The Customer Is Always … Arrested?

(CN) – A schoolteacher who thought he had just bought a new Sony laptop from Best Buy claims that when he opened the box at home he found “a used Compaq laptop in the box, along with two pieces of brick.” When he returned the stuff to Best Buy, the man says, the store called the cops and had him arrested “for stealing the Sony laptop that he never received.”

     Carlos Escabi says he spent a night in jail and couldn’t find work for more than a year because of the threat of prosecution. He sued Best Buy in Broward County Court, Fort Lauderdale.
     Escabi says he bought a Sony laptop in 2009 at a Best Buy in Coral Springs – or he thought he did. He says they neither he nor anyone else checked the seals of the Sony box when he paid for it at the checkout counter.
     “When Escabi arrived to his home, he opened the Sony box and he noticed that there was a used Compaq laptop in the box, along with two pieces of brick,” according to the complaint.
     Escabi says he called the store and an employee told him to come in for an exchange. He says he did that, and asked for “the new Sony laptop which he had paid for.” But the store refused, so Escabi called its corporate office. Best Buy is based in Minneapolis.
     At that point, he says, “Rather than give Escabi the new Sony laptop for which he paid, the employees of Best Buy called the police and, through lies and misrepresentations, had Escabi arrested for stealing the Sony laptop that he never received.
     “Escabi spent the evening in jail, was under the threat of prosecution for over a year, and was unable to find work as a teacher as a direct and proximate cause of the deliberate, false and wrongful actions of Best Buy.”
     He also had to hire a criminal defense attorney.
     Escabi says the charges were after he passed a polygraph test.
     He sued the Minnesota-based electronics retailer for malicious prosecution, false imprisonment and false arrest.
     He seeks lost pay and damages for malicious prosecution, and false imprisonment. He is represented by Joseph Gibson of Miami.

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