Best Buy / geek squad service - $1600 for fam pics
I was in Chicago March 16-19 for a business conference and on March 17th my wife called me to tell me that she was working on our computer when it began to run slowly. She attempted to save her work in fear of losing it and when she did, the screen said that the "C" drive was not found. After a couple attempts at restarting the computer she received the dreaded blue screen with an error message. She called me and explained and I told her that there was nothing I could do until I returned home. When I returned home that Friday, I was disturbed that when I booted the computer that a message reading "Hard drive failure is imminent". The computer would not boot into Windows so I decided that since the I had purchased the 3 year black tie protection that I would bring it in for repair. I always purchase the warranty/black tie protection for anything electronics that I purchase at Best Buy because every salesman there says "if you purchase our protection plan, you don't have to worry about anything for the duration of the plan". This could not be further from the truth. I have done nothing but worry for the last 6 weeks.
On Saturday March 20, I took the CPU in to store 833 so that they could make good on my warranty. After their initial look at my computer they determined that they would need to keep it and work on it. I signed the service agreement and was on my way. I received a call the next day stating that the hard drive would need to be replaced and that the hard drive would need to be sent to the data recovery center so that the data could be extracted. Kaman was the agent in the store at the time and he informed me that I would not want to do this because it was "super expensive". I informed him that my family photos, videos, and other pertinent documents were on the hard drive and that I had purchased the protection plan in case a situation such as this were to arise. He informed me that data recovery was not covered on the protection plan. I asked him to speak to a manager and he told me that a manager would not approve the data recovery for free. I again asked to speak to the manager and he rolled his eyes at me and called Kristin, a store supervisor. She again informed me that the data recovery was not covered in the protection plan and that if they were to recover the data that I would be responsible for paying. With reluctance I agreed and she retired to speak with Kaman, the Geek Squad employee. She returned to tell me that if I brought in the recovery discs that I received when I purchased the computer that my data could be recovered. I immediately went home and retrieved the discs. I brought them back up to the store and gave them to the Geek Squad and told them what Kristin had said. They informed me that was incorrect and that the only way that the data could be recovered was if it was sent to the data recovery center for a minimum of $250-$300. You can imagine my surprise so I again asked to speak to Kristin. She came back and told me that she either misunderstood what Kaman had told her or he was incorrect. She then told me that I would have to pay a $60 deposit to get the hard drive sent to the recovery center. She saw my reaction to that and she offered to waive the $60. They sent the hard drive to the recovery center on that Monday and began the process of getting back the data.
The next Monday I received a call that my computer would have to be sent off for service because they could not get the new hard drive to work with my computer. I had a less than favorable reaction having been without my computer for over a week but there was nothing I could do. My computer was sent and I received an e-mail with the case number so that I could check up on the status. Later that week I received a phone message stating that the recovery discs that I had provided were not working and that I needed to buy new ones from HP. The agent that called said that if I needed help ordering them that I could call and that Geek Squad would give me instructions. At this point I was furious. I called the store and spoke to the Cornell who said he was a manager. He immediately went to the Geek Squad desk and was speaking with them about the recovery disks. He then informed me that he would "get on top of the situation" and at that point I did not need to purchase the recovery disks. We are now over two weeks into this fiasco.
In the meantime I received a call from the Geek Squad data recovery center in Kentucky stating that a level 2 recovery was necessary to retrieve the data on my hard drive. I was given a price of $715 plus tax if they provided the external drive and $580 if I provided the drive. I was extremely upset and proceeded to call the Best Buy store to discuss my options regarding this recovery. I again spoke to Cornell, the store manager at the time. He told me that there was nothing that he could do to offset the cost of the recovery. I then proceeded to pay a visit to the store. I was told that since the data recovery was not covered that I would be responsible for the full amount. I agreed and told them to advise the recovery center to go ahead with the recovery of my data. They said that it would take a few days and that they would have the drive back to me in 1 week or less. This gave me great comfort as my wife was visibly upset at the thought of losing all of the pictures, videos, and documents from the last year of our life. With my approval they proceeded.
I had given up my daily calls as they were not returning results so I decided to let a week go by before I would call again. To my surprise on April, 5 I received an automated call that my computer was ready to be picked up. After picking up my daughter from school I proceeded to the store to retrieve my computer. When I arrived they informed me that it was not ready and that there was a glitch in the system and I should not have received a call. The call was actually due to the fact that the computer was finished at the service center and was ready to be shipped back to the store. However, they could not tell me when it would be shipped. I called every day and was informed that it finally shipped on that Thursday. When I called to speak to an agent about when it would be back in the store she told me that the computer would not arrive until the following Friday. I sarcastically asked her if they were walking it back to the store and then asked if she had a tracking number that she could check to see when it would arrive. She informed me that it would be in the following Tuesday, April 13th. On that day, I received a phone message from a Geek Squad agent and from the automated system that my computer was ready for pick up. I again proceeded there after my daughter's swim lesson just down the road. Again I was informed that I was called by mistake. I asked to speak to the manager and Shana approached me. She informed me that it was a mistake but could not explain why I had a message from a person and the machine. She then informed me that new recovery disks were necessary because the new hard drive was not working with my computer. She told me that she would provide her corporate card to purchase the disks and have them overnighted to the store. She also offered to offset the cost of the data recovery by half for all of the trouble that this particular store had caused me. She was extremely helpful and I left there confident that I would get my data back at a reasonable cost and that my computer would also be returned soon. The next day I received a call that HP could not overnight and that they were sent regular ground delivery. Finally, that Saturday April 17, I received a call that the disks had arrived and did not work. The message stated that I could come in and pick out a computer that would be similar in specifications as a direct replacement for mine. I was fine with this and that Sunday went in to the store and received my replacement computer. It works great! Unfortunately however, another stipulation of the protection plan is that if the computer needs to be replaced that the plan is fulfilled and I no longer have protection for my PC. This was upsetting because I had just under 2 years remaining on my protection plan. The Geek Squad employee informed me that I had 30 days to purchase a new protection plan for my computer. I left without protection on my computer in the hopes that when my hard drive arrived that I could work something out with the store manager to get my protection plan back as it was not my fault that the Geek Squad could not make my computer work.
On Thursday April 22 I received a phone message from the data recovery center stating that all attempts at a level 2 recovery had failed and that a level 3 recovery was necessary. The message stated to call in and to keep calling until I could talk to a person. It specifically said not to leave a message. Not having extended amounts of time to continuously call, I finally got through yesterday, April 26. I spoke to an agent that advised me that they were unable to copy my drive because the data was corrupted. She said that a level 3 clean room recovery was necessary to recover the data and that it would be approximately $1600 to recover the data. I was extremely upset and advised her that I had never received such poor service from any organization and that I could not believe that this was happening. She gave me a half-hearted apology and informed me that I had 72 hours to make a decision. This is where things stand right now. At this point I am going to request that they send me back my hard drive so that I can attempt to have it done locally. I am fed up with the Geek Squad and Best Buy.
I want to conclude by saying that I purchase all of my electronic devices and components at Best Buy since 1992. I have always had great success with Best Buy and their products but in all of that time this is the first time that I have had trouble with any item. It is disturbing to me that after all of the years doing business with your company that the first time I have an issue that this is the result. In addition, I have over the years recommended Best Buy to numerous friends and family members based on my successful dealings. As recently as last fall I recommended to my neighbor that she purchase her small business server and computers for her company at Best Buy. I then set it all up for her and it has been running smoothly so far but I cringe to think that if something goes wrong, she will be in the same boat as I am. Please note that I do not take any of this personally, but I do feel that the whole sequence of events has opened my eyes to the way that Best Buy and many other "big box" stores do business. I have realized, at least at store #833, that there is no communication and that the chain of command is greatly skewed. I was shown empathy by two out of the many employees I dealt with and this is unacceptable. I can't fully describe how I have felt over these last 6 weeks. In all of my dealings with any retail store this is by far the worst. I do not think that I am being unreasonable, I just expect to get what I pay for. In this case, I have not.
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