Best Buy Threatens To Replace A $2200 Sony Laptop With An Asus EeePC

Is there a difference between a Sony TZ ultraportable laptop and an Asus Eee PC? Reader Ignacio bought Best Buy’s accidental damage protection plan for his $2200 Sony TZ laptop, and when he did, indeed, drop it — Best Buy threatened to replace it with a $600 Asus Eee PC, and finally decided to issue a $1200 gift card — the price of a 15″ Dell notebook. Fair?

Ignacio says:

I would like anyone who has considered buying this plan for a computer or has one to be aware that this warranty is useless and a waste of money. Don’t buy it.

I had purchased a Sony Vaio TZ laptop about a year ago with the accidental protection damage (ACH) for several reasons, but mainly because the sales man suggested it for such a small laptop and for how expensive it was ($2200). Buying this warranty was a peace of mind that the sales man a year ago assured me of.

Jumping forward in time, a year later, I accidentally dropped my laptop and took in for repairs at the Geek Squad. The gentleman who attended me was very helpful and assured me that I would be taken care of with what he called “a high end laptop”. As a side note he even admired the size and weight of the laptop, which was the main selling factor for these laptops from Sony and why they were so expensive.

I received a call yesterday (10/31/08) from Best Buy saying the repairs were too costly and that my laptop would be replaced under warranty. I drove there today (11/1/08) to pick up a replacement. The attendant showed me a what she referred to as a comparable model (Vaio Z) and said I could take that as a replacement or use that money($2000) towards another computer , in essence store credit. I picked out a computer that was more expensive and she said it was fine, but I had to pay the difference. When we got to the register and as she started to ring me up, she stated that she had not done this type of return before and she asked a colleague to help her. She was told it was being done incorrectly and we were sent to talk to the supervisor of the computer department. This is where the trouble began.

I was told because of the specs of my computer the most comparable model was $600, which was an Asus EEE pc, but they would do me a favor and give me $1200 for a 15” Dell. When I stated to them that neither of them were comparable, because the sized and features that the TZ, they replied that they do it spec for spec and that my laptop only had 1gig of ram, a 1ghz processor and 100gig hard drive, and that was the closest computer. When I tried to explain to them that this computer was expensive because of the size features and ultra-portability; they ignored me and threatened to make my in-store credit less than $400 for some other netbook. I said that was not fair, the supervisor printed a gift card for $1200 gave it to me walked away. I asked to speak with the store manager.

The store manager, Huff, came and I explained to him what had happened in the last hour. He tried to understand what had happened and brought the supervisor from the Geek Squad department to help him out because he admittedly said, “I am not good with computers.” The supervisor told me the same as the rest that spec for spec there is no comparable computer, and that was the best they could do and I should be happy with that and instead of $600. I asked him to check Sony’s website so he can see that even a year later the TZ models are in fact cheaper, but more than $1200, and just as comparable with the one I bought. He said that he would not check any “junk” websites and only base his decision on what they had in the store. He told me to call Best Buy, and then yelled at the manager behind me, “This conversation is over,” and left. I was left standing at the cash register in the Customer Service area.

I called Best Buy customer relations from within the store, but they were of no help. They said they would not replace base on purchase price but “comparable technology.” When I said they were being unfair about comparing my computer the attendant on the phone said that was policy and there was nothing she could do.

So basically, to summarize, I bought a premium ultra portable laptop from Sony and it was compared to an Asus EEE netbook, under replacement, or a 15” Dell brick of a laptop that is worthless and not comparable. Salesmen are misleading when they are trying to sell you something. Good thing I didn’t order my laptop with the solid state hard dive, or else a comparable model would only have 60gigs of hard dive space. That is how “knowledgeable” the Geek Squad employees are, especially when the supervisor compares a premium notebook to a netbook.

I will not buy anything from Best Buy again. I spend thousands of dollars personally and more through my business, and I often refer my friends there as well. Not anymore, customer service is bad, the prices are more expensive when compared to internet shopping, and they rip you off. I encourage anyone not to buy from Best Buy and if you have to buy something there don’t waste your money any “peace of mind” insurance plans.

-Ignacio

We think Ignacio should launch an EECB (Executive Email Carpet Bomb) and see what Best Buy has to say, but we thought we’d throw this one out to the crowd first.

So, what do you think?

Comments

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  1. ChrisC1234 says:

    He’s getting screwed. However, he is still coming out better had he not bought the damage warranty at all (so he’s got to decide whether it is worth it to open his mouth and possibly lose his $1200 gift card).

    • strife1012 says:

      @ChrisC1234: For what I know from Circuit City Rules for accidental.

      Should you damage your device beyond repair, they will either replace with a refurbished product, or they will send you a gift card of what you paid for the device.

      I used this on my iPod when I “dropped” it, they replaced with a refurbished iPod. I know we do the same for TV’s. Some employees at my store would tell them to get the same thing, even though they have up to what they paid for, and the difference on a Gift Card.

      CC Employee Jan 2005-October 2008

      • kazinstrife says:

        @strife1012: The fact that they’re tanking aside, CC will NOT replacve ANYTHING with a gift card. they refurb and then tell you to stick it, i’ve been there >_<

      • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

        @strife1012: this is similar to my experience with best buy…
        5 years ago, I bought a laptop for school, with an extended warranty. about 3 years ago, i took the laptop in because the hard drive was failing, had bad memory, and the DC jack was loose. they told me it was too expensive to repair, so they gave me the original purchase price back on a gift card (keep in mind that they do NOT refund the warranty cost – they keep the $200+)
        we were able to buy a new laptop (for about $50 more) with more than double the stats- went from 512mb to 2gb, 60gb HDD to 120, larger screen, dual core, etc etc)
        i was pretty happy, happy enough to spend another $300 on another “protection plan”, since i travel with my laptop, and i’m usually pretty hard on it.
        this story bugs me, because i plan to use that warranty (laptop is 3 years old now, having some problems, HDD not sounding too good…) and i expect to get what the salesman told me about, not what BB has “redecided” it should be.

    • Anonymous says:

      Way better service plan at Circuit City. I work for Circuit City Firedog. We just have a service center that we can send the laptop to and they replace everything. We even back up the data first so you’re not losing any information. You get the PC back and it works.
      If it’s an accident and just completely screwed then we either send a new unit out to you or we just send a gift card for the full amount purchased. 99 percent of the time I just gets repaired though.

    • Xerloq says:

      @ChrisC1234: What you need to do is find a spec Sony advertises for the laptop that none but the highest model meets – like a fire wire port color, gamut of the screen, viewing angle, even the travel of keys.

      I went through the same thing with my $900 vpr matrix – they wanted to give me a $400 cheap-o laptop claiming spec-for-spec matching. I pointed out the non-spec items, walked back with the computer CS guy, found the cheapest laptop that met the specs ($1,800) and asked them to give me that one. They had to call a manager, who sighed and said “Give it to him. We gotta match the specs.”

      • Xerloq says:

        @Xerloq: there may be slight hyperbole on the new machine’s price, but I got a more expensive machine with nothing out of pocket.

      • Trel says:

        @Xerloq:

        I have a shitty Vaio and it has a built in Memorystick reader. If your model had that, use that as the spec as as far as I know, only sony’s have that.

        • RedwoodFlyer says:

          @Trel:

          My Fujitsu has an many-in-one card reader, which also does MS…and I believe most other laptops with card readers will do them as well.

          • jamar0303 says:

            @RedwoodFlyer: The many-in-one card reader can’t substitute everything. My Panasonic has DRM support on its SD card reader. It’s abhorrent, but if need be I could claim it in spec-for-spec matching and they could only give me a Panasonic (Panasonic doesn’t license this out to other laptop makers).

            • yasth says:

              @jamar0303: All SD cards have DRM support. It is called secure digital after all. MMC was pretty much the same format without DRM.

              Oh and in general the big feature that the sony TZ has over an EEE? Internal DVD-RW. With that one spec he should be able to get a warranty.

              • jamar0303 says:

                @yasth: Yes- but Panasonic has “special” DRM in the reader that’s only available on Panasonic laptops (it’s also available on every Panasonic device with an SD card slot as well as Sharp and Panasonic cellphones). It won’t recognize the SD card reader on my mom’s Sony laptop or the multi-card reader on a friend’s ASUS.

                And yeah- the Eee doesn’t even have an optical drive; how on earth could they be able to claim that as an acceptable replacement?

    • farker says:

      @effingroovin:
      Yes, but Mini-DV tapes were around for many years. I would expect someone working at an electronics retailer to know that.

  2. NightSteel says:

    I think Ignacio should read the fine print of his extended warranty, and if it allows Best Buy to pull shenanigans like this, chalk it up to a life lesson. If it does not, small claims court.

    • NightSteel says:

      And come to think of it, would any legal-minded readers out there like to ruminate on the idea that a ‘warranty’ that does not replace the exact item covered (or better) is not, in fact, a warranty at all?

      • Pylon83 says:

        @NightSteel:
        I agree that the best thing to do here is to read the warranty, word for word. I can’t think of any reason why they couldn’t write the warranty in any way they wanted. I can’t think of any legal principals that would preclude this kind of thing. While I do feel for the OP, any complaint like this is somewhat baseless when it’s not supported by anything. He needs to get the warranty and use the wording to argue with Best Buy. What he was doing in the store was arguing blind, while Best Buy, presumably knowing what the warranty says, was holding ALL of the cards. You can’t argue what you “think” should happen in these situations, or argue about what you deserve. You have to have the text of the warranty, and say “This warranty, representing a contract between Best Buy and myself, says that I get X, Y and Z. You are offering me A, B and E. This is clearly a breach of the warranty, and it needs to be rectified immediately.”

        • bagumpity says:

          @Pylon83:
          I like your idea, but not for the reason you posted it. I think everybody should take the time to read the entire warrantee aloud, ask specific detailed questions about every clause, and ponder each paragraph. After a while, the salespersons will get tired of lines backing all the way up to the end of the store, and they’ll stop pestering us to buy these useless pieces of junk paper.

      • strife1012 says:

        @NightSteel: FYI All warranties changed less than 6 months ago for accidental CC and BBY. They need to read the warranty for when you purchased your Laptop.

        I have Accidental for my laptop it stated when I purchased that I could get a new Battery every Year. As of 4 months ago, it changed to 1 battery the lifetime of the Accidental Warranty.

        Newly Former CC Employee.

    • Wit says:

      @NightSteel: Yep. It’s not clear to me from the original post whether he accepted the laptop or not, though. Hopefully he didn’t. He’s correct in that the named models weren’t by any means “comparable” – either the store knows nothing about notebooks or they were going out of their way to screw him.

    • godlyfrog says:

      @NightSteel: I realize it’s not the “fine print” but from Best Buy’s website, this is what they have to say about the accidental damage:

      “During the term of the Accidental Damage from Handling Performance Service Plan, we will repair or replace the product as necessary to correct any damage to the product.”

      It seems pretty clear to me, even without fine print that they will repair or replace the product to correct damage. I’d say that small claims is in order. Although, depending on where he lives, he could always try another Best Buy store; other stores might actually harbor intelligent life.

      • Wrathernaut says:

        @godlyfrog: “Replace” as in “Indiana Jones replaced the little statue with a bag of sand”, or, “My premium ultraportable laptop was replaced by a eee PC.”

    • Android8675 says:

      @NightSteel: New warranty policies went into effect back at BBY in october, basically they find a comparable item on the floor and give you store credit to buy that computer. The new return system is actually quite good, if a bit confusing. You basically put in all the info about the repair into the register, then it asks for a compareable item. In this case I would of found the current Sony Ultra portable around $2000-$2400, typed in the SKU, slide the store credit card and that’s that. It actually doesn’t seem to matter if the item is in stock or not, just that it’s “current” and not old.

      I was even able to put in the $1999 Macbook Pro sku for a customer, as it was a comparable system to their high end Dell.

      The problem is the “return” or “PSP Fulfilment” requires a manager to punch in his approval at the beginning. If you get a half-competent sales guy with a geek backing him, they can usually shoo the manager away, finish up the return then you can take your store credit and buy whatever the hell you want.

      Again, your warranty is gone unless you replace the notebook with the same model, and even then it sometimes doesn’t work that way.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Having worked for BBY for years (but not currently), this is clearly spelled out in the service plan brochure. Best Buy only takes into account the specs, so if you Sony was 13.3″, 1 gb RAM, and a 1.0 GHz processor, they will get as close as possible to those specs. Brand, especially for computers, really doesn’t matter according to the service plan. Sorry, but its pretty clear in the terms and conditions of the plan.

    • Derek Balling says:

      @ShachiAlmus: “Weight” is a specification as well. On almost every laptop “specs” page I’ve ever looked at, dimensions and weight are included on that page.

    • Sockatume says:

      @FrankGrimesJr: I’ll put it this way, the TZ series shipped with Vista and ran it very comfortably. An Eee PC just doesn’t even remotely compare.

      • AlariceAthamas says:

        @Sockatume: Not only that, the TZ runs on Core 2 Duo processors as opposed to the Eee PC’s Atom (in the case of the model they probably offered him). I’ve experienced bad customer service at BB, but wow. -.-

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @ShachiAlmus:

      Bring up the XBRITE-HiColorâ„¢ LCD…a very Sony-specific spec!

      So if he bought a Macbook Air, could they replace it with a eeeeeeeePc?

      • yasth says:

        @RedwoodFlyer: I am pretty sure that they could sub in any shiny screen. Best buy doesn’t do trademarks.

        The biggest thing is the internal DVD drive, which should crush any attempt to push an EEE

    • Android8675 says:

      @ShachiAlmus: New policy went into effect in late October. Not many employees fully understand it yet. If you want to find out, talk to the Rep 2’s, those are the employees that work at the Return counter.

  4. ironchef says:

    does it have a adjusted market clause?

  5. nataku8_e30 says:

    I’ve started to find it physically uncomfortable to be in a Best Buy store (yes, I may have some psychological issues). I sure hope I don’t end up getting another BB gift card again for christmas :(

    • wesrubix says:

      @nataku83: me too! I’ve had this problem for some time. I get anxious, uncomfortable, dizzy, and even suffer some headaches.

    • Anonymous says:

      @nataku83: It’s funny you should mention this, because just yesterday I was telling a friend how uncomfortable BB makes me.

      Two things are at play for me:
      1) The unbelievably bright florescent lights.
      2) The car stereo department always has their model speakers turned on full blast so you can hear “thump, thump, thump” on the other end of hte store. If you are looking at something NEAR the stereo department, you nearly go deaf.

      Basically walking into a BB gets you a severe case of sensory overload.

  6. gaya2081 says:

    Policy is now to find a comparable computer (item) on the floor and offer that for exchange or a gift card for the cost of that computer.
    Now, what they were offering the OP was NOT comparable. the EEE PC might have been comparable in spec (speed, ram etc) but it is not a fully function computer (in my mind). He should have been given a comparable ultra portable computer.

    New policy was to make people happier-obviously people are screwing it up already.

  7. sir_pantsalot says:

    If the 15″ Dell has the same specs then he is getting a fair deal. He handed over his money for style and then dropped the style on the floor. The warranty replaces the specs but they should be able to do better than what they are doing.

    • djsyndrome says:

      @sir_pantsalot: by your logic weight (or the TZ’s lack thereof) isn’t part of the specs.

    • B says:

      @sir_pantsalot: Only if you consider weight to be one of the specs. The high price was for more than just style.

    • shepd says:

      @sir_pantsalot:
      So, if you smash up your Porsche, a Celica is an okay replacement, as long as the amount of doors and engine HP match? I’m so glad I don’t have you insuring my car (actually, maybe I’m wrong on that, considering I own a 7 year old Corolla).

      Sure, he bought some style. He bought a warranty that’s basically insurance, and the company offering it knew it was on a high-end product. He deserves like for like, minus depreciation (which he may be forgetting about, a year old laptop has lost some significant value).

      • Ass_Cobra says:

        @shepd:

        Size is not a matter of style with laptops it is a matter of convenience and usability. I have a 12.1″ ultraportable from work and a 17″ desktop replacement that I own. The ultraportable goes with me everywhere. The desktop replacement never leaves my house. Packing and carrying a 3lb small form factor computer is a totally different proposition than an 8lb behemoth.

      • RedwoodFlyer says:

        @shepd: Best post…OP should include this comparison in his carpet-bomb.

        It’s 100% comparable to your insurance company giving you a same spec-ed car while ignoring brand, features, etc…and if my insurance company tried to pull this on me, I’d be in PETA jail for Gecko murder asap!

    • rpm773 says:

      @shepd: This is a good point. And it seems like the smart thing for Best Buy to do henceforth would be to present a schedule of depreciation to the customer prior to his buying the warranty. It would probably solve a lot of problems for everyone involved if the customer knew that when buying a warranty on a $2200 item, the value of its replacement would drop to $1700 a year later, and then $900 a year after that…etc.

      Instead, Best Buy has some Geek Squad clown try to eyeball a comparable machine or dollar value that the year-old laptop is worth. I can’t blame the OP for being skeptical.

    • Android8675 says:

      @sir_pantsalot: Warranty will also cover “features”, Ultra portable is a feature, small size, and tons of features, is a feature.

      Manager/Supervisor was an idiot here. Sounds like the Geek Squad guy/gal was on the money, but got cock blocked by stupidity.

  8. ivealwaysgotmail10 says:

    Wow, Thats Absolutely insane, but its great to know best buy is now the # 1 electronics retailer with no competition from Circuit city in most markets anymore.

    an EE pc is NOT EVEN COMPARABLE to the Vaio TZ,

    Call best buy executive relations and demand to speak with someone who KNOWS BOTH SYSTEMS BY NAME before they can project their own opinion on it!

  9. SkokieGuy says:

    I’m wondering, did Geek Squad provide an itemized list of repairs? Perhaps Ignacio should get his laptop back, with Geek Squads inspection report, then go elsewhere for another repair quote.

    If it turns out that another computer place can repair the computer for $400.00 bucks, then the scenario changes quite a bit!

    Could be that they are trying to make him pay the price for (multiple choice)
    Their own incompetence in not knowing how to fix.
    Their lack of staff to repair
    Their desire to outsource for evenutal repair and sale as reconditioned
    Their interest in making you ‘go away’ as quick as possible.
    Perhaps the ‘damaged’ laptop ends up in some Geek’s home, when it is written off as unrepairable?

    Oh, I am just too cynical, huh?

    • Pylon83 says:

      @SkokieGuy:
      You can’t fix anything on most laptops for $400. They are ridiculously expensive to fix, at least with OEM parts. I think this is a common thing, where they replace rather than repair if it’s anything more than a HD or DVD drive.

    • gaya2081 says:

      @SkokieGuy: Unrepairables get sent out per policy. Abandoned computers/electronics do too(yes it happens). There was a nice laptop sitting on the shelf for several months that I watched get boxed up and shipped out b/c the lady would never come in to get it.

    • jifypop31 says:

      @SkokieGuy: I use to work for the geeksquad. If as the customer says the was dropped in the one year manufacture warranty the notebook gets sent directly to Sony, and Sony is the one that determined that the notebook was unrepairable based on their own repair pricing. Witch means that is the lcd screen was cracked (which it probably was) then that is at least $699 repair and if the motherboard needs to be replaced then that is another $699 as well.

  10. Psychosocial says:

    I really wish people would stop shopping @ Best Buy. How can someone possibley reward the store with the WORST customer service with MORE business. You get what you deserve if you spend your money at this place.

  11. opsomath says:

    “I’m not good with computers?” From the manager of a Best Buy? Are you kidding me?

    • Pylon83 says:

      @opsomath:
      Not uncommon at all. One of my previous managers at a high-end specialty electronics store on Michigan Ave in Chicago was a former Best Buy manager. He was completely and utterly incompetent. All things electronic were a complete mystery. But let me tell you, he could schedule employees and create nonsensical store and employee policies like nobody’s business. People that get into management in these places are there because of their ability to do as they’re told, to make schedules and budgets work and to push paper, not because of their superior electronics knowledge. The people with such knowledge rarely get promoted to management because they are the “Gems” that can’t be readily replaced on the floor.

      • mrm514 says:

        @Pylon83: ABSOLUTELY seconded! My GM at BBY was the biggest incompetent I’ve ever seen. He ruled out of fear, and knew nothing about the business.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      @opsomath: One of my managers at Apple wouldn’t have known the difference between a Mac and a toaster. Electronics stores hire managers from T-shirt stores and think that they’ll do fine.

      :(

    • misokitty says:

      @opsomath: @opsomath: I am not at all surprised by that. I went in there to purchase some HDV tapes for my boyfriend’s video camera and the sales person didn’t know an HD video camera used tapes.

  12. FrankGrimesJr says:

    Usually, these kind of things work out as “if we have the same model, you’ll get that. But if not, we’ll find one that’s as close as possible to it.”

    While last year’s $2200 laptop is probably worth more than this year’s EEEPC, the $1000 Dell might be a pretty good estimate on the laptop’s worth. Right?

    • Wit says:

      @FrankGrimesJr: Not even. They’re going for more than that used on ebay.

    • godlyfrog says:

      @FrankGrimesJr: The TZ is Sony’s flagship ultraportable. Offering a full-size laptop for an ultraportable is like offering a small form factor desktop for a full-size laptop just because the specs are the same.

      • snowburnt says:

        @godlyfrog: @Roast Beef: USAA Story: I had my laptop, 17″ HP over a year old stolen out of my car. USAA renter’s insurance covered it almost fully. They spec’d it out as a brand new higher end one (even though I gave them the exact specs…) took off 25% for depreciation (which about covered the difference in the original cost and the higher cost they spec’d me) and the deductable. My car insurance would have only given me $500 for it because that is the max, but USAA said that the renter’s insurance will cover it even if it’s stolen from outside of my apartment.

        Gotta love USAA.

  13. GustavusCinna says:

    This is why you shouldn’t bother with the store warranties – but you should, for something like a computer, call your insurance company.

    I have my laptop (and DSLR) added to my renter’s insurance with a special rider. For my $2200 MacBook Pro and my $800 camera the policy costs about $5-10/mo and has no deductible.

    I, too, dropped my laptop. I called USAA, told them what happened, told them about my computer and they said they’d figure out the price and call me back the next day. The next day they called me and then transferred $2200, the cost of a comparable brand-new laptop, into my checking account.

    So simple, so wonderful, and such a great value (of course, this is with USAA… your mileage may vary if you aren’t blessed with USAA membership)

    • Roast Beef says:

      @GustavusCinna: This is a smart choice. Warranties can have all kinds of little clauses like this; whereas insurance is generally a bit more generous when replacing stolen/broken items.

      I had my car broken into and my $1000 audio system (3 years prior) stolen. As it was on my insurance, they replaced it with units not comparable to the 3 year old specs, but comparable to the price and model range.

  14. goodpete says:

    I always wondered about the “comparable specifications” clause. Honestly, I think they should take into account the quality of the workmanship. Next thing you know, they’ll replace your 2.4Ghz Core 2 Extreme with a 3.0Ghz Pentium 4 because they are both 2.4Ghz Intel processors. Of course, that discounts the fact that a 3.0Ghz Core 2 Extreme is a thousand dollar processor and a 3Ghz P4 is about 40 bucks on eBay.

    Maybe they should replace your GeForce GTX280 1GB card with a GeForce 8500GT 1GB because they’re both 1GB GeForce cards… of course, one is 50 bucks and the other is 400…

    Of course there’s also the chance your Dell XPS will get replaced with a “similarly equipped” eMachine. One is a high powered, well-tuned gaming machine, the other is a trashy, bargain bin, economy machine that is just as likely to wet itself at the sight of a modern game as play it…

    • Sabbadeus says:

      @plamoni: You sir, have won the comment of the day in my mind. But alas, since I’m not a consumerist staffer i’ve got no say in the matter.

    • shanoaravendare says:

      @plamoni: Hey, I used to play World of Warcraft on a eMachine! Of course, I did have to add a case fan and graphics card to do it….

      Nevermind.

    • endless says:

      @plamoni:

      In theory it could happen, but only if the sales person is exceedingly stupid/ or ruthless, and the customer doesn’t know better. If you are only going to base the similarity of the product on one single feature, all kinds of problems can happen. To take full advantage of such a service plan you have to know all of the features of the laptop, or whatever product is being covered.

    • Anonymous says:

      @plamoni:

      Actually, they’d NOT be comparable. BBY has to take architecture into account, as well as socket.

      HOWEVER, they might switch a C2E with a regular Core2Duo, which is “fair” because the C2E’s are just the best tested models of the C2D’s. Messed up, huh? But then again, it’s also pretty crazy to be charged 4x-5x for a better clock on the same processor…

  15. HiEllie says:

    I agree with NightSteel, he needs to read the fine print of the extended warranty, but still do the EECB either way, if only because of the rude experience. I hate that usually the people that work Geek Squad barely know anything about computers, no more than the average person does. If you can install antivirus software, they will hire you.

    Have them give you a Macbook Air, and if you aren’t a Maciac, turn around and sell that bad boy, and use the cash to buy yourself something at a competitor.

    • gaya2081 says:

      @HiEllie: People lie about their computer knowledge in the interview. Its to BS answers. My manager told me he was pleasantly surprised by my knowledge after I was hired.

  16. Geekybiker says:

    Ouch. If sony still makes that model it should be pretty easy to prove that the value is not comparable. Looks like the most comparable laptop is $1649 MSRP.

  17. blackmage439 says:

    Yet again, another reason not to shop at Worst Buy for major hardware purchases. Computers from retailers are nothing but sticker-ridden, bloatware-loaded, crap. Go straight to the manufacturer. You can often find MUCH better deals, fairer-priced warranties, and superior service, even from Asus… and that’s saying a lot.

    • Anonymous says:

      @blackmage439:
      Actually not always true. I got a Dell XPS-630. (BTW: Awsome system) from Best Buy ($1199) which was a better bargain that what I could have gotten from the Dell web site. Only problem was I didn’t get the Vista64 SP1 Re-installtion disk with it. Heck yea I got the run around from both BestBuy and Dell (BB was the orginal purchaser). I did figure out a backdoor way to get my disk!!
      After reading remarks here and from Best Buy’s own forum I wonder what they would have replaced my system * IF * I had purchased the PSP or other warranty plan.
      How many systems off the shelf come with a 750watt power supply? 6GB mem. replaceable motherboard. 7 drive bays. Reall Kool looking LED’s on the front! BTW; I topped it off with the Samsung T-240 flat screen.
      Paul

  18. Anonymous says:

    Wrong.

    Best Buy is completely ignoring the fact that specs aren’t just CPU speed/RAM/disk, but also physical form factor. Handing him a brick of a Dell laptop is *not* a comperable replacement.

    It would be akin to suggesting that when your 32″ LCD blows up, Best Buy could replace it with one of their 32″ CRT screens they still happen to have in the way back of their store room. 32″ is 32″, right?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Sue in small claims court. Easy to do, no lawyers allowed and often companies don’t even show up which typically results in an automatic win.

  20. MosesKabob says:

    Weird… I had a laptop that I bought from BB a few (6) years ago. Had to take it into them for repairs a total of three times, but had the warranty program so I didn’t pay for repairs. The third time, even though the three year warranty was about a month or two away from expiring, they took it back under some sort of lemon policy and gave me the purchase price as credit towards a new lappy. I even told them that I’d purchased the floor model of this laptop (for $699), and they told me it was last in their system for $999, so unless I could produce a receipt for $699, they’d refund me $999. I couldn’t (honestly!) so they did (and I found the receipt a week or two later by coincidence).

    Granted, this was about 3-4 years ago. But I guess the point of it is you’d think that they’d put up the purchase price… but maybe between now and then they figured out it could be a scammer’s paradise, hense the delta between someone trying to do the right thing (initially) and a manager-type trying to override that. After all, you could just be on a great lease policy in that you buy a laptop with warranty and have it replaced 1-2 years later with a newer model, only being out the cost of the warranty, getting a brand-new one at a similar price. So it’s easy to see both sides, unfortunately.

    I’d be curious to know how much the repairs would cost, too. If they’d cost BB $1,400 and they’re trying to total it out, only offering $1,200, that’s just wrong.

  21. SkokieGuy says:

    What about contacting Sony and explain to them the situation and ask Sony to provide a list of comparable laptops.

    Sony will likely be able to not only provide comparables, but comparables that Best Buy carries.

    That makes it difficult for BB to continue to dispute with the OP.

    • farker says:

      @SkokieGuy:
      Good suggestion. Sony might be willing to pressure Best Buy to act in the op’s favor as they want him to have a Sony laptop and to have a positive experience. Best Buy couldn’t care less if the op ever shops there again due to their myopic customer service outlook.

  22. Geekybiker says:

    If you don’t get any more money out of it, take a look at the macbooks. They’re fairly light, compact, exceed your specs, and can bootcamp into XP or vista if you’d rather run that.

  23. Geekybiker says:

    oh plus they’ll only a grand.

  24. chrisjames says:

    First, don’t accept anything less than the desired response. Don’t let any employee place anything in your hand or on your person. Have them lay it on a counter or table so you can see what it is, then ignore it if it’s not acceptable.

    If store management won’t listen to you, then EECB is the best bet. Ignore CSRs and customer relations; they’re scripted. Let them know that you will decide what is an acceptable replacement, not them. You purchased your laptop for x features, so you want a replacement that has exactly x features or more. Don’t expect to get a replacement based on purchase price though; warranties just don’t work that way.

    However, before doing anything, even going back to the store to activate a warranty (which Ignacio has already done), read up on your agreements. Understand what the manufacturers warranty covers, what the store-bought warranty covers, and what your credit card warranty covers if bought with a credit card. I mean read up on what you can receive.

    Finally, get everything in writing. Don’t agree to offers made over the phone. Tell them to mail or fax the offer.

  25. mrdeeno says:

    Ok…so someone buys a Mac at BB (they sell those, don’t they) with the accidental protection plan. They drop it. So now BB says they will replace it with a Dell Inspiron something or other with a 2.0ghz processor, 2gb ram, and 160gb hard drive because it’s “comparable” in specs?

    they might as well just sell him a desktop with a larger hard drive and faster processor and tell him they are giving him an upgrade!

    I havne’t shopped at BB for the past 3 years…90% of electronics I purchased have been through Amazon.com and they have never given me any problem. They even gave me a 10% discount on my aluminum Macbook ‘cuz there was 2 pieces of dust behind the glass (I could get a replacement and return the “defective” one or get the discount…$130 for 2 specks of dust ftw!)

  26. rsfrid says:

    Sounds like Worst Buy at it’s best. I will NEVER purchase from them again! The Extended Warrantees are crap. The service is crap. The products are last year’s (out of date) models, they force software purchases on you, they force all sorts of extras, they refuse to honor any warrantee (manufacturers, 30-day, extended, etc.) This company needs to go the way of the dinasoar (gone, like forever!) Can’t tell you the number of troubles I’ve had just trying to give them a chance. The reason the products are cheaper than anyone else, is they are all old models no longer made by manufacturer. Go somewhere else people! Got that!

  27. summerbee says:

    Huff? The manager’s name was huff? Seems fitting.

  28. Anonymous says:

    “because the sized and features that the TZ, they replied that they do it spec for spec and that my laptop only had 1gig of ram, a 1ghz processor and 100gig hard drive”

    Wait a sec? This guy paid $2200 for a 1ghz CPU and 1GB of RAM and 100GB hard drive? I don’t care if the laptop was paper thin, the guy got robbed from the get go. Technology changes every few months, what may cost $100 today will probably cost $60 is less then 6 months, because companies figure out how to build it cheaper. Take your $1200 and smile, cuz thats all your Sony Laptop is worth today.

  29. LJKelley says:

    Actually brand should be a big part of the replacement. People do have brand loyalities or reasons they don’t buy another brand, and thus any replacement should really be from the same brand unless customers suggests otherwise (IE, it was Sony’s fault the computer failed and now they want another brand).

    But as a suggestion to the op, check out Toshiba, as they have ultraportables that are 12in, light etc in attempts to compete with Sony and are slightly cheaper. But you really can’t compare an eeePC with these lower speced Sony Vaios because that also have battery life well over 5 hours (mine did anyways) and have built in DVD Drives, and 3G WWAN in addition to the fact that 11-12in is larger than 10 or 8.9in.

  30. DaTaco says:

    Coming from a past Geek Squad/Best Buy Employee, the technology comparable argument is crap. Compare the two computers, you did not list what model of ASUS EeePC they were going to replace it with.. but most Sony TZs came with a CD-Rom. The EeePC does not. Also go really tech specs.. If you would like me to go through all of the spec difference between the two computers I can.. I can also assure you that it would result in the Sony computer still being better.

  31. Kevinb77 says:

    “because the sized and features that the TZ, they replied that they do it spec for spec and that my laptop only had 1gig of ram, a 1ghz processor and 100gig hard drive”

    Wait a sec? This guy paid $2200 for a 1ghz CPU and 1GB of RAM and 100GB hard drive? I don’t care if the laptop was paper thin, the guy got robbed from the get go. Technology changes every few months, what may cost $100 today will probably cost $60 is less then 6 months, because companies figure out how to build it cheaper. Take your $1200 and smile, cuz thats all your Sony Laptop is worth today.

    • Zeniq says:

      @Kevinb77: Yes, well, this is what brands like Apple and Sony are known for. The products they produce are very expensive compared to the alternatives. Also, the fact is that ultralight laptops are expensive.

      • taking_this_easy says:

        @Zeniq: i agree… my 13.3″ Dell XPS M1330 weighing 4 pounds is great…. thank god i bought directly from Dell with 4 yrs warranty+accidental damage… hopefully they wont screw me over

  32. sleze69 says:

    Laptop specs don’t end with RAM, CPU speed and HD size. Comparable specs INCLUDES the weight and size of the laptop. If there was a comparable replacement policy on your Excursion and Ford said, “Here’s your Ranger. What? It’s a truck with 4 wheels!”

  33. gnuman says:

    As working for an extended warranty company (no not for Best Buy) here is what usually happens. As you are aware of technological advances and price drops you would be covered up to your purchase price so in this case $2200.

    This issue here is that they cannot match for same functionality as its an ultra-light laptop. Granted sometimes they newer similar model might weigh a tad more that is something not controllable.

    We wouldn’t replace your laptop say its 4 pounds with one of 8 pounds unless you agree to the replacement, but overall we would try to match the size and specs of the unit and offer that as a replacement but PRICE is not what its based on.

  34. rtmccormick says:

    Offering a netbook to replace a Vaio is like offering to give a house brand plasma in place of a high-end Sony or Pioneer. Ridiculous

  35. Kevinb77 says:

    My point is this, his computer is worth what he got TODAY…not what he paid for it. Hell my PC I just bought 3 weeks is probably already worth less. I understand the specs of a PC/laptop. Trust me. But the guy has to understand that his dollar spent “about a year ago” is not worth that same $ today. Simple as that.

    • Mooshie says:

      @Kevinb77:

      I agree with Kevin here. Imagine if you bought a car last year with insurance. It becomes wrecked and the insurance company gives you a check in the amount of the car as it is worth in the blue book. Can you honestly expect the insurance company to give you the complete cost of the car that you paid a year ago?

      As much as I hate Best Buys, it’s probably not in their policy to give you a brand new $2200 every time you break your PC. For example, what is stopping a unethical consumer from breaking their laptop every year in order to get a new top of the line laptop?

      Best Buy may have many questionable business practices, but here, Ignacio is getting a fair deal here.

      • smokinfoo says:

        @Mooshie: Ok say you smash up your one year old Prius Hybrid and the insurance company comes back to you and says here, here’s a Geo Metro. It has comparable gas mileage so it must be ok, right?

        If Best Buy can’t afford to make good on their replacement plans then they shouldn’t exist. You can’t build a business model on the hopes that no one will ever use the service they paid for.

        • Kevinb77 says:

          @smokinfoo: No, if you smash up your year old Prius, then you will get a check for what the car is worth according to the Kelly Blue Book. It is called depreciation. Don’t even dare think that they will toss another comparable car your way. Thats like comparing Apples to Oranges here. And as the same with cars, technology depreciates…ask anyone who just got their shiny new Iphone 3G…oh wait now ask the people who bought the original Iphone and ask how they feel now that their product is worthless in the “new” market. Warranties are there to protect the user as well as the company issuing them. They will gladly give you comparable $ for the items depreciation, not what what you paid for it.

      • Anonymous says:

        @Mooshie:
        Here in Pennsylvania insurance companies give you Black Book Price for your totalled car. While Notaries look at the Blue book price when you buy the car for Tax money.
        Paul

    • coren says:

      @Kevinb77: That’s not what they tried to do though – you can’t honestly tell me a year old top of the line laptop is worth 600. Even 1200 is hard to believe – they don’t devalue *that* fast.

  36. geekinpain says:

    For awhile Best Buy’s policy was to give you store credit equal to the amount you paid for the original laptop. This policy effectively caused the warranty/insurance company that covers these protection plans to have kittens and they are now pushing the “comparable technology” clause in the fine print. In my humble and non-legal expert opinion Ignacio should draft a letter with a spec for spec comparison of not only processor speed and memory but weight and size as well. When Best Buy can not produce a “comparable” model the should be forced to pony up the full purchase price. Failing that complain to the BBB and if needed try small claims.

  37. Anonymous says:

    As an IT professional, I try to steer anyone away from purchasing a laptop at any retail box store. I normally suggest going to the manufacturer’s website, and clicking on their “Small/Home Business” section and purchasing a laptop from that area. Business notebooks seem to be built a little better, and usually have better warranties. I also suggest upgrading the warranty to at least 3 years of on-site or mail-in service.

  38. framitz says:

    I see no mention of the wording on the replacement contract.

    Did the customer read it?

    Most of these things are totally in favor of the store and nearly impossible for the customer to get any value from it by design.

  39. Anonymous says:

    I think it sucks that they compare models based on specs and not by the price you paid in the first place….But honestly I kinda think he’s lucky to get anything at all considering “he” dropped his laptop….Also never should have shopped at Best Buy in the first place….That place sucks

  40. P41 says:

    So basically they’re listing out a couple of specs they say make the computer comparable. “Double YES” on everything everyone said about read all the fine print and know all the terms of the agreement. Print out the specifications of your old laptop, and make a list of the specs you want them to match (like, weight category, size category), and show them the higher price of the models that match your specifications.Don’t accept anything that doesn’t meet those specifications.

    In fact, print out a list of laptops that do meet THEIR specifications (including Dell 15″) and show the drop in price as a result in the difference between your higher specifications and their lower specifications. Be firm that they’re not really giving you a comparable replacement, so they’re not meeting the terms of the agreement and are trying to cheat you.

    In fact, you might even say well if Dell 15″ laptop and my old laptop are comparable, then it’s completely fair for you to refund the difference of the purchase price between those two laptops, right? (on top of the $1200 credit). If that’s not fair and I really was paying for something extra in the original purchase, then you need to match that extra thing in the replacement.

  41. coren says:

    Ok, so what’s so different between the Vaio and the EEE?

    • Zeniq says:

      @coren: The Vaio TZ series are ultraportable, but full-featured, laptops that have standard sized hard drives, DVD drives, and most everything that a laptop usually has, plus a WWAN card built in for wireless internet.

      The EEE pc is a netbook, a tiny 7″ laptop that is certainly portable, but has a tiny display, tiny hard drive, no CD/DVD drive, and is mostly optimized for websurfing.

      There is also (now, at current list prices) a price difference of about $1400 between the two.

      These are NOT comparable computers. I may work for Best Buy, but I will not defend the company on this one.

  42. Thorny says:

    Best Buy has definitely taken a downward turn in the last 15 years with customer service. I bought my very first computer at BB and ten months later the machine totally died. I took it back to get repaired and they just gave me a store credit for the amount I had paid ten months earlier. So I was able to buy a BETTER computer since almost a year had passed and prices had come down.

  43. Dirtnaps says:

    The OP was offered more than enough for his troubles. Believe me I worked at Best buy at the store Level, I worked at BEst buy at the Geek squad Level, and I worked at best buy at the Service Center Level as a tech. What is written in their Policy is MORE than fair if done correctly. It should be Spec for Spec as the manager stated. Otherwise you as a business would lose money hand over fist. I’d just buy a top of the line laptop, and made sure it “Broke” every two years and I had insurance. I’d then replace it every year or two like a free PC. Top of the line and all I would have to pay is a renewed “policy. Sign me UP! Thats not how the system is intended to work. If you buy a breand new car it isn’t worth what you paid before the ink even dries on the contract. An “Ultra portable Laptop” from a few years ago, has the specs of a bottom end laptop right now, maybe less. You can’t fault the store because technology changes and gets cheaper. ANd you sure as hell can’t expect to get a Vaio 1ghz “ultra portable” laptop for the insane price of $2200 a few years ago and expect that $2200 to be used in full value if and when it breaks. The $1200 is more than fair market value for that laptop. To expect $2200 is highway robbery, and believe me I LOVE to hammer Best Bait and switch when they do something wrong. Your first mistake is thinking any technology is an investment. This isn’t a diamond, it is a laptop that served you well, and doesn’t hold value.

    • Ass_Cobra says:

      @Dirtnaps:

      Yeah, except in the insurance industry you quit insuring people based on their patterns for making claims. Maybe if Best Buy or the company that runs their warranty program bothered to do this they’d avoid these experiences. I think it’s scummy that someone would scam them in that fashion and there are legal remedies to deal with fraudsters. Disadvantaging a customer who is claiming on their warranty in good faith however is not one of them. And a brand new 15″ laptop in no way replaces a 1 year old ultra-portable. Too bad there is nothing like a KBB for laptops so that the market price of a used laptop could be used as the measuring stick for replacement.

  44. Zeniq says:

    As someone who works for BB as a Geek Squad agent, I will easily say that this guy got screwed. While the “comparable technology” statement is accurate, it should be technology on the same level. What I mean is, an ultraportable 12″ laptop should be replaced with the same, an ultraportable 12″ laptop, not a 7″ EEE pc.

    What store was this at?

  45. donovanr says:

    Costco or buy direct from one of the companies that have golden reputations! Why would anyone do anything different?

  46. Anonymous says:

    I had an experience at a Best Buy with a GPS system. The suction cup holder that fixed to the window broke in half while on the windshield without my touching it. I then took it to best buy the next day and they said I would have to pay the restoking fee which was $85.00. Which I argued because the device had a manufacturers defect. But they still refused to give back the money. I called Best Buy corporate office and they sent me a gift card in the amount of the restocking fee.

  47. tmlfan81 says:

    I would seriously be upset if someone told me that my 12 month old $2,000 laptop was only worth $600, and only after a fair amount of back ‘n forth would they even come close with $1,200. Regardless of the expense, spec-wise the Eee PC and the TZ are not in the same league. To suggest that is blind ignorance to common sense while clinging on the teat of corporate policy.

    Double check your original warranty and see what it states – your year old laptop might be grandfathered with a nice replacement plan. Remind the store employees of this, their managers, and their district managers. Be that problem that won’t go away – not quietly, not passively, not quickly. Stick around. I don’t suggest you stay in the store and be removed by local law enforcement, but rather keep on them like white on rice. Speak with managers over the phone or by e-mail. Call corporate. Write an EECB. File a complaint with the BBB.

    It all hinges on the warranty and the teeth that it really has. Review it, study it, and look into your options.

    If you have a case, let Best Buy have it. You are the customer, and while in general we may not always be right – when we are we deserve to be treated with a fair amount of respect.

  48. mmmsoap says:

    Well, apparently I’m in the minority here, but I don’t think BB is being as unreasonable as the OP believes.

    Since he bought the warranty, he should absolutely get his machine replaced with the same (or comparable) model. This is where BB is wrong. It is certainly not appropriate to change brands, as different companies use different (quality of) components.

    However, it’s not fair to assume that the replacement they’re offering is garbage. Not all the models sold under the Asus eeePC name are low-end netbooks. Some are fairly comparable to the specs the OP mentions. BB is offering to replace his Mercedes with a Toyota. They are not, however, offering to replace his Mercedes with a skateboard.

    His computer is a year (or more) old, which is a long time in the world of laptops. What was $1000 a year ago could easily be half the price today. It is inappropriate to assume that you will get back the original purchase price of your item. If you total a 10-year old car that you paid $25,000 new, you will not get $25,000 for it. You get what the car is worth today, or the amount it costs to replace the car with a comparable model.

    The Asus isn’t as good a model as the original computer, but it is similar and the OP was offered $1200 to cover the difference. Not the worst deal in the world.

    Given the amount of times the OP mentioned BB employees “just walking away” from him, it sounds like he wasn’t able to express himself in a calm and appropriate manner instead of creating a scene.

    • Pylon83 says:

      @mmmsoap:
      Well written. The OP does need to realize that the 2k he paid was to be on the bleeding edge of technology, and he isn’t going to get a $2k laptop today. That said, he does deserve one that is indeed comparable in spec, but not necessarily in price. I agree that weight and size do weigh heavily with regard to spec, but there is going to have to be some give and take. There may not be a model that is reasonable in speed, storage and memory that is the same in weight and size. He can’t expect BB to give him a $2k laptop because it’s the only one that is similar is size and weight, and he shouldn’t be expected to take a $600 laptop that isn’t comparable in quality/style because it is comparable in weight, size, speed, memory and storage. Obviously there has to be some balancing here, and both the OP and BB need to be reasonable.

  49. mrm514 says:

    When I worked at Best Buy (8/04-5/08), the PSP brochures were the most referenced by employees/least read by customer brochures I’ve ever seen, and the main source of MOD issues. It states in the PSP brochure for ANY product, that if BBY can’t fix the product, you receive a product of comparable technology. If there is no product of comparable technology, Best Buy will issue a gift card in the amount of the purchase price (which sounds like what the OP should receive). This was the same for TV’s, cameras, computers etc. That being said, managers at the 3 diff. stores I worked at would occasionally allow a customer to pick out a laptop that would work best for them, and then do an even exchange, i.e., raise the price of the new laptop to match the old (thought not usually in this high of price range). Goes to show that Best Buy is fraught with inconsistency.

  50. JohnnyP says:

    Its a rip he should have Contacted Sony to see if they offer an accidental protection plan and got it from them instead. But I guess we all already know that right?

  51. Anonymous says:

    According to the terms and conditions of the plan you purchased (and by purchasing, agreed to adhere by), all Best Buy is responsible for is to replace your computer with another model that is comparable spec for spec. You aren’t entitled to a dollar for dollar exchange, because technology advances quite a bit in a year. The shelf life for a laptop these days is 3 months, at best.

    That being said, I do not think that an EeePC would be a worthy replacement. I don’t know the specs of your Sony model, but if it for example had a dual core processor, a 12.1″ screen, 4lbs, whatever, Best Buy would have to be able to match or exceed each one of those while keeping the class of the unit the same. (ie ultraportable). There are several models available now that are 4.5lbs or so that are much faster than a year old TZ that can be bought for 1200. So, the 1200 gift card would have been a reasonable compromise.

    If I had to guess… I’d say you probably developed a hostile attitude when the terms and conditions quoted to you from the plan you purchased didn’t line up with what you wanted them to say. If this is incorrect, then yes, you were mistreated and would have cause to try and get through to someone higher up in Best Buy Customer Care. (just be patient and polite, it works…)

  52. Modred189 says:

    Do some research on BestBuy’s product offering. The problem is that Best Buy does not carry the TZ any more. The modern equivalent that they DO carry is the TT series here:
    [www.bestbuy.com]

    It has many of the same specs as the TZ’s: Lowhp, low wattage cpu, ultra-portable, average ram for the age etc… Go in and prove your point. Sure, he’ll owe ~200 for the difference, but, unless you know what you want, he’s got to expect the ‘tards to do this kind of thing.

  53. Anonymous says:

    1. Write a polite letter laying out the facts – with as much specificity as possible.
    2. Address the letter to the President of the Company, the Vo of Consumer Affairs and the VP of marketing.
    3. Send copies of the letter to the Consumer affairs department of the state of Residence, The Federal Trade Commission, make sure these entities show as CC on the bottom of the letter.
    4. Include as a cc the strongest law firm in the area. (the point behind this is an implied lawsuit without spending a single dime).

  54. Anonymous says:

    Well on the BB site, the warranty says:

    ” If we determine in our sole discretion that your product cannot be repaired, we will replace it with a product of like kind and quality that is of comparable performance or reimburse you for replacement of the product with a voucher or gift card, at our discretion, equal to the current retail value of the product, as determined by us, not to exceed the original purchase price of your product, including taxes.
    • Technological advances may result in a replacement product with a lower selling price than the original product. “

    So BB is sort of right, but the thing I see is this issue of ‘like quality”

    Either way, this warranty sounds like a rip off

  55. Corporate_guy says:

    If you used a credit card, talk to them.

  56. skwigger says:

    I’ve had the same problems with Best Buy. They only replace a computer with one comparable in specs, but they don’t know what they are talking about with computers.

  57. Squot says:

    My personal experience with Best Buy Geek Squad (Which is lengthly, involving a lemon’d computer and a two month fight to my current one) has led me to suggest this:

    Call 888-best-buy. Tell them what’s going on. If you get a shitty rep, hang up, call back. It’s not spec for spec; it’s high-end / high-end, mid-grade / mid-grade, etc. etc.

    Give them every piece of information that you have. Tell them which managers they can talk too, etc etc. You want to talk to customer relations, NOT tech support.

    Use customer service speak – “I understand this isn’t your fault, but I would like a resolution to this issue, tonight.”

    THEN look into EECB, because the first thing they’re going to ask is if you’ve called.

  58. Nighthawke says:

    Bypass best buy.

    Go to Sony for warranty repairs.

    Do not collect the truckload of Bull$hit that the PHB’s and their drones dish out.

    Win big.

  59. Anonymous says:

    Firstly, never buy Sony, they are the biggest scum in the world. They used to be the one of the greatest engineering companies in the world. Then they decided to get into content and cripple all their hardware with DRM, and rootkits. Their laptops have been the standard crap for a long time.
    Second, you dropped your laptop. What sort of warranty covers that? Why should it cover it because you dropped it? I don’t understand this. I think you were getting a great deal.

  60. Anonymous says:

    I work for Best Buy and this situation was completely mishandled by the specific management of that store. In most stores this would not be permitted to happen. I suggest that Ignacio calls the 1.866.BestBuy number and they should be able to help resolve the situation for him

  61. Anonymous says:

    I’m not seeing how these aren’t comparable. Other than one being Sony and the other Asus…

    For example, eee 1000HD

    1GHz vs 900MHz
    1GB vs 1GB
    11″ vs 10″
    100 GB vs 160 GB
    1.3M camera vs 1.3M camera
    BT, wireless, etc, etc.

    Not identical obviously, but surely comparable.

  62. MrsLopsided says:

    If Best Buy did replace dollar-for-dollar they would be inundated with customers buying the Accidental Protection Damage insurance and “accidentally” dropping their laptops after a year. They really can only offer spec-for-spec insurance. The question is whether the manager’s offer was spec-for-spec and if um… size counts.

  63. WBrink says:

    Plans like this are very much YMMV. I had to deal with one guy who looked like a complete dick (and was!) and cringed. He wanted to offer me a $600 laptop after a years’ worth of problems with my $1500 Vaio that I had possession of no more than 7 months out of that year. I refused. I came back after being told by a friend that he had a friend who worked there and would fix it. I dealt with someone much nicer and he got me nearly full value.

    There are three types of people who work at Best Buy- genuinely cool people who are electronic hobbyists, dicks who are bitter at life and are your typical “ugly American,” and attractive high school girls who work the registers whom the dicks hit on. GL on finding someone to help you.

  64. Vandon says:

    Buy your service plans from the manufacturer. Sony, Toshiba, and Lenovo service plans are much cheaper. For what you pay for a 3 year standard plan at Best Buy, you can get a 3 year in-home + accidental damage plan from the laptop company. Usually there’s an option to buy the plan right from the ‘register your new computer’ webpage.

  65. Anonymous says:

    Can i even trust a consumer that might be upset with their experience at a big box retailer… What you buy is not called an extended warranty… Its called a Service plan, meaning if it cant be fixed, it will be replaced. As a consumer I can’t expect to get a computer $ ammount worth of replacement on a computer i bought over a year ago. Thats why they match specs… You spend $300 on a Service plan and what happened when you broke it?… What do you know, you got a $1200 replacement!… I would consider that money well spent… maybe thats just me…

  66. Corporate-Shill says:

    Ever hear of Moore’s Law?

    The high end product of yesterday is today’s nearly out of date brick.

    Sorry, life sux. Next time read the terms of the extended warranty. The extended warranty will often reference the performance specs of the product. It is a Catch-22 because of Moore’s Law.

    Better yet just skip the extended warranty and plan on purchasing a new computer when/if needed.

    • WBrink says:

      @Corporate-Shill: Except that they didn’t even come close to replacing his “brick,” he was promised something until some bottom-line humping high-school dropout manager blocked him, and he was willing to pay extra money for a different laptop.

  67. Anonymous says:

    I had a return issue like this with COMP USA. Laptop had O/S defects out of the box, that ACER couldn’t resolve (I foolishly bought a vista pc too early). I brought it back to COMP USA and explained that ACER admitted that the laptop was flawed, and that I wanted my money back, they agreed, but insisted on the re-stocking fee (even though it clearly stated that it was not in effect for defective products).

    I took the refund and called AMEX in the parking lot and disputed the entire charge (explaining that I really only wanted the difference).

    Amazingly COMP USA called me within 3 days, offering a gift card for the difference. I took it, because the COMP USA guy in the store was really nice (I know, amazing) and said that it happens all the time, but his hands were tied.

    Ignacio, dispute the entire charge including the warranty, on the grounds that you wouldn’t have made the purchase if they weren’t going to honor the warranty. I bet Best Buy contacts you with 72 hours to find an amicable settlement, but if I were you i would try to gt the cash, you were treated rudely.

  68. jpdanzig says:

    I agree with the reader who said the “form factor” is a spec and should be comparable for a replacement model.

    I think Worst Buy’s handling of this situation is deplorable but not unexpected.

    I also think the guy who said it’s better to insure your computer with a rider under your homeowners or renters policy has the best solution.

    A tough lesson for any of us…

  69. babel116 says:

    I’m going to play the DELL card here, when I was in the escalations dept. in the XPS line, we would at least look at the age of the purchase and the coverage. this guy is getting hosed. go nacho! call forth the power of the eagal and send that EECB!

  70. physics2010 says:

    I really don’t understand the “Suck it up” attitude of all the posters today. Seriously do you not understand a lower spec umpc can be superior in functionality to a faster laptop?

    Its like having the insurance company replace your 1912 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost with a 2008 Hyundai accent. “You sir are getting a deal! I tell you this Hyundai has five times the horsepower of your obsolete Silver Ghost.”

  71. Justifan says:

    lesson, do not shop at best buy.
    the dell was probably reasonable though. you are getting a working computer where without a warranty you would have a brick:P the asus is too cheap to qualify as a real replacement. that being said i understand the way they sell these warrantys tends to be misleading. thats the problem, they give the impression you will get something equivalent, not something equivalent by their narrow definition.
    best buy will continue to get away with this stuff as long as they keep getting customers. its our fault. we should stop going there.

  72. res1i3js says:

    That vote shows the sheer amount of people who realize what the issue is.

    The issue is that they did not have a comparable Sony branded laptop. The reason why that laptop was $2200 was because of the bloated name.

    ASUS Eee PCs were the first ultraportables and remain to be the highest quality ultraportables. these ultraportable computers are NOT worth $2200, ESPECIALLY with the specs he had.

    The original sale for that Sony laptop was a rip off. The EeePC is fairly priced, if he wanted a $2200 computer that was worth that price, then he should get a Dell XPS 1530 like they offered him.

  73. DrRonster says:

    My nephew was informed by a “computer repair” store in NYC that his notebook would cost over $500 to repair. This was then taken to VISA with the extended warranty that was free by using the card for initial charge and the unit was 1 month past tohibas warranty. Needless to say, Visa credited the full purchase price of the “dead” notebook and told us just to keep the “junk notebook”.
    My diagnosis of the problem; dead hard drive. Got a 160 GB notebook drive and boosted the RAM to 4 GB and installed Vista Premium on the dead notebook. Runs beatifully for days at a time with no problems whatsoever, thanks to newegg. My “repair” costs $125.
    Only bad thing was that after recieving an RMA on the drive from Toshiba they claimed it was dented because the drives themselves have a much longer warranty than the notebook and apparantly when they examined the stickers on drive they realized it was from a notebook. And lifting up the label to see the “dent” was in fact a normal stamping but lifting the label automatically voided the warranty. Oh well it was only a 60 GB drive.
    Use the warranty manager offered by your credit card that extends warranty up to an extra year. Not only that but the CC offers something called buyers remorse.

  74. BrazDane says:

    Check if you paid for it with a credit card that extends the original manufacturer warranty. I know many Amex cards do this.

    Also, if you paid the extended warranty with this card you might be able to enlist the CC company to help you at least recover the cost of this obviously useless protection plan.

    Finally, yes, I agree, you are being shafted here – none of those two laptops are comparable. If you need proof of current value/depreciation try asking your insurance agent what they would consider it worth if you were to makea claim on your homeowner’s insurance. With this realistic estimate you can take them to small claims court, or maybe try to talk to them first – possibly include the estimate in an EECB.

    Good Luck!

  75. tubamanjon says:

    Do not buy the service plan from BB! They only want the money, they don’t care about service after the sale…

    However, if you get an incompetent CS, they will sell your new replacement laptop for $54 instead of $600… so, sometimes it’s worth it, but don’t bet on it

  76. bnelson333 says:

    Spec for spec? Um, screen size and brand are “specs” often considered during any major purchase.

    I can kind of understand if BB can’t give a spec for spec replacement, including size and brand. So what they ought to do, as any sort of insurance plan would do, is cut a check for the current market value.

    If I crash my 2004 xyz car, my insurance isn’t going to go buy me another, spec for spec used car. They will cut me a check for what I could have reasonably expected to get for it, had I sold it instead of crashed it.

  77. OmarMojojojo says:

    If perchance he bought it with a credit card (such as Amex) which automatically extends the manufacturer’s warranty by up to one year, then he should maybe also to the credit card company. I always buy my electronics with Amex and never pay for extended warranties.

  78. misterfuss says:

    Isn’t the price for an extended warranty based on the purchase price?

  79. Anonymous says:

    I used to work at best buy and I once had a situation where a customer bought a expensive laptop with the service plan and they wanted to give him some cheap laptop as a replacement, in the end I got them to give him something in the mid range.

    Anyways here’s a suggestion, the service plan says they will give you something of same spec or better, check the details on your laptop…the amount of ram and cpu speed aren’t the only specs on a laptop.

    does it have bluetooth, screen size must match, weight, materials(they advertise that these things come with some carbon or magnesium case if i remember correct), did your laptop have N wireless, and whatever else you can find.

    Also check the bestbuy for business website (bbfb.com) for other models that they can match you on.

    Good luck and best buy does try to screw everyone over on the warranties.

  80. Anonymous says:

    Please refer this gentleman to

    http://www.planetfeedback.com/

    I have had major claims and issue resolved in a higher compensation than expected. Best Buy has always been sly, sneaky rats with an employee base that knows little to none!

    Best of luck

  81. Anonymous says:

    Having worked at best buy for over 5 years, all of that time in services/geek squad, I understand how what happened, happened.

    I encourage this man to read the find print of his PSP (Performance Service Plan) There should be a clause in there that says that if there is no comparable model he will be issued a gift card, or can request to be issued a gift card. I can’t believe there are some store managers out there that will do this.

    In his best buy service tag there is typically a dollar amount specified for the value of the laptop. In addition to that, the text of the warranty says it has to be replaced spec for spec. That includes screen size/ram/processor/hdd size. From what I read it doesn’t seem they’ve met all those requirements.

    It’s very obvious to me that this customer is being screwed over, and should definitely try and get the attention of someone higher up in best buy. I think it would benefit him to make it known which store he got this horrible customer service from, so he has even more chips on his table when he gets executive attention from the e-mails he sends out, hopefully referencing this article on the consumerist.

    Lastly, this machine is the replacement for his, http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=9055586&type=product&id=1218013136012
    it’s currently the only ultra portable we carry, it doesn’t matter if they have it in the store or not, obviously they can do an exchange for a gift card which he can then use to purchase the machine online.

  82. Anonymous says:

    Completely unfair I think. A friend of mine last month accidnetally “zapped” his laptop (yes, on purpose) before his extended warrantly gave out. Best Buy ended up giving him one of the brand new macbook pro’s that just came out for almost no difference at all ($400 maybe?). I can’t believe that people who do right get screwed while people like my friend reap the benefits…

  83. Anonymous says:

    That’s weird…Just last week my broken laptop was exchanged under the accidental damage plan. I received a gift card for the exact amount that I purchased it for ($1049). I used it to buy a cheaper laptop with way better specs than my old one and used the rest for a PS3.

  84. CountryBoy says:

    Just another example of the ‘upsell’ and ‘bait and switch’ made famous by CC long may they burn and close. NEVER buy the protection warranty as they all have ‘fine’ print and not being an attorney I neither have the time or inclination to wade thru that crap and pay for the privilege of being treated like this poor dude.

  85. Anonymous says:

    I hate Best Buy. When they sold me my (most recent) iPod about a year ago, the salesman sold me a “replacement” plan and gave me a brochure for their product replacement plan. A couple months ago, I went in because the hard drive crapped out (as they so commonly do). I went to the Geek Squad, and I was told that my iPod would be sent to a repair facility and returned within 6 weeks, when I was originally told in the store that I would get a new iPod the same day. As it turns out, the salesman originally had no idea what he was talking about and gave me the wrong sales pitch and brochure. They told me that I “should have known” what I was paying for, when the only way I could have known was an indecipherable code on the receipt.

    This article has only strengthened my dislike for this company.

  86. JoshReflek says:

    Take them to small claims for $2200 & fees, ask the commissioner if you can increase the amount due to deceptive business practices.

  87. Anonymous says:

    from the other way around i bought an mp3 player and it was a display model so it came with 3 years free in store warranty.

    it broke 2 years later and, of course, there was no model like it so they tried to give me a price model but i made a stink (and so did the customer service person) and they gave me the equivalent in specs model. i bought it originally for 90 and got a 399 replacement. score for me

  88. Anonymous says:

    Take them to small claims court. You don’t need a lawyer there and if they don’t show you win by default. Paying a lawyer to show up will be more expensive to them than giving you what you deserve.

  89. Anonymous says:

    I know this seems unfair, and the situation may have been dealt in a better way but a comparable machine spec wise does not mean it will be the same price two years later. This is explained in the warranty brochure and a good salesman will explain this. Also, it is misleading to say that ‘it is a good thing you didn’t get SSD..’ because if you had they would have had to replace your laptop with a model that has an SSD.

    No matter what store you buy at it simply does not matter. Find yourself a good salesman who is interested in return business and stay loyal. I have been in computer retail for 7 years and my return clients are my business. If I did not treat them right they would not come back, and yes, they do buy warranties when I recommend it and they don’t regret it.

  90. Anonymous says:

    If Ignacio contacts Sony corporate and explains the problem they should be motivated to do something about it themselves (Sony loses money on each computer sold through Best Buy, but they do it because of the quantity sold through BB) if sorry wont they should be motivated to force best buy to do something about it. Since this post has gone big on digg it could be a huge scar on both BB’s reputation as well as Sony’s.

  91. YoFonzie says:

    Last time around I had a laptop which was a lemon claim….4 times in for hardware replacement they gave me the same run-around. In the end, the only thing I did differently was bring in the original paperwork for the unit and a printout from bestbuy.com’s performance warranty with highlighting the areas of on the condition of the replacement along with the original spec. sheet for the broken laptop. quantity of usb ports, screen size, high gloss, ram, hard drive, cpu, ect all taken into consideration and ended up getting a laptop worth about the same as purchased two years ago. Again this took about three trips to the store to get everything squared away.

  92. binaryspiral says:

    besides the obvious fact that sony laptops are notorously fragile and expensive… I think that BB is never the place to purchase a laptop OR the insurance to go with it. If you own a small business or are just a home user – talk to your insurance agent for coverage! Good grief… extended warranties are just a scam – this site wouldn’t have half the content it has without them.

  93. Anonymous says:

    I work at a Best Buy in the KC Metro Area and how they stated that they HAVE to base it off of same technology is completely false. Our Performance Service Plans are insured by AIG. They give us the amount of money paid for each laptop that has a PSP plan on it. We even had a meeting about this earlier in the fall and they stated how if we can get a computer with “like technology” then do it. If we can’t then, and only then go by the price. We don’t lose money if we do.

  94. BluePlastic says:

    Although I think BB is obviously trying to wangle this around to their advantage, and I’m sure the replacement policy is worded to be all in their favor and not the customer’s, the $1200 gift certificate is IMO not entirely unreasonable. The $600 Asus is not acceptable, but $1200 for a computer that is a year old and only had 1 gig of RAM doesn’t seem too bad IMO. The size and portability should be counted as part of the specs but still once it’s a year old it’s outdated unfortunately. If it had been damaged by BB or was a lemon to begin with, I’d say they should definitely give back the full purchase price, but personally if I had dropped my year-old computer I wouldn’t necessarily expect to get the full value back, even with a replacement plan.

  95. Ghosx says:

    An Eee PC clearly is not equivallent to a TZ. However, I think I can point to how this situation came to be. About a week or so ago there was a slight change to the policy regarding how service guarantee replacements are handled. It was meant to correct one problem, yet introduced a new one which I anticipated would eventually happen, and sure enough, it has.

    For starters, let me explain how the exchange policy works. The shpeil about replacing technology for technology rather than price for price is nothing new (though granted, the customer got neither in this case). If you bought a $900 laptop and and if a year later its closest equivalent is worth $500, then $500 is all you’re supposed to get towards a replacement.

    The problem was that people at Customer Service (the people that actually ring up the exchange) aren’t always kept in the loop during an exchange process. Mr. Salesman sends the customer and the product to Customer Service and often disappears. The Customer Service drone rings up the exchange, sees a $400 discrepancy, and ends up issuing a store credit for the $400 difference as if it were a normal return/exchange. While that’s kickass for the customer, the company gets screwed in that case (and I know you guys are just loaded with sympathy when it’s the company getting screwed).

    The new process is supposed to correct that, although there’s a new point of vulnerability in it.

    The new process is such: When Geek Squad gets word from the service center that an item is approved for exchange, the first thing a Geek Squad rep is supposed to go onto the sales floor and pick three units that are a suitable equivalent to the defective product. Those SKUs are typed into the computer which then uses them to calculate how much the customer gets toward a new unit. That amount is then put onto a Store Credit voucher card. Customer comes in, is handed the voucher, and sent on their merry way to use it as he or she pleases.

    The customer can then shop for a new computer at their leisure, and even has the freedom to bargain hunt. If they don’t find a unit at a price they like or the features they want, they’re welcome to come back sometime later, even months later. The card is virtually the same as a gift card. In a way this new process is more beneficial to the customer than the old method (assuming the old method was implemented as it’s supposed to).

    The problem is that it requires the person determining making the decisions to have extremely detailed knowledge of every product, new and old (and not just PCs, but also TVs, car stereos, washers, you name it) so that they can make a good judgment on what is are suitable replacements.

    I can easily see a situation where a n00b or less-than-savvy agent goes onto the floor, sees the Eee PC and figures “Huh. Same size. Must be equivalent!” I practically predicted that this would happen, and that’s pretty much exactly what happened here.

    It’s a good process on paper, except when you get someone who doesn’t know their stuff and is too lazy to look up specs.

  96. Anonymous says:

    Specs include BRAND, WEIGHT, SIZE, PERFORMANCE, QUALITY.

    tell them if they don’t honor their warranty you will file a lawsuit for false advertisement and not performing the service you paid for. I recently got a year of free cable from verizon because they forgot to send us 2 of 4 of our cable boxes. I called them 3 times over 3 months and then threatened with a lawsuit 2 days later I had my boxes and free cable for a year.

  97. rhett121 says:

    Best Buy has ALWAYS been a shady place to do business. I wouldn’t buy anything from them! I bought a DVD player there about 9 years ago and ended up returning it the same day because I found out I couldn’t hook it up at the same time as my VCR. Best Buy wanted to give me a store credit even though I payed CASH just 3 hours earlier. I walked around the store and informed all the other customers of Best Buys crappy policy until I had scared off enough customers that they decided it would be better to give me my money back than to lose all of their sale for the day.

    I encourage other people to do the same. Every time I get a chance now I like to go in any visit with other customers and let them know what a $HIt company it is. Buy online!

  98. omega123 says:

    One thing you gotta understand is the fact that technology depreciates so fast that you won’t get another $2000 machine to exchange. I work at a Best Buy in a computer department and reading this site’s horror stories about the customer service has prompted me to change the way I do business and help individuals.
    For your case you need to point out that they need to supply you with a comparable model for a junkout exchange. This includes the memory, hdd, and while the clock speed of the processor may only be 1 ghz, you can get technical. You can point out that it is in fact running a Core 2 Duo, whereas the others may not, meaning that it has a faster Bus Speed(I believe the TZ uses the T5000 series which clocks around 667 MHz). Furthermore, included in the spec-for-spec match up is screen size, unless you come to agreement on another size where all other specs match. If you want to try again with this information, I believe you could get farther. If not, choose to contact the 1-888-Best-Buy number or do the whole EECB thing and get your stuff squared away. But you are owed a better model. Personally I would hook you up with a sony VGN-SR240N/B(sku:9055568) or an Asus U6E-X2(sku:8721662).
    One thing that boggles my mind is why they wouldn’t want to give you a more expensive unit. The entire cost of the computer on these exchanges is pure margin since it’s the insurance company and not BBY paying for it.
    Good luck with this. Hope all turns out well.

  99. dweebster says:

    Wow. Just wow.

    “Best” Buy shows their colors once again in an amazingly blatant display of chutzpah. From their General Manager’s threats to assault customers who do not allow themselves to be searched without cause to stories like this, it’s apparent that this company is teetering on the brink and operating like a bad parody of mobsters. Hopefully this economy will finally flush this company into the septic system of history. It’s time.

    Too bad Circuit City is near death – they’ve pulled some funny stuff too, but never threatened my life for shopping there.

  100. banmojo says:

    Here is another possible approach to this problem (and yes, I think the first thing to try is to go to a different BB store and see if they will be more honorable): if you paid with Visa card (and these kind of purchases should ALWAYS be paid with a credit card that has extended warranty protection, purchase protection, etc), tell them exactly what happened, and that BB is NOT honoring the special warranty you purchased from them, which results in you losing function of a 2200$ piece of office equipment, and ask them to either refund the original charge from BB (and thus block payment to BB at the same time) or to use THEIR (ie. Visa’s) warranty program to refund your original purchase price so you can go and buy a comparable laptop (which would be the current TZ model running Vista, as you said yours could do without problems).

    Trust me, Visa is often much much more understanding than stores are. I got screwed by Ikea one time – they told me I had to return the item to the store I had bought it from to get a cash refund (within the appropriate time frame for such a return/refund) and I pointed out that their printed return policy, also displayed all over their stores, said NOTHING of this, and ultimately I threw the piece of crap into the trash and Visa refunded me the whole price plus tax. I think they ultimately stiffed Ikea on it as well. Beautiful, and I hope Ikea and BB go bankrupt as they both should, for crappy customer service (and for selling crap, in Ikea’s case. well designed crap, but crap, nonetheless)

  101. wellfleet says:

    I feel for the guy, but the service plan is very clear on the spec-for-spec, not to exceed the original purchase price clause. It’s printed on the warranty brochure in the same font type and size as the rest of the contract stipulations.

    That said, an eeePC is a bullshit replacement for a high-end Vaio. Comparable model would be the new HP Blue Label at 13.3 inches, a Macbook, a 13.3 Toshiba. The new comparable Vaio is $2000 at BBY and has blu-ray and 1080p which is a significant upgrade. Hells, the first DVD player we ever bought was $600. I can get a blu-ray for $200 and a regular DVD player for $30. There is depreciation and consumers must understand and expect that. If I crash my 2006 BMW, State Farm isn’t cutting me a check for $50000.

    • sakanagai says:

      @wellfleet: Well said.

      As technology improves, the cost of existing tech declines until it’s previous price point is now saturated with superior replacements. A desktop computer I bought 18 months ago for $1400 can be matched by some selling for $500. My TV is now comparable to ones on the market for less than half what I paid for mine. It’s just the way it works.

      The problem with this case is that the Sony ultraportables don’t really have comparable models elsewhere in the market (Fujitsu and Kohjinsha, the latter not sold in the US and neither sold at Best Buy). Seeing as they have to work with the resources at hand, there wasn’t much they could do.

  102. WBrink says:

    By the way – Silver Reward Zone member here. As I am a fan of sticking up for someone who gets screwed, it looks like I’ll be doing more shopping on Amazon.com this year and unless this person is helped and I see it on this website, I’ll be telling others of all the great deals I get on Amazon. Good job Best Buy.

  103. gatewaytoheaven says:

    I see absolutely no problem in this.

    At the retailer I work for, our warranty doesn’t cover accidental damage (even if you’re willing to pay extra) but in the situations where the laptop is exchanged, we follow two basic rules for the swap:

    1. a laptop with the same specs
    2. a laptop with better specs

    Screen size must remain the same, however, brand, and color are not considered. It’s purely based off the specifications.

    Unfortunately, while it may seem that he plunked down $2000+ for a computer to only get a laptop worth $1200, spec-wise, it’s the same.

    While brand is not considered, or original price paid, I do feel for the OP in that he should at least get something from Sony or a comparable brand as a goodwill gesture.

  104. sakanagai says:

    The processors may have similar clocks, but their architectures are likely to differ greatly. The Via C-7 and Intel’s Celeron-m and Atom processors are designed with power consumption in mind and won’t deliver the same performance as a more mainstream mobile CPU.

    If you have a full model number for the Vaio TZ, you may be able to look up specifics about the chipsets in each. For instance, the EEE PCs use their only MiniPCIe for wifi, whereas the Vaio might have a free one. Probe about expansion ports (internal and external). Try to find details about the chipsets in each as a gimped down integrated video chipset or memory controller might grant you some leverage as you resume your battle. If there is a spec out there, it could help you.

    Good luck,
    sakanagai

  105. notbob50 says:

    The replacement is unfair. You can purchase the Asus Eee with 1GB RAM and a 120GB HD at Staples for $359.

  106. A_Random_Me says:

    Anything like this tends to match spec for spec, for most things a similar brand is preferred.
    Screen size and the like for televisions tends to be the same or a little bigger, but with laptops you should be able to request a preference as it’s directly related to how portable the product is.

    Failing that, find some obscure feature and use that as an arguing point. I’ve seen that one done before in my former job, if the replacement doesn’t have it you can use that as the justifcation for a different model – you can say “oh, but this one doesn’t have an xyz port so it can’t do what I purchased the original one for” – as long as there’s something which does what the original did and has that you should be ok.

    I can recall a particular brand of cheap LCD TVs, unfortunately over half of them had broken down between and one and two years after purchase, so anybody with an extended warranty invariably had the product written off and ended up with a new 42″ LG for a lot more money as it was the same spec. Unsurprisingly said brand had been dropped.

  107. henrygates says:

    Doesn’t BB have a list of terms for the warranty he purchased that would clear up the question of what they should do in this situation?

  108. trunkwontopen says:

    Best buy does this type of thing with the ESP plans all the time. When the battery in my laptop died within 1 year of purchase, all BB could do was replace the battery with a used refurb no-brand-name battery, regardless that the next model up was still for sale.

  109. TeeDub says:

    It’s Best Buy… What were you expecting?

  110. i_love_life says:

    As a Best Buy employee, they were actually in the right. If he never bought the service plan, then he would have been screwed out of it all. When the original goes defective we have to replace with a comparable item (same technology, specs, size, etc). Now, we recently had a new Point of Sale system installed and it is very strict with our returns. We used to be able to allow certain exceptions, but now it won’t even let us return some items when they were outside return policy even with a manager’s approval. However, there is a way around the exchange when the laptop is junked out at the service center. If he was willing to pay for a more expensive laptop and pay the difference then I honestly don’t understand why they didn’t do that. However, he could have been one of those extremely fussy customers and acted like a douche. I know when I get those customers, I certainly won’t go out of my way to help them out and make some exceptions.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @i_love_life:

      I’m kind of doubting that the OP was the douche in the situation….you yourself just stated that it’s BB’s official position to tell you to bend over and take it.

      The wholesale price of the eeeePC is about what he paid for the warranty, so really, he may have been better off even if he didn’t have the warranty.

  111. synimatik says:

    I, too, used to work for BB (sigh, I apologize). But in the store I worked, if they couldn’t find an exact match (not something ‘close enough’) they gave you a credit for the original amount you paid. Now THAT seems more than fair, I think. But, in your case, you’re getting Best Boned

  112. Anonymous says:

    This story is slightly fishy. The TZ includes an optical drive and an 11.1″ 1366 x 768 pixel screen, which exceeds the specifications of the eee PC line. And, while the Sony’s processor is only 1GHz, it was an Intel Core 2 Duo, not a single-core Atom. I think the original poster needs to write up a feature by feature comparison between his unit and current offerings at Best Buy and request the unit that is most comparable. If they don’t agree, he should take them to small claims court and demonstrate that his request follows the letter of the extended warranty.

  113. SnehAglaea says:

    Brands have to be compared. if it is purely on tech specs then you will always get a bad deal.

    suppose you had a pc with a 2.4GHz amd 64 processor and your pc broke, and best buy tried to replace it with a pc with a 2.4GHz P4

    you will be losing about 1.6GHz worth of performance

    brands matter

    the asus crap has a shorter battery life, a smaller screen with a poor contrast ratio

    the ssd in the assus is pretty slow compared to a 7200 rpm laptop drive. especially when it comes to write speeds (benchmark using everest ultimate edition if you don’t believe me)

    ssd drives also don’t last as long

    many people who have 1 brand of laptop that they like will often buy accessories for it which wont work with another laptop

    I have dealt with companies like this before.

    if they don’t have the laptop, they can order one just for you as a replacement and tell you that you will have to wait a week or 2 to get it

    no one wants a different pc as a replacement unless it is better. and clock speeds don’t determine performance

    my a geforce 6800 runs at 350MHz, while a geforce 6600 can do 600MHz, and yet the 6800 is more than twice as fast

    imagine getting a geforce quadro from bestbuy for $2000 then getting it replaced and they give you a geforce 1GB 7600GT because they have the same specs , you would be pissed because you will not have a card thats only a fraction of the speed of the quadro and doesn’t have hardware acceleration rendering support for the render engines used in professional apps like maya

    specs mean nothing,

    a 2GHz core 2 is more than 3 times faster than a 3GHz pentium D

    IBM has created a 300GHz processor in their labs, but it does so little work per clock cycle that it is slower than most desktop cpu’s

    clock speed doesn’t matter any more as it doesn’t measure work done per clock cycle

    and memory size doesn’t matter much.

    a 1GB of ddr3 memory can hit 10GB/s while the same amount of ddr2 800 will only7 do around 5.5GB/s

    lower end pcs use poor quality memory and cpu’s with bad timings, lower cache sizes, and less work done per clock cycle

  114. Anonymous says:

    Exactly the same thing happened to me at a Best Buy store a few years ago regarding the warranty of something I bought, but the catch with my product was it was actually DEFECTIVE. After buying the warranty, and returning the item to the store, I had the same type of encounter with a rude, do nothing “customer service” type, and manager, who told me I had bought the last box and there was nothing “comparable” to replace it with. He would not even check the system to see if there was the same item available at another location, he just shrugged me off and refused to honor the company warranty his employee (and stop me if I am wrong to surmise they get a commission on the “warranties” they sling.).

    I will *never* buy anything from the crooks at Best Buy if I can help it, but as far as a laptop, this is actually one reason I always refer people to buy a MAC. The customer service is the highest in the industry and most people are within driving distance of an Apple store now. I have had nothing but pleasant experiences at the Genius Bar with the few problems I have had with my Macs, and you know… They do run Windows now. You might be wise to check them out if for no other reason than that.

  115. chadwsmith.com says:

    Best Buy’s warranties suck.

    Replacing a Sony Vaio TZ with an Asus Eee PC is wrong because, if nothing else, the Vaio has a dual core CPU and the Eee, of course, does not. Other specs may look similar, but the dual core vs. single core should stop that argument. Also the Vaio has a DVD drive, which the Eee is lacking, and WiFi N, and mobile broadband, and…. You get the point.

    When they start saying “Spec for Spec” you need to be able to answer that.

    Now, did he get screwed? I don’t think so. Getting $1200 a year later for a broken-by-you year old $2200 computer is not that bad. Now, I don’t know how much he spent on the ACH, but I’m sure it was less than $1200, so he got his money back. If he doesn’t want that $1200 Best Buy gift card, I’ll take it. I might get two of those Eee PCs he doesn’t want.

    My experience with BB is in a way worse, because they didn’t even honor the warranty I bought, what they did do was give me a gift card for the pro-rated cost of the warranty. So I’d say he came out far better than I did.

    Here’s the thing. Technology always, always, always goes down in price very fast. If you don’t figure in the usefulness you get from the tech – any new tech purchase is going to be a horribly bad investment. I mean, you don’t buy a laptop and hope it will go up in value. That’s just not how tech works. If you get a laptop and break it in a year, a comparable laptop isn’t going to cost anywhere near what you paid for it. That’s a fact.

    I’ve already said the Asus comparison was off – but I’m not sure how far off the $1200 was. Maybe it was a little low, but expecting to get $2200 of credit for your year old $2200 machine is stupid. He didn’t get screwed. If he had gotten stuck with the Eee PC, maybe he would have been screwed then – but $1200 isn’t bad. Again, he came out ahead of if he had not bought the coverage in the first place.

    In other words, Ignacio, stop bitching and be glad you got anything.

  116. erratapage says:

    I want to point out that the guy wasn’t left with the Asus Eee PC. He got a $1,200 gift card. The problem is that he had a very unique laptop that may not have comparable specs. I think the $1,200 gift card would solve most people’s replacement problems.

  117. darkryd says:

    Fool me once, shame on you.

    Fool me 500 times…well, then I’ll come back again and be fooled 501 times.

  118. AvDub says:

    I might be the only person ever to have a positive experience at Best Buy, but when my HP laptop had 3 hardware failures, they invoked the lemon policy and gave me a new laptop worth what I paid almost 3 years prior, so I got a MUCH better machine for free!

  119. vastrightwing says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I knew that any “warranty” BB has is B.S.: They won’t honor it as explained. They always weasel out of it. Again, no warranty is the best warranty at B.B.

  120. ianmac47 says:

    File a suit against them in small claims court and report them to your state’s attorney general.

  121. Anonymous says:

    I DO think that after a year the comparable model would be around the $1200 mark. Besides, if you hadn’t bought the warrenty where would you be after you dropped it. You got your moneys worth, right?

    What I can’t understand is that the first lady was going to give you a credit of $2000. Where did she get her number from? If you were at the till with a computer in hand, told that you’d be getting a credit of $2000 on it, you should get that price!

    What’s next? A sales guy is going to tell you you can buy a TV for $500 but when you get to the till raise the price to $1500? wtf??? I’d be pissed at the fact that the girl told you one thing and the manager told you another. If you were quoted a price and you should get that price. It’s verbal agreement like you’ve signed a contract!

  122. IggyD says:

    Thanks Consumerist for posting this!

    One thing to note is that I explained to the Supervisor of Geek Squad that weight, DVD burner, and built in 3G wireless card were factors. His response was, “I have a $400 Acer that you can buy a Sprint card for and I’ll throw in a DVD burner. Do you want that?”

    When I then tried to show other specs, he told me I didn’t know what I was talking about and I was not sure what specs to compare the computer on. He refused to print out the specs based on my purchasing SKU. The problem was the store manager left the final decision to the Geek Squad Supervisor, who left me at the register.

    I called Customer Relations while still in the store, they called the manager and they sided with him.

    So I lost they one. At this point I don’t even care about the money, I just don’t want anyone to fall into this trap and not buy from Best Buy.

    Here is my post on their forums:
    [www.forums.bestbuy.com]

  123. mrosedal says:

    The Asus may have similar specs, but they are totally different. Anyone who truly knows computers would know that (which only confirms that Geek Squad doesn’t know shit about computers). It is about as absurd as replacing a macbook air with a macbook because they both have 13′ screens, but they are clearly not the same thing.

  124. INsano says:

    Rat Bastards. I’m glad Obama said the first thing he would do was nationalize stores with wilted customer service.

  125. Anonymous says:

    So glad I saw this. Buying my daughter a laptop at Christmas and now I know I will not go to Best Buy. Sounds like they were rude when he was unhappy with the replacement. I think if you pay for an insurance policy for a comparable, you should expect to get one. Either that, or they need to ensure that sales people aren’t telling people something that isn’t true just to make the sale.

  126. TheSurlyOne says:

    At this point, Ignacio needs to sit down with the ACH contract and read every single word it of to see exactly how it specifies claims are to be handled- is it at the discretion of some idiot dept mgr or does it say it will replace with a comparable item? Is there any mention of depreciation to be factored in? YES, this will be painfully boring but it MUST be done to make sure our pal Iggy is ready to argue his position based the contract that Best Buy issued to him!

    A co-worker recently had a hellish experience trying to get her car repaired under an extended warranty she purchased with the car (I didn’t know her at the time she bought it, or I’d have advised her against the warranty. It was $2295 financed over the 60 month loan and the repair she was trying to get covered was just under $1k. I took the 8-page carbon copies of the warranty contract, sat down at the kitchen table with a legal pad and pen and took notes on the whole damn thing! They love to throw in confusing phrases, even double negatives and the like, to trick even intelligent folks who read the fine print. I basicallly took out all the bullshit and needlessly complicated phrases and had five pages of legal pad filled with very specific and intelligible notes so I actually knew what her warranty contract obligated the dealer to cover!

    Armed with my pages of notes, I marched into the dealership service area, past the service desk and took a seat in the visitor’s chair in the Service Manager’s office! He wasn’t in his office at the moment, but I made it clear that I would be waiting for him to see me exactly in that location! When he walked in and sat down across from me, I stepped over and closed his office door. I looked him square in the eye and told him I knew EXACTLY what the contract said would and wouldn’t be convered. Furthermore, I had proof that she fulfilled all requirements set forth in the agreement for it to remain valid (oil changes and tune-ups). Then I told him that his service dept WOULD BE fixing it, under warranty and I WOULD be waiting there in his office until the car was fully repaired and ready to go!

    He started trying to interject and began what was going to be some sort of BS, I cut him off and said- either you will comply with the terms of this legally binding contract, or you lied in the original sales contract charging $2395 for a warranty that had absolutely NO VALUE! I told him again to fix the car while I waited or refund the $2395 for the warranty…..he fixed the car.

    The point sharing that experience- know the facts, in this case the written terms of the contract. Knowledge is power! Then use these facts as weapons to cut down any SOB that tries to rip you off, as these BB drones did. If you fail to get resoultion by doing that, FACTS and written contracts are very useful in a Court of Law. If their policy of replacing spec for spec isn’t written in a BB-sanctioned policy manual, it has no legal merit vs. your written agreeement.

    When I’ve been in these situations, I go in with CLAWS extended, FANGS showing and with the absolute resolve that I will not back down until I WIN!!! I’m really a nice guy 99.9% of the time, but when someone is trying to screw me over, I turn into an evil %#&@ (rhymes with RUNT).

    Final note, regarding the actual configuration of your Sony TZ- this model is only offered with Intel “Ultra Low Voltage” processors (ideal for a ultramobile notebook because they don’t create as much heat as a regular mobile processor AND the use a fraction of the power that even a high-end Intel mobile processor uses, which helps extend battery life). Just the tiny processor chip of the 1.33GHz Intel U7700 costs $529!!! Using the logic of BB dumbass manager and the spec for spec replacement- the Intel Atom in the ASUS Eeee and most other netbooks costs about $45 in comparison and has none of the advanced technology of the U7700. What about comparable display types and resolution, wireless capabilities, graphics processors, integrated webcams and fingerprint readers, Bluetooth….does that fancy ASUS Eeee has similar battery life to the Sony? I’m seeing a helluva lot more BLATANT DIFFERENCES than similarities. That this cretin is advising shoppers on tech purchases is sickening!

    Best Buy has a Sony VGN-TT160N/B on their website (Online Order Only) with a 11.1″ display and a price of $2199. When you bought the Sony TZ originally, did they carry those models in store? If the ASUS Eee and no other netbooks were in the store at the time you came in, what then? Maybe a Blackberry?

    Unless the contract says the replacement is completely at the store mgrs discretion, you’ve got a lot to work with…..Look for words such as “comparable” or “of equivalent value”- if Best Buy doens’t understand what those mean, an attorney who speciailzes in consumer rights will spell it out in language they’ll can’t ignore.

    And, if alll else fails and the $1200 gift card is all you end up with…..you could always do what I’d do- go back in one day and look at those gorgeous MacBooks that Best Buys sellls now. The 17″ Pro sells for $2799 or so…..go when mr. mgr is not working and chat with the person working tehh computer area for a while, ask him to remove the MacBook from it’s lock/bar so you can check out the bottom, the battery, the weigjht…..

    THEN SEE IF IT WILL BOUNCE ON A CONCRETE FLOOR!!!

  127. syrian_gamer says:

    I would not accept the EEE pc or the 15″ Dell. If the conditions were to either fix it or replace it with an equivalent model, then that’s what they should do. I agree with some other posters that stated Screen and weight as being specifications of the laptop, and thus a 15″ dell would not be equivalent by any means.

    Read over the fine print of the Extended warranty. If all else fails, Small Claims Court could be very profitable. Just dont forget to sue for Court Costs AND Punitive damages. There’s no harm in asking for punitive is there ;)

  128. Anonymous says:

    If you ask me the physical properties IE the size shape and weight of the laptop are a part of specifications. In fact it would be easy to argue that fact in a small claims court. IF the service warranty does not explicitly define which components are considered when selecting a comparable replacement. Even if the contract does in detail list what is included but not what is excluded the argument could still easily stand. Did I mention that it would cost best buy more than replacement cost of the laptop to even appear in court (which at some level we are debating their liability and effectively total cost for the transaction). Even with lawyers on retainer flights court costs and time all must be considered as an expense to the business. The most likely outcome would be for them to settle after receiving a letter from your attorney, that is unless your lawyer makes some unreasonable demands for his own compensation either out of your pocket or theirs. Don’t sue them, just threaten to with an attorney that CAN win the case. Im not a JD but I had a short lived stint in law school so definitely consult with an attorney but do not take this post as legal advice.

  129. Anonymous says:

    I bought a $1600 laptop from Best Buy in 2004 and got the service plan. It broke once and they never fixed it right, lost it for months at a time, and tried to tell me the motherboard was liquid damaged even though they had just put a new one in a repair just before… in the end it was replaced and I was granted store credit for the amount I originally paid. I bought a new laptop with that for $1450 and got a new service plan. This time when it broke and they never could fix it right they tried to give me a $400 laptop and I complained til I got them up to $750 and took a gift card for it. Absolutely ridiculous, bought a TV, no service plan and will never buy anything else there again.

  130. flynboarder07 says:

    Sony TZ computer-$2,200
    Accidental service plan-$350
    Manufacture’s warranty-Not gonna cover squat
    Asus EEE PC-not comparable in the least
    $1,200 credit towards new computer-$850 more towards a new computer, that you didn’t have before.
    Personally working in both computers and customer service I would have probably given him a little more towards his computer maybe around $1,400-1,500.

    I can argue for best buy service plans all day if you would like too. They have saved my hide a few times;not to mention 1 free battery replacement/free diagnosis/ free parts/ free labor.

  131. Anonymous says:

    As Geek Squad Agent, the policy is “comparable technology” and all of our sales people are trained to tell that to customers. I’m sorry you had an unfavorable experience, and just for future reference, if you don’t like what one Best Buy tells you, take your service plan to another one. Most stores I’ve worked for will give you a computer for the same price as you paid 2 or 3 years ago. The way the system works, from a technical standpoint is that we can let the customer spend up to the amount of their initial purchase. Some general managers are good at leading, but might not be so great with technology unfortunately.

  132. mblackstone says:

    I can feel his pain, but people, seriously STOP BUYING YOUR COMPUTERS FROM THESE PLACES!!!
    You can buy direct from the mfg these days and in all likeliness, get an equal computer on a warranty swap. Probably a better deal as well.
    Buy from the mfg website, get the accidental damage warranty and if it breaks let them handle it.

  133. CodingParadox says:

    This makes me wonder if you could exploit this the other way, find some old refurb computer they have with a 3 GHz P4, buy the warranty, then conveniently a week later it drops off your desk. Need to bring it in to another store, and they give you one with a 3 GHz C2D. “Woops”.

  134. Anonymous says:

    I work at Bestbuy Geeksquad not for! They tell us to give customers the lowest end computer possible and etc. I’m totally not down with that. I always make sure the customer gets what is best for them because I’m tired of seeing bestbuy screw customers as an employee. They want me to charge customer 129.99 for someone that is missing 2 drivers and it’s total BS + a RIP dont do it. If anything I’ll do it for free or charge them 29.99 at most. If you ask why i still work there it’s because the discount.

  135. Anonymous says:

    Having worked at best buy years ago, you just need to know how to work the system. The wording used to say “Feature for Feature” and “Comparable Model”, just bring them to the attention that you NEED TO HAVE the feature of a Sony Media Stick reader built in to the computer. Don’t all Sony’s have those? I damn sure know EeePC doesn’t. Find the little features that you “require” based on what PC you want, up to purchase price. Then bring these to the attention of the manager. If the wording is still the same, which is probably is, or at least close, you have a good argument to say the least.

    This policy is also available on the build your own as well. How do I know? Because years ago, I traded in my 3 year old HP laptop under their “no lemon” clause. I was lucky enough to have a strange feature on it – cd controls usable when the lid was closed. I then found the only other laptop at the time with that same feature. It cost $1600. Using that I took the $1600 credit and purchased a $2200 TZ for $600. You should be able to do something similar. Good luck!

  136. Anonymous says:

    I’ve had success posting on Tom’s Hardware.com’s forum.

    While everyone there ususally builds their own PC, they do buy printers, cameras, stereos etc.

    In other words, they’re all potential Best Buy Customers.

    you’ll be amazed how soon you’ll hear from the Best Buy Execuitive branch.
    Good luck!

  137. Anonymous says:

    As much as the situation sounds terrible what annoys me most is the “I spent thousands of dollars with them” line at the end of the article.

    The amount of money you spent does not entitle you to anything nor does it make a dent in the store or company.

    I understand you may have been mislead. That’s why you should always ask for paperwork for ANY type of plan. At the same time you were MUCH better off than if you didn’t get the plan. You broke the computer and you got a 1200 store credit?

    It’s all about perspective isn’t it?

    _paranoidArtemus

  138. Anonymous says:

    SONY is a brand name. He paid 2200 for a brand name so you can’t replace it with junk and say its the same thing. It’s like buying a ROLEX and the store replaces it with a FOLEX telling him its the same.

  139. Anonymous says:

    If you ask me, the 1200 is more than a fair deal. By Moor’s law, you can assume that an average computer will be worth about 50% of its purchase price after 18 months. This gets significantly worse for “premium” models where profit margins are steep. It may have been worth 2200 a year ago, but a comparable machine nowadays would probably cost about 800 or so. If they were valued at more than that, places would still be selling them. Please don’t try saying that a 2.0 Ghz CPU is “comparable” even if it is only a t3200. He should have taken the 1200 gift card and been happy with it. He paid a premium to be on the bleeding edge but in the world of computers that doesn’t last very long. The EEE PC was pretty silly, but the second offer was more than fair IMO

  140. Anonymous says:

    Here’s the rub. During the most important shopping season of the entire fiscal year for this chain store this article hits the WWW. I for one am going to copy it into my email and send it to everyone I know and advise them to skip Best Buy this year and as long as they keep up these absurd practices. Customer Service is cheap when you risk ending up before a global audience with an article like this one! Of course the marraige between Best Buy and The Goof Squad is poor and they (TGS) are screwing up the reputation of BB badly. They are ignorant of all customer service practices and they deal with people like crap. They have very limited repair skills and send out anything outside the reloading of software ‘fixes’.
    In this current financial environment one would think that Best Buy would make every effort to bring in the buyer who is willing to buy at both discount and full price. I can hear the soft and distant sound of taps that has been so loudly heard at Circuit City if this remains “Store Policy”.

  141. Anonymous says:

    I’ve owned older ultra-portables from 3 and 5 years ago and have this to say: Except for the (lack of) DVD burner, an Asus EEE hard drive XP edition matches your barely-out-of-warranty super expensive ultraportable. Is this disappointing? Yes. Is it fair? Not if you expected technology to stop shrinking. Is a $1200 gift card more valuable? Yes. Was it wise to buy one-shot insurance? Definitely not, you almost got a $400 computer from it.

  142. Clarice Wziatek says:

    I bought a Sony laptop from Best Buy for the same price along with the accidental damage. The salesman said that even if a bullet went through it they would replace it. only 3 months after I started using it it kept crashing and rebooting then crashing again. I took it in. Got it back and then it wouldn’t turn on unless it sat open for 20 minutes and then would crash again. I took it back to them they sent it out and said they had to replace the motherboard and the hard drive. I asked them for a new laptop since I had been having problems with it. They said no, there were stipulations. I could only get a replacement if it was in for repair over 3 times in 90 days. WTH? When I got it back with the replaced motherboard and hard drive, there was NOTHING on it. I asked them to reinstall software like windows so I could use my computer. My laptop did not come with a copy and since they deleted it I expected them to replace it. They finally did, but it wasn’t the same version that Sony originally had on that model of lap top. So it was functional, but I couldn’t use all of the functions. I hate Best Buy and won’t spend a dime in their store, neither will my mother who owns her own business. She had the Geek Squad install wireless that never worked and then they tried to charge her for coming out to fix the problem!! (both incidents were at the same time.)

    PLEASE SHOP ELSE WHERE.

  143. slrman says:

    Best Buy has always had a “Screw the customer” policy. What’s laughable is they always have a sign saying “Customer Service” over the area where they treat people the worst.

    There is no way I will ever purchase anything from Best Buy ever again. They shafted me once in 1997 and wouldn’t even respond to my complaints. To this day, I am still trying to persuade people not to patronize these jerks. I’m sure that I have cost them many times what it would have to simply do the right thing.

    The point is, “It’s always cheaper to make a customer happy than it is to make him angry.” The fools at Best Buy can’t seem to understand that.