Sunday, July 05, 2015

RBC Rewards + Best Buy = NO REAL VALUE

Objective: 
Redeem VISA Rewards Points through RBC Rewards

Process: 
Login, find item, see point value, favourite for future purchase, log out.

Three days later, login again… 

THIS IS WHERE THE STORY GETS INTERESTING.

Situation: 
Apple iPad Air 2 64GB Wi-Fi (no cellular) has a retail value of $649.99. 
Three days earlier it had a point value of 64,999. $1 for every 100 points.

Today, the Apple iPad Air 2 64GB Wi-Fi (no cellular) is still showing a retail value of $649.99, but now requires 99,999 points to get.

I want to know why Best Buy Canada had raised the point value of this item by 35,000 points?

IF… $649.99 equals 64,999 points that it stands to reason that 99,999 points would equal $999.99. 



I wonder how Apple feels about Best Buy flogging their iPad Air 2 for that amount?

YES, let me be rightly clear here - there is a value to rewards points, and I strongly feel consumers have a right to know what that value is.

So… 

My follow through:
  1. I called RBC Rewards and was told Best Buy sets the point value, not RBC.
  2. I contacted Best Buy and was told it’s an RBC Rewards problem… and… "sorry for the inconvenience".
  3. Then, I tweeted the daylights out of it.
As a little insight to how I work the phone, I record all my conversations for 'customer dissatisfaction' - just like "they" record them for "training and customer satisfaction".

After my phone call to RBC Rewards - which was fruitless, seriously fruitless–useless is a word that works too–I took to email.

Here is the email I sent to Best Buy:

Subject: RBC Rewards, value and redemption 

To whom it may concern at Best Buy,

I was directed here after contacting Customer Service by phone. Seems they can't handle my query, which is...

Why does Best Buy feels they can arbitrarily increase point values on items beyond the actual retail value of said item?

Example: The Apple iPad Air 2 64GB, an item I was interested in getting, and had favourited on the RBC Rewards site a few days ago, was $649.99 (the actual retail value) or 64,999 points. Today, when I went to order it I was stunned to see the point value had rocketed to 99,999 points. 

I would really like you to explain this jump. 

See, RBC gives me 1 point for every dollar I spend. In turn, I can expect to redeem my points at a value of 100 points for every dollar. Where do you get off deciding the RBC Reward point value of that iPad should equal $999.99? I would like to know... seriously, because, this is outright gouging.

I look forward to hearing your explanation. 


And their reply…

Dear Jenny Pearson,

Thank you for contacting Best Buy Canada in regard to your inquiry.

We are sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you.

Please call 1-800-769-2512 about your point inquiries. ****

Thank you for choosing Bestbuy.ca.

Sincerely,

***Note - the phone number is to the RBC Visa Call Centre. (Clever, eh!)

Okay… so I wrote this back…

Since the folks at RBC (1-800-769-2512) DO NOT set the point value I am once again directing my concerns to Best Buy.

Please read my first email carefully - you will see my query is about how Best Buy, not RBC, sets the point value of merchandise in the Best Buy online catalogue.

My query, as stated in my first email, is how does Best Buy determine the point value of a product? Again, please refer to my first email, as shown below. I don't think I need to regurgitate it all again.

RBC Rewards has advised that this issue is one I need to address with Best Buy - so... please address it, and answer my question.

If it is out of your expertise, Princess, please forward it to the department that CAN answer my query.

Many thanks,


You would think that would get me some answers, well, think again.
Here is Best Buy's reply...

Dear Jenny Pearson,

Thank you for contacting Best Buy Canada regarding RBC Rewards, value and redemption.

We kindly ask you to contact 1-866-237-8289 for more information about your inquiry.

We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.

Thank you for choosing Best Buy Canada. We look forward to serving you in the future.

Sincerely,


The number provided was to Best Buy Canada's customer service line. Here's what gets me, why not just answer the email? Why make me jump through more and more hoops? Really? Talk about a great experience - NOT!


SO WHY AM I DOING THIS?

Simple. It’s time big box stores, and their big bank buddies, realize they are dealing with humans. Not machines. Humans - the very people that have grown their businesses into the empires they are.  

WE THE PEOPLE, need to speak up, and be heard.

It’s time Big Business STOPPED running after the almighty dollar and realize who is actually PAYING that dollar. 

That’s right folks. 

You and I are the holders of the key. The key Big Business needs to unlock the cash box.


I HAVE A SPECIAL REQUEST.


Help me get the tweets moving. If you head over to @PearsonReport and check out my tweets I would love it if you could retweet any, and all, tweets that deal with @RBC_Canada and @BestBuyCanada.

Help me make a difference, because this affect you too.

I am looking for answers to the follow questions:

Why does Best Buy Canada have the exclusive right to determine the value of RBC Reward points?

Why does Best Buy Canada state, in their online Lowest Price Guarantee, that they will beat all prices? Yet, they don't do the same for RBC Rewards point customers. 

Shouldn't the person redeeming their well-earned points get the best possible value for those points? 

Should Best Buy be accountable for a sudden jump in point values that exceed 5,000 points? 

Also, I want to know why RBC Rewards has no say in their program. If Best Buy is their chosen merchandiser than surely RBC must have some agreement that gives the best possible value to their customers, and still allows Best Buy to make money.

THERE IT IS… MY PROJECT, IN AMONGST SO MANY OTHERS.

I will not let go of this until I get a clear explanation from Best Buy as to why that Apple iPad Air2 64GB Wi-Fi was quoted at 64,999 points one day, and 99,999 a few days later, and the base price in both instances was $649.99.


HAS ANYTHING LIKE THIS HAPPENED TO YOU?

If so, please share in the comments below, or TWEET me! 


Cheers, Jenny

15 comments:

  1. Good Luck with fighting the system, Jenny! These point systems aren't all that they are made out to be. . .Air Miles has served me better. It seems strange that the retailer should set the value as it relates to the product. Could it be that the product you want is selling well, and they don't want to have to give it to a points customer, so by devaluing the RBC points, they can deter some orders purchased with points. Just guessing about this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi DG - thanks for reading, and encouraging me along. I agree, the system for administering (redeeming) these points is flawed. That Best Buy can arbitrarily decide, at a whim, to change the value of an item, with such a glaring amount is enough to boil my rather hot blood. (This heatwave is not helping.) :)

      You may be on to something, as a client suggested the same thing. She wondered also if the 'system' registered my interest from days earlier and then jacked the price up when I came back to buy it several days later. I was truly stunned.

      I will keep you in the loop - if you tweet, please do re-tweet. If not, no problems… just dialogue with your friends and see if they have experienced the same thing and send them my way.

      I hope all is well in your world. How did the move go? Hugs, Jenny xxoo

      Delete
  2. Nothing is simple anymore. Nothing. This would frost my butt too. Will retweet your tweets my friend! Anything to help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Barb for this comment, and for the retweet. Much appreciated. I will be continuing with my investigations into why this is happening. I really want us consumers to get pissed enough about this gouging that we all stand up and say "ENOUGH".

      It always starts with one voice… I'm a loud old gal and will definitely keep shouting this one from the hilltops.

      I hope you're happy and smiling - when I see your Avatar I get an instant grin from ear to ear. Aren't smile wonderful! Thanks for being out there.
      Hugs and love, Jenny xxoo

      Delete
  3. Fighting the system is right! This is a manipulative technique big businesses use to avoid dealing with issues, blame the other person and pass the buck. Amazon does this all the time with why WiDo's new releases are not shipped out in time to the customers who preorder. We had an author who like you kept after it with their questioning, and then kept me as managing editor in the loop. Amazon blamed it on WiDo's distributor, saying Ingram wasn't making the book available when actually it was Amazon's problem for not ordering the books. Barnes and Noble big box stores will do the same thing. They won't order books for an event in time and then tell the author's it's WiDo distribution that is a problem. Of course, everyone believes what Amazon and Barnes & Noble say since they're big and successful, right? And should know what they're talking about. It's very frustrating to be the "little guy" caught in the middle of this kind of double talk and outright lying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Karen, for weighing in and sharing your woes. Seems this is a regular occurrence with many companies and personally I'm getting sick and tired of it. I'm really fed up with big box stores not realizing who actually gets them to the "big" part. Mind you, maybe we shoppers need to take stock of how and where we spend our money.

      If only all us "little guys" realized we hold the power. Ah… one day! :)

      Delete
  4. It's not just the manipulation of the points that sucks. I just hate the way customer service treats people. "Dear INSERT NAME HERE thank you for your problem regarding INSERT PROBLEM HERE." Nothing says you care quite like a poorly filled out form letter.

    I once went back and forth with IBM over my brand new laptop. They said that according to their database my warranty had expired 5 years ago. I said that's physically impossible because I bought the laptop just 1 month ago. It's a 1 month old laptop. Their response? Thank you for your response, however, the record says your warranty expired 5 years ago. Brilliant! I'm glad to know the warranty expired 4 years and 11 months before I even thought about buying it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know anyone, in my circle, that hasn't got the "form" letter. Really, so much for being part of the human race. I'm working on a plan, and right now I'm in the midst of writing to the Ombudsman who handles RBC issues. I'm going to make it an open letter as well and post it here. Hopefully I'll get a few tweets happening. People really need to make noise over these kinds of injustices.

      How did your dilemma work out - was it settled favourable? For god sakes, they must know you have a receipt showing the date of purchase - daft idiots the lot of them.

      Delete
    2. The geniuses I was trading e-mails with just couldn't understand how to fix the problem, so they had to send me to management. One quick e-mail to management and they sent me a new part, overnight, that I installed instantly. So it worked out okay. Just laughable when you reach that part of customer support that really can't do anything. Then you reach someone in a position of power and BAM! your problem is fixed instantly. Imagine that.

      Oh, and I'm interested to see this upcoming letter. You may not realize this, but we're big fans of raising hell. :)

      Delete
  5. I recently saw a TV documentary (either Market Place or W-5) and Best Buy was one of the stores they were investigating about not explaining enough to their customers about their policies. It makes me sick, really, that they encourage their customers to register and use their points system, then when you try to cash in on it they find a way to dodge you. It is for this reason that there is only one retailer that I use the points system, but even they are getting a bad reputation about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Linda, thanks for stopping by. I'm please you told me about the investigation into Best Buy - I'll look into that.

      I've been on the back burner, slowly simmering with this story. Making inroads but quite surprised at my snail's pace. Lots of stones to turn over.

      Who is the retailer you use? Just curious. :) Cheers and Happy Day. xo

      Delete
  6. This type of big business baloney drives me nuts! We've been collecting RBC Avion points for years to find out that the tickets we wanted to by through their points redemption would actually cost us more in surcharge and taxes than buying the tickets through the Air France! We called and spoke with a person and after receiving no helpful comments.......

    we booked with Air France.

    Now we are looking at closing the RBC Avion account and looking at other options. Banks, Big Box Stores and Government really don't care. Shop small, shop local and keep on questioning.

    Thank Jenny for your tenacity and twittering skills.
    xo Carole

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carole, thanks for stopping by - I'm making slow progress as no one want to talk to me. I'm thinking of calling Steele On Your Side and seeing if she can get to the bottom of this.

      All I want to know is what value is assigned to my points. If they can do it for air travel then why not merchandise. And for Best Buy to jack the value up by 35,000 points is criminal as far as I'm concerned.

      I'm sorry you were not able to use your points. Do try to redeem them for something, don't let them go to waste. Maybe there's something for the house you need… look into it. Don't let them have the last laugh.

      Thanks for sharing your story - good of you to drop in too. I hope life is good and art is making you happy! With smiles and hugs, Jenny xo

      Delete
  7. Hi,
    Just ran into the same problem with redeeming points. Wanted to get a camera and had just enough points... or so I thought. $1249 camera is now over 190000 points. It's about 150 points per dollar.
    This is clearly not a problem with Best Buy but really rests with RBC. If it were just Best Buy gouging us, then there would be other retailers that would still offer the $1 per 100 points which we had grown to know and love.
    If you look at all of the other retailers, (they are listed in the gift card section) it's exactly the same. Except for the VISA prepaid cards which are surprisingly worse.
    RBC Visa Prepaid Card $250 42,000
    Do the math... 168 points per dollar and by far the worst value of any.
    This so sucks because my daughter is starting a photography business and I was going to get her a camera to help her get going with.
    Now, it seems 'pointless' (pun intended)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi David, thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. I'm trying to get in touch with the RBC Ombudsman to see what they can do. So far, as you've read here, my efforts to find someone willing to deal with this "fraud" is very hard.

      I do consider it a form of fraud - we use our VISA cards in good faith, making BILLION for them only to be cheated when we want to redeem points that clearly had, and should still have, a stated value of 100 points for $1.

      I hope you "make a little noise" at your end. I do find social media is a great place to voice this… if enough of us were tweeting the hell out of this injustice I think we might get some response.

      Good luck with finding a camera for your daughter. Cheers, Jenny

      Delete

Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.

I'd give you a penny for them, but alas we just snuffed it out. Yup...gone!
It's all about the nickel now...so at this rate you can leave 5 thoughts!

Cheers, Jenny

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