U.S. retailer Best Buy has begun checking IDs of people returning items purchased in their stores. The new system, which is now operating in all of U.S. Best Buy stores, requires the customer to present a valid photo ID card at the time of the return. If a customer does not have a valid ID card at the time of a return, our store employees will politely ask the customer to return to the store at a later time with their ID card, or, if the person is a minor, with someone who has a valid form of ID.
According to Best Buy, all of the information is captured in accordance with state and federal laws regarding consumer privacy. The company has also stated that the information captured varies from state-to-state, and could include ID card identification number, a customer's name as well as date of birth. The information that is collected is stored in a "secure" third-party database which is managed by a company called The Retail Equation (TRE), and that the information is used only to authorize returns.
Now the part that caught our attention was when someone who was in the U.S. Armed forces proceeded to return an item with a valid receipt. The Best Buy employees told the customers that they were required to capture the unique ID card identification number on their Armed Forces identification card, which in their case was the customers' social security number. When the customers refused to let them capture the sensitive information , they were also told that unless Best Buy was allowed to capture this information off of their card that they would be unable to return the items to Best Buy.
We have tried to contact Best Buy's public relations department concerning this sensitive issue, but at the time of publication we have yet to receive a response.