Best Buy Will Give You Free PS3 Software For $30 Mandatory Charge

Best Buy’s optimization wizards have fabricated a devilish scam to exploit uninformed customers. Employees download a PlayStation 3’s firmware update in advance and tack on an extra $30 to the cost of the system.

DualShockers reports at least one Best Buy is offering the dubious service, which sticks in line with its sketchy computer optimization plans. The firmware installation charges people to do something that’s free and takes maybe five or six button presses at home. And it’s not even a long-term fix, since Sony seems to update its hardware every few weeks to derail the efforts of hackers who continually break into the system.

What optimization chicanery have you noticed at your Best Buy?

Best Buy Sells Free PS3 Upgrades [DualShockers]
(Thanks, Yip!)

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  1. pop top says:

    I don’t see how they haven’t gotten in trouble from the manufacturers for opening their product before the customers can get to it, thereby making people not buy that specific item because it was open. It can see them getting some money from this, but I see more people being turned off by the fact that the box has been opened and the system messed with already.

    • Venality says:

      How many people REALLY know that it is a ripoff or not worth the money? If it wasn’t making them money, they wouldn’t do it.

      • Griking says:

        Agreed. Isn’t it the customer who gets to decide if its worth it or not? A lot of people DO decide to pay for this service after all.

        • Twonkey says:

          Grking, the point and you don’t seem to be on familiar terms. Let me rectify that for you.

          The point is that this is something that customers can do themselves for free. All folks need is an internet connection and the inclination to hook their PS3 up to it, the act of which would suggest that they’re probably savvy enough to figure the rest out for themselves.

          Hell, even folks without internet connections are covered, because Sony tends to include these updates on game disks. This being a videogame console and all, the chances are good that the sort of consumer that Best Buy is preying on with this nonsense is going to stumble across a game containing a critical system update eventually, and that they won’t be any worse off for the lack of one in the meantime. Contrary to Best Buy’s claims, the console will play all the latest games without their help, and when customers find a game that won’t work without the latest system update, it’s going to come on that very same disk. The problem solves itself.

          Oh, and the claims! Did you read them? In one of them, Best Buy implies that failing to update your console will leave it bug-ridden and glitchy. This is not the case at all. Any glitches one might encounter in a game are typically fixed by game-specific updates that are provided by the game’s developer. A system update isn’t going to address those. As far as the console itself goes, it has always performed its core functions just fine out of the box. The latest update doesn’t make it work any better than it would work without it, it just adds features that a layperson probably isn’t going to care about. If he did, then he’d be educated enough about the system to avoid letting Best Buy charge him to update it in the first place.

          This service is aimed at people who don’t know shit about the PS3, just like every other service that Best Buy offers is. There is no reason why Best Buy even needs to offer it in the first place, much less charge people for it. This might not be fraud, but it’s close enough to it to get my blood boiling.

          • Twonkey says:

            “Grking, the point and you don’t seem to be on familiar terms. Let me rectify that for you.”

            Sorry about that. That was way out of line.

          • ShadowFalls says:

            I think the key point in here is that this update is done and in the end becomes pointless with how often Sony releases updates. If a person doesn’t know how to update the thing, they would have to learn eventually anyways… Or is Best Buy expecting them to come in every time?

    • Griking says:

      I know that companies pay manufacturers like HP to include their crapware on their computers and I’m sure that they’re not very happy about retail stores removing it for their customers but I really don’t see how anything can be done about it since the computers belong to customers who are paying to have this stuff removed. Now if they were removing all the crap from all computers and not giving the customer a choice, then I can see manufacturers getting involved.

      • FredKlein says:

        Now if they were removing all the crap from all computers and not giving the customer a choice, then I can see manufacturers getting involved.

        I recall at least one story here about Best Buy being “out of stock” on non-optimized computers. If you wanted to buy one, you had to buy the optimized on (and pay the fee).

    • Myotheralt says:

      That is exactly why I dont buy games from GameStop.

      • anduin says:

        WHEN Ive bought new games from gamestop, if they were factory sealed I’d ask for a sealed copy, if they refused or didn’t have one I’d ask for a discount. If they didn’t give it to me I’d walk across the parking lot to get it from the wal mart. One time when I left they ended up calling me back and presenting me with a sealed copy….good job GS, luckily I haven’t been back there in over a year.

    • Toolhead says:

      PS3 are never opened before we put them on the shelf after the Costumer is rung and and if wants his particular geek squad then we open the box and install the update.

      in other words stop talking about something you know nothing about.

      • Toolhead says:

        oh lordy spelling errors

        PS3 are never opened before we put them on the shelf after the Costumer is rung up and and if wants this particular geek squad then we open the box and install the update.

        in other words stop talking about something you know nothing about.

        • Destron says:

          Actually, my local Best Buy has a several PS3’s sitting on the shelf with spider wire that have been previously opened and have a sticker on them announcing the higher price because it’s already been updated for you.

        • Dre' says:

          Nice anecdote. Last time I checked you didn’t work at every Best Buy in the U.S.

        • Dalsnsetters says:

          With your spelling and grammar errors, you will be a Best Buy employee for the rest of your life.

          It’s Customer, Tool, not Costumer. Unless BB has some other line of business (providing fabric for Broadway plays, perhaps?), you have proven your idiocy.

        • pop top says:

          “in other words stop talking about something you know nothing about.”

          It’s obvious you don’t know much about it either, since there are several stories on here that run counter to your poorly-worded and terribly-spelled arguments.

      • Twonkey says:

        Yeah Tool, it’s not as if the company you work for isn’t still doing something ridiculous here. Fucking hell, don’t harp on a misconception when the reality is still terrible. Also, you are an employee of the company, not the company itself. You don’t have to act like a dick just because people think that Best Buy is shit. They don’t actually hate you personally.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Well, you’ll never have this problem at Amazon. There is really zero reason to ever buy one from Best Buy. Even if you “need” it today, go to Target or something.

      This is also why I don’t buy anything at Best Buy. Their prices are usually reason enough, but even outside of that, I feel good not approving of their sales tactics by providing revenue.

    • Bby says:

      They can’t get in trouble because it’s not the manufacturers product anymore. Best Buy pays a certain cost for that merchandise to the manufacturer. You then pay Best Buy for the item. In their possession, they can do what they want to it.

      Guess what? YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO IN THE STORE AND BUY IT!

  2. milkcake says:

    We don’t have to be upset over this. Just don’t buy the service. Don’t buy anything from Best Buy if you want to vote with your wallet. I do love best buy…. to check out stuff and go home and buy stuff for much lower price online at some other online retailers. So good! I don’t even have to be hassled to show receipt to go out of the store.

    • The hand that feeds, now with more bacon says:

      Except you will be hassled for a receipt for the personal property you bring into the store with you.

    • danmac says:

      I don’t even have to be hassled to show receipt to go out of the store.

      I’m assuming you leave your iPad in the car?

      • milkcake says:

        Hahaha, I guess there are other cases where you might be stopped from leaving the store anyway. On the other hand, I don’t own iPad (too expensive for my taste), so that’s one less thing to worry about.

    • Bativac says:

      I bought my 63″ Samsung TV at Best Buy because it was on sale for $100 cheaper than the cheapest price online. The guy who rang me up was pissed that I didn’t buy the protection plans or any HDMI cables (and the guy tried to sell me both). Sorry, dude… I just want to buy a TV.

      I took it home myself just to be on the safe side. I’d hate for something “unfortunate” to happen to it during delivery.

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        I buy the Protection Plan but it depends on what I am purchasing in the first place. They have paid off for me numerous times with pc monitors, DVD car stereo’s and Xbox 360s. My time is worth the cost because I don’t have to contact the OEM to return the product, and I have never been hassled at any BB returning a product for an exchange.

  3. Griking says:

    I don’t own a PS3 but aren’t game system firmware updates usually mandatory and automatic if you want to connect and play online?

    • SerenityDan says:

      Yes, once every few months it wont let me on PSN until I update my firmware, the last one turned my PS3 into a 3d blu-ray player.

    • Megalomania says:

      They’re mandatory to play online, for some reason, even though virtually none of them have (explicitly) had anything to do with the online client. The one that removed the ability to use your console as a computer especially rankled (yes, this technically does involve online play as removing the feature was an insane knee-jerk reaction to someone demonstrating a proof of concept hack to play fake discs, but it was an insane knee jerk reaction nonetheless).

    • thaJack says:

      I know with the Wii they often put the latest firmware on the game disks, too, so that even without an Internet connection you can update it when you play a recent game.

    • Nidoking says:

      I don’t use mine that often anymore because of it. Every time I get the urge to play one of my games, because I have the free time and nothing better to do, I turn it on only to spend that time waiting for the update to finish. By the time that’s done, I don’t really have time to play the game anymore and have to wait until the next update comes along.

    • the_didgers says:

      Sadly, that’s all too true. PS3 tried to take my Linux away from me, and won’t let me play online anymore.

  4. Fumanchu says:

    I have no problem with best buy trying to make money off of uninformed or lazy customers. My problem is with the people who are so uninformed or lazy to acually buy something for $30 that they can do themselves for free easily and in about 5 minutes of actual work. The Download might talk 30 minutes or something but it only needs imput from you for about 5 min to get the PS3 set up on the internet and agreeing to the Terms of Service.

    I can’t even think of a close real-world analogy to doing this.

    • milkcake says:

      Some services are just bad to offer. I would be pissed if my mom decided to buy me PS3 and they convince her to make that firmware update. Yes, she is uninformed. It’s still called ripping off. It’s unethical, that’s why people should protest on these kinds of services. Especially when PS3 gets updated firmware every couple of weeks. Matter of fact, it asks you to update the moment you connect to internet (if it’s not the latest).

      • Griking says:

        Its not called ripping off. Ripping off would be if they didn’t give your mom an option and just added the service to her purchase unknowingly. If your mom was talked into buying a service that she didn’t need then that’s really her fault.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          The mere suggestion that someone should be paying $30 for something the machine will do on its own with little to no hassle on the user’s part – not to mention that it will do this a hundred times during the life of the product – that’s why It’s a ripoff

          • Twonkey says:

            It’s also a ripoff because they use language that suggests that not updating will leave you with a system that doesn’t function properly. Uneducated consumers might interpret that to mean that the update isn’t so much voluntary as it is necessary, and they’ll pay the thirty bucks to have Best Buy do it for them.

      • Buckus says:

        Ripping off would be if they took her money but didn’t actually do the job. If they say “We’ll update your firmware for $30″ and they update the firmware, it is not a ripoff.

    • pop top says:

      So greedy liars are OK but not the dumb or ignorant?

    • fsnuffer says:

      So the BestBuy employee is agreeing to the Terms of Service for you? What if you don’t agree with the TOS (I know %99.999999 of people just accept). What if you violate the TOS, will BestBuy assume the liability?

    • craptastico says:

      i guess you do all your own auto and home repairs, as well as your own plumbing, electrical work and lawn maintanance? anyone that pays for someone to do any of that is a sucker as well by your logic. believe it or not some people have other things to do with their time than to learn every little nuance to their electronics.

      • KeithIrwin says:

        If all I had to do to mow my lawn was to push a button and then wait a couple of minutes, then yes, I’d think that it was crazy to not mow my own lawn.

      • madtube says:

        Indeed. There are two kinds of people in the world, do-it-yourself (DIY) and do-it-for-me (DIFM). If someone wants to pay to have the firmware updated, more power to them. I am a die-hard DIY. I am a master technician, build my computers, do my own taxes, completely renovated my Florida house myself, and so on. I don’t hold DIFM people to a lower standard; they are the reason I do the things I do. The things Best Buy pull is deplorable, but there are people out there that will pay.

        • Conformist138 says:

          That’s an extreme viewpoint… it’s all or nothing across the board, eh? I do my own taxes, I fix a lot of things around the house myself, and I’m above average with computers… but don’t ask me about yards/landscaping or cars. Out of my realm of expertise. Other people have to making a living, too, so I’m okay with not doing everything myself.

          My sister isn’t a computer person, but she speaks other languages, is highly educated and knowledgeable on social issues, and is a talented dancer. I can’t muddle through a single sentence in Spanish, but I can be of use when I help fix her computers. We all have things we’re good at and things that we need help with.

          Best Buy *should* either remain silent about particular uses of a product or explain these simple steps. I mean, anyone who buys a PS3 is going to need to know how to update it. Once they see the screen, it’s pretty obvious, but the people who are uncertain before leaving the store don’t deserve a $30 penalty.

  5. Razor512 says:

    Companies like bestbuy get away with these scams because they are never widely exposed. for this to change, It has to be announced on a major news channel. These are the types of things the mews should be covering instead of what crap some celebrity ate or some other meaningless crap.

    Places like best buy prey on ignorance. Generally when even a complete novice goes into the store to buy something, the staff will generally know less than the customer, but the staff has the upper hand. They can up sell and find other ways tog get as much money form the customer as possible.

    • Razor512 says:

      typo *to get*

      I wish consumerist could at least add a option like on digg where you have like a minute to edit comments that you have posted.

    • Griking says:

      People that call things scams bug me.

      So are repair shops preying on the ignorant because they offer brake replacement services, a service that I admittance don’t know how to do myself? The ease of the service is irrelevant since it varies from person to person. It may be easy for us to unpack a new computer, run all the Windows updates, create restore CDs, and remove all the crapware but for others it may be something that they’re either not comfortable or don’t want to be bothered doing.

      Again, if they advertised a service but didn’t actually perform the work then that’s a scam. If they didn’t give you the option to not purchase the service and just added it to your bill then that’s a scam. If they described a service, the customer agreed to pay for it and then that service was performed it is NOT a scam.

      • BettyCrocker says:

        More like your mechanic convinces you that you need to flush something that doesn’t need to be flushed. You’re convinced they are providing a vital service that you never needed to begin with.

        It’s not ethical and they should be called out on it.

        • Starphantom12 says:

          I think we could take this further. It’s like a mechanic telling you that the cabin air in your car needs to be flushed, and then charging you for them to open the doors of the vehicle.

      • Razor512 says:

        updating a console is not needed as it will do it automatically when the user tries to game online or use the online functionality.

        Sony also updates very frequently, if it was really such a complex process that you would need to pay someone $30 to do then you will have novice users spending $5000 a year just to keep their console up to date

        It is like getting satellite tv and the store where you registered at wants to charge you to $30 to update the box, (even though the satellite box updates by it’s self multiple times a day (mainly to cycle through the encryption to prevent people from using hacked boxes, before services like direct tv would update every month, now they do it 8-10 times a day)

        If you best buy was acting as a seller for direct tv service, and they tricked you into spending $30 to update the box, (meaning they turn it on for a few seconds then turn it off, then when you get home, little do you know, the box is updating it’s self automatically multiple times a day with out you even knowing.

        updating a console is extremely easy, if you cant figure it out then you wouldn’t even know how to connect it to a TV and don’t even think about trying to use the controller or *gasp* try to play a game where you are doing hundreds of button presses

        Best buy is basically charging the user money for a basically automated process that the user will have to undergo by them self within a few days of owning the console. They literally gain nothing from the $30 spent and thus it is a scam.

      • tmac40 says:

        This is definitely a scam. They are turning on the system, letting it update itself, then raising the price by $30. If you are ok with this process, there is something wrong with you. They are preying on people who rely on them for their technical advise. If you want to live in a cut-throat world where everyone is trying to screw everyone else that’s fine, but I don’t.

      • Shadowfax says:

        If they replace your brakes, you’re paying for something that is not free. The brakes cost the mechanic money, and he then charges you money for them. He is also charging you for the expertise required to install the brakes.

        If they update your PS/3, they’re charging you for something that is free, and which is automatic. No expertise is required to install the update- – or, at least, if your expertise level falls below that required for the job, you will be unable to plug the PS3 in, or turn it on, or indeed figure out how to get the box open to get at the thing in the first place.

        If you’re OK with Best Buy charging customers for something that is free, then please be aware that you owe me about $50 for the air you breathed while reading this ;)

        • Griking says:

          They’re charging you for labor which isn’t free.

          Do school teachers not charge because there’s no physical product involved?

          • Razor512 says:

            labor is not free but for what they are doing, theres a negligible amount of labor. It is like you dropping your pencil and someone picks it up for you and hands it to you and decided to charge you $30 for the labor of picking the pencil up.

            Also it is 100% useful because after a few days of owning the device, the console will have to be updated again, lucky for the user, it is an automated process, the user uses the console and when a update is available, the console tells then that they need to update and with a single button press they can pretty much update the console.

            (image is a little blurry but this is what the user sees when there is a update available (while the manual check takes like 3 extra button presses, the automated process that kicks in when there is an update available is a 1 button process, http://i.imgur.com/NsP61.jpg

            If the user cant figure that out then they must have some serious mental issues that would prevent them from even being able to open the box.

          • Shadowfax says:

            The teacher is not deceptively telling me I need an education when I really don’t.

            The teacher is also doing a lot more than plugging a console in and waiting for it to automatically update.

            Best Buy is telling me I need an update, which, while true, is something that will happen with or without them. They are therefore trying to charge me 30 bucks for nothing.

            If you can’t see the difference between what Best Buy is doing and your teacher analogy, then you’re either a shill for Best Buy, or there’s little hope for you.

    • craptastico says:

      they are exposed, but the only people that read about the abuses are the same people that would know not to bother with it to begin with. this stuff is aimed at Moms, etcetera that are buying stuff they’re not really familiar with

  6. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    If I’m not mistaken didn’t they do this same thing with the 360? They were charging something like this to apply a free patch which allowed legacy Xbox games to work?

  7. shepd says:

    Awesome. $30 mandatory charge to take away the easy ability to play “Backups” and use non-Sony branded controllers. What a deal!

  8. mike says:

    This reminds me of that Friends episode…
    Monica: Chandler, why do you have the Miami Vice soundtrack?
    Chandler: They were giving it away at the store…in exchange for money.

  9. danmac says:

    I’m kind of disappointed that a few people in these forums always seems to take the stance: “Well, if the customer doesn’t know enough to protect themselves, then they deserve what they get!” Dwight Schrute is a caricature, guys; trying to emulate him doesn’t make you awesome.

    • Twonkey says:

      Not to mention it goes against the very concept of the site. Unless we all popped out of our mother’s vagina with all of the world’s knowledge, we should probably stop looking down on other people for not knowing things that we know. Yet that it’s not uncommon at all to see folks pissing on people for that very reason. It’s insane, and is totally contrary to this site’s purpose.

  10. MustWarnOthers says:

    MY PC IS FINALLY FAST! FINALLY FAST DOT COM!

  11. toddkravos says:

    Chicanery – Noun – Defined as: Deception by artful subterfuge or sophistry. Otherwise known as Best Buy.

  12. donssword says:

    One of the Best Buys in my area was doing that with open box Wii’s after Xmas 2009. I assumed they were returns.

    I listened in on a salesman’s pitch about this “service” to a customer, and as soon as he walked away I explained to the customer how easy it was to do this themselves for free, quick and easy, having just set-up mine 2 days prior. They bought an unoptimized one and used the money saved to buy an extra game, increasing the attach rate for Nintendo’s console and helping Best Buy avoid another future clearance bin item.

    • anduin says:

      I always try to do this when I overhear someone getting suckered in by some lame pitch. The salesman walks away for a few moments and I let the people know that they can do it themselves for free by literally pressing 4-5 buttons or in the case of HDMI cables, I give them the monoprice address to go to and order for 1/30th the cost of the store ones. Then I run away before the salesman comes back….I should just hang around best buy every friday and do this for everyone who enters the store until they forcibly remove me.

  13. diasdiem says:

    Couldn’t someone file a complaint with the FTC for fraud, or false advertising or something? They’re essentially selling opened-box, used items as new.

    • Griking says:

      No. They’re selling you a non open box product. They then open it after the customer pays them to do so to perform a requested service.

      • mike says:

        Not all the time. Sometimes the boxes come “pre-installed” with the software, making it next to impossible to remove.

        • Corinthos says:

          Yeah I was going to buy a new 360 there when the FFXIII bundle came out. All of the once they had in stock were all ready preoptimized. Did save me from purchasing it because I was too lazy to go elsewhere and they announce the slim a few months later.

  14. redwall_hp says:

    It must be Monday. Back to flaming Best Buy for charging to do something that most people are too stupid to do for themselves again, are we?

  15. thaJack says:

    You should get a discount since they are selling you an open-box item.

  16. valthun says:

    As long as they are not cracking the boxes and running the update before I purchase it I don’t care if they are offering the “service”. But if they are opening the box hasn’t this beem determined to now be an open box item and should therefore be offered for sale as a used item?

    • TTFK says:

      You mean like they do with the majority of their computers already?

      • Bby says:

        Wrong. They only preset between 30 and 40% of their computers. That means 60-70 out of every 100 is NOT PRESET. I had to spell it out for most of you Consumerist readers, since if Phil didn’t say it you wouldn’t know it.

  17. Sword_Chucks says:

    Will people stop going to best buy already and let them go way of the Dodo and Blockbuster? And please dont let the rise from the ashes like CompUSA has

    • nonsane says:

      i honestly don’t know a better place to go. Gamestop isn’t a shining light either when it comes for games but the alternatives here are walmart or futureshop(owned by Best Buy).

  18. jpdanzig says:

    A good reason I just bought a PS3 from GameStop instead of Best Buy (plus I had a buncha GS credit for a pile of used PS2 games I had sold them back…)

  19. Hi_Hello says:

    soon, there would be no PS3 that has NOT been optimized by them in the store so you HAVE to buy the optimized one.

    I’m with theJack, they better sell it at an open box price :D

  20. howie_in_az says:

    Let them do that, then sue them (BB or Sony) since the PS3 can no longer have Linux installed on it.

  21. Mr.Grieves says:

    Is this even legal?

    They take a free update (product) from Sony and then turn around and make a profit off it. I dunno but if I was Sony I’d be pissed I’m not getting royalties.

    • coolsmartygirl says:

      They aren’t selling the software itself, they are selling the SERVICE of updating the Playstation 3.

  22. Buckus says:

    They tried to “Optimize” a DVD I was buying once. Not a player, the actual DVD. But, dang if Dumb and Dumber didn’t look freaking great!

  23. DrXym says:

    Most computers and indeed some consoles have a first boot behaviour when they are started for the first time, to gather login details, check for updates etc. I would be mightily pissed off if any company had unboxed the device, let alone turned it on for any reason whatsoever. How am I supposed to tell the difference between a device they “fixed” from one that got returned by someone else?

  24. crb042 says:

    I’ve got a legal aspect to consider:

    All the PS3 firmware updates come with EULA’s, which are alterations of the one that comes in the box.

    Somewhere this has got to be a problem. At the very least I’d think Sony would have an opinion on this behavior – they put the EULA there for a reason (whatever that is) and I doubt they want to debate the question of who’s responsible for having signed off on what.

  25. godospoons says:

    Why do people still shop at Best Buy? Compared to online it’s more expensive, has fewer options and engages in this kind of non-stop “optimization” douchebaggery. Between this and GameStop’s tendency to open games, remove discs and returning them to the case on purchase, it’s enough to make me give up on brick and mortar altogether.

  26. Destron says:

    I tried to buy a laptop from best buy about 3 years ago, and all them they had in stock had already been “optimized” so they all had the extra $40 tacked on. I walked out of there and bought one online instead.

    I have also seen open box game systems, kindles, and several other items that have been “pre-optimized” and have a higher price marked on them. They claim that this is so you don’t have to wait for them to perform the procedure.

  27. Sorry4UrInconvenience says:

    I think Best Buy is targeting older individuals with these “optimized” gaming systems. Although you would think young, more consumer-savvy individuals would be the primary buyers of gaming systems, most of the time it’s an elderly person who’s looking to make someones birthday, christmas, or whatever event warrants the purchase of such an expensive item. I used to work at Circuit City and we would always get elderly individuals coming into the store who were obviously buying these systems for grandchildren. They knew nothing about these products, other than their kids/grandkids had to have them. We never sold pre-optimized gaming systems, but the opportunity to make money is definately there, and Best Buy is exploiting it…for better or for worse.

  28. sopmodm14 says:

    wow, reading and knowing this, even if their hard-sells seem like a good idea, i wouldn’t trust it by default

  29. All Work and Low Pay says:

    Just to play devils advocate here.

    1) They aren’t only selling the updated, more expensive versions.

    2) It’s up to the consumer and the dealer to make the agreement of purchase. This is an easily accessible item, there is no monopoly or other nefarious dealings.

    3) Has anybody ever updated a ps3 from initial start-up to most recent? Depending on how long the Slim has been back in the warehouse, you could go through anywhere from 5-6 updates, all ranging from 30 MBs to almost a gig. That can take awhile, and since an employee has to do it, it obviously is going to cost the company something to do it.

    Also, not everybody has internet capabilities to update the system themselves. Those that wish to have the most recent patches to get rid of any glitches and bugs may be willing to pay a nominal fee for somebody to do this. A older friend of mine doesn’t have internet access but wants to keep his system up to date. He usually pays me 20 bucks for my time to install the updates onto a flash drive and give it to him. It’s not much different.

    I know it’s easy to jump on the Best Buy hate-train here on Consumerist, but come on, are they really doing anything THAT egregious (in this case.) Let’s stop grasping at straws and save the hater-aide for when they do something really stupid. So, next week.

    • Twonkey says:

      Devils advocate? That’s cute.

      1. Not sure what that has to do with anything.

      2. Um..yeah, there is a nefarious dealing going on here, insofar as a consumer that is not as well versed on the item as you or I might read the language that Best Buy uses to sell this service and come to the wrong conclusion that without the update, the system won’t function properly. Which is what Best Buy is counting on, obviously. Moreover, that consumer would be under the false impression that Best Buy alone is capable of updating the console, being that Best Buy conveniently avoids mentioning that updates can be performed by customers who possess an internet connection.

      So hey, this might not be nefarious or underhanded when it comes to someone like you or I, but that soccer mom who finally buys little Billy that PS3 for his birthday that he’s been asking for, and who knows nothing about it besides that Billy has wanted one forever now? She’s not going to know what she needs to know about the console to know that Best Buy is trying to rip her off for thirty bucks, so she’s probably going to be suckered just to keep little Billy happy. Best Buy is creating the perception that they’re selling something of value in this service, and are preying on people who just wouldn’t know any better.

      Now, I haven’t checked the definition of fraud in ages, but this seems to my shaky memory to apply as such. Though even if it doesn’t, it’s still a nefarious dealing to be sure.

      3. When I bought my PS3, it required an update. It went immediately to the newest system software. I didn’t have to update in increments. Sony’s servers can admittedly be slow, but guess what? What takes you an hour at home is probably going to take just about as long at Best Buy. They aren’t offering you any relief by doing it either, because unless you’re tethered to your PS3, you can do what most of us do when dealing with Sony’s slow-ass network and go find something else to keep you busy while you wait.

      Sure, not everyone has internet capabilities, but then they’re probably not going to run into a problem until they come across a game that requires certain system sotware to run. In that case, the system update will be included on that very disk, so that particular problem solves itself.

      Now, those who want their games updated to the most recent version aren’t going to get that done at Best Buy, who is only selling system software updates and not individual game patches. I’m not sure why you brought it up.

      As for the service that you perform for your friend, we’ll assume for the sake of argument that he’s aware that all you do is download a file from Sony’s website, one that might be somewhere just under 200MB at most, and that you put it on a flash drive. I’m guessing that your friend does the rest, right? Let’s assume that he knows all that and still thinks what you do for him is worth the twenty bucks since he can’t do it himself. That would have been a well-informed decision based on necessity. Nobody is arguing that Best Buy is evil simply for offering the service, what we take umbrage with is the confusion that they’re cultivating in order to trick ignorant consumers into paying for it.

      Best Buy isn’t selling this service as a convenience, they are selling it as something that only they can provide, and that must be done if the consumer wants his or her system to be fully functional. They’re hoping that people are too ignorant to know better. That’s why people are up Best Buy’s ass over this.

      From where I’m standing, you’re the one who might be well advised to stop grasping at straws. Your buddy might be cool with you overcharging him every so often for what is at most thirty seconds of mind-numbingly easy work (minus the time spent waiting for the update file to download…), but that doesn’t make what Best Buy is doing right by any stretch of the imagination. So let’s stop trying to justify it and save the finger-wagging for when The Consumerist deserves it.

      • All Work and Low Pay says:

        I’ll be honest with you, I stopped reading when you said “fraud.”

        “1. A deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain.”

        What fraud is being perpetrated? I wouldn’t even go as far to say nefarious. They are labeling what they are selling fairly, they are offering a service in addition to the regular versions, and they are doing nothing deceptive.

        There is indeed an audience for this type of service, that was what my analogy was about with my friend. He wants his ps3 up to date. He wants to get all the up to date bug fixes and software patchwork, and he’s willing to offer to compensate somebody for their time and effort to help him. Who cares if they are charging 30 dollars. If nobody is willing to pay that price, the price will lower til the consumer and the seller have an agreement. This is just a fair business practice of finding a niche to fill and attempting to fill it. If there is ANYTHING nefarious about the whole deal, it’s the people trying to make this as a slight upon the company, when there is nothing fraudulent, criminal or corrupt going on. Again, save the hater-aide for when Best Buy glues more laptops together. This isn’t the scandal you are looking for.

        • ShadowFalls says:

          I guess you have no issues with morality exploiting your friend for something that is non-important. If you don’t have internet access, updating isn’t even needed till you attempt to play something that requires it… You could tell him he doesn’t need the update… or not charge him. If he really insists on paying, have him treat you to dinner or something like that…

          As for the definition, I think it is matching. There is certainly intended deception to secure unfair gain. This isn’t meant for the people who make a decision that they believe it is worthwhile. This is intended to be used with a sales tactic for the misinformed, following along the lines of how “necessary” it is, etc.

        • Bby says:

          ^^^^ This.

          There is a market for it. It does help people who don’t want to do it themselves. Just because you don’t want to yourselves doesn’t make it wrong for them to do it.

          And there is no morality in it. If someone doesn’t want to take the time to learn about things themselves, there is nothing wrong with getting compensated for your time/effort/knowledge.

          All you who play the morality card about I’m sure DONATE your time to your employers, right?

      • Bby says:

        The optimized ones are right on the shelf next to the non optimized ones. Ask any person who works in that department and they will tell you it mainly consists of updates.

        If you think that that service isn’t worth money to you, then don’t buy it. But Best Buy is absolutely in their rights to do it. It helps some people, and it’s extra money for services for Best Buy when someone does want it.

  30. Admiral_John says:

    My father bought a laptop from Best Buy a couple of months ago. He sent me a couple of links to machine he was interested in (his state was doing a tax holiday and it only applied to brick-and-mortar stores, so he kind of had to go there) and, after a conversation with me and a recommendation, he went to Best Buy and when he was approached he said “I want this laptop, brand new, sealed in a box and untouched by Geek Squad. I have no interest in any optimization you will offer to do and if I have any questions or problems setting it up I’ll call my son, who works in IT.”

    The salesperson seems a bit taken aback by this, but 20 minutes later my Dad walked out with a factory-sealed box that contained his laptop. The moral of the story is stay away from Best Buy unless you have a relative that can tell you how to avoid their BS. :)

    • Bby says:

      You reserve that right if Best Buy reserves the right to tell you off when you bitch about your computer not working.

      Customers don’t get it both ways. You can’t complain about a service being offered to you, which you have every right to reject, but then complain about your computer not working and Best Buy not giving a damn about helping you.

  31. narcs says:

    so do you get a discount on the ps3 since its been opened, ‘optimized’, and then repackaged/resealed and sold as new?

  32. stlbud says:

    So that means they’ve opened a factory sealed box, removed the contents, connected it to power, controller and network and installed some sort of software. Then they charge as if it is new when in fact it is “open box”?

    I agree with squinko. I wonder what Sony has to say about this?

  33. andyg8180 says:

    When i worked on Geek Squad i had someone come in with his PS3 because he needed a firmware update. Why? Because he didnt have internet at home…

    I charged him $19 for a 1/2 hour charge…

    Why should i do something for free? It’s a business… If someone offers it to someone who is too stupid or just doesnt have the resources, why should you be mad at that?

  34. DanGarion says:

    If people are too naive or lazy to do this themselves, I commend Best Buy on offering the service. Firmware updates may be free, but they require both a connection to the internet (or a thumbdrive, and a friend with internet) and time, so I don’t see where this is a scam.

    I have a couple friend that have PS3s and they have never connected them to the internet, thus they don’t have firmware updates.

  35. Bby says:

    Way to screw up the story Phil. I guess I shouldn’t expect you to actually give any truthful information.

    LISTEN UP. The service is NOT NOT NOT NOT mandatory. It is simply an option that customers have. You can buy a PS3 that is not updated, and go home and do it yourself, depending on how long it takes to update. Or you can buy one that is updated(and checked for new updates each week it’s on the shelf) and go home and play immediately.

    Guess what? You don’t have to buy the service. You don’t have to buy the PS3 either. You don’t even have to go in the store. There are people in this world however, who DON’T WANT TO MESS WITH THINGS, NO MATTER HOW SIMPLE. They would rather go home and just plug in. I am the same way with my oil changes for my car. Just because my dad taught me years ago, doesn’t mean I want to do it today, ever. I would rather pay someone.

    I know all of you who read Consumerist have no ability to think for yourselves, but maybe instead of getting spoon fed this misinformation you might try asking people at Best Buy yourselves what it’s about.

  36. guroth says:

    Next headline: PEPSICO WILL SELL YOU FREE WATER FOR MANDATORY CHARGE

  37. whyfore says:

    Is it really that hard to think that some people might actually want the service if they don’t have high speed internet for uses such as playing newer Blu-Ray titles? Last I checked, not everyone out there has broadband or dsl, which the PS3 requires to update. Maybe they just want to play Avatar or something like that. If you don’t like the service don’t get it. It’s not that big a deal.