Wow, is it just me, or is society sinking to new lows every day? Rich Dewberry, a heterosexual man from Denver, got the surprise of his life after dropping his cell phone off at a local Best Buy for repairs.
It seems a Best Buy employee wrongly “outed” him as being gay on Facebook.
Dewberry, 39, brought in phone in to have it repaired and was given a new one. Shortly thereafter, his Facebook status read, “I am gay, I’m coming out.”
“The phone just started ringing constantly after that from [an] ex-spouse to friends,” Dewberry said.
Dewberry apparently left himself logged into Facebook on the phone that he dropped off at Best but in April of last year.
“I feel I have been humiliated. My reputation has been tarnished,” he said.
“Just having to explain it to certain people that I haven’t been in contact for a while,” he said. “I feel I shouldn’t have to do that.”
“What this really comes down to is how much people value their reputation,” said Dewberry’s attorney, Linda Lee. “There is no judgment against people who have that lifestyle, but the reality is he isn’t.”
A year after the incident occurred, Dewberry says he’s still explaining that Facebook update to friends and family members.
“The real problem with Best Buy is they didn’t seem to have any procedures or safeguards to make sure this doesn’t happen,” Lee said. “I have all sorts of information on my cell phone. For Best Buy not to have procedures to protect their customers’ privacy, that is a problem.”
Lee says Dewberry isn’t planning to sue at this point.
“This is not about a lawsuit. This is about protecting your customers’ privacy and having procedures and safeguards in place to make sure employees aren’t doing this,” she said.
Dewberry filed a complaint with the store, and the employee responsible has been fired.
Best Buy told KMGH, “Each year, every employee of Best Buy is asked to review and sign our Code of Ethics, which includes details on how they are expected to handle customer information.”
A spokeswoman for Best Buy provided the following statement to ABC News:
“Every employee of Best Buy is responsible for knowing what customer and employee information is, how to protect it and appropriate methods for handling, storing and destroying this data. Employees are required to understand and comply with the standards and guidelines provided to them, to ensure we respect personal privacy. If an employee violates privacy and/or data protection policies, they may be subject to disciplinary action up to, and including, dismissal and/or legal action if applicable. ”
This is something that’s bound to happen more and more, and it’s just another sign of the times. We live in an age where we leave ourselves logged in to all kinds of services on our cell phones without giving it a second thought – Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, HootSuite, GetGlue, etc.
While it’s great to think we can trust every person who comes in contact with our phone, the smart thing to do would be to log yourself out of everything before leaving your phone somewhere for repair.
That having been said, I don’t why Rich Dewberry wouldn’t sue Best Buy over this. Sure, they fired the employee responsible, but does that offset the emotional duress of having to answer all your friends’ questions if they suddenly think you’re gay?
More in the video below.