Best Buy Stole My Computer!

This one has us scratching our heads and looking up the number for Miss Marple. E. took his HP desktop in to Best Buy to have them check out some hardware issues he was having with it… and they “lost it”. It’s gone. No one there remembers seeing it. No one has any record of it. It is a mystery. E. writes:

The young man behind the counter told me that the techs weren’t in yet, but that he would take down my info by hand and the computer and that they would call me when they came in for the day. (I figured if it was more then a couple hundred I would just spring for a new one). Well, at noon today having not heard back I called over to find out the status, and the gentleman who I spoke to told me, and this is a quote “We dont have that computer”.

Uh. What? Read E’s entire email inside.

E. writes:

I’m a big fan of your site, after discovering it on a detour from Deadspin a while ago. I am consistently shocked by some of the horror stories that you post from people who have had bad customer service experiences and often find them hard to believe.

That was until yesterday.

I have (well, had) a two and a half year old HP desktop. I have a work laptop that I use for 90% of my computer usage, so the desktop is used mainly for storage for music, pictures and an occasional game of Civilization. It was hardly a valuable machine at this point, but it was incredibly useful to me to have, being that it had 120 gigs of room in the hard drive. So about 2 weeks ago I started having some issues with the computer. Some minor issues but definitely hardware, no software or virus related.

So yesterday I took it in first thing they opened (10am) to the store in Wheaton, Md on Georgia Ave. The young man behind the counter told me that the techs weren’t in yet, but that he would take down my info by hand and the computer and that they would call me when they came in for the day. (I figured if it was more then a couple hundred I would just spring for a new one). Well, at noon today having not heard back I called over to find out the status, and the gentleman who I spoke to told me, and this is a quote “We don’t have that computer”. Apparently they have no record or trace of my computer either physically or in their system. They asked me if I was sure that I was calling the correct store, and I confirmed with them I was. I then left work to go over there and prove to their disbelief that I was calling the same store I dropped the computer off at. They looked through the records again in front of me, and showed me all the computers waiting for work , and my machine was not there. It has a pretty distinctive case (a friend of mine is an artist type and did a really nice pattern on the outside) and they claim CLAIM not to recognize anything that looks like my description. Since I didn’t get the name of the gentleman who took my machine they said they cant help me unless they gave it to someone else by accident and its returned. They gave me the 1-800 number and told me there was nothing else they could to help.

Customer service says that there is nothing they can do either since they don’t have any proof that the computer actually existed. They did offer me a discount if I purchase a new machine.

Now, I was well prepared to buy a new computer going into this, but I had easily a couple hundred dollars worth of music and movies on that computer, along with some personal photos and software (though the pictures are all on DVD as well.). I just can’t believe that they can lose a computer and offer ZERO assistance in trying to recover it. My fault I guess for trusting someone who cant get out of the opening shift as a front desk jockey at a best buy.

Any suggestions of where to take this complaint internally next?

This doesn’t sound like a bad customer service issue, this sounds like a crime. We think you should stop dealing with Best Buy and file a police report, giving a description of the Best Buy employee who took down your information and accepted your computer on their behalf. As much as we give Best Buy our special brand of tough-love, it’s not Best Buy’s policy to steal your computer. They’ve got a bad apple working in one of their stores, and are obviously not equipped to deal with it until to take it to the next level. You really need to get the police involved.

We’d also suggest sending a copy of this email and a copy of the police report to with the subject line “for robert.” We’re sure that Robert, the head of Geek Squad, will appreciate hearing from you, as it is unlikely that Best Buy or Geek Squad want thieves working for them.—MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: cmorran123)


Edit Your Comment

  1. seanh012 says:

    Dude, you handed in your computer and didn’t get any form of receipt.

    Some worker took advantage of your naivete. I don’t know that you can really blame Best Buy as a company for this. How the hell do they know you aren’t some nut just making up a story?

  2. Uriel says:

    Ya really need to keep a cheap video-camera with you when you’re having stuff like this taken in and serviced, especially when its by a “company” as shady as best buy. No, I don’t care how extreme this sounds. Put a little effort and thought into preserving your valuables.

  3. Coder4Life says:

    Can’t they check up on all their security cameras for that day and see who took your computer when you went in…

    I thought they kept those for theft purposes, otehrwise why else have cameras? To stalk women from the managers rooms? Huh… I wonder…

  4. MikeB says:

    Were you greeted by the LP (Yellow Shirt standing at the front door). If so, make sure you include that in your police report. Also, they have cameras all over the store, and that should be recorded. Hopefully they will keep it for a little while.

  5. Scazza says:

    Totally agree with Meghann, you need to get your ass to the police ASAP, so they can investigate and best buy will have to cough up surveillance footage.
    Also demand best buy to get their Loss Prevention in charge of the investigation, they are usually incredibly swift and vicious if an employee has been dipping into the cookie jar, and will be useful in finding the ass who stole your shit.

  6. hop says:

    best buy sucketh………………..

  7. dragonflight says:

    @Coder4Life: that’s what I was thinking

  8. lightaugust says:

    I’m just having a hard time believing that a ‘big fan of this site’ took a computer into Best Buy.

  9. puka_pai says:

    LP will be happy to have something to do instead of standing by the door all shift, too.

    Once you file the report, the police can probably get them to check the tape, since they won’t do it for you.

  10. ikimashokie says:

    As awful as it is to say, I’m going to agree with sean. There’s no mention of a receipt, which The Great Evil (aka Best Buy) gives to everyone that brings in something for repairs. It’s the only way I was able to get my computer replaced when they “stole” it, I had kept all of the repair receipts, for every repair I had done on it.

    It still took them over 6 months and God only knows how many rude, inconsiderate, and lying people to fix the problem.

  11. ikimashokie says:

    I mean, seriously, TGE offers next to no assistance unless you’re giving them money. I called their “service” line, and was on hold for hours on hours. I called their “purchase” line, and was through in a minute.

    Even when I called one of the “higher ups”, Elizabeth, I had a hard time getting a hold of her. It was insane, either that many people are angry with TGE, or they just plain suck.

  12. tamasha says:

    Uh — you allowed “someone” to simply take your computer without giving a receipt or ANYTHING that shows 1) that you had it 2) that you gave it over to this “someone”? While indeed Best Buy might be TGE, I fail to see how they can actually deal with the problem. There’s nothing to show for it.

    The old rule…If it’s not on paper, it never happend…seems to apply here.

    And, without the police involved – they are under NO obligation to look at, or reveal the tapes.

  13. SOhp101 says:

    You got no receipt? seriously?

    Well too late to talk about that, so do what everyone else says and file a police report immediately so they can start looking at the cameras .

  14. Now, I was well prepared to buy a new computer going into this, but I had easily a couple hundred dollars worth of music and movies on that computer, along with some personal photos and software (though the pictures are all on DVD as well.)

    Only the pictures are backed up?

    Too bad for you.

  15. MotherFury says:

    I’d go back to the store every day around the same time you dropped off the computer until you spot the guy you gave it to.

    Then run over to him (leaving a safe distance), point at him (with some animation) and yell, loudly, “HIM!! HE’S THE ONE WHO TOOK MY COMPUTER!”

    That should get a manager to pay attention. And police might probably show up, too.

  16. JRuiz47 says:


    And if you’re going to do that – record it on video.

  17. The police and the email to the geek squad and BB higher-ups should more than get you started (escalate!). Best Buy has a zillion security cameras in every store. Everything that happens in that building is on tape, especially what happens in or around cash, the registers, and the doors. There’s no way they don’t have the tape of you walking into the store with the computer.

    You appear to know the exact time and date of the incident so they should be able to go right to it on the security videos. If they’re interested in maintaining credibility, they’ll check the tapes. You might not be present, but they will check.

  18. tdave365 says:

    This sounds bad but I have to agree that before anyone goes overboard, do something as simple as prompt the store to review its security cameras. There’s no way you made it into the store, through the store, and up to the counter without at least one if not thousands of frames of footage of you carrying your laptop and handing it over. I would think this would have been the first thing that would be done.

  19. Jesus On A Pogo Stick says:

    @Coder4Life: When I worked at Worst Buy they didn’t even record anything. The dude up at the front would “look for criminals” by following hot chicks through the store with the cameras. Crack team they’ve got working there.

  20. DeeHaney says:

    Doesn’t sound like bad customer service or a crime. Sounds like a donate for not getting any paperwork, or fiction.

  21. ShadowFalls says:

    Unless he can at the bare minimum, show proof of ownership, he is out of luck. Filing a police report is the way to go here, they can at least investigate the matter.

  22. Android8675 says:

    Yeah, that sucks. Geek Squad is supposed to be manned if the store is open, but yeah I gotta echo some of the earlier comments, you should not of left the system without one of their contracts that they give you when you check in the system.

    I “heard” a GS customer come in, said she didn’t have her receipt and was told the computer was down when she brought her computer in and that someone would call with a service number. The GS guy asked if she had any documentation, she said she wasn’t given anything.

    Fortunatly the GS guy found the system, I didn’t hear much, but apparently the guy who took the system neglected to give her a “manual form” that they use when their system is down.

    Lesson: Even if there’s no one there to give you the appropriate paperwork, get SOMETHING in writing that has your computer SERIAL NUMBER and a signature from whoever you left your computer with.

    I would escalate this to 1.888-best-buy. This store is clearly in the wrong here.

  23. nrfx01 says:

    I find this particular post very suspicious and confusing. Someone who is a fan and keeps up with Consumerist took a computer into Best Buy for repair? And didn’t even get a receipt? I thought we all knew better by now…

  24. othium says:

    @MotherFury: I agree with this method. Once you have the correct person identified, raise a fuss and get the manager.

    What JRuiz47 added is sound advice as well. Even better – have a friend do the filming from a safe distance. Try to be discreet. That way if they handle it poorly, you can upload the video to a hosting site and show all of us here what exactly went on. I would LOVE to see what sort of response is made to reporting this person.

    Have the police on speed dial on your cell phone also.

    Hopefully none of these measures will be needed but if the situation goes bad, you will be well prepared.

  25. Trai_Dep says:

    Third the motion for capturing the drama on video and posting it for its squirmy, guilty-pleasure goodness. Bluetooth miked even better, or get your photographer to stand nearby with cam pointing at waist level.

    Dress nicely, behave calmly and let the miscreant hang themselves. Even better if you can cap the police showing up. The thief will (slowly?) freak out and melt before our eyes.

    Next time you bring a laptop to Best Buy for repairs, make sure it’s loaded to the gills with amateur porn – it’s the only way they remember anything.

  26. Rusted says:

    No ticket, no laundry as they said back in the Gold Rush days. Took two to dance this dance….the store which took and lost it, the consumer who walked out without any proof that they did take it.

  27. dragonpup says:

    File a police report, and get the store to provide records of who was working that day. Also, get a lawyer.

  28. Rusted says:

    Don’t really see how police or a legal eagle is gonna help here. That PC is gone.

  29. oneTee says:

    i find it hard to believe that most people on here are actually blaming the customer for not being more carefu. When the average person goes to the store, they are not expecting something like this to happen. The point here is that Best Buy screwed up, not the customer.

  30. TortfeasorG says:

    I’m a Maryland lawyer. You may want to file a small claims action in the District Court for Montgomery County.

    You can find the complaint to file here:….

    Also, your testimony and sworn affidavit that tells your story of how you dropped off your computer and they didn’t return it is the evidence that you have. People tend to think that just because they don’t have paperwork, they can’t prove things. That’s what testimony is for. Your testimony may be enough to win the day in front of a Montgomery County District Court judge.

    If you are credible and upstanding, I doubt a judge will think you are lying.

    Plus, from a strategic standpoint, filing a lawsuit would be cheap for you and would invite them to consider striking a better deal with you.

  31. thakat007 says:

    As a ex-Geek Squad member, I can attest to receiving stuff from our service center and not knowing where it came from. The service center is where we sent out laptops, microwaves, etc. to be fixed. Sometimes, we would get other stores product and it not be “in the system” aka lost in handling, mislabeled, etc.. From an ex-Geek, the tech probably shipped it to the service center to be fixed and dropped the ball by never getting you involved. Although, it would have had to be entered into STAR (the service tracking program the tech’s used when I was there) before it was shipped out and that request would have had all your info on it. They should be able to find it that way if it was labeled correctly. But, they could have put someone else’s name on it and shipped it out. Anyways, what I am trying to say is… call your local Best Buy and get their service center’s number. Ask the pc tech’s at the service center if they have seen a pc that has the markings like your pc had. Hopefully a tech there will recognize the description. After seeing bland HP’s and Gateway’s all day, you tend to remember the one’s that stand out. Its a long shot but its better than nothing. Also, go to the store and ask the Geek Squad to see all of your STAR records. They used to call it STAR. If they call it something different, ask to see all your repair records for your pc. Even if you have never had it fixed there, something might pop up. I am also with all the other people as far as getting someone to review the camera’s. They are everywhere in the store. If you know about the right time and day you went in, you should show up. Any good manager should do this for you. If not, ask for the Customer Service manager. They were in charge of the customer service desk and the Geek Squad when I worked there. They are usually spineless and will do anything to make an irate customer happy.

  32. ikimashokie says:

    @Android8675: will get you NOWHERE, except more frustrated and upset.

    @thakat007: Every time I tried to get the service center number, they wouldn’t give it to me. Even after calling, I still got nothing.

    The only way I got any resolution with Best Buy was by filing a complaint with the BBB, and even still they were awful. This is the number they gave me, granted, it was for a specific case.

    Executive Resolution Team at (612)292-0100, Mon-Fri from 8:30-5pm CST

  33. Trick says:

    Funny how so many of you think the police will get involved. They will claim this is a civil matter and that you are on your own.

    Since when are the police any help with it comes to petty crimes like this?

  34. ussecurity says:

    Back several years ago (2001-2002), I was a contractor for a large security company. It’s initials are CP. They held the contract for the CCTV cameras (and alarms) at the Bust Buy Stores. I was put on a contract to upgrade the camera systems at all of the BB’s within 200 miles of Chicago, but it was a nationwide project. They all have camera systems. Some camera domes are empty of any cams (just dummies), some are fixed cameras in the domes to always look at specific locations, and some are PTZ (remotely operated by joystick) to move around. At around 10am, LP was usually pretty lax, not operating the PTZ cameras or even watching them, however, ALL of the cams were being continuously recorded. At that time, everything was on tape. Occasionally, the recorders had reached end of tape and stopped, but the M&P of installing the recorder was to program it to stop, rewind, and start recording again. Sometimes this got messed up by the LP folks.

    I would assume that by now, they are recording everything on DVRs, as most everybody is. BUT, when I went in and did the project back in 2001, half of the systems that I was replacing were already non-functioning for some time. They were not the best at keeping things fixed.

    The front door and all counters always had fixed cameras that could not be advertently moved from watching the areas.

    Assuming that the store that you went to has an operating system, you would definitely be on video from several views coming in with your PC, conversing with the associate, and then leaving without your PC.

    Good Luck!

  35. ussecurity says:

    Oh! BTW, with that kind of video as evidence, the police would get involved. It would be an open/shut case for them.

  36. HSChronic says:

    Well i work(ed) at best buy for geek squad. I can tell you this. When you brought your PC in, they took you through a check in process if it was a real Geek Squad Technician (I don’t understand how anyone who is not Geek Squad would be checking in a PC), they would fill out a service order with basically a description of the problem, and print up 2 copies, one you sign and give back to them (Just in case they f-up your PC, they are not liable). Another copy you keep. I assume you have a reciept aswell so that will help you in that matter, the reciept will tell you what they charged you for (they have to charge up from for at least a diagnostic if you are bringing in a PC for something other than an upgrade), then speak to the Store Services Manager, and if they don’t help you then speak to the district office.

    If the tech never filled out a service order and you never received a service order then someone did indeed steal your PC.

    Like other people have said you want to e-mail and tell them what happened. You will want to give them your name address phone number, this will allow them to search the service order database and see if a service order was ever created with your name on it.

    I can tell you its common to misplace a PC, or ship one out by mistakes, the techs are usually understaffed and overworked so mistakes happen and sometimes a PC gets mislabeled. For them to say they have no record of your PC in the system is a lie if they used the proper check in procedures.

    Best thing to do if it doesn’t look like its going to get resolved in a quick manner is take the matter to small claims court, a lot of times the corporation will not bother to even show. The trick is to deliver the subpoena to someone who is likely to not care about it or not forward it to the appropriate people… like the LP guy at the front of the Store.

  37. tardis1916 says:

    Was the person you gave the computer in a geek squad uniform or in a Best Buy blue or yellow shirt? Someone saying that the techs are not in is a lie since the store has at least two techs that arrive at 7am.