Geek Choice Technician Steals Customer's Computer, Company Refuses To Refund

Geek Choice computer technician disappears along with school principal’s computer. Turns out he couldn’t be found because he was in jail.

Company admits they don’t run background checks on the “technicians” they’re sending into customer’s house. Oh, and they also deny all responsibility and refuse to refund the computer because there’s, “no evidence of the cost of what was stolen.” But they will, “offer discounted future service. ” Awesome, 10% off your next opportunity to get a computer stolen. [Orlando Sentinel] (Thanks to Mike!)

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  1. DeeJayQueue says:

    They’re responsible for their employees for the same reason that Home Depot fired people for stopping shoplifters in the store. If it happens while on the clock, the business is held accountable for the actions of its employees.

  2. homerjay says:

    They may deny responsability, but I’m sure a court wouldn’t!

  3. erica.blog says:

    I realize that the victim will presumably be getting another computer — but isn’t offering service on something that has been stolen an extremely empty gesture?

  4. R3PUBLIC0N says:

    Go Go Gadget Small Claims Court!

  5. sleze69 says:

    This is open and shut. They are responsible for their employees. Period.

  6. hypnotik_jello says:

    There’s a reason why companies have liability insurance.

  7. ShadowFalls says:

    This will all take but a minute to win the case. Figuring they do not run background checks, they were negligent in hiring someone that could go to businesses and homes. The fact they admitted their employee did this while on the job makes it open and shut.

    The thing that will take the longest is the hudge decided on the value to give them. Since there is a computer involved and naturally there is data on it, they could claim an immeasurable loss in those regards.

  8. rdm7234 says:

    Are they employees or subcontractors? Does that affect the liability?

  9. ShadowFalls says:

    No, it does not. As a company who hires employees or subcontractors, you are supposed to check them out, if you fail to do so, it shows negligence on your part.

    Remember, the customer did business with the company, not the employees or contractors.

  10. Havok154 says:

    @rdm7234:
    A subcontractor is just an employee that is hired on a job by job basis so the company is responsible for that person while they are working as a representative for that company.

  11. BStu says:

    If a “subcontractor” is working in a capacity where an ordinary person would think they were an employee, that wouldn’t shield the company. I would think that standard would certainly apply in this case.

  12. tinyrobot says:

    Oh…. mygod. This just became reason #427 why I shudder every time I pass a Best Buy.

  13. How is a company not resposible for the people they hire? That makes absolutely no sense.

    “no evidence of the cost of what was stolen.”
    How hard is it to look up the cost of whatever model the customer had? This is crazy. “Sure our employee robbed you but since we don’t know how much we should give you we won’t give you anything.” What?

    I never understood the idea behind claiming a company has no responsibility for something that would obviously be their fault in sign or a policy. It’s like they think they can wish it away.

  14. calldrdave says:

    If they completely deny responsibility…then why give the discount at all. If she paid Geek choice, then her contract was with Geek. She let “Spencer” in because he was representing Geek and they knew it.What Geek Choice appears to be claiming is he did it on his own. If that were the case, it would be no different than myself walking into any business claiming I’m from IT. If Geek Choice scheduled it, they are responsible. What’s scary is how many people turn over an expensive piece of equipment with highly confidential data to complete strangers. Actually they do…it’s called Valet parking.

  15. QuarterlyProphet says:

    Of course, the consumer protection columnist suggests Geek Squad. Although, if I had to choose, I’d probably pick having my porn collection being shared among the folks at Best Buy over my computer just being plain gone.

  16. egads says:

    I am going to preface this with the fact that the company I work for has had our own legal issues with Geek Choice. My intent is not to bash their company, but to show through my own experience, the way that the company is more concerned about the almighty dollar than the consumer.

    Geek Choice is a company based out of Boston (if I remember correctly) and they utilize sub-contractors in other cities and states.

    I am not surprised that Geek Choice did not do a background check, since they are subcontracting these jobs out.

    Geek Choice likes to take out multiple listings with the phone company using knock-off names of existing companies and the same phone number. For example, they will use “Geek Brigade” or “Geek Squab” instead of Geek Squad, etc. In the case of the company I work for, they were using the same exact name in their listing. I stopped counting at around 10 or so in my own local business white pages. When I placed my first calls to their number, they answered the phone strictly as “Geeks” instead of saying “Geek Choice” or any other such indicator of who they actually are. In our initial test phone call, our screener also quizzed them in regards to the local advertising that was being done on the radio stations in the area in which the call center technician claimed was theirs. Which in fact, was our commercials. In my not-so-humble opinion, this shows a malicious intent to defraud consumers who do not know any better and generate confusion.

    Our lawyers addressed the issue, and they were quick to respond. From what I understand, they also had issues with Best Buy and were supposedly required to identify themselves as not being the Geek Squad if asked.

  17. King of the Wild Frontier says:

    @R3PUBLIC0N: Unless the ceiling for small claims has been raised substantially and/or the laptop was really cheap, I think that this qualifies for big-boy court.

  18. rmz says:

    @tinyrobot: Uh, this was Geek Choice, not Geek Squad.

  19. Trackback says:

    A Geek Choice technician stole a school principal’s computer and the company is refusing to refund its victim, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel. Are you wondering how such a sorry state of affairs came to be?

  20. B says:

    @rmz: Stealing the computer is much more efficient than just stealing the porn.

  21. LeopardSeal says:

    The term is “vicarious liability”. A company is responisble for the actions of their employees while they are working. Seems pretty open and shut to me.

  22. BrockBrockman says:

    Perhaps we need to pass a law that requires companies to do background checks on people they send out to perform services in customer’s homes.

    I’m not saying that an ex-con can never contract out, but shouldn’t we all know whether the guy has any convictions first?

    Oh yeah, and Geek Choice absolutely bears responsibility for the actions of this employee. If not under at “theft” theory, then under a “negligent supervision” theory and a “breach of contract” theory.

  23. CoffeeAddict says:

    Geek Choice sounds like a company that needs to give it’s head a shake.

  24. cypherpunks says:

    I’ve taken classes on business law. This is an open and shut case. A company is liable for the actions of its employees, even if they act in ways the company doesn’t want them to. You can probably get attorney’s fees too, but I’m not enough of an expert to tell.

  25. hop says:

    BEST BUY SUCKETH……..