Sunday, September 04, 2005

Copyright laws and fair business transactions

Yesterday I bought a few CDs from Best Buy, but once I arrived home I realized that I was missing something. One of the CDs I purchased (or should I say decorative jewel case) was missing its, er, CD. The CD in question was No Doubt's Rocksteady, the jewel case was completely wrapped and the little sticky thing on top of the case was intact, but the case was empty.

I returned to Best Buy to get the CD I paid for and discover that they don't have any other copies. "OK," I thought, "not a big deal. Just give me my money back and I'll run down to Borders and get my CD there." I was expecting the Best Buy associate would have a problem with my proposed solution and I was right. At first they weren't sure what to do, but ended up offering me store credit. According to the Best Buy employee, the store is unable to provide me with a refund because it's a violation of copyright law. IANAL, but I have a good feeling that's probably not true. Hesitantly, I accepted their offer, only because I was already running late to a friend's house.

I can understand the reasoning behind a no refunds policy, but I still think it's unfair to an unlucky customer. All I did was give them money for a CD, and they didn't fulfill their side of the deal. I'm not in the loan business; I bought a CD, not a gift card.

No CD? OK, then give me my money back.
Guess I'll just have to start opening any merchandise I purchase before leaving the store...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Matt, this is your friend and old roommate Ryan.

I worked at Best Buy for all of 2 years while in college. I think that all CD/DVD/Video Game transactions should have a buyer beware sign on them. There is no way for Best Buy or any other retailer to distinguish between ligitmate complaints such as yours and the hundreds of complaints of missing cds that are fraudulent. My time working at Best Buy has shown me to what links people will go to steal merchandise.

Perhaps as a society we should stop rewarding the overpricing of physical CDs and spend our time supporting Apple and the iTunes service which has helped lobby to keep album prices below the "Hard Copy" rate to encourage sales of their iPod.

1:18 PM  

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