Couple Says Best Buy Is Holding Data Hostage For $1,500

Diane and Jo say they brought their computer to Best Buy‘s Geek Squad to get the CD drive fixed, but the Squad had some other ideas. After the dust cleared, the couple had gained a new hard drive they didn’t want and lost all their data.

Diane writes:

I am writing to you because my husband and I are really getting the run around from Best Buy.

We bought a PC about 5 years ago, which has become our children’s computer. It was in good condition, except the CD player in it was broken. We bought the extended warranty for the computer so we brought the tower in to the (redacted), NH store to get the CD replaced over 3 weeks ago. We declined backing up the data (a $100 charge) since replacing the CD drive is not a big deal, and does not require any work to be done to the hard drive. My husband would have replaced the CD drive himself, but then it would invalidate the warranty.

We found out this week that there was actually more work done to the computer than just what we had requested. In fact, our entire hard drive was replaced, thus all of the data is now gone! Apparently there were other things wrong with the computer than what we thought and the Geek Squad thought it would be in everyone’s best interest to replace the hard drive. In fact, the Geek Squad replaced so much on the computer that the value of the work that they did is well over the amount of money that the computer is even worth!!! If we thought there was even a chance that our data was in jeopardy, we definitely would have backed it up ourselves, or paid the $100 to have it backed up.

So, to make a long story short, the Best Buy Geek Squad is asking that we pay about $1,700 in for lab fees, an external hard drive and labor in order to MAYBE aquire about 80% of the data from my computer. When we called their corporate office, after a 2 hour phone call, my husband was told that the corporate office, “does not negotiate fees”. Corporate Office called the GM from the Best Buy in (redacted), NH and they are giving us a $200 gift card that we can use to pay towards the fee.

We need your help! We do not have an extra $1,500 to get our data back! We are losing thousands of photos of our children, and a lot of personal and professional files. I now know that we should always back up our data, but honestly, we were just getting the CD drive changed! We didn’t want anything else done to the computer! It was working just fine! We truly feel like we are being wronged here.

I just need to know what to do next? Do we pay the fee and then sue them? We could put it on our Best Buy credit card (interest free for 18 months) although I really don’t want to.

Best Buy seems to be admitting some fault here by offering the $200 gift card, but it’s but a bandaid for a gaping wound. You’re in a tight spot, because while it was totally reasonable to assume that replacing a CD drive wouldn’t include erasing your hard drive, you aren’t really dealing with a reasonable entity. We haven’t examined the terms of your warranty, but if you feel like you can make the case that it was violated in any way, you can try taking Best Buy to small claims court.

It’s not expensive and you can do it yourself. Here’s some information about the small claims process. It’s different in every state, but NH’s limit of $5,000 should cover your issue if you’re able to make your case.

Internet, how have you handled similar situations?

(Photo: dooleymtv)