Best Buy Tries To Install Remote Starter, Wrecks New Nissan Altima

While cramming a remote starter into Andrew’s new Nissan Altima, Best Buy managed to break the car’s locking system, window controls, and a brake light. Andrew hauled the crippled car back to the dealership, which immediately blamed Best Buy for burning out the car’s wiring, and told Andrew that the parasitic system had to go. Best Buy defended their quality workmanship, and refused to issue a refund unless Andrew signed a waiver absolving them of any responsibility for damaging the car.

Andrew writes:

As an avid reader of the Consumerist, I hoped to never have a need to write in myself. Unfortunately, the way Best Buy handled a situation with my wife’s vehicle has changed that.

Several months ago my wife decided she wanted to get a remote car starter installed in her new Nissan Altima. She always had one on her previous vehicle and Best Buy had done the install before. When we went into the store they seemed a little confused by the smart-key system that comes with the car. Basically it does not use a traditional key to start, but rather a push button start in the vehicle with a key fob you just keep in your pocket. After making some calls the Best Buy technicians assured us they could do it without an issue.

When we returned to pickup the car we were informed it was not yet ready, and they needed it for another day. We were very accommodating and worked out alternate transportation for that day. After picking up the car we discovered the locking and unlocking of the doors no longer worked properly. At first they tried to claim this was just the way it was going to work now, but we explained that we were not told that up front and they could just take out the system. After a few phone calls they then told us to bring it back again for “programming” to fix it. So yet another day without a car goes by and the doors are now working.

After driving the car my wife discovered her electronic windows no longer are working correctly. We then noticed one of the remotes would actually remote start the car when you tried to lock the doors. Several more treks back into Best Buy to get these problems fixed occur. The next problem is that there was a blue alarm light constantly blinking in the face of the driver. It was very distracting to the driver at night, and my wife was concerned she would get into an accident. This happened on a weekend, so we were forced to not drive the car until they were able to get to it during the week. They were never able to actually fix it, but ended up just disabling the light.

There have been a multitude of other issues since then such as the remote start not always working when you push it, the car taking multiple attempts to start even when not using the remote start, and worst of all the fact that the vehicle can now be started without having your foot on the brake (a child can start it from the passenger seat even without a key).

Finally when we were already very unhappy with the system and things still to this day have never worked properly, my wife’s brake lights stopped working! She drove around running errands and very easily could have gotten into a wreck and injured herself and others. We took the car into the dealership and they said the issue was the result of the system Best Buy installed and it burned out some wiring in the vehicle. We had to pay ourselves to fix the problem and had to go yet another weekend without the use of the vehicle. The dealership told us this system could cause further problems and might void the warranty, therefore it should be removed.

We decided this was the last straw and followed the dealership’s advice. We returned to Best Buy and spoke to a manager. After explaining the situation they initially offered to pay only for the cost of the brake light repair and to remove the system. We would not get back the money for the system itself, the install, or even some additional parts they required us to buy to make the install work. After telling them that was unacceptable and threatening to pursue other alternatives, they still only offered to refund the price of the system itself, but all the install and parts would not be refunded. When I asked for an explanation we were told we could not have a refund because the install was completed. But our argument is that it was never completed properly, and even did damage to our vehicle! We asked to speak with the corporate employee who was making this decision and were told they could not provide that information and that this was their final decision. We would even have to sign a waiver absolving them of all responsibility to get what they were offering. So basically we end up paying several hundred dollars for absolutely nothing and have no recourse for future action!

We have been loyal Best Buy customers and have spent 10s of thousands of dollars at their store. We buy all of our electronics and appliances from them, and to be treated this way over a few hundred dollars is insulting. I was hoping the Consumerist would be able to assist and provide the proper contact to help get this issue resolved.

Install fee: $147.73
Keyless System: $137.40
Install Module: $22.16
Materials Charge: $3.69
Extra Keyfob they destroyed to install: $61.52
Repairs at dealership for wiring system: $90.00

Total money out was $464.50 + tax
Offered by Bestbuy: $227.40 back and they take the system
Total out: $237.10 and we have nothing to show for it but trouble!

For starters, don’t sign any waivers, and don’t let Best Buy claim brownie-points for effort. They failed to install a working system. They can either refund all your money, or you can file a chargeback.

Don’t waste time reasoning with a manager whose only interested is covering his own ass. Instead, politely address your request to Best Buy’s higher-ups.

(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. SAGoon987 says:

    I hope you didn’t sign! LOL

    Just remember that if you decide to lawyer up, you can’t talk to their CS people anymore and will get directed to legal. I’d recommend lawyering up or small claims court.

    Also, don’t get things installed in your car by 20 year olds that couldn’t cut it in college. Sage words of advice my friend.

  2. Best Buy has to be doing something right to not be in the same situation as Circuit City, so please don’t go blaming to OP for this. However, when they screw up they tend to screw up big time.

    If you paid for this on a credit card, you should perform a chargeback asap. From the way it sounds in the letter, there’s been some time since the install and you don’t have unlimited time to file a chargeback.

  3. blkhrt1 says:

    Being in a position to handle these types of issues, here’s how it should have been handled, at least in MY eyes. Each store is different, mind you, in how they handle their business, but as a general rule of thumb, the customer is ALWAYS right.

    Best Buy should do the following:

    1) Remove all installed components and revert wiring back to original settings (that is, if you trust these guys to touch your car again)

    2) Refund all of the purchase costs you incurred, including:

    Install fee: $147.73
    Keyless System: $137.40
    Install Module: $22.16
    Materials Charge: $3.69

    3) Cover any and all damages to the car. (Unless of course you signed a waiver stating that you would not hold Best Buy responsible if any damage was done to your vehicle. Highly doubt that you did, but just saying)

    As a company, they won’t just give something away for free, but they should try to do anything possible to let you leave happy. Honestly, the whole “I spend tens of thousands of dollars in your store” routine doesn’t earn YOU any brownie points with me. Stores still have standards and ethics codes they abide by and just because you choose to spend more money in a store than someone who’s never shopped there, doesn’t make you any more special of a customer than them. To the store, you’re all equal.

    Hope you get your situation fixed, because I know personally that Best Buy will come through. They always do.

  4. MaytagRepairman says:

    I’m wondering if the Nissan dealer could have sold them a remote starter as a dealer installed accessory and how much it would have cost? I know dealers often charge a premium but they usually do have employees that are trained to work on your car and do so every day.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually dealerships in my area pay a mobile installation service to install aftermarket remote start systems because they are far cheaper than a “factory” system. Then they mark it up about 40 percent. The dealership makes more money and you usually get stuck with a unit that was quickly installed, usually breaks, and you will need it serviced; And the installer may take two three or four weeks to get back to that dealership to fix it since he is out at other dealerships doing the same thing. Go to a local shop who has a knowledgable installer who has been doing this for many years. Stay out of big chain stores. Ask others first. Word of mouth is the best advertisement.

  5. Yeah, get that chargeback in right away! It is amazing that they would even dream of putting you through this sort of nightmare. You can also consider approaching the general manager and, failing that, the district manager if a chargeback isn’t an option (you paid by check, for example). If you create enough of a fuss and are adamant about what you expect — what you deserve — that may work out too.

    I don’t think I’d ever let them touch a car with so complicated a system — but I can’t blame the consumer for this. Best Buy said, it seems, that they could handle it, and why wouldn’t people trust them without knowledge of what to expect from the teenagers they have running these departments?

    Also, while it may not mean much to what you’ve done, it might help in the future: make purchases like this on a credit card backed by a reputable company, such as American Express. Don’t sign anything if they screw up. They’d be happy to get you all your money back and it could be solved without much trouble.

    Small claims court is an option for the damage they caused.

  6. Fredex says:

    I am at a loss to understand why anyone buys anything from Best Buy.

  7. bohemian says:

    Best Buy has not business messing around in newer cars. There are just too many complex electronics to screw up. Installing car stereos in 1980′s model cars wasn’t a real big deal but today’s cars are beyond the dropouts working at Best Buy. Going beyond car stereos into remotes and things like that is way outside of their scope to begin with.

  8. GothamGal says:

    I do blame the OP on this because you have read countless stories on the ineptitude of Best Buy, yet you continue to patronize them.

    I, myself, walked into Best Buy, only because at the last minute before my drive across the country, I decided to purchase a GPS system. I waited around for 20 minutes for someone with the golden key to unlock the GPS treasures, and then I walked out. They don’t want your money or your business.

  9. Pro-Pain says:

    Bought and installed by Best Buy. There’s is your problem. When will people ever learn? I hope Best Buy pays for the damage. Good luck.

  10. coren says:

    @GothamGal: Because no one ever has a good experience at Best Buy, and that’s why they’re going out of business, right?

    …oh. They’re not? Must be doing something right

  11. TeraGram says:

    @SAGoon987:

    Also, don’t get things installed in your car by 20 year olds that couldn’t cut it in college. Sage words of advice my friend.

    You’re seriously claiming that to install things in a car one needs a college degree?

    Wow.

    Listen… college degrees are overblown for many things. Doctors? Absolutely should have a college degree or three. Materials researchers? Oh, yes, please probably in chemistry and/or physics. English teachers? Yes, a nice liberal arts degree would be appropriate.

    To install a gizmo or three into a car? No, a college degree is a waste of time.

    Further, to imply that anyone who works in such a job at such a store “couldn’t cut it” in college just shows how much of an ass you really are.

  12. Boatski says:

    I had best buy install my first cd player/sub/amp in my truck… they layed the power cable on the manifold so after a while it started blowing fuses because the power cable was burnt up.

  13. If posters were allowed to justifiably blame the OP, I would express my dumbfounded confusion as to why “an avid reader of Consumerist” would trust Best Buy with their brand new car. But w aren’t. So all I’ll say is a quote from our beloved President,

    “Fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again”

  14. allstarecho says:

    Sue in small claims court.. and not only for the total costs you’ve outlined but also for mileage and any time off from work.

  15. cjdmi says:

    A $90 dealership repair bill is surprisingly cheap for an imprecise electrical issue. Every dealership I’ve ever been to charges significantly more per hour to troubleshoot electrical issues. If the BB install actually ‘burned out the wiring,’ one would expected a significantly higher repair bill. From the dealership perspective, this was probably a trivial repair.

    BB should have refunded both the equipment and installation fee, however, I don’t think they have any obligation to cover the dealership charges.

  16. viqas says:

    Small claims court?

  17. FLConsumer says:

    Small claims court… use it. Don’t forget to add in your time into the hassle of this as well. The judge will definitely give it to you. Easy case.

  18. viqas says:

    @cjdmi: They should, if i was installing a tv in your house and broke a window with your hammer, am i not responsible for the costs involved for you to replace that window?

  19. viqas says:

    that was supposed to say with my hammer. i wish consumerist has an edit button

  20. donkeyjote says:

    Small Claims warning: Be prepared to have any “time off” money claimed to be dismissed if it goes to trial, depending on your state.

  21. donkeyjote says:

    @cjdmi: I assume the wiring is modular, so a quick replace is half hour labor (Say 45/50 dollars) + wiring harness cost

  22. mythago says:

    Speaking of paying attention and reading what’s said on Consumerist, looks like a few people didn’t pay any attention to the new comments policy.

    Chargeback + formal, written demand for refund to the higher-ups. Your demand should be polite, request a response by a fixed date (10 days or so is plenty), and be sent in a way that you can prove they received it. If and when they don’t respond, small claims court.

  23. afrix says:

    I second the “you got away cheap” comment.

    Yeah, BB said they could do it. But it is a BRAND new car with some BRAND new technologies in it–it’s not like it’s the fifth model year for the car, and most everywhere will by that time have good documentation. Likely there’s no documentation, and the salesfreak at BB said “sure, come on in” because that’s his job.

    Take a deep breath, and figure if you lose only $250 and the car is all working and verified by the dealer (!!!) and is still in warranty, you got away CHEAP.

    It’s a very cheap lesson to be learned. Compare that to the BMW guy who is out, what–$13K?–in a similar situation.

    Also, I’m positive Nissan must by this time have a factory remote start that plugs right in. Yes, it’s probably $800 installed at the dealership. I’m thinking there’s a reason for that.

    Auto electric mishap and you get away scot free for only $250? Yeah. cheap. Very nice. Breathe a sigh of relief, learn your lesson, and move on. Things could have been a WHOLE lot worse.

    Of course, you should push it all the way and have BB make you whole on this. But you’ll probably spend more than $250 to do that. Evaluate how hard BB will push back.

  24. Sherryness says:

    I’d be curious to know if these things are even legal. In every state I’ve lived in, it’s illegal to have your car running if unattended.

  25. dweebster says:

    OP: “As an avid reader of the Consumerist, I hoped to never have a need to write in myself. Unfortunately, the way Best Buy….”

    Stop right there. You are an avid reader of the Consumerist AND you went willingly to “Best” Buy?

    OP goes on to explain that he brought a brand new car to “Best” Buy and allowed their “technicians” to touch it.

    Although I feel sorry for the chap, and people (including myself) posting on Consumerist can occasionally spew hyperbole… it should be pretty apparent that “Best” Buy is known to do exactly the hack work that the OP encountered. I’m not “blaming” the OP, as much as trying to him people up… Bringing a nice new car to “Best” Buy to allow their “technicians” to mess the internals is like letting a serial child molester watch your 10-year old girl for a week and “hoping” for the best…

    Document the hell out of your loss including pictures and multiple quotes, then have your attorney send the bill to “Best” Buy corporate humbly asking to be made whole. Be sure to include a sum for the added loss of value the car has suffered – if someone tried selling me a hacked up car “modified” by “Best” Buy I’d say no way.

    And your wife will need to carry around a fire extinguisher the rest of your days in case the screwed up wiring combusts.

  26. Gopher bond says:

    Having installed these before, they can be very, very difficult. There are so many freaking wires you’ve got to almost ruip the entire car apart. I know places that specialize in car alarms are good place for after market remote starters, sometimes. Not blaming OP, but I would never advise anyone to get these aftermarket, ask a dealer to put one in before you buy if you really want one.

  27. dweebster says:

    @coren: Yup, just like the war.

  28. varro says:

    @FLConsumer: Maybe no “time off”, but if it actually goes to trial and you win, you’ll get a “prevailing party fee”, at least in Oregon. YMMV depending on state, but they realize that people incur costs in taking it to small claims court.

    Good luck.

  29. dweebster says:

    @Boatski: In earlier, dumber days I brought a (used) and common car to “Best” Buy for a quote on a CD changer. Wanted it mounted under my seat – it was a compact car. Anyhow, talked with two of their “technicians” and they swore up and down that it would never fit – not enough room.

    So I bought it on the internet and hooked it up myself. Plenty of room to mount it, and lasted years until I sold the car.

  30. dweebster says:

    @cjdmi: New wiring harness is probably more than that – a damn simple bolt at the dealer is $5 bucks, and their labor rate is usually above $100/hr. Few technicians like diagnosing electrical wiring issues, and for pure liability reasons I’m sure the dealer would err on the side of replacing as much as they could. $90 labor to do a certified dealer wiring repair on a new Nissan sounds either like there was nothing wrong or the OP is lying. Just filling out the service request is usually a $100 commitment there.

  31. @cjdmi: Actually, my local Saturn dealer did much the same bill when I screwed up putting in my own radio in my 1999 SW2 station wagon. I managed to connect it to the wrong power lead, and the car would shut off when it shook loose (yes I have a college degree, just not in electric engineering, OK?).

    They charged me for an hour and said “Let us install the next one.” I walked out with a bill of less than $100 for that.

  32. floraposte says:

    @Sherryness: From what I can see, the state laws generally make it illegal for an unattended car to be running if it’s on a public roadway or in public parking, not if it’s on private property.

  33. madanthony says:

    Is it me, or does the use of “wrecked” in the headline seem a little sensational for $90 worth of damage?

    While it sounds like Best Buy screwed up, from the headline I was expecting crumpled body panels, shredded interior parts, or flames, not a sub- $100 repair bill.

  34. rworne says:

    @madanthony:

    $90 sounds about right for replacing a couple of blown fuses caused by the botched install.

    If they were lucky, BB would have used some vampire taps to get the thing working. That way removing it would mean the wires weren’t all hacked up.

    Wat was stupid was how BB disabled the starter system. Since this car requires a RFID-type device to start it with a push button, disabling this system means anyone can hop in the car and start it up since no keys are involved.

  35. Breach says:

    Good lord

    Honestly, if your getting work done on your car, take to to a real car audio shop with a good rep, kind of the way if you were getting surgery pick the best docotr.

    Best Buy/Wal-Mart/ etc will end badly.

  36. donkeyjote says:

    @floraposte: Two laws cover this in NJ. One, a car can not be left running unattended unless hazards are on and the e-brake is engaged. Two, allowing a car to idle is a environmental safety issue, so you get fined (as posted by NJ law at most convince stores)

  37. SharkD says:

    …and worst of all the fact that the vehicle can now be started without having your foot on the brake (a child can start it from the passenger seat even without a key).

    Maybe I’m missing something, but isn’t that the idea of “remote” starting? It would sort of defeat the purpose if you had to be sitting in the car, wouldn’t it?

    And, in order to get the system to start in the absence of your RFID “key”, I assume that they disabled the RFID reader, hence the ability of anyone (including car thieves) to start the car.

  38. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    They damaged the vehicle and refused to pay to repair it. The install they did was shabby, and they refuse to refund it.

    Small Claims.

    Sue them for everything you’ve paid them so far, PLUS the cost to have the NISSAN dealer remove the whatever-they-installed, PLUS the cost to have the Nissan dealer fix any damage they caused, PLUS a reasonable amount for all your wasted time dealing with this.

  39. Average_Joe says:

    It just sounds like adding a 3rd party remote starter is going to involve bypassing the entire keyless security system(and if that is the case then what is the point of the security? It would mean the car can be hot wired easily). If your car ever gets stolen and the insurance company realizes you bypassed the basic security of the car, I wonder if they can deny the claim.
    Do some research and make sure the device has the capability to interface with the security by caching the keycode(and protects the use of that keycode with equal security via it’s own wireless keychain) or something like that. Call the manufacturer if you have to. But I highly doubt that will be the case on anything cheaper that the one you get from the dealer.

  40. GizmoBub says:

    And if you signed the waiver by some stroke of bad luck claim duress in doing so.

    (NOTE: I am not a lawyer and this is not reliable legal advice, merely a non-expert suggestion)

  41. sven.kirk says:

    @bohemian: I totally agree with your comment about not letting BB doing anything beyond installing a stereo equipment. Sure it may cost a little more to have a dealer (or a CERTIFIED mechanic) to work on it, but they tend to have people that are a bit more experienced in that field. Compared to who knows what kind of stoner/flunkie you get from BB.

  42. RichasB says:

    I work in a Circuit City and had my Viper alarm system installed at a Best Buy (the car tech guys at my store were honest enough to tell me that they don’t how to install car alarms). My appointment was at 10:30 and the guy showed up after 11. He did an okay job, but the important thing is that it all works perfectly fine.

    Unfortunately, the guy also left the alarm cables dangling under the steering column so that any 2-bit thief can bust in and know which wires to cut! Luckily, I went back and finished the job myself (I should have asked for a partial refund but whatever).

  43. donkeyjote says:

    Funny, I never known a car to need the brake petal depressed to start the car… To remove it from Park, yes. To disengage the steering wheel lock, maybe… Start it? No.

    And the number one failsafe when it comes to remote starters is… The Steering Wheel Lock will not disengage without the key in the ignition.

  44. cjdmi says:

    @viqas:
    A better analogy would be a TV installation that periodically trips the fuse box. Yes, it’s possible that the TV could do massive electrical damage, but if a certified electrician can fix the problem for a couple bucks, then it’s likely all he had to do was unplug the TV.

    Back to the original post. The claimed symptoms:
    - malfunctioning power windows
    - malfunctioning power locks
    - crosswired lock/start mechanism
    - brake light failure
    and my favorite
    - can start the car without depressing the brake
    (As for that last one, what’s the advantage of a remote start if you have to be in the car to depress the brake pedal.)

    Overall, this would seem to indicate a significant electrical failure. The fact that the dealership could diagnose, replace (parts), and repair (labor) while still keeping the final bill under $100 is down right amazing. It seems more likely that the new kit flipped some circuit breakers and the dealership only had to reset the breakers and unscrew the kit. The repair didn’t cost $90, it likely cost under $10. Whenever I go to the repair shop, the broken equipment is always returned along with the bill. Did the OP actually get some wires with burned insulation?

    I don’t see why BB should have to pay for this questionable repair. They should pay for the broken keyfob and their original installation fees, but the dealership ‘repair’ is just too sketchy to agree to.

  45. mikells43 says:

    next time just make sure the car has that option on it. being that it has the smart key why the hell dont it have a remote start on it form the factory. this is 2008 by the way

  46. afrix says:

    @donkeyjote: “Funny, I never known a car to need the brake petal depressed to start the car… To remove it from Park, yes. To disengage the steering wheel lock, maybe… Start it? No.”

    Two words: Toyota Prius.

    Must depress brake pedal to start the car (technically, for the car to go to Ready when you hit the Power button).

  47. cosby says:

    I disagree with cjdmi startment that best buy should not pay for the 90 bucks it cost the dealership to repair the car. Hell having them remove the malfuncting device would cost that. Considering best buy had multiple attempts to fix the issue it seems fair to have the car taken to the dealership.

    I’m wondering what the dealership did where they only charged 90 bucks to fix it. I’m guessing that the system was causing some kinda of short and removing it fixed the issue. Either that or the dealership billed part of the repair out as warranty to keep the customer happy. I’ve known dealerships to do this in the past for out of warranty issues(friend had a dealership replace a lot of electronics in his truck that was just out of warranty as an in warranty claim).

  48. logie-al says:

    I used to install remote starts and can attest to how farkin hard some of the newer vehicles can be.
    To the people who have never driven any of the newer Nissans, they don’t actually have a key that goes in the dash. To start the vehicle, you sit, step on the brake, then press the start button on the dash.
    Anyway, if I somehow damaged or otherwise fudged an installation, I would make it right.
    To get an idea of what a pain the system in these new Nissans is, this is a link (pdf) to the actual alarm and security bypass module that I would have used for this vehicle. It is considerably more complex than most of the vehicles I’ve worked on. But on the other hand, I know what I’m doing, and obviously whomever was doing the installation either did not have access to, did not want to use, or simply did not know how to properly install one of these bypass modules.
    The installation, had one of these bypass modules been used, should not have required the cannibalization of one of the factory key fobs. I’ve only had to do that once, and that was on a KIA, of all things.
    So the bottom line is, if you have a 2007 or newer vehicle, don’t mess with big box installers for remote starts, alarm systems, or even to a degree, stereo systems. Ask around for a trusted specialty shop that deals all day with alarms and remote starts, not computers, appliances, TV’s and crap.

  49. AreOhhEnn says:

    First off, the initial cost of the remote start and keyless entry on your brand new Altima with the smart key start system was CHEAP. Properly interfacing with the newer cars that have a smart key or keyless, push-button start either requires an interface module that’s programmed to “fool” the car into thinking the key is in the vehicle only during the remote start sequence, OR a competent installer who knows how to use an extra smart key and open it up and wire it to be active in the vehicle only when the remote start is activated. Either way, you’re out $175 for the module only OR $175 labor and miscellaneous parts for a highly experienced installer to go without the interface module on TOP of the basic install which it looks like what they quoted you. I’m a professional installer and have done both of these. Yeah, I’m the guy on the other end of customer issues but I’m the one that fixes them.

    It’s a hard lesson but you do get what you pay for. Best Buy Installers are (for the most part.. not all) hourly paid, just-out-of-high school kids. They just don’t have the experience or the resources to handle vehicles newer than 2005. Sure, if you came by my store (which specializes in car audio and security ONLY) you would have paid more, but it would have worked and any issue you would have had would have been taken care of promptly.

    As far as the dealership goes, I fix a lot of electrical issues for dealerships since most mechanics, aka “techs” would rather jab themselves in the eye rather than deal with anything electrical in a car that can’t be fixed or diagnosed by plugging in their scan tool and charging you $90 to turn on the computer and read a diagnostic code. I say this with confidence because I was a tech/mechanic before I got into vehicle electronics. I’ve had dealerships refuse to work on one of my customer’s cars because they saw a few different colored wires that weren’t in their service diagram. Find a smaller shop that ONLY does Car Audio and Security… no dish washer repair or computer porn cleaning…

    Bottom line is that every shop is insured for things like this. In my 15+ years of working on vehicles, I’ve had my fair share of mistakes but the customer was always taken care of.

    BTW, if you went through the dealership to have the remote start installed, they always have an outside shop do it unless they come from the factory with that option (currently only GM products). I’ve done this for dealerships that deal with my store all the time. Sure, it might be more expensive, but the dealer warranties it and you can be sure they’re using someone they know can do the job. I’ve refused many a job because I wasn’t 100% sure it could be done properly and reliably…. and my mortgage payment depends how much work I do… I don’t get paid hourly.

    One last thing… More often than not, my installation quotes to customers are higher than a local Best Buy or Circuit City. I often explain that it’s accurate to the car and the actual parts and labor that’s required. Best Buy will quote a flat rate up front then tack on a fair amount of extras (although necessary, they were never stated to the customer up front) making the total very close to what I’d told them up front. Half the time, they still want to go cheap. In those instances, I tell them we also repair other shop’s installs but the labor on a repair is usually higher :) Yeah, I’ve had a few come back to me to fix botched installs…

  50. eeyore.conspiracy says:

    [quote]So basically we end up paying several hundred dollars for absolutely nothing and have no recourse for future action![/quote]

    Of course you have recourse. You sue them.

  51. @logie-al:

    Yep. Always find an adult that has actually done the job before.

  52. FLConsumer says:

    @varro: Never actually gone to small claims myself, but as part of any larger business lawsuit I’ve been involved with, they most certainly do end up compensating us for labor costs. Even Comcast ended up paying up at one point when their ineptitude tied up 16+ hrs of our IT guy’s time.

  53. Valhawk says:

    Lawyer up and don’t sign anything BB hands you without a lawyer having gone over it and being there at the time.

  54. guevera says:

    I hate the blame the victim posture you see here, but I’m about ready to say that anyone who gets screwed by best buy sorta had it coming.

  55. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Best-Buy should have insurance to cover this kind of thing, so if they’re not willing to refund the price of the starter and pay for the damage they caused, some local PR would be in order (call the local TV station or whatever) and then take them to small claims court.

    I would never bring a brand-new vehicle to Best-Buy for something like that. Even if you get a competent installer that knows what they’re doing, the complexity of vehicle wiring and anti-theft systems goes up exponentially ever year, so the changes of ending up with a mangled job are pretty good. Plus, if the vehicle is brand new, having an aftermarket accessory spliced into the wiring harness would almost certainly violate the warranty.

    I’d leave that kind of job to the dealer, or at least a reputable local shop. It’ll cost more, but (hopefully) it won’t end up in this kind of disaster.

  56. irfan says:

    @Grrrrrrrrr: it would only void the factory warranty for the systems involved, such as the ignition harness, window wirings, lighting, battery, starter, etc. it wont affect the rest of the car.

  57. Ecoaster says:

    Today’s cars are getting way too technically complicated and esoteric from brand to brand to let some high school kids from a big box or 3rd party outfit do this kind of work. Do you think they get new specialized training for every new car design each model year?? Just pay a little more for dealer-installed add-ons, because at least that way they’ll be done right.

  58. @Ecoaster and @mikells43: next time just make sure the car has that option on it. being that it has the smart key why the hell dont it have a remote start on it form the factory. this is 2008 by the way

    A coworker of mine has a 2007 Impala with a factory remote start system. If he’s further than 10 feet away (with direct line-of-sight), the remote doesn’t work. However, the Viper system installed by Tweeter in my Altima (with a regular key) works from a good 100 feet away with line-of-sight.

  59. nuton2wheels says:

    In the Best Buy installer’s defense, Nissan wiring diagrams are by far the most medieval I’ve ever dealt with as a mechanic. They’re atrocious and more confusing than anything on the market because Nissan diverged from existing standards and created their own. That said, most customers just assume that a cheaper aftermarket unit will inherently work as well if not better than a factory option. In some cases, this is true, but when it comes to installation, a factory unit will more than likely plug into existing wiring harnesses and require minimal intrusions, preventing future electrical gremlins from manifesting. If anything goes wrong, the factory (who designed the system) either has to fix or replace components and is usually well prepared to do so. Even if the customer got their money back from Best Buy, the damage has already been done. Someone’s already hacked into their wiring harness and there’s plenty to go wrong from that alone. With all the bells and whistles on modern Nissans, fixing the existing gremlins will be expensive and a nightmare.

  60. strife1012 says:

    Funny enough I work at Circuit City Firedog Car Installations Department.

    I did a full Remote start & Security yesterday while at work to my own 2007 Subaru Legacy, my vehicle also needs a bypass due to the chip in the key.

    The entire install took 2 hours, a record for us, Since I know Best Buys equipment is DEI, also known as Directed Electronics, I also suggest that you CC the complaint to them also.

    Website Here: [www.directed.com]

    It is required that when they do the install, it is done by MECP certified Technicians, The fact that they did not know what bypass to use would send up red flags to me. If it was their first time, then I would have asked what location has done it before. Since they reversed the wiring, they are truly liable for their mistakes. Before we finish any vehicle we are required to do a functions check.

    When you buy a security system from Circuit City or Best buy, IT IS REQUIRED that the retailer do the installation, that is the contractual agreement between us and them.

    Sean Martinez
    FireDog Car Installations

  61. ELC says:

    I don’t know if anyone else has said this, but what dealership did you go to for these kind of prices???

    “Repairs at dealership for wiring system: $90.00″

    Amazing!

  62. RaZaK says:

    Try Better Business Bureau as well. Once they get involved, Best Buy tends to snap to attention and behave itself, especially if you have a well-documented case.

  63. vdragonmpc says:

    It sounds like the dealership just charged an hourly rate. More than likely there was a loose wire where the installer tapped a parking light wire for the arming flashing lights.

    It really isnt rocket science to put these systems in. You just have to follow the steps and be careful. I have heard every technique for wiring over the years and I still like to solder wires and heat shrink them. My teacher years back liked crimp connectors better. While I have seen a high amount of shops using ‘taps’ I hate taps they like to either come loose or damage the wire.

  64. stands2reason says:

    You let Best Buy touch your car?! I wish it was April 1 so I could deny this story is real. Srsly! WTF?

  65. xip says:

    Is it that hard to believe that the dealership could fix the problem for $90? Best Buy could have blown fuses or connected their system to the wrong wires in the car causing a short. Both would be easy and cheap for the dealership to fix.

    To the people saying the cost is too low… how much does a half hour labor and a small piece of modular cable and/or a fuse cost? Probably right around $90 at a dealership.

    To the people saying the cost is too high… it’s a dealership! What do you expect? ;)

  66. mrearly2 says:

    That was a relatively inexpensive fix, at a dealer–it must have been something that took only a few minutes…
    Don’t forget, people, get your crap installed by people who specialize in that sort of thing.