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Best Buy / Geek Squad - Merced, CA / won't honor my $500 service plan

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A copy of email sent to Best Buy Customer Service:

Dear Best Buy Customer Service,

I've just returned from a BEST BUY store/service center in Merced

California where I have been a loyal and consistent customer for the better part of my life but this is the end to all that. What happened this last time is too much for any customer to bear hence why I feel compelled to take even more time out of my life to inform you and everyone else out there how I got ripped off from BEST BUY so that they will all think twice about ever doing business with you or suffer the fate I have here below...

First Some History -

On October 22, 2004 - I Purchased a Toshiba Laptop P35-S609/P4 for $1799.99 (Serial Number #*) along with a Platinum Service Plan (#*) for $499.99. I wasn't going to purchases this extended service contract but the assistant manager on duty assured me that if anything were to go wrong with this laptop in the next 3 years all I would have to do is to return it to a service center and I would have it repaired at no cost and returned back to me within 7 days.

Jump Forward to 2 weeks Ago -

August 21, 2007 - I turn on my laptop and notice that it has two distinct vertical lines in the LCD display. I decided to turn it in to BEST BUY geek squad and have the LCD and a few other items fixed at the same time. No one likes to be without their computer for very long right?

August 22, 2007 - I drive the 35 miles to Merced California to return my laptop to the Service Department at BEST BUY. I explain that my LCD display is not functioning properly, the 1394 firewire port no longer works, the dvd burner/player doesn't recognise blank DVDs (making it very hard to burn DVDs) and the PCI slot has a hard time working because the eject button seems to be twisted and not pop in and out the wireless cards I've used in the past.

The Tech takes my Laptop and informs me that it will be at least 2 - 6 weeks before I will hear anything and that they will be in touch with me then. Surprised at his response, I told him that I had purchased a $500 Platinum Plan and he said yeah we sold those once a while back but that my turnaround time would be the same. Only when I pulled out my paperwork with my plan details on it did he admit that it did say 7 day turnaround and that if it didn't come back in that time span I could "ask" for the cost of my plan be returned to me since BEST BUY could not return my laptop in that time frame... All this even before I LEFT the store... I was not feeling at all good about leaving it there but what choice did I have? BEST BUY had my $500 for the service plan so I had to leave it or pay someone else to look at it.

August 29, 2007 - (exactly 7 days later) - I drove 35 miles to the BEST BUY

Store in Merced California and asked about the status of my laptop. The technician behind the counter told me that the service center had tried to contact me that day at my work (where I was ALL day) and that they needed an approval to complete the work that needed to be done. Of course I NEVER received a call asking me about this so I was SHOCKED to hear that in order to return my laptop to me in working order that I would have to pay $954.97 in repairs to the motherboard. I asked why I would have to pay an additional $954.97 since I had purchased a service agreement for $500 and he told me that the service center had determined that the laptop had been "abused" and this was not normal wear and tear or daily use issues. They acted like I drove over my laptop and handed to them and said fix this. This obviously was not the case since the laptop still to this day functions but with the above issues broken.

Completely irritated at this point I told him that I would contact the service center and discuss the matter with them since there was nothing that the technician could do about it at store level. Several days had passed and I received a phone call from Glenn at BEST BUY in Merced.

September 6th, 2007 - I receive a call from Glenn telling me that my laptop was available for pick-up at Merced BEST BUY and to return a call if I had any questions. I returned his call and spoke to the head technician Erina. When I asked about the status of my laptop she seemed puzzled at first but went and pulled the work order and told me on the phone that my laptop was in the store and that she wasn't sure if the work had been completed or not.

After 15 minutes or so on the phone with her I asked that she call me back once she had determined if the laptop had been fixed or not. She agreed and I hung up the phone still puzzled about why they would tell me they wanted almost $1,000 to fix my laptop but then ship it back to the store fixed?

September 8th, 2007 - (TODAY) After not receiving any calls back from Erina that my laptop was completed or still broken I decided to drive 35 miles once more to the Merced BEST BUY store and inquire about my laptop. When I asked the technician about the status of my laptop I was referred to Erina who told me that the laptop was in the store and ready to be picked-up. I asked why she never called me back to tell me and she said that someone else was suppose to do it. Still I got no call. She then told me that the laptop was returned with the LCD repaired ($35 labor bill - no parts needed) and that labor was covered under my service agreement.

The rest of the items that I had listed were not repaired because they were not covered under the $500 Agreement that I paid for because the service department deemed them to be "abuse" or not daily wear and tear. Again, it was not like I hit it with a baseball bat or let my 2 year old jump up and down on it. I paid a lot of money for this laptop. I have taken good care of it. I was honestly offended and shocked that I was being taken advantage of like this. I asked that she get her store manager involved and she quickly called for an associate named Gil Castro.

I asked Gil if he was the store manager since I didn't want to waist anymore of my time dealing with this than I had already and he told me that he was the Service Department Manager and wanted to help me. After reviewing all the paperwork and listening to my story as told here above he went to the back of the store and pulled the technicians' notes. When he returned he read back to me exactly what Erina had told me earlier and that I should write a letter to BESTBUY.com to explain my displeasure with this decision on the part of the service center and that there was nothing he could do to help me any further. I told him that I was extremely upset with the service that I had received at that point and that he did not want me to leave his store angry about this experience and he again told me there was nothing that he could do. Poor ability at store level to help make me a happy customer... This could have all been avoided if he had but it didn't. He handed me my laptop I left the store and now I am writing this letter.

The Problem is... I still have a Laptop that is broken. I still paid $500 for a service plan that BEST BUY now refuses to honor. I'm still upset and angry that the consumer (ME) who rightfully and honestly pays for everything gets ripped off by the Corporation (BEST BUY) because it is not financially feasible to fix the $1,000 part for the price of the $500 plan... I really hope that is not the case but I am beginning to believe that it is not about what someone thinks is "abuse" or not but simply a numbers game of gains and loses to repair my laptop. It would have been better and easier to just fix it or give me a new one since the cost of repair is more than the cost of a newer one.

So here I am taking up your time and mine over a broken $1,000 laptop and a $500 service plan that I paid for and BEST BUY won't honor. I have decided that I will post this letter to several Blogs in the hopes those others who at contemplating doing business with BEST BUY will read this and think otherwise. I feel it is my duty to warn them about my treatment here and guide them towards other retailers with better morals, ethics and customer service.

I would appreciate a response to my efforts here to inform you of my situation but if BEST BUYs' history with calling me back is an indication of what I can expect then I will just forward this letter on to the Better Business Bureau and my State Attorney Generals Office for filing a claim next.

I appreciate your time and effort in helping me makes things right here.


Sort by: UpDate | Rating
A  17th of Jan, 2008 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
They must train all these people the same way. I have filed a small claims suit locally in Santa Rosa, CA - I took my laptop in under warranty to have the fan checked. They instead removed the hard drive and destoryed it.
I worked for months to get someone to call me back and have NOT heard a word.

If you need to know the agent for service - I will send it to you so you can sue them too.
A  3rd of Jun, 2008 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I agree with everything said. I also had a runin with the MERCED BEST BUY. Their customer service is horrible and if you do get service from someone nine times out of ten they don't even know what they are talking about or they tell you something and then when you go back to get the help they promised the person that told you what help you would get if you purchased the item "is no longer with us". I have been lied too by them after being a good customer since this store opened. Buying 2 computers and several digital cameras. I wouldn't buy anything there ever.
A  22nd of Aug, 2008 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I have had terrible customer service with merced best buy (their name not deserving of legitimate capital lettering). I bought a laptop 3 days ago, I paid for the whole shebang.. the $279.99 2-year accidental warranty, and the $159.99 "full proof" service plan, plus other add-ons almost equaling the same amount as the laptop unit itself. Today, I go into the store because they spelled my name into the computers main user profile, and after hours of trouble shooting, I decided there was nothing I could do to change it.

I go to their store for assistance on such a seemingly minor problem, keeping in mind that I am already upset that they "milked me" into purchasing their full proof service plans and warranties and yet after all the money that I had invested in their packages, the least they could do is pay attention to detail and spell my name correctly. Even if it was a mistake and they would fix it immediately, I could understand.. but nooo. After informing him that I had already run specific procedures in trouble shooting the problem, the supervisor who goes by the name of "Spentz" (perhaps short for Spencer) blatantly ignores me and continues to perform the same unsuccessful procedures that I had performed, as if I am some kind of ill-educated "idiot". He tells me it is a "pain in the butt" problem to fix the misspelled name that they input into my system. Now, wouldn't anybody agree that, as a matter of principle, if someone is paying 400 plus dollars for best buy's services, the least that they can do is be a tad bit more attentive to detail, and spell the customer's name right to prevent it from becoming too much of a "pain in the butt" problem to fix? Then he has the nerve to tell me that he has to charge me to service a simple name change. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I told him hell no. Their carelessness was their fault, and I refuse to pay money for their IGNORANCE.

It was a small problem in reality, but a major problem in principle. They have not fixed the problem. I took this computer home and I am using it to write this complaint. Wasting my time to complain to a forum. I could be sleeping. But to whom it may concern, yes... you should know. I am debating on returning this computer and saying, "### OFF". After some rest, I will decide tomorrow. Maybe Circuit City is better.

PS. To that poor old man "Spentz". Don't think for a second that you have had the honor of receiving any form of anger or spite from me. Talking down to me as if I am ill-educated? I am a 4th year Electrical Engineer at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for the Class of 2009. The highlight of your career is being a "supervisor" for a best buy... IN WHO-THE-###-KNOWS-WHERE-MERCED. I take comfort in the fact that you're older than dirt. You will die in a decade at best. Thanks for your service ###!

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