Purchased a cable modem from this store on 62nd. Got the last one in the store. Plugged it in, called TW and set it up and it was running smoothly, I was very happy. Now cable modems they just never fail so I threw the box out. Except of course, two days later its having problems, rebooting and stalling and so on. No problem, I have 30 days to return it. Oh but shoot I threw the box. What to do ? My solution was to go to a different best buy and pick up the same product and return the defective unit with the box. I would have just gone straight back to Columbus circle with bad modem, but I knew they had no stock so I couldn’t get a replacement, and I didn’t have the box so I couldn’t get a refund. Also the modem was intermittent, it worked for short periods, and my roommates were using it so I didn’t want to disconnect them. So I got the replacement modem, exchanged the products, but I notice the box has the new modems serial on a sticker on the outside. The same sticker is on the modem itself and knowing they would have the serial number on file, I took off the sticker off the box to prevent confusion. That to me was the obvious thing to do. I get to the store and the girl working is in some type of mood, making no eye contact, speaking short. She asks for my ID which is odd. I have never been asked for ID returning a product, but I say fine. She takes it and starts typing my info into the machine. I ask her why, she says she is not entering my info, but then barcode scans my ID. Hmm. So I begin to explain about the box but she looks at the floor. “Tell it to the manager “. So the manager comes out, looks at the box. “Why did you remove the UPC ?”. I explain what happened. He looks at the modem, “This is not the product you bought from this store”. I say it is, and tell him to check the serial number of the modem. “We don’t record the serial numbers.” What ?? You are taking the time and trouble to barcode scan my ID but you don’t record the serial numbers of the products you sell ? He looks at the modem and shows me a part number, a nine digit code used to reference very large batches of products. I can’t speak for the manufacturer, but likely 50,000+. Its not a serial. In any case it so happens the modem’s part number and the part number on the receipt do not match. He asks me why, I say I don’t know, but I did suggest to him that he scan another box to see if the part number recorded matched that of the modem inside, but he refused stating that this is not a court. And after all if we are not in court what is the function of empirical tests, facts and deductive reasoning ? So at this point the manager is convinced I am a scammer of some kind. And with the information presented to him thats not unreasonable, to be fair. Except the receipt was what I was handed, and the product is what I was given. So when I get home I look at the new modem, and in fact the part number on the modem does not match the part number on the UPC (I still had the sticker I had removed). The part number on the modem matches the modem I was trying to return. So not only do they fail to record the serial number, they record a part number different to the one printed on the product itself. This, is incompetence. Who’s ? Well its fair to say the staff didn’t design the system they use. But had the manager entertained my suggestion I know now it would have shown, at least within the limited sense of the information they recorded, that i was returning the same product. So I’m out $100. Its nothing to me, and as far as principle well I can’t say I’m without fault. After all I did remove a sticker. You might think that I am writing this because I’m out $100. Not true I could care less. I am writing this because I later looked up what best buy do with the information they record. According to what I have read they give the names and the experiences they have to a third party called The Retail Equation (TRE) consumerist.com/2011/02/why-does-best-buy-need-my-id-to-return-a-purchase.html TRE builds a database of people who return goods with names and dates of birth. If you are entered into their system as someone who fraudulently returns goods, its going to become an issue if you ever want to return goods in the future. Not just to best buy, but almost all stores who require ID’s for returned merchandise. The exact mechanism TRE uses is unclear. Its a propriety system. So there is no way to know how this database, in which I may now be included as a fraudulent returner, will be used *by the stores*. Is it possible that in the future customers ordering will receive two grades of product ? One for the ‘good’ customers and a lower grade of parts with a higher defect ratio for the ‘bad’ users ? I don’t know but I would not be surprised. Such a database is nightmare for consumers. Who’s to say a company would not check out a buyer before sending the goods (most products are bought on line) and send them defective equipment knowing they can’t return because they are flagged ? As someone who sits now squeezed between what has to be $35,000 of electronic equipment, this humiliating experience has made me take a few resolutions. 1. I will never walk into another Best Buy for the rest of my life. Newegg is 1000% better people ! But because of this database, I won’t shop even at Newegg. 2. I won’t be buying any more electronic products. A percentage of products fail and I will have trouble if I ever want to return anything again. Also I have no assurance I will be treated like any other customer in the future because of this database. Any company using it may be able to look me up in before sending me the products, and give me a lesser grade. 3. I will never hand my ID out to anyone in retail. The answer is NO. 4. I will not do any kind of business with the types who assume criminal. You want to shove a camera in my face to make sure I won’t steal (home depot), I won’t shop there. You want my ID on returns, I won’t shop there. Landlady wants a credit check, I’ll find somewhere else. My trust in people is broken, this experience has marked me.