An anonymous Best Buy customer told us in December that the Geek Squad refused to honor his extended warranty on his laptop because he had installed (horrors!) Linux.
Then last week the customer said Best Buy told him it wouldn’t replace the notebook, but it would service it.
Now Best Buy has finally come around and agreed to swap out the laptop. The victorious Linux-lover writes:
I want to extend my thanks to the Consumerist for their help in this matter, as well as all those who commented on the story and the friend who referred me to the Consumerist in the first place. A Best Buy PR representative has informed me that both the Geek Squad manager and store manager were mistaken:
“We looked at this situation in depth, and confirmed that this customer’s claim should have been covered under either the manufacturer’s warranty or the Geek Squad Black Tie Protection Plan. Both the manufacturer warranty and Geek Squad Black Tie Protection cover hardware issues regardless of operating system changes.”
So, in other words, the Geek Squad is within their rights to refuse to fix software problems due to Linux, but can’t leave someone with a broken power adapter or non-functional touchpad just because Linux was installed at some point.
As consolation, I received $300 (in the form of a Best Buy gift card) and was given an avenue to refund my protection plan should I wish to do so, as well as a promise that the store’s policy on Linux would be set straight. I believe Best Buy is due some major credit here: the corporate services representative I spoke to really tried to make things right in my personal case via the gift card, despite my insistence that setting this particular store’s crazy policy straight was enough.
Now that all’s said and done, the store’s policy will hopefully change, my netbook situation has been resolved, and I’m wiser with regard to service plans and warranties. Wins all around.
PS: I feel I should clarify my Jan 5th letter. Though Best Buy was indeed honoring the warranty by allowing me to return my computer for service, I was given the impression that I was specifically promised more (an exchange rather than service) during my phone call to customer service as compensation for my inconvenience. In retrospect, unlike the situation with the Geek Squad manager, I believe this matter was a genuine misunderstanding.
That’s a long way of saying “I whupped Geek Squad.”