Saturday, July 23, 2011

Best Buy's Geek Squad - a review

My hard drive on my laptop (18 months old) died earlier this week.  Headache.  I did what I could to identify the problem(s) and quickly came to the conclusion it was beyond my ability to fix.  I suspected it was a bad boot sector since it was running when I went to bed and wouldn't run in the morning.  Diagnostics showed the memory & hard disk were in working shape.  So off to Mankato's Best Buy I went to see if the Geek Squad could bail me out.

When I arrived, I was greeted, but then had to wait 25 minutes before I even got the paperwork to start filling out to inform them of my problem.  15 minutes later a tech came out of the back, asked a few questions, made a few notes, took $200+ of my money & said they'd call in 2-3 days.  As part of their services they include a "free" anti-virus software package that you chose from the 4-5 they have sitting behind their counter.  They said it was included in the price, so I asked for them to send home a copy of Webroot when I pick up my laptop.  I specifically asked that they NOT install it, as I use AVG on all my rigs (and my family members too!).

2 days later they called & said their diagnostics concludes book sector failure.  Umm...yeah...I told you that when I brought it in.

I need a new hard drive.  Ok, well what do you have that is comparable or better than what I had?  They say they have a 500Gb Western Digital.  I ask if it is 7200RPM?  No - we don't have one for a laptop with that speed.  My previous Toshiba drive (the one that died) was 500Gb & 7200RPM and whisper silent.  But I guess I'll settle for 5400RPM.

What self respecting computer shop the size of Best Buy's Geek Squad doesn't have a better hard drive to offer me?  Ridiculous.

So we talk about what it will cost for the drive and I inform them I'd like to pay to have them move what data they can rescue from the old drive onto the new drive.  There's about 8 months worth of video and photos, plus ALL my music on that drive.  About 250Gig worth.

We can do that sir.  It'll be $$$.

Ouch.  But I want that data, so go ahead and do it. 

A day later I get the call that my computer is done.  I drive to Mankato (60 mile round trip) & to pick up my rig.  When I arrive it is about 15 minutes before close.  I walk up to the Geek Squad desk & nobody is there.  So I stand there, thinking someone will come out shortly.  Nope.  10 minutes later I call the store from my cell phone, work my way through the phone tree & talk with the Geek Squad guy who is in reality only 15 feet from me in their work area.  I mention that I've been standing at their desk for 10+ minutes and how I'd like to pick up my laptop and go home.  I pay, and it is considerably less than I was expecting.  But since they already charged me $200+ to tell me what I already knew, I thought maybe that covered part of this.  I paid, took my laptop, Webroot & old hard drive and went home.

When I got home and fired it up I discovered that they had NOT recovered any data from the old drive & put it on the new one.  And they HAD installed the Webroot.  And the Windows & they loaded on the new drive come with bonus bloatware.

I'm a pretty patient and understanding person, but I refrained from calling them because I didn't want to say something that would be construed as not particularly pastoral.

So today I downloaded software off the web & am in the process of digging out my old files from the bad hard drive.  And it looks like it is finding everything, though it takes a long time to run, so we'll see.  But I really shouldn't have to be doing this.  So unless it is dire circumstances, I'm unlikely to be using the Geek Squad any time soon.


Joey said...

I bought my current laptop, which is now coming up on 2 years old, at Best Buy. My biggest reason for getting it there was to have the ability for an in-person experience that isn't available when buying online. I had some problems, took it in to the Geek Squad while it was still under the 12-month warranty, and they shipped it out for me. Long story short, they insisted they couldn't cover the problems because there was drop damage, which wasn't covered under the warranty. They claimed it would cost over $600, or about half what I paid for it. There were actually a few problems with it and when they told me what needed to be replaced, I knew they had to be wrong. I tried to argue with them over the phone but they threw it back on HP, saying it was the manufacturer's warranty.

So, I got it back and sent it to HP with about a week left on the 12-month warranty. They sent me a box to ship it in postage-free and returned it to me within a week or two with every issue I documented fixed, no questions asked.

I'd be happy to buy from HP again but I'll never, ever use Best Buy, especially for such a big purchase. I haven't set foot in a Best Buy since and don't plan to. Your story only confirms my decision.

Offset said...

Ugh, the ever-enlarging price of technology. Hope next time its not such a hassle

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