by Mike Masnick

Best Buy Selling Their Own Computers

from the tried-and-failed-before dept

Best Buy has quietly started to follow a strategy that many of its competitors have tried without any hint of success before: they're selling their own brand of computers. There are a number of problems with this idea, but Best Buy doesn't seem to care. I think they're being incredibly stupid in trying to launch an entirely new "brand" for the computers called "vpr Matrix". If they just labeled them as Best Buy computers they wouldn't have such an branding problem. But, now, no one knows what a vpr Matrix computer is - and are willing to spend more on a known brand. They also risk pissing off companies like HP, Compaq and Sony who all sell through Best Buy.

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  1. identicon
    Jack, 22 Aug 2003 @ 1:04pm

    Re: VPR Matrix

    I work in the Best Buy Service department. I was really excited when the VPR's first came out, but then they had a little trouble with some drivers, but since then they seem to be working well. There haven't been many brought into my store for problems the past few months.

    To clarify a few issues about VPR's :
    They have the same one-year warranty as all the other PC's on the market.

    They are made from the same type of off-the-shelf parts as most would buy if they were having one custom made.

    If you are having trouble with your unit the service techs in the store should be able to give you some idea of what to try to fix it. We can now repair most PC's in the store, instead of sending it off to the district service center.

    You can take it in and have them look at it. There shouldn't be a charge as long as it's under warranty or PSP.

    Note that if it needs to be restored, and you have Best Buy do it, there will be a charge. The restore is the standard "fix-all" when it comes to software. (And yes, in case you didn't know, more than half of the problems are related to software. Most of these are due to something that was loaded. (Even well known software companies put extra junk on your computer when they are installed.) Also, I see a lot of nasty, dirty PC's - if you don't keep the dust off of your electronic components, they will overheat and cause problems.

    Service Plans :
    They add to your initial cost, but they can save you money later. I have service plans on almost everything I get at BB. (Although I do get it at a discount :P )
    If you have questions about the plans, ask one of the Techs or a manager - these are the people that have the pleasure (?) of talking to you when you have a problem. As for myself, I will not oversell these things since I will be the one talking to you when you come back.
    Write down the saleperson's name. I have had many customers start out "the salesman told me..." Which one? I have listened and tried to catch our people lying, but I haven't caught them telling customers things that are completely untrue. Things like: if it goes bad, we will replace this radio/vacuum/ monitor - whatever. The truth is that we might. It depends on the agreement BB has with the manufacturer. For a long time, all Vacuum cleaners were exchanged and sent back to their respective manufacturers. (Even after their one-year warranty expired ie the customer had a PSP.) Now, our service center can repair them - so that's what we do now.

    Many products covered under the manufacturer's warranty are exchanged and returned to the manufacturer. This depends on the agreement between BB and the manufacturer. While the manufacturer's warranty is in effect, we will follow it. The reason is that as an authorized repair center for a manufacturer, we get to charge them for the parts and labor to repair the unit. (So BB saves $$ if it is repaired under mfg warranty.) After the mfg warranty expires, we will repair it as per the PSP. If, in the previous case of the vacuum cleaners we didn't have technicians to repair them, and I'm sure BB had some agreement from the mfg to take some back - thus we replaced them when they went bad. (Now we can repair them, so we do that instead)
    So, is the salesman lying if he says we will just replace it? Maybe? Ask a tech - and remember that whether or not we replace it depends on the CURRENT agreement with the manufacturer. If it changes in six months, that's the agreement we go by.
    A lot of double talk? No, not really. If you read the PSP (it is an actual contract - bound to BB and to the customer), the PSP will take care of "covered" repairs. This doesn't mean REPLACEMENT. It also doesn't mean that we will repair your vcr after your two year old sticks a peanut butter sandwich in the slot. Again, if you have questions, ask a tech. (And write down his name and what he told you.)
    The management has some freedom to act if it's warranted. Does this mean that if you yell loud enough that you will get your way? No. It does mean that the corporation realizes there are sometimes extenuating circumstances. But, the manager will need to justify their decision. They will lose their job if they just go around giving things away.

    How to resolve a problem w/ BB:
    1) Talk to a Tech.
    2) Talk to the Tech Supervisor (at the store)
    2) Talk to a manager.
    3) Call BB customer service (currently 888-BestBuy)

    This works for most retail stores too. Only at BB you get to talk to me first..

    Take names - if I tell a customer something, I will stand behind it. And our managers will too. Although if I am being stupid on a regular basis, they will send me on my merry way. So, I only speak the truth..

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