Woman Sues Best Buy For $54 Million Over Lost Laptop

from the some-attention-please... dept

It’s tough to value a lost laptop. After all, there are often all sorts of private information and content of sentimental value on a laptop. So, when a woman discovered that Best Buy had lost the laptop she gave them to fix (after repeatedly lying to her about how soon the laptop would be fixed), she decided to sue the retailer for $54 million (found via Engadget). She admits that she’s not really expecting to get the $54 million, and simply chose that number to get media attention (it’s working), but given the run around that Best Buy gave her, it’s not too surprising that she rejected its last offer of $2500, a $900 gift card and a refund on the laptop. Originally, the company had just offered her the gift card (less than the cost of the computer). It wasn’t until she filed the lawsuit that Best Buy seemed willing to offer something more. The woman also had some friends contact the store manager of the store that lost the laptop, and he responded to them by saying “we strive to deliver the experience that every customer deserves to receive” and “not every customer can be satisfied.” That seems like a pretty weak response to having completely lost someone’s laptop you were supposed to repair.

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Companies: best buy

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Comments on “Woman Sues Best Buy For $54 Million Over Lost Laptop”

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Killer_Tofu (profile) says:


The Geek Squad sucks as is.
Paying young geeks low pay and reaping in the insane profits off of the repairs and stuff they do.
They easily charge over an average of 100$ / hour (at least here in Michigan from my estimates of their advertised prices and how long I would expect stuff to take .. if they had minor setbacks, so they are probably making more).

MJ says:


Actually, when it comes to warranty work, BB doesn’t let the Geek Squad do the repairs – the only involvement the GS has is that they box it and UPS it to either their central service department or to the manufacturer, whichever is covering the then-current warranty. I agree that GS sucks, but they may not be to blame here…..not THIS time. 🙂

Ben S says:

Worst Buy

I avoid doing business with Best Buy at almost all costs. I’d rather order something from another vendor and have to wait a week or two rather than set foot inside a BB store again. Their policies are anti-customer and anti-consumer. If you buy one of their extended warranties, good luck getting them to honor it. Consumerist has many, many horror stories from around the country of BB screwing people over.

I don’t blame this woman at all for the $54 million. Sadly, BB will continue to do what’s profitable: screwing their customers.

matt says:

I hope she slams best buy hard

Best buy is a horrible overmarketed retailer. We all know their strategies, turning associates into salespeople, screwing people on returns, totally underpaying their tech support, and generally scamming the hell out of prices on everything. Compare any best buy item to newegg or overstock and the price will be halved, if not better on just about all things. I’ve yet to ever hear of a best buy deal being better than they other.

They are designed to capture the unaware consumer, and they seem to be doing a good job at it, in the name of the bottom line and their shareholders (which is how they get away with unethical business practices – there are laws that say if things are in the interest of shareholders, which is a very low provable standard, that it is acceptable)

brian says:

Re: I hope she slams best buy hard

Interesting that you are comparing a brick and mortar store to two online only discounters. Of course they can sell for less, that’s one of the benefits of being an online store. Since you don’t appear to know the difference between them it is not surprising that you are making generalizations about other things like marketing and ethics. Clearly you don’t know as much as you think you do…

Liquid says:

Go Geek Squad

Geek Squad = People with high school diplomas. I tried back in 2004 when I first started going to school to get my Associates degree. They told me and many of my friends that applied for jobs at the local Best Buy that we were over qualified for the position. Just think about this next time you bring a computer to have it worked on by the Geek Squad.


James says:

Geek Squad

I went into Best Buy trying on the off chance to find an adapter for a molex power connection to one on a sata drive. When I said molex you would have thought I had just landed a space craft at the service counter.

Same thing at Circuit City’s fire dog. The Technology supervisor advised me there is no such thing as moelx connectors in a computer.

I charge 40-60 bucks to fix a PC and I know what I am doing.

If you wont let your teenage child fix your computer why the hell are you going to geek squad!

PC Guy says:

Re: Geek Squad

Same here. I operate a service and support business and charge less than GS or FD because I don’t have:
1) A national ad budget to support
2) A boatfull of overpaid executives to support
3) Stockholders to worry about

And, I have customers that actually recommend me to their friends. Do you think the Geek Squad has that?

By the way, until BB bought the Geek Squad, they actually were a top of the line service & support operation.

Anonymous Coward says:

GO FOR IT!!! They “corporations” have been screwing us for long enough, time to turn the tables and see how they feel. HP is another one, long story short, pixels burned out on laptop within warranty, sent it to them 3 times and they sent it back 3 times with NO REASON for why they didn’t repair it, and then the warranty was over so they told me I was S.O.L. Make it a class action lawsuit and sue the whole lot of them for 54 “B”illion!

Alberto says:

BB deserves to be

BB deserves that, and more.

In my experience with them, they are the WORST. They have tactics that would make a Mafia movie seem like a kids story.

I have had some nasty experiences with them. The last happened when I tried to buy a computer with them (in Tucson), and after I refused to buy the extended service, they told me that the item had been already sold, and they didn’t have any other computer like that.

Later that same day, I returned to the store, and saw them selling the same item.

I then decided that that would be the last time I would buy from them. And I have kept my self made promise without any regret.


Mitch the Bitch says:

After building/servicing PC’s since 1984 I can tell you most customers aren’t the angels that people in this post pretend. As dumb as BB Geeks are the user is 99% of the time much much worse.

If YOU don;t back up your data then you are stupid. Period… Regardless that the machine is “already” broken. Relying on ANYONE makes YOU even more foolish. In this case BB is at fault for losing the Laptop and giving her the run-around. Not for losing HER data. She is the fool on that point.

That said steer very clear of BB.

Anonymous Coward says:

Not that I condone the shady actions of Best Buy and its employees, but not all experiences are bad. At my local Best Buy, I don’t think I’ve ever run across a salesman that didn’t know anything about the products they were selling. Granted, sometimes I knew more than them, but they’re nothing like the kids working at Walmart whose eyes just glaze over whenever you try to ask them a technical question.

Also, Best Buy really does have some good deals on equipment, if you catch the right sales. Plus, for big-ticket items like TVs and home theater systems, I would much rather buy locally so it’s easy (and free) to return if there’s a problem with something. Imagine what return shipping on an HDTV would cost you. And the optional 4-year service contracts are a nice touch that you may not get just anywhere.

Here’s an example of one of my better experiences. Last summer I picked up a Samsung 40″ LCD TV from Best Buy. For some reason they had two of the same model on the shelf, a rare occurence. The salesman said one of them had just been put out on display less than a week ago, and he could sell me that one right off the shelf with their open-box discount (which is a 10% off discount in the form of a gift card). Now, the TV was originally $1700, already on sale for just over $1600. Not only did I get the sale price, but the salesman gave me the 10% off gift card for the original price, meaning I got $170 on the card. Then, since the 4-year contract was priced at $200, I immediately used the gift card on that, reducing it to a mere $30. Additionally, I had previously purchased a Samsung up-convert DVD player which was now on clearance (less than a month later), so they refunded me the difference. On top of it all, I got in on a great free financing deal. I think I got a great deal, and was treated very well throughout the whole process. The only part where I feel I got suckered was paying about $50 for a little 3′ HDMI cable, when I later found I could get a 7′ HDMI cable from Newegg for $7 that works just as good.

One thing I have noticed, though, is that it’s a good idea to check the Best Buy website to price-compare items online with in-store items, because sometimes the website will have a better deal. When that happens, you will need to either order it online for local pickup, or bring in a printout of the item with the price and current date shown in order for them to honor it. They appear to have access to the website at their terminals around the store, but I suspect it’s an offline cache because (1) it’s way faster than the real website and (2) it didn’t reflect a lower online price on the same day I checked it online myself. I don’t think it happens too often, but you should be wary of it anyway.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“One thing I have noticed, though, is that it’s a good idea to check the Best Buy website to price-compare items online with in-store items, because sometimes the website will have a better deal. When that happens, you will need to either order it online for local pickup, or bring in a printout of the item with the price and current date shown in order for them to honor it. They appear to have access to the website at their terminals around the store, but I suspect it’s an offline cache because (1) it’s way faster than the real website and (2) it didn’t reflect a lower online price on the same day I checked it online myself. I don’t think it happens too often, but you should be wary of it anyway.”

seriously, you haven’t heard about how they have a version on their intranet that has different prices then the www version?

do some checking

sonofdot says:

Re: Re:

I agree. Everyone else can argue about whether or not she had a backup, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that she dropped off her laptop at Best Buy for repair, and it was stolen or lost. Best Buy wouldn’t fess up, but rather chose to stonewall, and then finally made a lame offer for less than the cost of the laptop, with no consideration for her missing TAX FILES or anything else.

Now, we can sit back and see which asswipe is going to claim she shouldn’t have had her tax files on her computer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Tax files

Why would any repair facility take PERSONAL files into consideration? That makes no differnce to the repair process and sure as hell can’t be quaranteed (especially if it’s a HD failure).

It’s called PERSONAL RESPONSIBLITY! Back it up if it’s that important. Otherwise, STFU.

The only issue is the physical laptop itself (and its full cost to replace). For that nonsense, BB does deserve to pay for her lost time since they gave her the run-around.

ochito says:

Re: Re: Re: Tax files

It’s not about LOSING the files as in not being able to recover them, it’s about RISKING the information, since they lost the whole laptop, including hard drive, whoever ends up with it can have access to her private information. Backups do NOT help with that and that is what she is arguing.

See, I can use CAPS too.. Does it make me look smart?

ochito says:

Re: Re: Re: Tax files

It’s not about LOSING the files as in not being able to recover them, it’s about RISKING the information, since they lost the whole laptop, including hard drive, whoever ends up with it can have access to her private information. Backups do NOT help with that and that is what she is arguing.

See, I can use CAPS too.. Does it make me look smart?

Ace Rimmer says:

Re: Re:

That would be my thinking.. backing up your data is one thing.. but when you are unable to secure it on a cpu that wont boot.. you can only hope it is safe in the hands of those you send it to.. and you are better to think it is not secure..some companies actually search your computer while they have it.. that has actually lead to charges in more than one case in Canada.. best thing you can do is remove a hard drive that has your info and replace it with a spare one with less sensitive info.. hope she wins.. my experience with BB wasnt a good one either.. Big screen TV.. after 3 months.. power suppy blew.. another 3 months down for repair.. 3 months with a 13″ TV on top of my 46″.. it was great to watch a screen about the size of my PIP after 2100 bucks…lol

Anonymous Coward says:

I go to best buy all the time. I have been building and repairing computers for at least 12 years now professionally and another 10 personnally. So that said I know what best buy can and cannot handle. When ever I work on someones computer I always let them know to back up their information first. If they do not then I tell them it will be lost and I will be willing to do it for them but I will have to charge them a hourly rate and they must put in writing everything that must be backed up and where it is on the computer.

Anonymous Coward says:

“It wasn’t until she filed the lawsuit that Best Buy seemed willing to offer something more.”

Hah, well obviously a company won’t take her seriously unless she takes out the big guns. Unfortunately, it had to come to a lawsuit when what they should have done in the first place was a) find the laptop, b) if not, then refund the full price + more. They didn’t do the first one (stolen maybe? If so, own up to it at least…) and they didn’t even refund her the full price of the laptop.

CyberCop says:

Security cannot be overlooked

Two things I would like to point out here. First of all we as consumers need to ask questions about security when giving our information to anyone. Hard drives are a beautiful attraction to identity thieves because they usually have our life on them. Second companies need to be held accountable for this information and who is looking at it. I personally would never let Best Buy work on a PC simply because they hire techs who will work for almost nothing and they have no security or background checks when hiring them. Welcome to the 21st century. So in short I applaud Ms. Campbell and think she should be compensated, maybe not 54 million but quite possibly 100k or more. Best Buy should be liable for putting her at risk.

you pay for it.... says:

if you have any common sense you can remove the HD and back it up yourself on another machine. If you aren’t capable of doing that then best buy offers you the convenience of doing it for you at a charge. If your data is THAT important you can pay to have it backed up. They shouldn’t be responsible for data (and it’s stated in their service agreements). If they were responsible for data, they’d be responsible every time you had a hardware failure as well as a virus, spyware, being an idiot and formatting your hard drive, etc.

Overcast says:

…and “not every customer can be satisfied.” That seems like a pretty weak response to having completely lost someone’s laptop you were supposed to repair…

I didn’t know that was their business philosophy, I’ll be sure to keep that in mind.. Actually, I’ve heard of other companies that take customer service seriously and make sure their customers are satisfied… but then, yeah – some people can have wild expectations…

Like.. expecting a store to replace a laptop they lost. That’s a bit much!

Anonymous Coward says:

For someone so concerned about identity theft, why would this girl hand over her PC to employees of a BestBuy and likely an outsourced repair facility without backing up all sensitive data on an external USB device or similar and wiping the machine clean first. In order to test the device was repaired correctly, they would have to log on and off. She didn’t think people would be “curious” and peek at her stuff?

Dan says:

I hope the woman gets the big $$$$

Last spring my wife had WIFI card problems with the Gateway Laptop she had purchased at Best Buy (Nov 2006) with a 3 year BB warranty. She took the computer in for repair in May 2007, it came back 10 days later damaged. It looked like it had been dropped off the back of a deliver truck (no kidding), it would not work at all. Apparently BB had sent it out to a third party for repair, not Gateway- although it was still under the 1 yr manufacturer’s warranty. It had to be sent in for three more repairs (to the third party) – HD, motherbord twice, monitor and laptop case were all replaced. After all this the laptop still did not work right. BB refused to replace the computer and said it had to be sent in for repairs 4 times to be covered by their lemon policy (it was). We finally had the laptop replaced in September 2007 after calling BB corporate and the store manager several times to complain. I would never shop at BB again even if they were giving the stuff away; I throw their flyers away whenever I get them in the mail. I hope this woman gets millions, BB deserves to get shafted.

what more do you want?! says:

Re: I hope the woman gets the big $$$$

you got your laptop completely replaced!! it was a LEMON, not BB’s fault your computer sucked, you should have listened to the associate and spent the extra money to get something worth the investment!

what, at the cost of a 3-4 repairs?! you paid enough money that they still honored it. (besides BB is required by law to do so if it is in their contract terms)

do you honestly think it was BB’s fault your laptop came back to you like it was stampeded on? do you ever stop to think that this ‘3rd party’ vendor or whatever damaged your laptop?

all too often, employees fall complacent with what they have to do to keep a job, and dont worry about the quality of the product.

if you’ve ever been through a best buy employee training process, you would know that they just don’t hire people off of the street.

sorry, fortune 200 companies dont do that…

DolfLundgren says:

#23, +1. It’s likely not the fact that the files are gone, rather that they’re now in somebody else’s hands. The potential costs of recovering from identity theft start to mount very quickly. I, like most others, don’t condone frivolous lawsuits, however, she has already said that the number is strictly to get their attention. Not only was she mistreated, but they lost her laptop, gave her a runaround that shouldn’t have happened, and let her personal data loose in the world for weeks without telling anybody. It’s apparent that she wants people to know what type of business practices Best Buy uses when dealing with their customers; not to mention, any personal data that the customer has no means of controlling while their equipment is in the hands of the store. If any of you have never worked in a technical environment where you are dealing with non-technical people, then it may be tough to realize that there are very few people that know how to do a backup, let alone wipe a disk. People who are technically-minded tend to take it for granted that since they would wipe a disk before sending it in for service, that everybody would. It’s simply not true. Us technical folks have jobs because of the non-technical folks, just like a chef has a job because some of us can’t cook. Helping your customer is job #1. Best Buy obviously doesn’t follow this most basic of rules.

Daniel says:

I don’t consider all of them equal, but I only buy a few things from brick and mortar stores.
1. Loss leaders: if there is a sale and I can walk in, buy a $10 stack of blank media, etc. and leave. They’d have to try hard to screw up DVDs (I’ve seen it done).
2. Big ticket items with warranties: not the service plan, a free (included in cost) warranty that lasts a while.
3. Cameras and Laptops: I almost never buy these, but it’s nice to try them out before getting the same thing for 60% less online. My current laptop has some features that are somewhat rare, and I wouldn’t have considered without seeing it first (including analog volume wheel on the side).

I never buy the service plan, even online. I’ve seen them push service plans that cost more than the item! I can’t imagine paying $15 for a few years of coverage on a $10 USB->serial cable. If it’s expensive and doesn’t have a warranty, I look elsewhere.

Joe Harkins (user link) says:

Since they eventually did The Right Thing, I will spare the maker of my laptop a mention of their name. While waiting to board a flight from Newark Airport to Sydney, AU, I discovered that the screen on my 4-month-old ultra lightweight $2,100 laptop was dead. I’d done nothing to cause that. I had treated it like a newborn baby.

When I got to SYD I contacted US Support. They gave the address of the Australian branch. When got there and handed it over, I encountered a fool who tried to tell me it was my fault but could come up with any action on my part that might have caused the problem. So I insisted he submit it to a service engineer. I got a receipt. As a long time business man I was firm in requiring, over his objection, that the receipt be detailed as to serial number, his name, his sig and on their letter-head.

A few days later an unidentified woman left a message on the answering machine at the home where I was staying. She said they were sending the laptop back unrepaired because the issue was not covered by warranty. She was specific that the unit was being sent to the address the Sydney address I’d provided.

After a week passed without a computer, I called. I couldn’t get through to anyone who knew anything about my laptop. I should mention that it also contained a great deal of software, backups, email, etc. used to manage hundreds of web sites that I host for clients in 7 countries.

When almost 3 weeks had passed and I was ready to move on, I contacted the USA support people and gave them the details of my itinerary during the next four weeks in major cities in Thailand, Malaysia and India. When I was ready to leave India for London, I emailed the USA HQ that if they failed to return my laptop by the time I got home to Jersey City in ten days, I would file a lawsuit the very next day after my arrival.

They didn’t; I did.

I sent an overnight FedEx of the suit to the computer maker. I sued for the value of the computer, the software, the information, the loss of access to the data that were important to the purpose of the trip, the added expenses of renting equipment and buying replacement software, plus a fat dollar amount for the shear annoyance of it all.

Within an hour after reported delivery of the FedEx I got phone call from their corporate attorney. He asked me to drop the suit in exchange for a replacement computer. I told him to send me a settlement agreement in draft.

That launched a ballet of exchanging revised agreements that went on for ten days until I got what I wanted, including an extended warranty of all parts and labor for 2 years. Along the way, their lawyer tried every weasel-word-game in the book, including trying to date the warranty on the new computer forom the date of the lost one and another provision that, I had I signed it, would have barred me from ever again suing them again, anywhere in the world and for any reason. They wanted me to pay the shipping cost. They refused to discuss cash compensation.

On a Thursday some ten days later I ran out of patiernce demands and set a deadline saying if I did not have a signed agreement, and the replacement computer, on my terms, in hand by Saturday morning, our discussions were over and we would only talk again at trial.

They came through.

Point is, as frivolous as that woman’s multimillion dollar suit may seem, a well-founded, solidly documented complaint in support of a legal action is the only thing a corporation respects. You can threaten all you want and have the most solid case in the world. But until they get served with a summons, you are just wasting time.

Footnote: two weeks after the settlement, I got a call from USA Tech Support. The lost computer had been returned there. They had no info about where my laptop had been. They asked me if I wanted the data on the drive. When I said yes, they sent me the entire drive and told me to keep it as a spare.

Phil says:

Too bad it's not a class-action lawsuit!!!

BestBuy’s laptop repair center in Solon, OH (by proxy of the Mentor, OH store) stole/lost/whatever-their-excuse-is my laptop in 2005. I took the problem to the BBB and eventually got a ~$2800 check for my laptop plus a $100 gift card for the inconvenience.

The *ONLY* reason they gave me cash back instead of a store credit was because I was able to argue the point that they no longer sold matte-finished screens: all they sold were glary, glossy, low-resolution junk screens.

The *ONLY* reason I didn’t take them to court is because I had the foresight to swap the hard drive with a blank before I sent it off for repair. For a chance at $54 million, I wish I made the mistake of leaving them with my data!

Also beware: they decremented my RewardZone account so it would take me ~$2800 worth of purchases to start getting rewards again!

worked at geeksquad to help pay for college says:

Re: Re: Too bad it's not a class-action lawsuit!!!

this is way they have in fine print at the bottom of the form you MUST sign before having any sort of repair performed

“I understand that I am responsible for my data, and in no way hold bestbuy/geeksquad, etc etc liable for any loss of data etc etc”

If bestbuy/geeksquad still has the signed form, she’s gonna be shit out of luck.

Don’t get me wrong, I abhor some of their practices, but at one point in time it was a good/fun place to work at, and i’ve dealt with plenty of situations/customers like this ladies. It just plain sucks, but if you want real service don’t bring it to folks that make 6.00-7.00 an hour.

Oh and I bet that $900 gift card was the cost of a new computer with similar specs/slightly better specs.

worked at geeksquad to help pay for college says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Too bad it's not a class-action la

I’d have to read the waiver again to be 100% sure, but yeah I’m pretty sure they have enough legal jargon on it to cover data lost due to theft.

basically put, it is the owner’s responsibilty for their data no matter the circumstances. If you are not tech savy enough to handle that, you should not have a important data on a computer. period.

Brent Bonn says:

Tax Files #36

Anonymous Coward indeed… spitting venom and fire.

For all we know this woman does have her files backed up. The fact of the matter is her credit information (tax files) existed on the hard drive when she brought the computer in FOR REPAIR! Meaning she probably couldn’t securely delete sensitive information off the computer even if she knew how.

Best Buy LOST her computer and LOST her sensitive credit information and didn’t even tell her for 2 weeks.

Here’s an experiment. Why don’t you lose your credit cards and not cancel them for 2 weeks and see what happens?

If the RIAA can call downloading an MP3 theft of up to $150,000 per file (or whatever ridiculous total they pulled out of their asses, this womans credit info is likely worth 50 times more than that, at least.

Do you get it yet? DO YOU GET IT?

JB says:

INSTRUCTIONS: How to Remove Sensitive Data

How do you remove sensitive files from the hard drive of a dead computer? How do you back up files before sending a dead computer for repair?

Here is how to remove sensitive files from a non-functional computer and/or back up the hard drive:

Buy a USB to IDE connector cable. This cable allows you to connect a hard drive to a USB port. Pretty cheap on eBay, buy one today so you’ll have it when you need it.

Open the dead computer and remove the hard drive.

Attach the IDE end of the cable to the hard drive. Attach the USB end to a USB port on a working computer.

You now have access to the hard drive and can erase sensitive files. You can also back up important files.

Put the hard drive back into the computer and send it in for repair.

Of course this won’t work if your problem is a failed hard drive, but in that case they won’t be able to get to your sensitive data anyway.

Phil says:

Re: INSTRUCTIONS: How to Remove Sensitive Data

Yeah, so what. There are two problems with your argument:

1) Not everyone is tech savvy enough to do this and you can’t always get affordable help. (yet)

2) What about the copy of the data that got lost? Where is it? Who has it? What will they do with it? It doesn’t matter if you have a backup or not.

BestBuy tells you up front that they may wipe your data during repair, thus you are liable. However, they should be liable for carelessness leading to lost property and/or information.

Dr.Phil says:

Re: Re: INSTRUCTIONS: How to Remove Sensitive Data

“However, they should be liable for carelessness leading to lost property and/or information.”

Bad analogy time:
You take your car in to get repaired. You leave your briefcase/purse which has tax files (and nude pictures ;)) in the trunk.

Time passes. They say they “lost” your car.

Are they liable for your missing tax files?

Phil says:

Re: Re: Re: INSTRUCTIONS: How to Remove Sensitive

I love a good counter argument…

However, I would point out the unlikelihood of a woman leaving her purse behind, especially in a car for several weeks. If she did, odds are it was empty. One could also argue that a purse is not a part of the car, whereas a hard drive full of data is certainly part of a computer. Car and PC services are different enough…

Alimas says:

Re: Re: Re:2 INSTRUCTIONS: How to Remove Sensit

The software on the hard drive is not necessarily part of the computer original mechanisms. Arguably, the data one might be vying for probably wouldn’t be the OS, but would be the personal documents and items they left on there in the care of the facility and its’ staff.
The purse is just one example. A better one would be the radio. A car repair facility can be held liable for the disappearance of things in your vehicle while its on their property (thats why most places have in fine writing that you acknowledge not to hold them liable if anything disappears – cause otherwise legally, they would be).

Chronno S. Trigger says:

Re: INSTRUCTIONS: How to Remove Sensitive Data

This is TechDirt so I’m going to assume there are a few technical people reading this. I have worked with some so called “Technical” people and they may know quite a bit about computers they don’t know crap about the end user.

How many people do you think would be able to remove the drive in the first place? After they do that and actually get it hooked up to the other PC, how many do you think would be able to find their documents?

My mother finds it amazing that I can view her My Documents from another login. She finds it scary when I use go2assist. Most people do not know, and do not want to know how to pull data from a drive on a dead PC. A lot of people cannot grasp why I can view someones documents from another login.

Do you really think that this person was that good at computers if she took her laptop to Geek Squad?

-July, Boycott RIAA/MPAA

Heff says:

Getting your data back.

My wife had the screen tank on her laptop and desperately wanted the data available (now!). I pulled out her hard drive
(a 1-screw matter on most laptops) and popped it into a little USB housing (not too expensive, about $20) and copied the data onto our desktop system. (You still have one of *those* around these days, I hope!) The whole process took about 15 minutes and it gave us a chance to recover her files and scratch any personal data before sending the laptop off for repair.

Google for ‘2.5″ usb hd enclosure’ to see the item I’m describing, I find them invaluable…

Ringoloid says:

#39, et al.

Mr. STFU and all other tweeked geekers, I will try to say this slowly for your benefit. It…is…not…the…backup…that…is…the…issue…it…is…the…data…wipe…when…it…won’t…boot. Only one of you ‘professionals’ even bothered to mention taking the hd out of the damaged unit to perform the backup…wait did they just say backup? Now what was my point again? ITS NOT THE BACKUP! Follow the bouncing ball if you have to – remove the hd (you’ve already backed it up, right?…if not, do so now.), now…KILL IT! Replace and send to the tweener geek to juggle off the counter. People! The whole reason these consumers take their computers to places like BB/Geek Squad and their clones is because THEY THEMSELVES DON’T KNOW ENOUGH TO DO THIS STUFF ON THEIR OWN! Every once in a while in reading this page someone utilizing both sides of their brain has pointed this out. We get paid to do these things for a reason – we supply a resource they do not have. The real issue is that BB LOST the laptop (not to mention, lied to the customer – repeatedly). The fact that this woman left information on the hd SHOULD BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED (she’s using geek squad for a reason, remember?) – keep in mind, they offer the service FOR A REASON. What do you think it might be, hmm? Could it be MOST people don’t know how? And in the case of not being able to kill/back-up the drive because of an inability to boot (not everyone has the tools at their disposal, like we do, to yank, manipulate, and reinsert)…did it dawn on my fellow Einsteins that the Geek Squad is going to face the same problem…? The real issue, bottom line, is the data on the lost hd. Legally, it is reasonable for BB to assume there is quite likely – notice I said ‘quite LIKELY’ – to be data on ANY drive in ANY device brought in for repair at ANY given time. The responsibility for it while in their care is theirs given the type of service they are providing. Please, I don’t have to spell that one out now do I? Now for the monkey wrench…has anyone ever heard of a little thing called the HIPAA Laws? If not check them out…seriously. They exist SOLELY to protect and assign responsibility personal data being handled, stored, transmitted, processed, destroyed, etc. HIPAA deals mainly with Medical Data, yes, but the precept ‘bleeds’ into all other facets of data management. Don’t you people read our own trade rags? Please! The fact remains that Best Buy seriously dropped the ball here and have gone from the frying pan into the fire because they handled the situation with complete ineptitude and left this woman’s sensitive information dangling out there. If the laptop had been destroyed – great!, and I mean that. More than likely the laptop was stolen and the data will be abused. Either way she’s screwed. Oh, and just out of curiosity, how many of you here completely clean out ALL personal information and loose data out of your VEHICLE before you hand it over to your mechanic/service center/tire place, etc. -Think about it.-

John Doe says:

off topic, but BB has some of the worst store policies i’ve never seen. I bought 4k worth of home audio stuff from them last Christmas, due to a big sale they had. 2 of my tower speakers came in damage and the turn around on shipping would have taken almost a month due to back order. When I saw that they had some in stock at my local store, they wouldn’t let me exchange the speakers.

They said I had to RETURN my online bought speakers from bestbuy.com and then rebuy the store one. The store speakers were 200$ more, and I asked them if they could price match their own product. They said no.

Alimas says:

Geek Squads Horrible

They massively rip people off. I often troubleshoot/repair laptops and desktops for people, and unless a part needs to be ordered I can typically do the job no longer than one day (in the afternoon when I get home from my regular job and have it ready by the next afternoon).
In addition to that, I’ll fix software problems and clean out viruses and adware and counsel the customer on preventing future problems.
Geek Squad keeps your computer for a measure of days (if not longer), simply wipes the drive and reloads the OS if there are software problems and then requests hundreds of dollars without even explaining to an interested customer what went wrong.
I just charge between 20-60 dollars – before parts.
I get disaffected chain computer repair customers all the time.

jeeper87 says:

former employee

first, as a former employee of best buy, and one of the best performing stores in the country, I can really say some good things about this company. our store worked really hard to make the customers happy and we ALWAYS got compliments. it was very rare that someone had a complaint, and if they did we usually made it right with them. we never gave people grief about their service plan (unless we can see it was abused). so maybe all those stores you all are ripping on have poor management, because ours ran like clock work. our employees (for the most part) were very well educated in what ever they were selling too. I hated when people talked down to us there! if you don’t like our suggestions then get out or say no thank you. we never shoved anything at anyone, in fact the one kid that did, got fired.

so getting back to the article. many computers that need hardware serviced are sent out to a repair center. maybe it was not BB fault at all… maybe it was the shipping company our the repair center. stuff happens… she should have had a backup… and best buy needs to pay for a new computer for her (and not a POS celeron either!)end of story

Bob says:

Lost computer

I know what you mean. Gateway lost our desktop. They never found it. There first answer was just gives us a little time and we will find it. Six month later they still could not find it. So then there answer was to send one of less quailty. We didn’t notice it at first. But it only made it two weeks before it crashed and burned. Then they sent another one.I guess what gets me is they gave nothing for the seven month with no computer. And to the best of my knowlege they never did find it.

Anonymous Coward says:

GeekSquad == RipOff

My friend quit there after a week and a half. He couldn’t take it. He was disgusted when he had to charge someone 40 dollars to run and update their own AV program.

That’s right, the one that was already on their computer. They didn’t do anything but take the machine, power it up, update the AV, then click ‘scan computer.’

Oh and they didn’t give it back for a week. He left after that, he wanted to make sure they actually got the tower back.

Robert says:

The geeks are a sad joke. Their book rate is $160 PER HOUR. Left-shift the decimal one place and the geek still makes less than that. It’s unconscionable that BB charges that much. Just goes to show how gullible the avg. consumer it.

As an IT consultant and computer tech, I’ve cleaned up a lot of messes behind the geeks. While that’s good for me, they give computer techs a bad name (not so much IT consultants) — and no telling how much business I’ve lost because people called them first or refuse to ever call another tech after the inevitable bad GS experience.

Buzz says:

going overboard

While I agree that Best Buy has many impure practices, striving to ban them from your life simply makes no sense in many cases. This past weekend, I was hunting for a new monitor. Every place BESIDES Best Buy was either overpriced or out of stock. Why would I let some vendetta prevent me from getting what I needed right then? Boycott Geek Squad and the service plans. Don’t boycott the whole store. They are much better than you people give them credit for.

Erik says:

Most of you are dumb.

First off, when you work on a PC, you should first be considerrate of the owner’s data. If you are needing to wipe and reload a machine, you should call the customer and tell them your plans and at that time ask if they need their data backed up. If you can’t figure out what data needs to be backed up, you probably shouldn’t be working on a computer. It’s not the customer’s responsibility to back up their own data as that is what they pay IT PROFESSIONALS to tell them and perform for them. Besides that, the lady’s laptop was LOST. That’s not easy, in fact, it was more than likely stolen by an employee, or given to a wrong client. Any of you that rely on the customer to back up their own data should be shot, as we all know the average user wouldn’t even know where to begin.

On a side note, I applied for a job at Best Buy, and I am insanely overqualified. The store manager was not at all concerned with my certifications or experience, she was only concerned with my ability to sell. They offered me 13 dollars per hour. I laughed in her face and told her that she was robbing people blind and thriving off choking out her employee’s salaries.

BB is not the only large company out there that practices what the general public would consider ‘shady’ as EVERY big business does these things, but little light is ever shed on it!

The more informed your clients are of what your intentions are, and the better you are at explaining the reasons behind the intentions will score you loads and loads of loyal customers. Some of you that have posted here should promptly have your internet cut off and have your right to speak in open forums banished for all eternity.

Ringoloid says:

RE: #52 - purpose of ending...

Folks, I’m NOT talking purses/wallets/briefcases, etc. I’m talking about your registration, insurance, heck – even your license (I’ve seen it done), up to and including any mail and/or misc. important papers, etc., stuffed in your glove box, under/between your seats. The things we don’t normally think of, or expect to be left alone, respected, inviolate. ‘Nice car, fella/ma’am. Now I know where you live/work/play, possibly spend your money (what’s this? A credit card carbon?). ‘Now me and/or my buddies can either rob you blind, connect the dots (if you haven’t just given them all to us) to steal your identity, or both.’ Or,’Now whoda’ thunk that nice valet would rumage through my glove compartment…after all he/she makes how much an hour, dear?’ Some of you are simply exercising a keen eye for the obvious, anyone who troubleshoots knows to look past what’s up in your face to verify the problem is not what’s up in your face. That the Devil truely is in the details. The small ones. The ones people, in general, tend to overlook, or don’t expect. I’m sure she didn’t expect them to lose the laptop, but she did (rightfully) expect them to make good on restitution or put forth an effort to solve the issue honestly.

RE: Dr. Phil – Yes, they are liable depending on just how the car was ‘lost’. You’d be surprised on just how ineffective that piece of paper you signed at the repair shop OR BB is in a Court of Law given the circumstances surrounding your case.

What we get to now is the ethics involved in the Repair Entity informing the owner of said property: ‘Hey Lady, youse left your purse heah, ya might wantsta pick it up. Don’ want nuthin’ ta happen to it – ya might need it later. Have a nice day.’ Behold the power of manners. Yes manners. Will the Lady bring her car back for future repairs? Probably. Why? Because the mechanic has shown her she can TRUST him with her valuable whatevers. After all folks that is what is ‘the elephant in the middle of the room’ here. Trust. We all Trust the places we RELY on to have our best interests at the core of their business, hence the importance of good to excellent customer service = repeat business. This woman trusted BB/Geek Squad to perform their job concerning her request/need with a modicum of business ethics and respestfulness to her as the customer. BB not only destroyed this woman’s trust in their company, they pretty much insulted her roundly in the process and she’s letting the world know it, as loudly as she can. To be warned. She’s also hitting them where it counts. The pocket book you say? No. Public Opinion. This hits the BIG pocket. This will have a much longer lasting effect than if they just threw some cash to shut her up (and heck, they didn’t even do that right). Does anyone remember Sony’s response to being caught with the root kit? Nah, Sony wasn’t hurt by the backlash from that. Whatever do you mean? There is no better advertising than word of mouth and she is getting the word out. Loudly. You go Girl.

End rant. No more fun. Gotta go home…

Danny says:

It’s been pretty obvious from day one that the only reason BestBuy came up with the geek squad is because they knew they could market it to average jane/joe who have little to no pc knowledge. I’m not pc illiterate nor are my skills elite but there is no way I’d let my machines be touched by a group that exists solely for cashing in on the “geek” image.

Jimmy Z says:

Been There

I’ve actually had this exact situation happen to me two times.

The first time I took my wife’s ipod in for service. Waited a month for them to call with a status and nothing. Finally, they confess to losing it and offer a replacement.

The second time was with a 10″ subwoofer for my home theatre. It stopped working so I took it in for replacement and they sent it to the manufacturer for repair. A few weeks later they call and tell it’s in and ready for pickup. I drive to the store and when I get there they can’t seem to find it. Well, I was obviously frustrated because it’s seems like it would be rather hard to lose an item of this size. I let the representative know that I’m not happy and leave. My phone rings before I’m able to get out of the parking lot and they ask me to come back. I come back in and they explain to me that they re-sold my repaired item and would have to give me a new one.

On another occasion, I purchased what was supposed to be a PCI express video card. I get home and try to install the thing and it won’t fit in the slot on my motherboard. I quickly realize that it’s an AGP card that must have been mis-packaged.

Anyhow, I was annoyed but figured I’d just go exchange it and everything would be good to go. Well, that was not the case. I get to the store, they scan the card, and inform me that they can’t take it back because it’s not the card that’s supposed to be in the box. I’m like WTF mate. You can sell me a mis-packaged card but I can’t return it? I quickly requested a manager in hopes that they would be more customer friendly. I was wrong again. They basically called me a liar and accused me of trying to return an item of lesser value for an item that was worth more. I was furious at this point and just left the store.

I understand their reasoning and I’m sure a lot of people try rip them off by taking advantage of their return policy. However, I had spent a lot of money with Best Buy previously and they could of simple looked at my account and taken my word for it.

Long story somewhat short, I ended up contacting their corporate office and finally got one of those guys to “do me a favor” and let me exchange the item. I went in on a day the regional manager was there and luckily for me, they didn’t have any of the same cards in stock say I got a refund (karma does exist). On top of everything, this dude was a complete dick and wouldn’t even look at me during the entire process. I haven’t shopped at Best Buy since.

I hope this women gets as much money as possible.

haylith says:

This woman has brass balls, bravo!

I had a laptop crap out in warranty, and took it back to circuit city. the firedog folks couldn’t do anything about it, and sent word to HP to send them a new hard drive for my machine. After 1 month and 2 sent messages to HP, the firedogs put in a hard drive from one of the compatible machines they had in-store. They were very nice to me, and kept me updated. HP, on the other hand, is a s*** company that doesn’t even respond to its own vendors.

dock roger says:

best buy customer satisfaction

the store managers comment doesn’t surprise me. I had a real bad experience with Best Buy a year ago in Dallas. I purchased a tv for my daughter and took it out to the car. I opened the box because the tv wouldn’t fit in my car and noticed that the top corner of the tv was crushed. I immediately took it back into the store, showed to the security guy who said they would get me another. Long story short, they did not have a replacement in stock, but did not want to give my money back and basically accused me of dropping the tv. Finally got the store director to assist and yes he also accused me of dropping the tv. Note, they could hardly get the tv out of the box because all the original shipping material was in place, there was no evidence of dropping – ie blacktop residue, and I was not outside more than 3 minutes with the tv. After 30 minutes of arguing, they finally credited my card and I got out of there. I’ve not been back inside Best Buy since and will never ever spend another dollar there. I called the 1-800 Customer Service number and they could care less about my experience. Obviously they have too many other customers that are more than happy to be treated like dirt. I went down the street and bought a more expensive tv for my daughter at Sears and got decent service. In the past year I purchased a new laptop, washer & dryer and microwave and guess what – none of it at Best Buy.

Ray says:

High Prices

It amazes me that people can complain best buy charges too much for everything, then hope that this lady gets $54 million in the same sentence. Best Buy is a hugh company, they get sued all of the time. Most lawsuits are like this and it’s just an unhappy person that abuses a horribly flawed legal system to get attention. This is why the company has a large highly paid legal staff, and why everything from adapters to cables to paper to ink costs so much.

I don’t like Best Buy. I do not like their management, their business model, or anything they stand for. They are a horrible company to work for and a horrible company to do business with.

Things like this – frivilous lawsuits and the like are the reasons that they are so horrible.

It sucks that this lady lost her laptop. The reality is though, best buy easilty services a combined 10,000 computers a day between their stores and service centers. Mistakes are bound to happen and sometimes stuff gets lost.

Sorry, that doesn’t entitle you to 54 million dollars, but a replacement and something extra for the lost time and effort should be plenty.

As far as not having any data or software backed up, and having things like your social security number and tax returns on it when the computer powered on and was working when you took it in, well, if you that stupid, you should never touch another computer again. Ever.

Frustrated Customer says:

The Worst Customer Service: Best Buy and Gateway

I took a computer into Best Buy’s Geek Squad, and they told me they repaired the graphics card. When I asked for the box that came with the card so I could read instructions on how to configure it, the Geek Squad kid said Best Buy didn’t have the box. That sounded curious to me, since the Friday before another technician told me Best Buy was out of the cards for my computer and they would need to give me an upgraded version, since my system was still under warranty. When I got my computer to my car, I opened it and sure enough, the same old dusty, defective graphics card was still in my computer, even though it had failed twice before.

Steaming, I took my system back into the store and demanded to know from the guy who told me it had been replaced whether that card looked new to him. When he opened the system and looked at the dusty card, he admitted it was not new and not replaced. I called over a manager and accused them of committing fraud. In front of me, they replaced the card with the upgraded version I was told I was going to be receiving the Friday before.

This occurred in October 2007, and my computer was not even 11 months old! In December 2007, less than 2 months later, in the same computer, the motherboard went out twice, within the same two-week period, during the Christmas-New Year holidays! I sent it to Gateway for repair because Best Buy couldn’t give me an estimate for how long it would take to repair it. Within days of receiving it back from repair from Gateway, the motherboard went out AGAIN!

I will never buy another computer from Best Buy, and I will NEVER buy another Gateway computer!

After I sent the computer to Gateway for repair, I was furious because Gateway REMOVED a DVD writer from my computer, but when they returned it, they had uninstalled it and returned it. Furious, because I had paid to have it installed, they told me it was third party hardware, so they removed it.

In a seperate email, Gateway told me they would reinstall it if I returned the computer for repair. Because the motherboard went out a second time, I did return the computer for repair, along with the DVD writer. However, Gateway did not reinstall my DVD writer, and they did not return it to me. When I emailed and called about it, I received responses ranging from rudeness to lies, but I never got results. I haven’t ever gotten my DVD writer back. I haven’t ever gotten a response, even though I was promised follow-up and follow-through.

Apparently, Gateway doesn’t realize it’s more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones. I will NEVER buy another Gateway product again, and I will tell everyone I know about my negative experiences, as well.

George says:

ok yeah it sucks they lost her laptop and gave her the run around. But come on thats like someone losing your keys and wanting them to buy you a new house and car? naturally they are going to stall trying to find your keys!and then when they offer to replace your care you tell them screw you i want a new house and 200 acres of land to put it on. get real honestly i think she should now have to pay for being ignorant and what could she have lost on the computer she obviously lacks common sense and reason.

Eric M. says:

Lost Laptop

I have never seen or found where it is written, but, I have only heard that even Microsoft states, “Microsoft is not responsible for lost data due to crashes or viruses contracted by customer useage or web browsing.” It is the customers sole responsibility to back up all data, before any such incidence occurs.

Can a judge put a price on the time limit that a company has to inform a customer that they have lost their laptop?
Those are a few of the ethics involved in this case. It further displays a low conduct of character for Best Buy to place money into the customers account unaware. How did they get their account information to do that?

The customer should be entitled to more than the cost of a laptop, time lost, wages, conduct of character etc. But, it is her responsibility to save all of her data and files.

Eric in Victorville, CA

Tracie says:

Not surprising. Best Buy has the worst customer service ever.

I have yet to hear from them after filing complaint of the store employees playing hockey with my daughter’s crutches upon me exchanging them for a store wheelchair, while shopping.

When I tried to complain to the manager, the perpetrator’s approached me in a threatening manner, and a huge argument ensued.

I called the 800″ to complain, received a complaint number, and have never heard from Best Buy. That was a year ago.

Rachel says:

Jon's comment

I can’t believe you said that. What, do you think she dropped it down the stairs or dropped it. Sometimes, computers just break through no fault of your own. It’s not like she threw it against a wall.

And yes I support the lawsuit. The fact of the matter is they gave her the runaround for months. I read somewhere that it was 6 months and she didn’t have the computer. They kept undercutting her and did not inform her right away. I had sensitive information stolen this summer and am at risk for identity theft. Thankfully I realized what happened within a half hour and had protection set up within 3 hours. But to be unaware of what happened for months? That is a major risk and credit could be trashed and it’s possible someone could be racking up thousands or hundreds of thousands of fraudulent charges in her name without her knowing it. How would you like that to happen to you?

Finally, someone else said if you don’t know how to back up information to not put PERSONAL information on your PERSONAL computer? That makes no sense, would you rather have your personal information on file just lying around your house? We buy these things for our personal use. I know how to navigate on the internet but have no clue how to back stuff up. Word documents, yes, I have a USB Device. But if someone asked me to back up my hard drive and EVERYTHING on my computer, all I would be able to do is stare blankly at them and go huh? We aren’t all technical geniuses and we have every right for compensation when companies are rude, insulting and lose our personal damage.

A hospital reused syringes and put 40,000 people at risk for Hepatitis C and HIV. Are you going to say it is those people’s fault for going to the clinic? When we go to a certain company we expect certain services to be delivered. When a company shows complete and utter disregard for us, and places us at serious risk, we deserve compensation. End of story.

Ele says:

I have a question. We went to best buy today and we were looking at laptops. We found on we liked and the guy checked if they had them in stock he said that they didnt we also asked if we could buy he display but he said they had a contract with dell so the coudnt sell it. We called later in the day to find out what the model number is and they tell us that they dont have that laptop in the store and that the display was sold.So we go home and we are looking on other websites for the same laptop.We go on the bestbuy website and they have a full order of those laptops and the price is 450 dollars more expensive. So they have a store full of the laptops but they are lying to us. Is there a way to make them own up and make them sell us the laptop for 749 dollars.

greg arnold says:

class action lawsuit

This company is the worst. . .they have to be held accountable.
they misrepresent. . .take money under false claims. . .mISLEAD customers. . .most Geek squad techs not qualified to work on a toaster. . .much less a computer. . . they have no standards. . .their motto is Next Man up. . .my personal email is emailboogie@gmail.com I am going to make this a Rippoff report on my Morning TV shows in Baltimore and DC and I am going to find an attorney to represent consumers and get this lawsuit going unless you have one

Sid (user link) says:

And when it won't boot.....

doh!! Live Linux disk of some sort? Or take hard drive out put in a external USB case or put it as slave always save important data to the User folder. By User folder I mean like my name is Sid whatever is on your login there should be a folder named that. Then just copy that folder to a external hard drive or a USB flash drive big enough to hold the info.

David P. says:

they deserve it

these guys get what they deserve! they have been ripping off my family for years. they have never lost a laptop but they rarely get the job done right the first time and their prices are thru the roof. We stopped using them a few years ago and only use Link who do everything remotely so they cant lose anything and do it all for a reasonable price!

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