How long does it take to get a digital download from

The wife has been interested in checking out Skyrim for a while now, and I have to admit that I was a little bit too. I intended to purchase her a copy of it yesterday for digital download, thinking that if it looked good and had reasonable controls on the PC ported version of it, I might get it for myself as well. So I started looking for places that had the digital download available. GameFly had it available, but I haven’t ordered anything from them since I used to get the downloads from Direct2Drive, and I was afraid that this fact could delay the download, so I looked elsewhere. Then I saw that had it available.

Now, I have a BestBuy Rewards mastercard. I haven’t used it in over a year though, because it is issued by Swindler’s Bank and Trust, who have been slapped with so many class action lawsuits over the last few years that, frankly, I just typed “hsbc class action lawsuit” in the search bar and picked a random one for that link -the bank was directly involved in the Madoff scandal, as well as being sued for selling bogus credit protection plans, being sued for harassing phone calls, being sued for intentionally not mailing credit card statements and then charging late fees on them; in short, if Satan ran a credit card company, he would be envious of their business practices. But I did earn some reward points with Best Buy for using it.

That was a whole other issue. When you start your rewards account they have it set to automatically print out reward certificates at some ridiculously low number, and while I don’t remember what that amount is, let’s say it’s $5. So every time you earn $5 in rewards they send you a certificate that is good for a couple of months and expires if you don’t use it. Obviously you aren’t going to plan major purchases around having a $5 off certificate laying around, so mine all expired. I navigated my way through the maze of a website for the rewards card though, and was able to change it so that my rewards would accumulate and only print out when the value of it was $500 (although when I look at it now, it is still set at that, but the only options you can now set it for are 5, 10, or 20 bucks, so maybe it has changed). At any rate, even though I haven’t used the card in over a year, I had $70 in rewards certificates stacked up in there, so I figured why not use them to get not one, but two copies of Skyrim for less than the price of one!


So I placed the order for two digital copies of Skyrim from expecting the download to be available instantly. I was basing that on the following information, which is readily available on their website:

For your digital products delivered by Best Buy pc app: You’ll receive another e-mail when your game or software is available in My Downloads in pc app. It usually takes just a few minutes.

Please note: It may take up to 15 minutes for new orders to show up in your account.

So based on the information available on their website it should take no longer than 15 minutes for the digital download to be available… 12 hours later I called customer service to see what was up with the order -fearing that the rewards points I used were going to be disallowed for some reason or another. Here are some direct quotes from the representative with my (paraphrased) questions and responses:

Me: I just ordered some digital software and have been waiting on it for a while, how long should the process take?

Rep: “The credit card verification process can take up to four hours. After that your games will be available.”

Me: Alright, it’s been twelve hours.

Rep: “One moment.” (here she placed me on hold) “I just spoke to my supervisor and he said that since the system upgrades on the weekend, this could take a little longer than normal. Please allow up to 48 hours.”

Me: “Is 48 hours within BestBuy’s definition of the scope of “just a few minutes”? (this one is a direct quote, I had planned to ask that about the 12 hours I had already been waiting, but changed it on the fly. Go improv!)

Rep: “Our website suggests that as a possible time frame, but does not guarantee it.”

Me: Can I have my money back so I can just buy it from a reputable company?

Rep: “We can process a return for you, however the funds will not be returned to you for 2-3 business days.”

I did finally get the downloads and game codes. Ultimately I had to wait roughly 16 hours for them to be available. It doesn’t make a damn bit of sense to me though; if I had ordered this from any other company, the download is available the very second you make a payment. One would assume that since BestBuy is such a huge company they could at least match the other 2-bit services out there. One would be wrong. The good news is that now that I have spent all my reward points I have no reason to ever make another purchase from BestBuy, and judging by their impressive 10% rating on customer service scoreboard it’s probably for the best (that stat is horribly skewed since that website is designed specifically to collect complaints… I know that, but I am using it here because this process pissed me off quite a bit. What really pissed me off about it was the customer service rep was not even a bit concerned about the misleading statements on the website, and didn’t seem to give half a rat’s ass whether I ever got my products; she seemed actively annoyed that I had called at all).

As I noted in a comment in one of their forums, “I really believe that if bestbuy were to completely scrap their digital download service it would increase their sales. If every sale you make loses you a customer for life, it’s probably not going to increase profit.” And to answer the question put forth in the title of this post, How long does it take to get a digital download from The answer is 16 hours, but 16 particularly annoying hours because the website intentionally misleads you and the customer service reps lie to you. Kudos!

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