We get a lot of complaints here at Consumerist HQ about Best Buy and its Geek Squad group. Prolonged repairs, bizarre diagnoses, pre-optimized laptops, and banning people who successfully sue them. But you wouldn’t know any of this from a new, in-depth piece by the folks at CNBC.
A Best Buy customer in North Carolina is obviously not a regular reader of Consumerist. Otherwise, he probably would not have believed the Geek Squad geeks when they promised to delete all his personal info and data from the tablet he returned to Best Buy earlier this year.
Best Buy Customer Takes Laptop In For Hinge Fix, Has Hard Drive Replaced & Old Data Held Hostage For $59.99
A Best Buy customer in California needed to get the hinge on her laptop fixed. She’d paid $350 for an extended warranty from the electronics retailer so she thought there wouldn’t be any problem getting it fixed. We’re going to assume she’s never read Consumerist…
Less than two years ago, Consumerist reader Eric plunked down more than $2,000 for a big, shiny Sony HD TV from Best Buy. He also got Geek Squad Black Tie Protection in case the TV needed fixing, which is exactly what happened earlier this summer. But three months later, Eric’s TV remains unrepaired.
Daniel has a Black Tie service plan for his laptop, so he dropped it off at Best Buy for what he thought was a simple camera repair. Back at home, he realized something must be wrong when smoke billowed out of the computer. This seems unsafe to Daniel, and he thinks that Geek Squad needs to replace the entire computer instead of just swapping out some parts. Geek Squad disagrees.
Was it really almost a year and a half ago that The Consumerist published our investigation of Best Buy’s sneaky pre-optimization of all computers in stock? It seems like it was only last week. Mainly because that’s when reader D. visited a Best Buy store in New England and failed to purchase a Toshiba laptop for the sticker price. The store sales staff would rather lose a sale than let a computer go at the actual sticker price to a customer who didn’t want the optimization. Forcing customers to pay for services that they might not even need must be a lucrative business.
All Rob wanted to do was buy a laptop at his local Best Buy for the price shown on the website. As we know, sometimes this can be a bit of a problem. What followed was a comedy of errors as the guys in the khaki pants try to foist off on him a display model laptop that doesn’t even have the right battery. When Rob gives up and orders one directly from Best Buy with in-store pickup, it turns out to be defective. The experience of then trying to get a straightforward refund is then equally defective. Go big blue!
Last week, we told you about Best Buy sending a cease and desist letter to Newegg.com over its use of the word “geek” on shirts and other marketing materials and Newegg’s ad featuring someone that looks like a Best Buy employee. Well, over the weekend, Newegg posted its response to big blue’s allegations.
Consumerist reader K. recently ended his 4.5 year tenure as a Geek Squad member at Best Buy. And while he says that he considers his time there to be “generally a positive experience,” K. did feel that there is some backstage info the public might want to know.
The folks at Best Buy are none too happy with electronics e-tailer Newegg.com. The boys in blue believe that their online competitor stepped over a trademarked line by using the word “geek” and by making fun of inept Best Buy staffers in a TV ad.
David and his wife recently visited Best Buy to purchase a laptop for his wife. Theoretically, this isn’t a bad idea: she knew more or less what she wanted, and could walk out of the store with a computer in hand. This still isn’t so simple at Best Buy, though. There were no computers left that weren’t currently being optimized by the Geek Squad. That day’s task was creating boot disks for the computers, for an extra $100 or so. “It’s been a while since I made a boot disk,” David notes, “but as I recall it takes a blank dvd and about ten minutes.” Well, yes, there’s that. They eventually needed a manager’s help to accomplish what they visited the store to do: buy a computer.
Earlier this week, we told you about Best Buy’s latest scheme: Geek Squad Tech Support, a program that, for a cost of around $200/year, would allow computer purchasers access to unlimited Geek Squad service not just on the item they bought, but on all computers they own. It looks like the electronics retailer has finally realized how much they were opening themselves up to possible abuse, because they’ve now trimmed “all computers” to “three.”
UPDATE: Best Buy has already changed the program from covering “all computers you own” to “three.”
You’ve heard it from us before, but we can’t remind our readers too many times: extended warranties are usually not such a wise investment. Here’s an excellent case study. Ryan pays $9.99 per month for a Geek Squad Black Tie service contract on his HTC EVO. For that much money, he logically assumed that when his phone malfunctioned, he would not be left phoneless for 30 days or more. He was incorrect. That may actually be worse than getting a replacement or repair under the normal manufacturer’s warranty.
Best Buy is reportedly snipping the white ties of hundreds of agents, shutting down seven of its 16 Geek Squad service centers.
Paul checked his email to find Best Buy had thanked him for two purchases he didn’t realize he’d made — subscriptions to Kaspersky antivirus and Geek Squad’s “Ask an Agent” service.
You can’t walk into a GameStop without having to fend off requests to sign up for a membership and preorder games. A former manager says he refused to take part in the often irritating environment, faced a demotion due to poor upselling numbers and lost his house as a result.