The e-mail claimed Best Buy Canada was owned by Circuit City, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection, and that its gift cards would no longer be valid.
Best Buy Canada issued a news release at nearly 10:30 pm EST on Monday November 24 that said Best Buy Canada is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Best Buy Co. Inc. and that its gift cards do not expire.
Heather Seabrook, Best Buy Canada's communications specialist, said the company became aware of the e-mail after customers called stores.
“The challenge was how to gauge the impact and the size of the situation,” said Seabrook. “The reality is with these viral e-mails that the littlest [misinformation] can have an impact on business.”
When Best Buy Canada's PR firm National Public Relations noticed the misinformation in the e-mail was being picked up on blogs and discussed in forums, “it brought a greater sense of urgency to the matter,” said Seabrook.
Best Buy Canada first informed its employees nationwide about the e-mail, and how to respond to customer queries. The news release then helped Best Buy Canada land coverage in national broadcast, print and online media.
“We were thrilled with the media response because based on our analysis the coverage was national and factual,” said Seabrook.