Best Buy Sells You Backup Plan, Fails To Backup Your Data, Then Replaces Your Hard Drive

Best Buy charged Nicole $99 to backup her data but then replaced her hard drive without backing up a single byte. Nicole’s service contract clearly stated that Best Buy would perform the backup before any other service. Now Best Buy is claiming that her old hard drive is their property and that she has no right to the data that they failed to backup or restore.

Nicole writes:

I took my computer into Best buy on February 17 because it wasn’t recognizing the hard drive. I’m self-employed and that hard drive contained all the information for my business including the files for my website, my financial information, etc… as well as personal things such as thousands of pictures that I’ve taken and stored on the computer. My brother, who fixes, programs, and builds computers told me that if they have to replace the hard drive then to ask them for the old hard drive so he could try and get all my important data or send it off to someone who could get it.

Well, I spoke with the Geek Squad employee and explained to him how important all the information was on the hard drive and asked if I could get the old hard drive back if they needed to replace it. He said “no”, but convinced me that he would be able to back-up the hard drive for me before sending the computer off to get repaired. It would cost $99, of course. He went on to explain how fancy the data retrieval machine was (which is why it cost $99) and that it could get the information of my hard drive and not to worry. So, I took his word for it and gave them my computer to send off for repairs.

On February 27 I got a call from a woman who worked at Best Buy and she left a message saying that my computer was back from the Service Center and that they had to replace the hard drive. However, because the hard drive needed to be replaced, they needed me to bring in the reboot discs that came with the computer… We recently moved and half our stuff is in boxes so I have NO clue where the discs were(or if we even still have them) so I explained that to the woman and she said that without them they couldn’t do anything and that I’d have to buy new ones from HP, but they’d look around and see if they had any and would call me back.

A few days passed and I didn’t hear back so I called them up to see what was going on. She said they didn’t have the cds and so it was my responsibility to buy new ones. That, of course, got me angry because they ought to have that kind of stuff there. What’s the point of repairing a computer if you can’t get it back in working order?! The conversation led to me telling the woman that I just wanted to pick up my computer and then I asked her about the back-up discs as well…

This is when she told me that they had been unable to back-up my hard drive before sending it off for repairs and I completely flipped! I ended up hanging up and heading straight to Best Buy!

When my husband and I got to Best Buy we stood in line at Geek Squad for about 45 minutes and when it was my turn I ended up being with the same GS employee that I had originally given my computer to. I told the guy that I wanted my computer, the old hard drive and a refund for the $100 I paid to have my hard drive backed up! I pulled out the contract I’d signed and pointed out where the contract states, in CAPS, that the back-up was to be done PRIOR to any services being performed on the computer and that when I brought the computer in I made is VERY clear that I needed to the information on the computer and expressed that I’d like the old hardrive back if they had to replace it(to which he had told me “no” and assured me that he could back-up the info). I even said that, if they needed to, they could take back the NEW hardrive, if that’s what it meant to get back my old one.

I told him that since the contract states that the back-up is going to be done prior to the repair services, then when they were unable to back-up the data, then I should have been contacted BEFORE the computer was sent off. Especially since I had made a huge point of telling him how important the hard drive was to me.

I also pointed out in the contract where it states that I am to be contacted if the repairs go above the estimated cost(which was $0). The GS employee had told me that there was a chance that the hard drive would need to be replaced, but no one ever mentioned anything to me about needed to reboot discs. The reboot discs, of course, cost money. Sooo…I feel that I should have been told that ahead of time because that is part of the repair cost(a hard drive is useless if it doesn’t have the software on it).

He ended up having me speak to the manager on duty and after about 10 minutes of speaking with her she said that there was nothing she could do and she told the Geek Squad employee to simply call the Service Center and request my hard drive back. I was elated and relieved to hear her say that!

Well, as soon as she walked away the employee told me that he needed me to talk to the GS manager, but that he was on lunch break. So, my husband and I told him we’d come back in 30 minutes so we could talk to the GS Manager, Steve.

When we got back the GS manager was right there, but we had to wait in line and during that time he was off doing something else. 45 minutes later we got our turn in line only to be told to wait because the manager was busy with another customer. We had originally gotten at BB at 5pm and didn’t get to speak with the manager til after 8pm and didn’t leave til around 9pm!

Anyways, he finally came over and after talking with him for a while he said he’d contact the “Service Center” and ask them about the hard drive and that he’d let me know what they said and couldn’t make any guarantees to get back my hard drive back.

I asked him for the contact information for the Service Center and he said that there’s no “public contact #” for them. I asked if I could come back tomorrow when he calls them(to ensure that he really does call them and doesn’t just sweep everything under the rug because the GS employee told me it would take around 2 weeks to hear back…) and he said that they don’t have a contact #…(YEAH RIGHT!) I was told that the only way to contact them is via email and that information was private so he refused to give it to me.
Also, the entire time he was sitting back in a chair and give us a “better then thou” attitude, which just made me that much angrier!

Oh yeah, the manager said that the hard drive is their property, not mine. He told me that the contract from my warranty states that any hardware that is taken and replaced from my computer then becomes Best Buy property. However, when I asked him to show me that contract, he said that they no longer have it. I said that if I signed it then they HAVE to have a copy, but he said I didn’t actually sign it, but that it was in the pamphlet I got when I bought the warranty. Soooo….yeah….

Now, to today…

I got a call this morning and a Best Buy employee ended up leaving me a message on my phone letting me know that the Service Center contacted them back and they refuse to give me back my hard drive. However, they, of course, said that they’d be more then happy to try and retrieve the information from my hard drive for me (which would cost a VERY large sum of money!).

Sooo…according to the call I got today, that means that they DO have my hard drive and are holding it hostage, so to speak.

All in all, this could have been avoided if they’d just contacted me when the back-up was unable to be done. I find it odd that they’d rather keep my old hard drive and have to deal with me as an upset customer rather then accepting my offer and taking back their brand new, perfectly good hard drive and giving me back my old, broken one instead.”

To us, messing with someone’s data is on par with taking a kid hostage. You can try to get in touch with Best Buy’s executives, but executive email carpet bombs are designed to eviscerate incompetence. This isn’t an ordinary customer service failure. This is evil.

Update: Nicole writes in with good news:

I just got a call from Randy Ratcliff who said he is an ambassador for Best Buy and he said that he has my hard drive and that he will be getting my data for me(for free!)! He apologized for everything and said it might take a few weeks, but he WILL get the data, even if he has to send it off to a clean room!

Thank you all SOOO much! I’m positive that if it hadn’t been for you guys posting my story that I would have never gotten this response from Best Buy. You all are awesome for helping us “little people” get our voices heard!

(Photo: Sal Paradize)