Marianne Aquaro’s clothes dryer conked out on May 20.
She wanted to be a smart shopper, so she waited for the sales on Memorial Day weekend.
Aquaro purchased an Amana dryer at Best Buy in Princeton on May 27. The install would be on June 5.
The delivery seemed to go off without a hitch, Aquaro said.
But the next day, she smelled gas in her laundry room. She called her gas company, PSE&G.
“They confirmed a gas leak and identified the source of the leak at the connection of the newly installed dryer,” Aquaro said.
She called Best Buy, and they arranged to replace the dryer with a new one of the same model. Aquaro was offered a $25 gift card for her troubles.
The replacement dryer was delivered and installed at about 6:30 p.m. on June 9, a Friday. That was hours later than the window Aquaro was promised, she said, and she had to take the day off for nothing.
“I informed the installers that the PSE&G serviceperson suggested that they put liquid dish soap at the connection after installation to check for any leaks,” Aquaro said. “The Best Buy installers supposedly used the soap detergent I offered them, and they reported that there was no leak.”
Aquaro went away for the weekend, she said. When she returned, her laundry room was again filled with the smell of gas.
She said she called PSE&G, which once again diagnosed the problem as a leak from the dryer.
“These defective dryers or improper installation resulting in two separate gas leaks could have severely affected and impacted the lives of seven other neighbors and their families who live in my building,” Aquaro said. “This could have been a potential disaster.”
PSE&G put a “violation” on Aquaro’s address because there had been two leaks, and she was told to call the utility after the next install so PSE&G could check for leaks.
Aquaro next called the store, she said, and the rep suggested she select a different dryer model.
She went to the store on June 15, she said, and she asked the appliance manager about her two past installs.
“[He said] it was ‘not Best Buy’s fault’ and they were ‘just the middlemen,'” Aquaro said, and the rep offered to extend the Memorial Day sales prices for whatever new dryer she wanted to select.
She chose a Whirlpool, which cost $170 more than the Amana, and they scheduled delivery for June 22 – a day Aquaro wouldn’t have to take off from work.
But because of a neighborhood repaving project, she had to reschedule the delivery for June 28.
The day before the expected delivery, Best Buy called to say there was a mistake on the order and the delivery would need to be rescheduled again.
July 1 would be the new delivery date.
When the installers arrived, Aquaro said, one prepared the inside of her home, which included moving Aquaro’s refrigerator to access the laundry room and removing the louver doors from the laundry room entrance. The other worker removed the dryer from the truck.
But there was a problem, and Aquaro said she was asked to come outside.
The deliveryman showed her the dryer, which had dents on one side.
“He suggested that I refuse the dryer because those dents could affect the spinning of the dryer drum,” Aquaro said.
She called Best Buy, and the rep agreed she shouldn’t accept the dryer, she said.
Aquaro refused the delivery, and after several more calls to Best Buy, the store manager apologized for all the mishaps, she said.
“He reported that he would facilitate the escalation process and speak to his appliance team,” she said, and the manager promised someone would call the next day to schedule another delivery.
By now Aquaro was five weeks without a dryer.
When Best Buy came for the next installation, Aquaro said, the driver reported he would not move the refrigerator in the kitchen to get to the dryer into the laundry room.
“Best Buy decides at this time that I am a high risk because I had two gas leaks and I need to hire a plumber to install a shut-off valve,” she said, even though “PSE&G confirmed that I have a working shut-off valve.”
The install didn’t happen, but the delivery guy left the dryer at the home.
Aquaro decided to cancel the order. Because she was going on vacation, there was a delay in Best Buy coming back to pick up the dryer she didn’t want anymore. It was picked up on July 19.
“I was told that I should receive a refund within 24 hours after the dryer was returned,” she said.
But that didn’t happen either. Apparently there was some confusion because the return was marked as an exchange and not a return, but Best Buy said it was working on it.
Not wanting to wait any longer, Aquaro purchased the same Whirlpool from P.C. Richard & Son for $70 less than the Best Buy sale price, and it was installed without issue on July 22.
Six more days passed and Aquaro still didn’t have her Best Buy refund.
“I was without a dryer for nine weeks. Eight of those weeks were due to Best Buy’s incredibly poor business practices,” she said. “I used at least 20 hours of my time waiting for a delivery person and countless hours on the phone.”
That’s when she reached out to Bamboozled.
GETTING THE REFUND
We reviewed Aquaro’s paperwork and her timeline of the four deliveries, and we asked Best Buy to take a look.
Before long, Aquaro received a voice mail and an email from Best Buy.
She said a rep told her the refund was delayed because Best Buy hadn’t yet determined if the returned dryer was in the warehouse. This was nine days after the dryer was picked up from the home.
The rep promised to look into the refund, Aquaro said.
Then on Aug. 1, she received an email confirming the refund.
“Finally! It only took two weeks after the pick-up of the dryer,” she said. “Best Buy should be ashamed of themselves. I will never be shopping there again.”
We checked in with the company to see if it had anything to share.
“The bottom line is that we didn’t take care of this customer the way we should have and we’re sorry about that,” a spokesman said. “We’ve reimbursed her for all costs associated with this unfortunate situation.”
We thought the story was over, but the next day Aquaro reported she received another call from Best Buy’s installation department.
“They said I was scheduled for a dryer delivery tomorrow,” she said. “When I told them that was incorrect and then I told them the short version of my story, they said that they were a new delivery service with Best Buy — I wonder why — for only the last three weeks and they were sorry about the error, but it was on their doc from Best Buy for a dryer to be delivered to my house tomorrow.”
After that, Aquaro received another email from Best Buy, confirming her refund and offering her a $150 Best Buy gift card for her troubles.