Woman Sues Best Buy For $54 Million Over Lost Laptop

Raelyn Campbell is suing Best Buy for $54 million for losing her laptop and lying to her for months about it. She bought a laptop from Best Buy with an extended warranty, it broke, she sent it in for repairs, months later she didn’t have her laptop and after getting the runaround the store finally said it had lost her laptop and offered her a $900 gift card. She paid over $1,100 for the laptop, she paid for software on it, and it had irreplaceable photos, music, and personal information, including her tax returns. She freely admits she chose the high figure to attract media attention. She tells the Red Tape Chronicles “I can’t help but wonder how many other people have had their computer stolen (or) lost by Best Buy and then been bullied into accepting lowball compensation offers for replacement expenses and no compensation for identity theft protection expenses.” She also has a blog.

A Lost Laptop, A $54 Million Lawsuit [Red Tape Chronicles]

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  1. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    She took a page out of that crazy judge’s book. Hope it turns out much better for her than it did him.

  2. chiieddy says:

    I hope she at least encrypted all that personal data she had floating around. She complains about it being lost with the data on it, but who would she sue if she left it on a park bench somewhere?

    I can tell you from experience, if it goes to trial the jury and/or judge will not be as sympathetic to her high claim which reeks of “just for the money” as they would be for actual value and even if BB is found negligent in this case, it’s unlikely she’ll get more than the value of the software licenses and the computer itself.

  3. Its The Beer Talking says:

    Tort reform FTW!!!!!!!

  4. Anyone know where her husband gets his dry cleaning done?

  5. chiieddy says:

    @chiieddy: I should also mention, the value of replacing the laptop in kind is not what she’s likely to get. She’ll probably get deprecated value of the laptop. It’s over 2 years old. A lifetime in PC laptop-land.

  6. B says:

    Unlike the pants case, I’m on the Plaintiff’s side on this one. Mostly because I hate Best Buy, but also replacing a laptop isn’t like replacing a pair of pants. As she pointed out, we store all sorts of personal and irreplaceable stuff on our hard drives. She should have had it backed up, but if Best Buy promised they’d return the laptop, they should be able to.

  7. hegemonyhog says:

    @chiieddy:

    “She complains about it being lost with the data on it, but who would she sue if she left it on a park bench somewhere?”

    Nobody, because you generally don’t take your computer to a park bench to get repaired based upon a purchased warranty.

    Unless you went to Park Bench Pete’s, of course, which does have a rather speedy turnaround time.

  8. Crymson_77 says:

    I hope she wins the entire $54 million. She should go for class status and up the amount to $500 million so that everyone gets a nice big slice of pie.

  9. B says:

    @chiieddy: The laptop was one year old when she brought it in for repairs, it just took Best Buy another year to realize it was lost.

  10. Jon Mason says:

    Yes they owe her for the laptop and/or incompetence. They don’t owe her jack for the data loss – TAKE A BACKUP if its that important, lady. What if the fault with the laptop had been a fried hard drive?

    Working in IT I have had to deal with a lot of users who complain about lost data… it’s almost a certainty that if you dont back up data you are going to lose it at some point.

  11. Pupator says:

    She signed a form when she checked it in to Best Buy saying that she understood that she was responsible for backing up her data and that BBY was not responsible for data loss. Everyone who leaves a computer with them signs that form.

  12. rbb says:

    “and it had irreplaceable photos, music, and personal information, including her tax returns.” Well, if it’s so “irreplaceable,” then she should have made backups.

    I wonder if she would sue Starbucks if she spilled a cup of coffee on her laptop and trashing the hard drive, thus destroying her “irreplaceable photos, music, and personal information, including her tax returns.”

    Personal responsibility – it’s more than just a concept…

  13. Parting says:

    @Jaysyn: I’m sure she took such high suit amount to attract media attention. Once she gets attention, she will settle for couple of $K.

  14. shan6 says:

    @masonreloaded: You should realize that these people aren’t fixing their own problems for the same reason they don’t back up their data. Because they simply down’t know any better. That’s where you come in, instead of talking trash, maybe you should help educate, oh god of IT.

  15. kelptocratic says:

    @chouchou: Exactly. As fun as it is to band these kind of suits around, something like +95% settle before a judge even takes the bench (or, in a lot of cases, the arbitrator).

  16. Anonymous says:

    $54 million? That sounds about right for a two year old laptop with a bunch of crappy family photos. I hate BB but she should have backed up her data.

  17. TheBigLewinski says:

    Not only does BB copy photos from PCs but now they are losing stuff, come-on people. I wonder if there are any “pictures” of Raelyn now floating around on the internet?
    Best Buy is a scumbag company, they should have just “done the right thing” from the start, when will companies learn?

  18. bluesunburn says:

    54 million dollars? It’s a laptop, not a pair of pants!

  19. Munsoned says:

    $54 million is extreme and there’s no way that she should get anywhere close to that (I’d put my $$ on about $1000 to $1500), but for all of those OP bashers on here, I would point out that when she gave the laptop to Best Buy (under warranty nonetheless), Best Buy had a responsibility to care for it. If they lose it, destroy it, give it to someone else to steal her identity, keep it for a year before telling her its lost, whatever, they have SOME RESPONSIBILITY to attend to the damages that would result from that conduct. Simply saying “she should have backed it up” may be well and nice from a practical standpoint, but it does not relieve Best Buy’s conduct here. Unfortunatly, I have a feeling that by seeking $54 million, she’s doing damage to her case as it obviousy comes across as an abuse of the legal system.

  20. shan6 says:

    @shan6: don’t**
    I’m an idiot…

  21. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    As said before, and as will be said hundreds of times before this case is settled….BACK UP YOUR DATA!!

    With external HDDs so cheap, as well as internal DVD-R drives and cheap as hell blank DVD-Rs, just back your stuff up!

    Took pictures of your vacation? When you get home, back it all up on a DVD-R. Hell, two DVD-Rs incase you loose one. Takes less than half an hour, less than $1, and no worries.

  22. Angryrider says:

    She’s suing Best Buy for THAT MUCH?!
    Sure she works for the NBR, but come on, even she should know millions is too much for a friggin’ laptop.
    [www.nbr.org]

  23. create says:

    Meh, I agree, back your shit up before taking a computer in for repair, however… they did still lose it.

    If it were me, and I didn’t back up and the hdd died, thats my fault for not keeping a backup. But even with that it gives them no right to lose her data, even if I had backed up, I would still be pissed at the prospect of my personal information floating around somewhere.

    If it were me, I would sue them for the brand new value of the notebook, or the value of a comparable new notebook in present time, the cost of software that I could find receipts for, and I would also seek to hold them accountable for paying any damages or costs due to identity theft for as long as possible.

    Whats worse is they wait so long to tell her, and then offer her $900, no way in hell would that fly, after a week of waiting for my laptop they would be so sick of seeing me that store security would know me by name.

  24. Crymson_77 says:

    @shan6: mason’s attitude is that of a youngling in the IT world. I have been working in IT for a long time and frankly, it isn’t that hard to recover data for people. An extra hour spent helping someone only leaves you both with a smile.

    @bluesunburn: BBY sucks, and no it isn’t a pair of pants. This is more equivalent to BBY walking into your house, taking all your pants (hangers and all), throwing them in a big pile in your living room, dousing them with gasoline, and then setting them on fire.

  25. hi says:

    @BLUESUNBURN – hahaha

    @everyone else: read the article before posting. The 4th sentence clearly states: “She freely admits she chose the high figure to attract media attention.”

  26. SchecterShredder says:

    This SAME situation happend to me with Best Buy. Same year too. They lost my mom’s laptop (claimed I abondoned it @ the Geek Squad kiosk, nice eh?) Disputed the charge with the credit card co. (lost, they could have cared less) I filed a police report (they could have cared less also) I was going to file a small claims suit against them but decided to give up and NEVER shop there again. I have never been back. It amazes me how awful this store really is. It’s almost like they ENJOY screwing people. I will wait patiently for the day that this company goes under. It will happen, it’s just a matter of time. By the way, my Mother is 79. Best Buy LOST/STOLE a 79 year old womans laptop. That sums up how this company operates. And yes, I bought her a new computer. It WASN’T purchased @ Best Buy either.

  27. timmus says:

    She freely admits she chose the high figure to attract media attention.

    She shouldn’t have shot her wad by saying that… she’d get a lot more attention by being vague about what the $54 million is all about. People like mystery.

  28. hi says:

    @CRYMSON_77

    Bluesunburn is talking about the fancy pants judge who tried to sue the dry cleaner for millions and lost his job.

  29. edrebber says:

    Seems like she waits for best buy to make an offer and then says it’s not enough. Why not itemize the expenses and ask best buy for that ammount.

  30. madrigal says:

    Best buy should be at fault for losing her laptop. However, she should have backed all of her crap up.

  31. sp00nix says:

    Again, BACKUP YOUR SHIT, and read the paper work. You get a credit for an equal product, not the cost of the unit. A $1100 Laptop that is 2 years old can be replaced with an equal machine for $800. Its a warranty not an “upgrade plan” as i had some customers call it. And yes i have had a few laptops lost, usually UPS had lost it in route and we do take car of the customer if we are aware. Not all the time do we have enough information to replace a laptop right then and there. As i had said in other posts i cant speak for other GSs, and im not gonna lie i have seen some dumb people working at a GS. We have had our share but they don’t last to long.

  32. lasciate says:

    Anyone who doesn’t backup their important, irreplaceable data deserves to lose it.

  33. Canerican says:

    I think she’s about $53,995,000 too high.

  34. Mr_Human says:

    I’m glad she’s suing for that amount. It’s clearly over the top, but companies need to be put on notice that you can’t treat your customers shabbily and expect them to cave on lame excuses and lamer recompense. And yes, she should have backed up her data.

  35. kc2idf says:

    @all of the “take a f^ck!n9 backup” crowd:

    Let’s suppose she did take a backup, what, exactly, is your zero-thought, off-the-cuff answer to what she does about the fact that someone else, someone unknown may have possession of her data? Encryption is great and all, but remains a bigger pain in the ass for the average user than backing up is.

    To those who suggest that she is making this lawsuit so big to get media attention, the answer is yes, she is. What is the problem with that?

    From The Red Tape Chroicles:

    The amount intentionally echoes another lawsuit that made headlines last year — a case involving a D.C. judge who sued a dry cleaner for $54 million over a lost pair of pants. That case was eventually dismissed.
    Campbell freely admits she picked the same amount in an effort to attract media attention.

    The matter remains: Best Buy and/or Geek Squad screwed up. They screwed up big, and then they lied about it, and then they insulted her with their offers of compensation. Best Buy needs to catch hell for this.

  36. stuckonsmart says:

    I giver her HUGE points for having brass balls, but take away those points for her lack of self-responsibility (Some may call it stupidity.)

    There is NO WAY IN HELL I am going to entrust my computer with my personal data on it to anyone else. I know that’s tough, but nowadays, entrusting your hard drive to anyone else IS INVITING TROUBLE a thousand different ways.

    If you can’t turn on the computer, then hire a neighborhood geek, while under your watchful eyes, to remove the drive before sending it off. Even if it means substituting it with a replacement drive.

    I recently needed to send my laptop to a service center for a faltering LCD. BUT FIRST, I backed up, REPEAT backed up the contents to an external hard drive, then performed a DOD 35-pass, disk wipe on the laptop’s hard drive.

    Again, I admit, a bit of trouble, but never, never, never entrust your data to a service center. My data was NEVER at risk, even if anyone along the line had mal-intent. They can’t steal what they can’t get to.

    It’s not the way it should be, but it is the REALITY.

  37. kelptocratic says:

    @Angryrider: Oh shit! NBR represent! I’m surprised she hasn’t sent Paul Kangas down there to regulate yet.

    “Here’s wishing you the best of good buys, bitches!”

  38. DeeJayQueue says:

    I say good for her. Best Buy screws over innumerable people on a daily basis. Bout time they got spanked for it. It’s this kind of thing that puts companies in check, because obviously we as consumers are powerless to stop spending money there, enriching the beast and reinforcing their shitty business practices.

  39. digitalgimpus says:

    I can’t feel to bad for people who don’t back up their stuff, and people who send computers in with a HD containing data. You don’t even need to include a HD. You can take it out. Some manufacturers even recommend it.

    If you don’t back up your data, you shouldn’t be allowed to call it “irreplacable”. There should be a law against that.

  40. blkhrt1 says:

    i bet $54 million that she gets maybe $54 FLAT.

    Yes she should’ve backed her data up. Fault- Her

    When any computer goes out to service, they are sent to service centers throughout the country. That service center is held BY THE MANUFACTURER along with BBY so BBY can do repairs on it.

    I’m sorry, but she got her 20 seconds of fame, she won’t win that much money, and she is greedy and selfish at the same time.

  41. DeltaPurser says:

    You know, it’s like all the other bullshit you pay extra for, and then, when you really need it… then you get nothing.

    Besides extended warranties, health insurance comes to mind…

    Hope she gets every damn cent! They are so quick to take the money, but when it comes time to pay out… then comes the finger pointing.

  42. Mr_Human says:

    @lasciate: I hate it when people say shit like this. Nobody deserves bad things to happen to them just because they didn’t think things through, or do something. She’s learned her lesson, of that I’m sure. But did she deserve to lose her data? No. It’s like saying that people who leave their doors unlocked deserve to get robbed (i know I’ve seen that comment somewhere on this site).

  43. savvy999 says:

    Damages for the loss of her data will be thrown out. There’s some clause somewhere in her service ‘contract’ that expressly talks about the repair service not being responsible for data. Standard clauses in everything data-related (computers, cellphones, hard drives, etc).

    BB is only liable for the cost of the laptop. This suit ain’t goin’ anywheres.

  44. LorneReams says:

    @Pupator:

    Correct, however Best Buy is in violation of the law for failing to notify her of the data theft. She seems to have a bigger problem with the data theft and the fact that Best Buy tried to bully her into a settlement for far less then the value of the computer after she was given the run around. “Oh, we lost your system and lied about it for 4 months? Here’s a gift card for 75% of the value” should not be an acceptable solution, and boarders on fraud. She absolutely won’t get the 54 million, and she knows it, but she does want everything to come to light.

  45. MoCo says:

    So I finally learn why I got such a great deal at Best Buy on an open-box laptop with a broken switch that is preloaded with a bunch of obscure software.

  46. Copper says:

    This is ridiculous. She put such a high price to gain media attention. Pisses me off already.

    She should definitely get what she paid and maybe a little extra for the inconvenience. But nowhere in the ballpark of $54 million. Not even $1 million. More like…$2000 if it cost her $1100.

  47. gingerCE says:

    Is she an attorney? Otherwise, if she actually got an attorney to file this case for her–he/she needs to be disbarred.

    She deserves compensation for her lost laptop–and that should’ve been dealt with in small claims where she would’ve won–no problem.

    Now she may end up having to pay Best Buy’s attorney fees if this turns out to be anything like how the pants case was settled. She’s also set up a good case that she is an irrational, greedy customer.

    And I agree about backing up important data. Her tax forms–did she not print out hard copies for herself? Did she not put her music on her ipod? Her photos on an ipod? And flash drives are incredibly cheap. Even burn it to cds if you don’t have another hard drive to use as backup. She had a laptop, for goodness sake, she was just waiting for a disaster to happen without backing her data up.

  48. xoxerica says:

    Good it took Best Buy months to tell me that my laptop had water damage and it would cost $900 to repair. It had water damage because the first time I sent in for repairs UPS left my laptop in a cardboard box in the rain. Oh and UPS told me it was my fault because they can’t predict when it’s going to rain. Which is nice, real nice. So needless to say when I bought a replacement laptop it wasn’t at Best Buy.

  49. blkhrt1 says:

    @LorneReams: Actually, if you read, she spent an extra 250 for the service plan, which would make the total price for the laptop around 850. They offered a gift card in the amount of the laptop ONLY, which is what her initial bitch-session was about.

  50. blkhrt1 says:

    @xoxerica: So UPS leaving the laptop in the rain is best buy’s fault?

  51. Buran says:

    @Its The Beer Talking: There are these things called punitive damages… aka “don’t do it again” lessons. They’re high for good reason. A puny fine will mean nothing but a huge one that actually costs the company something will be a deterrent.

  52. SnickerDoodle says:

    ARRRRRRRGGGGG

    If you’ve read the article, the biggest point she is making is that BB lied and strung her a line over the laptop, where it was, needing to order parts and the ETA of the laptop’s return.

    Yes she is upset about losing her data, and yes she should have backed up her data, but that does not relieve BB of its responsibility to keep a customer’s property safe and secure and to be honest about it.

    BB lost a laptop (data excluded) and then lied about it…for 6 months. I hope she wins and BB is forced to pay enough to change their ways.

    BB PAY ATTENTION!

  53. RAREBREED says:

    @Pupator:

    It’s NOT that data was lost, but that her personal information was lost by Best Buy and is now somewhere not even the company knows. Any employer who allows personal data to be unaccounted for either intentionally or unintentionally must by law make the employees aware of this. How odd that consumers aren’t given the same respect.

    Corporate conglomerates continue to dominate a market where consumers are constantly screwed over, and this is simply a product of society. Remember when there was NO Best Buy? I know of a few communities that were ecstatic to get one locally. Now, as per the “Starbuckification of America,” (totally my term used for a college paper!) the very luxury we once valued is now seeping up our souls…

  54. ? graffiksguru says:

    @chouchou: Bingo

  55. Buran says:

    @blkhrt1: Someone working for money for an employer works on behalf of that employer, yes. So Best Buy’s delivery service works on Best Buy’s behalf.

  56. sp00nix says:

    Also, i have dealt with allot of customer like these. Most do not seem to be the rational type of person. “ITS BEEN OUT FOR 4 MONTHS” “Mam, its been a week and a half.. see…” “THATS NOT THE POINT I RUN 4550235 BUSINESS AND I NEED MY COMPUTER”….

  57. smoothtom says:

    You can’t destroy the license for software simply by deleting the software, can you? Did she purchase the media?

  58. sp00nix says:

    @smoothtom: Nope, She probably lost the disk and the case.

  59. gingerCE says:

    They’ve offered her $2500 plus a refund on the cost of her computer (1100) plus a 500 gift card.

    The reality is when it’s a small business owner people were for the cleaners, when it’s BB, well people can hate big corporations. Problem is, the cases are very similar. She should take the settlement because if this case goes to trial, she might have to pay BB attorney fees.

  60. blkhrt1 says:

    @Buran: Yes, if BBY sent it out via UPS and UPS left it in the rain, that can still fall liable to BBY, but in reality, it is UPS’ fault for doing so. BBY should have insurance on it though. Then maybe they’ll use FedEx next time.

  61. blkhrt1 says:

    @smoothtom: She just wants her money back for all those CDs she bought! The license and programs don’t matter…its the CDS!

  62. Crymson_77 says:

    @xoxerica: You should have checked the contract. Part of the shipping contract is the expectation that the contents will not be ruined by the shipping company. You most likely could have gotten UPS to pay for that.

  63. I didn’t RTFA, but in a few states (even with a waiver), you can be held liable for quite large sums of money for negligent handling of identity-theft-useful data that results in loss of control of that data, even if the breach is only theoretical.

    Saw a case for $60,000 for a shipper losing a birth certificate.

    It’s meant to be both punitive to encourage better data-handling, and to provide compensations for the possibility of future identity theft, which (as all consumerist readers know) can be an expensive and time-consuming nightmare to sort out.

    None of these cases has yet gone appellate, so we’ll see how that flies, and if other states start adopting similar case or statute law. But I honestly don’t think it’s inappropriate to attach punitive damages to loss of data control.

  64. SVreader says:

    How does the store “lose” a laptop? There are only so many places it could be, right? I wonder how many laptops they “lose” a year, and where these end up?

  65. Dorgon says:

    I read through quite a bit of her blog, and I can see that the she had made more reasonable settlement requests early on, and that she had been ignored or denied.

    The important thing to note here: she is not upset with the original crime so much as she is with BB covering it up.

  66. TMurphy says:

    If this case has any ability to make BB and similar places more responsible for their actions, that would be great. BB should have to pay the full cost of the products they lose (not even offering to cough up the cost of the laptop, minus software, is a cheap enough move that they deserve to be penalized). They should also be liable for personal information at the same level that your employer is liable if they lost a laptop with your information on it. While that does not make BB legally responsible for anything as is, they would definitely be at fault if identity theft were to occur (I am not very familiar with the related laws, so I won’t try to be specific, and I don’t know if what I’ve said is entirely accurate).

    Is there anything in the paperwork that allows them to get by with stuff like this? I definitely wouldn’t give my laptop to any place that is legally able to lose it and make me take any part of the cost for their mistake.

  67. gingerCE says:

    @SVreader: Because of this suit, BB will find her laptop.

  68. feep says:

    I think the “not responsible for loss of data” thing probably only applies to what happens in a case of “reasonable expectations” due to a repair. That may not apply to a stolen/lost laptop, unless BB wants to argue that this may be a reasonable expectation with their service. If that is the case it would be a major PR blunder. Obviously, I could be wrong about that.

  69. Jon Mason says:

    @shan6: Urm… I’m no god of IT (maybe a demigod). Of course people need to be educated – I’ve lost data before through my own stupidity/neglect and it woke me up to the real chance I could lose everything – but nobody else was responsible but me, I’m not going to blame somebody else for it and neither should she.

    @Crymson_77: Urm – I only said I had to deal with a lot of people complaining about it. I didnt say I didnt help them attempt to recover it – I worked for large companies inhouse IT (not retail stores) we had special disk recovery software, and also sent disks away to third party specialists if it was vital data. We did everything we could, and yes I smiled to them, gave them their data back and EDUCATED them on ways they can back up their data to prevent a similar situation.

    But dealing with sales reps who have had laptops stolen and then complain about data loss is a lose-lose situation. and unfortunately for most non-IT or non-anal people it takes experiencing data loss to shock them into backing up in the future.

    -
    Finally – how long have computers now been around, most people have to use them for their jobs, it’s not some specialized industry and people should not continue to assume they are some magic box that will work forever and keep their data secure forever – they are machines and will inevitably go wrong.

  70. DrGirlfriend says:

    Can we all agree that, yes, she should have backed up her data?

    Yes, tje amount is excessive. She admits that it is artificially high in order to attract media attention. When a company like Best Buy screws us over as consumers, a lot of times we feel powerless because, in the grand scheme of things, they screw us out of an amount of money that is large to us, but small to them. There’s no incentive for a company like BB to clean up its act. Even all the Consumerist articles that are floating around about BB are likely not enough to get them to pay attention.

    BB took an item from a customer in order to repair it. Not only did they lose it, but they lied to her for an entire year. Then when they finally admit to it, they offer an insulting amount as compensation.

    This isn’t about whether or not she backed up her data. Had she backed up her data, she owuld still be without her laptop, and she would still have been strung around for a year by a company that doesn’t give a crap. She will most likely not get $54 mil, nor should she, but the way I see this, she’s taking a shot at showing BB that it’s not in their best interest to screw around with consumers after all.

  71. Sherryness says:

    @stuckonsmart:

    Thank you for putting into words basically what I was thinking. I never would have handed over all my personal data to someone like that. It would have been backed up and then gone.

    But then I also remove my car key from the ring and hand it to the Jiffy Lube guy and take anything of value out of my car, including my registration and all of that stuff.

    Simple prevention can save so much time.

  72. IrisMR says:

    I hope she’ll at least get a million for her trouble. And it’s not about whether she had a backup or not… It’s about that her laptop, which had important personal info on it, VANISHED! Now where oh where is her data?

  73. theblackdog says:

    As long as she doesn’t start crying while giving testimony, she might be able to win this lawsuit and keep her job!

  74. Dervish says:

    @IrisMR: Yes, exactly! For chrissake, this case was not filed because she no longer has access to her personal data! She hardly even mentions that in the blog. It’s clearly all about the fact that she is now at risk for identity threat, that she was not notified of this fact in a timely manner – as required by law – and that BB has never been honest with her about the situation. They even went so far as to create a false record to make her think it was still in their posession!

    For all those who are saying she’s greedy, read the effing blog. She has, at points in the past, agreed to settle for much less. This is all about getting BB in trouble and getting them to revise their security policies, and not at all about getting rich.

    I’m really disappointed at the overall caliber of comments on this story. I wish people would make an effort to gather the facts and post relevant and contributing comments, instead of the same thing over and over again.

  75. She will not get anything like $54 Mil from any reasonable judge or jury. Her losses are nothing like that, even factoring the irreplaceableness of her photos.

    BB will probably settle out of court. For a considerably lower amount.

  76. AgentTed says:

    Poor woman. She lost all of her data because she failed to back up her stuff. I hope this teaches her a lesson.

    BTW, I will bet you anything that if you bring up her receipt, the laptop price will be $900 and the price of the warrant brings it up to $1,100.

    The Consumerist is good at blowing things out of proportion.

  77. jermjerm says:

    She should have backed up her data but I think she’s more mad that her laptop is out there with all that data on it. Someone could get their hands on that information and use it to her identity or worse. She wants to compensated for the steps she’s going to have to spend to protect herself from fraud.
    The $54 million is to get media attention, forcing Best Buy to not let it go to court and come up with a settlement quick. Not talking about the case to the media will surely be a part of that settlement ending the bad press Best Buy will get for this incident. If Best Buy doesn’t settle out of court and soon, you better believe that there are going to be undercover investigations on major news shows (not just the local ones). Best Buy should know that those investigations will not make them look good, so they need to silence this woman ASAP or they are in for a shit storm of bad press.

  78. stinkingbob says:

    The most she will win is about $5000. Cost of laptop, plus punitive damages, + time spent in emailing, correspondence back and forth. Data loss, she will get nothing for that.

  79. picardia says:

    I side with the plaintiff. (The big money amount for publicity may shoot her in the foot, but that’s another issue.) Best Buy lost her computer and lied about it for a year. Could somebody in-house be misusing her data for identity theft? Well, when they lie about whether or not the computer is even lost for A WHOLE YEAR, you have to wonder.

  80. Hoss says:

    According to her blog, she accepted a $1110 credit to her account plus $500 gift card. All she is doing now is blowing smoke.

  81. statnut says:

    Here’s a question: When treating your computer why cant BB/Geek Squad backup the HD for you? Seems like doing it isnt very hard, according to some around here, so why isnt that part of the treatment, considering it would probably be faster and better if someone who knew how to do it did it.

  82. marchhare22 says:

    Your missing the point of asking for $54 mill. Its not so much because she is greedy (she just happens to be lucky enough to get it) but its to actually have an IMPACT on Best Buy. If they have to pay her 1500-3000 for her troubles whats the difference? They make so much more than that. The amount is to show Best Buy they cant just get away with treating customers like this. 54million is a smack in the face to them, 1500 would only make them laugh.

  83. LorneReams says:

    @Hossofcourse:

    Do you have a link, I can’t find it. The last item I read said she turned down a $2,500 settlement.

  84. redhelix says:

    @statnut: I worked for Geek Squad for several years, and although I’m not one to stick up for them in the media, that’s a bad idea. Backing up someone’s data and compiling it onto a CD/DVD (in such a way that the user can easily navigate it without calling you back) can take upwards of 20 minutes to a half hour. A given precinct only has one or two store-use PCs, and it would be retarded to have them burning media 24 hours a day rather than using them for their intended purpose.

  85. DashTheHand says:

    I’d throw the case out simply because of the high number. Shes being a media whore and even said so. Everyone knows that Best Buy sucks, theres no point in putting a lawsuit against them with a stupid amount on it. Put something reasonable, like at the MOST $25,000 for lost time, data, and lying. I bet she has $54 million pants too.

  86. redhelix says:

    Also: Anything she had installed on her laptop is pretty much irrelevant to her case. She signed a disclaimer saying Best Buy isn’t responsible for lost data or software. Legally, they can format your hard drive without your consent and not be liable.

    And I can see why the manager would offer her less for the value of her laptop: He wasn’t trying to screw her completely, he was just offering a prorated refund of the value of the machine. If you bought a car in 1986 for 20 grand and a mechanic broke it this week, he wouldn’t offer you 20 grand for breaking your car.

  87. billeth0 says:

    Many people are missing something “important”, I blame the article for not stressing it enough.She isn’t upset just about the stuff she lost, which as many people pointed out she should have backed up, but about the fact that the sensitive data is somewhere else. The data included everything including her tax returns. As was mentioned in that article Best Buy is required by the law in that state to notify a person when their sensitive information is lost or stolen, that hasn’t happened. Also one of the important things to note is she was intentionally and repeatedly lied to about the whereabout and condition of her machine. Had they been honest upfront she wouldn’t have a case, but she might even be able to claim conspiracy to commit or cover up theft.

    Yes $54 million is to high. However, I think if she sues to get a replacement machine, covers time lost trying to track it down, and gets some kind of stipulation that if she should be the victim of identity theft in the next 5-10 years, that Best Buy will cover all costs associated with stopping and correcting it she has a good chance.

  88. ianmac47 says:

    For far too long, corporations have been cavalier with protecting customers’ property. Its insulting that Best Buy offered this woman less than the price she paid for the laptop after they lost it.

    If she was rewarded with merely the value of the lost laptop, Best Buy would write it off and their actuaries would sit calculating how much money they saved having crap customer service vs. replacing a few miffed customers’ property.

    But with a $54 million dollar lawsuit, Best Buy loses both financially and through bad publicity. Meanwhile, if every customer who’s laptops were lost enjoyed a multi-million dollar payout, Best Buy would be a lot more cautious about handling customers’ property.

  89. Crymson_77 says:

    @DashTheHand: I would agree with you, if that number was more like $100,000 for exposing her to possible identity theft. That $100k does not include the rider that BBY has to pay ALL lawyer and court fees, of course. I would rather she end up with slightly over a mil though.

  90. shadow735 says:

    I dont store any personal data or anything I dont want others viewing on my Computer, PDA . Best BUy Sucks anyhow. I have a external drive that I back up all my data plus all the software I have I can reinstall from the orig disks or re-download from the place I bought it.
    Anyhow doesnt surprise me Best Buy would try to lowball her on compensation. But 54 millions seems a big excessive unless it was a class action

  91. MissPeacock says:

    @DrGirlfriend: THANK YOU!

  92. Hackoff says:

    What a bunch of pussies. Wah wah wah… suing for too much money. Poor best buy!

    WTF?!

    BB lost it, lied about it, then lied some more, then said “oops, our bad”.

    Regardless of what she signed when she took the laptop in, if the repair wasn’t hard drive related, then she shouldn’t have to worry about her data being lost. Jesus, this ain’t freaking brain surgery.

    This is about incompetence on the part of BB and the old rope ‘a dope until the customer either gives up or freaks out. Companies like BB make $$$ on wearing people down to the point where they give up.

  93. redhelix says:

    Oh, and another note: If you have documents as sensitive as your tax returns on your laptop and you voluntarily put that machine in a strangers’ possession, you’re an idiot. Period. QED.

  94. randombob says:

    All you “back your stuff up” people are missing the point… As are all of you “only $1500″ people.

    BB LOST her computer. Can you say where her information is? or in who’s hands it may be? Hell, let’s assume she DID back up. That information is STILL SOMEWHERE ELSE, TOO. And that’s a BIG problem. Now, let’s compound that with the fact that they lost it ALMOST A YEAR BEFORE THEY TOLD HER ABOUT IT.

    Compensatory Damages: $1500 for the missing hardware, BUT add in the fact that she was WITHOUT SAID LAPTOP FOR 9 MONTHS. How much is that worth? And lost registration, software licenses as well? That all adds up to a pretty penny. She should not have to shell out a DIME to get back to where she was before she brought the laptop in for service.

    Punitive Damages: Let’s teach BB that breaching their contract, losing customer’s equipment, then proceeding to LIE ABOUT IT FOR UPWARDS OF 9 MONTHS, and then OFFERING LESS THAN THE REPLACEMENT COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THEIR MISTAKE, is not a good thing to do, and make sure they never do it again, and that no one else ever tries to do it either.

    Suddenly, $54 million seems about right.

  95. exkon says:

    “Attract media attention…”

    Not a bad way of going around it.

  96. courtneywoah says:

    I am once again amazed at how nasty and judgmental people are. The fact that her data was not backed up is irrelevant, she took her computer in to get fixed and BB lost it. What’s the point of saying over and over again that she should have backed her stuff up, that is not the point. Also, re-read the post. She purposely chose a high figure to attract media attention, not because she expects to get anywhere near that. I would be upset too if a company that was supposed to fix my computer lost it.

  97. Nighthawke says:

    She is bringing up the fact that the main reasoning behind the suit is fraud and loss of personal property (namely, one laptop). The data is a part of the suit, but is not the key deciding factor.

  98. jackal888 says:

    I do not think her price is crazy.Pics and videos that can never be replaced. what if her wedding photos and baby’s first steps were on there. She should have backed up her stuff but at the same time they should not have lost/stole her laptop.

  99. StevieD says:

    @redhelix:

    Thank you.

  100. HOP says:

    BEST BUY SUCKETH

  101. guspaz says:

    Sorry guys, I’ve got to side with Best Buy on this one.

    1) There is a reasonable expectation that your data WILL NOT be preserved when you turn in a computer for repair. While it’s normally expected that this applies mostly to software repairs, it’s not BestBuy’s job to safeguard your data when you turn it in for repair.

    2) They tried to make amends by offering her $900, which is far more than the replacement cost/value. For that price, she can buy a much better laptop than the two year old $1100 one she had. She would be, in effect, getting a free upgrade.

    I’m really not seeing why BestBuy should have to pay her a dime more than they offered. They did the right thing here. They admitted they messed up by losing it, and offered her enough money to get a far nicer laptop.

    What a pointless, frivolous lawsuit. I’m glad that I don’t live in the US.

  102. IrisMR says:

    @redhelix: Oh yes, you’re an idiot….. unless your computer breaks in a way that you cannot access the said files to delete them anymore, uh?

  103. IrisMR says:

    @guspaz: It’s not that she lost her data! It’s that they LOST HER COMPUTER. They cannot confirm the data is deleted. They don’t know where it is! It could’ve been thieved.

  104. diablofreak says:

    it’s not dumb. yes 54mil is high, but they did indeed lost a product and tried to lie their way through it, a big no no when you’re this big and you have so many haters for your company (i think best buy cleaned up a little bit this past year, prices got a bit better, but i still hate geek squad)

    if they could not repair it, she could’ve taken the hard disk out to retrieve the ‘irreplaceable” data. as opposed to completely losing her personal data right now.

    then again she should’ve known better to take it to geeksquad or best buy for repairs. :)

  105. Hackoff says:

    @guzpaz

    You have to be kidding me. BB admitted to losing the computer almost a year after they initially lost it.

    If you honestly believe they did the right thing by admitting that they lost it after all that time, I want to borrow your car, have you sign a contract releasing my liability if I crash or lose you car. Then I will be in the clear when I lose the car. I will offer you the depreciated value of the car 10 years from now. I would be man of the year for admitting to losing it after all that time!

  106. dugn says:

    GUSPAZ said it right.

    Summarizing lots of previous comments: The moment BB provides the form she signed when she dropped of her laptop for repair noting that BB is not responsible for her data or incidental losses – the whole thing goes away in BB’s favor.

    This lady’s pissed she blew it (yes, stupidity) and she’s looking for someone to pay for her lack of brain cells.

    I hate BB and would never shop there again. But this lady (as previously mentioned) has balls to ask for $54 million. But is too stupid to realize it’s her own damned fault.

  107. redhelix says:

    @IrisMR: The hard drive isn’t what broke.

    I’ve had my 6-year-old Satellite Pro go in for repairs 7 times during its lifetime, and each time I’ve removed the hard drive before dropping it off because I don’t trust a squabble of uncertified techs and an indifferent corporation with my private data. And it’s not even remotely difficult to do.

  108. Hoss says:

    @LorneReams: See the blog link in the article above. In her blog she has a 1/3/08 letter to BB which in part says “(B)est Buy unilaterally transferred the $1110.35 into my credit card account and sent a $500 gift card. I will accept the $1110.35 to offset expenses, but, as stated in my letter to Mr. Feivor, I donated the gift card to a non-profit organization when Best Buy did not request its return by December 1 st.”

    So she already accepted a settlement in the matter, $1110 + $500

  109. guspaz says:

    They offered her far more than the deprecated value. After two years, my ballpark guess would be that the thing would be worth half as much as what she paid for it, or less.

    It sucks that they lost it and took so long to admit it, but they DID give her MORE than they needed to.

  110. shad0ws says:

    huh, no one told me it was jackass day on the internets.

    she’s “irresponsible” because Best Buy LOST her laptop? that’s a new one to me.

    $54 million? good. no one said she was going to GET that settlement, and last i checked, lawsuits aren’t an all-or-nothing deal. you ask for a high amount to get press coverage (like she *says* she did) and also because it makes it a lot easier to settle for a nice chunk of money. (… besides, you really think $54 million is anything more than a slap-on-the-wrist to a company like that? please.)

    .. & how is her asking for that much $ ANY different than Best Buy offering $200 LESS than what she paid for the laptop, from them, in the first place? and moreover—they only offered a GIFT CARD as compensation, which is like saying “hey, we’ll compensate you for the laptop, as long as you *only buy a new one from us*”.

    the moral of the story is that Best Buy acted like a big evil remorseless corporation, and now someone’s trying to make them pay for it. well gee golly damn, that sure is an AWFUL thing to do, eh?

  111. guspaz says:

    @shad0ws: Why shouldn’t they give her $200 less? The amount they initially offered was enough to buy a far better laptop than what she had before. They could have offered to give her an equivalent laptop, which would have had even less value. She got a good offer, and the settlement of $1600+ that she accepted was FAR more than they needed to give.

  112. redhelix says:

    @guspaz: Exactly. And you know what? I don’t believe for one second that she suffered any financial or personal struggle from the absence of the laptop. After 5 weeks in service, I would be calling the store every day for updates on the repair. I would NOT let it get drawn out for several months and let the situation get as bad as it did.

    The bottom line is she dropped off a machine with VERY sensitive information stored on it and didn’t raise a fuss when the repair was taking too long. It’s the company’s fault, but with the sheer VOLUME of repairs that take place there, you can’t expect a small crew of GS guys to keep tabs on your machine unless you call and ask. Tough luck, that’s the way it is.

  113. statnut says:

    @guspaz: Here’s the thing. If she should accept less because of depreciation, why do they offer the PRP, where you get the full amount you paid for(plus tax), regardless if the item has dropped in price?
    I bought a PlayStation Portable from them on launch, and bought the PRP. When it broke 1 year and 9 months later, they gave me what I paid for it then, even though it had dropped considerably in price by then. Sorry, but depreciation doesnt cut it. And as others have said, god knows wher laptop is now.

  114. Part-Time-Viking says:

    If this had happened at my store, I know that my managers would have taken care of it and gotten this woman a new laptop. What the hell are they thinking only offering a $900 giftcard? I now am under the impression that I work at the only competently run Best Buy out there.

  115. Brad2723 says:

    I wish there was a law against frivolous lawsuits. Best Buy makes no guarantee of data safety. At the most, she should be compensated for the cost of a new laptop at equal or greater value.

  116. redhelix says:

    @statnut: That’s why the PRP isn’t offered for that product, statnut. PRPs are only offered for some game consoles and electronics under $250. For laptops, you can only buy a PSP.

    And you know what? In circumstances where the unit can’t be repaired, your PSP only grants you the deprecated value of the product. So yeah, depreciation does cut it, actually.

  117. gingerCE says:

    @Hossofcourse: If she accepted the money and the gift card (should’ve returned it to best buy directly or destroyed it) then she has no case. It will get thrown out.

    She filed this case herself. She should’ve talked with an attorney. Her case is over–she may get her day in court but her case will be thrown out.

    She might be able to continue if she A) returns the money back to Best Buy for the credit (sends them a check) and finds that gift card and send it back to them. If she accepted their “payment” she’s screwed.

  118. gingerCE says:

    @statnut: I agree that she should not have accepted less than the value, but they have already credited her the full amount she paid (plus the warranty) for her laptop and given her a $500 gift card–they are now offering her an additional $2500. She is paying $10 a month for identity theft security purposes which I could see BB continuing to pay but other than that, she has no case.

  119. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @guspaz:

    There is a reasonable expectation that your data WILL NOT be preserved when you turn in a computer for repair.

    If you read the article (or, even better, the linked blog, or even the comments in this discussion) you’ll see that the lawsuit has almost nothing to do with the preservation of her data. It has to do with the protection of her data.

    The problem is not that she no longer has access to the data on that laptop, but that someone else – someone who has already proven themselves a criminal by taking it in the first place – now has access to her personal financial information.

    Best Buy, knowing that that machine contained personal information that could be used for identity theft, had a legal responsibility to safeguard it. They also had a legal requirement to inform her IMMEDIATELY when it was discovered missing. Instead they lied, obfuscated, delayed, and did everything in their power to COVER UP the data breach.

    They broke the law, and in so doing exposed her to a substantial risk of financial ruin. In face of her inquiries, they continued to break the law (not incidentally prolonging her risk) for MONTHS. And if their actions were the result of discussions among the employees, then it was a conspiracy.

    And at no point has Best Buy expressed the slightest inclination to even admit they were in the wrong, much less actually make any changes to prevent it from happening again.

    Frankly, a few thousand dollars for her lost property sounds fair to me. But given the real dangers of identity theft, their complete disregard for both the law and the customers private information, and their attempted coverup it seems to me that a large punitive damages award is a perfectly reasonable way to get them to change their behavior.

    Twenty four million dollars represents one day of profits for Best Buy. So while this lady may not deserve to get 24 million dollars, it seems to me that Best Buy sure as hell deserves to pay it.

  120. MonkeyMonk says:

    Good for her. She’s making a statement not a serious attempt at getting 54 million so I don’t have any problem with the amount. Best Buy has some serious issues and if actions like this is what it takes to make them get their shit straight than I’m all for it.

  121. Part-Time-Viking says:

    @TinyBug: I agree that she should get something back for all of this, I expect to hear about a settlement before the case even goes to court. But 54 million is an absurd amount given the circumstances. At that point it’s rather frivolous as many have already stated. Was her laptop, or is the potential damage of the missing information worth 54 million? Unless if she has information on that computer to where Jimmy Hoffa is buried, or is the personal heiress to Bill Gates fortune then I don’t think so.

  122. statnut says:

    @redhelix: I’m well aware thats it not offered for that product, but apparently you miss my point. If they’re willing to pay out full retail price from a product I bought almost 2 years ago, and one that had a price drop from the manufacturer, why did they initially offer less than what she paid for her laptop, that they lost? Poor showing.

  123. gingerCE says:

    Actually, instead of sending BB a cashier’s check for the money that have already credited back to her (the 1100 plus 500 gift card), she probably should have her lawyer hold those amounts in an escrow account–oh, wait, she doesn’t have an attorney?

    She needs to get an attorney. She should settle (they have offered her $2500 in addition to the full refund and gift card) which she declined. If she takes this to court, BB will sue her to be reimbursed for legal costs and they might have a case against her–if she turns down reasonable settlements in order to continue to litigate, her suit starts to become malicious.

    And she probably will have a hard time finding any attorney to take her case for percentage (an attorney might take her on if she pays hourly) because of that binding contract she signed with BB. Should BB pay $10 monthly fee to keep her credit monitored? Yes. Legally, they don’t have to though based on the contract she signed.

  124. Mr. Gunn says:

    I know most of y’all posting don’t have any conception of this, but her time is worth something too.

    She should be compensated for:
    Property
    Time
    ID theft exposure
    and BB should be further penalized with punitive damages.

  125. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @Part-Time-Viking:

    Was her laptop, or is the potential damage of the missing information worth 54 million?

    You seem to be missing the point. I already said that a few grand seems like a reasonable award for her actual damages. Hardware, software, time, trouble, legal fees, ID protection services, etc.

    The whole point of punitive damages has nothing whatsoever to do with what the plaintiff deserves or is entitled to. The point is to punish the company (thus the name – I mean, c’mon). And an award of a few thousand dollars is absolutely PAINLESS to a company like Best Buy. Miniscule. Utterly forgettable. They lose more money than that on their Black Friday specials in a SINGLE STORE.

    Having them pay ten grand in damages is like grounding your teenager for two minutes, or reducing their weekly allowance by a nickel.

    They had more than thirty five billion dollars in revenue in ’07. How much of an award do you think it would take to make them understand how serious their infraction was and to ensure that they won’t ever do it again?

  126. redhelix says:

    @statnut: The PSP and PRP are actually insurance policies from AIG, and the cost of them are all based on the probability of the product breaking. Compared to the cost of the product, you pay disproportionately more for the PRP than you do for a PSP. Thus, when you look at worldwide sales of PRPs, the deprecation of value in the product doesn’t really matter because they can afford to give you the full cash value back. Plus, lower-priced electronics do not depreciate in value as quickly as computers do. The XBox 360 has been out for around 3 years now, and has only lost around 20% of its value. Meanwhile, a 3-year old laptop has lost closer to around %60 of its value. It’s pretty straightforward.

  127. Part-Time-Viking says:

    @TinyBug: The thing is, there is no specification of where the product was lost. When my store ships laptops (or any product), there are generally two methods to do so. Either we ship it directly through our own trucks, or we use UPS. If it were lost via UPS, then it is not BB’s fault for its disappearance. Was it wrong to flat out lie about it? Yes, however it may not be BB’s fault that it was lost in the first place. Was it right to lie about it? No, but in their defense, they may not have known about the status of it. The primary program that we use to track products at service is vague at best.

    A lot of shady stuff goes on within that company, and I won’t dispute that, but this situation may not be one of them. At the very least, some of the fault should be put onto UPS if that was the method (which it usually is) that the laptop was shipped.

  128. Part-Time-Viking says:

    Oh jeeze, I seemed to have had an odd brain fart in that post… Curse this lack of edit.

  129. redhelix says:

    @Part-Time-Viking: I’m not too sure about that. STAR provides a UPS tracking number when a laptop gets shipped, which can be looked up on the UPS website. If it was a shipping issue, any tech could have looked it up in the activity log to see what was going on with it. I attribute this whole fiasco to dumb Timmies not knowing what they’re doing.

  130. Part-Time-Viking says:

    @redhelix: Well I stand corrected on the issue of UPS and STAR. Either way though, the fault may not fall entirely onto BB’s shoulders.

  131. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    Part-Time-Viking:

    The thing is, there is no specification of where the product was lost. Was it wrong to flat out lie about it? Yes, but however it may not be BB’s fault that it was lost in the first place.

    It wasn’t just wrong to lie about it, it was very likely illegal. And while we don’t have all the facts, and I would be cautious accepting her version uncritically, hers is the only information we have to go by.

    She states several times that there is no record of the computer ever being shipped from the store. She even quotes one of the employees (one of the managers?), Cicero: “It never appears to have left the store.”

    Given the trivial ease with which the store could have proven that it had been shipped out, and the very strong incentive they had to do exactly that – i.e., prove it had been shipped and shift the blame away from the store level – I see no reason to doubt that it was stolen from or lost by the store.

    Who actually lost it doesn’t matter much when it comes to their legal obligation of disclosure of a data breach. When they accepted custody of the machine, they accepted responsibility for safeguarding it. And the second they realized it was missing, they had a legal obligation to notify her of that fact, regardless of whose fault it was.

    Her first discussion with store employees was along the lines of “That’s strange, it’s not in the system”. I would argue that it is at that point that the store had a responsibility to look for the machine and to notify her if it was not found. But they didn’t.

    It was the six months of illegal coverups after this point that justify a whopping huge punitive award in my opinion

  132. Frostberg says:

    external hard drive?

  133. forgottenpassword says:

    I never understood the way most companies just throw you some shitty comphensation at you when THEY are the ones that fucked up. Like a jiffy lube offering a year’s worth of oil changes because one of their workers forgot to put oil in your vehicle…. which ends up destroying your car’s engine.

    As for best buy…. they were idiots for losing the laptop & then even MORE idiotic for jerking her around about it for so long & then even MORE idiotic for offering a credit less than what the laptop (plus all the personal data that was lost & the cost of having to protect oneself from identity theft afterwards) was worth.

    And you always ask for a lot of $$$ in a lawsuit to get the REAL amount (which is lower) that you wanted. Ask for a lot, then settle for the amount you really wanted.

    I hope she wins. Sadly, despite that… BB will just take it as a loss & not learn a damn thing from it.

  134. warf0x0r says:

    If my laptop broke but the hard drive wasn’t part of the failure I’d take it out before I sent it anywhere. Whomever fixes it should have a spare hard drive they can use to test it.

  135. rolla says:

    c’mon, its BB…what do you expect??

  136. lucky_you says:

    An angry woman with a blog.

    You don’t stand a chance BB.

  137. BlkCav says:

    if anybody cares to read the product replacement papers, after 2 months of loss of use, they’re supposed to replace the device at full retail.

    i had a Toshiba E800 PDA that went in for service for a new battery, 2 years after it was purchased, they sent it off, kept telling me the battery was on order, 60 days rolled by (2 months) they gave me full credit for the whole purchase and insurance.

    there’s something fishy here, like dumb consumer

  138. vatica40 says:

    There are way too many people here who didn’t read the article. Backups are not an issue. The ‘data’ was not accidently destroyed by BB, which is cut and dry. It was lost. It could be anywhere. That’s the issue. She is more open and vulnerable to identity theft as a result of BB. It has nothing to do with a crashed drive or whatever many people here appear to be assuming.

  139. Vanvi says:

    @guspaz: I can’t read anymore comments like this one. Again, the point isn’t that her data is lost to her, it’s that it could be in anyone’s hands right now. If BB had just deleted it accidentally, that’s a different story.
    Second, to everyone who’s complaining about how much money she’s asking for – it’s clear that it’s not about the money. She wants attention, yes, for herself, but also negative attention for BB. If she settled for $2500, all of you would be on here saying that’s a drop in the bucket to BB and it won’t change a thing about how they do business. Well, she’s trying to force them to change something. You’d think people who read a consumer blog would support that.

  140. clocker says:

    Although I too am a believer in data backups, I don’t see how jumping on the “She’s an idiot for not protecting her data!” bandwagon is called for in this case.

    She brought the laptop in for a MALFUNCTIONING ON/OFF SWITCH…and that repair should not have had any effect whatsoever on her hard drive.
    I don’t see how she would have had any reasonable expectation that her data was at risk while this unrelated component was fixed.

  141. emax4 says:

    Remember people, BB lied to her. That’s what the $54 million is for, not for the data loss. I think a few commenters should be required to read before they can speak.

  142. pemarsh says:

    give me a break…what an idiot. 54 million?? someone should sue her for such a moronic suit to begin with.

  143. RAREBREED says:

    Wow, there’s a lot of people commenting without having read the actual post. You all should go work at Best Buy.

  144. rjhiggins says:

    Folks, she’s not looking for media attention for herself; she’s doing it on behalf of every customer that’s been screwed over by BB and the Geek Squad.

    And she’s not really looking to get $54 million. If she had settled for $2K we never would have heard about this and the non-Consumerist-reading public would have continued bringing their computers to BB for repairs. After the media attention this story receives you can bet a lot more people will think twice about going there.

    Personally I think she’s a consumer hero.

  145. radio1 says:

    She is dealing with two issues.

    1) Yeah, she should have backed up her crap.
    2) They did ‘lose’ her laptop. I think it would be reasonable to expect the laptop to be given back, so she could try to retrieve data off her hard drive if that was a real issue.

    Why couldn’t she just take the $900 GC offer get a new laptop and mark it down as a lesson learned?

    I can understand her indignation. But you are not special, you are not a unique snowflake… (To paraphrase Fight Club).

  146. “and it had irreplaceable photos, music, and personal information, including her tax returns.”

    I’ll repeat it… back up your computer.

  147. snoop-blog says:

    it’s obvious (even she said so) that the 54mil, was just to get the media attention. i don’t think we’d be reading and commenting on this if it was “woman sue’s best buy for 54 hundred dollars”. even she admitted she doesn’t intend to win 54mil. but we all know her story now don’t we. wonder how much money she made just selling it to the media?

    @radio1: her pc that was lost originally costed $1100, and why on earth would she want to do business with them buy using a gift card? what lesson is she supposed to have learned?

  148. EricaKane says:

    There is a reasonable expectation that your data may not be preserved, but there is a reasonable expectation that your computer will not be stolen/lost.

    There is a big difference between losing data due to repair and losing data to theft/losing.

    When it comes down to this, it is simply a bailment issue.

    As for consequential damages, thats trickier. She should have bought a new computer at the time when she was told it was lost/stolen. The problem is Best Buy lied to her, which made her not realize to buy a new computer.

  149. erratapage says:

    The amount that someone sues for is completely irrelevant to a final result, except that you cannot get more than you ask for. Therefore, you often see complaints that ask for “an amount in excess of $50,000.” However, if you don’t mind giving up the right to a judgment for $55,000,000, you can sue for $54,000,000. The ultimate damage award will be related, at least a little bit, to the amount of damages you can prove.

  150. bbcon says:

    I originally thought that this was another frivolous lawsuit. But after reading her blog I agree with her. BestBuy screwed up and should pay. They had many chances to settle but didn’t. The most important issue is loss of private information. Backing-up the data is irrelevant. If the person who stole the laptop steals her identity, she’s screwed for years. The second issue is having it stolen while in their possession and the treatment she got as a result. The store manager should have been all over this – checking security video and interviewing employees. The this just shows their lousy customer service and I hope she wins BIG.

  151. banmojo says:

    I agree with her. Shit, if the RIAA can collect the seveal hundred thousand dollars they bilked out of the poor lady who ‘may have’ uploaded 9 or so songs from her computer to the internet, why can’t this lady, who was clearly f$#@ed over by BB (and BB has a SOLID record of f$#@ing over its customers, does it not?) request millions? Makes more sense than the ass who sued McDs for hot coffee on his/her lap.

  152. solusipse says:

    @randombob: *claps for randombob* Well said. Most people on here are missing the point entirely.

  153. Rusted says:

    @Jaysyn: Not if I’m on the jury. It would be two cents for punitive damages.

  154. Android8675 says:

    Yeah, you sign that contract you basically say you are “TRANSFERING OWNERSHIP” of your computer to Best Buy, if their resolution was to give you $900 for your computer that you bought in the last 3 years for $1,100, I’d consider that a win for you. What sucks is the guys at the counter don’t always offer backups or explain to you that “more than likely” you’ll never see your data again, and the fact that it takes 3 months to throughly investigate what happened to your notebook.

    If your data is important, backup.
    If your computer is important, BUY ANOTHER ONE, so when the first breaks down you’ll have a backup computer.

  155. IT-Leader says:

    Sorry guys. But you must watch your terminology.

    Sure BB may be protected from “deleting” a users data when they repair a laptop.

    But, when a company looses your personal information, FEDERAL law mandates they inform you of the possible breach and allow you the opportunity to pretect yourself against ID theft.

    The dishonesty in which BB employees used, exposes BB to legal liability. Period.

  156. marchhare22 says:

    I cant wait for a company to loose YOUR possessions. I’m sure you would sit back and say oh well. Those TOS’s cover every nitty gritty thing, but im sure they are required to pay the amount of the laptop at the time of purchase. Deprecation is relative to the market, SHE WAS NOT PLANNING ON SELLING therefore it shouldn’t be subjected to depreciation prices. Not to mention the anguish of not having a computer for that long and they don’t tell you its lost. I dunno how on earth you would EVER side with best buy, unless you have stock with them. Also many times the judges like this kind of settlement because one of their requirements often is they give something like 49.5 million to a charity, so the company still gets the nice punch in the gut saying dont mess with us.

  157. dweebster says:

    @sp00nix: You fail to mention that half that “2 years” was spent with “Best” Buy. Perhaps a better question is to ask what Rent-a-center would charge to lease a laptop for the amount of time “Best” Buy kept it beyond normal term.

    …Then $54 million seems within the ballpark.

  158. dweebster says:

    OH – I just got it: if you fail to backup your hard drive before giving it to “Best” Buy, then it’s perfectly acceptable for the company to lose it and lie to you about that for a year.

    Like when I failed to make copies of my registration before giving my car to my mechanic, and he strung me along for a year without a car instead of telling me it was stolen and getting a police report going. Yeah, that makes sense, no compensation for this foolish biatch…