UPDATE: Best Buy has replaced the laptop.
The anonymous Best Buy Netbook buyer who says was thrown out of the store twice when he tried to get the store to honor his protection plan checked in with an update: Best Buy won’t replace his netbook as a CSR originally promised, it will only service it.
Here’s what’s happened so far: the representative in customer service who gave me the $25 gift card also assured me that I could “exchange my computer at any Best Buy.” It turns out he misspoke, and that I can merely get my computer serviced, not replaced. I’m back to square one, resorting to the manufacturer’s warranty. I also called the executive switchboard, but I did not receive any help besides a general “we’re sorry for any inconvenience.”
At this point, I just don’t want anyone to repeat my experience. In particular, anyone at the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology could run into the same problem I did because Linux is the operating system of choice there, and Best Buy is the closest major electronics store.
Even worse, if the black tie hardware protection plan could be permanently voided by “unauthorized” software such as Linux, the plan could also be voided by spyware and viruses (or, alternatively, could charge exorbitant fees for fixing those problems without consulting the customer), making the plan worse than useless. It is unconscionable to me that a plan could be permanently voided by “unauthorized” software when Best Buy does not specify, in writing, what software is unauthorized.
My experience would be quite easy to replicate by a secret shopper. If you could publicize my specific incident and/or the extreme weakness of the Black Tie protection plan, I would greatly appreciate it.
This looks like yet another convincing reason not to purchase one of Best Buy’s extended service plans.