Best Buy has recently come under fire for selling people “restoration cds” at the ridiculous price of $29 dollars. PC World caught 3 of 5 Best Buy salespeople insisting that consumers couldn’t make the recovery discs themselves and would either need to buy them from Best Buy or the manufacturer (for more than Best Buy charges.) This just simply isn’t true.
The following letter from reader James shows that they’re still out there selling “recovery discs.”
Don’t buy ’em! They are a ripoff.
Just thought I’d give you some info on my recent experience at Best Buy.
The wiring in my apartment is horrible, so as I was running the vacuum in the room I use as an office, I blew a fuse and had to go downstairs and reset the breaker. Everything in the office had obviously gone out, including the computer, which was on at the time of the power outage. But, when I tried to turn the computer on, it wouldn’t start up. Monitor worked, printer worked, everything but the tower. After doing some research on my laptop, I figured it was a bad power supply and I took the tower over to Best Buy to have the Geek Squad take a look at it and replace the power supply.
The guys took a quick look and agreed that it was probably the power supply, which was going to cost me around $150, which seemed reasonable to me. But before I left they wanted to test it on a power supply they had, just to make sure it wasn’t something more serious. Well, they said that after hooking up a “store” power supply, the tower powered up, but nothing would appear on their monitors. Their assumption was that it was the motherboard, and it would be cheaper to just go ahead and buy a new tower. I said I needed to think it over and left with my tower.
The next day I came in and purchased a new tower for $524.99, a “data transfer” to get all my info from the old tower to the new tower for $99, and a restoration CD for $29. I had purchased a floor model, so they said they needed some time to replace the software on the new tower, so I told them I’d be in later with the old tower to let them transfer the data.
But something didn’t seem right. So I took the old tower to a local computer repair shop. They hooked up a new power supply and whadaya know, it worked. They installed a new power supply for about $100 and sent me home with my tower working again.
So, I went back to Best Buy since I didn’t need this new tower anymore. I had nothing physical to bring back since the tower I was purchasing was still at the store, but I brought my receipt and told them I didn’t need any of this since my computer was working. But, while they gave me back the money on the tower and the data transfer (after double checking to make sure the work hadn’t been done, even though I never gave them the old tower), they wouldn’t give me the $29 for the restoration CD because they had “already done the service.”
I didn’t need it anymore since I wasn’t buying that computer, and in my opinion it was their problem since they basically told me the computer was beyond repair (which it wasn’t). So, after some calls to Best Buy’s customer service it looks like they’re going to refund the money (although 2 weeks later when I got the bill it’s still on there). But just wanted to let people know that maybe they shouldn’t put too much faith in Geek Squad, and don’t put it past Best Buy to charge you $29 for a “service” you don’t need.
Oh, and sorry for the long e-mail.
It’s a good thing James got a second opinion. Local computer repair shops can be handy sometimes.