At Geek Squad, Every Day Is Opposite Day

Diane took her notebook computer to Best Buy’s Geek Squad, not knowing that at the time that this was a terrible idea. She requested that whatever the geeks did, they were not to remove or back up her hard drive. She signed a waiver stating that she didn’t want her data backed up, and left instructions that they weren’t to do anything with the drive. Perhaps calling this “opposite day” is unfair: the geeks did follow her directions partway. They didn’t back up the drive, but they removed it and replaced it with a new one.

Some time ago I took a Toshiba computer that I had purchased back to
Best Buy because something had gone wrong and it was under warranty.

When I was there I told them that I had had the machine examined and
that I knew it had nothing to do with the hard drive. I told the
service technician that I did not want them to touch my hard drive
that I wanted it left in tact.

The technician told me that Best Buy had a policy of backing up your
hard drive at a cost of $100.00 to the consumer then removing the hard
drive and keeping it for themselves.

I explained that I did not want to pay $100.00 to have my hard drive
backed up nor did I want Best Buy to remove or even touch my hard
drive that I was there to have my computer fixed and that the problem
had nothing to do with the hard drive or the contents on the hard
drive.

The technician made me sign a form that said they Best Buy would not
remove my hard drive nor would they charge me the $100 to back it up.

I left it for repair. Upon return of my computer I was told that they,
Best Buy in fact did remove my hard drive and replaced it with one of
their own and they did not back up the data from the original.

I was so disgusted that I have not returned to Best Buy nor will I
ever shop at any of their stores again.

I purchased $1000.00 in electronics from them and had a security
system installed in my RV by them.

Until this incident with my laptop I was going to have them install a
new stereo and speakers in my car but now I am looking for a more
reputable business to do the job, one that I can trust.

Comments

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  1. Coffee says:

    It would be really, really nice to know what it wrong with the computer. I know that the OP asked Best Buy not to remove the HDD, but without knowing what’s wrong, we can’t be certain that the problem _wasn’t_ the HDD. I could be wrong here, but the OP doesn’t sound like a “computer person” – and her taking the computer to Geek Squad would back up that supposition – so how did she know that the HDD wasn’t the problem? Was it something as glaring as a crack in the screen, or were there power cycling issues? One has nothing to do with an HDD, the other might seem like it’s HDD related, but might be after all…and if that’s the case, what’s Geek Squad to do? I guess give you back your computer without taking out the HDD or fixing the problem, so yeah…they did something wrong, but I wish I had more info here.

    • samonela says:

      “When I was there I told them that I had had the machine examined and
      that I knew it had nothing to do with the hard drive.”

      Maybe the OP is not knowledgeable about computers (maybe she is? tough to say from the info given), but this statement implies that somebody that WAS knowledgeable about such things had properly diagnosed the issue (whatever that may be, that is also not specified) and the OP was taking it to Best Buy because that was the place of purchase and perhaps this work was going to be covered by them (?)

      • Coffee says:

        It’s certainly possible…I guess it’s just simple curiosity. Who examined the machine? A friend? Her son? The neighbor’s kid? A certified repair shop? It’s hard to know, and I just like having that kind of info…

      • Jawaka says:

        It also could have meant that she had the kid across the street examine her computer. I don’t know how many jobs I’ve been hired to do because the kid across the street screwed up a computer.

        • Invader Zim says:

          If best buy thought it was the hard drive and she specifically asked for it not to be touched and said instructions were in writing then best buy should have called the owner of the laptop and asked her. Not just ignore everything and have at it. The technicians are usually fresh out of high school with little more knowledge than tinkering..

        • Difdi says:

          Probably about as many times as you were never called at all because the kid did fix it.

      • MeowMaximus says:

        It is FAR more likely that the GeekSquad guys are idiots. Friendly local computer store FTW.

    • sig331 says:

      If OP bought laptop at Best Buy and it was warrantied through Best Buy, I figure the Geek Squad is the only venue for a covered repair unfortunately.

    • pyster says:

      If the issue turned out to be the harddrive the tech should have stopped all work on it as requested. It’s not rocket science. The customer’s mistake was trusting someone to do what has been requested.

      This is not just an issue with best buy. Between data being over written or being stolen its just not logical to trust others with anything you value. It should all be backed up. Not only that, sensitive data (noods!) should be removed from the device as soon as possible to avoid your device failing with data you dont want others to have.

      • wize_guy123 says:

        When a client brings in their computers for repair, they sign a waiver stating that they request all problems to be fixed. It isn’t at the client’s discretion which problem to fix or not. Again, like previously stated, the client doesn’t say what was wrong with it, nor who looked at it, but if the HDD failed testing, it is replaced. If the client was that concerned about having her drive removed, she could have purchased a new drive and put it in.

  2. spartan says:

    One day best buy will no longer be around, and stories like this will no longer be relevant.

    I am predicting that day will come in January, 2013.

    • elangomatt says:

      Nah, if Sears and Kmart can stick around as long as they have I think that Best Buy has another 5 to 10 years in it. I thought Sears/Kmart would be gone within a year when I quit back in 2006 but they are still alive and (barely) kicking.

    • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

      I’m thinking you are about as right as those people saying the world is over in December.

      Best Buy put 4.5 billion in the bank this past year. For a company making that, it’s funny how you believe in 5 months they’ll be gone.

      There are issues in the company, as well as with Geek Squad. However, no company should still or they will get passed by. They are making changes, and we will see how it fares but there are good ideas already being put into place.

    • MarkFL says:

      I’ve heard that it will actually be December 21, 2012.

  3. SirWired says:

    The best solution to not having your HDD trashed when sending in a computer for repair is to remove it before dropping it off or mailing it. On most regular-size laptops, you can remove the harddrive by pulling one or two screws (usually marked with a little picture of a cylinder or stacked platters.) On netbooks, you’ll usually have to remove the keyboard; instructions are in the service manual most manufactures make available. If it’s a “sealed” system like most Apples… you are doomed.

    When my machine goes in for repair, I pull the battery, DVD, and HDD. If it’s a screen issue, the memory gets pulled too.

    • Coffee says:

      Or if it’s a Dell Inspiron…had to replace the HDD in one of those and it’s a fifty-step process that involves removing the motherboard and a LOT of prayer.

      • kc2idf says:

        That’s not prayer . . . .

      • BrownLeopard says:

        My Inspiron N5040 didn’t take 50 steps to swap the hard drive, it took 14. Remove screws, remove keyboard, unplug keyboard, unplug power button, remove top, remove hard drive. Remove hard drive carrier, new hard drive in carrier, install hard drive, install top, insert plug for power button, insert plug for keyboard, install keyboard, put screws in.

        • Coffee says:

          The inspiron I worked on required unscrewing and removing the motherboard, unplugging the bluetooth, disconnecting fans and the video cable, etc…fifty steps may have been hyperbole, but it was an hour-long process fraught with the potential for FUBARing the laptop.

          • BrownLeopard says:

            Yikes. Which model was that? That’s horrible, although Dell’s designs aren’t well known for their easy repairs.

            • Coffee says:

              It was an inspiron N4010…here’s the part from the maintenance manual…note that it asks you to follow “Steps 5 – 20 of replacing the system board” before you actually get to the HDD.

              http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/insm4010/en/sm/hdd.htm#wp1187790

              The beauty of it all was that the HDD is on the BOTTOM of the motherboard and there’s no access from beneath, so you have to remove it to replace the HDD.

              • BrownLeopard says:

                Holy cow. Cuz a small trap door like what is on most other laptops is too hard to make, right Dell?

                • Coffee says:

                  Seriously…it’s almost like someone designed the machine so that someone couldn’t fix or upgrade it, and would instead have to throw it away…hmmmm….

                  • luxosaucer13 says:

                    The last Dell I owned was an Inspiron 6400 from 2007. Remove 2 screws from the bottom of the unit near the side, and slide the drive caddy out. Remove a set screw and remove the drive. Reverse the order for reassembly. That was the only thing I liked about Dell was how easy it was to change a hard drive, optical drive, or memory, but apparently that’s changed—a lot.

                    One more reason why I’m glad I no longer buy Dell products.

    • Mr_Magoo says:

      The only problem with that is that instead of fixing the problem you sent it in for, the Geek Squad will install a new hard drive and charge you $300 because you voided your warranty by removing the hard drive.

      • That guy. says:

        “Hi, I brought in my laptop for a faulty display repair. Is it done yet?”

        “Yep, we found what was wrong. You were missing a harddrive.”

    • Jawaka says:

      It all depends on what the problem is. Unless the problem is something obvious like a cracked screen you really need to be able to boot into an operating system to troubleshoot a problem.

    • Yeti Poacher says:

      Most Geek Squad precincts will not service a unit unless it is whole. They want to make sure the entire unit will function as expected when it is repaired. You don’t usually need all the parts to do this but that’s what they want to do.

  4. frank64 says:

    Seems to me you should force them to put the old hard drive back in? Or did they already wipe it?

  5. ConsumerJason says:

    As someone who used to work there, I can tell you if your laptop is sent out for repairs and the hard drive is bad, it will be replaced. Despite you saying the hard drive was not the problem (and it may not have been) the only reason they replace the hard drive is if it fails hardware diagnostics. They can either use software licensed to Best Buy for this, or if the manufacturer has their own diagnostics program, that may be used (like Dell). The form they “made” you sign said that you were highly suggested to get your data backed up before doing any service and should you decide not to (sign here _____ ) you agree to not hold Best Buy responsible. Also despite what you may have told them, I can tell you that unless it was in the paperwork you signed, it didn’t officially happen. Not really anything that can be done about that. 2 to 3 shifts of people work in that area on any given day. When they repair your computer it goes by what was in your paperwork. I’m sorry that you didn’t have anything that you felt was important enough to back up prior to the problems, but you either do that, pay Best Buy $100 to back you up, or risk losing your data. I myself sent a laptop to Toshiba (at another job) for an apparent unrelated issue and it came back with a new drive that they said failed diagnostics. There was nothing they could do.
    You can always ask them to send a service escalation to the Best Buy service center and see if the drive has been sent back yet, if not they may be able to offer you (at a fee) to recover your files.

    • Speedstr says:

      Regardless if the problem was the hard drive, she explicitly told Best Buy (verbally and in writing) to not touch her hard drive. If Best Buy has diagnosed the problem was due to a faulty/corrupt hard drive, they were obligated to contact her that they could go no further without investigating the hard drive fully. It’s not just common courtesy, it also a way of making sure that the customer knows you did your service as well as you could per the customer’s instructions.

      • Yeti Poacher says:

        I agree but unfortunately the service center does not care. They know that the store that sent out the unit will catch the flak from it and also be the one to potentially compensate the customer. That’s why they stress data backup before sending it out. Service center does not usually pay for their mistakes. When I worked there I was always nervous to send things to them.

        If the repair is at the actual precinct then it is more likely the customer will receive a call before repairs proceed.

      • conspiritech says:

        Nah. If their policy prevents them from carrying out her instructions they should just tell her to find someone else. But there’s probably some other policy that prevents Geeks from turning away business.. Solution: use a Local Man or local business that has fewer policies.

    • EllenRose says:

      The Geeks lied. They didn’t follow instructions. There’s nothing that can be done about it — the book says so.

    • viriiman says:

      As someone who used to work there, I can confirm this as well (in reference to BBY / Geek Squad and the repair depot replacing a drive).

  6. necrosis says:

    She did not backup her data before sending it in for service? LOL. I thought this was common knowledge.

    • Coffee says:

      She sent her computer in to Best Buy for servicing…given that information, I’m guessing that she didn’t have the wherewithal or the tools to back up her HDD.

      • regis-s says:

        Maybe she should have had the person that assured her it wasn’t a faulty harddrive show her how to back it up or do it for her?

        Still no excuse though. Geek Squad shouldn’t have replaced the drive after saying they wouldn’t.

        • Coffee says:

          Two different (I think) people further down the thread say she actually signed a data waiver, not a paper that had anything to do with her HDD. Given the vague tone of the letter and the possibility that that’s true, I’m beginning to wonder if we have someone who is just thoroughly confused.

          • lyontaymer30 says:

            When they work on the computer, they have a waiver stating that they don’t agree for a data backup and that to fix the issue they may remove/erase/replace the hard drive if they deem necessary. Problem with these situations is that its all he said/she said and no documents to prove either way.

    • NewsMuncher says:

      I don’t remember her saying anything about not backing up the HDD. In her situation, I’d be more concerned about data privacy violation or possibly copyright violation, since I use my computer to produce copyrighted materials. Or perhaps she’s in a relationship and there’s private stuff on there.
      Either way, if she makes it clear to the employees what it is she’s wanting, why didn’t they explain that this is not technically possible?

      That would be like going to a car wash and saying “I’d like my car waxed please. I’ve already washed it, so please don’t wash it.”
      To which the car wash person replies, “Okay. We can do that for you.”
      Then they proceed to wash the car and wax it, telling the customer: “We have to wash the car to put the wax on, or else the wax will not go on properly because of any dirt you may have picked up driving here. It’s standard policy. You’re an idiot for not knowing that.”

      “So, was I wasting my breath talking to you before the service? Why didn’t you tell me that before? I was upfront and frank with you, why did you lie to me when you said, ‘Okay, we can do that?'”

      I may ask dumb questions, but at least I try to communicate clearly. I know I’m not an expert on a wide range of things. That’s why I go to the people whose reputation it is to know more than me or to have skills I lack. If I were the OP, I’d be angry too, because when she told them what she wanted, they pretty much lied back to her, though perhaps not on paper. If the paperwork she signed clearly said the opposite, then she gets dinged for not reading the paperwork, but it sounds like the employees misrepresented the service they were providing.

  7. Captain Spock says:

    I sure hope you backed up before giving your computer to a stranger.

  8. balderdashed says:

    If indeed she signed an agreement in which she and Best Buy agreed that her hard drive would not be removed, and they removed it, she should consider suing them. Her account of the whole affairs seems a bit fuzzy, and I doubt that’s exactly what happened. But assuming her story is close to the truth, Best Buy shouldn’t have removed the hard drive. If the laptop couldn’t be fixed without replacing the drive, Best Buy should have given the laptop back and advised her as such.

    • Yeti Poacher says:

      That data backup form is all about Best Buy covering their ass. It is not about whether or not they touch the drive it is concerned with the data on the drive.

      I know it is horrible but that’s what the form states. If you decline backup they can swap the drive. If you approve backup they can swap the drive.

  9. ovalseven says:

    Did they at least remove it tactfully?

  10. MrConsumer says:

    so two big issues….that paper she signed does NOT say no one will touch the HDD, it says you do not want your data backed up under any circumstances. secondly, she signs ANOTHER paper that states since its under manufactures warranty, that any and all problems will be fixed to the manufactures specifications. that being said, when it got to the service center, when they tested using toshibas own diagnostic tools, the hard drive failed, they are now legally obligated by toshiba to replace that hard drive. you cant pick and choose what you want a manufactures warranty to cover, they are obligated to make sure the unit works for one year, which is what they did now. this client chose to not back up her data on her own, chose again to not have someone else do it, then chose a third time to not read anything that she is signing and legally binding herself too. i have very little sympathy for someone like this.

    also, im very curious how she knew nothing was wrong with the drive when the issue isnt even described here.

    • Jawaka says:

      Well, first of all, Best Buy isn’t “legally” obligated to replace a hard drive under Toshiba warranty. I have no problem with them diagnosing the hard drive, it sounds as if that was legitimately the problem. What they should have done however is contact the owner and let her know this before returning the old drive to Toshiba.

      • Yeti Poacher says:

        The Geek Squad service center can only do repairs on items warrantied through the manufacturer because it is authorized to do repairs on behalf of the manufacturer. I’m sure there is a legally binding contract between them and Best Buy somewhere…

    • Yeti Poacher says:

      This. People should read and understand legally binding contracts before signing them.

      That being said, a decent Agent should be able to explain such a contract and always explain it to a customer.

  11. CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

    Dear Diane,

    I know reading and comprehension can be tough. Sometimes it’s as tough as diagnosing computer problems. However, that paperwork you signed is a DATA WAIVER. You WAIVED THE RIGHTS TO YOUR DATA. When we diagnose the problem, if it happens to be a bad drive, then we fix it. You CHOSE not to back up your data, nor to have us do it. I know it’s tough for you to accept responsibility your own choices in life, but please try.

    By the way, I appreciate how you didn’t mention how the computer is performing after the repair. Could it be that it is performing just fine with the new hard drive, and that just maybe you were wrong and it was the drive that was the issue? I know the answer already.

    Regards,
    CurrentGeekSquadEmployee

    And FYI, since Consumerist doesn’t bother to check facts: Per agreements with manufacturers, if under their warranty a hard drive is replaced, Best Buy doesn’t “keep it”. It gets returned to the manufacturers.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Oh look, there’s one now. Yes, the OP is an idiot. For not backing her data up on her own, for not reading what she was signing, but foremost because she thought taking her machine to BBY for repair was an even remotely good idea.

      …and for the record, I seriously doubt you know the answer to anything…if you did, you’d not be working at BBY.

      • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

        Yes. Please comment on my choice of employment.

        It’s funny how your comment is about my intelligence, when you are basing your comment on having absolutely no knowledge of me or what I work there for. People like you are just pathetic.

        • ovalseven says:

          Don’t get too defensive. As a Geek Squad employee, you just insulted a customer’s reading comprehension skills, and questioned her abilty to accept responsibilty all of the choices she makes in life.

          Geek Squad has an unprofessional reputation around here, and you’ve done nothing but help feed it.

          • Overheal says:

            Lots of companies and services have bad reputations around here. It’s Consumerist. The blog makes it’s living by reporting on bad customer experience. Rarely do they report on exceptionally good customer experiences. They don’t report on the the hundreds of people that walk into each best buy store (among about a thousand) every day of the week and leave without some harrowing tale of how they will never shop there again.

            Bigotry is unbecoming.

          • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

            I’m not too concerned with anonymous internet trolls who, rather than focus on the relevant issue, make comments regarding someone’s employment choices.

            You may want to assess yourself, seeing as you found it necessary to defend that person.

            My comment is a reality. It happens every shift. I explain to someone that I WILL test their drive. If it is failing, I am bound by my agreement to fix the issue. When the SIGN THE DATA WAIVER, they are waiving the right to said data and allowing me to fix the issue to whatever means necessary.

            You don’t get the right to tell me to fix your computer, and decline any data services nor do you wish to back it up yourself, and then bitch when it comes back and that’s a reality.

            And again, the OP still hasn’t mentioned if the issue is fixed or not. My gut says her feeling that it wasn’t a hard drive was wrong, and amazingly enough the worthless techs at Geek Squad got it right.

            • dark_inchworm says:

              Don’t sweat YDWK, he’s the Consumerist’s resident jerkoff masquerading as an intellectual.

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          No, every single person I’ve ever ran into that was a “PC tech” that worked for a major big-box store was pathetic. There is no credible way to assume you’re not an idiot without the slightest idea what to do with a computer.

        • Velvet Jones says:

          Wow, your response really increase my admiration of BBY employees. NOT! I rank BBY employes only slightly higher than employees of the TSA. After your comment you might have just evened that ranking.

          • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

            I don’t remember ever dealing with you on these forums. If you feel wronged, that is your choice.

      • RavenWarrior says:

        And that last line sums up the problem with customers nowadays. Get your head out of your behind and quit judging the employees there as one giant mass of incompetence, which they most certainly aren’t.

    • lvdave says:

      I’m the defacto tech support guy for my neighborhood. A neighbor had a similiar situation with a laptop they bought at Best Buy. NOTE: They bought it before I convinced them that buying computer equipment at BestBuy was a fool’s bet.. I’ve been around Consumerist long enough to know THAT!!! Nonetheless, the laptop display died. I verified that issue by plugging in an external monitor to rule out display controller failure. With the laptop still under warantee, it looked like he’d need to slum a bit and get Geeksquad’s “services”
      I told the neighbor that I was going to pull the hard drive and have him hold on to it until the laptop came back. In a case like this where there is absolutely NO doubt that the problem was NOT with the hard drive, you NEVER send the drive in with the system. User agreed and he took the unit into the local Geeksquad.. Of course they gave all sorts of grief about how they MUST have the hard drive EVEN if it is just an LCD problem. Somehow, apparently he found at least one intelligent Geeksquad manager, as they finally relented and took the machine in.. I usually deal with Dell support, as that is who I recommend for people wanting a laptop (or desktop), and the Dell phone support rep who sets up the mail-in support ticket tells you if your hard drive is needed or not, based on the diagnosis. The Dell systems I recommend are the corporate ones (Latitude/Optiplex).

      A retired 20+ year computer tech, with 10+ years supporting Dell systems…

      told the neighbor to remove the hard drive

    • dolmanz says:

      While I disagree with how the OP went about the data/information issue and think she’s up the creek as far as her options are concerned, *your* attitude is exactly why BBY and GS are collectively circling the drain.

      If you’re going to belittle the OP’s supposed lack of reading and comprehension skills, you might as well belittle your fellow GS employees for a complete lack of common sense and foresight in not just removing the hard drive and leaving it untouched for the duration of testing (minus said hard drive, naturally). If nothing was wrong with the remainder of the system, then simply contacting her and discussing the remaining options would have been a great way of handling it, amiright?

      Of course, this demands a level of critical thinking that no one involved in the entire debacle seems to have.

  12. RedOryx says:

    I’m a bit confused. I took my netbook into Geek Squad (I know, I know) when I needed the keyboard replaced (I’m a clumsy idiot. Diet Pepsi may have been involved). It was sent off and diagnosed, but before doing ANY repair work, Geek Squad called me to let me know more about the issue and how much it would cost.

    The OP seems to suggest they dropped the computer off and had no more contact with Geek Squad until it was all fixed, unless that call is being left out. seems like if GS was going to replace the hard drive it would have come up in that conversation, along with the estimate.

    • regis-s says:

      Enter text…

      • regis-s says:

        What the hell? Don’t know what happened there.

        Anyway, I was going to say her netbook is under warranty. They’d have no reason to call her since she wouldn’t have to pay anything.

    • MrConsumer says:

      it was covered under manufacturers warranty….at that point while geek squad might be doing the work, the only things repaired are what is specified by the manufacturer. int his case, the hard drive apparently failed, and they replaced it under that 1 year warranty.

      this is like bringing your new car to the shop under warranty cause its running poorly, but telling the mechanic it is definitely not the oil, do not change the oil. i have fond memories of my trips on that oil. well, its under warranty, that mechanic is obligated to make sure it leaves there in a great working order.

      it doesnt matter where this was brought too, best buy, geek squad, staples, sent directly to toshiba, the outcome would have been the same. why is this even on consumerist? do you guys really pander to such obvious whine fests as the letter you have from this customer?

      • BrownLeopard says:

        If OP would have put more information in, say, did GS call her to let her know it was a hard drive? When a customer says “There’s something wrong with my computer, but please don’t re-install the hard drive” and it’s the hard drive that is at fault I call them and tell them. I also don’t charge $100 to back up the data, I do it for free (and if the drive isn’t totally dead) as a courtesy if I am asked to go ahead and replace the hard drive.

    • Overheal says:

      I’m a bit confused myself. I brought my Acer Iconia A200 in to the Geek Squad (I know I know) and they sent it off for service. But they didn’t charge me anything, because I bought their 2yr Protection Plan. The tablet went to their service center for 2 weeks while I received email updates on it’s progress. The problem I was having with the touchscreen was completely remedied; according to my paperwork they replaced the entire screen with a new part. I guess I just don’t understand at what point they were supposed to screw me over?

  13. Harry Greek says:

    OP sounds like a total technoramus.

  14. dwasifar says:

    In the rare event that I ever have to send a computer in for service, I don’t send it with any hard drive I care about.

    Typically if I buy a laptop I immediately pull the original drive, replace it with a new blank drive, and install an OS. Then I put the original drive aside. If I ever have to return the machine for service, I swap the original drive back in first.

    Not only does this protect me against losing the data on my working drive, it also defeats any service-center attempts to claim it is a user-generated software problem, since the drive they receive contains the original factory configuration.

  15. Overheal says:

    I do not understand that as the policy for service: we offer backup as a service, but it is not the policy to impose this service on a client (it does cost $100). If that’s how the agent presented it, he’s not doing his job ethically and that needs to be followed up on.

    If they violated the signed paperwork it sounds like you have very legitimate legal basis for damages and chargeback. Best of luck, that being the case.

    Either way, my experience with other warranties (with HP) tells me the smartest thing to do before handing off my PC is to back up the drive, and factory reset it. Dollars to donuts, they’re going to do it anyway – even in my case, HP went ahead and did so after I told the online rep I did NOT want them to, just to see what would happen. And they did.

  16. HPCommando says:

    Non-consumer tech support at HP warns people to remove the hard drive if they have to send in the laptop in order to be sure it doesn’t get erased/replaced against your wishes. HP Consumer tech support is pretty much useless, but if pressed, they’ll tell you the same.

    WRT the OP, it’s likely she called Toshiba tech support, they isolated the problem, and then told her what to tell the “depot” (Geek Squad). *IF* things go as expected, Toshiba would generate a case number that Geek Squad could look up and follow for quick turnaround. If that didn’t solve the problem, then obviously the situation goes to hell, but at least Geek Squad can make the claim and get the warranty bounty.

    I’d presume that the Geek Squad didn’t check or bother with a case number, and just slapped in parts, getting the bounty for each separate repair performed.

  17. OldSchool says:

    Exactly this. Replace the drive that comes with it immediately and use the original only for warranty repairs or in an emergency.

  18. Caio Baio says:

    You read The Consumerist, and still took your computer to the Geek Squad? Sounds like you got what you deserved.

  19. kobresia says:

    I really can’t see how this is Best Buy’s fault. It’s unfortunately more of an ignorant consumer problem. It doesn’t even sound like the Geek Squad person made any promises, mostly that the customer had expectations that were not reasonable, namely including instructions telling the techs how to do their job. You sign the data waiver and decline backup service, you’re on your own. Period. They’re not going to make any promises that something won’t be done to a system, their job is to do whatever they need to in order to fix it, and customer data is absolutely not a concern of any repair depot. They specifically disclaim any liability for customer data and the stickers you put all over the case since computers can be unrepairable (to be replaced with a refurb unit), lost, or maybe even broken even worse, and their only obligation is to return a properly-working computer to the customer.

    It’s worth stressing that adding instructions to the work order like this just doesn’t fly. Techs don’t care about the sticky notes. It’s not their job to follow know-it-all ignoramus customer instructions. It never pays to take a roundabout route for troubleshooting or make a half-assed, incomplete repair because they’re trying to avoid damaging customer data and thus ignoring all potential software- and HDD-related issues.

    • Overheal says:

      It COULD be a processing issue. I believe the same sheet that is used to Approve data manipulation/backup/etc is the same as the one the customer would sign to refuse it. Thinking on it now I could see a Technician overlooking the paperwork and not seeing they checked the box to DECLINE when the majority of those forms would have the customer sign in the Acceptance of those services, to be honest.

      That being likely, they could certainly do with recreating a clearer form.

      • kobresia says:

        You could be right, I’m sure the forms are mostly about as clear as mud, but the end user seems to have a very strong opinion about what she signed and what she told them. She definitely, in her own words, and repeatedly declined the backup service because she was certain she didn’t need it and was operating under the delusion that they would not touch her hard drive if she told them not to.

        While I’ve never taken any computer to BB (and would never buy a computer from them, either), I’d guess their Data form is something like:

        __ Agree: You agree that BB will back-up your data for $100, yadda yadda.

        __Disagree: You have declined the data back-up service, BB will not be responsible for any data loss.

        The latter is certainly just fine if you have already backed up your data or have nothing to back-up, but the customer seems to have read it as, “You have declined any data backup service, Best Buy promises to fully abide by your notes that you have self-diagnosed your hard drive to be ‘just fine’ and guarantees they will not do anything to your precious data on the hard drive, or they will be fully responsible for any data loss”.

  20. ryansworld10 says:

    As a Geek Squad employee, people need to understand something. If we send a computer out to be serviced and the customer has a protection plan on it, the service center will fully check the computer for issues and replace anything that’s wrong with it.

    It is possible the lady’s laptop had a HDD that was dying, therefore the service center went ahead and replaced it. Even if we tell the service center to not touch the HDD, they usually ignore us.

    (These are my personal thoughts, not those of Best Buy or the Geek Squad)

  21. Ecksavior says:

    Ok, so Best Buy and Geek Squad are terrible, the company’s going to fail, etc etc, yeah, yeah.

    Now, this was most definitely a fail, but most likely it was miscommunication on the agent’s part rather than rampant dickery. The waiver that the OP is referring to is a no-liability waiver that Geek Squad has to have signed on EVERY service. This document specifically states that NO back up will be done (she was right on the money here) but also that GS is not responsible for any data lost and that if once the laptop is sent out to service and a hardware diagnostic finds ANY indication of a failing drive, it will be replaced.

    It’s a shitty policy and unless you have your own data backed up prior to service, the only option to make sure your data is safe is to cough up those extra (way overpriced) $100. So, while this situation sucks, it sounds like the agent didn’t bother to clarify exactly what the form meant and translated to in plain English, but it also meant that the OP did not read the paperwork carefully or know what she was signing.

    Again, I’m not saying it isn’t the Geek Squad’s fault or defending them, but I just thought I’d throw some clarification in there. I worked for Geek Squad for several years in front facing, on site, online and ultimately management roles over the last few years but thankfully, I started doing REAL IT for a great company. Needless to say, watching Best Buy fall all over itself is kind of amusing!

  22. njack says:

    Not blaming the OP here, but if so concerned about Best Buy touching the HDD, why not remove it before taking it to them?

  23. holtcg says:

    That the Geek Squad is the last place you want to take your computer is a given. That said, you give your computer to ANYONE for ANY REASON and do not have a backup of your data you are not thinking things through.

    When they say they strongly recommend you backup your data or pay them $100 to do it and you look at the USB drives you can get with quite a bit less than $100 and you still do nothing but make them pinky swear they won’t touch your drive, you are not thinking things through.

  24. phiquach says:

    You can actually have them pull the hard drive from the service center and have it sent back to the store. that would solve her problem. I have done it many times for customers

    • wize_guy123 says:

      When a drive is replaced under Geek Squad Protection or Manufacture warranty, the drive will not be sent back. The only time this is the case is if the unit was approved for an exchange and the HDD was not the issue.

  25. wellfleet says:

    Sorry, OP is a lying liar.

    The paperwork she signed expressly says that GS isn’t responsible for her data, and that her HDD and any other part may be replaced. Under warranty repair from the manufacturer, the part gets replaced and the original is returned to the manufacturer.

    The OP has literally zero legs to stand on. She didn’t back up her data, her HDD failed diagnostics at the service center, and got replaced. She signed off on it. If her laptop had caught fire while being shipped via UPS, or gotten lost, she’s be in the same predicament.

    If you don’t back up your data, you don’t value it.

    I usually have sympathy for OPs getting shafted at Geek Squad but I absolutely hate irresponsible, lying people who don’t read what they sign.

    • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

      We don’t agree a lot, but wow! Nail on the head..

      • wellfleet says:

        I was a DCI for a year. I had clients lie to my face on the daily about “nobody told me my data could be lost” when I was the one who checked them in, my paperwork was perfect, AND they signed the additional data waiver. It’s extremely annoying to see these stories, which take the OP’s word as gospel and completely disregard the fact that people interpret things when they’re angry in a way that’s different from what actually happened.

        Clients hear what they want to hear, don’t listen and often don’t read.

  26. dark_inchworm says:

    Well, that’s unfortunate. It doesn’t sound like the OP is very computer savvy, and at the same time it looks like the Geek Squad agents didn’t do a very thorough run-down of what would or could happen during the GS repair process.

    This is how these sort of things usually transpired at the precinct I worked at:

    Customer checks in computer, customer approves or declines data backup (if approved, it WILL happen even if it seems obvious that it wouldn’t be necessary).

    Hours upon hours of surprisingly comprehensive scans are performed in-store unless it is incredibly obvious – or seemingly so – that faulty hardware is to blame, in which case it will be sent straight to the “Geek Squad City” repair facility. And if those scans are performed and faulty hardware is determined through that route – again, off to GSC it goes. With a few exceptions, hardware repair/replacement is NOT handled in-store.

    Hardware work that can be performed in-store includes memory/RAM installation, video card installation (for desktops), and hard drive installation. If we determined in-store that a customer’s hard drive was faulty and we had a comparable hard drive in stock, we would ALWAYS call the customer to run down the issue with them and seek approval of a new hard drive installation. And we would ALWAYS give the old hard drive back, HP machines being an occasional exception due to some interesting Parts2Precinct program launched a few months back. (Someone else can explain that if they feel the need.)

    That being said, sometimes hard drive replacement is not possible in-store simply because we do not have the right hard drive available. This happened more frequently than it should have, but I digress. In this case, we would call the customer to seek their approval to send the computer off to GSC so that they could handle the hard drive replacement, and oftentimes we’d double-check to make sure they do or do not want a data backup. In my experience with this turn of events, the GSC probably will not call you ahead of replacing your hard drive and will NOT return the old one unless you absolutely insist that they do so. This is probably the path the OP and her computer went through.

    I got nothin’ else worth contributing for now… have a nice day!

  27. kevinroyalty says:

    not enough info as to the computer problem. not blaming anyone without all the info.

  28. Gadgetguy says:

    I took my Sons computer to Best buy, I was capable of repairing it myself but did not have the time as I was in a job that was heavy travel. I took it to geek Squad, told them the issue was it needed a motherboard replaced. They told me that they needed to do a diagnostic and that cost would be applied to the repair. told them i did not need that and just wanted the motherboard replaced nothing else. I contacted them a week later and they told me it had a bad hard drive and that total repairs were more than the cost of the computer. I could not get the diagnostic repair fee back. I picked up the computer, took it to Staples had it back in a week with a new Motherboard and it cost me 100 bucks. Never I repeat never go to GEEK Squad they are an incompetent bunch of boobs that only want your money!!

    • wize_guy123 says:

      I do not know of any Geek Squad location that would lie about a failed hard drive, the tests run, tell us failure, we contact you. The next question that concerns me, is you had a motherboard replaced for $100. In what type of computer can you have a motherboard replaced and installed for less than $200. If they did replaced it, did you receive your old one back?

  29. Vanero says:

    I used to work for Best Buy in Geek Squad for 2 1/2 years full time as a repair tech. (Please note that I am no longer with the company so my opinion is my own and not of Best Buy) Seeing this story makes me glad I no longer have to deal with the general public. I took death threats, things thrown at me, spit on, cursed at, and made to feel like crap, when people don’t read what they sign or they expect miracles to happen. I understand Mr. or Mrs. consumer that you are on your lunch break and waiting in line for 20 minutes just to talk to someone. It is not the person behind the counters fault you dropped your computer down a stair well, punched the screen, had your cat urinate on the keyboard, drove over the computer, threw it out a two story window, or encased the computer in hair. (All of these are true stories by the way) When you check in a computer you have two, if not three forms to sign.
    This is what it all says in summary: We are not responsible for anything that can happen to whatever it is you dropped in our laps.
    Read through all the fine print, and yes that is what it all says. So when you sign TWO or THREE times, you are waving any responsibility that Best Buy has to your product. Now don’t get me wrong, during that 2 1/2 years random stuff did happen. Such as computers getting destroyed in shipping. It happens, Murphy’s Law and all that. The store I worked at would throw a Geek Squad memeber at the customer to explain what happened, get their butts chewed out, then give the customer a new computer. Is Best Buy out to get the consumer? No. Is it a business trying to make money? Yes. Should you back up your computer yourself, and take a little responsibility for your own data? YES! As a previous Geek Squad member I can say that you can NEVER fully satisfy everyone, only try your best not to get your butt sued off from someone who thinks moving machinery never wears out, and that someone wearing a stupid outfit can wave a magic wand and fix your issue in under 30 seconds, while charging you nothing, educating you how to prevent it from happening again, answering the constantly ringing phone, while having stood in the same spot for 9 hours. Thankfully at least this person knew what a hard drive was, and didn’t say the screen in the hard drive is bad!

    P.S. If your hard drive goes out under warranty, you get a different hard drive. If it is not under warranty, then you DO get your hard drive back. Same as if you buy new tires for a car, the tires are yours since you bought them. However, if your transmission goes out under warranty, then you don’t get your old transmission back.