Use The Internet To Subvert Bogus Best Buy Optimization Fees

Patrick discovered a clever way of avoiding Best Buy’s silly optimization fees as he shopped for a laptop: Shop online and opt for in-store pickup.

The revelation came after a runaround in which Patrick had to drive across town to pick up his laptop, then was charged two different optimization fees as he tried to buy the computer. He writes:

My dad wanted to buy my mom an early Christmas present, and a new laptop fit the bill. We went down to our local Best Buy and found a Toshiba model that we liked, but alas, they had none in stock. I asked if there were a nearby store that had one, and waited while the sales clerk called another store to verify that one was, in fact, in stock and would be waiting for us when we arrived.

We traipsed across town to the other store, and picked up the laptop without incident. When we got to the registers, however, a $39.99 charge was scanned from the box. “What is that?” I asked. “This laptop has been optimized by Geek Squad,” the cashier replied. I declined to pay the fee and went back to the computer department to pick up a pristine model. Alas, the one we were originally given was the only one in stock. I asked my dad if he wanted to swallow his pride and spring for the extra (wasted) $40 to have the laptop now, or wait until later. He decided it was worth the $40 to have it now. So we went back to the cashier, who scanned the box and up popped a $69.99 charge. “Wait a minute,” I objected, “it was $39.99 just 5 minutes ago.” She sheepishly replied that she had scanned the wrong code the first time, and that the new optimization price was correct. We declined the purchase immediately and walked out.

About 10 minutes later, shopping at a different retailer for other things, I decided to try something. I used my BlackBerry to call up bestbuy.com, and I purchased the laptop with an in-store pickup at the store where the optimized laptop was. Sure enough, within 20 minutes, I got an email saying that the laptop was waiting for me.

I picked up the laptop without incident, and it was the same one that they tried to charge me an extra $70 for. I checked the receipt to be absolutely positive, and I was not charged for the Geek Squad “service.”

If you find yourself in a similar situation and have 20 or so spare minutes, I highly recommend buying online to avoid the Geek Squad optimization fee.

Have you tried this technique before? Do you know of any other ways to get Best Buy to drop its ridiculous optimization fees?