01-15-2009 07:55 AM - edited 01-16-2009 06:50 AM
While the status of my repair saga hasn't gotten to extreme levels of annoyance yet, for the sake of posterity I'm going to document the saga of Yet Another Frustrated Customer here and keep this post updated as my repair saga progresses.
1/18/2008 - I purchased a Westinghouse TX-47F430S 47" LCD TV from the Elmira/Big Flats Best Buy in Elmira, NY for $1299. I was offered the 4 year service plan for $179. Normally I don't take service plans as they're overpriced ripoffs (e.g. Harbor Freight asking for $15 for a 2-year service plan on a $30 item), but at around 15% of the price of the Westinghouse which did not have the most stellar reliability reputation based on the online Best Buy reviews and still less money than better known brands, I went for the service plan.
1/4/09 - I return from a 2 week holiday and watch some TV. After nearly a year the TV is working fine and I'm quite happy with it.
1/5/09 at around 5 AM - I wake up to check my blood sugar and discover that the lights in my living room won't turn on, neither will quite a number of other things in my apartment. It turns out a circuit breaker has tripped for unknown causes, the first time ever on this particular circuit. I reset the breaker and go back to bed.
1/5/09 at around 5:30 PM - I return home from work and power on my home theater PC, along with attempting to power on the TV. The TV shows no signs of life, not the usual amber standby light and definately not the blue "I'm on!" light. I now know which device on that circuit malfunctioned and tripped the breaker (Every other device or light on that circuit is working 100% fine). I dig up the receipt from the TV and call Best Buy's service department. I am told that someone is already scheduled to be in my area (Owego, NY 13827) some time the next day. They cannot provide any estimate of when, so I ask if the service person can call in advance when they are enroute since I can't take an entire day off. In addition to my cell phone which is already on file, I provide my work phone number (607 area code, just like my cell) as an alternate. The representative also gives me contact information for the service rep/service center, Audio/Video Depot, of (607) 769-xxxx (number censored to protect their privacy for now)
1/6/09 - No missed calls on my cell phone from anyone, no voicemails at work for the entire day. I call the previously provided number directly. The man I speak to says, "yeah I'm in the system" and discusses the problem, but does not say why he made no attempt to make it to his appointment for that day. He says he will be able to come look at my TV sometime the next day, and will call 30 minutes to an hour in advance when he is en route to my location. I also confirm my cell phone number directly with him.
1/7/09 - No service technician, no call to either of the two phone numbers I provided when I set up the appointment initially. No service technician is somewhat understandable as conditions were icy that morning (although mostly melted by 11 AM-noontime), no call to cancel is not understandable or acceptable. I give them the benefit of the doubt and give them another day to call.
1/8/09 - Still no call. That evening I call Geek Squad directly to find out what is going on. They call Audio/Video Depot and are told that yes, the weather was the reason he missed the appointment. As to why they did not call, he thought his secretary had called and she thought that he had called. OK, I'll buy that for now. The Geek Squad rep says he will come by the next day (Friday).
Friday 1/9/09 - No service rep, no call.
Monday 1/12/09 - No service rep (understandable, no appointment for this day), still no call explaining why there was no call Friday. I know I will be unavailable during the day Tuesday so refrain from calling Audio-Video Depot or Geek Squad this evening.
Tuesday 1/13/09 - Still no call. I first try calling Audio-Video Depot directly via the number provided by Geek Squad that I previously had success with. This time I get the "ring-beep" pattern that indicates the callee is already speaking to someone and call waiting is active. It eventually goes to voicemail, sort of. I get the voicemail prompt, but instead of getting the "beep" that indicates I can leave a message, I get "I'm sorry, but the voicemail box is full." Now this is unacceptable - A service business that not only does not call to indicate appointments are being cancelled, but does not check their voicemail at all and lets the box fill up. I call Geek Squad, and the service rep (I should have taken names at this point but didn't, my mistake...) told me his system was "updating" and he could not help me, but would arrange for a "24 hour callback". This is the first time I've heard this excuse so I buy it... I also start Googling for reviews of Best Buy's in-home service and begin to get extremely nervous - it's starting to look like I'll be lucky if my TV is fixed within a month.
Wednesday 1/14/09 - No "24 hour callback" from Geek Squad all day. I first try calling Audio Video Depot again, voicemail mailbox is full for the second day in a row. I do a bit of research and find that there is no Audio-Video Depot listed on yellowpages.com within 50 miles of my location (Owego, NY) or of the location I bought the TV from (Elmira, NY, which is 25-30 miles from me). The (607) 769 prefix indicates they are in Steuben County, which is at least 1 hour from my location and 15 minutes on the highway past the BB store I bought the TV from. I'm somewhat surprised BB doesn't have a closer service partner, and disturbed at the fact that I can't find ANYTHING about this service company Geek Squad is outsourcing to. I call Geek Squad to ask what the heck is going on, and the rep attempts to contact Audio-Video Depot themselves. They, like myself, are unable to reach them. She says she will put in a ticket for this to be investigated and I will be called in 3-5 business days.
Edit: I forgot to mention, but during this call the lady asked me to confirm my alternate work number of (732) xxx-yyyy, my parents' home phone number. I have not lived at that location for three years at this point and would not have provided it as an alternate contact number when I purchased the unit, and most definately would not have described it as a work number. I have no idea how it got into the system, I'm guessing it might have been residual from when I purchased a video camera with service plan back in 2002-2003, but even then it should not have been filed as a work number. It also should have been replaced by my current work number when I provided that during my initial service call 1/5/09. There have also been no calls from Geek Squad to this number either.
Thursday 1/15/09 - It is the start of day 1 now - Does anyone want to take bets on whether they call at all or not? Based on other posts on this board and my experience, I'd say there's less than 10% chance they call within the next 5 business days. Even though it is before the 5 day deadline, I will probably stop in the Big Flats store tomorrow evening (it's pretty far from me but I am passing by on the way to a weekend destination) to see what other options I have - if it gets my TV repaired any more quickly I'm willing to cart it back to the store rather than use this rather unreliable "in home" service, although I definately won't be buying anything that with an "in home" service plan again given the quality of said service so far.
Edit, Evening of 1/15/09: Audio-Video Depot (As mentioned previously, this is the service firm that Best Buy outsources to in my area) continues to have a full voicemail box for the third day in a row. Best Buy outsourced to a real quality firm here.
Another edit: I decided that there was no way I wanted such a fly-by-night operation as Audio-Video Depot touching my TV, so I called Geek Squad later on Thursday evening and wound up speaking to Anita at around 6:20 PM Eastern. This is the first time I've felt like I was making any progress in getting my TV fixed. I requested that my service request be assigned to another service provider other than Audio-Video Depot, since they had been so unresponsive. Anita agreed and began attempting to set me up with another service provider. Unfortunately, the call center representative's systems were "updating" again and were apparently nearly unusable. Unlike the representative that I spoke to on Tuesday, Anita tried to fight through this "update" and continue setting me up with a new service appointment for 15-20 minutes or so. In the end, she was unfortunately unable to set me up with a new appointment and promised she would send my case to a scheduling specialist that should call me back in 1-2 business days, and she also made an annotation in my account that I had not been receiving promised callbacks. I was reluctant to get off the line without an appointment, but Anita was clearly trying hard to get the problem fixed. It appears clear that Geek Squad does not provide their call center representatives with the proper tools to do their job - No high-pressure area such as a call center should be pushing out updates to systems that are currently in use that effectively disable those systems for 20 or more minutes. Hopefully by the end of Monday I will have an appointment with a new repair service provider.
I will edit this post as more information comes in to keep other customers appraised of what appears to be yet another typical Best Buy service saga.
Solved! Go to Solution.
01-15-2009 11:35 PM
Thanks for posting your concern on our Best Buy® Forum. Your issue has been assigned to one of our Community Connectors for further review and response, and you should be hearing something within a maximum of 3-5 business days. Please note that it may be sooner depending on the complexity of your issue and the current volume of posts. Thanks for your continued patience as we work to assist all of the customers who have reached out to us on this forum.
01-19-2009 09:47 AM
So far midway through business day 2 of the 1-2 business days, still no call from this "scheduling specialist".
Over the weekend I met a former Geek Squad call center employee who had recently quit to accept a job in Europe. It was interesting (and disturbing) to find out that "updating" means that the call center's support system is just plain down - Call center employees are not allowed to tell the customer the truth when the system is unavailable (If a company that sells PC repair services can't even keep their own system running, that looks pretty bad.), so they are instructed to tell the customer on the line that the system is "updating".
Great... Who knows how much of my service history is actually in the system. This would explain why I have to go through my entire history of the past two weeks every time I call.
01-19-2009 11:30 AM
After not having your TV even looked at after two weeks would be very frustrating, and I agree that the technician not showing up multiple times is completely unacceptable. After reading your post I can understand you no longer having any confidence in the service center we contracted to do the repair of your TV. It is true that we occasionally have to contract the repair out to a local service center instead of using our own technicians, and if the customer is not satisfied with the service center we contracted they can request we find another service center. It is also true that the request to find another service center can take up to 1-2 business days, but after all the promised phone calls without any call coming I can understand your skepticism in receiving a call. I would like to see if there is something I can do to resolve this issue for you so I am sending you a private message, and to check your messages you should log into the forum and click on the letter icon in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
Thanks for posting,
Best Buy® Corporate
01-20-2009 08:25 AM - edited 01-20-2009 08:40 AM
I received a call from Best Buy last night indicating that they could not find an authorized repair center for my TV and as a result were beginning an exchange process, which included asking for my TV serial number. FINALLY some progress (at least in theory). Another 3-5 business days and this means I'll likely be making a 45 minute (each way) drive to Elmira this weekend (when I just passed through there this previous weekend.)
They've told me they will replace it with a TV with comparable features... I'm worried this means I'll get an Insignia with comparable features on paper but even worse reliability and reduced image quality on reality, just like the Insignia flash memory camcorders are great on paper but abysmal once you actually use them (There's a reason there are no powered units on display in stores...).
Also, I was called again by Geek Squad this morning to notify me that they could not find parts for my TV and were authorizing an exchange... Similarly, Audio/Video Depot called to notify methat they couldn't get parts for the TV (um, how could they know they couldn't get the requisite part when they hadn't even come to look at the TV to determine what parts were needed?). It seems Geek Squad never notified them that they were off the job due to their complete unresponsiveness last week.
While it's nice to be finally getting calls from Geek Squad, it's sad that they're this disorganized. It's clear that the lady who called this morning had no access to my service record which indicated I had already been called regarding the exchange, or that last night's call (and the required serial number) never went into the system.
Edit: I just tried calling Audio/Video Depot back to notify them that Geek Squad was already handling the exchange authorization. Even 10 minutes after leaving a message asking me to call back and leave a message on his phone, the A/V Depot representative's voicemail box is full and not accepting new messages. I strongly suggest that Geek Squad no longer works with this service provider unless they want far more customer complaints.
01-22-2009 02:47 PM
Geek Squad called with an exchange confirmation number today, so I'll be heading to Elmira this Saturday.
The light appears to be at the end of the tunnel on this saga but I'm not out yet, since I've seen others who had problems even after reaching the conf number stage.
01-23-2009 11:45 AM - edited 01-23-2009 11:51 AM
The saga continues...
I was informed that I would normally be provided an Insignia replacement due to the contrast ratio specification of the Westinghouse TX-47F430S unit of 1000:1 "when most other brands are 5 digits". The Insignia is specified as 1500:1.
The problem is that the Westinghouse is specified not at 1000:1 as Best Buy claims but as 5000:1 - see manufacturer's website at http://www.westinghousedigital.com/details.aspx?it
They offered me an "upgrade" to an RCA unit, which has a contrast ratio of 3000:1 - see manufacturer's website at http://tv.rca.com/en-us/modeldetail.html?MN=L46FHD
There is the possibility that the 5000:1 contrast ratio of the Westinghouse is dynamic, in which case the RCA might be an upgrade. Unfortunately TV manufacturers are somewhat inconsistent in their marketing (but I have never seen a dynamic contrast ratio specification that was not explicitly marked as such, except on Best Buy's website), and Best Buy is even less consistent, on the RCA TV making no attempt to mark that 15000:1 number as a dynamic contrast ratio when the manufacturer's native contrast ratio specification is 3000:1.
The RCA unit has some pretty negative reviews too, although that could be user error (SD source?). I've offered to compromise by paying the difference between the RCA and a slightly better (and more well known brand) Sharp unit out of my pocket, we'll see if BB goes for that, especially since the RCA couldn't be in until 1/28/09 and I've been waiting an extremely long time for a working TV already.
01-23-2009 03:10 PM
In a surprise event, after doing some research into availability (the RCA is online only, the Sharp unit was out of stock at the store Allan and I were initially dealing with), I asked Allan to contact a different store (Ithaca, NY) regarding my compromise offer. They are actually willing to exchange for the Sharp unit without me paying the difference. Proof yet again that everything in Ithaca is a cut above the rest
I'll be marking my thread as "Solved" when I walk out of the store tomorrow. (I own a netbook and can tether my HSDPA phone to it, so yes, I can update from the mall parking lot and intend to do so.)
Thank you Allan.
01-24-2009 04:57 PM - edited 01-24-2009 05:04 PM
I am sitting in the next room over from the new Sharp.
Tim (Home Theater manager at the Ithaca, NY store), Chelsea (Customer Service staff), and everyone else I dealt with at the Ithaca store were courteous, efficient, and knew what they were doing. After three weeks of rather nonhelpful call center staff, working with Tim and the other Ithaca staff was an incredibly pleasant surprise.
Tim should be commended for the great job he did. (Community Connector Allan also did well.)
After my experience, my advice to Best Buy:
Drop Audio/Video Depot in Steuben County, NY (I cannot provide more details as they don't appear in the phone book, but their telephone number is a Steuben County exchange) as an outsourcing provider for your service plans. They routinely fail to show up to service appointments, rarely call the customer, and do not even check their voicemail (See above comments about their voicemail box being routinely full.). When they call the customer, they will tell the customer to call back and leave a message if there is no answer - when their voicemail box is STILL full.
Fix your call center support system - It is apparently frequently down. Also, don't tell your call center reps to inform the customer that the system is "updating" when it is just plain down.
Keep track of television models for which parts are un-orderable. That way the next time a customer calls to try to get a unit serviced, they don't have to wait two weeks for someone to figure out that parts aren't available. This will save call center representative time (I think if you total all the time I spent speaking with call center staff it comes to over an hour total) and improve call center throughput and customer satisfaction significantly in cases like mine.
Give your Ithaca store staff raises for their well-above-average work.