03-10-2012 03:07 PM
Let me start by saying that I have been a loyal Best Buy customer for over 15 years and have purchased my electronics exclusively from them. I have been a Reward Zone member since its inception and am a Premier Silver member. After my recent experience at Best Buy, I don't care if I ever spend another dime at Best Buy. Here's my story:
I purchased a Toshiba laptop nearly 3 years ago along with Best Buy's 3 year extended warranty. In January of this year, I brought the laptop into Best Buy for the repair of a pixel problem on the screen and a left mouse button that was sticking. There wasn't anything wrong with the hard-drive. When I brought my computer in to the Geek Squad, they offered to back-up my files for about $100. I declined the service as I had already backed up my info and didn't want to have to spend any more money on that service. The repairs seemed pretty straightforward - the biggest issue was the screen pixels, not a hard-drive issue - so it really didn't even cross my mind that I wouldn't get my computer back, fixed. About a week later, I received an e-mail that my computer was being fixed. I then didn't hear anything for about 2 weeks. I had gone to Best Buy to purchase a camera before leaving on vacation the next day and while in the store, I decided to stop at the Geek Squad desk to ask about the status of my laptop since it had been nearly 3 weeks since I first brought it in for repair. I had initially been told the repairs would take 10 to 14 days. I was absolutely floored when I was told that the "parts were unavailable" so my laptop was "a junkout". I had no idea what a "junkout" meant and was told that my laptop couldn't be fixed so I would get "a comparable laptop". I was in total shock - all my photos, documents, and personal files were on that computer. I asked if I could get the computer back since it was going to be junked, but I was told that I couldn't because it would be parted out. I then asked if there was anyway that I could at least get it back temporarily to make sure my info was completely backed up - Best Buy was running a promotion to get your data transferred for free from one computer to a new one purchased there. The manager stepped in and looked at my paperwork. He acted like I was an idiot for declining the service to back up my files. I tried to explain that I thought I had backed up everything that I could, but that some files/photos may have slipped through the cracks - I was also concerned about my personal, private info remaining on a computer no longer in my possession. Also, I really hadn't planned on not getting my computer back. The manager told my that I couldn't get the laptop back and if I wanted my files backed up on site, the cost would be $250. At that cost, I had to just let it go. What kills me, is that the manager acted like I was a fool who didn't back up my files right, but I'm sure Best Buy has a disclaimer when they back up files that releases them from liability if all the files aren't backed up. Also, I was left to trust this service center to securely dispose of my personal information when they couldn't even send me an e-mail to update me on the status of my computer which they had for over 2 weeks in their service center. I wanted to know what part was unavailable, but wasn't told which one. For instance, I would have been willing to live with a sticky left mouse button (I use a wireless mouse) if that was the unavailable part if that was the trade off to get my laptop back. When I asked if the warranty would transfer to the new laptop, the manager told me the warranty covered my old laptop and I would have to purchase another one. I then asked what the cost of a comparable computer would be, but was not given a dollar amount. I asked again, but the manager told me to go find a salesman in the computer section to help me. I didn't have the time to shop and I wanted to do some research before just randomly selecting a computer, but was told that if I couldn't get the computer that day, I should come back the following day because otherwise I risked being "out of warranty". I couldn't come back the following day because I was going on vacation so I felt that if I didn't get a computer at this time, I would end up forfeiting the warranty. It would have been nice to be told "You have until such and such date to come back in to get a new computer".
I found a salesman, but he didn't know how to handle the junkout issue and just repeated that I would get "a comparable computer". It took the salesman about 10 minutes to look up the specs from my old computer. Between the manager and the salesman, I asked for a dollar amount for a comparable computer no less than 6 times, but wasn't shown the comparable product to see the dollar amount or given a dollar amount. I'm not blaming the salesman at all, he did his best in a situation he wasn't familiar with, but the manager should have been able to give me a dollar amount. How on earth can someone make an intelligent purchase without knowing what their computer was worth - was it worth $400, $600, $800 dollars? No one would tell me or show me a comparable one. I was looking at another Toshiba, but the saleman steered me toward a Samsung with the same specs that was cheaper. He explained that as long as the specs were the same, both computers were essentially the same. I disagree - if you have a BMW and a Honda that both have 4-cylinder engines and get 30 mpg, does that mean they're essentially the same? Absolutely not. Anyway, I didn't have any more time so I just agreed to get the Samsung at $529 not knowing how much money I would have to pay to "upgrade", but thinking it would be less money than if I had gotten the Toshiba.
The salesman and I went back up to the manager and the salesman said that I had a question. The manager turned to me in a most condescending voice and said "I told you, you have to buy another warranty". I said that wasn't my question and wanted to know what I would have to pay since this computer was apparently an upgrade. The manager didn't ask about the specs, only the price. He went into a back room and shortly thereafter, the salesman came out and said I was being given the computer as an even exchange. He acted as if I should be ecstatic that I was getting an upgraded computer, but I was still sick to my stomach that I was losing my old one. I have no idea if I got royally screwed because, once again, I was never told the value of a comparable computer. I certainly didn't feel that I got a great deal - I paid $800 for my original laptop - with the software upgrades and uploaded games and programs that I couldn't back up and the $330 warranty, I had over $1500 infested in my laptop, but received one for $529 in exchange. WHAT A SCAM!
I feel that I got completely SCREWED by Best Buy and their customer service - the jerk of a manager - was horrible!!! When I got back from vacation, I was still angry about this whole episode. I took the Samsung laptop back in to exchange it for a Toshiba and had to pay over $150 difference when the Toshiba was probably a more comparable computer to my original one I had instead of the one I was given. I recently purchased 2 I-Pads and a GoPro camera and returned the extended warranties I had purchased on those items, as well. I would have returned the I-Pads and the camera, if they hadn't already been used, and purchased them elsewhere.
I am ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTED by this experience with Best Buy and their extended warranty program is a SCAM! I understand that electronics depreciate, but if a customer is not going to be given a dollar for dollar exchange for their computer in the case of a junkout, then they should be told the exact dollar amount of the comparable computer - and it shouldn't be a lowball amount. There should be a more legitimate process in place so that the amount is not subjective or based on the decency of a manager of which I certainly didn't have the luck to find at the store. Also, I have NO DOUBT that my computer could have been fixed, but that it was cheaper for Best Buy to junk it - well, that certainly was NOT in my best interest. I know Best Buy wants to make money, but for goodness sake, do you have to screw your customers like this to do so? Stand by your warranty and make every effort to fix the computer - A JUNKOUT SHOULD BE A LAST RESORT. At the very least, there should not have been any reason that my laptop couldn't have been sent back to the store (I would have been more than willing to pay postage costs) and my data transferred to a new computer. That way, I then could have verified that my personal info was properly removed.
Here's an example of good customer service. I purchased a Toyota Tacoma pick-up truck. There was a problem with the frame developing rust so Toyota extended their warranty on the frame. When the frame on my truck got rusted, my truck was examined and I had the option of getting the frame fixed, or if it was not fixable, getting a payout for the truck. It turned out the frame was not repairable so Toyota gave me TWICE the Kelly Blue book value on the truck. So there wasn't any subjectiveness with the condition of the vehicle - the value was based on the vehicle being in Excellent condition, regardless of its actual condition - the benefit going to the customer. Toyota's customer service is why I own 2 of their vehicles and will be a lifelong customer. I used to think of Best Buy the same way, but no more.
03-10-2012 04:35 PM
03-10-2012 07:53 PM
Thanks for your reply - I truly appreciate your time. I understand that electronics depreciate even after just a year and I certainly didn't expect a dollar for dollar trade-in amount, but how is someone in my situation supposed to know what their computer is worth when they aren't told what computer is comparable or given a value? There must be a way to determine some type of dollar amount to help when shopping for the replacement. If I had picked out a replacement computer that cost $1200 (a significant upgrade from my old laptop), how much would have been deducted in credit for my "junkout" computer? I'm sure I wouldn't have been given the $1200 computer as a comparable replacement with no money owed. Conversely, if I had picked out a computer that cost $329, would I have gotten money back or would Best Buy have just considered that a comparable trade and laughed because I settled for less than I should have gotten. Is the junkout process that incredibly arbitrary and subjective? If it is, then that's just ridiculous. I should not have been at the mercy of whether or not the manager was in a good mood that day and was feeling generous or even fair.....he definitely couldn't even be professional or cordial. I was shocked to find out that I would not get my computer back and I have to admit it was a bit heartbreaking, but then to be treated like an inconvenience made it even worse. I'm sure the manager deals with junkouts on a daily basis and gets sick of questions, but I had never been through that situation before so I obviously had questions because I didn't know how to proceed. I felt that I was very patient that day even though the whole process took nearly an hour because the salesman didn't know how to ring out the junkout and was having trouble getting help. In hindsight, I wish I would have just walked out when the manager was so patronizing, but I didn't want to be rude in return.
I really think my computer could have been fixed, but was junked out because it was the easier and cheaper thing for Best Buy to do even though it caused a hardship for me. I couldn't even get an answer as to what part was unavailable - like I noted in my original e-mail, I would have turned down the junkout option if the part was for the sticky button because I could have lived with that defect. I believe that a junkout should be a last resort . True customer service is taking into consideration what's in the best interest of the customer, NOT just the company.
I didn't expect the world, just to be treated fairly, get some direction with an unfamiliar process, and get an equitable resolution to the problem. I am incredibly disappointed with my experience with Best Buy. They apparently love you when you buy, buy, buy, but as soon as you have a problem, you're an inconvenience.
Thanks, again, for your input.
03-11-2012 01:19 AM
03-11-2012 08:26 AM
I wish you had been the manager and/or salesman there that day, you seem to be know what's going on. Exactly how you explained it is what I expected and thought would happen, but I was NEVER shown a comparable computer to get a price off it nor was I ever told a dollar amount. I thought I would be told something like "This Toshiba model XXX for $600 (or whatever the amount) is comparable to your computer. If you want to upgrade, that's the value that will be credited toward the purchase of a new computer". Then I could have made an informed decision on the selection of a new computer. I asked no less than 6 times WHICH computer was a comparable one so I could get an idea of the value of mine, but was never shown one. Instead, I just kept getting told that I could swap mine out for a "comparable one". I would then ask, "Which computer is a comparable one?" only to be told "One that's comparable to your computer". And round and round we go. It reminded me of the comedy sketch, "Who's on first?"......although is was frustrating and infuriating, not funny.
03-12-2012 03:47 PM
03-14-2012 06:48 PM
I apologize right up front if our manager wasn’t terribly helpful through the replacement process. It sounds like you were caught off guard when we said we would need to replace your computer and I have no doubt that you deserved a little more patience and understanding to help you weigh your options. I will absolutely be reporting your comments here to our regional management for further attention.
Mbrguy has done a great job of hitting some of the pieces already, but I just want to take a minute to give you a few of my thoughts too. First, when replacing the computer, we promise to repair or replace it with similar technology. To reiterate what Mbrguy has already said, we don’t necessarily have a dollar value in mind until we take a look at what models are on the market that day that compare favorably to yours. Once we find a comparable model, we usually use that as the baseline for price. Our goal is to get you into a computer that runs just like your old one and I hope that your new computer is working out alright for you so far.
Secondly, we do have you sign a waiver indicating that once the computer in our possession we have the go-ahead to take all heroic measures with your computer. We do this because sometimes during diagnosis we can find that what we thought was wrong really wasn’t or that something that seemed to be working fine is actually failing. We want to get these repairs turned around as quickly and efficiently as possible for all of our customers, so we ask you as a part of that form for your permission to do what needs to be done to get it working as the manufacturer intended.
We offer the data back-up because it’s important and maybe you’re not comfortable doing it yourself or maybe you forgot. At any rate, we should be making all of this as clear as possible when you stop in; it’s our job to make this as painless as possible at every stage of the way. I’m sorry we didn’t. I appreciate your feedback about the process. It helps us identify where we need to be clearer and make it easier for you. If you have any other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to let me know here or by private message.
03-31-2012 04:02 PM
Well, it's been over 2 weeks since I sent a private message to Douglas with no response from him yet - according to this site, he hasn't even opened the response from me yet. Here was my response to Douglas for those of you who are also going through a situation similar to mine:
While I appreciate your response and apology, I don't accept it as a solution. Here are my issues:
1. I should have been told what part of my computer was unfixable due to "unavailable parts". I wasn't told even though I asked. If the part to fix the stuck left button on the trackpad was unavailable, I would have been willing to live with it in order to get my laptop back. For what portion of my computer was a part unavailable? I would still like to know.
2. A comparable computer to mine was NEVER identified even though I asked over 6 times "Which computer is comparable to mine?" I get that a dollar amount is not given and that the value of my laptop was to be based on a computer with specs comparable to mine, but I DIDN'T HAVE a "base price" to use to find a new computer. You and Mbrguy can explain your policy over and over to me as though I'm stupid and don't get it. I'm not stupid, I do get it, the problem that I have is that your policy WAS NOT followed that day. Maybe instead of regurgitating your policy to me, you should explain the policy to your manager and salesman instead, they're the ones who apparently don't know it. Had I been shown the computer that was comparable to mine, I would have checked the price tag and used that as the value of mine/starting point to use to select a new computer. Tell me, what computer in your stores today - model and price - is comparable to my old computer? I want to know. My computer was a Toshiba. Product type: E105-S1402/Core, Model: PSE10U-002003, SKU: 9022979.
Yes, I turned down the Geek Squad's offer to backup my files due to the expense and when I found out my laptop was a junkout, asked if I could get my computer back to backup/transfer my data to the new computer - Best Buy was running a promotion to transfer data for free. Instead I was treated like an idiot because I turned down the data protection plan when I just thought it couldn't hurt to ask. Even though I couldn't get my computer back to transfer the data, I still should have been treated with common courtesy.
The customer service I experienced was SHAMEFUL. YOUR POLICIES WERE NOT FOLLOWED. For a few hundred dollars, you will lose a customer that has spent thousands in your store and will in the future. I would like an answer to my above questions as well as the contact name and address to the customer affairs division of your corporate office.
Again, I appreciate your apology, but the reality is your people dropped the ball and I feel wronged. Frankly, a hollow apology just isn't enough to keep me as a customer.
Well, there it is. Douglas wrote that heroic measures were made to try to fix my computer.....BS! My computer wasn't sent to some master Geek Squad center, it was sent to a third party repair center who deemed it cheaper to toss my computer than to fix it. But cheaper for whom? Certainly not me, the customer. There may not be anything illegal about that, but it sure is questionable ethically. While it's all about the bottom line for Best Buy, eventually enough lost customers will impact their bottom line, as well. My computer was probably sent with a bunch of other computers to another country where the computer was fixed and resold - I just hope to God my personal information was deleted, but I'll never know for sure.
Best Buy has lost a customer who was loyal to them for years and they don't even seem to care.
03-31-2012 06:50 PM
My computer wasn't sent to some master Geek Squad center, it was sent to a third party repair center who deemed it cheaper to toss my computer than to fix it.
Since your computer was a Toshiba it was probably sent to the normal Geek Squad Service Center not some "third party repair center". Depending on where you are in the country, it may have even gone to Geek Squad City. These Service Centers are owned by Geek Squad and the technicians are Geek Squad Agents who have been certified by the different manufacturers to work on their products. This is why they can also provide manufacturer's warranty work.
The only Service Center that I know of where Geek Squad sends a computer to a Non-Geek Squad repair facility is Sony's Service Center. Sony requires some of their products to be sent directly to them. Toshiba, Dell, HP, Gateway, etc. are sent to an actual Geek Squad Service Center.
For more information on the actual Geek Squad Service Centers where your computer was sent to, you can find a short video on them at this link.
03-31-2012 09:03 PM