Not Even Geek Squad's CEO Can Get Your Computer Fixed

On May 3, 2007 a reader wrote in to explain an issue he was having with Best Buy’s Geek Squad. His computer was randomly shutting off and generally acting crazy. His warranty was with Geek Squad so he took the computer in for repair. Geek Squad wiped his hard drive and returned the computer without fixing the problem.

We suggested he write Geek Squad’s founder, Robert Stephens, for help. In the 9 months and 8 days since we received his first email, no further repair work has been done, despite a friendly email from Robert promising a “credit for further service,” and that he would “ask that they keep me posted until it is resolved to your complete satisfaction.”

May 3, 2007:

Here is my best buy horror story. I sent it to Robert Stephens today. I’ll let you know if he gets back to me…

My computer was running slowly generally and shutting down completely at times, so, as I had it under warranty with Geek Squad (and still do), I brought it in to be fixed. When I brought it in, they said it would take about five days to fix, and I said that would be fine.

Five days later, I called to ask if my computer was ready, and they said it was. After making the trek to Best Buy (I had to leave work to do so, and it takes about 45 minutes to get there) the Geek Squad representative said that actually it wasn’t ready, and they would need another seven days, and, as an afterthought, almost, that my hard drive had died while in GeekSquad’s care. When I asked how, as they hadn’t even begun to try to fix the problem yet, the Geek Squad representative couldn’t tell me. I asked if they could save the files on the hard drive, and the Geek Squad representative said they would.

Seven days later, when I came back, after calling again and being told my computer was ready, I was told that, actually, they couldn’t save any of the files on my hard drive, and that I would need to go back to my apartment and get the original cd so they could reload windows. I had to go all the way home and all the way back – an hour and a half trip that was totally unnecessary, as they could have just told me to bring the cd on the phone.

When I got back, the Geek Squad representative reloaded Windows on my pc, but I had lost all of my files, many of which were (needless to say) very important to me. Worse than this, soon after I got home, I found that my computer still shuts down randomly at times. So, not only did Geek Squad destroy my hard drive; they also failed to fix my computer.

At this point I don’t know what to do. My computer still needs to be fixed, as it cannot remain in this state, but I don’t feel comfortable bringing it to GeekSquad, which has already cost me hundreds of dollars in lost files and software. I had such a bad experience with GeekSquad that, even though I am still covered by its warranty, I feel that sending my computer to GeekSquad at this point would be comparable to sending my computer to a butcher.


May 8, 2007:

Here is Robert’s reply to me, followed by my re-reply to Robert. I’ll let you know when I hear back from him.


Thank you for taking the time to send me your letter. I rely on direct feedback from our customers like you to let us know how The Geek Squad is doing. I know the store management would very much like to resolve this for you. I am including them on this e-mail so they can work to prevent this from happening again.
In addition to refunding all of your service money, I will ask that the store give you a credit for future service if you will please accept it from us. If you or anyone you know ever has any experience that is less than perfect, I want to know about it. We care very much about quality and I hope you’ll give us another chance. I will ask that they keep me posted until it is resolved to your complete satisfaction.
Robert Stephens
Founder and Chief Inspector
The Geek Squad
“Serving the Public, Policing Technology, and Protecting the World”

Dear Robert,

Thank you for your email. I can’t tell you how glad I am to hear that someone at Geek Squad actually cares about my problems. However, it is not clear from your email just what you or Geek Squad will do to alleviate my problem. Please elaborate.

In addition to refunding my service money (which I take to mean refunding the cost of the warranty), I think the best way to fix this problem would be for Geek Squad to restore my hard drive. I have my hard drive (it is currently in a box, as I mentioned in my last email), and the people at Geek Squad said that they could restore it, but it would be expensive. If you could cover this service, I would very much appreciate it.

Additionally, while you write that the store will give me a credit for future service, you don’t make clear what this service is – as I am already under warranty, I don’t know how much I need credit for future service. My issue isn’t bringing my computer to Geek Squad – which I can do already as my computer is under warranty – but trusting Geek Squad to fix my computer. In this, unfortunately, you have yet to alleviate my concerns. Please do so.

Thank you again for your concern, and for your help. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


June 8, 2007:

I just wanted to follow up with you regarding my awful experience with Best Buy and Geek Squad. They have only gotten worse.

While Robert Stephens sent me a friendly email telling me he would do everything he could to fix my problem, the people he passed the problem on to (my local NY Geek Squad and Best Buy representatives) have just passed the buck for the past two and a half weeks.

After a constant barrage of emails from me, they finally two weeks ago asked me for my computer’s information, which I gave them promptly. However, since then, I haven’t heard from them at all, even after having sent numerous emails to everyone cc’d by Robert Stephens (including Stephens himself). In fact, when I called Best Buy this morning at the number included in the email of the woman supposed to help me, her extension didn’t work and the phone service, at least, had no knowledge of her employment at Best Buy. Uch. Robert Stephen might mean well, but his (former) company sure does suck.


February 10, 2008:

Here’s an update on my Geek Squad horror story. It isn’t pretty: The short of it is Geek Squad screwed up my computer, Robert Stephens (former CEO of Geek Squad), told them to fix it, and the Best Buy/Geek Squad people refused to. My latest email to Robert follows:

Unfortunately, I write this email bearing more bad news regarding the atrocious service I have received at the Geek Squad at 86th and Lexington, in New York. I brought my computer in this afternoon to get fixed, as you advised me to do in the email below. However, Andre [redacted] told me that they would not fix my computer, as per your instructions in the email below. Instead, Andre said that all that Geek Squad would do is run a diagnostic test, and I would have to pay for fixing the hardware. Andre claims that when you wrote that “I will ask that the store give you a credit for future service” you only meant giving the computer a diagnostic test, but not actually fixing the computer.

Forgive me my outrage, but this is downright ridiculous. I already know what is wrong with my computer. My computer has the same problem that it did when I brought it in to get it fixed originally – and when, I might add, Geek Squad failed to fix it the first time. For me to have to pay for all but the most basic services now is both outrageous and runs counter to the letter and the spirit of your email to me. Please make clear to Andre [redacted] that Geek Squad and Best Buy should cover both the diagnostic test AND the hardware issues that Geek Squad failed to fix the first time around.

As Andre [redacted] has said that Best Buy and Geek Squad would not fix the hardware issues on my computer without clear instructions from you to do so, I would appreciate you letting them know that my computer should be fixed as soon as possible.

Thank you very much for your help. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

How awful! If we were you, we’d begin thinking seriously about small claims court.

Does anyone out there have suggestions for Bezalel?