Service Plans: Know the Details Before You Buy

by Geek Squad Agent on ‎10-20-2010 03:04 PM (6,672 Views)

That post is here. The writer, a former Best Buy employee, made some interesting points about the quality and value of SquareTrade relative to Best Buy’s Geek Squad Black Tie Protection (GSBTP) plans. Obviously, that employee has a right to express his own opinion. However, we would like to take a moment to make a case for our plans and explain how we have continued to evolve the plans to meet the needs of consumers.

 

If you’re unfamiliar with SquareTrade, it’s an independent company founded in 1999 that now specializes in supplemental product warranties. Essentially, it offers a service that competes with Geek Squad Black Tie Protection plans (previously called Product Service Plans, or PSPs). We’re not here to attack SquareTrade. The company offers a valuable service at a reasonable price, and we look forward to the competition. But we don’t think it’s anywhere near the open and shut case that was presented on Lifehacker.

 

For example, SquareTrade and GSBTP both have “no lemon” policies in place. If you buy a product that needs four qualified repairs, it’s deemed a “lemon” and will be replaced. However, under SquareTrade’s policy, your product must have the exact same problem four times in a 12-month period in order to be replaced. So, for example, if your TV has a tuner problem twice and a power supply problem twice, it won’t be replaced. Under GSBTP’s policy, after four qualified repairs the product is deemed a “lemon”, and it will be replaced. So, while SquareTrade’s warranty price in this situation may be lower, on that particular protection, we don’t feel that plan measures up.

 

There are other examples, and they can work out to be advantageous to one side or the other. Some quick examples:
• User-replaceable battery replacement – yes with GSBTP, no with SquareTrade
• Burn-in or pixel repair – yes with GSBTP, no with SquareTrade
• Guaranteed 5-day service – yes with SquareTrade, currently no with GSBTP
• $50 deductible for Accidental Damage from handling claims on cell phones – no with GSBTP, yes with SquareTrade
• Coverage from day of purchase – yes with GSBTP, SquareTrade makes you wait 60 days
• One place to go for help – customers with GSBTP plans go to BBY for help regardless of the product being under manufacturer warranty, Squaretrade will assist the customer in getting help from the manufacturer rather than with Squaretrade
• Good maintenance reward – yes with GSBTP giving you Reward Zone points if your plan goes unused, Squaretrade does not have a similar benefit
• Reinstallation/recalibration – yes with GSBTP if Geek Squad installed and/or calibrated your TV originally we will redo if the TV needs repair, Squaretrade does not have this benefit

 

The long and short of it is that consumers should compare the terms and conditions of GSBTP and SquareTrade (and any other competitors) to decide what is most valuable to them. For the most part, consumers who absolutely value low price for their service plan may do better with SquareTrade. That model is designed to minimize price. Conversely, if you value having a local location to go to for service, there are more than 1,000 Best Buy stores you can visit. If you think you may need help reinstalling or setting up your repaired or replaced gear, Geek Squad is here to help. Once again, the list goes on, and consumers should consult the individual terms of these service plans and the benefits of the retailers in making a decision.

 

We’re constantly revisiting and revising our service offerings based on customer feedback. More and more of our customers tell us that service isn’t simply swapping out a broken TV for a functioning unit. It’s remounting that TV on a wall, calibrating it to the space and ensuring all the connections are made. It’s not replacing a broken laptop but also migrating data, setting up the network and connecting the peripherals. This is the direction we’re moving in, and we feel confident that it’s a level of service and peace of mind that others simply can’t offer. Some of you may be in pilot markets across the country, where new features and price points are tested to determine customer satisfaction. When we find something that meets our customers’ needs, we roll it out nationally. We’re always interested in hearing customer thoughts on our business – be it service plans, in-store experience or anything else.

 

We’ve yet to find the one service plan that’s perfect for everyone. In fact, we don’t think it exists. Look at the fine print, consider what’s important to you and make a decision from that. If the right choice is GSBTP, then great! We hope you don’t have any problems, but we’re here for you if you do. If the right choice is SquareTrade, we understand that, too. But do feel free to tell us why you chose that plan, so we can further improve our own. And keep checking in, because we’re constantly updating our service to better match the ever-evolving way that you’re using your own technology.

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