Geek Squad Decides Your Clearly Broken iPod Is Fine, Dares You To Pay 3rd Party To Prove Them Wrong

Geek Squad told reader Dave that he didn’t have the “technical expertise” to diagnose his clearly-broken iPod. The 30 GB unit wouldn’t play when docked or connected by USB cord, something Dave though might be covered by Best Buy‘s Product Service Plan. Geek Squad first tried replacing the hard drive. This solved nothing. Dave brought the still-broken iPod back and asked the agent to write into the notes a request to call him if the problem was misunderstood. Without calling, Geek Squad again returned the iPod with a note saying that the agent “could not duplicate the problem.” With this firm diagnosis in hand, Geek Squad decided they were done and wouldn’t perform any additional work. When Dave objected, he was told that his ‘only option was to pay for a third-party to test the iPod and prove the Geek Squad technician wrong.’

Dave writes:

Let me begin with the below quote which is copied directly from the FAQ section of the Geek Squad website. This will resurface later in this email.

“If you notify us within the stated time period, we will work to remedy your problem quickly and at no additional cost.”

Now, I have always been a huge fan of Best Buy and have shopped there religiously for years. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I get memorized by the electronic goodness when entering the store. Or maybe it’s because I’ve just never been a fan of the layout of Circuit City stores.

Anyway, I recently took my 30gb iPod in for servicing at my local Best Buy in King of Prussia, PA. The iPod was not performing properly when connected to a docking station or iPod USB cord (sound only came out of the left speaker channel, no sound from the right speaker channel). It was covered by a “Product Service Plan” that I purchased from Best Buy with the iPod, so I explained the issue to the Geek Squad employee in the store and they sent it out for repair on November 10, 2008. I received it back on 12/10 and found that they replaced the hard drive, which did not fix the issue. I had it sent out for repair again on 12/8/08. The service note stated that the technician should call the customer (me) for details about the issue if there was confusion. No phone call and one month later, the iPod was ready for pick-up at Best Buy. The issue? The Geek Squad technician “could not duplicate the problem.”

I asked the store Geek Squad representative why I was never called, and he stated that it’s because the technician couldn’t find an issue with the iPod. That’s all fine and dandy, but had they called me, I could have explained the issue in greater detail since the Geek Squad store reps tend to write extremely vague descriptions on the Service Orders. Blank stare from Geek Squad rep. I then told the store the rep that I could show him right then and there that the iPod is malfunctioning by plugging the iPod into my car stereo, and by using my wife’s iPod in comparison as an example of one that works perfectly fine. His response was that they don’t repair the items in the store so showing him wouldn’t do anything to help the cause. He recommended that I call the 1-800-GeekSquad number and take it up with them. So I did, and this is where things get good..

I called Geek Squad on 1/13/08 and spoke to a Customer Service rep. She was very nice, but she couldn’t help me. She told me that I needed to go back to the store and explain my issue to them (even though I had already told her that the store directed me to call Geek Squad). She offered to transfer me to the Customer Relations department, and I spoke to a gentleman in that department. He told me that he could not reverse the technician’s decision, but that he could offer me $60 store credit towards a new iPod. This irritated me because it’s like I was being offered a consolation prize, when in reality, all I wanted is for my iPod to be fixed. I told him this, and his next response was that the best he could do is offer me $100 store credit instead. Again, I don’t want store credit, I just want my iPod fixed because after all, I did pay a pretty penny for the service plan and the iPod as well. He couldn’t help me, so I asked to be transferred to a Customer Relations supervisor.

Enter “Tony”, a Geek Squad supervisor with a “customer is wrong” mentality. I explained the situation to him, and he said that he cannot overturn the technician’s decision. I then asked why I was never contacted, and he told me that Geek Squad technician’s aren’t allowed to call customers. That strikes me as odd, because years back I had a surround sound system that was acting up and had it serviced by Circuit City under a similar type of service plan. Their tech called me numerous times so I could help him understand the issue I was experiencing, and so he could fix it appropriately and in a timely manner. It strikes me as odd that a Geek Squad technician is not allowed to contact a customer, when Best Buy and Geek Squad represent the service as if customer-technician relationships are common day. Have you seen their tv commercials? It’s as if the Geek Squad tech is your best friend..yet they can’t call a customer about a Service Order?

Tony then told me that since I’m not a technician, I have no right to say that the technician didn’t fix the iPod, because after all, the tech “could not find an issue with it.” I told him that I don’t need to be a technician to realize that my iPod isn’t working. Common sense tells you that when you plug it in and it’s not working properly, and then you plug numerous other iPods in and they work perfectly fine, that the iPod is malfunctioning. Tony repeated the message again…I, as a customer, have no right to say that the technician didn’t fix the iPod because I do not have the technical expertise that the technician has. The technician’s decision is final. Seriously? This guy is basically telling me that I’m dumb and shouldn’t question the FACT that their technician did not fix my iPod.

Remember the quote I began with earlier in this email? Apparently Tony the supervisor isn’t on-board with this philosophy. I’ll paste it again for reference:

“If you notify us within the stated time period, we will work to remedy your problem quickly and at no additional cost.”

He told me the only option I have is to pay for a third-party to test my iPod and prove the Geek Squad technician wrong. Whaaaaat?!? I now have to pay someone else when I already paid for a service plan that should be addressing this issue? What kind of customer service is that?

I’m now stuck with an ipod that wasn’t fixed by Geek Squad, and Tony the Geek Squad supervisor is telling me that my only option is to pay for someone else other then Geek Squad to have it fixed. What’s the purpose of paying for a service plan if they refuse to properly service my product? I thought they work with their customers to “remedy your problem quickly and at no additional cost”..?

Geek Squad = FAIL.

Apple has a product service plan too called AppleCare. The difference? Apple cares. If they can’t fix your iPod, you usually get a replacement, not a runaround.

We understand that since you already paid for a service you don’t want to buy a different one. Since Tony the Geek Squad Supervisor won’t help, go over his head and try asking Best Buy’s executive team for help.

(Photo: Ian Muttoo)