Best Buy is one of the largest electronics devices and appliances retailers in the United States. They cater to the needs of customers with computers, accessories, televisions, and thousands of related products. It’s a reputable company with millions of loyal customers, but Best Buy has had its share of legal troubles. It’s been sued for various violations by private and agencies throughout its long and storied history. Here are the ten biggest Best Buy lawsuits in company history.
10. Best Buy sued for wage and hour violations in California Penalty amount: $674,500
Best Buy has made a habit of requiring its employees to work off the clock for worker inspections. Workers are required to report to work early to get through inspection lines and to stay after they clock out to be inspected to ensure they’re not attempting to steal merchandise from the store. This lawsuit comes after a New York lawsuit filed by employees required Best Buy to pay nearly a million dollars in penalties in 2010. Six years later, we see that it is still a problem at some of the Best buy stores. The name of this lawsuit is Tim Campbell v. Best Buy Stores, L.P. et al. It was a private civil action filed at the federal level in the Central District Court of California. Best Buy agreed to pay $674,500 in penalties to settle the lawsuit on April 18, 2016, according to Law 360. Other similar lawsuits were settled by Best Buy for lower amounts. It’s becoming a behavior that is problematic for workers who are tired of giving their time away for free. In this case, technicians were not compensated for the time that they spent driving Best Buy vans to add to the situation. Technicians were required to take the vans home with them but were not allowed to claim time spent until the court set a precedent.
9. Best Buy Settles Lawsuit for faulty business practices Settlement Amount: $765,000
The San Diego Union-Tribune confirmed that a lawsuit was filed against Best Buy by four California counties including San Diego, alleging that the prices at certain stores misrepresented prices on products and did not disclose return policy aspects. The District Attorney for San Diego County presented the case. Best Buy admitted no wrongdoing in the case, but the electronics giant agreed to settle the case by paying the four California counties $633,570 in compensation for the incident, which includes $75,00 in restitution, $558,570 in civil penalties and costs, and an additional $132,266 to the San Diego County District Attorney’s office. The company also agreed to make changes to stop problematic business practices which were outlined in the consumer protection lawsuit. Numerous complaints about the Best Buy policies for returns have been made through the years. It’s been an issue that has led to customer dissatisfaction. San Diego County took steps to bring it to their attention.
8. Turner v. Best Buy Co., Inc. Penalty amount: $902,410
Violation Tracker reports that best Buy was accused of employment-related offenses involving wage and hour violations in 2010. A civil lawsuit was filed in private litigation in a civil matter at the federal level with the Eastern District of New York Court. Employees alleged that Best Buy required them to perform work for the company that was off the clock. Best Buy did not compensate the workers for the time spent at the business. They were required to remain at the worksite without compensation for the time that built up throughout their employment with Best Buy. The case was resolved on September 28, 2010, with Best Buy held liable for its lack of compensation for requiring its workers to give their time to the company. Best Buy agreed to a penalty of $902,410 to compensate its workers for the time it required them to donate. This is a common situation that results in court rulings against the defendants as it is considered an unfair labor practice.
7. Best Buy and Musicland Stores Corp for price-fixing allegations Penalty amount: $2 million
Musicland is a subsidiary of Best Buy Inc. The company was sued for a competition-related offense of price-fixing. Bertelsmann Music Group and several others including Musicland Stores Corp paid $143 million jointly to settle a multistate antitrust suit accusing them of engaging in illegal agreements to inflate high prices for prerecorded music to prevent discount stores from selling the products at lower prices. The lawsuit settled in 2003 with Best Buy agreeing to pay $2 million for its share of the penalties. All companies involved were deemed guilty of violating antitrust and anti-competition laws, resulting in hefty penalties for each. The lawsuit involved multiple entities, scheming together to fix the prices and exclude competition.
6. Best Buy sued for Ponzi Scheme Lawsuit amount: $2.6 million
Bloomberg Law reports that a lawsuit was recently filed against Best Buy alleging that warehouse supervisors defrauded the company’s investors in a Ponzi scheme. The case is listed as Gibly et al v. Best Buy Co., Inc, et al. The estimated amount of damages to investors is more than $2.6 million. Oved & Oved carried the complaint forward representing RG7 Investments and others who suffered damage in the event. They claim that the suspected employees causes them to invest in a misrepresented and fictitious delivery company citing that it was part of Best Buy’s facilities providing operational support. The Lawsuit was filed in a New Jersey District Court. The case has not yet gone to trial, nor has counsel for the defendants been appointed. It’s likely to be months before more information about the case is released to the public.
5. Best Buy fined for product safety violations Penalty amount: $3.8 million
Best Buy was accused of a safety-related offense involving product safety violations. The company knowingly distributed and sold products that were previously recalled by the manufacturer. The Consumer Products Safety Commission filed a civil case against Best Buy in federal court. The action was filed in 2016. Investigation into the matter provided sufficient evidence to substantiate the claims. The distribution of potentially defective products and under recall puts consumers at risk of paying for items that are not supposed to be sold because they may not meet quality standards, or may not work. It’s a deceptive business practice that takes unfair advantage of the trust of consumers when dealing with a company. The actions can damage the reputation of a retailer, and they can also cost them millions. Best Buy found out how serious The Consumer Products Safety Commission is about protecting consumer well-being and fair selling practices. The court levied a penalty against Best Buy of $3.8 million. Best Buy agreed to the terms of the penalties to settle the case.
4. TCPA Class action filed against Best Buy Lawsuit amount: $4.55 million
Best Buy violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by making unsolicited telephone calls. The company called 439,000 members of the lawsuit with 42,000 class members nationally. Each call made will cost Best Buy between $50 to $100. The court determined that Best Buy is required to compensate the affected parties for the deceptive business practice. None of the customers involved were told that they were being charged for enrollment in the program. Best Buy slipped the charges in on the customers who paid the fees until someone noticed what was going on and complained about it.
3. Kurihara v. Best Buy Co., Inc. Lawsuit amount: $5 million
A federal civil lawsuit filed against Best Buy Co resulted in a $5 million settlement. In 2010, Best Buy was sued in a California Northern District Court for an employment offense for wage and hour violation related to overtime pay. The lawsuit was filed in 2010 in private litigation. Eiji Kurihara, the plaintiff, alleged that Best Buy failed to pay her wages owed for overtime in a putative class action seeking compensation and liquidated damages, along with ith attorney’s fees and costs. Best Buy subjects retail employees to inspections for loss prevention without compensation for the time spent undergoing security checks. Employees must report to work early to complete inspections as the handbook explains that late check-in from delays due to inspections are not sufficient reason for being late. This subjects employees to termination for being late even if they are present and undergoing inspections. Some employees endure significant delays due to the employee inspection processes, for which they were not compensated. Investigations into the matter show that the written policies of Best Buy are not uniformly followed from one store to another. Inspections vary in duration and frequency, further confusing workers.
2. Class action bias lawsuit against best Buy Lawsuit amount: $10.2 million
Reuters reports that a class-action lawsuit filed against Best Buy for job discrimination resulted in a settlement of $200,000 distributed to the nine plaintiffs named with an additional $10 million for legal fees and costs. Plaintiffs filed the action in 2005 in a US District Court in Oakland, California, alleging Best buy committed infractions by denying desirable promotions and job assignments to Latino, female, and African-American employees. Investigation into the case revealed evidence that the allegations were true. Best Buy agreed to implement comprehensive affirmative relief by addressing the promotion, assignment, and hiring processes over four years. The company agreed to designate an overseer to improve diversity in management and post-anti-harassment, anti-retaliation, and non-discrimination policies on the website Best buy. Best Buy also agreed to settle the lawsuit for $200,000 to the workers and one candidate for employment affected and to pay up to $10 million for legal fees.
1. Best Buy sued for dishonest business practices Lawsuit amount: $54 million
Ars Technica reports that Washington DC resident Raelyn Campbell filed a lawsuit against Bestbuy to gain media attention and pressure the electronics retail giant to do the right thing by its customers. She claims that she took her laptop to Best Buy for repairs. She claims that Best Buy employees lied to her for months about the status of her laptop, then finally acknowledged they lost it and offered her a ridiculously low compensation amount for the lost machine. Campbell claims the missing laptop, her time, and personal data loss as factors in the high amount of the lawsuit. Her goal is to gain attention with the high figure, although she doesn’t expect to be awarded the amount. She wants adequate compensation, for Best Buy to explain the facts surrounding the loss and for Best Buy to train its employees on loss and theft of items brought in for repairs. The value of the laptop is $1,100 with the warranty. The price does not include the software she purchased, the time she spent trying to resolve the situation, and the loss of her data. She requested $2,100 in cash. Best Buy offered her a $900 gift card several weeks after her request and after numerous phone calls requesting compensation. Campbell had to take exceptional measures to protect herself from identity theft, file police reports, and consult with lawyers. Since her tax returns were on her laptop, she alleges that Best buy violated security breach notification laws in Washington DC by not telling her about the data loss potential and potential data theft.
Best Buy is a popular retailer for computer techs and those seeking quality electronics products. Although it’s had its share of legal problems, many consumers have enjoyed positive experiences with the business. It only takes a few poor decisions by managers or regional directors to create problems that tarnish the reputation it worked to establish. The word of warning is to be a savvy consumer and know your legal rights if you believe you were not treated fairly. You can sue for compensation to receive the treatment you’re entitled to.