Wait, Best Buy Replacement Plans Don’t Fix Or Replace Discontinued Gadgets?

In October 2010, less than two years ago, Best Buy sold Jason a $630 camera and a $120 Geek Squad protection plan for it. The plan included repair past the manufacturer’s warranty as well as accidental damage. His camera didn’t just get damaged: it fell onto some rocks and shattered. Wow, good thing he bought that protection plan! He brought the shards to a local Best Buy to see about getting the camera replaced. He was told that since Sony no longer makes that particular model, he was out of luck. That would be a nice racket for Best Buy if they don’t have to honor their plan for models that have been discontinued.

On 10/20/2010, I purchased a new Sony Alpha A33 DSLR and was also upsold on the Geek Squad 2 year protection plan. At the time it was sold as a fail safe in case the camera has a warranty issue after the manufacturer warranty expired or I spilled on it or dropped it, etc.

Yesterday, while hiking and taking photos the camera strap broke sending the camera into a pile of rocks and breaking it into about 10935702 pieces. So I went to Best Buy on [redacted] today to take advantage of the warranty to get my camera put back together and was told that Sony no longer makes this model, so there is nothing I can do. I asked if they would refund the warranty and she said no. I asked to speak to a Manager, she said they are all in meetings.

I go home, all 10935702 pieces of my camera in tow and call Reward zone customer service (Premier Silver baby!) and am transferred to Best Buy consumer affairs. Explain the situation again and am disconnected. I call back and speak to [S], who says they should have offered “assistances” and fixed my camera and puts me on hold to see what she can do. She comes back and says she needs to transfer me to the digital imaging expert department and does so.

Speak to [A] who says she needs to transfer me to consumer affairs and does so. Hold music stops, call disconnects. I call Best Buy Customer Service number and am told Consumer Affairs is closed, you need to call back tomorrow.

I call the store and ask for a manager, the manager is off today, I ask for any Manager on Duty and am told she’s on lunch call back in an hour, but the store closes in 30 minutes… WTH?


Now, let’s be fair to Best Buy. Yes, we’re capable of it. The camera-destroying accident occurred on Saturday. All of this has occurred on the weekend, when corporate employees are off having lives, even if retail employees are working hard. Perhaps a competent person will show up at the Reward Zone office on Monday and straighten all of this out.

But most customers wouldn’t have written to Consumerist. They might have called Reward Zone, but have stopped, right there, once they were hung up on a few times. We hear from the people who are determined, who call back, who search out other numbers. But how many customers would give up after that first interaction with a store associate, being told “this camera is discontinued; tough luck”?

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.