We get a lot of complaints here at Consumerist HQ about Best Buy and its Geek Squad group. Prolonged repairs, bizarre diagnoses, pre-optimized laptops, and banning people who successfully sue them. But you wouldn’t know any of this from a new, in-depth piece by the folks at CNBC.
“Geek Squad City is not just a repair facility,” writes CNBC’s Tyler Mathisen about his visit to the Squad’s massive repair facility in Kentucky. “It’s ground zero in the big box chain’s fight to whip rivals like Amazon.com and Walmart through expertise, service and end-to-end customer care.”
Mathisen then goes on to gush about Geek Squad’s purported claims of a 95% success rate. “They fix any computer, any make, and brand,” he writes, “whether you bought it there or not.”
Um… that’s what computer repair people are supposed to do, right?
And then there’s the whole part about how your stuff is safe once it reaches Geek Squad City:
There may be eight million stories in Geek Squad City, but when they’re found on customers’ hard drives, they remain top secret. Recording devices, including cell phones, are checked at the door. Hard drives are kept under lock and key, and when a drive can’t be fixed, it’s flattened.
Maybe that’s because Consumerist busted Geek Squad staffers for swiping anything that might contain boobs from customers’ hard drives. No mention of that behavior in the CNBC love letter.
Any hope for something even approaching a critical view of Geek Squad is tossed out the door when Mathisen brings up the topic of extended warranties. All the reasons for not being suckered into an extended warranty are summed up by saying that “consumer advocates say the plans are usually not a good deal.” Meanwhile, he gives over more than entire paragraph to allowing Best Buy to justify the pricey pieces of paper.
Now we’re not saying that Best Buy and Geek Squad are always deserving of scorn, but it’s disheartening to see a major, national news organization to dedicate more than 1,000 words (yes, we counted) and more than 2 minutes of air time to one of the nation’s largest retailers without even paying lip service to the very public criticism of that retailer.