Yep, Best Buy Service Plans Are Still Awful

Today’s Best Buy Service Plan horror story is brought to you by the letter “L” for “lemon.”

Hi Ben & Meghann,

I’ve been an avid reader of The Consumerist for some time. Now, I need your help.

In March 2004, I paid about $450 for a 40GB iPod and 4 year extended service plan from Best Buy. Since then I have been repeatedly cheated and lied to and they have taken every effort possible to avoid providing me with the service I paid for. My iPod has been in for service seven times, despite a warranty that says more than 3 repairs means the product is a lemon and they’ll replace it. They have countless excuses and technicalities that don’t actually exist in the warranty contract, but that they insist are “policy” and there’s “nothing (they) can do about it.”

My iPod has been in their hands since 9/5 while they “investigate” whether it is eligible for the lemon clause of my contract despite the fact that it clearly is. I was promised a one week turnaround when I gave it to them, yet they still have it 6 weeks later. They cannot provide me with a valid date of completion but they can provide numerous worthless promises of dates that come and go. They also insist my iPod, that was worth $400 in store credit under the terms of my contract when I dropped it off, is now only worth $250 since Apple lowered their prices.

I have escalated to the store manager and the Geek Squad manager. Both made false attempts to emphasize, but claim they have no power and everything is up to “the service center” which, conveniently, has no known phone number and cannot even be contacted by the store managers except through the issuance of electronic repair orders (or so they claim). The Geek Squad manager has lied to my face and contradicted himself several times on their supposed policies.

Legally, I am on solid ground. They are in breach of their contract and I am literally days away from suing these people in small claims court if they do not come up with a minimum $400 (plus tax) store credit. I’m writing this in hopes that people will learn from my mistake and never, ever, buy an extended warranty from Best Buy. I bought this warranty based on simple math – I knew the battery would eventually die and cost $100 to replace and the warranty was only $40 so it made sense – but I didn’t anticipate Best Buy’s complete and utter refusal to honor the terms of the warranty, nor their ability to pull mysterious, unwritten, anti-consumer policies out of their hats at every opportunity, nor their willingness to make every service event last for 4 to 6 weeks or longer. Perhaps telling my story to several million people will spur some internal reform.

Hey, here’s hoping. We haven’t read the terms of your service plan or anything, but it sounds small claims court might be a hot and sexy idea. It might even be fun. Make sure to keep your buddies at The Consumerist updated.

(Photo:DCVision2006)

Comments

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  1. Pupator says:

    I’d be interested in hearing the details of this as I used to handle cases like this for Best Buy. Depending on what the iPod went into service for the first 6 times they could possibly be telling the truth – doubtful, but possible…I’d love to get the customer’s iPod horror story details.

  2. MikeB says:

    If I remember correctly from my days working at BB, 10 years ago, (damn has it been that long). The lemon policy kicked in on the 4th instance of the same issue. But it has been a while since I looked at the policy.

  3. akuipers says:

    I have had very good experiences with Best Buy. I had an MP3 player that stopped working, I took it in along with my warrenty and they immediately gave me store credit for the origional price of the item. They never tested it or anything. They still had the same MP3 player at a lower cost so I ended up with an MP3 player and a DVD. Perhaps this was an unusual experience, but I just wanted to put it out there.

  4. Hawkins says:

    Small claims court is straightforward. With most states, you don’t need (and aren’t even allowed to bring) a lawyer. The clerk of the court will provide you with the forms that you need to serve Best Buy.

    With any luck, they won’t show up, and the judge will grant you a summary judgement.

  5. DeeJayQueue says:

    deets! we needs deets!

  6. CMU_Bueller says:

    @Hawkins: Yeah, but then you actually have to collect on it which is the hard part.

  7. tedyc03 says:

    The sad thing is that if you send it in to Apple with a problem, 9 times out of 10, they’ll send you a new one back. They don’t even repair them; they usually just replace them.

  8. jrr316 says:

    From my time working at CompUSA, you should get an iPod of equal or greater specifications. Those warranties are for Product Replacement/Repair not Price Guarantees. You definitley are entitled to a replacement iPod if this is the 7th time you have brought it in for repair. So you should get a new 80 GB iPod from Best Buy.

    Now if Apple discontinued the iPod and there was no comparable product available then you would be entitled to a full store credit. Ex. You bought an MSN Internet Appliance Circa 2002 and it is dead, you bring it into Best Buy with your warranty. there is no equivalent, so you are entitle to a store credit.

    Also interesting to note that CompUSA, before they moved out of Massachusetts, would not sell their Propuct Replacement Plans on iPods. They pushed Apple Care.

  9. tedyc03 says:

    @CMU_Bueller: File a Writ of Execution and ask a judge to order the sale of their headquarters to pay the judgement. I’m pretty sure they’ll cut you a check pretty fast.

  10. gorckat says:

    My parents got a PC upgrade ~10 years ago (from a P133 to a smoking P166, beeyotch!) after they’re 4th visit. Each one was a separate problem, but the person who did the return was apparently new (as was explained at a later time- the new PC also had issues. They were Packard Hells for a reason :p)

    While at CompUSA several years back, Replacement Plans and Service Plan exchanges were based on specs, not dollar value. That was part of the risk/reward for a customer buying the plan and for the warranty company- if it dies, will the cost of fixing/replacing be less than the cost of the service plan? Will new tech make this obsolete so upgrading will be cheaper than the plan?

    I’d be curious to see if the contract warranty is based on the dollar value or the specs of the product.

  11. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    How to collect a summary judgement
    Walk into Best Buy. Walk to the cashiers, show court order. Demand that they pay you in cash RIGHT THERE. If the manager shows up and threatens to call the police, let him. But warn him that you have a court order first. You’re executing a court order, the cops will laugh at the manager, maybe even arrest him for contempt.

    Best Buy stores are agents of Best Buy Inc, and thus a perfectly legitimate entity from which to collect a judgement.

  12. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    Or you can always garnish their profits.

  13. MoCo says:

    Yes, a Writ of Execution or whatever the equivalent document is in your state will work quite nicely. My friend sued the local cable company a while back and won, but the cable company wouldn’t (willingly) pay the judgement. So, my friend filed papers to have the sheriff’s department collect. The sheriff’s deputies went to the cable company office and demanded cash, but the cable company still wouldn’t pay. Then the sheriff’s deputies said, “Okay, we’ll just take your computers and sell them.”

    At that point, the cable company immediately paid.

  14. ncboxer says:

    @mbouchard: Yes it is written that the 4th instance of the same issue gets a replacement, but Best Buy can make up any reason they want to for the problem, and claim some issue isn’t the same as another issue. I saw them do it multiple times in the computer department- where it is easy to make up different reasons why the particular computer is a piece of junk. I’m sure best Buy is doing it again in this case.

  15. code0 says:

    I used to work for Best Buy in Iowa (it’s been a while), and depending on the product, there was 2 types of warranties – the PRP or PSP. The middle letter was replacement or service. Usually, the cheaper items had replacement plans (dollar value, I think), and the more expensive items were repaired.

    Without knowing details, I can’t say too much, but as far as compensation, unless they recently re-worded the PSPs, is to replace the product with one of equivalent features. With the ever falling price of tech, this would usually be a product that could do everything the old one could, but was just cheaper.

    Also, it may be confusing with some PSPs that some items when still within the manufacturer warranty (sometimes after) are what is called DEVO (BB junks it or returns it to the vendor for credit). This means the product would get replaced on the spot.

    Only problem is that this status changes during the life of the product (MFR warranty ending, etc), and they may switch back to doing service.

    Main thing to remember is that PSPs are for SERVICE and give the OPTION to replace a defective product. Also, I think the lemon clause resets when a product is replaced, but I may be wrong..

  16. Antediluvian says:

    That’s an absolutely hysterical photo. I have no idea what the article is about, but the pic is awesome.

    I’ll go read the article now.

  17. iaintgoingthere says:

    If you are “an avid reader of The Consumerist” Why are you buying from Best Buy? I go there to look, but I never touch.

  18. theninjasquad says:

    It always makes me laugh at the register when they try to offer the service plan and tell me how easy it is to come in and replace it when you have a problem.

  19. Crymson_77 says:

    @MoCo: That is just…CLASSIC! ROFLMAO!!!

    Your friend found the only way to stick it to the cable company!!!

  20. annelise13 says:

    The only thing I can think of is that maybe since the 40 gig is obsolete they aren’t sure what to do? I’m also very curious as to what exactly is wrong with it.

    I brought in my 30 gig a few months ago, which was covered under the same plan, and received a refurb replacement a week later. No muss no fuss, and the refurb looked brand new.

  21. ftrain says:

    I would never buy an Ipod from anywhere else but Apple store. If i remember correctly the Ipod is under warranty for one year, two if you got the extended plan. My first Ipod (20G) was replaced 5 times by Apple without much problems aside from waiting a couple of days for a replacement to be shipped if they were out of stock.

    I was always surprised by how easy it was.

  22. Chaluapman says:

    I just sent my Xbox 360 in on the PRP, we shall see. I photo-documented my package and the contents so that I could counter any trouble that might arise from them saying that my stuff was packed all wrong.

    I hope it works out well, as I’ve generally had good experiences with them as well.

  23. markymags says:

    I bought a camera a year ago for my brother. Since he isn’t very careful with his electronics I decided to get him Best Buy’s replacement warranty. Lo and behold my brother breaks his camera after about 6 months of ownership. I brought it in, Best Buy sent it to their service center, they figured out they couldn’t repair it and told the Best Buy store. Since the camera was no longer sold by Best Buy they brought me to the camera section, picked out a camera very similar to the one I bought from the same manufacturer, and allowed me to purchase it minus the cost of the camera under warranty.

    I’m guessing that each Best Buy is different though and not all transactions go as smoothly as mine did…

  24. FafnirTM says:

    Even with the change on some electronics, you can’t beat Costco for return and warranty ease. I just returned a two and half year old printer that was giving me network and scanning issues. Full refund.

  25. NoNamesLeft says:

    So many problems with Apple players…. Where is your god now Fanboys?

  26. warf0x0r says:

    They changed the PSP to reflect the going price of the product or rather to provide a product of similar capabilities back when I used to work there. But at this point even if its only worth 250 bucks you should still be able to get a very nice iPod. As for the no lemon after the fourth time it is certified in need of repair you should be shopping, not dealing with service techs.

  27. warf0x0r says:

    @mbouchard: It’s the fourth issue of any kind. They do NOT have to be related.

  28. magus_melchior says:

    @Antediluvian: So would that be a “Best Buy Face”?

  29. cyborg5001 says:

    For the 40GB iPod video, you are only offered the PSP, which probably cost in the range of $60-70.

    This Performance Service Plan (PSP) will guarantee that Best Buy will service your iPod for a period of 3 years from the date of purchase. If the product cannot be serviced, or the product is still within the manufacturers warranty period, the product will be replaced with the same product or a like product of equal or greater features. The cost of the replacement product versus the original product price is irrelevant.

    For the Product Replacement Plan (PRP), a defective product is replaced on the spot, with the same item or store credit for the purchase price if the original item is no longer available. The price of the replacement item, if it is the same as the item being replaced is irrelevant. The only time the price matters is if the item is exchanged for store credit.

    The PRP is used once a replacement is made outside of the manufacturers warranty, and will need to be repurchased if you want to continue coverage on the new product. The PSP is only used up once the 3 years have passed, even if the original product is replaced multiple times.

    The “Lemon Clause” only comes into effect if the item is serviced 3 times for the same defect. If you have had the iPod serviced for 6 different problems then the lemon clause does not apply.

    The store really does not have anyway to contact the service center other than the service request forms. In my time at Best Buy, we had several TV’s and computers disappear in the Service Center black hole for well over a month, but they do appear eventually. I guess it’s just a side-effect of having 1 not so centrally located service center for the entire country.

    In the end the store should offer you a replacement iPod, the one that comes the closest to your current iPod, so the 80GB Classic. The store manager does have some discretion in this area though. He could upgrade you to the 160GB Classic or the 16GB Touch, but that depends on the manager. All the manager has to do is ensure that you end up with a like or better product, not a like-costing product. Which wouldn’t be possible right now, since Apple doesn’t even have a $450 iPod anymore.

    The PSP contract does not specify how long the company has to service your product, but month is a reasonable amount of time to wait. If you have made and continue to make a good-faith effort to reclaim your product and you don’t get it back soon, I would suggest small claims court. The store manager would probably need to show up, and he wouldn’t have the time for such a small matter. Default judgment FTW!

  30. ECO says:

    While I was in highschool I worked at a local Best Buy (which was about a year ago). To my understanding, the service plans were nothing but pure profit makers for Best Buy. Why? Because its a low chance that a product does indeed fail or lower than the usual and that the consumer will eventually forget or something.

    However, I digress. I find that the service items aren’t even shipped to the manufacturer but a “bestbuy repair facility”. Those facilities usually do a sub-adequate if not less than medicore job at repairing items. I see your problem and there is an interesting solution.

    Bestbuys are usually competitive with one another, therefore go to another local store or another close location and tell your situation to a GM, and explain your case wisely. In order to one-up the other bestbuy usually the GM will issue you a new ipod. The GM’s i worked with were reasonable and fair so try out another best buy. If that’s not your taste of brandy I would sue in small claims court.

    But a funny thing is, if you find a bestbuy that will honor the 4 year warranty, it’s pretty much a good way to get a new ipod/xbox/ps2/3/wii every couple of years. Why? Because bestbuy sucks at repairing items so you just return it 3 times and you get a brand new one. Or the newest version if you’re speaking of an ipod. :)

  31. scootinger says:

    Is there a reason that BB should *HAVE* to give her $400 in store credit? I don’t see how her 3+-year-old 3G/4G iPod should be worth $400 in the first place. $250 can easily buy her a new 80GB iPod, which is still a great replacement for an old 40GB iPod.

  32. skrom says:

    Yeas, its the fourth issue of anykind eas long as the problem is something covered under warranty. I.E. hardware repair. If it was went out 6 times and it only needed a software restore, that isnt covered, and neither are no fault found diagnostics. You should restore it yourself. I know this because I worked at Best Buy up until about 2 weeks ago and worked in the service department. Also they are correct that there is no phone number for the customer or store to call. Well there is ONE number but it does no good to call because it is only for data recovery estimate approvals/declines and it goes straight to a voicemail. They only have 2 people to answer the phones and cannot support calls coming in from 900 stores daily

  33. schiff says:

    I had a problem with a warranty on a PDA. They insisted I was not entitled to a replacement, like my contract stated. According to my contract they would provide a replacement, and in the event that they no longer sold my pda they would give me the closest model to it. My pda cost $300 and when it broke they only sold ones $500 and up. After 3 days of fighting I finally bacame very loud and started to yell to all the customers in the store reasons they should not deal with best buy. Only then was the manager willing to talk with me (5 minutes earlier she was in business in another city). She came over and handed me a cash refund and politely asked me to leave the store.

    Needless to say I never purchased another warranty from them. I also avoid major purchases unless I have no other option than to purchase an item from them.

  34. mordanda says:

    Being a former Geek Squad Agent for 10 years (last year of service being less than a year ago) I can offer some insight. Without knowing the details of the individual service orders it’s really hard to say. He could be getting the run around, I’ve seen it happen to good people. He could have a problem with iTunes on the computer, an encoding problem or something else unrelated to the iPod. They BOTH could be right, as intermittent issues are terribly hard to fix. Without knowing the details and being a technical person myself, I wouldn’t want to blame either party at this point. My two major observations are these.

    1. Your best recourse with an intermittent reoccurring issue is to appeal to store management on the customer loyalty front. Explain that while you understand that “technically” it might not qualify for no-lemon replacement, you’re not bringing it back time after time because you like parting with it. If the Geek Squad Agent believes you that the issue is intermittent (i.e. he/she doesn’t believe it’s user error or you’re just angling to upgrade) he/she will argue management with you and you stand a good shot at walking out with what you want. On all but the weakest managers and Seniors forced to handle management issues any shouting, anger, or threats (legal or otherwise) will result in positively zero help. Threaten a lawsuit and you’ll have to do just that. Management will not respond to the threat, only once the lawsuit is served will they yield. I cannot stress how much keeping a positive attitude is key to getting results. Trust me I know it’s terribly difficult, try to remember it’s hard on the other side of the counter. I can’t tell you how many people I wanted to help but was unable to do so because of some rules.

    2. READ YOUR SERVICE CONTRACT! Sorry for shouting but it’s important. In the PSP it states that you will receive comparable product not less in capabilities to the item being replaced. In this case an iPod classic, with 80GB > 40GB and video abilities not on your 40GB iPod, is the comparable product that exceeds the abilities of your lemon product. In this case that item retails for $249 and is better than the item your turning in. Salespeople lie about the PSP I know but if you want to talk about this on the legal front, that is what you’re entitled to. If he’s saying the PSP was misrepresented that another argument for another time.

  35. cosby says:

    @scootinger:

    “Is there a reason that BB should *HAVE* to give her $400 in store credit? I don’t see how her 3+-year-old 3G/4G iPod should be worth $400 in the first place. $250 can easily buy her a new 80GB iPod, which is still a great replacement for an old 40GB iPod.”

    Yea I have to agree with this. While I agree they need to replace it they should only be giving him credit for the value of the comparable Ipod. It would be one thing if they didn’t sell something like what he bought but this is not the case.

  36. BlueModred says:

    For anyone having any issues with BestBuy for ANYTHING. After anyone gives you any issues that are not spelled out in fine print (read it first) call the following number:
    1-888-bestbuy

    There’s an option there to talk to an operator. Do so, and be clear as to what’s going on. DON’T BE ANGRY OR RUDE. Any issue I have had (which have been few and honest mistakes) were quickly solved.

  37. bhall03 says:

    Interesting info.

    My wife and I were looking at purchasing an LCD HD TV and were considering BB, Sam’s and Sears (which I work for). Sears will price match product but the warranties at BB and Sam’s were cheaper…now I know why for BB.

    I work on the repair side at Sears and know first hand about our different service plans. We have both straight merchandise replacement plans (return for exchange only) and repair plans with a lemon guarantee. Under the repair plans, you get feature for feature replacement value, or entry level value if your product is really outdated, when it qualifies. And, there is no problem speaking with the department that handles replacements.

    As someone mentioned earlier, there are probably discrepancies in the repair plan administration at any company. But this might be making my decision for me.

    By the way, does anyone have any comments on Sam’s service plans?

  38. sibertater says:

    I didn’t read everyone else’s comments so I have no idea what everyone else said, but I would recommend that in the future you go to Apple and buy your iPod and Apple Care. It’s $59 and they hand you a new iPod over the counter when you bring yours in for service.

  39. Scuba Steve says:

    @akuipers: I’m sorry, but that’s statistically impossible.

  40. spunky_redhead15 says:

    now i can tell you that you may have issues if you walk into a competing best buy store and talk to the GM about giving you a replacement iPod. the store has to have the broken iPod to account for the swap…the defective one is sitting at the service center. and as for the old one actually being sent out to service…that was the owner’s choice. for customers who own and iPod classic (not the nano, as those are covered under product REPLACEMENT plans), there is two options for a bad iPod. first being what this customer had…being sent to service. second being what’s called a rapid exchange. the defective product is sent out to service in attempt to fix or refurbish and within three to five business days the claimant is sent a refurbished iPod for the same or similar model (a 40 gig for a 40 gig, if not available, then they get a 60 gig, ect). after four replacement, the unit is junked out and a new iPod of similar technology is issued. with the service center, if i remember right, if three ‘qualified’ repairs are made, then it is junked out. and if i remember right, it has to be the same thing that is repaired all three times. yes, i used to work for the geek squad, can you tell. there IS a way to get ahold of the service center your iPod is sitting at, the people you worked with just were not willing to help you with it. if talking to who i assumed was the Geek Squad senior at the precinct didn’t get you anywhere, ask to work with the services manager. that’s their job, to take care of all the SERVICES. all in all, i know it’s not what you want to hear, but if they say they are waiting on the service center for approval to junk out your iPod, it’s no lie. when it comes to defective items with a product SERVICE plan, such as your iPod, the Geek Squad precinct really dosn’t have a say in if and when the replacement is authorized. it all comes from the service center.

  41. spunky_redhead15 says:

    and i did forget to mention that if the iPod rapid exchange was not offered to you by best buy, i apologize and that is definitely not your fault, but the fault of the person who originally took in your iPod on all six of your service visits.

  42. backbroken says:

    I’ve had boxes of cereal that lasted longer than the iPods owned by folks in this thread. Explain to me again why iPods are the bees knees.

    When GE makes a $300 dishwasher that requires multiple repairs in the first year of ownership and craps out after 3 years, the spit hits the fan. But when the same experience is had with an iPod, the reaction is “oh goody, now I can go get a new one.”

    Now get off my lawn.

  43. Protector says:

    The fine print is your friend.

  44. Antediluvian says:

    @magus_melchior: It might be!
    But it still makes me smile.

  45. Buckus says:

    I think we’re still missing some of the story here. I mean, for sure he brought it back for service six times, but were four of those times to replace the battery? In my opinion, unless the service contract specifically stated the battery is covered, it is considered a normal wear item and should not be covered.

    I personally never buy the extended warranty, but if you do buy one, make sure you’re covered under the fine print, because the salesman will probably tell you anything to get you to buy one because they probably get 25% on it. That’s why the cashier is always eager to sell you the protection plan on a CD or something under $50, cuz it means a few bucks for them.

  46. aikoto says:

    I have an article that explains exactly how I got my money’s worth out of Best Buy warranties several times. You have to know your rights and use them properly because the store people won’t know.

    [www.jeremyduffy.com]

  47. mbrutsch says:

    “Yawn” News flash: Idiot buys from Best Buy, get screwed. In other news, the sky is blue, and the grass is green. Next!

  48. STrRedWolf says:

    Whenever I go to a store to buy my tech, and they offer an extended warantee, I say with a straight face “Hon, I run Linux. I already voided the warantee.” 99% of the time that shuts them up because they realize it’s futile to sell damaged goods.

    What I would do is first fire off an Executive Management Cluster Bomb to Best Buy’s management with a CC to Steve Jobs over at Apple. Let Apple know what Best Buy is doing. I betcha Steve will yank Best Buy’s strings until they replace that iPod with an 80 gig iPod Classic.

  49. statnut says:

    “Is there a reason that BB should *HAVE* to give her $400 in store credit? I don’t see how her 3+-year-old 3G/4G iPod should be worth $400 in the first place. $250 can easily buy her a new 80GB iPod, which is still a great replacement for an old 40GB iPod. “

    A few years ago, I bought a Sony PSP on launch day at BB. I wisely invested the 40 bucks in the replacement plan for 2 years. Fast forward to Christmas Eve 2006, a year and change later. My PSP died, just refused to charge or turn on. I called Best Buy, and within a month, I had received my BB gift card for the full amount I had paid for a PSP then, 250 plus tax, even though it had dropped to 200 in the meantime.

  50. DCGaymer says:

    Sue them in small claims. BestBuy will have to farm out their legal defense.

    Given that all legal defense these day’s is outsourced…it will cost them dearly…plus it moves the ball up the corporate ladder…at this point the manager of the legal department will be incharge of the final settlement negotiations and start to weigh the pro’s, con’s and cost’s of your case…It’s in the best interest of the legal department to keep their “overhead” budget as small as possible….The going rate for a lawyer can range from $150.00 to $500.00 an hour depending on your town….plus expenses and travel time.

    When the legal department call’s to settle be sure to add additional charges for your time and bother. Nothing too outrageous…but somewhere in between replacement cost of your iPod and the amount of time their legal team would have to pay out if they dealt with the issue in court.

  51. MrEvil says:

    Mind you this guy is entitled to a replacement product under FEDERAL LAW. The Magnusson-Moss warranty act clearly defines the rules for ANYBODY warranting a consumer product, be it the manufacturer or third party.

    Part of the act says that a consumer is entitled to refund or replacement after a reasonable number of repairs have been made (or if repairs can’t be made in a timely fashion). It doesn’t state a specific number, but 7 times is generally not reasonable. And 6 weeks is HARDLY a timely repair for an iPod.

  52. Draconianspark says:

    The service centers are certainly not un-reachable, when I was a geek squad supervisor we regularly called the service centers to find out what was going on.

    Ipods are shipped to a service center owned and operated by bestbuy, typically the famed ‘geek squad city’ service center.

    There, you have technicians who have to diagnose and repair the problem in about 10-20 minutes under a great deal of pressure in order to get to the next in a pile of hundreds of ipods in their queue for that day.

    Because of this, there’s a 50/50 chance of a legitimately bad ipod being sent back to the store as ‘NFF’ or no fault found.

    NFF claims don’t count against your 3 no lemon tickets, in fact the only thing that does count toward the 3 no lemon requests is a repair order with a part replaced, and the only parts to replace in an ipod are the battery and hard drive and maybe the interface pack. Everything else warrants replacing the entire unit, which would fulfill the service plan, even if the replacement is refurb or you’re given store credit for the current value of the particular SKU in their retek system.

    The funny thing is most ipod repairs end up being replacements, and the stores don’t want to eat the replacements so they keep sending it back over and over again. You may wish to demand the history of each of your service orders to see what’s being written in there.

    BTW the mag-moss warranty act doesn’t apply to ‘service plans’ …see what I did there?

  53. mmacmmac says:

    I’m not saying this is how it happened, but this is how it’s happened before.

    The majority of customers who have “sent their ipod in 7 times” have done so because they drop it off saying the battery doesn’t work. It gets charged overnight, and played back in store, getting signed off on every hours.

    then the playback time gets compared with a spreadsheet from apple comparing models, ages, and projected battery life. ie customer brings it in saying it lasts for 30 minutes, it ends up playing for 12 hours of playback.

    They are then send them home with the ipod

    No repair was done

    Repeat 6 times

  54. RandomAgent says:

    I’m not sure what this customer means by “in for service seven times.”

    Does that mean it was actually sent to the service center seven times? Or just brought into the store? I work for Best Buy, and let me tell you, this is a great cause for confusion. The no lemon only applies if it goes to the service center, they find something wrong with the hardware, and fix it.

    If the customer brings it into the store because they unplugged it without doing “Safely Remove Hardware” a million times and corrupted the firmware, Geek Squad will restore the firmware. Problem fixed. That is NOT a qualified repair. There’s nothing wrong with the iPod. This happens all the time where the customer screws up the firmware on it. The firmware is purely software and does not screw itself up. A qualified repair is when it actually leaves the store, goes to service, and they fix a hardware problem. If it goes to service and all they do is restores the firmware, it is No Fault Found and is not a qualified repair.

    So just because they brought it in seven times, does not mean it had hardware replaced several times! This is all in the service agreement.

    If hardware was replaced seven times, then yes, junkout should have happened by now.

    I would go to the store and ask for printouts of all the services you have had done on the iPod. Ask for them to tell you what was replaced each time.

    If there are three qualified repairs (hardware was replaced at service) and the time it is in for now is the forth hardware problem, you should get your no lemon. Ask for the General Manager, explain what happened, show him the service orders, and ask that he make a special case and authorize a junkout. In some cases, the manager does have power to do that.

    If, however, it has not had hardware replaced three times and is in for the forth, under the terms of the service plan, they are not allowed to no lemon your iPod. Service plans do not cover software problems. You have no legal grounds in small claims court. Ask them to submit an escalation to repair your iPod and send it back so you can have it.

  55. sartreroquentin says:

    I have a 3 year PSP plan on the ipod, and it has been repaired 4 times.
    I brought it in last night and inquired about the lemon policy since it said after 3 repairs i am entitled to an exchange… etc.

    They bring up that it needs to be the same hardware failure to be qualified so then i bring up all the service receipts showing the hard drive has been replaced FOUR times.

    The associate tells me that i the lemon policy should have kicked in the last visit.. etc.

    He tells me to go ahead and grab something thats comparable to the one i have (40GB 4G ipod i bought for 399.99). I went ahead and got the 160gb brought it up to the counter.

    I was literally minutes away from getting a brand new one but as the store manager comes for an override he calls someone and does something diffrent a “RAPID EXCHANGE” program for the ipod.

    Basically i was told that ill be getting a NEW one mailed to me instead of an in-store exchange. I go home and research it to find out they mail you a REFURB one..

    It is obvious that the manager had the authority to do such an in-store exchange but changed his mind for some reason… I have my heart set on getting the 160gb one since they had proposed that exchange to begin with.

    Does best buy not honor their warranties/lemon policies?

    So to any best buy employees… what can i do here? oh and the refurb one is in worst shape than the one i gave to them, the back is polished to all hell with the logo not even visible or the serial #…. identical hard drive problems that pose more of a problem than the one i sent in.

  56. Tony44119 says:

    I work for Geek Squad and know that the standard procedure for the “No Lemon Policy” is that the product must have 3 hardware (does not have to be same issue) repairs and on the 4th repair the tech is supposed (after looking up previous repairs) to ask for a no lemon on the service order tag and then send the product out to service. There usually isn’t any problem getting it approved as long as the 3 prior repairs qualify. The repairs cannot be reconnecting parts, restoring software or “no fault found”, which are common solutions for Ipods. Common qualifying repairs are new hard drive installs and new batteries. If for some reason the device (not just Ipods) is repaired and not “No Lemoned”, I would recommend immediately getting a Geek Squad Supervisor or any Manager involved. Usually any of these mentioned will allow an exchange and then just send the device out to service so Best Buy still gets money for the product. Sometimes one of the above will ask the customer to allow for one more attempt and send an “Escalation” which gives the service order more attention. This all depends on the competancy of the Leadership in the store I would guess though. I’m a Geek Squad Senior and try to do what I can to get the product No Lemoned but am up front with the customer when there aren’t enough qualifying Service Orders. Also common recently is a “Rapid Exchange” where the customer agrees to get a different, refurbished Ipod of equal or better specs in about 4-5 business days as opposed to the repair which is typically 2-3 weeks.

  57. Norskman says:

    What ever happened to “The customer is always right”? Some companies really get this. Look at Costco for instance? I’ve never seen a company more interested in keeping their customers happy. I’m guessing it’s working since they seem to still be growing fast and have a very low turn over.

    Reading the comments here I see a lot of former BestBuy employees, and probably some current ones, arguing this issue back and forth. Isn’t that exactly what is the ongoing theme of BestBuy and their crappy service? Rather than finding out how to help their money-spending customers and keeping them happy they argue and nit-pick clauses to avoid incurring small costs.

    I’m pretty sure this post alone is hurting BestBuy a lot more than just replacing the individuals iPod. This is a perfect example of how a large retailer gets it wrong.

    Guess where I am not going to be buying my electronics?

  58. vish says:

    Performance Service Plan: It’s a Sham

    I can’t watch Red Sox play in the world series at my home tv.I am so frustrated with best buy perfomance service plan. Its been close to two months and my tv is still broken. The vendor showed up on 09/17 and said they would be back with parts. On 10/23, they showed up and it didn’t help. Now they need to order the full panel. I am not sure, why they would not order a replacement or give me a tv in exchange till they fix it.

    At Best Buy stores, performance service plan is sold as an immediate fix or replacement for your broken tv. But, in reality its a sham. I have wasted so much of my time with Best Buy customer care and its vendor, Tops electronics. I would have been much better of without the plan.
    I had to stay home two days for the vendor to come in and fix my tv. Both days, I had to take dayoff from my work, I am still paying my cable bill and Best Buy has nothing to do with it. It’s all my mistake. A lesson learnt, never get into trap of purchasing the performance service plan.

  59. SusieToo says:

    Glad to see that I am not alone.

    My issue is with Best Buy’s computer three year extended warranty. My daughter’s computer has been in their hands (for repairs) almost longer than it’s been in her hands (for use at college).

    Literally, almost every other month her computer has been back to Best Buy. One screen issue, two battery/port issues, supposed hardware issue, supposed virus where they reinstalled everything (a month ago) now the screen is going to blue – and saying there’s a hardware issue. Incredible.

    On one of these ventures they had the laptop two months because – surprise – they lost it. Otherwise, it’s with them for mere weeks.

    The last time (#5) I asked about getting a new one – telling them this one is obviously a lemon. They’ve just about replaced everything on and in the computer – and it still doesn’t work. Nope, has to be THE same issue.

    My husband just took his nine month old desk-top in to have a new hard drive installed. It’s crashed twice now.

    This family is fed up with Best Buy. He even told the Manager (after they said two days to repair his machine and it was nine days) that these computers will be the last things we purchase from Best Buy. When these warranties run out (for all of the good they do not do) we will never buy anything else from them – and we’ve been loyal customers for years. Apparently they don’t care.

    In the meantime, I was seriously considering, in regard to my daughters computer, filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. The massive amount of time we have all wasted on this is worth more than the silly computer! Enough is enough!

    Thanks for having this forum so people can be assured they’re not alone in their problems with Best Buy. They will no doubt go the way of Sun TV – buh bye – for abusing their customers trust.

  60. wellfleet says:

    I work at Best Buy as a supervisor and occasionally fill in at customer service. I am truly sorry at the maddening experience you’re having. That said, some stores, no doubt affected by poor leadership, bad judgment, or both, will refuse to do the right thing. In this case, that would be upgrading you to a new 80G, apologizing for holding your iPod hostage, and sending you on your way.

    From purely financial reasoning, your bad experience will probably send you to Circuit or Costco when it’s time to buy that plasma, cost to Best Buy $2000, your appliances will come from Sears, another $3000.

    I find it helps to just try another store and see if they’ll work with you, or call 888 BEST-BUY and talk to consumer relations. BTW, it helps of you’re nice, and understanding of the fact that as lowly store employees, we have as much authority as a hot dog vendor sometimes.

    We’re not all evil, I promise you. Some of us even go above and beyond to keep you happy.

    And the service centers can’t be contacted. Believe me, I’ve tried to fish for that myself.