Best Buy Soap Box

Howdy and welcome back to another fabulous edition of The Weekly Geek!

This week I want to step up on the soap box and let all our wonderful readers know about the sheer pleasure that Best Buy brought to me (sarcasm is dripping from that statement).

About a year and a half ago a customer bought me a laptop. He had purchased two or three others at the same time and his theory was if he had an issue with one he could call me. This customer has been one of my top ten customers for a long time so I greatly appreciated the purchase. He also purchased extended warranties on all of the laptops.

Well lo and behold about two months ago (5/24/06) the video died on my laptop. I could connect to an external monitor and use the system so I figure that the LCD or a connection to it must be bad. I backed up all my data and files and brought the laptop into the local Best Buy for warranty service. OK, so I checked it out first and then brought it to Best Buy.

If any of you have ever brought anything into mega store for warranty work, you know the forms and papers they ask you to sign or initial. Well to no surprise there was a check box for allowing them to format (actually the words really give you no choice) the hard drive. I refused to initial that box and the clerk got a little upset, I explained my credentials and stated that there was no reason to format a hard drive for a display or video issue.

Two weeks later, give or take, the laptop came back. Yep, they could not fix it at Best Buy they had to send it to the “depot” for repair. Guess what the display worked BUT… you guessed it, they formatted the hard drive AND then the clerk insisted that I needed security software and that for only $69.99 I could buy Symantec and for a small fee (which was $40) they would install it. After saying “no” to the purchase I questioned the clerk as to why the hard drive had to be formatted. “That is what they just do.” “It is necessary when doing a repair.” And my favorite “They had to in order to repair the screen.”

No wonder the average person does not trust computer technicians. Other than the first excuse all others were plain old lies. I had removed all passwords from administrative the log on and video issues need hardware and maybe drivers but not fresh installs. To ad insult to injury they wanted me to buy additional software, they only installed the operating system (they had the Compaq recovery CD’s which they insisted they needed – that should have been a full alarm to me) and they ran no updates.

Not once did I raise my voice, threaten or intimidate the clerk, after questioning him I simply stated the truth, that what he told me was not only wrong but a lie. I explained to him my credentials and what was wrong and even how it was fixed. The only response was a glazed over look, maybe I was talking over his head, I must have mad a mistake when assuming that the shirt he was wearing stating the he was a member of the “Geek Squad” meant that they must know how to repair (even in theory) a computer.

I want to be very clear about this, Best Buy is not the only company doing this! In my area there is a “computer repair business” (and I use the term lightly) that their first “repair” on almost every PC is to reinstall back to the way it came from the factory. No updates no testing no concern for the customer, and they charge over $300 to do this! Technicians and Computer company owners need to take their time and diagnose a problem, properly fix the problem and not abuse the customer in the process.

Well, I could go on with this soap box rant for a bit longer but I hope you got the point.

Until we meet again, have a virus free week!