Best Buy Repairs Laptop With Fried Motherboard By Replacing Hard Drive, Removing Operating System

The Geek Squad service timeline for Stephen’s $1300 Asus laptop went something like this: ship it off for repairs, get it back in an even more broken state and missing all data, be forced to buy a $35 disk from Asus to prove to Best Buy that the problem is their responsibility, then finally find that something went missing during the first repair. Stephen eventually just asked for his money back on his ruined laptop, but the best he could get was store credit.

I bought an ASUS G73JH high end gaming notebook from Best Buy because at the time it was literally the “best buy” for $1,200 (about $1,300 with tax) whereas unmodified versions of the notebook sold online start at $1,550. For a month, I was pleased as punch because this product is of the highest quality that ASUS is known for. However, after about a month the thing just would not even boot up to BIOS (basically, the lights would go on but the computer itself would not start).

I knew the motherboard had simply fried itself due to defect, and considering I had treated this object like it was made of glass with diamond studs, it certainly was not due to any action of mine. The item was just plain defective. I brought it in to be serviced by the Geek Squad and they confirmed it was broken. When I received it back from the service center, I was surprised to discover that they had unnecessarily replaced my hard drive (data storage component) in addition to the broken motherboard, leaving me with a notebook that had no operating system. In other words, Geek Squad returned to me an expensive paperweight, unless I had a recovery disc to reinstall an operating system.

Geek Squad’s disclaimer for replacing (aka stealing) a functioning hard drive with a months worth of my data on it:

* They had offered to make a recovery disc for me if I paid $100 at purchase. A service that is bordering worthless.

* They had offered to transfer my data to the new hard drive for $100. Effectively a ransom on my data.

* I had not made a recovery disc myself within the month of ownership. Irrelevant, if the product had not been defective and they had not replaced the hard drive.

* I can buy a recovery disc online from the manufacturer, ASUS, so that I can have the laptop functioning like it originally had. Paying for the software I already bought, essentially.

Luckily, I have a few standard Windows install discs at home because my family has an extensive history of computer use. The operating system installs fine, but after doing so I discover that the keyboards back light does not function, and (much more critically) not all of the RAM is being recognized. Also, the hard drive is of a different brand and/or lesser quality than the one that it was stocked with. After contacting ASUS technical support, I troubleshoot the problem by reinstalling different versions of Windows, installing and reinstalling device drivers, but nothing works.

At this point, I want a full refund in cash, and to wash my hands of this situation and Best Buy. I don’t want an exchange, nor another series of weeks waiting for them to give me back a laptop that is broken in different ways; not even store credit would make me happy now. I want my money back because I know exactly where this is going: more runarounds.

So I bring it in again and they run diagnostics on it overnight to find that their software can’t detect any hardware errors. However, diagnostic programs are hardly perfect and the hardware might be defective and they just can’t detect it. They tell me that they won’t do anything further for me until I buy a recovery disc and prove that it’s not an operating system or software problem. $35 and another couple weeks later, I get my recovery disc and find that the computer is unable to recover from it due to an error. I bring it in for round 3, they try it again, and then again with a different disc to get the same results.

The Geek Squad agent, as part of his procedure, opens up the laptop to see if the RAM is part of the problem. As it turns out, one stick of RAM is missing. Someone at the Service Center was either incompetent and didn’t remember to put it back when when replacing the motherboard, or they stole it. Of course, for all they know I could have stolen it because a security sticker that they’re supposed to put in there to see if it had been tampered with, was not even placed.

There is now more evidence that the Geek Squad Service Center is incompetent. First: they had replaced my hard drive for no reason, second: they didn’t reinstall an operating system, third: they probably didn’t even plug the keyboard backlight back in or did so improperly, fourth: this new motherboard was probably damaged or defective, and now we know that they have effectively stolen about $40 worth of RAM from me.

Behind closed doors, the Geek Squad agent explained to the General Manager just how seriously messed up this thing was. I’m guessing, so as to not have to confront me again, she authorized a refund for store credit. This might be considered nice since their return policy only covers things like notebooks for all of two weeks after purchase for refund. But that is a very crappy warranty to begin with, and even the Geek Squad service plans don’t offer refunds, only exchanges, repairs, and worthless services that I can do myself are offered.

So here I am, with $1,300 worth of Store Credit for a store I don’t ever want to patronize again. I am still pursuing other means of getting my cash back either by selling the gift card to Plastic Jungle, or maybe a friend that buys thousands of dollars worth of junk from Best Buy.