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)


Edit Your Comment

  1. closed_account says:

    Why do non best buy employees refer to their technicians as “agents”?

  2. Jon Klein says:

    Simple, call apple. Problem solved.

    • howie_in_az says:

      @Jon Klein: OP should take the iPod to Apple, have Apple say it’s broken, then take that explanation back to Best Buy. If Best Buy says that Apple is not qualified to tell whether or not an iPod is broken, take Best Buy to court.

      • pojken says:

        @howie_in_az:Or just the same – take a laptop into the store, hook it up and show it to the employees. Hell, record it step by step and burn it to a CD for them.

        I do wonder, though, if the OP has done any kind of debugging – trying it on another computer or using a borrowed USB dock. One or both could be the problem, and thus may be the reason why the issue can’t be duplicated.

        • Feminist Whore says:

          @pojken: OP says he offered to plug it into the car and demonstrate the difference between his ipod and his wife’s ipod, so I guess he knows it’s the actual unit and not his comp or related paraphernalia.

      • Stanwell says:

        @howie_in_az: Absolutely agree. Get Apple to document the thing is broken (is the Apple warranty still good if Geek Squad replaced parts?) and fix it, then demand a refund from Best Buy for the service plan and compensation for time without the iPod and time spent dealing with their staff. If they decline to give a refund, small claims court for all of the above. Or, since we’re likely talking about a relatively small sum here, maybe go to your local news station’s consumer affairs reporter and embarass ’em locally…

    • Daryl26 says:

      @Jon Klein:
      That’s not the point. The point is he paid for a service that they are now refusing to offer. I say keep writing emails to all the Best Buy execs you can find. Make them provide the service you paid for.

    • Benguin says:

      @Jon Klein: Definitely. Assuming the iPod was still under warranty, the on-hand Genius would pretty much look at it for a few monutes and say “Yup, it’s broken. Here’s a ‘new’ [refurb] one.” Done and done.

      But since the issue was already taken up with Best Buy it should be on them to fix it. As much easier it would be for the OP to take the iPod to Apple at that point, she shouldn’t just roll over and accept Best Buy’s crap.

    • ludwigk says:

      @Jon Klein: since its a 30 gig, I suspect that its out of warranty already. I’m thinking he bought the 30 GB, along with a long Geek Squad warranty, because it had worked out for him in the past, and now, he’s getting jerked around when he needs coverage.

      Apple can help you, but if you ask for an extended diagnostic on an out of warranty device, that can incur a service charge. If you explain the situation to Apple, the techs at your local store (King of Prussia has a store), might just agree to comp it just to spite Best Buy.

  3. Joeb5 says:

    Do the techs even have the tools to do basic tests or is Best buy to cheap for that. Did the tech have any clue on how a Ipod should work? Other then seeing the screen trun on and hearing some sound but testing for full sound on all channels and they don’t have / don’t let techs have Ipod docks / Itunes software?

    • endless says:


      they should have a tech computer with itunes on it.

      there should be several if not quite a few docks on display out on the sales floor that would work for testing.

      if the agents arent that smart….well, they aren’t very smart….

      • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

        @endless: well, the “agents” are the sales people at the local best buy store, who can install and run spybot/adaware/etc
        they outsource to some other tech repair center, run by true techs – that’s why it takes a month for best buy to fix anything, it needs to be shipped out to a 3rd party :/

    • shubox215 says:

      @Joeb5: Best Buy “Geek Squad” Agents, on site and off site, really are not fully qualified to repair Apple products. Not that Apple is a completely foreign language, but because Apple thrives on proprietary hardware and firmware that is a lot different than PC tech. Yeah, you can say that gap has closed, but Apple still likes to keep their stuff exclusive. Next time, buy it from an Apple Store. They know how to fix their own proprietary problems. Most Geeks like to put down Apple products anyway, and they loath when you bring them Apple problems.

    • Echo128 says:

      @Joeb5: When I use to work in Geek Squad all we had was our tech computer and the usb cable. We were told that if somebody brought in an iPod just to take it to back, do a hard reset on it, and if it didn’t fix the problem to check it in so we could send it to the main geek squad repair site.

    • Matt 'Trej' B says:

      @Joeb5: The supervisor didn’t want you to talk to the tech because he’s not even a best buy or geek squad employee. In fact, if you held a gun to the supervisor’s head and demanded that he get a hold of that tech, I’d be very surprised if he could do it. To get any level of service out of best buy or geek squad you pretty much have to have a level of familiarity with their procedures and policies that only a recent former employee would have. I recommend shopping at best buy only if they have the best price on a grab and go item you want.

    • narq says:

      @Joeb5: Do NOT call them techs. They are agents. They have no expertise, training, education, or experience in a field that qualifies them to be technicians. They are merely a talking training manual. When I was just out of college and had a couple years of internship experience, geek squad would not hire me for the most amazing reason. They told me they have a policy to not hire professionals. They like to train their employees. Meaning we like them cheap and dumb so they can be manipulated into making us money by not fixing your stuff. This was only a few short years after they were bought by best buy.

      • joebowls says:


        I’m not discounting your experience, but speaking as a retired ‘Agent’, who was hired despite being a fully qualified, trained, and experienced individual, that is certainly not their policy.

        While holding a management position in the company, I did my best to seek out potential employees who WERE experienced and trained.

        I feel sorry that you had that experience. Most Best Buys aren’t like that. It sucks to read these stories, because they paint such a bad picture, but then again, with a company so large, incidents like this are bound to happen.

  4. Corporate_guy says:

    Make an official looking report with a letter head for a technical sounding fake company in word and write down the exact problems and how to duplicate them. Then take that back to the store with the ipod. If they keep the letter with the ipod, it should get fixed.

    • Azagthoth says:

      @Corporate_guy: This is exactly what I have done in the past in this type of situation. I usually use my work cell phone(or wife’s) as a contact number on the letterhead and turn the cell off. I change the voice mail to whatever the imaginary company’s name is, and have never had a problem from there.

    • mariospants says:

      @Corporate_guy: Hell, take it to an apple store and have THEM put in writing the issue (if they don’t decide to fix it for you first).

      I need to print some of these stories out and bring them with me to BB whenever those employees insist I buy those stupid support plans.

  5. Cat_In_A_Hat says:

    Buy Apple products from Apple! I much rather meet with a genius than some 17 year old Best Buy kid with braces who could care less about my problem.

    • Con Seannery blames Obama for Facebookers says:

      @Cat_In_A_Hat: Or don’t buy Apple products at all and stop calling their techs geniuses when all they did was get a job at a CrApple store instead of a Best Buy.

    • thegraz95 says:


      You’re ignorant. Best Buy has some of the best associates they’ve had in years due to the economy.

      • Cat_In_A_Hat says:

        @thegraz95: Actually I consider myself to be the absolute opposite. I’m speaking from my experiences with Best Buy tech support. Didn’t mean to offend you so much (I guess you must work at Best Buy).

    • WNW says:

      @Cat_In_A_Hat: I would never meet with a “genius” because that is the most pretentious title ever conceived.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      @Cat_In_A_Hat: Apple “Geniuses” often have no experience, and have TWO WEEKS of training. I’m not saying that they are automatically worse than the Geek Squad, but that it’s laughable to think that they are actual “geniuses.”

      • PittDragon says:

        @The_IT_Crone: Geniuses are flown out to California to train at Apple’s headquarters. I’d love to see where Best Buy’s associates are trained.

        • egoods says:

          @PittDragon: That’s false, geniuses are put through a training program, which are offered at just about every major city. Oh, and since Best Buy is an authorized apple repair center, there techs go through the same course.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Niece had an iPod, purchased online thru the Apple store. This Christmas present never did work. My sister never bothered to get it fixed. Last MAY, on a whim, I took it to the local Apple store. Explained the situation to them, that it was purchased the previous Nov as a Christmas present, etc etc. No receipt.

    They said ‘no problem’. In minutes I had a replacement iPod for my niece. Nothing out of pocket. No questions asked.

  7. Gilbert Tang, Jr. says:

    Customer Dave notwithstanding, I do not believe for a moment that the Geek Squad has the “technical expertise” to diagnose anything, let alone a malfunctioning iPod.

  8. shakes says:

    Well the Geek Squad tech probably will not call you due to the fact that Best Buy is not the one trying to fix your iPod. More than likely it is a 3rd party repair facility contracted by Best Buy or Apple. This is just speculation but your Bust Buy extended warranty is probably “AppleCare” purchased through Best Buy. Whatever the case you should have taken Best Buys $100 hand out and still pursued the replacement iPod.

  9. snowmentality says:

    Yeah, at this point all he can do is the EECB. Maybe that will force Best Buy to live up to their end of the contract.

    Let this be a lesson to everyone, though: buy the AppleCare. You can even buy it online separately, even if you bought the iPod at Best Buy. It’s the only extended warranty I’ve ever seen that’s worth the money.

    • Oakie Pokie says:

      @snowmentality: i disagree. i think he should do exactly as “tony the twit” suggested, except take it to another local best buy and have them plug it into a computer to verify if it works or not.

      if it doesnt, have them write up the issue and take that form with him to show “tony the twit”.

  10. fantomesq says:

    Take the iPod to the King of Prussia Apple Store. Explain the problem and that all you need is for them to document that the iPod has a problem. They are unlikely to charge you if you explain the situation. This should be proof from the manufacturer that there is a defect. Heck they might even surpass your expectations by replacing it.

    I also seriously doubt they swapped out the hard drive.

    • gaya2081 says:

      @fantomesq: My guess is they won’t touch it b/c they can tell by SN where it was sold from-at least that is what I was told by people who tried to call Apple when they bought their IPods from Best Buy.
      Worth a shot though…but KoP Apple store is crazy!

      • Teapotfox says:

        @gaya2081: Apple Store Genius Bars support Apple products… it doesn’t matter if you purchased them from Apple directly or through another retailer like Best Buy. OP should go here:


        And make a reservation for the Genius Bar. The KoP store is always busy, but service is by reservation, so even if it’s packed with customers, OP should show up 5-10 minutes before the reservation time, check in, and he will be seen.

        • Teapotfox says:

          @Teapotfox: Also… Apple stores do about 90% of their repairs in the store itself, so the iPod won’t have to be sent away for a month, and it certainly won’t be returned to the OP still broken.

    • STrRedWolf says:

      @fantomesq: Seconding everyone here. Apple products already have AppleCare for the first year, so don’t go to Best Buy. Go to Apple… and refuse Best Buy’s “Geek” Squad service, because you’re more of a true geek than they are.

  11. Anonymous says:

    if its been under a year then then it goes to Apple, if its been over a year it goes to a Best Buy service center. Geek Squad does have the tools to properly diagnose most problems in the store. Also another option is to send your iPod in and get a refurbished one sent to your home within 3 days. At the store I work at they would already have given you a brand new 6th generation 80GB just because its been so long.I would go to a different store because to me it sounds like the management at that one sucks. Although mabye he IS wrong, after all we’re only getting his side of the story.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I can’t comment on Best Buy’s track record for customer support or technical support. However, given the circumstances you describe, what they did is not only abysmal, but abusive.

    What they owed you was a solution; not a way to make you the problem. It’s unfortunate when this type of “customer support” occurs, yet this is not uncommon, and not only in the tech industry.

    Your experience is only one reason why Apple makes customer support a priority, even if people sometimes have to pay for it. They’ve always come out on top in terms of customer service, and that service has served them well in bringing in new customers as well as in keeping customers who already like what they do.

    I’ts more than a shame that other companies can’t learn from this. With all the copying that other companies do vis-a-vis Apple, they’d do best to copy Apple’s attitude toward customer support.

  13. BustangBetty says:

    Is it just me or are all the dates messed up? How can he get the ipod back on the 10th but send it back in for servicing on the 8th?

  14. Trick says:

    I am by far a Mac Fanboi but I do have a 80GB Classic and a new iTouch. My 80GB had died twice since I purchased it in 08/2007. In 01/2008 the Apple store in SLO replaced it. Just a week ago my replacement died and even though the status showed no warranty when I brought it back for service, once again I was given a new iPod.

    Even without this story I could have told you Best Buy sucks and this is what you are to expect from Best Buy service wise.

  15. gaya2081 says:

    I use to work at the Montgomery Best Buy-I would suggest going there, they are much better IMO. First of all you should have 2 options when fixing an IPOD, to actually send it out to get fixed, or Rapid Exchange. With Rapid exchange you get a refurbished IPod in about a week-most people would do this.
    Second, before I would send out IPods I would try to reproduce the problem. This is esp. important if it was being sent out for actual repair. I would then make a note in the ticket. Also the notes field had a character limit on it.
    OP please take it to Montgomeryville Best Buy and ask for Andreas, he is the Geek Squad Supervisor. Tell him Katherine sent you…he owes me a favor or if Carey can put Dave in touch with me I will be more than happy to help him as best I can as a ex-employee. I quit due to a promotion at my full time job but loved working at BB.

    • gaya2081 says:

      @gaya2081: I would recommend bringing along with you something you can show that issue, the car stero is great, but something like an iHome that you can bring into the store is better. Just a thought

  16. Anonymous says:

    I wonder why he did not option for a rapid exchanged Ipod. The first thing that is offered is that so the customer does not have to wait so long for a repair. Something smells fishy about this story as I’m betting there is more to it like physical damage to the ipod. Notice, he says it won’t work when plugged into his car stereo but works all other times. Sounds weird to me.

  17. semanticantics says:

    He get’s “memorized” by the electronics?

  18. semanticantics says:

    Haha, I said “get’s”.

  19. Brontide says:

    If the device is used as a Mass Storage Device, it must be ejected before it will operate normally when docked or otherwise attached to a USB port.

    If you want to just plug it in and go, you must disable that feature in iTunes.

    This does kinda sound like the user enabled the feature in iTunes and didn’t understand the repercussions.

    • mythago says:

      @snowmoon: And a Geek Squad tech should have been able to diagnose that in ten seconds.

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @snowmoon: my understanding is that he has plugged it in to his car (or something like the iHome) via dock port, and audio is only coming through the right channel.
      if he had it attached to his PC as a storage device, it wouldn’t play sound at all.
      from what i’m reading, it definitely sounds like a hardware issue

  20. Plates says:

    Every time I had a problem with the iPod I went on line scheduled an appointment at the Apple store, went and they swapped it out. Applecare all the way!

  21. MyLud says:

    Why not try a different Best Buy, and a different Geek Squad?

    There are 4 in the area.

    • What The Geek says:

      @MyLud: Isn’t that sort of like suggesting that the guy try being hit in the head with a copper pipe instead of a lead one? Neither choice is appealing – but the copper pipe is a little more malleable, and as such might provide a softer blow to the head.

      No matter what BB you go to, you’re going to get mistreated. Geek Squad doesn’t have the knowledge to help with any problem that can’t be solved by reformatting your hard drive, and when they DO reformat your hard drive, they’re likely to charge you $200 for something that took them an hr to do. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, avoid BB. If you need a computer, mp3 player, video game console, or pretty much any other electronic device repaired, go with a local shop or freelance technician. The price and the service will both blow Best Buy out of the water.

  22. rpm773 says:

    The KOP Best Buy? Why, that’s the very one that had me swear off shopping at Best Buy after getting into it with one of their cashiers trying to push the “rewards” program on me and calling me “stupid” for not signing up. Imagine that, someone writing in here to complain about the service there.

  23. heismanpat says:

    I’m not going to defend Worst Purchase or blame the customer, but I think his ipod might be operating correctly. When you plug your ipod into a USB port, the ipod’s screen will say “Do Not Disconnect” and you won’t be able to play any songs. To get around this, you can do one of two things:

    1.) If you need to add some songs to your ipod via iTunes, do so and then disconnect the ipod. You can now safely remove it from your computer and you’re good to go.

    2.) If you just want to charge your ipod through USB, you can go into “My Computer”, right click on your ipod and select “eject”. This will unmount the ipod so iTunes won’t see it, but it will still charge the battery through the USB connection. As a result, you can play music on your ipod again.

    It’s sad that no one at Worst Purchase could explain this. It’s completely understandable why this would be confusing to a normal customer. I have a Computer Science degree and I had to look this up the first time it happened to me…

  24. wsycng says:

    “Now, I have always been a huge fan of Best Buy and have shopped there religiously for years.”

    Now, that statement itself clearly shows that the author is ASKING FOR IT.

    What’s wrong with shopping online?

  25. Xerloq says:

    Just go straight to the EECB. That’s how I got mine fixed. I’m surprised they actually replaced the hard drive – I was told they simply do “Rapid Exchanges” for the broken one. The trouble with the rapid exchanges is they’re sucky refurbs.

    Ultimately my EECB resulted in my getting a giftcard for the purchase price. I sent in my EECB as a success story to Consumersit, but it’s not been published.

    There are plenty of email addresses for Best Buy here and on Google.

  26. BillyDee_CT says:

    Ask the store manager to show you the technician’s Apple certification. Apple requires any technician servicing Apple products under warranty to be certified on a yearly basis. A non-certified technician working on your equipment can actually void Apple’s own warranty.

    I would bet Worst Buy’s Goon Squad probably hires wannabie technicians and not anybody who is knowledgeable. I work in the field of education and even I have to have Apple certification to perform in-house warranty repairs.

    Just another reason I won’t buy from Best Buy … cause they ain’t!

  27. Anonymous says:

    I used yo be a BB technician, and their policy was to call the customer when we had a unit that had no apparent issue. Also most Ipods were sent out to Apple for servicing. They are just giving you a BS story.

  28. bobert says:

    The part I liked was where the store said to call the 800 number, and the 800 number said to talk to the store.

    I had a similar situation with a pay-as-you-go cell phone recharge card I bought at Office Depot. We’d bought a similar one at another Office Depot, and when we tried to apply it to the phone, the automated system said that card had already been used. So I was forewarned.

    We went to Office Depot and bought a new card, got the activation slip from the cash register, and then stayed in the store and tried to apply the recharge to the phone. Same thing – “this card has already been used”. I immediately called the card issuer on another cell phone and was told, “You’ll have to sort it out with the store.” I asked them to hold a moment and asked to see an Office Depot manager. One came over and asked what the problem was. I explained about the card, and she said, “You’ll have to sort it out with the card issuer” and started to walk away.

    I then turned on the speakerphone on my cell phone, and said loudly enough that everyone in the store could hear, “You just sold me this card and it was already used. I have the card issuer on speakerphone right here. I expect you two to sort this out immediately.” And then I handed the manager the cell phone.

    You know what? It took them about twenty minutes, but they figured it out and got the phone recharged!

  29. jmndos says:

    Most of the Geek Squad employees are not trained to handle anything computerlike. There is only one A+ certified tech and the rest are his slaves. An A+ tech is only trained to work with, the run of the mill, standard i386 units.

    As a tech myself, the problem is 99.9% userend.

    Try it with the cable, different dock, and different mac.

    • suva says:

      @jmndos: As a former Geek Squad employee I will tell you this, A+ certified people are very overrated. The original Best Buy store I was at had three of the best computer repair techs you’ll probably ever meet. They got their A+ certs while working there (as well as I did), no big deal.

      We hired a couple different people that had A+ certs but no prior work experience other than “I built computers”, HORRIBLE. I could coach my g/f for a couple hours and she’d probably end up passing the A+ test, no joke either.

  30. suva says:

    At Best Buy, you have two avenues for iPod repair, actual repair at a Dallas based third party facility or a rapid exchange (refurbished). If you choose to do a rapid exchange, you get a refurbished within a week and your service plan still is covered under it. If you do the Dallas based repair, you AND best buy are at that repair centers mercy, period.

    Btw, Best Buy is not a fan if your product comes back no fault found because the store is then charge $35 for wasting the service centers time. And for the record, at no point did they tell you that you owe $35 because no fault was found, they simply ate the money.

  31. Jeff Martinez says:

    Try going to another Best Buy. Same type of thing happened to my with an Ipod at one store, took it to another store and they replaced it now questions asked. They did not even test it they told me to grab a new one and bring it to them for exchange.

  32. TrueBlue63 says:


    I just want to point out that by offering you a $100 voucher, they are basically saying that they will pay for what a 30 GB ipod is worth. Also, if the contract was for some amount less than 100, its basically a refund.

    but c’mon people, stop buying the crummy insurance, everyone together now, No thanks I’ll skip the service plan.

  33. Modred189 says:

    A: Go to a different store, Tony is a jack@$$.
    B: Bring your PC in and reproduce the issue there.

  34. Anonymous says:

    There is no need to bash the Geek Squad or the techs that work there. The amount ridiculous people and questions they deal with everyday must be overwhelming. While not every tech has the same experience or specialty they are still techs none the less. I am tired of people bashing and crying about there situations. If you are not savvy enough to fix something on your own then don’t complain to us! BE A MAN!

  35. kreatre2009 says:

    The lesson learned here is that you should NEVER trust the Geek Squad to troubleshoot an iPod. They’re idiots. Also, you should NEVER buy Best Buy’s extended service plan for an iPod or, any other Apple product. They simply send the items to Apple anyway. If you live near an Apple Store, go there. You’ll get someone who actually knows about how iPods work who isn’t just trying to find a way to sell you something else.

    • FDCPAGuy says:


      Thanks for the broad generalization of ‘they’re idiots’. The items BestBuy sends for service which are Apple products do not go to Apple for service as you claim. They go to a GeekSquad service center like Geeksquad City []

  36. PoopsieDoodle says:

    I had this happen to me. When Best Buy couldn’t replicate the problem, I took the iPod to an Apple Store in the same mall. Even without an Apple Care plan, the Apple Store was nice enough to run another (more involved) test, and they found a problem with the hard drive. The gave me a signed note on their letterhead describing the issue. Best Buy accepted this as proof and gave me a new iPod on the spot.

    (I think the iPod was still under manufacturer’s warranty at the time – I’m not sure if this would have worked with an older model.)

  37. PoopsieDoodle says:

    Of course this was also back when you could buy a “replacement” plan instead of just a “repair” plan (2006 maybe?), so things may have changed since then.

  38. trillium says:

    You have an Apple store up there in KoP. Take it there and if they can replicate it, have them document it and take the service req. back to Best Buy.

  39. res1i3js says:

    This issue is common and is caused by corrupt drivers. He needs to reinstall the OS on his computer that he’s trying to hook it up to or hook up the iPod to a different computer.

  40. ajlei says:

    What about just going to the Apple Store? Even if it’s out of warranty, it’s worth a shot. I bought an iPod used from a friend (back when they were on the 2nd gen) and ended up taking it in slightly out of warranty and they still hooked me up with a brand new one. Not saying this would work every time but while we all know Best Buy sucks at customer service, Apple is considerably better.

    Oh yeah, and needless to say, people shouldn’t be buying warranties from Best Buy.

  41. Boulderite says:

    I would try the Apple store too. They have excellent customer service and are much more willing to help.

  42. FDCPAGuy says:

    Few issues:
    1) He got the iPod back on 12/10/08 and sent it out again for service on 12/8/08. This is not possible.
    2) There is a character limit on problem descriptions and service center employees will not call customers. This is why it’s important to replicate the problem so the agent and the customer are on the same page and so the agents notes describe the problem so the service center can understand it. This is where the communication break down occurred.

    My suggestion; go to a different best buy store. It’s apparent that this location has a lax check in policy and doesn’t actually care that your iPod still has problems. An agent who cares about the customer will replicate the problem in store. Load some music on it and take it to a different store. They have USB charging cables and speakers. Just please be nice about it. Don’t immediately come off as agitated and take it out on the agent. These employees deal with upset people with broken electronics day in day out and a little niceness goes a long way.

    Unfortunately the attitude this store has about repair and check in issues is a top down learned behavior. It’s got to change from the top down for anything to stick and it sounds like the majority of these agents have been beat down to where they just don’t care anymore.

  43. ironchef says:

    you can get a signed estimate of repair from an Apple Genius. They don’t charge you to tell you it’s broke.

  44. intooooo says:

    Take it to an apple store genius bar, they’ll look at it and tell you if there is anything wrong with it. That should suffice for GeekSquad.

  45. Michael Kohne says:

    I was once told I was lying by a Geek Squad guy at the Montgomeryville Best Buy. I was in fact neither lying nor incorrect – I harassed them until they finally got a new PCMCIA card off the shelf (they apparently had no known-good cards to test with!) and verified that yes, my laptop was broken.

    That was after they forced me to do a reinstall of windows on the machine to prove it wasn’t drivers.

    Geek Squad really aren’t up to the challenges they face, and some of them react to being in over their heads by being complete jerks.

    If you are going to use Geek Squad for anything, be prepared to force pretty much any issue. Bring enough gear to prove your point to the buggers and don’t let up until they do the right thing.

    • endless says:


      trust me. geek squad people would love if all customers could come in with easily proven problems that aren’t user error.

      not people coming in and saying their laptops track pad doesnt work (when its a Compaq and it has an on/off switch for said trackpad) or a new ipod nano that skips when riding horses (the shake to shuffle is a feature!)

      though to me it sounds like this geek squad is probably closer to fore mentioned stories than actually being helpful….

  46. katras22 says:

    I had a problem similar to this with Best Buy. I bought the plan and could get absolutely no help and never did.

    Most recently, I’ve had trouble with Verizon which has drawn out. I got the same “the customer is wrong” mentality, even from the management.

    What ever happened to the customer’s always right?

    At this point in time, with stores losing business, you would think Customer Service would be a main focus…

  47. twophrasebark says:

    You can’t take any repair service seriously that won’t allow you to demonstrate that a product isn’t working.

  48. Christopher Reibold says:

    Always buy AppleCare, instead of the Equivalent BB warranty, and always go to Apple with Apple branded products. I’ve had similar experiences with products that were not apple branded that I bought thru them and the service was awful. I received the runaround like this guy. I will never buy a consumer or professional electronic thru them again.

  49. Anonymous says:

    Geek Squad is not an authorized Apple Care repair facility. Buy the Apple Care contract when you buy Apple products.

    Geek Squad does not do repairs, they up-sell you on additional services and then give you a run around.

  50. jlayman920 says:

    Rule #1 Never buy extended service plans.
    Rule #2 If you don’t follow rule #1, buy your service plan directly from Apple and not Best Buy.

    • chris_d says:

      Applecare is generally not worth the money on a Mac Pro, but on laptops I recommend it (and maybe on the iMac too, although I doubt I would ever buy one — I don’t like all-in-one desktops). Since everything is integrated onto the motherboard with a laptop, a video problem is going to require an entire motherboard replacement. And the CPU is soldered onto the motherboard so as to make the laptop thinner. So a replacement motherboard is going to be very expensive. In general, laptops have a higher failure rate due to the beating they take when moved around and the higher level of heat in the confined area.

  51. ionerox says:

    It was my understanding that with the Best Buy Product Service Plan, you could simply request replacement via their website. They send you a box, you send it back, they give you a Best Buy gift card for the amount of the original purchase. This is how it worked with my Nintendo DS Lite (and it only had a single dead pixel on the top screen).

  52. dvdchris says:

    I stopped at “memorized by the electronic goodness.”

  53. chip says:

    i wouldn’t dote on apple customer service. tonoght i was at apple again and was not for the first time at their “this is what we are going to do to you attitude.” i brought in a pair of busted headphones i bought three weeks ago. the remote on them wouldn’t work. first i was told i couldn’t return them without an appointment. then they graciously let me have a walk in appointment. it took 45 minutes to get an exchange on a defective product. in what world is that customer service. your talking about a 5 minute exchange.

  54. Wombatish says:

    Take it to Apple.

    I bought my original iPod at Best Buy several, several years ago (no color screen :P)…

    Apple has fixed it out of warranty, and even replaced it for me several times. Sometimes it took some waiting, but it usually wasn’t much of a hassle.

    I’ve heard of some issues with Apple, but I’ve only had good experiences, overall.

  55. Christopher Scott says:

    The reason you are only hearing sound out of one speaker, is because the pins inside the iPod’s data port are damaged. The iPod outputs each channel through separate pins, so the pins will be damaged for whichever side(left or right) is missing the sound.

    Your problems should be fixed by simply replacing the iPod’s data port with a new one, although that requires advanced soldering skills and possibly special equipment from Apple’s service centers. Any technician with common sense would be able to diagnose this problem; it is unfortunate that your claim was handled by complete fucking morons.

  56. Nathaniel Runge says:

    The unit may have been broken, the tech may have been an idiot and secretly Best Buy most likely conducts human sacrifice in their basement and harbors weapons of mass destruction. This I do not disagree with.

    That being said every end user thinks that they can diagnose their own problems. If you are not a professional technician and the person you are dealing with does not tell you how to do your job, don’t tell him how to do his. If you do not work as a tech as your normal 40 hour a week job I am sorry but you simply could not possess the skills to diagnose problems. No matter what your buddies at work or your neighbor tells you. Just because someone is more ignorant than you does not make you an expert.

    However if you are a technician and Best Buy is not doing their job, make sure that you tell them so. And try to make them cry.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      @Nathaniel Runge: I agree with this with every cell in my body.

      I will also add that every end user thinks that every problem can/should be explained to them in detail, even if they do not have the expertise to understand. And you don’t have the time to go through “A History of Computing and what hundreds of things can go wrong with any one part” with them.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Best Buy’s customer relations suck, so calling them will not help. They once shipped an item I paid for 1 day service, which came days later and refused to refund my shipping. Since then I do NOT buy anything from Best Buy. I once forgot my boycott of the store ad purchased some printer ink, but that’s because I was in a hurry. Best Buy sucks, hence they hire Geek Squad which possibly sucks like Best Buy’s customer service!

  58. Anonymous says:

    Best Buy’s customer relations suck, so calling them will not help. They once shipped an item I paid for 1 day service, which came days later and refused to refund my shipping. Since then I do NOT buy anything from Best Buy. I once forgot my boycott of the store ad purchased some printer ink, but that’s because I was in a hurry. Best Buy sucks, hence they hire Geek Squad which possibly sucks like Best Buy’s customer service!

  59. Morberis says:

    I can’t beleive no one has mentioned this, but THATS WORKING AS INTENDED.

    When docked with a PC via the dock or USB cord it will not play music, it says connected.

  60. Andrew Bedard says:

    “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.”

    I hate to be mean but the ipod has the same price everywhere (except Wal-Mart where it is a few cents cheaper). The only reason I could ever see buying it from Best Buy is that no Apple Store was around. My advice is to take it to the Genius Bar in your local Apple store and have the Genius there prove the Best Bey techs wrong. Won’t cost you anything.

  61. Gregory P Gorbos Jr says:

    There is no tech support in the world that is actually good. That is why I just learn how to do things myself and would never pay a dime for any service plan or warranty.

    I lost all respect for Apple’s “geniuses” when one of them told me that it was literally impossible to put Leopard on any hardware that wasn’t made by Apple….about that…

  62. FrankenPC says:

    Wow…I see a market for ACTUAL repair engineers. Start a business selecting the cream of the crop for technicians. Pay them triple and charge triple to the customer for the warranty.

    THEN everyone can stop bitching because they are getting what they paid for. Those cheap warranties people buy are just that: cheap guarantees that you will get decent service. You get what you pay for.

  63. Nick1693 says:

    @egoods: “The Genius Bar is home to our resident Geniuses. Trained at Apple headquarters, they have extensive knowledge of Apple products and can answer all your technical questions.

    That’s from Apple’s website ( [] )

  64. cyberscribe says:

    Geek Squad employees are idiots. A simple Google search for “Geek Squad” related articles and posts should make that instantly and abundantly clear.

    Few of them have any real technical skills at all — their job is simply to “up-sell” you a more expensive item, not fix the defective item that you already own.

    I would never trust Geek Squad to try to fix anything. It’s just a total waste of time. They can only make matters worse, not better.

    Your best bet is to truly “break” the device (easy enough to do without it being obvious that you did it) and then request a full refund or a replacement. That’s a MUCH faster solution than suffering the long, frustrating (and ultimately fruitless) route that you’ve had to endure with the Geek Squad morons.

    You also wasted your money by buying one of Best Buy’s “service plans”. The fine print that’s buried in them invariably makes them totally worthless. Better to just rely on the manufacturers warranty, and go directly to them with your problem.

  65. Anonymous says:

    Best Buy wins no awards here for service. I had a turntable that would not work. Turns out all it needed was a new rubber band to turn the thing. They had no idea what was wrong and suggested that I go to a local car dealership to ask about it. A turntable in a car? Not likely!!

  66. Anonymous says:

    We had a similar problem with Best Buy in Cleveland (Parma), Ohio with defective Sony Laptops. The service manager refused to take the laptop back within their 14 day return policy so I left the laptop with them and took a picture of this enraged manager attempting to throw the laptop and box at me. We finally followed Sheryl Harris’ advice (Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter): ‘Best Buy has some sort of agreement with the Ohio attorney general’s office, which sued it over customer service and other issues. You may want to file a complaint with the Ohio AG — — because usually when companies have these types of agreements they take care of things brought to their attention by the AG very quickly. It just may save you added hassle.’

  67. Anonymous says:

    Is it possible the author of this letter has out very important information? I am guessing 90% of the people who send these letters in leave out HUGE facts that may change the whole outlook on the situation. Anytime I read these anecdotal stories, I take it with a gain of salt because I know people are bending perception in their favor to make people feel sorry for them and to make people get angry at the company that they are dealing with. I would say that this person has left out probably 2 to 3 facts from the store that would probably make everyone on here say “Well that makes sense then.” Just because he didn’t get his way he has to make somebody else look bad. See it all the time.

  68. quadrant6 says:

    Is it just me, or does it seem like this entire story would not have been an issue (or would’ve been a lot less of one) if the Geek Squad ‘agent’ had properly logged what he had done to try to figure the issue out? Instead of “Could not duplicate the problem”, how about “Hard reset iPod, formatted/reinstalled iPod hard drive, tested with headphones, headphones sounded OK on both channels”.

    This is exactly why I as an IT Analyst log my tickets with detail, so instead of “Could not resolve issue” they get a list or general understanding of what I did, to help both the user and other analysts.

  69. Anonymous says:

    I used to work for Geek Squad’s outsourced mission control center in Canada. I was one of the only certified technicians in the center. I was under constantly being told not to help the customer so much and push selling them products and services. A large percentage of Geek Squad agents are not Comptia A+ certified. I would ask any agent to see their A+ wallet card before allowing them to lay one finger on a pc if I where a customer. Geek Squad and Best Buy care more about dollars then their customers from my 3 year experience with them. Their corporate management also totally sabotaged the Geek Squad Island Secondlife project by gross negligence to work with and listen to the project staff members of which I was one. In conclusion the best way to get a computer problem resolved is to either figure out yourself or take it to a technician who can prove their certification to do the job and not some silly badge.