Geek Squad Charges $415 Dollars To Replace A Hard Drive; Makes Customer Retrieve Data Files Himself

Reader O.’s laptop stopped working, so he consulted the oft-advertised but rarely recommended Best Buy “Geek Squad” for assistance. They told him the problem was called “Blue Screen of Death,” (yes, really) and quoted O. the following estimate:

Price to diagnose was $69.00, OS Install $129.00, Back up transfer $99.00, NO Guarantee.
Estimated repair time seven to ten days.

Seven days later, they hadn’t even looked at the machine. After 8 days, they’d begun testing the laptop. On the 10th day the exhaustive tests were still being done, but things weren’t looking good for O.’s data files. On the 11th day, O. was given the sad news that his hard drive was fried and would need to be replaced for an extra charge of $118.00. On the 12th day, O. was given his laptop, and his non-working hard drive.

But were the data files really beyond saving? After all, Geek Squad had charged O. $99.00 for the unsuccessful back-up…

From O’s email:

Disappointed that I had lost all of my data files, I started talking to other computer persons about this problem. I took the “un-working” hard drive to a friend at work. We installed the “un-working” hard drive into another working laptop computer. In about 15 minutes, he told me that the OS Windows system was corrupted BUT the hard drive was fine and the data could be recovered.

We used a IDE 2.0 IDE Adaptor, CD/DVD-ROM Combo/External, Plug & Play, High Speed / data transfer, 52x write speed, switching adapter input AC 90V-264V, USB unit. Cost $20.00.
We first hooked it up to a Windows system and the adapter hesitated, but it did run the hard drive.

Next we hooked the “un-working” hard drive to a computer with a LINIX system.
Guess What !!! All the data on our “un-working” hard drive was recovered in about 20 minutes.

Naturally, Best Buy gave a full refund on the failed back-up procedure, right? Nope. O. got 1/2 off.

Sunday 2/25/07 Spoke with Allen, Geek Squad manager. He explained they should of told me about a disk recovery program, but the computer would have to be sent to a outside source for repairs. I received a $49.00 refund off the price of the $99.00 back up charge. I still lost $248.00 plus dollars, because of their repair contract.

What’s the moral of this story? It seems that despite the fact that Geek Squad bills itself as a friendly alternative to scary computer repair places who’ll rip you off, they’re not even as good as your friend at work. Maybe O. would have been better off if he’d just offered his friend $250.00 if he could get the computer to work. Food for thought.—MEGHANN MARCO

O. writes:

Jan 28, 2007 I took my Toshiba Satellite to Best Buy, Geek Squad to be repaired.
We had lost our Windows XP program and I wanted it to be repaired and recover the hard drive data.

They told me we had “The Blue Screen of Death.”

Price to diagnose was $69.00, OS Install $129.00, Back up transfer $99.00, NO Guarantee.
Estimated repair time seven to ten days..

•Sunday 2/05/07 @ 10am, seven days later, I called to see what was wrong. Their answer was: your computer has not been looked at yet.. We’ll call you back around 1pm. I got no return phone call that day.

•On Monday I called again @ 7pm, couldn’t get through to the service department, the operator took down my information and told me to call back later.. At 8 pm I called and was told that they were still running diagnosis test.

•I waited for call on Tuesday, but no one called.

•Wednesday @ 7 or 8 pm, I called again. Answer: We are still running tests, but it looks like the hard drive has failed, so back up recovery was impossible.

•Thursday night I went to the store and agreed to have the hard drive replaced at an additional charge, which came to $118.00. I was told this would take extra time, because of installing Windows updates.

•Friday evening we picked up the computer and the quote “un-working” hard drive.

Disappointed that I had lost all of my data files, I started talking to other computer persons about this problem. I took the “un-working” hard drive to a friend at work. We installed the “un-working” hard drive into another working laptop computer. In about 15 minutes, he told me that the OS Windows system was corrupted BUT the hard drive was fine and the data could be recovered.

We used a IDE 2.0 IDE Adaptor, CD/DVD-ROM Combo/External, Plug & Play, High Speed / data transfer, 52x write speed, switching adapter input AC 90V-264V, USB unit. Cost $20.00.
We first hooked it up to a Windows system and the adapter hesitated, but it did run the hard drive.

Next we hooked the “un-working” hard drive to a computer with a LINIX system.
Guess What !!! All the data on our “un-working” hard drive was recovered in about 20 minutes.

•Sunday 2/25/07 Spoke with Allen, Geek Squad manager. He explained they should of told me about a disk recovery program, but the computer would have to be sent to a outside source for repairs. I received a $49.00 refund off the price of the $99.00 back up charge. I still lost $248.00 plus dollars, because of their repair contract.

I just want your company to know how disappointed I am with the Geek Squad. Your TV commercials don’t live up to what they advertise, also your repair contract doesn’t give the consumer any rights to receive a full refund. I will never take a computer there for repair of any kind, and never recommend the Geek Squad service to anyone.

(Photo: Maulleigh)