Best Buy: 'Sorry, We Sold You A Laptop, Not An Operating System'

Sharon’s husband had Best Buy repair a laptop, and when he got it back the Windows 7 operating system was missing. They complained to Best Buy, which refused to reinstall the system, saying it had held up its end of the bargain because it had originally sold them a laptop, not Windows 7.

She writes:

My husband and I purchased a Toshiba laptop from Best Buy in August 2010. In early October, the laptop wouldn’t boot. My husband took it to the Best Buy we purchased it from. They said they would send it to Toshiba for warranty work. (Later in this story, that turns out to be important)

10 days go by. Best Buy calls and says the laptop is ready. They replaced the hard drive. Husband picks it up and brings it home to discover it wouldn’t boot because there was no OS installed.

Back we go to Best Buy, where we are told *we* need to install the OS. We said we wanted the device back to the way it was when we purchased it. No one knows for sure the new hard drive works until we have an OS. Thus the repair was not complete. We were told over and over that it was up to us to install the OS.

I called Best Buy Corporate and was told that indeed the repair was not complete until the computer booted. That we should order the restore discs (we couldn’t find them), Best Buy would reimburse is for this cost and then they would install the OS to complete the repair.

We call Toshiba to order the discs – who told us that if they had repaired the laptop, they would have returned it with an OS installed – and 5 days later, the restore discs arrive.

Sending the laptop to Toshiba was what Best Buy said they did. They sent it to an authorized Toshiba repair center, which I would assume is as good as sending it to Toshiba. But if they had sent it to Toshiba, there would be an OS installed.

I went to Best Buy with the restore discs and was told for $130, they would be happy to install the OS. That their repair obligation ended when they replaced the hard drive. If, after the OS was installed, the computer still didn?t work, I should bring it back for further work/repair.

From the parking lot, I called Corporate again. Consumer complaints took my cell phone number and called the store. He called me back and said this was all true and that if I wanted the OS installed, I had to pony up $130.

I’m completely capable of installing an OS but that’s not the point. The point is we took in a computer under warranty that wouldn’t boot and was returned a computer that wouldn’t boot. We don’t know the hard drive repair is complete until we have an OS and the laptop boots.

Best Buy didn’t sell us an OS, they say, they sold us a laptop. It was up to us to install the OS. Except the OS was installed on the laptop when we purchased it from them. Following this line of reasoning, they should return cell phones or game stations after repair without an OS. How does that make sense?

Warranty work should return the device to the condition it was when it was purchased. In this case, we purchased a computer that booted into Windows 7. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the warranty repair to return it to booting into Windows 7.

If you’ve ever had a repaired computer come back with missing programs, let us know how you approached the problem.