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.


Edit Your Comment

  1. danmac says:

    This just sounds like a shady upsell technique on Best Buy’s part. Imagine how many people don’t feel comfortable installing an OS onto their computers. Best Buy has them by the short and curlies. Also, this is why I purchase Dells…they come with OS discs included, which is really nice if you have to format your computer or replace the hard drive.

    • Kitamura says:

      I’m interested in knowing how Best Buy managed to note the repair was complete if the problem it was sent in for was that it wouldn’t boot into the operating system. Pretty hard to test if that issue was fixed if there’s no operating system installed at all.

      Frankly I’d guess they just got the geek squad to format the hard drive and claimed to have sent it in to Toshiba. I’d demand the paper trail since if it really went in to Toshiba’s authorized repair center, they’d have returned the device with paperwork detailing exactly what they did to it, what faults they found, and if they returned it in full working order.

      • BannedInBrittan says:

        Actually it’s quite easy. You verify that the hardware is functioning properly post HDD replacement.

        • Kitamura says:

          Ok, but supposing Toshiba is correct that they send back laptops with working operating systems, as a consumer I’d like to see the statement of work Toshiba’s authorized service center sent back. I’m wondering if BB would be able to provide it if they were forced to.

          Where I used to work (not BB), the customer got a copy of the store’s repair sheet as well as a copy of the statement of work provided by the service provider the repair was sent out to.

    • longdvsn says:

      very shady indeed. When the computer was purchased, the specs probably specifically stated “Windows 7 [some version]” as being installed. Now, it’s not installed. Best Buy clearly didn’t fulfill it’s end of the repair.

      Best Buy is really trying to scam the OP here (and probably succeeding with those that aren’t as tech-savvy). Sadly, it’s mostly the tech-impaired that shop at Best Buy to begin with and get caught in these upsell traps unknowingly.

    • Dover says:

      The Dell I purchased recently did not come with any discs. Which reminds me, I really need to get around to creating them.

      • danmac says:

        Interesting…I purchased a laptop for my wife about 2 months ago and it came with discs. Likewise, I purchased a netbook from them a year ago and it came with discs as well.

        • davidsco says:

          Dell now, again, doesn’t include recovery disks with certain models. The idiots think they’re saving $2 a system by doing this. They did this for about a year several years ago, and it cost them. Amazing how short-sighted and stupid corporations can be

          • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

            Not to defend Dell on this (or any other laptop maker for that matter), the reason why most laptops don’t come with install/recovery discs is because Microsoft doesn’t want them to include them. Microsoft thinks you’re going to take those disks and install Windows 7 on every other laptop/desktop/netbook you happen to own. Nevermind the fact Windows 7 is supremely locked down in terms of doing so, especially with the OEM version that would have been preinstalled in said laptop. Meaning: hope you made those recovery disks, or made yourself a Linux live CD that could boot that recovery partition should Windows decide to take a crap on you.

            • davidsco says:

              Faflunkie, that is ridiculous. Where’s the proof of that? What do you just make stuff up and post it???

            • AustinTXProgrammer says:

              If you custom build your order on the Dell website the recovery disks are available for $5. And the OS will install on every Dell that has been available with Windows 7 no activation required. You could order 50 computers with home basic and 1 with Ultimate and media. That media WILL install on all 50 with Ultimate and never so much as ask for a product key.

              Read on on SLIC 2.1 if you don’t believe me (or SLIC 2.0 for Vista, SLIC for XP).

            • OutPastPluto says:

              > Microsoft thinks you’re going to take those disks and install
              > Windows 7 on every other laptop/desktop/netbook you
              > happen to own.

              This is stupid. Brand name laptops haven’t come with real OS install disks for a very long time. What they do come with are “recovery” disks. These simply aren’t usable on a random machine. There is no reason for anyone to be concerned about piracy over such disks.

              “Recovery disks” are all that most people would be comfortable dealing with.

        • Griking says:

          The CDs included with most Dells are generally driver CDs but OS CDs aren’t included. There is however a utility built in to the PC that will allow you to make your own full restore CDs.

          • danmac says:

            I guess I’ve been extremely lucky; every Dell I’ve purchased comes with an OS CD/DVD, including the $391 14″ i3 laptop I purchased a month ago from Dell Outlet.

    • vastrightwing says:

      1) Open new box to make sure what you think you purchased is in box.
      2) Check receipts to make sure you’re not agreeing to give your account information to a third party.
      3) Test “repaired” device in store before you sign off on the repair. Make sure the device works and make sure the device has the same CPU, RAM, OS and hard drive specs as the device you dropped off.
      4) Compare your serial number with the device you’re accepting back. If the serial numbers don’t match, make sure the replacement you’re accepting is being transfered to the warranty and that it is acceptable to you.

    • Griking says:

      Actually this sounds like a case of where the Best Buy store probably didn’t have the restore CDs for this model and must have had a problem ordering them themselves.

    • JollyJumjuck says:

      This sounds a lot like the shady mechanic who repairs what is wrong with your car, but then “accidentally” breaks something else so you have to come back for more repairs in a month’s time.

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Her line of reasoning ends when she says “My husband and I purchased a Toshiba laptop from Best Buy.”

    • longdvsn says:

      not always true…sometimes good deals can be had at big box stores, including Best Buy. Example: I may buy a computer at Staples soon because I can get $50 to $100 off (in addition to any sale/rebate) when I turn in my old desktop (with current market value around $5).

      The OP’s sense of reason failed when they tried to get it fixed at Best Buy with their entirely incompetent workers. Instead, they should have contacted the manufacturer directly for any repair/warranty work.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        But repair was contingent upon being done at Best Buy because they purchased it from Best Buy.

        And that’s why buying from Best Buy is illogical.

        So you fail the logic test. A good deal at Best Buy isn’t worth it.

        • longdvsn says:

          Are you sure? If it’s under the manufacturer’s warranty, they should have been able to send it directly to the manufacturer for repair. After all, many stores that sell computers don’t have a repair center at all.

          If they bought an extended warranty from Best Buy for repairs…well, that would also have been a major fail on the OP’s part.

    • areaman says:

      But some people like to battle it out with the likes of Best Buy.

      I remember a coworker who claimed a ‘win’ because a car she purchased had to be purchased with an extended warranty. The win part was that she got the warranty at a “discount”.

    • roguemarvel says:

      I’m sorry but I purchased a Toshiba at best buy with warranty and have been very happy with that decision. It works great and every time I’ve ever had a problem best buy has always been pretty good about getting it fixed in a timely matter. Plus if you get a lemon and you have enough valid repairs they will replace it for free (this happened to me with my first laptop, it was pretty awesome).

      Sometimes you just get a bad store and bad luck.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        No business stays in business when a significant majority of their products fail or the majority of people experience bad customer service, all of course in relation to their prices compared to competitors. Best Buy is in business because the majority of the time, stuff works.

        But what makes a company a bad one is based on exactly how bad it gets when things go bad. Companies with high customer service marks are the ones that deal with their mistakes promptly, don’t give the customer a lot of grief, and/or go above and beyond general expectations.

        Bad companies are the ones that, should you be the one to get the lemon product, how terribly are you treated? Best Buy is one of the companies that those who do have a bad experience happen to have monumentally terrible experiences worthy of Consumerist articles.

    • MeowMaximus says:

      I agree. This is ENTIRELY the OP’s fault for doing business with Worst Buy. You had problems with Worst Buy’s customer service? Too damn bad – you get no sympathy from me.

    • dg says:

      I agree – to avoid such problems, don’t patronize WorstBuy. No matter what you think is right and fair, they will turn your beliefs around 180 degrees and surprise you. Since staying away from that festering pool of scum and villainy, I have been much happier with my technological needs…

  3. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Reason #1254867342095 why not to ever buy a computer from a major retailer. They don’t give a rat’s ass about you.

    Always buy your computers from an independent store, whether online or local.

    • Brie says:

      Would that local business were always the greatness we want them to be.

      My low-tech relatives bought a desktop system from a guy who really sold them on how Microsoft sucks and Windows sucks and Corporate America sucks and so on. He built them a system and when they killed it a year later partially due to their own bad computing hygiene, they called him and *poof!* he was gone. In the wind.

      That – seriously – is why they now shop at Best Buy.

    • OmniZero says:

      Or you could build your own…or have someone you know do it and pay them. I can build a computer from the parts and get it going. Been doing it since high school.

      I know not everyone is as tech savvy as that, and not everyone KNOWS someone who is that tech savvy. The point is finding ANYONE to build it from the parts gives you the warranty directly from the maker of the parts, and also gives you the flexibility of going to ANY computer place and saying “Here’s the computer, here are the install discs, please get it started again.” Using general parts that work with general computer knowledge is better than depending on brand names and big-box stores.

      • Ouze says:

        Really? How many laptops have you cobbled up from parts, and how much money have you saved doing so?

        • OmniZero says:

          Laptops are a different story. They’re harder but doable. I haven’t done it myself, for the record.

          Laptops shouldn’t be bought from a big box store anyway, because of things like this. Buy it from the manufacturer directly or through a website that cares. Newegg cares, I know that. Never had an issue with them ever!

        • sonneillon says:

          I did one. It was rough. So many screws. but in the end I got a laptop for 230 dollars.

    • vastrightwing says:

      I just bought a PC from MicroCenter. Great prices, Good service. I bought their PowerSpec line. It’s built with “normal” off the shelf components (like you would use). The price is much better than any name brand out there. If you don’t live near a MicroCenter, they will ship it to you.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        As a bonus, Micro Center will repair or replace pretty much anything you ever bring in, regardless of where you purchased it or the current warranty status, for free.

        All you have to do is complain loudly, threaten to call HQ, and give the store a terrible survey score.

    • Griking says:

      I can’t help but feel that all the people that claim this are people who run their own shops. When you buy from an independent store you’ll not only likely pay more (they can’t buy in bulk as large chains can) but you’ll also have a “Bob” warranty. Now, no offense to Bobs out there but I’d feel a whole lot more comfortable with a HP or Dell warranty.

      • incident_man says:

        An HP or DHell warranty doesn’t mean jack when you call into their tech support centers and they refuse to fix it because they don’t want to and there’s no storefront retailer/service shop that can do warranty repairs.

        • Griking says:

          I think that there’s a lot less of a chance of HP outright refusing a warranty claim within the first year than Bob refusing to repair something under warranty. A manufacturer warranty is spelled out pretty clearly and there’s usually a whole lot of authorized service centers that you can go to for help. A “Bob” warranty is usually a lot more vague and Bob is the only one that will perform the service.

      • Bkhuna says:

        Hello, my name is Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, but you can call me Maxwell.

        THIS is why a warranty with HP, Dell, etc. isn’t worth it. When I have a problem with a Microsoft product for example, I want to speak to someone in Redmon, not Rampur Karkhana.

  4. Eat The Rich -They are fat and succulent says:

    Best Buy. You Lose.

  5. cybercjh says:

    “I’m completely capable of installing an OS but that’s not the point.”

    You’re right – it’s not the point. But, if this were me, at this point, I’d give up. I’d reinstall the OS and if everything worked, that would be the end of my relationship with Best Buy.

    I think you’re totally in the right, but in this modern world of ours, that doesn’t mean anything anymore.

    Vote with your wallet.

    • opticnrv says:

      My tendency would also be to install the OS myself and be done with it.
      But here’s a thought:
      Any little problem or non-standard procedure the customer may encounter while installing the OS is fair game for Best Buy to use as an excuse and then claim it was the cause of any possible immediate problems with the laptop. In other words, if the customer installed the OS themselves, and were still experiencing the same problem, or even experiencing a different one, there is no way to prove whether the problem was there either before or after the OS was installed, and Best Buy, being Best Buy, would definitely choose to blame the customer’s install efforts rather than their own work. It’s a risk I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking.

  6. danmac says:

    One more thing…charging $130 to install an OS is a joke…sure, it takes a while for the installation process to finish, but the actual human work involved is minimal.

    Finally, I wonder if the Best Buy employee performing the installation also goes to the manufacturer’s website and gets current drivers for the computer. Without correct drivers, some computers barely function.

    • obits3 says:

      The good news is that they got the restore disks. Those should have the correct drivers as opposed to a general Windows install.

    • katstermonster says:

      Actually, Windows 7 has a REALLY good set of built-in drivers. I’ve never had to manually find and install more than about 2-3 drivers, and I’ve done probably 40 Windows 7 installs in my life. I only had to find an ethernet or wireless driver once in order to install other drivers, and that was my 5-year-old eMachine that barely runs 7, so I was sorta asking for it…heh.

      • danmac says:

        Yeah…it’s the wireless drivers I was thinking of…those can be a huge pain to find if you don’t know what you’re look for (for example, one of my older computers requires an nvidia controller driver to find its network card, even though the network card isn’t manufactured by nvidia).

    • AngryK9 says:

      With a multicast setup using something like Ghost, it might take 5 minutes to install an OS. $130 is simply ridiculous.

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        That wouldn’t work for the small in store shop because of the license. They will only install from the customer provided original install media… Or they will sell you a retail copy.

  7. apb says:

    I have several issues with this. The first is her argument “No one knows the hard drive works until an OS is installed” actually they do, it’s what diagnostics are for. Any quick drive fitness or drive stress test would confirm it functions. The next is that while she purchased the laptop from Best Buy they didn’t make it. Why didn’t she just call Toshiba? They would’ve done all the work and reimaged the drive for her. I’m getting annoyed with these BBY didn’t do this or didn’t do that stories. They’re a retailer, geez.

    • Jasen says:

      it’s what diagnostics are for. Any quick drive fitness or drive stress test would confirm it functions.

      What, and you actually think Best Buy did this?
      Or that the minimum wage high school dropout they call a “tech” would even know how?

      • Griking says:

        No they probably didn’t. Then again there’s usually no reason to run a diagnostic on a new warranty replacement drive.

      • MyTQuinn says:

        At this point it doesn’t matter if they did or did not perform any diagnostics on the replacement drive. The fact is that installation of an OS is not necessary to verify proper operation of a drive. In fact, such installation would only verify basic functionality and would be unlikely to reveal defective media – something proper diagnostics would easily do.

    • MyTQuinn says:

      I’m with you 100% here. It is absolutely possible to verify the proper operation of a drive without installing an OS. Granted, the typical consumer that would bring anything to Best Buy for repair is unlikely to know this, much less grasp the concept when told, but that’s not Best Buy’s problem or fault.

      Outside of a reasonable infant mortality period, who returns defective products to a retailer for warranty repair?

    • Bladerunner says:

      That’s not true. A diagnostic would tell you it SHOULD work. You can’t verify that it actually WILL work until it works. A diagnostic scan can be faulty, or some weird problem could come up. Stuff happens.

    • cheviot says:

      As a technician I must respectfully disagree. Diagnostics are great at proving something has failed, but they’re horrible at proving it’s good.

      The last and best test that the hard drive replacement fixed the laptop is to install the OS and make sure the computer boots and runs normally.

  8. apple420 says:

    It would be nice if Best Buy had completed the repair process. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be too difficult for them to put the restore DVD in and press install. The process should be relatively quick. If they still have problems then they can contact Best Buy. This story isn’t the worst I’ve heard about Best Buy.

    • Griking says:

      The customer didn’t get the restore CDs from Toshiba until after Best Buy returned the laptop to her/him. What was Best Buy supposed to have restored the hard drive with?

    • backinpgh says:

      But then if there IS a problem, they’ll say “Oh well since you installed the OS yourself, you can’t prove that we are responsible for X problem that you have now.”

  9. blinky says:

    Why would anybody who reads consumerist go to bestbuy for repairs?

    • IThinkThereforeIAm says:

      +1 (+1 +1…)

    • areaman says:

      + 1

      Going to Best Buy for computer repairs is like going to the mechanic for a root canal.

    • zifnab0 says:

      I went to Best Buy to repair my laptop when the screen blanked out a few months ago. We bought it there (good price), and had a manufacturer’s warranty that was still good.

      Fortunately, they sent it to the manufacturer, and didn’t try to do it themselves.

      Had a good chuckle when the customer service ‘tech’ tried to explain what a wire harness is. Hint: it doesn’t hold the wires.

  10. c!tizen says:

    Best Buy sucks, always has, always will. They DO NOT have computer techs working there, they have sales associates in a shirt that says Geek Squad. Install the OS yourself, then take the $130 you saved and invest it in a long stick, a poster board, and a sharpie; then peacefully protest in front of the store. Otherwise just take it as a lesson learned and never return to Best Buy, eventually they’ll end up like Circuit City.

  11. MB17 says:

    I know out of principle, Best Buy should install your OS as part of the repair.

    Then again, we are talking Best Buy here. If they haven’t repaired it by now, they probably never will. In the amount of time you’ve spent haggling with them, you could have installed the OS and been up and running by now.

    Cut your losses and do it yourself. Installing an OS isn’t that difficult. Besides, Best Buy would have screwed up the install anyway.

    Sorry. Sometimes you just can’t win.

  12. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Wait a second.

    If it’s still under warranty, just bring it in again, stating that the laptop won’t boot.

    Their solution will be to install an OS.

    Try a different BBY.

    • cheviot says:

      Sorry, won’t work. Software issues aren’t covered under manufacturer warranty.

      However, as this should have been done as part of the hard drive replacement (and is covered under warranty in that circumstance) they should take it right back to that store and demand it be fixed.

  13. JGB says:

    Since they gave you the OS disks, I would quit while I was ahead. Reinstalling the OS and restoring your data is less annoying than fighting this battle.

    Incidentally, this sort of thing is an excellent argument for disk imaging as a backup method. Last time my laptop drive went bad, I replaced it, restored the image I take weekly, and was back up and running in less than an hour.

  14. mypcrepairguy says:

    Not that I am agreeing with BestBuy in this scenario but…there is some information missing from the story. Mainly was the backup and OS install service declined by the user? Also several years ago OEM’s stopped including installation media in with their laptops, as a result the onus is on the user to make a system back-up prior to heavy usage of the laptop. In-fact this is one of the very first pop-up screens with Win 7 or Vista upon startup of the unit.

    Anyways as a hardware repair tech, if the repair was for a faulty HDD and this was replaced and due diligence was performed by testing the installed repair then the repair stops there. There is additional work involved with data migration, OS re-installation that warranty services do not cover. This information should have been communicated to the user prior to the warranty service being performed. At that point it is up to the user to proceed with the repair (hdd replacement sans ANY data transfer or OS install…) and accept non warranty work performed on the unit.

  15. RogerX says:

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

    … I used the restore disks and followed the embarassingly simple restore procedure, and an hour later, everything was factory new.

  16. mszabo says:

    While it sucks for the OP, isn’t the real problem with Toshiba? My take on this is the “authorized Toshiba repair center” screwed up. It sounds like the item was being serviced under Toshiba’s warranty NOT BestBuy’s. So it would really be upto Toshiba to make things right, the Bestbuy employees weren’t being paid for the job and probably wouldn’t want to touch anything for fear of screwing up and incurring some liability.

    Best Buy’s real douchebag move in this case was probably selling a warranty that runs concurrently with Toshiba’s which probably has a big exclusion that doesn’t cover anything covered by the Manufacturers warranty.

    • dgm says:

      Or, Best Buy actually didn’t send the laptop to Toshiba at all, and just swapped in a new HD in-house. It wouldn’t be the first time Best Buy lied about what they had done.

    • zack says:

      I can tell you exactly what happened here, as I was a “geek” for a couple years.

      They sent it to Geek Squad City. Which is a ‘authorized Toshiba repair center.’ They replaced the HD, never booted it, and return it to the store.

      The whole process is annoyingly difficult because Geek Squad and Best Buy don’t have a legal right (Copyright issues, DMCA issues, etc) of holding on to the restore images.. They have no legal way to install that OS with out your discs.

      Eitherway, I -know- first hand, that they -can- waive the $130 fee. It’s labor. Especially if you provided the discs.

  17. idunnolol says:

    If they didn’t have a copy of the recovery disks they have no legal way of reinstalling the os. Toshiba would but corporate policy dictates that they are not allowed to keep copies of any manufacturers recovery disks on hand.

    • Griking says:

      This is actual fact.

      Funny how there haven’t been any responses yet, only to the posts with speculation.

      But that’s right, it’s fun to blame Best Buy for everything. The customer clearly holds no responsibility for making their restore CDs before the hard drive failed.

  18. Straspey says:

    I bought my new desktop right off the shelf at my local Sam’s Club.

    It came with a 90-day store return policy and a 1-year warranty from HP.

    I also purchased a 2-year extended warranty from Sam’s for thirty bucks which begins after the HP warranty expires.

    There’s a small computer repair shop in my neighborhood with guys who are real pros at fixing PC’s and have saved my ass when my old clunker crashed a couple of times. I pay them to fix my PC (or laptop) and they guarantee their work for sixty days – which means if the same problem occurs, they will fix it for free, no questions asked.

    What I really don’t understand is why would anybody bring their computer back to their retailer for repairs ? It just doesn’t make any sense. I wouldn’t trust Sam’s Club to repair my PC…

    • Hoss says:

      But you just said you bot a warranty from Sam’s. This is confusing

      • DancesWithBadgers says:

        2 + 2 = 5.

        • Straspey says:

          Confusing yes – sorry…

          The extended warranty from Sam’s is more like “purchase protection” than a repair plan.

          Sam’s does such a huge volume of business that if my PC completely craps out 18 months from now, and I bring it back to Sam’s, it will be more cost effective for them to give me a new PC at the price I originally paid, or credit toward the purchase of a more-expensive model.

          There comes a point where replacement overshadows repair. But in any case, I *still* would not expect Sam’s to “repair” my computer – for the same reason I would not expect them to sew on a button which may have fallen off a garment I bought there.

          However – you were right, it did sound like 2 + 2 = 5.

          Sorry for the confusion.

  19. El_Fez says:

    You know, actually if I could get a couple bucks off a new computer that didnt have The New Windows (and all that extra bundled crap) on it, I’d take it! I always wind up dumping that pre-loaded crap and doing a fresh windows install anyway.

  20. SNForrester says:

    This is why I will never buy another computer from Best Buy.

  21. ihatephonecompanies says:

    These things all come with OS installed anyway. It’s part of the package and you pay for it so it should be repaired along with the hardware.

    OP should totally sue and not settle out of court.

    • Billy says:

      Not settle out of court? So, if Best Buy gave the OP everything she asked for and more, she shouldn’t take it? She should rather risk a loss in court?

      For what?

    • hansolo247 says:


      They repaired the part that was broken.

      Could best buy have installed the OS? Sure, but there’s no way to recover the 30 minutes it takes.

      The OP also failed to make the install discs, as the manual and the welcome screen on the laptop clearly instructed them to do so. Sure, it’s cheap of Toshiba not to do it, but that’s par for the course from big box system builders.

  22. Blueskylaw says:

    “That we should order the restore discs, Best Buy would reimburse us for this cost”

    Umm, no. It is Best Buys responsibility to fix the computer, not for the customer to go wasting more of their money and time only to (hopefully) be reimbursed later.

    • fantomesq says:

      Actually its the customer’s responsibility to provide the restore disks, fail to do so and you get a computer repaired but not restored. Best Buy should have restored the system once the restore disks were available though.

  23. mjd377 says:

    Wow, this exact same thing happened with me, except it was Asus, not Toshiba. I had made restore discs after my initial purchase, and knew that I had them, but was still shocked when Best Buy told me that the computer would be coming back to me without an OS. I said the same thing to them – shouldn’t I get the computer back in the same condition as when I purchased it? I didn’t call Asus to verify (since I knew I had the backup), but did go the rounds with Best Buy on this policy. Unfortunately I also lost – they quoted me the same $130 to reinstall the OS. I was pretty disgusted, but I guess it’s nice to see that they are consistent…

    They also told me that if it breaks again, my initial purchase date still stands. So it broke after seven months, and if it breaks again after five months, the manufacturer’s warranty will no longer be in place and I will be SOL. Hopefully it will last longer this time, but I am also done with Best Buy for my future purchases.

    • topgun says:

      However keep in mind that you have a warrant from the HD manufacturer that is probably good for several years. Most are good about replacing them with a serial number and a receipt dated for the new install.

  24. pirate_panda says:

    In 2004 I brought in my computer into Best Buy because the 60 GB hard drive was throwing up SMART warnings. They took it for two weeks and replaced it with a hard drive that was 33% smaller and no OS. I told them in no uncertain terms that they were going to put a hard drive that was the same size or larger and had Windows on there, as I bought it, It took two more weeks, but they did finally did it, and all under warranty.

    I am still incredulous that they thought they could away with it. Did they think I wouldn’t notice the smaller size? Or the lack of OS upon booting, when the BIOS complained about no boot sector?

  25. YOXIM says:

    This is weird…I had a hard drive problem with my MacBook (the file system got corrupted), and I took it into BB to get it fixed. I didn’t give them the CDs that came with my computer because they had Tiger on them and I was running Snow Leopard. They actually offered to install whatever oS I’m using free of charge if I bring them the disks. I said “no thanks” because I didn’t feel like going back home for the discs, but yeah, the service I received was top notch. The geeks were very courteous and friendly. It’s too bad that my experience counts as the exception, not the rule these days…

  26. coldcalm says:

    I just posted my almost identical story like this over a month ago.

    We really gotta read Consumerist first, buy later (and NOT from Best Buy).

    As an update to my situation: I will be using the Store Credit received to get an upgraded version of the laptop from Best Buy for Business which will include the full manufacturer warranty, untouched components, and the “free” gaming backpack+mouse that all other retailers have stocked with these laptops. All for a cheaper price than the other online retailers offer as well.

    Don’t shop Best Buy. But Best Buy for Business might not be so bad. Just act like you own a business.

  27. Suburban Idiot says:

    Best Buy probably shouldn’t have replaced the hard drive at all.They sold the customer a laptop, not the things that come with a laptop like operating systems and hard drives.

    • iamlost26 says:

      Agreed. In fact, what is a laptop? I think Best Buy just sold you the piece of plastic that surrounds all the components inside. As long as that’s working fine, you shouldn’t get any repair under warranty.

  28. DOUGGSX says:

    “Best Buy didn’t sell us an OS, they say, they sold us a laptop”

    That’s false. They sold you a laptop with an OS. There is a Windows registration sticker under the laptop no? I’m sure Toshiba/Bestbuy had to pay for the windows license, and that was included in the price you bought it for. They didn’t just sell you the hardware.

    If i was in your position at this point, I would just install the OS myself and try to do a charge back (I hope you paid with your CC) of $130 for incomplete work.

    • dg says:

      I agree – I’d charge back the fee for the original repair. They didn’t complete the repair, “not satisfied”, “service not provided that was contracted for” – whatever you have to call it – charge it back. They do the work they get paid, if not, then no $$$

  29. Brett.Haddock says:

    As a former BBY/GS Employee, this exact scenario was fairly common. The computer’s which had the Service Plan got the restore treatment, while the ones without were left untouched. Toshiba’s policy may be to restore the system, but BBY sends out manufacturer repairs to third party authorized companies. They do as little work as possible, and send the unit back. If the agent put “bad hard drive” into the notes for the repair, the service center would replace the hard drive and send it back, un-restored.

    With manufacturer repairs, it’s better to go direct to them rather then the store you bought it at, unless it’s only been less then 90 days since the purchase (then you push for an exchange). In most cases, you’ll get better treatment from the manufacturer then the retailer.

    • joe6638 says:

      At our store we install the OS on all hard drives that are replaced under warranty whether it’s a Best Buy warranty or a manufacturer warranty. We do need to be provided the discs to do it though.

  30. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    I would dispute the repair with your cc or bank if you paid that way. If it doesn’t boot up, then they didn’t repair it.

  31. BannedInBrittan says:

    Ok two things here:
    1) Bestbuy cannot keep OEM restore discs on hand. If a HDD is replaced it’s always the owners responsibility to provide restore media. Computers don’t often come with restore media anymore so the onus is on you to make them or purchase them and then provide them if needed. It’s against the MS licensing agreement for the store to use generic OEM installation discs.

    2) Once the OP provided the discs bestbuy should have sucked it up and installed the OS. However, chances are the way the OP conducted themself lead to the store shutting them down. I know I would have been less inclined to help someone if they have a bad habit of screaming, acting out, calling corporate at the drop of a hat, etc. So maybe there’s two sides to the total story and we’re only hearing one? The world may never know…

  32. Caveat Emptor! says:

    I understand that many find Windows the operating system of choice. In 1999 I did too. And I found myself reinstalling Windows every 3 or 4 months for some reason or another.

    Then I bought a Powerbook G4 Titanium. And after my wife’s Sony laptop refused to play nicely I bought her a 12 inch Powerbook G4. Like many, I still needed a Windows based machine on occasion and when Apple switched to Intel chips I replaced my Titanium with a MacBook Pro 15″. Now I dual boot with XP. That was 2005.

    This weekend we purchased a new MacBook Air 11″ so we could give our 12″ Powerbook to our son for school. My wife is sentimental and brought out all 4 Macs. They all boot and work flawlessly. And the Intel based machines run XP and Ubuntu very well.

  33. common_sense84 says:

    Complete scam. They clearly did not send it to Toshiba. They sent it to a 3rd party that is connected to no one. An operation that is quite shady if they don’t even have restore disk.

    I would not doubt that best buy just put an opened returned hard drive into the laptop behind the geek squad counter and called it done.

  34. wren337 says:

    “My husband and I purchased a […] laptop from Best Buy”

    I think I found your problem

  35. joe6638 says:

    I have worked part-time at Best Buy for 10 yrs and while I don’t dispute that this occurred, this is not SOP. Once the customer brought the discs in, the OS should have been restored free of charge. If everything occurred as stated, the store was trying to scam him. The disc should have been taken and the unit should have been restored immediately. It is the customer’s responsibility to have the discs, and the computers do nag you incessantly to make them, so there is no reason not to have them. I’m not saying that is the case here, I’m just saying, people make your discs, they are important.

    • westhinksdifferent says:

      Not true. I was my store’s Geek Squad senior and in both the service plan fine print and the service order that they signed it says that Best Buy is not responsible for any lost data or software.

  36. libwitch says:

    well actually, you do have to check your sales documentation. Many stores – not just Best Buy – sells computers with demo systems on them that only work for a short period of time. I know when I bought my laptop from BB, I checked and the it was pretty clear from the instore documentation which ones actually had Windows 7 included and which ones only had demo systems.

    • joe6638 says:

      What on earth are you talking about? All non-Apple computers sold at BBY have a full version of Windows 7 of them. There are no units with a limited form of Windows that only works for a set period of time.

      • The_IT_Crone says:

        I think they are confused between WINDOWS and OFFICE.

        /those words, they do not mean what you think they mean… :)

  37. MacBenah says:

    I truly cannot understand why ANYONE buys ANYTHING from BB – are there really that many ignorant people with money?

  38. TooManyHobbies says:

    I wouldn’t buy firewood from Best Buy, let alone a computer. You couldn’t PAY me to let them touch my computer, even if they said it was covered under warranty. This article shows why. They’re both crooked and incompetent.

    I stopped even going in to Best Buy a few years back when they essentially publicly announced that they only wanted suckers as customers. Their actual words were more to the effect that they didn’t want customers that only bought stuff that was on sale, or that actually properly filled out rebate forms and got their rebates, stuff like that. I haven’t been in their door since, I buy online now.

  39. xxmichaelxx says:

    This person had 2 months to make back-up discs, and chose not to. Do you put gas in your car, or is that too much work, too?

  40. JBlank912 says:

    I repair computers as a part time business. best buy is great for my business, they screw up so many customer’s computers and give so much wrong advice. I shop around Best Buy sometimes, and love to embarress the sales people and Geek Squad people by correcting thier wrong answers to the customers. I call it cheap entertainment.

  41. Japheaux says:

    —> “That we should order the restore discs (we couldn’t find them).”

    Ugh, probably because most systems require the user to generate restore disks when you purchase it. Most people blow off this step and only worry about it when their system crashes and some tech tells them to reload Windows.

    I used to work for a national hardware repair vendor who sent us out to businesses and residences with the intent to only install the hardware, then a tech support person via telephone would assist with whatever was left to do. That said, we were required to make the system bootable in case of a hard drive replacement, but what ‘bootable’ meant was booting to a command prompt…i.e., install an abbreviated copy of old DOS and made sure the system booted to a prompt. Then the customer could call the help desk for assistance in installing Windows. In any event, the customer HAD to have their copy of Windows or they were going to have to buy restore disks like these folks. ‘We couldn’t find the disks’ isn’t Best Buy’s problem. And shopping at Best Buy always goes wrong in these posts…how are they still in business?

  42. ClaudeKabobbing says:

    She should have taken all her install disks with her and tell them to reinstall the operating systems. if you dont ask the right questions you dont get the right answers

  43. Bodger says:

    I am sure that somewhere there was a description of what was sold as part of the “laptop” and I’m certain that it described the operating system that was in the package. This situation is not much different than BB giving back the computer with the pointing device or the wireless port missing. It will still be a “laptop” without such trivial items gone. In fact with these missing it would be infinitely more usable than it is with the OS missing — one might always attach a mouse or external wireless dongle and at least do something with it. (BB would probably sell these to you too, just don’t count on any BB support)

    I guess this brings us back to the oft-asked question: why would anyone be stupid enough to go to Best Buy in the first place? It isn’t as if BB’s multitudinous nefarious acts aren’t well-known — they don’t even try to hide it when they rip people off.

  44. mistersmith says:

    The guy writes, “I’m completely capable of installing an OS but that’s not the point.”

    If you’re so capable, then you shouldn’t have shopped at Best Buy, and you should also have been capable of swapping out the hard drive. Yeah, maybe they claim it was covered by the warranty, but like everyone knows, Best Buy/Toshiba won’t profit by honoring warranties. You could have bought a replacement hard drive for under $100 and spent an afternoon installing it and reloading the OS. Instead, you decided to tussle with the jerks at Best Buy and Toshiba. This one’s on you, dude, don’t shop there for any reason.

  45. Andy says:

    BBY has contracts with some manufacturers to do repairs in-house, sometimes though the companies think they can do it for less and make their customers happy. That often times proves incorrect, so I guess Toshiba is in that phase at the moment. I can tell you though that I’ve seen just as many systems come back “borked” from the manufacturer as from Geek Squad City. In fact I think your odds are better if the system goes to geek squad city.

    That said, I would of raised a stink until they just replaced your notebook with another one.

    Apple and ASUS are the ONLY notebooks that ship with restore DVDs. Would of saved you weeks of headaches if you people just stick with good notebooks.

  46. ldavis480 says:

    I’ve learned a few things by reading the Consumerist over the years. For one, never move to a city named [redacted]. Okay, okay, I joke. But I have realized there is a short list of companies I will never do business with predicated on a pattern of terrible business practices and awful customer treatment: Best Buy tops my never-do-business-with list. It’s followed up with Comcast and Bank of America.

  47. vastrightwing says:

    Let me recap:

    1 Warranties are useless.
    2 Repairs and service are bungled.
    3 They lie
    4 Prices are ordinary

    So why do so many people patronize Best Buy so often?

  48. David Millar says:

    Sounds like a great opportunity to try out Ubuntu instead of Windows 7.

  49. e065702 says:

    This type of story is why I have advised my parents (who are buying a new laptop) to avoid Worst Buy at all costs.

    • BannedInBrittan says:

      Why because manufacturers don’t include restore discs any longer? No matter where they buy that will be the case. Also there’s nothing preventing them from buying at bestbuy and getting warranty work done through the manufacturer directly.

  50. madtube says:

    Back up your data.

  51. dandadan says:

    Purchasing sophisticated technology at a mass market retailer inevitably creates situations such as this. Low paid help with great marketing creates the perception that ‘sales associates’ are anything more than just that.

    I am a private laptop technician and many of my clients call on me to take care of such repairs even when a unit is in warranty because of experiences they had with Best Buy or some other mass market retailer. I actually care about client data and make an effort to get them and their computer back, up and running as soon as possible. I charge $50-$75 per hour for my services. It is foolish to expect someone being paid minimum wage to care; especially when they are pressured to up-sell customers service contracts and useless security software for extra money.

    Let the buyer beware, and as the previous tech recommended, purchase a Dell. Not because they are the best computers out there, but because Dell has a top notch service and support network. I don’t recommend purchasing from a Best Buy or comparable retailer because in the big scheme of things, you don’t really save any money do you?

    I have a 10 year old Dell laptop that still works fine for the web and light duty. Few of the new computers I work on today will be around in even 5 years, technology aside, they are just built to less demanding standards and designed to be thrown away after just a few year.

    Suggestion: Go to Best Buy, Office Depot, etc. to evaluate the class of laptop you want. Then purchase a Dell online with a 2 year extended service contract. Check the Dell website on late Saturday or Sunday when they have their most aggressive pricing for the week and purchase with confidence.

    I have been suggesting this for years to my clients and they get better results, and less hassle dealing with the moronic kids who just want to get back to texting their friends or party.

    Beach Computer Works HB, CA

  52. sixidahos says:

    Best Buy keeps giving me more reasons to shop elsewhere.

  53. topgun says:

    No it’s not unreasonable to think that the OS should also be installed.
    It IS UNREASONABLE to think that dealing with Best Buy in any way shape or form is a good idea.
    I realize it’s principle, but in the amount of time spent calling Best Buy, writing The Consumerist and the elevated blood pressure, you could just have popped the disk in and been done with it.

  54. Greekboy says:

    Doesn’t anybody get it. Best Buy is the worst store on the planet. Don’t go in there.

  55. redspeed says:

    Why did you even bother buying something from Best Buy after all the negative stories people share about them?

  56. davidsco says:

    Here we go again. MISTAKE #1 You bought a computer from a toy store, Worst Buy. MISTAKE #2. You bought a Toshiba, maker of some of the WORST laptops in the industry. MISTAKE #3 you brought your piece of junk, that you shouldn’t have bought in the first place, back to the place you shouldn’t have bought it from. Do the people who submit on this site READ this site??? WHY are we supposed to feel sorry for a FOOL and his/her money? Why? It’s this same lack of intelligence that got us into this economic situation the country is now in, and we keep consoling them and helping them. YOU WERE BORN WITH A BRAIN, USE IT!

  57. Zclyh3 says:

    Another reason not to get warranty work from Worst Buy. Actually, another reason NOT to buy a laptop from Worst Buy.

  58. TheAssociation says:

    It’s this particular Best Buy that’s in the fault. Reinstalling the OS is part of the SoW if they replace the hard drive, motherboard, or any other hardware that can cause the machine to no longer function with the existing OS.

  59. AI says:

    Never EVER get Best Buy to repair anything. Buying products from them is fine, they have good selection and many locations. However, you have to decline any additional protection plans etc. If you want an extended warranty, buy it from the manufacturer. Best Buy will only fuck up the repair.

  60. sopmodm14 says:

    i’m sure the box says the product should contain software

    if that was the case, all retailers are selling mystery boxes b/c sh!t, they can’t guarantee the contents in the box right ?

    BB is DA (dumbarse)

    • westhinksdifferent says:

      True. It came with an OS. But Best Buy’s service plans and the service order she signed said they aren’t responsible for it.

  61. BBP says:

    And yet Best Buy continues to thrive, regardless of the horror stories that seem to abound.

    Why people shop there, I’ll never understand.

  62. Sollus says:

    The Geek Squad agent apparently failed to tell them that no computer, when the hard drive is replaced, comes back with an OS installed on it. Obviously that would be a huge licensing cost to do that. Also, how are they supposed to keep recovery discs for every single computer sold in the U.S.? That’s ridiculous and this person is being overly dramatic. It’s not Best Buy’s fault that the customer lost their recovery discs either. Normally they do install the OS if you have the discs though. I find that odd.

  63. Scryer_360 says:

    The answer is to take it to another Best Buy. I know this isn’t an up-sell tactic, its straight ignorance of policy on behalf of that employee. I’ve had bad hdds under the manufacturer warranty and best buy warranty before. While they wouldn’t give me the OS, when I give them the OS discs they have no problem installing it for me. I’ve gone to the St. Joseph, MO and Independence, MO stores. No problem like this before.

    About the OS: the stores told me that they have agreements with their vendors not to keep copies of the OS on hand. Something about how Microsoft liscenses the OS so it’d be illegal. Not sure if its true or not, but that’s their excuse.

  64. AnthonyC says:

    I’ve sent back a desktop to HP for repair under warranty, and gotten it back with no OS installed. It happens, even if Toshiba insists it doesn’t.

    My solution was to not get the extended warranty on my next computer. I’m more than willing to just do the repairs myself. I have no advice for you.

  65. FrankReality says:

    This is not blaming the original poster… but I get very tired of reading week after week about Best Buy screwing another unsuspecting customer.

    What pisses my off is that Best Buy always seems to get away without any responsibility.

    I think everytime BestBuy screws a customer, the attorney general’s office should be contacted – there is an established pattern of consumer abuse that may merit criminal prosecution, but if the AG doesn’t get the complaints, how would they know?

    Is there something that Consumerist’s owner can do to give Best Buy a big, well-deserved “NOT RECOMMENDED” rating – perhaps a permanent condemnation of the company and its business practices?

    Or perhaps with the hands and feet of Consumerist readers, coordinate a nationwide informational picketing effort – on Black Friday.

    Friends don’t let friends shop at Best Buy.

  66. BoredOOMM says:

    Installing a modern OS is not brain surgery.

    1- put the disk in the CD Drive and Boot

    2- when prompted either change the CD or reboot.

    3- the screen will tell you when to remove the disk and reboot for the final install.

  67. bitplayer says:

    They are far from perfect and good service is built into the price but I must say that these stories are few and far between with Apple. They fixed a bunch of stuff for me out of warranty. Most of the problems I had were related to me dropping my laptop.

  68. Shadozbane says:

    So Actually, that best buy is wrong as the policy as I have always understood it, if its under any kind of warranty best buy or manuf’s and a failure of hardware causes the software to stop working, in this case Windows would not work due to failed hard drive. Once Recovery discs are provided then its restored for free. The Manuf does this, and so does Best Buy being an authorized center.

    Mis information it sounds like and maybe call another store? Something isn’t right thats for sure.

  69. jessicasarai says:

    I have had terrible experience with Best Buy in regards with my Toshiba laptop. I had a screen that would randomly stop working and it was obvious that something was wrong with the wiring, but I sent it in for repairs for that problem 3 times, and each time it came back with a new hard drive. Like a new hard drive would solve that problem. The 2nd time it came back, I didn’t even leave the store. I just turned it on right there at the repair desk and showed them that the problem was still there.

  70. poly says:

    How many times do we have to tell you that BEST BUY SUCKS THE HIGH HARD ONE.

    And they’ve gotten even worse since circuit city went out of business. By apple products and get the apple care. You won’t be sorry and you’ll save money by never, ever having to buy security software. EVER.

  71. Sorry4UrInconvenience says:

    Your warranty on this item is through Toshiba, and you opted to have Best Buy handle the warranty repair process by using their services. You probably could have went directly through Toshiba for this repair, saving yourself a lot of time and trips to the store, but you chose Best Buy because in your mind they are obligated to bend over backwards for you and repair it because you “bought it there”. You also could have saved yourself a lot of time by doing the right thing and actually creating the Factory Recovery CD’s that are pretty much standard on any PC bought in a retail store within the last 5 years. Honestly, Best Buy owes you nothing, you should be happy they reimbursed you for your neglegence and paid for your recovery disks.

  72. Tedsallis says:

    “I’m completely capable of installing an OS but that’s not the point. “

    The point is I want some attention!!! Waaaahhhh!! Mommy didn’t hug me enough!!!!! Waaaaaaaah! I’m going to write to the Consumerist!

    did I mention Waaaaaaaah?

  73. BanzaiBrittany says:

    Last time I was laptop shopping with a friend at Best Buy, the tags listing all the features (and therefore its selling points) listed the OS. Wouldn’t that mean that, technically, they are selling you an OS as well as a laptop?

  74. MrEvil says:

    This isn’t a shady upsell on Best Buy’s part. If you read the documentation on your warranty (You did read the hardware documentation on the warranty right?) You’d realize that the warranty covers the HARDWARE only. Not software issues. Lack of an OS is a software issue as the functionality of the hard drive and system can be fully tested without ever loading an OS. This always came up when I did field repair work for Dell. I was not paid to reinstall the customer’s OS. However the customer could use the software installation discs (Often sent to the customer ahead of my arrival) and work with tech support over the phone getting everything installed. I, as a courtesy to the customer, would get their PC through the first steps of Windows installation since that was just as good a test of weather the system functioned as running diagnostics.

    Now I work in corporate IT, I don’t expect Lenovo or Dell to reinstall the OS for me on a Thinkpad or Desktop PC with a dead hard drive. They replaced the defective hardware, and bob’s my uncle.

  75. AmazingToaster says:

    Any and all OS issues regardless of reinstall, repair, updates etc.. are not covered under Toshiba’s warranty…

    On a side note I will mention that per Geek Squad SOP they are required to reinstall the OS for any Hard Drive repairs completed under both manufacturer warranty and any service plan purchased at a Best Buy store.

    So you pretty much got shafted where you visited, 99% of geek squad services are overpriced but what they cover under the service plans are brilliant. That is so long as you NEVER mention cars, windows, dropping items on the machine, (more than 1 flight of stairs)

  76. AngryK9 says:

    Sorry, an “authorized Toshiba repair center” != Toshiba. I work at an “authroized HP repair center” but we are not HP.

  77. dush says:

    Shouldn’t a repair shop show you it works when you pick it up?
    Best Buy failed to do that.

  78. soren121 says:

    I would have tried installing it by myself if I was being charged $130 for it by Best Buy. It’s not even that hard. Click Next, Next, Next, then wait 20 minutes.

  79. lordstylz says:

    I agree with this person’s story 100%. The point isn’t if you have the discs or not the point is that you paid for warranty service and you should get the computer back to the point of which you purchased the warranty for. The laptop is nothing but paper weight without a working operating system (any OS), but if you buy it with Windows 7 and you take it then I want it back that way.

    And like some folks have said they probably didnt even do any repairs, but just wiped the HDD and put it back to factory at a BB location and sent it back. I had a problem where they did that exact same thing, only the problem wasn’t with the hard drive or the operating system, it was that the piece of plastic holding the power connector on the back of the laptop broke. Why did they send it back to me without an OS, stripped my HDD, and didn’t offer to warn me that to replace a piece of plastic that I should back up my HDD. This also happened years ago before external HDDs were cheap and widely available. Point is I learned my mistake but best buy is a bunch of cronies who don’t give a crap about customer care. I’d report them to the better business bureau, and next time write an addendum to the repair contract for them to sign before handing over your computer.

  80. bdgbill says:

    I had the exact same problem with Best Buy around 2002 or so.

    The experience taught me a valuable lesson; never purchase an extended warranty on anything ever again. Since then, I have bought several computers, high end digital cameras and a couple of flat screen TV’s, all without extended service plans and I have never once regretted it.

    Thanks Best Buy!

  81. Amnesiac85 says:

    I don’t think they can legally install an OS they don’t have the discs for. Operating systems don’t just grow on trees, there’s a verification process for setting up an OS. You have the discs, reinstall the OS and see if it works. If not, get in touch with Toshiba, not Best Buy.

    • TimeToChange says:

      You can install any OS or any program on any computer — the key is to have to have a valid legal serial number/license code/whatever to make it work. Most laptops have the serial number for the original OS printed on a tag that’s attached to the bottom of the laptop. Unless it’s an OEM number (Dell does that), you’re fine.

  82. Bkhuna says:

    Let’s go over this one more time:

    1. Never, ever, ever, ever, never, buy from Best Buy.

    2. Buy your computers from independent, certified system builders and get damned operating system disks. You can do your own OS software dependent repairs if you have your own disc’s.

    3. If you fail to heed 1 & 2, you will eventually get burned.

  83. TimeToChange says:

    1. Befriend your local IT tech — someone in the IT dept at work, or a neighbor that works in IT. Note — this does not mean someone who claims to know all about computers. Make sure it’s a reliable person with IT experience.
    2. Discover laptop doesn’t work
    3. Ask IT friend to fix it AND — here’s the important part — be willing to pay THAT PERSON a fair amount (more than a few bucks, thanks) for the repair. Also be willing to put up the money to purchase a replacement hard drive.
    4. Wait a few days until IT person has had a chance to obtain drive and set it up for you.
    5. Pay IT friend.
    6. Enjoy trouble-free laptop use.

    Repeat as necessary.

  84. wataytay says:

    Had a similar situation with Best Buy earlier this year. Had a Dell laptop that had a bad motherboard. They replaced the motherboard under the “Black Tie” protection plan, it took almost a month. When I returned to the store to pick it up it wouldn’t boot into windows. When I asked about the computer not booting they told me I’d have to reinstall windows. I said, “shouldn’t you guys do that since the service plan is supposed to guarantee the item worked like new” and they said no, they’d have to charge me almost $200 for the reinstallation. I went home and loaded a copy I luckily had at home.

    To make a long story short, the computer ended up needing more service again a few days later. After shipping it off a total of three times and being without the machine for almost a month and a half over all they finally replaced the machine with a new one under the no lemon policy.

    In the end it all worked out but the whole repair process was very painful and was enough to make me never buy another product warranty from Best Buy. If a computer comes preloaded with the OS, under a service contract I think the machine should come back fully functional as it did new. It seems however the Geek Squad model is to nickel and dime customers to the point of breaking! After all most “average Joe’s” won’t know any better and will pay whatever it takes to get their machine back functioning!

  85. BradenR says:

    Just a hunch but I think perhaps small claims court would have a different answer than Best Buy

  86. brinks says:

    I hate to say anything nice about Staples, as they fired me, but as a former manager there, I can tell you that I’ve seen techs do a free restore in situations like this one. The customer has to provide the restore CDs, but our techs even helped them acquire them. Even if it was a gray area, they’d juts do it because it made the customer happy.

    Before the customer drops off a computer, they probably sign a waiver saying they understand the store isn’t responsible for lost data (a great opportunity to upsell a data backup package). However, is there really anything in Best Buy’s paperwork saying they’re not responsible for losing the whole OS?

  87. Bobby Jean says:

    My experience was similar but with Sony and a $4k tricked out Vaio laptop. I wrote a letter to My3Cents dot com and copied it to the Better Business Bureau and EVERY Sony executive at every corporate office in the United States and Japan. I located their offices via online search; it is surprisingly easy though a bit time consuming. In less than 12 hours, I had calls from several Sony executives. The problem was solved within 24 hours.


    *Gather your facts; make a detailed timeline of events; include model and serial # info of your machine and a copy of receipt if available.

    *Include that timeline in your letters to Toshiba and Best Buy executives; use store numbers, employee names and dates.

    *Do mention Best Buy and Toshiba’s ‘Mission Statements’ (both corporate and service department) and specify how employees failed to meet those standards.

    *Do include any Best Buy employee comments that were condescending, sarcastic, rude or unprofessional.

    *Do include any professional history that will enhance your credibility and show you understand
    the concepts of exhausting workloads, quality assurance, ethical business practices.

    *Do keep the letter short, concise and in business format; check spelling and grammar.

  88. LONGSAIL says:

    Typical for Best Buy. They used to be reputable a long time ago, but no more.

  89. Bby says:


    All of you Best Buy haters are retarded.

    First off, it is not Best Buy’ s responsibility to provide the OS to the customer. If they declined Best Buy making recovery disks for them, and they did not make it themselves, then they did what they needed to. They fixed the issue by replacing the bad hard drive.

    Second, this customer by continually acting out and trying to go to corporate and such is ridiculous. Maybe just talking to someone at the store would not make you look like such a bitch.

    Get all your facts straight before you rag on a company.

  90. m3gatron says:

    First off I work for geeksquad. Second I don’t know what best buy you’re going to but at mine, if your hard drive gets replaced at the service center or we have to replace it in store because it fails diagnostics then we will reinstall your OS for you for free. That’s how it has always been. You are supposed to make your restore discs when you get home with your laptop so you have them. It is not my responsibility if you do not make them and then need them later. You have the option of having us make them for you when you buy the computer to save yourself the time. Blame the laptop companies for wanting to be ‘green’ by not including the restore discs anymore. The only 2 brands that come back from the service center with a restored OS on a new drive are HPs and Sonys. If you are under only an MFG warranty you could have sent your own laptop out to Toshiba to have it fixed or you can take it to us and we will send it to Geek Squad City in KY where all the repairs are done.

  91. meepha12 says:

    I would call the MFG and complain about this, it is my understanding that is BestBuy is an authorized repair center then they have to repair the pc as Toshiba would repair it, to keep that title. Call and get Toshiba to call them (bestBuy). I used to work for GS and HP called our store once and blatantly told us if we wanted to keep the authorized repair dealer that we had to follow their procedure.