Geek Squad CEO Promises To Resolve Any Consumerist Reader Complaint He Receives, And Then Does So

We want to give Robert Stephens, founder of Geek Squad, a giant hug. Squeeeeeeezeeee!

Recently, Robert reached out to us and said we could forward any and all Geek Squad or Best Buy complaints to him. He pledged to personally intervene and get them resolved.

Every single one that we’ve heard back on, Stephens has done exactly that.

We doff our fedora to you, Robert.

If you have a longstanding and unresolved Geek Squad or Best Buy complaint, you too can achieve this same high level of attention by emailing info@geeksquad.comUPDATE 5/30/07: the email address is now info@geeksquadcentral.com – with the subject line, “For Robert.” Don’t be put off by the info@, we’ve seen the correspondence and the emails do reach him.

Now, if he can just find some way to instill this same level of customer care to his grunts. Maybe that’s what the giant laser he keeps talking about putting atop the Geek Squad HQ headquarters is for. — BEN POPKEN

UPDATE 8/27/07 – Readers are reporting that Geek Squad doesn’t seem to be monitoring or acting on these complaint lines anymore.

Comments

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  1. JRuiz47 says:

    Wow. Props to Stephens.

  2. timmus says:

    Preferential privileges or prophylactic PR? I can’t seem to call this one.

  3. Dragontologist says:

    Geek Squad isn’t responsible even if your computer blows up while they’re working on it – they have LOTS of paperwork that basicly says that all they’re being hired to do is “attempt” to fix your computer. They will attempt to give you money back, or offer replacements (PR protection is good!), but they’re not responsible for your data.

    The major complaints people will have will be about the fact that it’s $249 base, plus another $249/hr just to have someone show up at your home for a repair – plus the money for any broken parts/data transfer fees/etc. You can buy an entire brand new computer for what you will have lost in bills – not to mention that anyone who didn’t go to work in order to get these people to their house, probably lost a bit on their paycheck, too.

    On top of that, Geek Squad pays something like $20/hr to their employees – and pockets the rest. There are way better (and cheaper!) places you can go. Check your phone book, there’s bound to be a local computer repair shop within driving distance. The local places are MUCH more afraid of being sued, and will provide better customer service if something goes horribly awry.
    (Prices from http://www.geeksquad.com/pricing/ )

  4. catherinesf says:

    Robert definitely resolved my complaint by replacing my camera – very quickly I might add.
    Thank you Robert!

  5. Coder4Life says:

    Wholy shmokess.. I am very impressed, seriously…

    I still do not believe in the unethical pratices by store management or geek squad guys, but the CEO coming out and saying he’s willing to spend time to resolve issues that are affecting his customers is very impressive.

    I dont know if I could recommend Geek Squad due to their high prices, but if someone had their mindset on going there, it would give me some piece of mind that they aren’t going to hell…

  6. homerjay says:

    Way to follow through, Robert. Now get ready for the opening of the floodgates (one can only assume).

    Maybe he should go work for the RIAA.

  7. ColdNorth says:

    Let’s give credit where credit is due. The complaints about Best Buy are legion on this site. Somebody who is in a position to do something about it makes a promise to personally intervene and then actually follows through.

    PR stunt or not, what does it matter? Finally someone in charge is willing to do something to fix their broken machine.

    I heartily applaud Robert Stephens and Best Buy for recognizing that a problem exists and starting the long, arduous process of fixing it.

    As for their pricing structure… well, as long as the price is clearly marked and they operate in good faith to do what they say they will do, then it’s a free market. If they can get the price they’re asking, so be it.

    As for the question of how they renumerate their employees, that is a matter between the company and the staff. If they don’t like working for Best Buy, they don’t have to. Again, that’s what a free market is all about.

  8. The Unicorn says:

    Just thought I’d weigh in here — as an Executive Assistant whose job it is to write emails from my boss’s account all day long, I always have to half-smirk when there are mentions of emails “from” the CEO or whatever of major companies.

    Do these guys write their own emails? Sometimes. But usually they’re written by someone else, & frequently without the actual boss even knowing the correspondence is taking place.

    I work for the CEO of a company that has less than 50 people, so I can’t imagine that the big guys at major corporations aren’t pawning off even more of their emails on to subordinates.

    Not that it really makes any difference as long as the issues are resolved & the company stands by the “boss’s” word, but it’s just something to think about.

    So, the next time you get a nice, typo-free email from a CEO — thank an assistant! :)

  9. grouse says:

    The major complaints people will have will be about the fact that it’s $249 base, plus another $249/hr just to have someone show up at your home for a repair – plus the money for any broken parts/data transfer fees/etc.

    Wow, pretty soon you will have spent enough money to buy a new computer!

  10. dabean says:

    Imagine the immense amount of emails he will be recieving now… Much props to him though, +1 for geek squad in my book.

  11. mcdonnr says:

    Dragontologist says:

    “… the fact that it’s $249 base, plus another $249/hr just to have someone show up at your home for a repair – plus the money for any broken parts/data transfer fees/etc… “

    Thought I’d weigh in just a wee bit here.

    I am a former on-site tech (Double Agent, yes it’s really the title) for Geek Squad, and posts like that infuriate me, even now that I’m not with the company. The bottom line: GS does NOT charge by the hour. Ever. Period. Charges are by the service, not by the amount of time spent. If you wanted me to set up a secure (yes, WPA-PSK secure) wireless network, you’d pay me $159 whether it takes me ten minutes or six hours. That’s all there is to that one. And guess what… If I fuck up? I come back and fix it for free. Find a neighborhood tech who’ll do all of the aforementioned and I’ll give you a cookie. As much as I hate the internal politics/policies towards Agents WITHIN BBY/GS, I can’t complain a bit about the business model.

    Also: “On top of that, Geek Squad pays something like $20/hr to their employees – and pockets the rest.”

    Haha!! If that were the case, I might have thought twice about leaving! As an in-store tech (Counter Intelligence Agent) you’re lucky to be making $11.50/hr. As a Double Agent (which, in some areas, is as high a position one can achieve in GS), you start out between $16-$17/hr, and if you’re in the position for a good three or four years will MAYBE make $20/hr. It’s a good bet, though, that by time one reaches that point they’ve either progressed in the company or left.

    In closing, don’t post inaccurate information solely because you’ve got a hardspot for some corporation… it’s how rumors get started, negative press is generated, profit is lost, and it makes you look like a schmuck. GG!

  12. mcdonnr says:

    Dragontologist -

    One last thing. Do you understand the concept of what’s called “overhead”? It’s paying the bills, and with an on-site tech there’s no shortage of them. You’ve got the Bug, gas, the Bug’s inventory, and insurance. You’ve got to pay the Agent. You’ve got to pay for your store, the space, the heat, the power… all that stuff’s got to come from somewhere, it doesn’t just magically pay for itself. And if I have to come out for a recall? We collect nothing. Hence the “exorbitant” price of $159(avg)/call.

    Ok… done ripping on Dragon for a while. :-P

  13. Buran says:

    Now, who to contact at Pizza Hut who will hear the complaint they conveniently “lost” on me? Do they have a direct-to-CEO complaint box, or executive support team?

  14. bloodr says:

    I can safely say this does work. I was having problems getting BB to send my replacement voucher for an XBox 360, so I wrote Ben who suggested I write Mr. Stephens. While I didn’t hear back from him my voucher suddenly appeared in the mail, so I consider the problem resolved.

    At least someone over at BB wants to take ownership of the problems there, so my hat is off to Mr. Stephens.

  15. urban_ninjya says:

    I guess #1 complaint he should address first is the secret intranet site.

  16. Scazza says:

    CEO or not, an email made it to someone who can do something, and they clearly did. Props to BB/GS here.

  17. Antediluvian says:

    I don’t get why someone barely doing right by customers gets lauded.

    A well-run company should not require its CEO to direct employees to do their jobs.

    I think this is totally BS.

    Why should someone who writes via Consumerist get better (proper) treatment than someone who doesn’t ?

  18. I interviewed Robert for my customer service blog recently. I was very impressed with him and he seems to “get” customer service, especially compared to a lot of executives in big companies.

    He also told me, quite frankly, that if I see a complaint about Geek Squad, he was interested in hearing it and wanted to get them resolved.

    I’ve also seen him resolve complaints that have been sent his way and he truly does want to get a resolution for the customers.

    The interview, for those who are interested, can be found here.

  19. bravo369 says:

    If all this is being done in good faith in an effort to improve the product and the customer experience, i applaud him. I would also hope that consumerist readers don’t try to use this as a way to rob geek squad blind in an attempt to get free service and perks. Let’s not try to ruin it for everyone

  20. ThinkAboutItPlease says:

    Dear Robert:

    Please fix the entire culture of Best Buy, which has a long, notorious, and very well-documented history of trickery and sleaze.

    Stop the extended warranty crap.

    Stop the sales quotas.

    Stop the deceit.

    Train your employees, and treat them well.

    Immediately cease and desist all game-playing with customers.

    No more rebates.

    No more 9.99 pricing.

    No more tricks.

    Make an honest profit through genuine customer satisfaction. Educate shareholders on the need to make an honest profit through customer satisfaction (and that their investments will go “down” some quarters). Treat customers exactly as you would want to be treated yourself. No more short-term, quick-buck, profit-by-any-means thinking. No more shallow thinking. Be ever smarter. No sleaze allowed, ever again. (If you need a good model, look at Trader Joe’s.)

    I’ll stop in a Best Buy store in 6 months and look for signs of a new culture. If I don’t see any, my boycott of your company will continue.

    Sincerely,
    Dennis

  21. Primate says:

    Wow, way to enhance your numbers there. A simple reading of the link you provided proves you wrong. While it may be $249 to have them come to your home and perform several services (Advanced Diagnostic With Repair (diagnostic, cleaning, virus/spyware removal, OS repair, optimization, software updates))the Geek Squad certainly does not charge $249 an hour thereafter.
    Geek Squad almost always charges a set fee for a repair and not by the hour.
    It’s also possible to get them to come to your house for cheaper than $249 and it’s even less if you’re not lazy and bring the computer into the precinct.

  22. elezar says:

    I have to agree with Antediluvian on this. While it’s great that some people’s complaints are being resolved, it shouldn’t require going to the CEO of a company to do so. I would assume (at least hope) that Mr. Stephens is working on improving support across the board. But if, for now at least, the only way to truly get support is by going directly to him, then ALL support requests should go to him, not just the ones from people that read Consumerist/talk to an interviewer/know the secret handshake.

    Plus, since he’s also the founder, I’m assuming he’s been the CEO since Geek Squad was started. It would have been much better if he had stepped in to fix the problems BEFORE the ride in the hand basket was finished. Giving someone a band-aid after beating his face in only gets you so many brownie points.

  23. Bay State Darren says:

    This, to me, is the ultimate compliment for the effectiveness of the site. Congratulations, admins and posters. This is a new high for Consumerist.

  24. LUSH says:

    I work for Geek Squad.

    Okay, if you’re still reading this then yay.

    This may sound overused, but it needs to be said. We don’t all suck. I know my stuff. I honestly try my hardest for all of the customers who bring their computer to me and pay us to help them with a problem. I believe that we should charge a bit less, yes; but not because we don’t do work that’s worth it, but more so to be more accessible to more people. I’ve worked with them for about a year now and have yet to see any real questionable business practices. I have personal ethics. Everyone that I work with does as well. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve truly helped someone in need in one way or another in regards to a computer or data knowing that they were not overcharged, did not wait an insane amount of time, or some other mess.

    It sucks that other stores have people that make us look bad, but, can’t do too much about it. This is the real world, it’s going to happen.

    But in the mean time, I’d just like to speak my peace. Thanks for reading.

  25. hemaphore says:

    So does this mean the manager from yesterday’s Best Buy story (The one where he tries to peel off the anti-tamper sticker) is going to get a talking to?

    I’d be interested in seeing any victim from a previous story, who’s issue is still unresolved, coming back to say the issue was resolved to their satisfaction thanks to Robert Stephens (or his giant laser)…

  26. Blackneto says:

    @Dragontologist: “The local places are MUCH more afraid of being sued, and will provide better customer service if something goes horribly awry”

    As one of those “local places” I’ll have to say bullcrap.

    Most of us in this area have million dollar liability insurance policies plus errors & omissions riders.
    But being sued doesn’t isn’t something we dwell on that makes us be good little techies.
    We are good little techies because we know what the fsck we are doing.

    The reason you get good service from a local company is simple. I and my competitors thrive on our good name. If we provide good service people will refer us. If we provide crappy service we die a quick death in the area because the word will spread faster.
    We also live, work and play in the same community that you do. So thats another incentive not to screw our customer base over.

  27. Stepehn Colbert says:

    Ben, I should remind you that that is almost the same deal that the walmart ceo offered you, and you rejected him. Solving Best Buy problems isn’t your job, not that I dont hope that it all works out for customers, but they are using you as a good publicity horse now, and you really don’t want your name tied in with Best Buy people(they’ve got “the Jack”-note the ACDC reference). They know the kind of traffic this site gets, and how it appears on the news. Let them do their own jobs Ben, they took them up.

  28. EtherealStrife says:

    On top of that, Geek Squad pays something like $20/hr to their employees – and pockets the rest.

    Back when my local bb was hiring geeks they were offering 8-12/hr based on exp. And this was just a few years ago. After I’d determined they were serious I made a rapid getaway. :)

  29. deadpool says:

    “the fact that it’s $249 base, plus another $249/hr just to have someone show up at your home for a repair”

    That’s a blatant lie. Geek Squad charges $249 to fix OS problems. There is no additional per-hour fee. The only fee that Geek Squad charges per hour, according to that pricing page, is for trainings. All other services are flat-fee.

  30. Trai_Dep says:

    Props to Robert!

  31. Mary says:

    It’s a shame that there’s no way for anyone (including the CEO) to fix the problem I have with them that makes me basically never shop there if I can help it. Sometimes my husband insists on stopping in for a part, but my business goes elsewhere. My houshold spent several thousand dollars on computer parts in the last year, and the purchase they screwed up was for $130.

    But it was a pre-registration for a game that’s come and gone now, and I managed to get a copy through another company that had the same dubious practice of cancelling people’s pre-registrations without notice so they would have more copies to sell in store. It may have worked out in the end, but my good faith with them will always be shot.

    It doesn’t help that I used to work next door to a Best Buy that was notorious for the worst customer service in the region, and their employees were ridiculously un-helpful every time I saw them.

  32. Skorme says:

    First off:

    Many of you on here say that Geek Squad prices are completely overpriced. But from the way alot of you talk that a majority of you know your stuff when it comes to computer issues hmm? If not then what justifies saying that $249 dollars to drive out to someones houwe 50 miles away to restore their OS, test every sector or their hard drive and memory, and full hardware test. Not to mention this also includes physically cleaning out the dust.

    Most people that work on cars wouldn’t pay 25-35 dollars for a lube, oil, and filter because they can do that themselves for less than 10 dollars. So where does that extra 20-25 dollars go? And for 10 times less work and time.

    And there is no such thing as a “sales quota” in any area of an entire best buy store. It is a NON COMMISION company.

    Secondly,

    Robert Stevens is not just an AVERAGE CEO of some major corporation. He created Geek Squad with his bare hands, starting off servicing peoples’ technological needs on his BIKE in his area. So he REALLY does care. And to UNICORN, just because you type your emails for someone else doesn’t mean that eveery company from the atlantic coast to the Pacific Coast does the same.

    I just don’t see how it’s so expensive to have someone out for 249 dollars to reload your OS, get all the newest updates and perform full system check up/tune up. Then gaurantee the work for 90 days. You will not get that from mom and pops to say the least.

  33. huxin says:

    Dear Mr. Robert Stephens,

    Could you please check my case again? you will see how bad service Geek Squad staff offer me? I have bought my Toshiba Laptop in Best Buy Mall of Goergia last year. On 04/12/07 I brought my laptop to Geek Squad for fixing DVD drive in warranty period ( service order-00426 899504322). After checked it, your staff told me they will send it to Service Center for a new DVD drive replacement. Today (05/07/2007)I went back there to pick up my laptop, I have found out that they did not do anything as they promised, the problem is still happen.

    Finally, they told me that they will ship back to Service Center to check it again ( new service order- 00426 902835221). What do you think about Geek Squad service or customer care? How long is it fix this kind of problem like that? how long I have been waiting for this problem fixing? I have no comment anymore, please aks your employee do not waste my time. Thank you.

    Best regards,

    HU

  34. tmccandless says:

    I’ve just started studying Mr. Stevens leadership style. The more I read the more I’m impressed.

    His ability to form a strategic partnership with Best Buy, then to morph it into an exit or rather business transformation strategy should be a point to note for all entrepreneurs looking to expand into the global marketplace.

    I’m currently using it in my business and am going to try to get in touch with him personally to see if I can learn some more directly.

    I’ll post my findings when I get through to him.

  35. bhl311 says:

    Basically here is the deal with this…Don’t believe it until you actually see something happening for your issue. They don’t care about their customers or else I would have a working laptop right now and would be able to ship my laptop off to their service center from home instead of only being able to have my wife with a baby drive two hours away to get the laptop sent off to be serviced from the Chesapeake, VA store. I would do it myself but I have to work two jobs back to back and we are in a remote location because of the military.
    We have been dealing with them for the last month and a half trying to get our laptop fixed. They claim that they are going to help out to resolve it however I have basically been around in one big circle.

    Our laptop is freezing up after a motherboard replacement due to it not getting a good connection with the power. After further investigation myself it turns out to be an issue with the memory and the “new” motherboard. The memory has been reseated and it still has to have pressure applied for it to work. I work in IT on a daily basis and have all of the industry certs so I know a good bit about computers. We sent it off again and now they are telling us that we have to reload the software on it. My wife went up there and asked what happens if we reload it and it locks up. They said to CALL HP! I got it back and sure enough it was the same issue where you hold onto the memory and it seems to work for a little bit then locksup. And of course the people in their so called PUBLIC DEFENDER team are defending their own untrained techs who don’t know how to troubleshoot a computer.

    I finally get in touch with someone on the Public Defender team who seemed nice enough to help me and offer a 100 dollar gift card for our troubles with getting it shipped off, but then after that it seems like that guy fell off the face of the Earth. I have been really polite to everyone there in the public defender team so I do not know why they are basically ignoring me. Seems like one big scam to me with their techs to boot not being able to recognize a hardware issue from a software one. Their own senior tech in the store had the nerve to tell me on the phone well maybe you should have known to reload it since you claim to have all of your industry certs. I wanted to say WELL I WOULD IF IT WOULD NOT FREEZE UP!!! We are going to make the long two hour drive back up to Best Buy next week in Chesapeake and hopefully be able to explain to someone with any sense at all and get the thing fixed at their service center!!! Man what a headache this is becoming!!! If this Robert Stephens guy truly cares about his customers then maybe he should respond personally instead of handing them off to people who suddenly fall off the face of the Earth!!! I would expect this kind of treatment towards a customer that writes irate screaming emails however I have been nothing more than polite with them in every conversation that I had with their Public Defender team so I expect the same courtesy back.

    Please Help!!! Robert Stephens, IF YOU TRULY DO CARE!!!

  36. bhl311 says:

    So an update to my issue. Apparently you can only talk with one “Public Defender” person at a time. I was not made aware of that untill today. It would have been nice if the second person that I have talked to would have asked at the beginning “Have you already been in contact with a “public defender”? At that point I would have said yes and then continued on with the neverending service battle. However, that second person made it seem like I could call him back and get in touch with him. He seemed more customer friendly than the first person I talked to. So I thought I could stick with him and make more progress. Well After a few days past trying to get back in touch with him I finally got a call back but it was from the origional person that I had emailed and he told me that I could only work with him from now on. What did I do to get treated in that manner. I was totally polite to both people in the way that I worded my emails as well as when I was on the phone the second time. So basically the first guy made it seem that he second guy was ignoring my calls. All they had to do was tell me that on Tuesday but instead they made me look like an idiot.

    Real nice work if I do say so!! I would expect that kind of treatment from somebody that used curse words and was pretty rude. How ever I was really nice!!

    And Mr. Stephens, it is not very hard to get it setup to where UPS comes out with a pickup label to pickup someones computer for them. I mean someone accidentally arranged for UPS to come down to our place when our computer was up at Best Buy being shipped down to ours. So it can and should be done for rare instance as ours being an hour and a half away both ways from the nearest Best Buy!!! Especially when your company made a woman with a three month old sometimes screaming baby drive in a car to just drop off a laptop when it could have saved everyone a headache and have it shipped off directly from our house…

  37. bhl311 says:

    Sorry, last update. What I meant to say about the freeze up was that we discovered what was happening after the second servicing. I was just pissed off because we have not had it for about a month and all they did on the second servicing was just some kind of “hardware stress test” and basically told us that we needed to reload windows. You would think that if they actually took the time to look at it that the problem would be fixed. However from the way it looks to us is that they really didnt do anything and wasted our time. Now we are going to have to go back up there again, explain and physically show since we both can see that it is hardware and not software and hope for the best this time that they can get it fixed. I mean if a computer unfreezes after releasing pressure from the bottom of the chassis where the memory is I say that is a clear sign that it is hardware, but that is just me. So we will see this time if they actually take the time to examine the motherboard carefully. Don’t even know how good the motherboard was they put in there to begin with the first initial servicing.

    Ok, done venting until we find out what happens with the result of the next servicing.

  38. Consumer007 says:

    Wow, a CEO promises to care and then forgets it and forsakes his word for….golf? A weekend in the hamptons? A executive board conference on how to jack up his stock value even higher by ripping off more consumers and firing more employees? How pathetically and predictably typical…

  39. Anonymous says:

    I went into best buy to purchase a home computer on 5-18-09. I found the computer I was interested in, and when the salesman came over to help me, and informed me of the price. I asked him about the price of the monitors, and he told me they were $139.00. I told him that I really needed a new monitor too, but couldnt afford one at this time, and that I could barely afford the computer. He then proceeds to tell me that if I purchase this computer, I need to have some Microsoft office product for it work, and that costs $150.00. I asked him if I dont buy this extra product will I have access to email or media player, and he tells me that I would not, because microsoft doesnt download any of that on there computers anymore, and you need this product to be able to do anything. I live on a fixed income, so I couldnt afford the extra $150.00, so I did not buy the computer and left the store. Later that same day, coworkers of mine informed me that I did NOT need this extra product to have access to those things, so I went back to the store and bought the computer. My coworkers were right, I did not need that extra $150.00 product, I have had access to those things without it. The sales person was just trying to get me to purchase things I did not need. Three weeks later the computer stops working… I call Best Buy, and tell them about it, and that I have a receipt, and they refuse to help me. They tell me it is over 14 days and there is nothing that they can do, and then they tell me it is under manufactures warrenty, and I can take it to Geek Squad and they can send it away to fix it. I go into the store, and while I am there I find out there was a promotion running when I bought my computer that I could have also gotten the monitor for an additional $26.00, and no one told me, not even after I asked about the monitor prices and said I couldnt afford the extra $139.00. Then Geek Squad tells me that they can send my computer away, and it will take about a month for me to get it back. The guy also tells me that they will probably replace my hard drive, and I will lose everything on my computer. I told him the problem was with the DVD/CD Writer and not with the hard drive, so why would they replace it, and he said they almost always do.. He wanted me to sign some part of the form saying I refused hard drive back up, and when I asked him what it meant that I refused hard drive back up, he said, “Just sign the form”. I was so upset about not having a computer for a month, and the way I was treated, that I told him to just give me my computer back. I then called corporate customer service, and they treated me just as rudely. They basically said, there is nothing we can do to help you. It is over 14 days, and you need to just send it away to get fixed. It was three weeks, not three months since I bought this computer, and the service was HORRIBLE. I will never buy another piece of merchandise from this company. My family also said they are going to stop shopping at Best Buy too after this, because they have had some problems in the past..