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New Member
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎12-28-2020

2-Year Cell Phone Protection Plan Costs More Than Phone It Protects

I won't go into all the details as I've already given them to Best Buy numerous times with no help being offered. The long and short of it is I purchased a 2-Year Cell Phone Protection Plan that was sold to me as 'repair or replace, no questions asked, no additional costs.' Well, about a year after purchase, I cracked the screen on my cell phone. No problem, I have a 2-year protection plan purchased from Geek Squad through Best Buy.

 

I bring it into the store and. . .oh, no! You can't bring it to the store. We can't help you. Call the service number. But before I go, the salesman informs me there is no repair service on phones, just replacements. I don't really care (though it does seem odd they sell a repair plan if they don't do repairs), I just need a phone and a replacement is fine.

 

So, I go home. Call the service number. On the first call, the service agent says I need to file a claim that comes with a service fee of $40 if I want the phone replaced. I don't want to pay a service fee; I was sold a plan that was described as 'no additional costs.' What about repairs? Are those free under the plan? Again I am told Best Buy does not repair phones, only replacements.

 

Okay, not what I paid for, but okay. So, $40 service fee? Yes. I'll have to send the phone in, after paying the fee of course, the phone will be evaluated and a determination will be made as to whether or not the damage is covered under the plan. Wait, what happened to no questions asked? Well, it seems as if now questions will be asked. If it is determined coverage is applicable, a $100 deductible will be charged before a replacement is sent.

 

What? So, now there is a $100 deductible on top of the service fee on top of the $80 I paid for the plan originally? Yes, and the whole process will take several weeks before a new phone can be shipped. Meanwhile, I will have no phone to use because I have to send in my damaged one for 'determination.'

 

This is not what I was sold or expected. And it didn't take more than a few seconds to calculate $80 plus $40 plus $100 is $20 more than what I paid for the phone, to begin with. That's right, the 2-year cell phone protection plan, if used, will cost more than what the phone was sold for: $200. And now, that same phone is on sale for $130. So, to use the plan will cost me $90 more than what the phone is currently selling for.

 

I'm not sure how Best Buy can honestly say this is protection or peace of mind. That's just the way it is I'm told. I ask for a supervisor. Service agent says he can't transfer the call. He's as far as this complaint is going to go. Fine, I'll call back. Same story. This is what you have to pay, can't do anything about it, can't speak to a supervisor. I call back two more times. Still nothing. I am told over several of these calls that my original salesman was misinformed as to the specifics of the plan and that Best Buy is not responsible for any errors he may have made.

 

So, back to the store. I request a manager. I get the store manager. Same thing. He can't do anything about the policy, it is what it is. I can fork over the extra money and wait several weeks for a phone or re-purchase the phone for less money in the store. At one point, he actually blamed Covid-19 for why the protection plan was going to cost more than the phone. So I go home and post a review of the protection plan on Best Buy's website. I received no response to this review, but Best Buy did take the time to remove my review. Though nobody bothered to contact me.

 

I posted on Best Buy's Facebook page. Still no response. I posted about it on my Facebook page and tagged Best Buy. Still no response. I private messaged Best Buy regarding my issue. Again, no response. Now, I'm posting in the Best Buy Forums where they tell you they are busy and probably won't respond for 8 days.

 

So, here I sit with a damaged cell phone covered by a protection plan that costs more than the phone it protects. It may be legal, but it doesn't seem ethical, especially in light of the fact that a lot of other people on the forums seem to have similar issues. How many times do I have to contact Best Buy before I get an answer? It seems to me there is something funny going on. It can't be just a misinformed employee selling these no extra cost plans that come with extra costs. Because if you told customers upfront what the plan was really going to cost them, no one would buy it.. It just doesn't make financial sense.

 

Well, I can't wait any longer. I need a phone. Since Best Buy is unable or unwilling to address my problem, It seems as if I will be making future purchases somewhere other than Best Buy.

Posts: 1,118
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Registered: ‎11-23-2018

Re: 2-Year Cell Phone Protection Plan Costs More Than Phone It Protects

Hi, Bilmore, and welcome to our online community!


Thanks for posting on our forum, although I hate to hear you've been left searching for support with your phone repair/replacement. I know how important it is to have a working phone, and I can imagine your urgency to fix or replace your device, and then your surprise to learn of the fees associated. While there may be deductibles associated with your Geek Squad Protection plan for a cell phone, I can understand your concerns in this situation.


I'm happy to review your account and formally document your experience in our corporate system. To start, please send me a private message including your full name, email, and phone number. You can find the blue option to message me to the right of my name below.

 

Regards, 

Allison|Social Media Specialist | Best Buy® Corporate
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New Member
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎12-28-2020

Re: 2-Year Cell Phone Protection Plan Costs More Than Phone It Protects

Hi Allison,

 

I'm okay with keeping the conversation in the open forum for all to see. There's no need to take it behind closed doors.

 

The issue at hand is quite simple. I was sold a 2-year protection plan by a Best Buy employee who told me it was repair or replace, no questions asked, and no additional costs. If something happens to the phone, simply bring it back to the store, and Best Buy - through Geek Squad - will repair or replace the phone.

 

Approximately one year after purchasing the phone and the plan, the screen on the phone cracked. I took it to the store and that's where all the problems begin. I was told they don't deal with broken cell phones in the store even though it states in no uncertain terms on your website that you can take the phone to the store,  plus the salesperson that sold me the phone also told me to do that. The new sales associate says no, I should call the service number that was also on the website and they'll tell me where to send the phone. Now, I wasn't actually looking for a replacement; I would have been happy with a repair. I ask the associate how long I can expect to be without a phone while repairs are made wherever I send the phone. I'm told for the first time that Best Buy does not repair phones, it only replaces them. That seems odd since the plan was sold a repair or replace, but okay, fine, I just need a cell phone and I'll be happy to take a replacement.

 

But if it's just going to be replaced, why can't that happen in the store? Why must I send the phone away and how long will it take? He doesn't know how long it will take, that's just the policy, but he's heard good things.

 

I go home and make the call. The service center associate sort of hems and haws. I get the feeling he doesn't really want to help, and in the back of my head, I feel the suspicion begin to grow that I've been had. I'm not sure what it is, but something doesn't feel right. This whole process should have been a lot easier from the get-go, and we're not even very far into it yet. I tell the associate I need a phone; what do I do to get it repaired?

 

BEST BUY DOES NOT REPAIR PHONES. WE ONLY REPLACE THEM.

 

Sorry for the all-caps, but this is the second time I've been told this. No repairs, just replacements. Okay, then replace the phone. I've paid for the plan. Well, I'm told, that would require filing a claim.

 

Okay, let's file a claim.

 

Do you want to file a claim?

 

He asks this in such a way that it strikes me as odd. Why wouldn't I want to file a claim? And yet, he makes me feel - for lack of a better word - stupid for wanting to do so as if there is something absurd in actually filing a claim on the protection plan that I bought. I'm about to find out why, and that suspicion in the back of my head will move front and center.

 

To file a claim, I will have to first pay a $40 service fee.

 

No, I state, I purchased a no additional costs plan.

 

Well, there are additional costs, starting with the $40 service fee. Once paid, I will be told where to ship the phone whereupon it will be examined and a determination will be made to see if the damage falls under the terms and conditions of the plan.

 

No, it's a no questions asked accident protection plan that is supposed to protect my investment and provide ease of mind. That's how it was sold anyway.

 

The associate reiterates "Terms & Conditions," and if the damage meets the requirements the phone will be replaced after I pay a $100 deductible.

 

What? I have to pay another fee?

 

It's not a fee; it's a deductible.

 

I'm not going to argue the semantics; they're both costs on a no-additional-costs protection plan. And a quick bit of mental math tells me, I've just been hit with $140 in additional costs. Add in the original $80, and I'll end up paying $220 to purchase and use this protection plan. That's $20 more than I paid for the phone. And that's the crux of the problem. It doesn't really matter what happened after this point or how many Best Buy employees I spoke with, the point is your company is selling a service - a protection plan - that costs more than the product it protects. How can that be? And no one has been able or willing to answer that.

 

I spoke to several more service center employees. It was always a $40 service fee and a $100 deductible on a no-additional-costs plan; costs that were not disclosed upfront because if they were. . .well, it doesn't take a mathematician to see the problem. And no one can tell me why the plan is sold as repair or replace if repairs are not an option. Even when I went back to the store and spoke with the store manager, I couldn't get an answer to any of this.

 

I offered the store manager a solution that would cost me a little bit of money and Best Buy wouldn't make as much, but it was a compromise that sees Best Buy keep a customer. He said no. I would either have to pay the additional $140 to have the phone replaced or eat the $80 on the plan and simply buy a new phone at whatever the current cost was.

 

This brings up the next point. The phone is currently offered at the sale price of $130. That's $10 below what I'm being asked to pay to have the phone covered by the plan. And if you add in the original $80, the final cost on the replacement plan will be $90 more than what I could have bought the phone for new right then and there.

 

$90.  There is something wrong when the protection plan costs $90 more than the product it protects. The store manager agreed, but it wasn't Best Buy's fault, it was mine for not having read the terms and conditions at the time of purchase more closely he said.

 

The Geek Squad Protection Plans may be a scam, but it isn't Best Buy's fault for ripping off the customer, it's the customer's fault for letting Best Buy rip them off.

 

That is essentially how the store manager explained it to me. (And somewhere in the middle of it all, he tried to blame Covid-19) And that attitude from Best Buy is pretty prevalent in the way it treats its customers. I've taken time to read a number of complaints here in the forums, on Facebook, and even on the Better Business Bureau's website. A lot of customers were sold something based on the assurances and trust of a Best Buy employee that turned out to be not so trustworthy. A misinformed employee is how Best Buy customer service reps such as yourself describe it in posting after posting. And, as they are quick to point out, Best Buy is not responsible for misinformed employees as long as that fine print legalese is included at the bottom of your 6-foot long streamer receipts.

 

Now, it should be pretty easy to get these misinformed employees on the same page. You tell them not to misrepresent the policy and if they do, they're fired. A couple of discharged employees later and you would find all those misinformed employees to be suddenly highly aware.

 

But there are so many of these misinformed employees mentioned in the various chat rooms and forums - and Best Buy's seeming lack of addressing the issue - that it begins to look like a pattern. Maybe they aren't so misinformed at all. These are highly profitable plans being sold, after all. In fact, they're almost completely profit, like free money, which is why so many companies offer them. They push their employees to make these sales, and they push them hard. I know; I've worked retail. And it doesn't really matter what it takes for the salesperson to make that sale (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), just make it happen because the company is covered by that fine print legalese at the bottom of the receipt no matter what their salesperson says or promises in order to make that sale. And making the sale is what keeps the employee employed, not providing the customer with good service or proper information.

 

So, I've learned my lesson. Don't trust the employee. Read the legalese before it gets printed on your receipt. And if a company is willing to blatantly rip you off, and when you call them on it and they say it's actually your fault for letting them rip you off, don't do business with that company. They don't actually want your business. Business is a long-term proposition, an on-going relationship that sees the customer return to make purchases over time out of loyalty and trust that was developed by and with the company.

 

Best Buy doesn't want my business or anyone else's business over the long-term. They don't develop trust or loyalty. All they want is our cash now. This may serve their bottom line in the near term, but it won't succeed over time. They will eventually alienate enough customers that they will have to change their ways or go out of business.

 

Will they make the change in time? I don't know. I do know that none of the service agents were willing to assist me. Those are the policies they told me, and nothing can be done to change, alter, or adjust the policies to help a customer. 

 

"You should have read those Terms & Conditions," they said.

 

I know the store manager was unwilling to help.

 

"You should have read those Terms & Conditions," he reiterated. Then he blamed Covid-19, which I'm still trying to understand.

 

But beyond this handful of people who were unwilling or unable to help a customer or explain the reasoning behind a protection plan costing more than the product it protects, or why a repair or replace plan has no repair option or why a determination of eligibility needs to be made on a no questions asked policy, no one from Best Buy has attempted to reach out and help resolve this issue.

 

No one at Best Buy responded to my Facebook posts.

 

No one at Best Buy responded to my email.

 

No one at Best Buy responded to my private message.

 

In that initial phone call I made, I was told that if approved and I submitted my phone for replacement, it would likely be several weeks before I received that replacement device. I cannot afford to go weeks without a phone. I'm already experiencing problems with clients that cannot reach me. A period of weeks would be untenable. That, combined with all the other issues Best Buy has presented me with, has led me to my decision, or rather, Best Buy has led me to it. Your company does not value my business and so they shall not have it.

 

It is with noted irony that I received notification of your response to my forums post on this issue as I was transferring my data to a new cell phone purchased from another company. A cell phone that has greater specs than one I was trying to have repaired or replaced under the plan I purchased from your company. It has a better camera, more memory, and a faster processor. But the real kicker?

 

It was only $120 on sale, a full $100 less than if I had paid the service fee and deductible on top of the original cost of your protection plan.

 

Please explain to me, and all the other forum members, how that plan offered any value or protection to any of the customers that purchased it.

 

We'll all be waiting.

 

 

Posts: 5,541
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Registered: ‎08-21-2017

Re: 2-Year Cell Phone Protection Plan Costs More Than Phone It Protects

[ Edited ]

Hi there, Bilmore,

 

Thank you for following up with Allison. She is currently unavailable but I would be glad to continue assisting you.

 

We offer Geek Squad Protection plans for a wide variety of products. The benefits to these plans can include repair options that aren't covered by a manufacturer warranty as well as replacement in the event accidental damage from handling. You are always welcome to review the specific coverage of these plans for cell phones here.

 

Please let let us know if you would like to pursue Allison's offer to document your feedback here at our Corporate Campus. As a reminder, you can send a private message by clicking on the blue button at the bottom of this post. 

 

Regards,

AndrewB|Social Media Specialist | Best Buy® Corporate
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New Member
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎12-28-2020

Re: 2-Year Cell Phone Protection Plan Costs More Than Phone It Protects

[ Edited ]

Andrew,

 

You obviously did not read either of my two postings above, nor have you or anyone at Best Buy addressed my concerns that I have plainly stated numerous times. All I get is someone reciting from some script that Geek Squad's Protection Plans are a great deal.

 

How so? How does a plan that costs more than the phone it is supposed to protect qualify as a great deal? Just because you say it over and over does not make it so.

 

And as far as formally documenting this issue, it's been documented on your website in a review of the product to which no one has responded. It has been documented on your Facebook page to which no one has responded. It has been documented in private messages to Best Buy on your Facebook page to which no one has responded. It has been documented in an email I sent to Best Buy to which no one has responded. See a pattern here?

 

And finally, it has been documented here on your forums page, but sorry, dear customer, there's nothing to be done because it hasn't been formally documented. What good are the forums then? What's the point of any of this except to wear the customer out until he gives up. You and your company are clearly not interested in helping because a good customer service agent would take a look at this and say something is not right here. Let's escalate this to a proper supervisor to find out what went wrong, and if it's Best Buy's fault, do something to redress the issue and say "We're sorry. That shouldn't have happened."

 

But Best Buy's response has been a mostly deafening silence. But as I've prattled on and not gone away, you finally respond with "Well, maybe if you had formally documented this we would have done something. Would you like to formally document this? I mean, it's up to you. You don't have to, but think about it. And if you decide to, get back to us, but the onus is on you to do something, not Best Buy."

 

You could have taken any one of my 'lengthy' essays detailing the issue and started 'formal' documentation. And you already have all my contact information. I gave it to you when I signed up on your website to post the review. I gave it to you when I had to register to post in the forums. I gave it to you when I spoke to your representatives on the phone. I gave it to you when I first took my phone into my local Best Buy to activate the protection plan. Hell, I even gave it to you when I purchased the plan. You could have started this 'formal' process at any time. You could have contacted me at any time during any of this, but you didn't.

 

It's been me doing all the contacting. And now you tell me if I want to pursue this issue, I'll need to contact you yet again to request formal documentation because, gosh, this is all news to Best Buy. Apparently nobody there is even aware there is a problem with the really fantastic Geek Squad Protection Plan.

 

By the way, have you told me recently how great that plan is? 'Cause it's downright awesome.

 

Well, consider this your formal contact to initiate formal documentation of the very formal problem I'm experiencing with your awesome Geek Squad Protection Plan.

 

You know how to contact me.

 

William {removed per forum guidelines}

Best Buy Employee
Posts: 2,169
Registered: ‎01-09-2015

Re: 2-Year Cell Phone Protection Plan Costs More Than Phone It Protects

Word of advice:  Due to the privacy policy, they are required to confirm who you are.  Send them the details via private message that they requested or you're essentially at a dead-end.  They cannot assist you in any way until you do.  

 

 

I am a Best Buy Employee, but the views that I post are my own and not that of Best Buy.
***Know that I am not able to issue official responses and that my posts are only here to help before an official response is offered by a Best Buy Social Media Specialist***
Posts: 4,451
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Registered: ‎11-29-2016

Re: 2-Year Cell Phone Protection Plan Costs More Than Phone It Protects

Good morning, William,

 

Welcome back to our Support Forums.  As I see my colleagues, Allison and Andrew have mentioned, there may be fees charged when utilizing your Geek Squad Protection plan (GSP) for your phone, which are outlined in the terms and conditions found here.  I apologize if this information was not relayed to you during your initial phone purchase. 

 

Although we’ll be unable to waive these fees, or modify the terms of your GSP in any way, if you are no longer interested in keeping your GSP, you may be able to cancel your plan and receive a pro-rated refund.  If this is something you’d be interested in, I recommend contacting our Geek Squad at 1-800-433-5778.

 

Please know our Support Forums are moderated out of our Corporate Headquarters here in Minnesota, so you’ve certainly come to the right place to share your feedback with us, and I’ll be fully documenting it here to ensure your insights are fully visible, so we might improve the experience we’re able to provide our customers in the future.  If you’d like to share the information Allison has requested previously, I may be able to locate your purchase and share your feedback with the store it was purchased from, so they might address any coaching or training opportunities that may be available.  However, if you would prefer not to share this information, I can respect your decision.

 

Thank you for sharing your feedback with us,

SeanM|Social Media Specialist | Best Buy® Corporate
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New Member
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎12-28-2020

Re: 2-Year Cell Phone Protection Plan Costs More Than Phone It Protects

Sean,

 

Where to start? That phone number you provided? That's the one I called when this whole mess started. I asked about getting a refund on the plan from each of the agents I spoke with. No can do. No refunds of any amount under any circumstances. Period. They were very clear about it. I went to my local retail store and spoke with the store manager.

 

No refunds of any amount under any circumstances. Again, he was very clear about it. Have I not mentioned this previously? Because I feel like I've documented this somewhere, like, on a forums page or something.

 

Anyway, as I understand it, your advice to me is to go back to the beginning, call the number once more, and start over to see if maybe it'll be different this time. Um, okay. Sure.

 

But before I do that, can you tell me where this pro-rated refund suddenly came from? Why didn't any of the Best Buy employees I've dealt with including the two previous Social Media Specialists right here on the forum offer that? Oh, that's right, it seems all your employees are misinformed and don't know about it. Or is this just a special pro-rated thing for me? Shh, don't tell anyone about it. Certainly not those agents you'll be contacting by phone yet again.

 

And why should I get a pro-rated refund? Why not a full refund? I didn't use the plan at all. And before you say 'terms and conditions,' let me say so what. That's just an excuse. Seriously, in this case, it's like I slide $80 across the table to you and you just slide it back. It literally wouldn't cost you anything. You wouldn't have to repair the old phone. You wouldn't be out a replacement phone. But you would have purchased the goodwill of a customer.

 

Maybe the reason not to give refunds is to force the customer to use the plan. They've already been tricked into purchasing by not disclosing all the additional costs, right? And if they don't use it, they will lose that initial purchase cost. In for a penny, in for a pound, you know what I'm sayin'? But of course,  if they use it, you get to add on all these additional costs, fees, deductibles - because terms and conditions that weren't disclosed - to the original purchase price. It's just extra money in Best Buy's pocket.

 

If the customer chooses not to use the plan, well,  you won't make any extra money, but you're certainly not going to give any money back because - again, you know - terms and conditions.

 

'We'll keep what we got and call it a day.'

 

But when the customer finds out they've been had, that $80 initial cost of the protection plan is the price you paid for your company's good name and reputation.

 

And in case there is any confusion, I'm the customer who has realized he's been had. So, I'm not going to be using the plan because it would cost more to use it and get a refurbished phone in a couple of weeks than to simply purchase a new phone today.  It's just throwing good money after bad. And this leads us back to my core issue that no one, including yourself, seems willing to address.

 

Why is the plan more expensive than the phone? Have I not asked this question in any of my previous postings or contacts with Best Buy? Because I'm pretty sure I have. Why does everyone ignore that question? How is paying more for the protection plan than the phone a 'great deal' as Andrew put it?

 

To brush it off as 'well, there may be fees, deductibles, and other additional small costs that you weren't aware of when purchasing your protection plan' is disingenuous at best. How come no one knew to tell me about any of this prior to purchase, but everyone knew to point that out first thing when I needed to use the plan.

 

And why all the passing of the buck? Website says go to the store. Store says call the phone number. Phone number says you can always go back to the store. Store manager asks if you've tried the phone number. Best Buy's Facebook page and website just don't respond at all. So, I end up here in the forum, and when I push for an answer people just disappear.

 

Alison is no longer able to assist me.

 

Andrew apparently just ghosted.

 

Now there's you who have so helpfully advised to "call that number again. Mention pro-rating. See if that does anything."

 

Is there no employee at Best Buy who will take charge of the issue and say, "You know what? I'm going to help this customer. I'm going to resolve this problem."

 

Or is not helping the customer a Best Buy policy that I was not made aware of at the time of purchase along with fees, deductibles, and other associated but small costs?

 

Thanks,

 

William

 

PS - Please kindly advise the next Social Media Specialist to take up this thread to read my earlier postings before advising me to go to my local Best Buy retailer and see if the manager can help me.

New Member
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎12-28-2020

Re: 2-Year Cell Phone Protection Plan Costs More Than Phone It Protects

Thanks, but this issue began in November of 2020. It's now January of 2021. Based on Best Buy's previous (non)responses and actions up to this point, I'm guessing assistance is not their end goal.

Posts: 4,451
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Registered: ‎11-29-2016

Re: 2-Year Cell Phone Protection Plan Costs More Than Phone It Protects

Welcome back, William,

 

In regards to the refund I’ve referred to, while I can’t speak to the conversations you’ve had with our phone support teams or other associates at your local Best Buy store, should you choose to cancel your plan, you may receive a partial refund.  This is also outlined in the terms and conditions of your GSP.

 

There is not another associate or team I’ll be able to direct you to that can provide you any alternate options beyond what Allison, Andrew, and I have provided, and this will be our final response on the matter. 

 

Thanks,

SeanM|Social Media Specialist | Best Buy® Corporate
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