again. I bought an item for $15.99 a couple of days ago and went to return it today. I had charged it on my credit card and never opened it. Even with the receipt, they told me they wanted a drivers license. I SHOP PLENTY so I knew this was way out of the ordinary for a credit card return with a receipt. I told the customer service representative that their return policy stunk. They are simply doing it to track certain individuals. Their corporate reputation stinks by the way. They are based in Minnesota and were in the news a few months ago and more recently for donating $100K to a political action fund that supports a candidate that is anti gay and lesbian. Not anti gay and lesbian marriage — just plain anti gay. They disgust me. Small minds.
Apple is now requiring your driver’s license for certain purchases, specifically if you want a college student discount, etc. Your personal info is then stored in their database for anyone at anytime to obtain and use fraudulently. This is a poor practice by Apple.
This is now getting curiouser & curiouser. I have had some Best Buy stores tell me they are NOT still requiring DL for returns. Clerk in fact stated “we’ve stopped requiring that” and she didn’t ask for it during a return. Same store, a few weeks later: No return without a DL. When I refused to provide it, manager eventually punched something in (fake DL number?) and accepted the return. A few weeks after that, different mgr (same store) refused to accept return without DL.
Flash forward 1 month, different store (in different state), clerk said “no-way” a return can be done without DL. I refused and asked for manager. After about 10 minutes and no manager, clerk punched in what I assume was a fake DL number (wonder if it matched a real one?) and accepted return. Looks like their policy, if it is still in force, is not working. Reasonable managers and employees with initiative are finding ways around it. All it has done is make me shop online much more often and only go to Best Buy when I really need something in a hurry. Even then, will check out Staples, Target or Walmart first.
I do not like that they are doing this either, but more and more companies, not just Best Buy, are going to start requiring DL’s for returns. Many of these companies, including Best Buy, are doing this to monitor the returns and make sure that people are not abusing return policies at all stores, it will also help keep theft down and the prices lower.
I recently tried to return something at Best Buy on or around Sept 7, 2011, in Mid-Missouri.. and I was asked for my ID. I REFUSED. I made a big deal about it too. They didn’t need my ID for me to buy it and give them my money, they don’t need it to process a return. She said it was physically impossible for her to proceed without it. I kinda made a big scene with many people waiting behind me, demanded a manager, and “magically” the return was completed without my ID, even though the manager had a crappy attitude. I don’t care. I stood my ground. I will NEVER shop at Best Buy ever again.
I just had this issue yesterday at Victoria’s Secret, returning an unopened item WITH a receipt from less than one day before. They insisted on a DL for the return, and I refused. As it turns out, they are only doing this in the state of CA for now, but may expand this nationwide. They are also using the Orwellian company “The Retail Equation” (formerly “The Retail Exchange”) to track and process returns. Google their website and read what they say about themselves, they think they’re the greatest thing in the world for consumers. HA! They are crooks and thieves profiting off your personal information. They need to be stopped, period, before they take over as the next out-of-control TRW. There is no regulation, no assurance that they will keep your data safe AT ALL. Once they scan your license, they have the DL#, Birthdate, Address, Height, Weight, Hair Color, and Eye Color. They can mine this data and sell it to anyone they please. Hello, identity theft!
I called and voiced my displeasure in no uncertain terms to their corporate HQ, in the very vague hope that they will think twice about such a draconian return policy. It is defiinite that I will never shop there again, and BB now goes on my “No-Buy” list. Another company I just found out signed up with TRE is Michael’s, The Craft Store. One more for the list. And of course, The Limited Brands, since they own Victoria’s Secret. This cancer is spreading and must be stopped before we have no privacy left anywhere. Now we can’t shop and do a normal (non-fraudulent) return without them tracking and tracing it. I am thinking about starting a website to aggregate all this information and add stores to the list as they sign up with TRE and similar companies. THIS MUST BE STOPPED! We, the consumers, are not criminals! Even the TRE Website admits less than 1% of shoppers are “problem” shoppers. So what’s the real agenda here? It is clear, they want your information for resale and profit.
End it now! We must boycott stores that implement this and spread the word to everyone we know not to shop at stores that invade our privacy.
Happened to me in NY. Returning a CD, $10.88 and they wouldnt budge, called customer service, managers, the whole deal, same thing….we need your DL.
I refused, brought it to NJ and same thing. I will NEVER shop there again. F this store! You can find better deals online anyway.
A week later a rep from customer service called me back with an attitude just telling me the same ol’ story that its their policy.
Tried to return a $24.99 purchase today in Irvine/Lake Forest, CA , within time period with receipt. Same deal as all the other posts – DL number required. I am going to hand the item with a copy of my receipt to the store manager and deny the CC charge. When the CC company asks for an explanation I will tell them I returned the item with receipt and the store failed to process the credit. I will sign a sworn statement to that effect as required by the CC company. I will also bring a witness to the store with me.
I tried to work it out with cashier and with the store manager today – no dice, gave me their corp HQ phone number. They said they have to follow policy. I do too and my policy is to never give out info on my ID to be “stored” by anyone.
Will I ever shop at BB again? Nahh. Will I share experience with friends and neighbors? Definitely. BB has no right to collect personal information like your DL#. I’ll revisit in future and let you know how this turns out…
Im so upset about “Michaels” craft store. The clerck asked my for my DL and I could’nt stop for writting my info.!!! I talked to the manager and she is no help at all!!… this is the firt time some one take my private infor for a return items with my recip!!!… I never going o shop at this retail store for doing that is a violation!!! they are making this so wrong.. and … we ask why this store out of business!!.. we need to stop this for happening …im going to post this in my facebook and sen emails to my friends… im so upset!!!.. thanks for all you complains
I absolutely do not understand why any of you are so upset about having to show an ID to do a return that you’re “boycotting” Best Buy and other retailers. It’s your drivers license, everything on it is public record and can be found free and easily using google. None of the information contained makes you more prone to identity fraud. Most of you claim using online retailers is the way to go because you don’t need an ID to return items. Well, you need a credit card to purchase them right? I think typing your full credit card account number, expiration date, security code, name, address, and phone number into Amazon, newegg, whatever is FAR more risky. (And since you’ve boycotted Best Buy I bet your anti-virus software is out of date making you even MORE susceptible to online hackers) <–joke, but you see my point.
Requiring an ID to return items became necessary for Best Buy after they did away with those nasty restocking fees you all bitched about last year. Think about it, customers now can get a full refund as long as they are in the return period and have their reciept simply because they "don't like it". I'm all about having choices and options, but forcing customers to think long and wisely about a big purchases meant less returns for Best Buy which meant lower prices, etc. Returns KILL companies, and allowing people to "rent" out half the store by being able to return and exchange any item, as many times, for whatever reason, without any repercusions to the customer is why people abuse the system. As we all know, it only takes a couple bad people to ruin it for the ones that follow the rules, so now Best Buy has to monitor customer's return habits, blocking the excessive offender from continuing to try out every television in the store at Best Buy's expense.
It's just a drivers license people! It's NOT an invasion of your privacy and it's no so out of line for Best Buy to require one so you can get your money back. So continue to pout, boycott Best Buy and stores following suit, go into your banks disputing charges (REALLY curious how that plays out since the return policy is plastered all over the reciept and says IDs are required for ALL returns) all because you're ridiculously paranoid and overprotective of information anyone can find for free on the internet and do nothing with.
I live in a state that you don’t need ID to vote but it’s ok to ask for ID to do a return even I have the receipt in hand. What a joke. Boycott Bestbuy or any store that wants your ID.
Just tried to make a return at Mission Valley Best Buy and refused to hand over my drivers license on the grounds that a reasonable person will never know until well after the purchase is complete that you will face handing your license over upon return. Both the tatted “manager” who first showed up and an openly nervous “store manager” refused the return without drivers license.
I think I’m going to try again tomorrow.
Also going to watch this thread as it was number two on Google…
in San Diego, 5151 Mission Center Rd. 92108
@ Retail Worker -Best Buy do have a security guard that puts a sticker on your returns when you walk in. So why even mention about grabbing the merchandise off the floor and returning it?
BestBuy has been hit with a class action suit for violating the federal Drivers Protection act.
You can see more info at http://www.topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/1491-best-buy-return-policy-dppa-class-action-lawsuit-
I think another reason they do it is because people have high end stuff crap out on them and then they go back buy the same item and replace and keep the new item, then return their crapped out old item. A make shift free insurance plan.
Example: person buys an Xbox a year and a week later it dies. No Microsoft warranty or best buy warranty. They go buy brand new Xbox clean up old Xbox and return the defective Xbox.
RetailWorker, Mel, NotParanoid 2011 – are you working for BB by any chance? This is the only justification I can find for your postings. I just went through this BB return policy experience today, and am besides myself. Before I even realized what the clerk was doing with my DL, she had scanned my information into their database. When I asked what the info was needed for she said it’s their policy. Asked for the manager, he said everything’s fine, it’s the contract I signed with BB when I purchased their product, and the whole process has been vetted by 50 attorneys, so I don’t need to worry myself about it. They said this policy was put in place in November, so I guessed it was meant for the Chrismas returns they expected. I now see that this has been going on for a while, and am surprised I haven’t heard anything before going through the ordeal myself. I am glad to hear there is a Class Action Suit against them, but there should have been more of an uproar about this, just like for the Bank of American ATM fees, and the Verizon bill paying fee. The customer backlash made those two companies back down. I am definitely buying elsewhere from now on. I will let BB know directly, but it doesn’t sound like they really care, or most people are more lethargic that I thought possible.
My response to Best Buy’s policy: I don’t go there any more. I buy thousands of dollars of electronics and office equipment for my business annually – and I do it all online, where I often get free shipping. Plus I don’t pay sales taxes in most instances.
Brick and mortar stores are so 20th century.
Does anyone have info on how to start a class action here in California like the one they have in Florida???
Same thing happened to me at Michaels today,I had a 6 dollar cash purchase that I tried to return with receipt. I was told I would have to produce a DL, I told the manger I left my wallet at home,I pleaded my case that it was no big deal and they should refund my 6 bucks.I was told no and I left ,telling the manager I would not shop there again.Even though I still have what I bought, I feel ripped off ,I feel that all they are doing is stealing private info. I plan on returning to that store ,filling a cart to the top, having the cashier ring everything up ,and then ask about their return policy.Once they tell me about it ,I will tell them “no way” and leave,I plan on getting things from all corners of the store,and the smaller the better.I hope they enjoy that 6 dollars,by the way I’m in Illinois.
Reply back to, Not Paranoid 2011—– It is not just Best Buy which is asking for ID, lots of places are starting to follow suit. A return policy on the receipt that says ID required is one thing, but where does it say ID will be swiped for info., upon return. Showing and swiping are two different things. I just went through this at Michaels craft store, have returned things before and have never looked at receipt for info., all was okay if I had the receipt, so I was surprised when my ID got swiped not just looked at. Even if this info., can be found easy it does not make it right to do this.If you have your receipt that should be enough and far as theft well they need something on each item then, that will make a very loud noise when some one has not had said item(s) scanned before leaving store. I am just saying there are other ways of doing things with out swiping your ID or any personnel info., given. When it comes to personnel info., even my D L –I best be buying a house or new car or something. It is like rewards cards at Grocery stores and such, that helps for whom ever to follow your shopping habits, they say it is to better know what customers want and like, etc., but your phone # address are on these cards, and yes this is easy info., to get but why give it out to every Tom, Dick, & Harry if it is not a person you would like to make friends with, job or what ever. It use to be if you gave any kind of personnel info., then is was because YOU wanted to. Now there is nothing personnel any more. Bottom line nobody really knows what all this info., is being used for. Second and third party’s can buy it and WHY?? What do they want with it. Open your eyes people, things are not, nor ever will be like it use to be, that is called “THE GOOD OLD DAYS”.
The issue is simple, a receipt is the consumers validation of a contract. The contract clearly states that there has been an exchange between two knowing parties. This has been the case for many years. If somone walks out of the store with an unpaid for item, than there are camaras in place to back it up. If I walk in the store with an item and the receipt, than I am able to provide enough proof that I own the item. I went into the Best Buy in Portland Maine and asked the clerk, what do you do if someone doesnt have a license? (Perhaps a mentally challenged person), I was told, they would not accept the return. It sounds to me like a potential discrimination law suit in the works. Additionally, I dont remember being asked for my license to actually buy the item? Needless to say, I predict Best Buy will join the ranks of Circuit City. The plot is clearly being dug by the sinking stock price. Perhaps Bank of America will be next.
Went in BB today ready for the ID demand …. Refused to produce at customer service counter …talked to store mgr….called corporate….called credit card to dispute charges ….Florida store #515 Daytona Beach ….
18 USC Sec. 2724 01/07/2011
TITLE 18 – CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
PART I – CRIMES
CHAPTER 123 – PROHIBITION ON RELEASE AND USE OF CERTAIN PERSONAL
INFORMATION FROM STATE MOTOR VEHICLE RECORDS
Sec. 2724. Civil action
(a) Cause of Action. – A person who knowingly obtains, discloses
or uses personal information, from a motor vehicle record, for a
purpose not permitted under this chapter shall be liable to the
individual to whom the information pertains, who may bring a civil
action in a United States district court.
(b) Remedies. – The court may award –
(1) actual damages, but not less than liquidated damages in the
amount of $2,500;
(2) punitive damages upon proof of willful or reckless
disregard of the law;
(3) reasonable attorneys’ fees and other litigation costs
reasonably incurred; and
(4) such other preliminary and equitable relief as the court
determines to be appropriate.
(Added Pub. L. 103-322, title XXX, Sec. 300002(a), Sept. 13, 1994,
108 Stat. 2101.)
Yes just went to local Fullerton CA Best Buy to return item for $40.00 with credit card and reciept they asked for DL. I was shocked when the clerk had swiped it and I asked why they did this? Reply was store policy what upset me was that the clerk didnoy ask to swipe my DL just did it. After this I will not be back to Best Buy.
I posted my comment a bout a year ago. I was also surprised and shocked when the clerk entered my drivers license number in their system when I was returning a 15 dollar item with a receipt.
I do not shop there Anymore. I have found staples to be a much better store. They may be small but have much better customer service and they do not collect peoples personal information with illogical excuses. I suggest you try staples and you’ll see the difference. Good bye best buy — forever.
F– you BB and F your Devious efforts to collect as much personal info or refusing returns without DL even with receipt.
Also buy at Walmart if you like– they match prices. All you have to do is show the sale paper to clerk. Or buy many reputable companies online and screw thisArrogant Giant.
They can ask for this information, but you can deny it to them. By law, the only one who can legally ask you for a drivers license is an officer of the law. When someone wants to see my i.d, for a return, I give them an old employee i.d. that has my picture and name on it. I tell them that they may not put any of my information in their computer…PERIOD. If they persist about a drivers license, I tell them it is illegal for them ask for that piece of I.D in every state of the union and that I will report them to the better business bureau if they do not return the item… especially if it is an item that I paid cash for that did not work.
Best Buy is practicing bad business by bullying people with requests for a license. They will lose their customers. They have already lost me just because I read your blog. Thank you for saving me from the frustration of dealing with them. I have better things to do with my time like hiking!
I needed to replace two keyboards but wasn’t sure which to get. The sales person suggested purchasing my four top choices and returning the keyboards that I didn’t want after researching them online – because he said they have a great return policy. I bought all four and after doing a bit of reading, I decided which of the keyboards I wanted and took the others back. The boxes were unmolested, in the original clear wrapping with everything intact because they were never opened. Despite having the receipt, the clerk asked to “SEE” my driver’s license. When I handed it to him, he quickly swiped it into his scanner. Furious, I asked him what heck he just did. He replied that he had to do this as it was company policy.
This is OUTRAGEOUS! For anyone that doesn’t think this is a problem, here are several scenarios that are now easy for clerks to pull off:
1: A clerk keeps a second scanner. He scan your card in his OWN scanner, quickly says that it didn’t scan, then scans it into the company scanner. Your identity was just stolen.
2: The driver’s license information is used to create a duplicate license with a new picture on it but with your driver information on the magnetic strip of the fake driver’s license – valid licence with a valid magnetic strip. Meaning his picture, your information, your tickets when he gets pulled over by a COP. He applies for a credit care using your score and your new address at some PO box that is now in your name.
3. He uses your driver’s license with your information and his picture to get a replacement social security card. He now has your address, your driver’s license, your social security card (and potentially even your previous address depending upon the state that you live in.
4. He also has your credit card number, which he also just scanned.
5. You don’t even know it happened. Because unlike when you lose your wallet and start calling credit card companies to cancel, your information was stolen without anything being taken from you.
For those that think this kind of thing doesn’t happen and that this is NO BIG DEAL. YOU ARE DELUDING YOURSELVES. Clerks scan and steal credit card and driver’s license information all the time. It doesn’t take too many dishonest clerks to make the lives of a great many people miserable.
Still not convinced? How about if I frame this a bit differently?
How many of you that are so comfortable handing over your information that you would give a detailed list of information including your weight, your height, your eye color, hair color, current and previous address, date your licence was issued, date it expires and birth AS WELL AS YOUR CREDIT CARD NUMBER to some guy you just met on a street corner because he asked for them?
Do you know the clerk any better? What about the guy that works in the back of the store? What about the guy that TRE just hired two days ago and is going through a divorce and needs a bit of extra cash and selling your identity will provide a quick buck?
For what it’s worth, I am an engineer and a software programmer. Those that think this stuff is encrypted and can’t be stolen are being silly. Someone has the encryption keys and at some point, your data is being stared at. Moreover, it isn’t encrypted if it gets scanned into the clerk’s personal scanner.
This isn’t just about big brother. It is also about the common criminal and about a myopic and idiotic decision made by a dimwit at Best Buy management to justify their employment by initiating this customer hostile policy in the name of “tracking returns” so they can reduce prices. YEAH, that’s why? You know what, I was fine with their current prices. I really don’t care if they get lower. I do care about my identity and I won’t be shopping at Best Buy EVER AGAIN.
In my case, the clerk asked to “SEE” my DL and then he scanned my card. Had he asked to scan my license, I would have preferred to throw the keyboards away rather than risk identity theft. I know two people that have had their identities stolen. After 12 to 14 years, they are still dealing with the problems.
Unopened keyboard with a receipt. Do they really need to track me? Why?
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America today, and stores like Best Buy are the reason why.
P.S. A strong magnet preferably neodymium passed over the magnetic strip of your driver’s license can take care of this issue once and for all.
This ID business is the main reason I haven’t bought anything from BB in over a year, maybe longer. The info is used to track returns, but the main thing is ID theft. They say the info is securely entered and kept. Oh, please… BB actually had one of their email databases hacked a while back. They cannot tell me their stuff is secure. And now, BB is having problems and is closing many stateside stores. Wonder if this incredibly stupid policy is part of what’s causing that. I live in a fairly large metro area, and even on Saturdays both of their in-town stores are quite empty. And NOW, their CEO is being investigated for “behavioral” issues.
I saw a disturbing comment next to mine by “retail worker”. No doubt a best buy planted comment. It says oh, Walmart asks for I.D. Too at returns so what’s the big deal.
Nice try at this benign “spin” . But you forget it’s not a political forum and you actually are talking with people who can think for themselves. You forget to mention that Walmart will ask to see ID ONLY if you show up WITHOUT a receipt; and not if you have your receipt with you.
So clearly Walmart’s policy had reason- to deter stolen property being returned for cash.
So if you you don’t have a clear train of thought please don’t comment. It only reveals why informed customers are abandoning Best Buy. I for one will never spend a penny at Best Buy again. I am not surprised at all at what’s going on at Best Buy- falling stock price, closing stores. It’s happened before. It’s called we are big so we can do as we please and the heck with the customer attitude. We they say will force people to part with their drivers license and put it permanently in our computer system even if they have receipt, even if return is $6 item, even if customer is a rewards card member and even if purchase wa made using American express card and no cash is changing hands money will just be credited back to Amex card, even if the Amex card had customers picture on it and even if the customer can show his DL. BUT NO…. Best buy wants to swipe your DL and take all Tara from it or no return for you you lousy customer. Leave with your $6 item if you want but no return without swiping your Drivers License. Icing on the cake is that 3 days later they sent me an email saying that security of the data has been compromised and I am advised to take appropriate steps to protect myself from any identity theft. Really??? So you take my DL info and then you play it like its my problem if BestBuy or it’s contractors’ people steal it and sell it to ID thieves. I will say one word that will sum up what’s in store of this arrogant giant retailer- SEARS. A failed giant retailer owned by lowly K-mart. Keep up this abusive and intrusive practice and you’ll be joining sears soon. Trend is already there. Customers are leaving, it’s only a matter of time.
NotParanid2011—- your name, and dismissive & accommodating attitude of a serious issue is disturbing. Are you sure you are not a professional blogger hired by companies to place comments online such as yours whenever they see criticism of their practices???
Sorry this reply is so long…
A few things:
First, I work in retail. I have for about 15 years. I’ve never worked at a big box store like Best Buy but I have worked for national clothing retailers. When I first started in corporate retail, we simply had a customer that was doing a return fill out a slip with their name, address and phone number. That paper was placed with the store copy of the return receipt, not entered into a computer. The purpose of that paper was not to deter external theft. It was to deter internal theft. The District Manager would conduct monthly audits of paperwork at the store, and would randomly contact between 3 and 7 customers. He would ask them how their experience at our location was, and would send them a coupon in exchange for their time. Because he would pick the names at random, employees were less likely to conduct a fraudulent return with fake information, because it would be linked directly back to them. Keep in mind that a majority of retail theft (some estimate at much as 60%) is internal. What happens when companies lose profit? They push that cost right on down to the consumer. Nobody wants that.
As things modernized, we switched to a computerized system that allowed our Loss Prevention department to conduct the phone calls, thereby alleviating the District Manager of a non-desirable task.
Every single retailer I have worked for has asked for customer ID to process return transactions. None of them have ever scanned the DL or taken down the DL number. However, all of them required basic customer information (name, address and phone number) be entered into the computer before the return could be initiated. The computer systems would not allow a clerk to proceed without the info. The company analyzes that data and looks for return patterns (one cashier conducting a high percentage of cash returns with “no receipt”, made up names, false addresses, etc. It also looks for people that are frequent returners.)
I’ve been on the receiving end of many irate customers for these policies, as have my employees (many of whom are paid minimum wage, mind you). It does nothing to change the company policy. I certainly do pass along the feedback to my District Manager, but the response is always the same: the policy is in place to protect the consumer as well as the company. Loading a shopping cart full of product, letting a clerk ring it all and bag it for you and then making a big scene about the return policy does not do anything more than make some poor person have to put it all back. It doesnt change anything. It makes people hate their jobs, and start to have poor attitudes toward consumers. Despite the many comments here that suggest that clerks are paid to hear disgruntled customers and that they are “the first line of contact” with a company, the fact of the matter is that a majority of corporations do not listen to the employees. They do, however, listen to consumers. Rather than pick on the clerks, at least voice your concerns to a manager (and please, be civil when doing so. As a few folks have pointed out, they are following a company policy. Doing the job they are paid to do.) Ask for corporate contact info. Ask if there is a District or Regional Manager you can contact.
I have to add that I too, would decline to shop at a retailer that swiped my DL or recorded the DL# for any reason. In fact, my fiance returned a pair of $15 headphones at Best Buy today and was asked for his DL, and it was swiped before he knew what happened. We will not be returning to Best Buy. But as a retail worker, my heart goes out to the employees of any retailer that incurs the wrath of the folks posting replies here. Please remember these folks are human. Take your concerns (and they are valid, I agree) to the top of the food chain. Please.
Yes, if some guys intend to return stuffs again and again, I thinks it is a little reasonable to register the ID(but I am not willing to accept it). But last time the salesman said they just prevented customers returning stuffs more than twice in 90 days. How about our information after 90days. I denefitely doubt they will delate our information!
I just left “BestBuy Or PRY your personal info. I picked a dvd that was clearly marked 19.99 on the shelf, but it rang up for 34.99. Now I’m dissatisfied because I fell beguiled, for if I did not pay attention to the ring up price I would have walked out of the store foolishly paying more than expected. So never leaving the store I was instructed to go to customer service for my refund. So after 20 min in line I learn that I must allow Best buy to store my personal information from my drivers lisence on thair database in exchange for the refund of my same cash that only 20 minuites earlier I did not have to produce my ID to fork over to them. I really feel stolen from! Being forced to make a choice on the spot at customer DIS-service to pay for “MY” money with the high cost of “MY” privacy.
How ethical and dare I say fair for Best Buy to have this policy printed on the receipt that you can not read and decline to agree to untill trick of the transaction is done. I may be just one, but best buy has lost my concideration in future shopping.
This happened to me, My last return I got a slip saying that I am unable to do any returns for 90 days and gave me a phone number of a company who handles this for Bestbuy and gave me a list of everything, Preorders returned, when they mess up and re ring I have to give them my DL again to return it, price adjustments and when an item goes on sale and you want the difference back, they need you drivers license,m there are times i will buy 3-4 video games and ring them up separate and if I need to return all 4 of them they have to scan my license 4 separate times, This is severely bull crap, what is the point of them doing this?
Quick update. Too busy to write a whole post on the situation.
Basically, last year Best Buy won a dismissal of the class action lawsuit over this situation. The Court sided with Best Buy’s argument that a consumer is not financially harmed by handing over their Driver’s License, and that it was a valid method for tracking individuals, based on how the court interpreted existing statues.
Obviously, the Court did not examine, let alone consider, the potential for identity theft, especially considering Best Buy’s existing track record on that matter. Unlike checks or financial verification uses, Best Buy is associating your DL with your contact information, and aggregating it in ways not (in my opinion) fully presented to the consumer in BB’s notices.
Anyways, the case is now on appeal. The court will hear the appeal, presumably, within the next 90 days. If you know anything about the federal court system, it could be a full year before we hear any tangible updates.