Best Buy Switches Laptop Cover, Then Accuses Customer Of Fraud

Jed’s Gateway MX6030 laptop worked pretty well for a couple of years, then the problems started—faulty power adapter, kaput motherboard, dead hard drive. Luckily, he’d bought a 3-year extended service plan. Unluckily, when his motherboard was replaced, the bottom of the laptop—where the serial and model numbers are located—was swapped out with one from a different model, so that when he brought it back for the hard drive repair, the store manager accused him of fraud.

He was able to “prove” that it was indeed his notebook via the sheaf of repair papers he’d held on to from the motherboard replacement—the repair description noted that the bottom of the case had been replaced. But when Jed asked the Geek Squad people to help fix the problem—either make a note on his account that the model number was no longer correct, or update his warranty with the new serial number—they refused: the technician working on the laptop said he still thought something “shady” was going on…

…and. “I was told that they can’t do that and that I should laminate the repair paper I had because it was the only proof I have that this is my computer and that it is still under warranty.”

Here’s his full story:

I want to start off first by saying that me and my girlfriend both have had many problems with Best Buy in general. This includes an employee lying about what is included in their warranty and service plans and a huge problem with junking out a notebook that in turn voided a warranty, but that is not the problem I have today. We have both vowed never to buy a warranty from Best Buy ever again.

The computer that I purchased was a Gateway MX6030 on November 25, 2005 with the 3 year extended service plan. Surprisingly the unit did not give me any problems until recently. My ac adapter plug was acting funny and not charging my notebook. I took the plug into Best Buy Geek Squad and they told me I had to bring in the unit. At first I didn’t understand why they needed the unit for a plug exchange, but they explained that they needed to check the serial number on the unit to make sure that it matched my service plan. Although I don’t live very close to the store, I went back home and brought the unit back to the store. I received my plug in a couple weeks and everything was fine for a little while.

A few months later on November 8, 2007 I took my notebook back into the Geek Squad at the Corona Best Buy. The technician checked the serial number before it was logged in. The diagnosis was that it needed a new mother board and that the top cover needed to be replaced. It was sent out to Best Buy’s service location in Chino, CA. It was returned in a few weeks and everything seemed okay again.

On Wednesday, January 16, 2008 my hard drive crashed and once again I went to the Corona location of Best Buy to have it serviced. I was quoted two or three days to install a new hard drive. Saturday, January 20, 2008 at around 12:00 I decided to give the Geek Squad a call to make sure everything was alright with my notebook. They told me it should be done at 3:00. At around 3:00 I give them another call and they told me it’s still not ready, give it another hour. So I go to run a few errands and arrive at Best Buy at 6:00. I was told by a Geek Squad employee named Andrew that he just got to work and my unit has not been worked on at all that day. He would call me later that night when I could pick it up.

I did not receive a call that night so the next morning Sunday, January, 18, 2008 at 12:00 I called Geek Squad again. I talked to Andrew who tells me they are still not finished, but they have a problem. He tells me that the model of my notebook they have does not match the model number of the unit on the service plan and their manager said to stop working on it. He said he would call me back in a half an hour. I called them back more than an hour later and I inquire about the problem. I talk to Jared who put somebody else on the phone who tells me they can no longer work on the system, it isn’t under the warranty and it isn’t the correct model number. He tells me my unit is a MX-6421 and the service plan is for a MX6030. I ask him if he can match the serial number to the paperwork and see that it is mine. He told me this isn’t possible because the unit does not have a serial number. Baffled, I tell him I’ll come to store to figure this out. I bring all my paperwork for the services that have previously been done on my computer.

When I arrived at the store Andrew, another employee, and a manager by the name of Dahlia Mora, stepped into the back of the Geek Squad area to have a meeting about the situation. When they came back Dahlia asked me where the serial number is. I told her I was wondering the same thing. I asked them how the unit could have been serviced if the serial number was not checked when I brought it in. Andrew and Dahlia both claimed that the serial number does not need to be checked when an item is brought in for service. They both accused me of fraudulently attempting to service a Gateway MX6421 notebook under a MX6030 warranty.

Not knowing what to do I begin looking through my paperwork. I told them that another time I had brought in my plug, the employee made me go home to get the unit with the serial number. I am beginning to think they took off my serial number at the store before I got there. On the paperwork for the mother board repair I noticed that when it was serviced they also replaced the bottom cover. I show this to them and the manager blows me off, implying that it’s not possible that Best Buy would remove a serial number and replace a cover with one from another model. The other technician looks at the paper and sees the notation on the paperwork saying that bottom cover was replaced with model MX6421.

The manager was obviously mad and stormed off to the back. They told me they could continue servicing the unit, which was still not finished. One of the employees commented that they thought something “shady” was going on. They estimated another hour to hour and a half. I asked about getting a new serial number or marking my account in someway that this won’t be a problem in the future. I was told that they can’t do that and that I should laminate the repair paper I had because it was the only proof I have that this is my computer and that it is still under warranty. I never received an apology from any of the employees about accusing me of fraud or that they overlooked the covers being switched.

Having a piece of paper instead of a serial number is not enough of a substitute for me. I was told by the store this is best they can do. I talked to Geek Squad online on Monday, January 21, 2008 at 5:30. I was told by Agent McCabe that this issue is “not their responsibility” and to talk to the manufacturer. I talked to Gateway at 6:15 and they told me I needed to talk to Best Buy about getting the original serial number back onto my computer since it was them who serviced it. I once again went on Geek Squad’s chat and the same agent told me to talk to the store. I decided to call the Best Buy Service Center in Chino as this was where the service was done. I called the service center on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 11:00AM. They told me that they can attempt to issue a new serial number, but I have to take it back to the same Best Buy and have it sent back into the service center.

All I am asking for is my serial number back. Either the original, which is probably impossible, or a new one issued. If this is not resolved when my service plan ends in November of this year I will have a notebook that I cannot prove is mine let alone the correct model. Since Best Buy is the only one that will accept my paper as proof. Although the Best Buy service center told me I could be issued a new serial number, the manufacturer told me that this is impossible. I am also worried about giving my computer back to this store because quite frankly I don’t trust them with my property anymore. Lastly, I would also like an apology from Best Buy for accusing me of fraud and embarrassing me. Not one person so far has said they were sorry to me. I don’t know who else to contact or if there is anything that I can do. I hope that this letter will help bring change to how Best Buy treats their customers, but it seems like all hope may be lost Thank you for your time.

-Jed

(Thanks to Jed!)
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. socritic says:

    People should really start recording all these manager reactions to be put online. The ultimate proof when embarrassing a company with its own shenanigans. Also, if someone could write a post about the legality of recording CSRs in person and on the phone, if not for legal purposes then for embarrassment purposes.

  2. aquanutz says:

    I give you credit for putting up with all of that. I would have flipped shit on them, especially if one of those douches accused me a fraud. God I hate best buy.

  3. darkened says:

    @socritic: If the phone system says this call may be recorded, go ahead and record it. Because, when a phone system says that, IT IS BEING RECORDED. So there’s entirely an assumption that the call is being recorded anyway.

  4. sleze69 says:

    Dahlia Mora.

    I love it when people post the names of these managers so that when their next employers do a google search for them, stories like these popup.

  5. Buran says:

    Aren’t THEY guilty of fraud for failing to abide by the service agreement? Or maybe it’s just breach of contract; either way, consider suing since apparently they won’t listen to anything less.

  6. Trick says:

    You should change your plan to never buy a extended warranty from Best Buy to never buying anything from Best Buy.

    That plan has worked very well for me and now about 30 people who have come to me for advice on computer or TV purchases… I have now cost Best Buy at least $40,000 in lost sales and that is not including what these people have told others…

    Besides, why would you want to shop at a place that assumes you are guilty when in fact they know they are at fault….

  7. MDSasquatch says:

    When the computer goes TANGO UNIFORM the next time, and it will, you should introduce yourself to Steve Jobs. Apple Care is very reasonable and the technicians will come to your house for the repairs. My APPLE had an overheating problem a few years back; a technician came to my house and fixed the problem. It took two weeks for parts to come in and Apple gave me a GIG of RAM for my inconvenience. On a side note, Macintosh cost more, but you get what you pay for.

  8. MDSasquatch says:

    TRICK, Add another couple grand to your total. I am in the market for a new HDTV and have just scratched BB off my list of potential stores.

  9. friendlynerd says:

    @MDSasquatch:

    Cause nobody ever posts about problems with Mac service?…see YESTERDAY

  10. warf0x0r says:

    @MDSasquatch: This isn’t a quality issue as much as it is an issue with an increasing desire for companies to make money by refusing service for something they should cover. I have no doubt that the whole serial number problem was caused by a lousy job by them in the past.

    @Trick: Good for you, but their still killing the competition. They are the Wal*Mart of electronics after all… :(

  11. MDSasquatch says:

    What does calling someone a freak have to do with the functionality of a computer? Additionally, what we are talking about is service, and in that arena, APPLE is far surperior.

  12. donnie5 says:

    Your BIOS contains the systems serial number and has to be changed manually to the new serial number of the Motherboard. You should be able to find the old SN in there.
    Good Luck.

  13. ionerox says:

    @MDSasquatch: AppleCare does not normally come to people’s homes for repair- usually you need to send it in to a repair depot or bring it to an Apple Authorized repair center. The folks who come out and do on-site tech support are part of the Apple Consultant Network (not Apple employees) and are not usually covered under AppleCare.

  14. armour says:

    @MDSasquatch: That was a few years ago have you read some of the service issue and the way people have to line up and treated by the Geniuses in the stores? Thier ratting for service and support of late has been no better then the rest of the computer industry.

    As for The geek squad incident take photos of your item and document everthing that has gone on. By the sounds of it you’ll need it in the future when you take them to small claims court.

  15. ninjatales says:

    @donnie5: Amen and also most computers come with their own identification software. It should be listed as a support software with the term “Gateway” in your case.

    Those BestBuy/GeekSquad people are so incompetent. The only thing I hear that they do is snoop around on customers’ computers and have some of them put behind bars.

  16. rbb says:

    A lot of the hassle could have been avoided if Jed had bothered to actually read the paperwork from each repair job when he picked up the computer each time and to physically inspect it (i.e., check the serial number) to make sure it was actually his computer.

    If he had done that in late 2007, then I imagine the conversation would go something like this:

    Jed: What does it mean here on the repair sheet where it says “bottom cover was replaced with model MX6421?” And why is the serial number missing on the bottom of this laptop? How do I know this is my laptop?

    Here’s another hint for Jed – read the repair sheets for any car repairs, read the itemized hospital bills and especially read all the mortgage papers…

  17. MDSasquatch says:

    All I can tell you is this: 2005 I went to the Apple Store in Austin Texas and bought an iMac. I also purchased the Apple Care for $149. About a year later the computer overheated and burned to a point where it wasn’t safe to turn on. I called Apple Care and they sent a guy to my house 2 days later. I lived in Canyon Lake at the time (way out in the country). Guy showed up, independent contractor out of Corpus Christi I believe. He diagnosed the problem and ordered the parts, came back to my house two weeks later and put in the new parts and the RAM I was sent from Apple. RAM was defective and he came back again to replace the RAM. I’d say the $149 was money well spent.

    To be fair, I have never used the Apple Store for service.

  18. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    I’ve only met 1 person that has had good luck with best buy service plans. First he bought a tower PC from them but it was a Piece of Crap and constantly broke. They would “fix it” but it never worked right. Its bascially a paperweight now. He later bought a laptop and bought the service warrenty with it. He had to take it in 2 times. The third time they told him they couldn’t repair it and gave him up to the purchase price on a new one.

    They said, which I dont believe, but the counter girl said that the warrenty covers ANYTHING now. I dont believe that but she said you can have it broken a day before the warrenty gives out and get a new one. Again I dont believe this but he’s had such good luck with their crap he might just do it. The thing only cost him $300 for the new warrenty.

  19. coold8 says:

    It is funny,

    Every time I read a Best Buy Story, I have noticed a very similar story. Manager assumes customer is wrong, manager is cocky, or manager is not manager, assistant manger, or did I mention the word MANAGER? Best Buy your problem is in MANAGERS, and generally cocky employees (something shady is going on here). Bad Company!

  20. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    I hope that this letter will help bring change to how Best Buy treats their customers

    Sigh

  21. kenblakely says:

    @sleze69: Yep – looks like Dahlia is a member of the local Chamber of Commerce. Email her at dahlia.mora@bestbuy.com

  22. skwigger says:

    I had purchased a Gateway 7508GX laptop from Best Buy a few years ago. I had all kinds of problems getting it repaired (so many times that within a year and a half I was able to get it junked out). Within a month it had overheated to the point that it warped the casing. When I turned it in for repairs (which took a month and a half since it sat on the Best Buy shelves for 3 weeks), they didn’t replace the case because it was cosmetic. I was livid, my 2 month old computer looked like hell. They offered me the usual $25 gift card, but I raised hell until they said they would replace it.

    Over the course of the next year, I had several more repairs and just as bad of service. The Geek Squad manager quit during this time, and I like to think that I had something to do with his decision. He wasn’t a bad guy, but maybe my situation made him realize that Best Buy is evil.

    I’ll never buy another computer from Best Buy, nor will I ever buy another Gateway computer again. I had numerous problems with Gateway as well.

  23. Benny Gesserit says:

    @MDSasquatch: Good suggestion and, failing this, shop somewhere other than Best Buy.

  24. shadow735 says:

    One word DELL, dont buy computers from big electronic companies like best buy or citcuit city.
    Dell is awesome in tech and customer service. Any problems I have had they have fixed, they have even lost money by replacing a transfere cable for use with Vista (when I had bought a computer that had vista that was later returned) with one that was for use with XP because the prev rep that handled the return of the computer with Vista told me it would still work with XP.
    Cant go wrong with Dell. They Got $3k of my money and a customer for life because of that great service

  25. mrbiggsndatx says:

    I just got paid today, and want to go buy a brand new PS3. Wont be buying it at Best Buy, but i will go into their store to loiter and play free video games!!

  26. if someone comes to your house to service your computer under applecare, they aren’t an apple employee (they are an apple authorized service provider/AASP and/or they’re part of the consultants network). Apple pays them to repair your computer (granted it’s under applecare warranty and the user is not at fault).

  27. Topcat says:

    @MDSasquatch: I LOVE this argument. “Buy a Mac! They might be more expensive, but at least they’re better bui….oh right, you’ll probably need Applecare. No, scratch that, get the damn Applecare you fool”.

    On the other hand, I’ve only had 2 catastrophic, potentially house-burning failures with my Macbook Pro (Magsafe adaptor frayed, then shorted, case split where processor cores were overheating…), so I’d say you need a damn good warranty with one of these things.

    It really sucks, however, that Best Buy assumes this guy is trying to cheat them. There is something seriously wrong with your company when you assume every customer is lying and stealing, even when they have proper documentation of your failure.

  28. RvLeshrac says:

    Sounds like someone is outsourcing repairs to Blue Raven!

    BR did the same thing to us recently with two HP laptops that were sent in for repair, and outright refused to correct the error. Had to pay someone else to swap the cases back.

    This is why you should always photocopy the bottom of a laptop before putting it in the shop. Better yet, photograph it. Even better, use one of the pieces of BIOS branding software.

    Don’t Gateway machines have the serial number listed in the BIOS anyway?

  29. RvLeshrac says:

    @Topcat:

    $500 more for the system, plus nearly $200 for the AppleCare. Otherwise, you get a 90 day warranty.

    That’s right, Apple has such incredible confidence in their well-built computers that they’re willing to bet that it won’t die for, at most, 3 months after the date of purchase. Unless you pay them more money.

    Of course, $200 for AppleCare is a steal, considering memoery replacement will cost you upwards of $200, cosmetic damage will cost you upwards of $500, and a bad motherboard will cost you $1,000 or more.

  30. rolla says:

    alas, another horror story involving BB

  31. MDSasquatch says:

    I owned an Apple IIc – No problems, even managed to unload it at a yard sale for a $100 a few years ago.

    Upgraded to a 6500/225 Tower – No problems whatsoever. I maxed out everything on the computer myself, when speed became an issue, I bought an iMac off eBay.

    iMac (blue one) was buggy at first, I reformatted the hard drive, installed the OS and never had a problem again. I eventually gave this computer to a friend for his kids to surf.

    Upgraded to the 20″ iMac I currently own – few issues at first, none since.

    I also have a G3 laptop; I bought two broken ones off eBay, took the parts to make one working system; sold the remaining parts on eBay and still use the laptop to surf wirelessly.

    I also own three iPods that work without incident

    In the big picture, Apple has served me very well

  32. FLConsumer says:

    @MDSasquatch: Apple’s customer service isn’t quite what it used to be… Sad, but true. Still not sure what I’m going to do when it comes time to replace my computer. Definitely not a Microsoft fan and Apple’s becoming more & more like MS every day.

    On this story, I know Best Buy does a ton of business, but so do many other companies…and they don’t seem to end up on Consumerist anywhere near as often as Best Buy.

  33. MDSasquatch says:

    The key with buying an Apple is never buy the first production; let them work out the bugs then buy.

  34. Buran says:

    @MDSasquatch: Huh?

  35. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    @Buran: Exactly what I was thinking. THEY tried to defraud YOU. If it were me, I’d sue them for the price of a new comparable model, plus costs.

    And, isn’t removing the serial number from a device illegal?

  36. Part-Time-Viking says:

    Best Buy employee here… I confirm that the people at the repair centers are a bunch of flying morons that probably have difficulty identifying a hammer from a screw driver. And reading things like this I wonder if I work at the only competently run Best Buy out there. My managers would have taken care of this guy without hesitation.

  37. @RvLeshrac: dude, its a one year warranty on parts and labor. you get 90 days of phone support with the standard warranty

  38. LAGirl says:

    since i started reading Consumerist, i’ve stopped shopping at Best Buy. not that i shopped there much before, since i always received pretty crappy customer service.

  39. royal72 says:

    at some point, don’t you grab the laptop and just start beating the corporate-manager-whore in the head with it?

  40. SwapMeet says:

    @donnie5:
    Great idea, but not going to work in this situation. The computer’s motherboard (along with the BIOS) was replaced on a prior repair.

  41. ionerox says:

    @RvLeshrac: It’s 90 days free phone support & a one year warranty.

  42. timshead says:

    “All I am asking for is my serial number back. Either the original, which is probably impossible, or a new one issued. If this is not resolved when my service plan ends in November of this year I will have a notebook that I cannot prove is mine let alone the correct model.”

    But you CAN prove that it is yours with the correct model number and serial number. Assuming you’re using Windows, write a vbscript to connect to the local WMI provider on your box. In there somewhere (I don’t know off the top of my head) you can pull up your serial number and your model number, despite what it says on the external casing of your laptop.

    Geek Squad can’t refute that at least.

  43. Empire says:

    All this Best Buy news is one of the reasons I still haven’t spent the Best Buy gift card I got 2 Xmases ago. I can’t find anything there for $50, and I absolutely refuse to give them even one dollar of my own money.

  44. jimconsumer says:

    This is typical Best Buy shenanigans. Never ever ever buy their extended warranties, especially their service plans. Even the “if it breaks we replace it” plan is crap – it works fine the first couple of times, but if they replace it with faulty hardware that also breaks, after a few times they cut you off and refuse to honor their warranty anymore.

    Just save yourself the hassle and never buy anything from Best Buy again. It took me awhile to get there, but I’m there now.

  45. Joafu says:

    @MDSasquatch: This isn’t a matter of Gateway trying to screw him over, it’s Best Buy. Had he bought a Mac from Best Buy, a similar situation might have occured. Also, why do all people who own a Mac insist on it’s superiority? I’m not being mean, my best friend owns one and trash talks my PC all the time. He likes photo editing, I like gaming; it’s not a matter of service as much as what the computer will be used for.

    Concerning the article, I once bought a service plan for my G1 iPod shuffle, never had to use it; then I bought another plan for my G2 shuffle when those came out, battery died outside apples warranty but BB couldn’t service it- intentional water damage (it didn’t go through the wash, but I did listen to it when I mowed my lawn, and I can work up a lather, this is the only ‘logical’ explaination) My beloved iPod now props up my keyboard, but I’ll wait until the workers cycle and I’ll try again. NEVER buy a service plan from Best Buy, you’ll NEVER use it. Actually, NEVER go to Best Buy.

  46. redhelix says:

    It’s a shame because I can tell you from firsthand (read: employee) experience that this isn’t the store’s fault. It’s actually pretty common for people to buy multiple models of the same laptop (small businesses) and try to apply the same SP to all of them.

    The problem with BB services is that the service center they ship stuff out to is terrible. The people they hire there are absolutely incompetent, and their word on a repair always overrides anyone’s at the store level. When the service center makes a mistake, don’t bother with the store people; just go right to corporate, because the geek squad guys CANNOT help you.

  47. Noyo says:

    Buy a Sony laptop next time and get the Sony extended service contracts from Sony when you register the machine.

    Get a Sony Digital Recorder for $170. It’s about the size of two small fountain pens. It will record for 19 hours straight, has excellent microphones, is easily concealable, and downloads the files to your computer. Make comical audio tapes by splicing and dicing the employees’ conversation, carefully editing out your voice (I’m sure there are a bunch of laws about this sort of thing). Burn MP3’s. Leave them where other employees can find them, carefully labeled as to who they contain. Send a few higher up into corporate. This should be fun. Post a few on an audio equivalent of U-Tube, maybe mix in some stills of the store for a video. This should be fun!

  48. Citizen Snips says:

    @mrbiggsndatx:
    I agree. its all BBY is good for, the loitering and free video games.

    and for asking the sales reps questions about the products that they usually know nothing about…or they just ignore your questions…

  49. HOP says:

    BEST BUY SUCKETH………

  50. Draconianspark says:

    Anybody with supervisor level access to their tag management system ( the GS Supervisor, otherwise known as the “DCI” or the customer service manager ) and anybody with admin level access to their AS/400 terminal ( any manager ) can modify the serial number ( and SKU, address, name, etc etc ) associated with a service contract in less than a minute; they’re full of it if they tell you anything otherwise.

  51. Draconianspark says:

    Oh, btw OP, did the purple sticker they put on your computer ( Or the places where the stickers are printed on your hard copy ) say DTV on it to the left of the barcode, or did it just have the barcode next to it. If it said DTV it went straight to gateway ( Direct to Vendor ) but if it didn’t it went to a bestbuy warehouse first, and then was possibly escalated to gateway later.

  52. usmcmoran says:

    I bought a laptop there a few years ago and the extended warranty, i had it serviced 2x with no problems, one thing i never knew was that the extended battery entitled me to 1 free battery a year. the battery for that model was over $100 so i made out on both the repairs and a free battery.

  53. ShadowFalls says:

    They could have easily made a note in the system for the future, if something goes wrong again, expect another hassle. You should bump this complaint way further up the ladder similar to the guy and the Saw IV shenanigans.

  54. shor0814 says:

    @timshead:
    Model number would be the only item that matches, the motherboard was replaced.

    I actually wonder if they just replaced the whole thing. Top cover, motherboard, bottom cover…sounds like too much work to me.

  55. elislider says:

    i’m actually going to side with best buy on this and say that they really have done about all they can because their systems dont allow for stuff like making general customer notes. they could make a note in a past service order (like the service order when the bottom cover was replaced) but then they would have to know to go back and look up a previous service specifically. also, there isnt really a way to “issue a new serial number”. they are per-unit, and they cant exactly fabricate one. keeping that paper with the proof the cover was replaced is actually probably the best option in your case because that way you can show it to them so they know to also look up that old service and put 2+2 together. this is a case of a poor database system and lazy/disinterested employees who put the onus on the customer to know everything so they get the service they paid for

  56. Draconianspark says:

    @elislider: The unit most certainly has a serial number; even if you need to go into the BIOS to get it. The new serial number is also listed on the invoice that the system was returned with; either way it is extraordinarily easy to change in bestbuy’s system.

  57. Goober99 says:

    Can’t we start a Wiki for posts of customer service issues with various companies? Larry Lessig is doing the same to try and bring attention to corruption in government.

    I’ve had a big problem with Microsoft for more than two months trying to get them to collect my Xbox360 for repair. After speaking to “the manager” there’s not much else one can do to vent one’s frustration. Companies need to be held accountable for poor customer service and the internet is the perfect medium for making sure this happens. There could even be a ranking – showing the companies with the highest number of complaints in different areas.

  58. RvLeshrac says:

    @discounteggroll:

    ASPs will not handle service if you don’t purchase AppleCare, though. You have to ship the unit back to Apple. This is a death sentence for anyone using the laptop for business.

    I have also seen Apple refuse warranty repairs for bad HDDs, self-cracking LCDs (MacBook Pro, LCDs do not crack straight down the middle with no surrounding damage or damage to the case when they are abused), major case failure (see the Aspergers story for an example of that), and bad keyboards on the grounds that it “couldn’t possibly” have failed without the user mistreating the hardware. They will also refuse warranty service on products that have been sold after the warranty period has ended (i.e. a cinema display that has been on a shelf for more than one year).

    As opposed to Toshiba, Lenovo, and Fujitsu, who have no problem covering service with ASPs. HP, Sony, Acer, Asus, and other brands don’t actually allow ASPs for laptop service, so they’re not counted in the equation.

  59. swalve says:

    Dollars to donuts they just swapped the computer out with a refurb unit and didn’t make note of it. Happens all the time.

  60. MrEvil says:

    I’ll tell you EXACTLY what happened to Jed’s computer. When he sent it in to have the motherboard replaced. Geek Squad Shitty had a good motherboard on-hand from another model in junk-out still attached to the bottom plastics. Rather than extracting the motherboard from those plastics, they took the lazy mofo’s route and just swapped the plastics with motherboard still attached. The bottom shell more than likely did not need to be replaced but some lazy douchebag did it because it was easier than taking the motherboard off Jed’s plastics and the new board’s plastics and swapping.

    When I have to replace the bottom shell on a laptop for a Dell customer, Dell puts a sticker on the bottom of the replacement part with the customer’s Service Tag (serial number) on it before it leaves the warehouse. So the outter shell of the system has the correct serial#. They include a second sticker for me to conceal the service tag on the old part.

    When I replace motherboards Dell sends me a CD-ROM with a DOS utility that lets me set the service tag that is displayed in the system BIOS. I am required to do this for both desktops and laptops every time a systemboard gets replaced. On some of the newer models tough, the BIOS has been flagged to let me set the service tag without the CD.

    I feel sorry for the poor bastards that buy their Dell from Best Buy. It doesn’t go through Dell’s normal support and service channels. The Reek Squad handles it all, and probably is too effing lazy to re-flash the service tag on your PC.

  61. Draconianspark says:

    @MrEvil: A lot of gateway computers go DTV ( Direct to Vendor ) in which case geek squad city would not have been involved in this.

    Get this, though, alot of the gateway models that were shipping when I worked for GS had the model/serial number information on a sticker on the door to the memory compartment; a completely detachable piece that was about half an ounce of plastic.

  62. opensight says:

    @socritic:

    Jed, I used to work at the Best Buy service center in MN. I repaired plenty of laptops during my 7 yr tenure with these bastards. I would guess that they possibly had some type of grounding power issue with your motherboard and figured changing the bottom case would help? If this is what happened, I know for sure that you got a used bottom cover from their parts suppliers. S/N and Model numbers will not be transferred to the new installed part. Your best bet is to have the store call the laptop depot repair center in Louisville or Chino and have them talk with one of the MGRS out there. Or have them check the part numbers the are documented on the Service Order for your previous repair. If the bottom case was ever replaced they can identify this the Part number documented in the STAR program or what-ever they use now. good luck

  63. RvLeshrac says:

    @opensight:

    As Draconianspark said, the serial number is typically located on one of the access panels. No reason they couldn’t have switched it during the repair.

    If it wasn’t, two minutes with a heat gun would have solved the problem. We do it all the time.

  64. Consumer007 says:

    Um, start playing tough. Call Gateway and let them know this store is illegally switching parts and serial numbers to defraud Gateway and customers. Further, threaten local suit in small claims court. That will get the original number back on there…quickly.