Best Buy Privacy Fail: The Return of Corporate Gobbledygook

Barry Judge, the EVP and CMO of Best Buy doesn’t take my privacy very seriously. I know this because of the email he sent me last evening. The liberal use of the word “we” tells me this is a committee drafted document, vetted by scores of lawyers, and written in a way that absolves Mr. Judge of any liability should it be found that Epsilon lost more than just my email address.

Of course in all the finger-pointing, Best Buy forgot one thing. THEY lost my email address, not Epsilon. I don’t care who they use as a service provider.

Also noticed was that Best Buy and 1-800 Flowers sent me eerily similar letters last night. I’m assuming these came from the same templates drafted by the Epsilon attorneys and PR flacks, with the intent of minimizing the impact on Epsilon’s bottom line. You’d think a company that thinks so much of me (see below) would think for a minute that sending a more personal version of that letter would help, given that I’ll get ten or so when all this is done.

I’m pretty sure nothing critical of mine was lost. I’m sure I’ll get more spam as a result, which doesn’t bother me.

What does tick me off is how, under pressure, the corporations fall back on the corporate doublespeak. “we” “call this matter to your attention” and of course regretting any inconvenience this has caused me.

How about telling me you lost my email address because you were slipshod in your vendor selection, be on the lookout for spam and dodgy links and we’ll monitor your credit for free for a year?

Takeaway: Respond quickly to privacy breaches, but make sure you don’t riff with gobbledygook because you or your attorneys are too afraid of being human.

Best Buy email below.

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Dear Valued Best Buy Customer,

On March 31, we were informed by Epsilon, a company we use to send emails to our customers, that files containing the email addresses of some Best Buy customers were accessed without authorization.

We have been assured by Epsilon that the only information that may have been obtained was your email address and that the accessed files did not include any other information. A rigorous assessment by Epsilon determined that no other information is at risk. We are actively investigating to confirm this.

For your security, however, we wanted to call this matter to your attention. We ask that you remain alert to any unusual or suspicious emails. As our experts at Geek Squad would tell you, be very cautious when opening links or attachments from unknown senders.

In keeping with best industry security practices, Best Buy will never ask you to provide or confirm any information, including credit card numbers, unless you are on our secure e-commerce site, If you receive an email asking for personal information, delete it. It did not come from Best Buy.

Our service provider has reported this incident to the appropriate authorities.

We regret this has taken place and for any inconvenience this may have caused you. We take your privacy very seriously, and we will continue to work diligently to protect your personal information. For more information on keeping your data safe, please visit:


Barry Judge
Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer
Best Buy

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