Consumerist's Geek Squad Investigation Featured In Today's Star Tribune

Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune confirmed our reports of widespread privacy violations and thievery at Best Buy‘s Geek Squad. The Star Tribune interviewed several Geek Squad agents on the record, and their findings mirror our own:

Four current and former Geek Squad technicians in three Best Buy stores who were interviewed by the Star Tribune said that they witnessed co-workers pulling up customers’ personal photos and urging others to look. Three of the four recall colleagues copying customers’ photos onto DVDs and USB drives.

“They’re testosterone-driven geeks, and they’re going to look around,” said Haddock, who worked at a Best Buy store in Santa Clarita, Calif., northwest of Los Angeles. “It’s the male prerogative. The temptation is always there.”

David O’Hare, a former Geek Squad agent who worked at the Best Buy store in Santa Clarita, said his colleagues illegally copied “thousands of songs,” which are protected by copyrights, from customers’ computers and stored them on a store computer.

“We probably had 50 to 100 [gigabytes] of music just sitting there for anyone to listen to or copy,” said O’Hare, who left Geek Squad a month ago.

Geek Squad gave the Star Tribune the same explanation they gave us, attributing the “rare occurrences” to “rogue employees.”

But some current and former Geek Squad agents say the intrusions into customer privacy are symptomatic of a larger problem: that Geek Squad’s rapid growth has compromised its service quality and consistency. Some agents said they are graded more on the number of services sold than on the quality of their repairs…

Many of the newer hires are college students who have little or no experience fixing computers, they say. Starting pay in many stores ranges from $10 to $12 an hour — not enough to retain quality technicians, some agents say.

Sorry Best Buy, any attempt to restore the Geek Squad to its once-respected status will fail so long as your focus remains on profits, and not customer and employee satisfaction.

Some allege Geek Squad agents copy your files [Minneapolis Star Tribune]
(Photo: Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune)
PREVIOUSLY: How Geek Squad Steals Your Porn
VIDEO: Consumerist Catches Geek Squad Stealing Porn From Customer’s Computer
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Why Geeks Steal Porn From Your Computer