Best Buy has apparently come up with an imaginative way to increase its profits on Xbox 360 sales: Busting the systems open, installing the latest system update and then charging 30 bucks extra for the "service."
A Consumerist reader named Bryan sent in a photo of the "updated" Xbox 360 for sale at his local Best Buy, where an employee named Kim had cracked open the unit, put it online and downloaded the latest system update - a process that involves little more than plugging it in, turning it on and pushing a button.
"They are taking brand new Xbox 360 Elites and opening them and updating the system software, and as you can see in the photo, charging people $29.99 for a service that is available for free!" he wrote. "Do they discount these units after they have opened them? Nope, full price for all. I don't know if Microsoft is aware that Best Buy is tampering with the seal and replacing [it] with a Best Buy branded 'Inspected By'."
As you can see from the photo, the "Best Buy Inspection Sticker" isn't exactly top-notch professionalism at work. In fact, if the situation was reversed and the customer had taken home a new 360 and then tried to return it in this condition, he'd probably be refused because he wrote all over the freakin' box.
No word on whether this is a nation-wide Best Buy thing or just something put together by one enterprising store, but I can say for certain that this is far from the only over-priced "service" Best Buy offers to customers who don't know any better. It's far from the worst place in the world to shop, sure, but take the lesson: If you are a buyer, you'd best beware.