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  1.  permalink
    How Fry’s Gets an A- From the Better Business Bureau  
    by Michael van Baker on October 2, 2011  
    It’s true. The SunBreak’s Fry’s Team looked it up following our last trip to Fry’s Electronics down in Renton. The Better Business Bureau rates Fry’s A-.  
    It’s not that the BBB has never heard of Fry’s:  
    Factors that lowered Fry’s Electronics’ rating include:  
    •31 complaints filed against business.  
    Factors that raised Fry’s Electronics’ rating include:  
    •Length of time business has been operating.  
    •Response to 31 complaint(s) filed against business.  
    •Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.  
    The “length of time” in operation criterion is a little bemusing if you Google Fry’s history. There are a number of sites dedicated to outlandish tales of Fry’s customer service, or the lack thereof. One site stopped updating in 2000, but added a note in 2004 to please stop sending in hundreds of emails, as the site owner just didn’t have the time to keep up with the tide of outrage.  
    The SunBreak Fry’s Team’s history began back in 2005, when one team member bought a refurbished HP laptop that refused to boot up. (“It doesn’t say fully refurbished, does it?”) In fairness, the team member also bought a daypack there for $5 that’s lasted four years and is still going strong. It’s mainly on the electronics side that there seem to be a few bugs in the system.  
    The SunBreak Fry’s Team was making a return trip to Fry’s the past week because after going there on a RAM run–for an aging MacBook Pro and a new 2011 iMac–one member had discovered the salesman had selected the RAM suited for the 2009 iMac. (The store had also charged him $35 for an extra RAM installation they hadn’t performed, and initially, when the member called to have the charge taken off, the store refused to do so unless he made the 25-minute drive back to Renton in person. After he spoke with the supervisor’s supervisor, they “were able to” reverse the charge.)  
    The SunBreak Fry’s Team also wanted a Logitech iPad keyboard case, after one member saw the other one using one, purchased at Fry’s. “Now, they will tell you they don’t have any,” the Logitech-owning member told the other. “But look around, because they had some opened boxes the last time I was there.”  
    The Logitech-owning team member headed to the Memory counter, after returning his PC-8500 RAM, and explained in some detail that he needed PC-10600 RAM (1333Mhz) instead. The salesperson was sorry. How could such a mistake have happened. He ran out a new order form.  
    The SunBreak Fry’s Team regrouped over by the iPad cases. “They say they’re all out,” the non-Logitech-owning member told the other. The team then discovered three Logitech cases, opened and taped back up, in a bin. They were marked full price. “Better open them up and check they still have the instructions,” the Logitech-owning member said, based on experiential learning. The team found only one had instructions, and none had the recharging cable, even though they had been taped up and placed out for sale at full price.  
    A nearby salesperson scratched his head over this. He did not want to offer a reduced price, though, so he suggested the team pull a cable from a similar Logitech keyboard package. The team pulled three of those from the rack–they were all missing cables. A fourth, with the original tape on its flap still, had the cable still in it, so The SunBreak’s Fry’s Team took that.  
    Back at the checkout, a cashier filled the replacement RAM order, bringing out 1066Mhz RAM. “No,” the team member said, in disbelief, “this isn’t right. I want PC-10600, not 1066Mhz.” Apologies were provided. The cashier disappeared for ten minutes, returning with a different brand of 1066Mhz RAM. The team member showed him the Apple iMac specs page, and had him write down “PC-10600.” He ran off, came back. “They say this is the right RAM.” The team member continued to disagree. A call was made to the Memory counter. A new order was printed. 25 minutes later, PC-10600 1333Mhz RAM was produced. “Credit or debit?” asked the cashier, then called for his supervisor to key in a code, since he was not trusted to ring up a debit card sale.  
    While the team member was waiting for his extra Mhz, a man came in to pick up a copy of Norton software that he’d pre-ordered online the night before. His cashier rang up the item, and then made a face: “I’m sorry, the sale price for this item ended yesterday.” That’s why the customer had purchased it last night, the customer explained. No, the customer hadn’t really purchased it. He’d just placed a hold on his credit card for the amount, he learned. The transaction didn’t clear until he came in to pick up the item. “So…I’m not eligible for any of the rebates, either?” He was not. That is a hell of a way to run a business, the cashier learned from the departing non-customer.  
    The cashier was a middle-aged man. He looked at the box of Norton software, set it aside, and sighed. The light above his station turned green. There are 30 or more cashier stations at Fry’s. On the weekends, people flock in. They receive strange explanations of what a computer’s “cache” is. They want to know if it costs extra? The cashier looked up, with a brittle smile. “Did you find what you needed?”  

  2.  permalink
    Fry's is rated by store not as a company by the BBB. My store has an A+ rating for two years straight
  3.  permalink
    What about the rest of the stores?  
    Here's the link to the "North East California Better Business Bureau", which somehow includes stores in other states.  
    So far, I've found that the stores in Sacramento (open since 2007), San Diego (open since 2003) and San Marcos (open since 2003) all have "A+" ratings. The store in San Jose (open since 2000) has a flat "A" rating.  
    Of course, they all have had a few complaints, but posting the entire scorecard would require more diligence and obsession than I currently have.