Yep, Best Buy Service Plans Are Still Awful

Today’s Best Buy Service Plan horror story is brought to you by the letter “L” for “lemon.”

Hi Ben & Meghann,

I’ve been an avid reader of The Consumerist for some time. Now, I need your help.

In March 2004, I paid about $450 for a 40GB iPod and 4 year extended service plan from Best Buy. Since then I have been repeatedly cheated and lied to and they have taken every effort possible to avoid providing me with the service I paid for. My iPod has been in for service seven times, despite a warranty that says more than 3 repairs means the product is a lemon and they’ll replace it. They have countless excuses and technicalities that don’t actually exist in the warranty contract, but that they insist are “policy” and there’s “nothing (they) can do about it.”

My iPod has been in their hands since 9/5 while they “investigate” whether it is eligible for the lemon clause of my contract despite the fact that it clearly is. I was promised a one week turnaround when I gave it to them, yet they still have it 6 weeks later. They cannot provide me with a valid date of completion but they can provide numerous worthless promises of dates that come and go. They also insist my iPod, that was worth $400 in store credit under the terms of my contract when I dropped it off, is now only worth $250 since Apple lowered their prices.

I have escalated to the store manager and the Geek Squad manager. Both made false attempts to emphasize, but claim they have no power and everything is up to “the service center” which, conveniently, has no known phone number and cannot even be contacted by the store managers except through the issuance of electronic repair orders (or so they claim). The Geek Squad manager has lied to my face and contradicted himself several times on their supposed policies.

Legally, I am on solid ground. They are in breach of their contract and I am literally days away from suing these people in small claims court if they do not come up with a minimum $400 (plus tax) store credit. I’m writing this in hopes that people will learn from my mistake and never, ever, buy an extended warranty from Best Buy. I bought this warranty based on simple math – I knew the battery would eventually die and cost $100 to replace and the warranty was only $40 so it made sense – but I didn’t anticipate Best Buy’s complete and utter refusal to honor the terms of the warranty, nor their ability to pull mysterious, unwritten, anti-consumer policies out of their hats at every opportunity, nor their willingness to make every service event last for 4 to 6 weeks or longer. Perhaps telling my story to several million people will spur some internal reform.

Hey, here’s hoping. We haven’t read the terms of your service plan or anything, but it sounds small claims court might be a hot and sexy idea. It might even be fun. Make sure to keep your buddies at The Consumerist updated.