Patt Morrison for March 1, 2011

Best Buy "cures" buyer’s remorse: should you future-proof your technology?

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Christopher Polk/Flickr

Justin Bieber and Ozzy Osborne, in the highly anticipated, kept-secret Best Buy super bowl ad revealing its new Buy Back program. The ad: in a 4G/5G confusion, Ozzy exclaims "How many bloody G's are there?!" about the iphone just before Bieber takes over with the 6G iphone.

“In today’s world, technology changes faster than the weather. This makes us all nervous and unable to commit to a technology purchase. What if today’s latest and greatest is tomorrow’s not-so latest and greatest? It’s like buying a boombox a week before mp3 players come out.” This is Best Buy’s pitch, in a cartoon video on its web page, for its new Buy Back program. Sounds great: pay for “future-proof” insurance so that Best Buy buys back your electronic device when a later and greater version of the device comes out. The catch? There’s an expiration on the insurance. So if a newer version you actually want doesn’t come out before the insurance expires, you’ve lost the money you put down. Also, the amount of money you get from a buy back diminishes with time, so that after 18 months, you only get back 20% of what you paid for the item. Is this another scheme to up Best Buy’s profits and rob your wallet? Or is this reassurance measure only going to become increasingly relevant and desired as technology rushes forward? Would you pay to future-proof your technology – without a crystal ball revealing when the next latest and greatest will come out?

Guest:

Chris Morran, senior editor for Consumerist.com


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