1/3/08 Response to Associate Corporate Counsel Ryan Eddy's "Offer" Letter

January 3, 2008


Mr. Ryan Eddy
Associate Corporate Counsel
Best Buy Enterprise Services
7601 Pennsylvania Avenue S.
Richfield, MN 55423

(sent via fax # 952-430-7212 and email at: ryan.eddy@bestbuy.com)

Dear Mr. Eddy,

I am writing in response to your letter dated December 20 regarding the lawsuit I filed against Best Buy, which I received after returning from holiday travel.

While I appreciate the gesture to resolve this matter, I must decline your offer because it both fails to cover more than a fraction of the value of the computer and its contents, ID theft protection services, legal and court fees, and other expenses, and, more importantly, because it fails to address the bigger issue and main motivation for the lawsuit -- the gross inadequacy of Best Buy's property and privacy protection practices and what a failure to address these issues immediately might mean for future customers.

I will agree with you on one point: $54 million dollars is not a reasonable amount to request for a stolen computer and related expenses. However, I want to make clear that this lawsuit is not simply about compensation for the expenses and time I have had to expend as a result of Best Buy's negligence and irresponsible practices. It is about motivating Best Buy to do what it should have felt compelled to do on its own, i.e., address the blatant, company-wide breakdown of privacy protection policies that I experienced, so that future customers do not have to endure what I have – or worse.

Were it simply a matter of a stolen computer, I would have spared myself the expense, hassle, and time of a civil suit, settled for a $5000 small claims judgment, and sucked up the remaining losses. However, given the seriousness of the issues involved and Best Buy's responses to the initial theft and my subsequent follow-up efforts, I cannot with a good conscience drop this suit until Best Buy demonstrates that it takes customers' privacy protection seriously.

The terms of your offer deny Best Buy's liability in this matter. However, I will remind you that had Best Buy's employee followed proper procedure and met Best Buy's obligations under DC law when processing the computer for repair in May, I would know who is responsible for the theft of my computer. Instead, I have received no explanation and no indication to date that anyone has taken responsibility for this criminal act.

I will remind you that had Best Buy's employees acted responsibly after my July 1st follow-up visit to your Tenleytown store, the theft of the computer could have been discovered in a timely manner. Instead, someone at that store inexplicably elected to fabricate a false record.

I will remind you that Best Buy's employees were legally obligated to disclose the theft of the computer to me and notify me of potential exposure to identity theft immediately. Instead, week after week they erroneously asserted that repairs were being done, parts ordered, etc. – on several occasions after initially stating that they could not find the computer in the system.

I will remind you that had Best Buy Tenleytown responded to my August 24 request to Michael French for $2110.35 in compensation, the matter would have been resolved at that point. Instead, your colleagues ( i.e., those directly responsible for the theft of my computer) chose to ignore my request and I was forced to endure the pain, inconvenience, and expense of hauling around an oversized laptop that I had to borrow for a business trip and other work obligations while suffering from a separated shoulder.

I will remind you that had Best Buy responded to my October 7 verbal request to Delante Lewis for $2500 in compensation, the matter would have been resolved then. Instead, this request was ignored, as was my written request for compensation to Robert Delissio. Mr. Delissio's only response to date is insulting emails to friends of mine erroneously characterizing me as an unsatisfiable customer who made unrealistic compensation requests and asserting that I got the experience that I deserved.

Consequently, I was forced to seek legal advice, file charges with the police, and a claim with the Attorney General's Office to enlist help in resolving this issue. As a result, I was advised that I could seek the full compensation allowed in small claims court if I wanted to settle the matter quickly. I communicated to the AGO that I would accept $5000 in compensation to avoid the hassle, time, and expense of filing a suit. Instead of accepting this, Best Buy unilaterally transferred the $1110.35 into my credit card account and sent a $500 gift card. I will accept the $1110.35 to offset expenses, but, as stated in my letter to Mr. Feivor, I donated the gift card to a non-profit organization when Best Buy did not request its return by December 1 st.

I was also advised at that time that I should take steps immediately to safeguard myself against identity theft, and learned that Best Buy had been grossly negligent and in violation of DC laws by not informing me of the computer's theft and consequent risk of identity theft as soon as it became aware of the problem. Had Best Buy acted responsibly back in July, this would not have been an issue. Instead, it left me exposed for months, has offered no compensation for identity theft protection costs, and now has the gall to suggest (in condition 3 of your offer) a course of action that would effectively leave me exposed to identity theft unless I want to continue to absorb the cost of proactive protection services.

Yes, we agree that $54 million is an unreasonable sum of money under normal circumstances. However, I am hopeful that the Court will agree with me on the need to proactively address the shortcomings in Best Buy's practices, lest other consumers fall victim. I am also willing to wager $2500 that the Court will agree that I am not being unreasonable in expecting full compensation for the time, stress, inconvenience, pain, and expense that Best Buy has subjected me to for the past 6-plus months. I think it is unreasonable of you to suggest otherwise.

While you may disagree, I believe I am a reasonable person. I don't believe I am alone this assessment either. I just firmly believe in speaking out and taking action when I believe failure to do so might subject others to unnecessary grief.

I am perfectly willing to entertain a reasonable offer from Best Buy, so that I can put this behind me with the feeling that I might have made a difference for future customers. At a minimum, however, I would expect this to include:

1) Best Buy's best explanation as to how my computer could have been stolen from a secure area of its Tenleytown store, who is responsible, and how Best Buy has/will pursue responsibility for that criminal act and the attempts by that store to cover up the theft in July and August. In particular, I have a hard time understanding how Best Buy would allow Robert Delissio to continue in a managerial position in that store, given the demonstrated lack of adequate training and supervision of the employees in his store, his reprehensible response to my requests for an investigation and compensation, and the questionable circumstances surrounding his departure from his previous place of employment.
2) A full explanation of what steps will be taken at the company level to adequately educate all Best Buy employees (particularly those in frontline customer service positions) on the need to prioritize customers' privacy protection if a customers' personal information is potentially compromised, and how Best Buy will address the shortcomings that were brought to light by my experiences to minimize the risk of a repeat of my experience by future customers.
3) Full compensation ($25,000, per my letter to Mr. Feivor) for my direct expenses and time related to restoring my property and resolving this issue.
4) Treble and other damages in the amount of $75,000, for the completely unnecessary 6- month ordeal Best Buy has put me through.

I will be meeting with a lawyer on January 9 to discuss hiring him to file proper responses to Mr. Mervis' motions. (The response I sent to Mr. Mervis, which I filed with the court as a stopgap measure after receiving his motions the day before I left for holiday travels, was apparently insufficient.)

If you would like to discuss, I would appreciate it if you could respond before COB on the 9th, so that I can avoid this expense if at all possible. I think you should have no trouble reaching me if you make an honest effort to contact me at the numbers and addresses you have. I did receive your call in November, and returned it with a message to your voicemail box, but believe that was the end of your attempts to contact me.

Sincerely,

Raelyn Campbell

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Keep it up!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Raelyn,

I have caught Best Buy totally lying and cheating customers with a standard practice that I can tell you about if it helps. Glad you are doing this. Please contact me if you are interested to know my experience.

S.

Anonymous said...

Spare us the DRAMA! Your response to a "human" error by an organization that runs quite efficiently is the ramblings of a self-centered, litigious, twit whose case should get dismissed by every judge that is unfortunate enough to have to listen to your ramble! I don't know what high-horse you think that you are on, come off of it quickly before "your" reputation is run through the mud just like the judge that sued over a lost pair of slacks. So you had some personal data on the laptop: Did you take proper measures to make sure that it was secure? Did you make backups on a regular basis? I would hope that "yes" to the first question was the response, otherwise you are the one that opened the door to any abuse of your personal data. If you answered "no" to the second question, I am sorry, but that is one of the bigger mistakes that you can make with any computer, right after not securing the data.
Now would please quit waisting our time and money on this ridiculous lawsuit so that we can go on being "human" and not live in constant fear of over-reaction for the mistakes that we will make?!

Anonymous said...

While I am sympathetic to your loss (I would be in a serious bind if my laptop were lost, especially while writing a thesis), I can't agree that a $54 million lawsuit is just. First of all, you claim the lawsuit is not about the money (which few will believe considering the amount), but that clearly appears not to be the case. If this isn't about money then the amount you sue for is arbitrary. Why not sue for $100 million or $1 million? Secondly, anybody who knows anything about computers understands it is imperative to back up all your files. Here, I cannot be so sympathetic since, arguably, you could have lost all this data had your system crashed.

As I see it, Best Buy is responsible for the loss of your computer. However, you only have yourself to blame for the loss of data. I understand identity theft is a major concern, and rightly so, but unless you have backed up the files containing sensitive information, how are you going to prove that this information was extracted from your lost computer? You could say anything was on there.

I do hope you are compensated to some degree as you are entitled to recoup your loss, though, I will side with Best Buy on the issue of compensating you for a very unfortunate situation ultimately stemming from your irresponsibility, ignorance, and/or laziness.

Anonymous said...

Continue your pursuit. I can't believe what Best Buy has put you through!

Anonymous said...

You should print their legal letters as well...

HB said...

I'm so glad you're doing this!! My boyfriend found an article about you and told me to share my story...

see my experiences here:
http://legallyheidi.com/2007/10/18/anti-best-buy-briggade/

Kudos to you! I hope it all works out!

Anonymous said...

raelyn, good luck with everything. i have shopped at this store (actually bought my laptop there) and can say that it is by far the worst best buy i have ever been in. their customer service is despicable, especially in the computer department. i hope that your story gains even more national exposure and you can succeed in your efforts.

Anonymous said...

I hope you sue the crap out of Best Buy and win. If they are not going to accept responsibility and do the right thing, then they should be made an example of. Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Much of (consumer) America supports you. Any company that would rather pay attorneys and negotiate through them have lost touch with their customers. And the attorneys involved should have their credentials checked for not not foreseeing what this issue has and will continue to become. Oh, that's right, they don't want it to go away, the messier it gets, the more they can bill. The more they bill, the more consumers pay.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. we won't be shopping their either. It sounds like an increasingly desperate company suffering from poor management and lack of foresight at the top. It's also likely their age discrimination policies are keeping them busy (albeit not profitable). http://www.computerworld.com/careertopics/careers/labor/story/0,10801,97691,00.html

Anonymous said...

Wow... Greedy... Guess what... Your greed is going to cost everyone else more for their products at Best Buy. The company will make up for the losses by charging everyone else a little more. So, you gain, everyone else loses. Greedy...

Indiana Jim said...

$54 Million dollars is ridiculous. I really doubt you're identity is worth that much. How much would it cost you to secure your protection with a company such as Lifelock or Intelius?

Let's face it. You and your greedy attorney have decided to milk the tort system for everything you can get and pad your own pathetic pockets.

Do what is right and grow up.

bmullins said...

I am glad to see other consumers standing up for their rights. Too often companies walk all over the very people that patronize them. I know you have gotten their attention - a story about this appears on Slashdot.org which is the computer and techie savvy news source. This was a total disregard for your personal information and data. Be sure to file a theft report with the police as well.

Best Buy has not been a favorite of mine since I found that they have manufacturers of big ticket items - such as TVs - place custom model numbers on the products. This prevents consumers from shopping around since you cannot compare their bogus model numbers to anything.

Good luck and check out Nolopress if you need help with legal proceedings. You can also hire legal students to help you write briefs if you want to argue this yourself. DC has a number of great law schools.

Anonymous said...

I know if I was on the jury and you provided reasonable proof of your claims, I'd have no hesitation awarding you $54 million! Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

You're an idiot!

Shit happens....Replacement value and a $500 gift card.....

It's idiots like you that are always sue happy for christ sake....And are ruining this country.

Stop Whining and get a freakin' life!

Can't even believing I am readig this stupid blog

Anonymous said...

You are handling this in a professional and respectful manner. I hope you things work out in your favor. I will be boycotting BB.

Anonymous said...

Take your $500 gift card and cram it! You collected the value of the laptop. Why should it be their fault that you didn't use a password, or make regular backups.

I hope you loose the case, and the judge fines you for wasting his time.

Ryan Taylor said...

Forget the flamers here who have to post anonymously, they did NOT have to go through what you did. Yes shit happens...but what BB did was downright diabolical...Please go through with your attempt to teach them a lesson by hitting them where it hurts...I look forward to reading about the court findings

Anonymous said...

Hope you lose, your claims of ID Theft and the costs you have incured is absolutely ABSURD...just like your lawsuit.

I hope the court find in favor of BEST BUY, finds that even though they commited many errors - that they did offer your greedy a$$ enough compensation, and lastly...that they make you pay for all of the court costs and legal fees for both sides.

Because of you and other 'me' people, we will face higher prices, higher taxes, and our courts get all jammed up with sensationalized lawsuits.

Lastly - LMAO - you were 'talked into' a $300 service plan on a laptop that cost less than $2000 - you are stupid! Plus it should have still been under the manufacture's warranty.

George said...

Hello Raelyn,

I am glad that someone has caught Best Buy in their act of lying and deception and not taking care of their customers.

I have personally been boycotting Best Buy since 1999 when I made my last purchases EVER there. Paid over $3500 in cash for a new computer and big screen television. They refused to sell me a TV stand because it was their last one on the floor and said I could order it. No biggie there. A week later my wife and I went in to order it and the employee said that you can't order it, you have to buy it with the TV. I wasn't very happy. So got a manager, went through the whole process to order it ($170 for the tv stand). 2-3 weeks later the stand is in, my wife drove to get it. She goes to the customer service desk ("can't find the stand at first") then they seem to find it, bring it out on a flatbed cart and tells my wife, "here you go". This stand weighs just shy of 100lbs. My wife asked for help and she was told that the couldn't help her put it in the truck because they only had one person in the warehouse and he couldn't leave. So she struggled and a customer walking in helped her put the stand in the truck.

After hearing this, I drove up there with receipts in hand and tried to find out why this happened, the manager basically ignored me. At that point I made the commitment that I would never shop there again, and I haven't.

I agree with you, your lawsuit amount is overboard, but then again, you have documentation and proof to show that they didn't want to resolve the situation. I wish you much luck in this matter, and hopefully you can get a replacement laptop and all your legal fees paid for.

IonJustice said...

I completely support you in this. I've never had a good experience with Best Buy's customer service, and have boycotted them for years. Whenever I hear another story about their lousy treatment of the customers that continue to buy from them, I wonder why they're still in business.

Yes, $54 mil is excessive. Yes, it may take that to get their attention. I believe you know that, and don't really expect that in a settlement.... if they would just settle instead of ignoring you! This case should never get to trial. If it does, it's because they let it get there. It's on their dime that the court system will be choking on excessive litigation.

In response to those who accuse you of driving up prices, if BB's legal fees are passed down to their customers, then maybe people will just have to go elsewhere to buy at uninflated prices.

Best of luck to you.

Anonymous said...

Good for you! Please click here to see how we started informing our visitors about Best Buy's Geek Squad's, outrageous prices, theft, deception, improprieties and lack of privacy which has made the news. We've posted as many stories as we can find about them and we're only too happy to include this one too!

Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

It's people like you who file idiotic lawsuits like this that really put a damper on progress. Are you just proud of your idiocy? I mean, you wear it on your sleeve like a badge of honor. What was wrong with a brand new replacement, plus a 50% increase via a gift card? Were you too ignorant to back up your data before turning over the laptop? Did you have personal info that could not be revealed? Why? I am sick and tired of stupid ignorant people in this country pulling stunts like this, just hoping to hit the lottery...
Jim from Houston

Anonymous said...

Whether she had backed up her information is not the issue. There was personal information the computer when it was entrusted to Best Buy TO BE REPAIRED (that may indicate that something prevented her from removing that personal information!). In any event,that means that Best Buy had an obligation to protect that data and to notify her immediately when the data was compromised. That's it - that's what this is all about.

Best Buy lies, cheats and steals from consumers all the time and everyone knows it.

Best Buy is always pulling something like this - advertising things for sale that they don't have, never did and don't intend to carry. I have reported them repeatedly to the BBB but nothing ever gets changed.

Good luck with your lawsuit - I hope you win big and shut them down!

Ashley said...

I think what you're doing is the right thing. It's not the value of the computer that's at stake, it's the value of the general consumer. Clearly Best Buy doesn't have our best interests in mind. All they see us as is walking cash cows.

I'd also like to respond to the Anonymous people bitching about how "greedy" and "idiotic" this lawsuit is. They're missing the point of this lawsuit entirely. It's not about getting the money back, it's about forcing Best Buy to own up to their mistakes so this kind of thing doesn't happen again. I know I'd be furious if some Best Buy employee carelessly lost or let my laptop get stolen. I'd demand that person get fired and that someone launch an investigation. This kind of incompetence should not be allowed to continue is ANY company, especially a corporation giant like best Buy.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Raelyn. I am an attorney in Honolulu, and I think you have a very interesting fact pattern. I also think that Best Buy is definitely in a quandary of their own creation. You are 100% correct in first having chosen a reasonable settlement number, and in increasing it over time. I suspect Best Buy has gotten the message by now that this is not a simple nuisance suit that they will be able to ignore. You are doing what all consumers should do when faced with a similar situation, but which virtually nobody actually does. Good luck to you!

Rejean Dumas said...

I quick word from Canada to tell you how supportive I am of your battle.

Best Buy as many large retail store speak one language : money. In order for them to understand, you finally came to the conclusion that you have to use their language. Obviously, 54 M$ is exagerated, as you very well know but even if you speak "money language", they won't understand either if you only wisper.

As for the "anonymous" individuals who nearly claim that you will be turning the country's economy upside down, notice that they can't find better than calling you an idiot to make their point.

Anonymous said...

You are lame. You don't deserve $52 million dollars. I don't care what you think this is worth. It was one mistake and you try to take down a major company. Just accept the few thousand dollars and new computer and get over yourself. You said you want "fair compensation." Does $52 million sound fair for one lost product? Give up. Get a life and a new computer. So many things are you fault here.

Anonymous said...

You make it appear as though your experience is a Best Buy common practice.Evidently the Attorney General doesn't have a rash of consumer complaints or he would have launched an investigation and file suit to protect consumers(that is one of his jobs as A.G.)Instead he felt you could be made completely whole through small claims court.You say it's not about the money but your response would indicate otherwise($25,000+$75,000=$100,000)So tell the truth and then accept some responsibility for not protecting your EXTREMELY VALUABLE info by removing your hard drive or having them remove it for you prior to leaving it with them as I am sure you knew they would not need the drive to fix a faulty on/off switch.It would be the same as leaving your drivers licence,SS card,credit card and check book in your car and giving the keys to the valet parking attendant.Who would you sue then for the loss of your info,the hotel?You also make it sound as though it's a proven fact that it was deliberatly stolen.Is there any proof of that or could it possibly have been mislabeled or shipped to the repair facility with the wrong tag or countless other innocent human error possibilities?Mistakes will happen and it's the responsibility of the party that made the mistake to make it right but not outragously profitable to the damaged party.So if you're all about doing the right thing,accept there offer of $2500 that more than doubles the price of your laptop and chock the loss of pics & song up to your own error in not protecting those items from theft or human error.

Anonymous said...

Well, well, from some of the posting that I have read trash talking Raelyn Campbell on her lawsuit with Best Buy. Yes, people should be allowed to give their two cents worth, but these idiots need to be given a refund back. There is a real world out there where big corporations pay off people to make the problem disappear and they do this by any means necessary. Hey here's a concept, how about Best Buy actually doing what they advertise, doing real customer service work and delivery on what they promised in their advertisements.

The idiots who posted comments saying that it is her own fault and she brought it on herself, they need to unbury their heads from WOW and come out of their mother's basement, and here's a real scary thought, try living in the real world every once in while.

There are two main entities that are at fault; the first one is the Best Buy and the second is the media i.e., the news. If Campbell had acted like past customers who just accepted Best Buys pathetic attempts to buy off customers, her story would have just gotten buried in with the thousands of other Best Buy Service horror stories. And we would've never heard of Raelyn Campbell if it hadn't been for her lawsuit. Because we all know that time after time the media continues to reward people with outlandish news events. So, the only way that Campbell could bring focus to such inexcusable customer service practices by Best Buy is to bring $54 million lawsuit, and wasn't that amazing how many news media's picked up this story immediately.

Now to address the idiots who are talking trash on how its Campbell own fault for not properly securing her data, now those people definitely showed their true ignorance on this subject. Now for the rest of us who actually work in the service and repair industry, there has to be a certain amount trust between the customer and the service repair center.
If a customer comes in with a PC problem, it must be determined if it's a hardware or software issue and the only way to accomplish this is to have full access to the PC i.e., (hard drive and Windows). If you take one idiots suggestion and removed the hard drive, the customer has a very difficult time demonstrating the problem on the PC to the service technician and you do not have the ability to test the PC to see whether it's a bad hardware or Windows software corruption. Now if you take one of the other suggestions and secure the software and data on the hard drive, you may not be able to duplicate the problem without having full access to the software on the hard drive to test it, leaving you unable to fully test the PC due to security lockouts in the software.

I suspect that the people who are trash talking on how its Campbell own fault and she should just shut up about it and just go home and stop whining, well I suspect that these idiots probably work for Best Buy and were told by corporate to post some company approved slander on Raelyn Campbell’s Blog.

The only two things that I can fault Raelyn Campbell for is not backing up her own data and believing the television commercials on how wonderful Best Buy’s service is.

Raelyn Campbell is a voice for all of us who have been screwed over by Best Buy Services, and I hope that she wins her lawsuit…. maybe then the company will actually learned by this and clean up their act.

I watched this news report and the other night and again Best Buy fails miserably on their computer service repair, here is a link to the Consumer 10 learns which computer repair stores could fix a broken computer correctly without charging a bundle. See our findings.

http://www.10tv.com/?sec=consumer10&story=sites/10tv/content/pool/200802/1623260031.html

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on taking the time to pursue this. And time is what it takes and has taken too.

The problem with all of this and this goes much further than Best Buy, is service. Service after the sale. Many companies such as Best buy only know how to sell. They know little or nothing about the real work: Service!

Anonymous said...

Asking for a $35 million compensation for a $1500 laptop is not only insane, it's so unreasonable that you should be put in psychiatry for the rest of your life...

Get a grip, you are so unreasonable that you propably will never understand the damage your inflicting right now.

Anonymous said...

I bet there is some sensitive information on that laptop that you don't want others to see...
Something illegal perhaps, something that will ruin your appearance?
It's about the only reason I can think of when I see this irrational lawsuit. I bet the lawsuit is just a blanket to cover up the content on the laptop.

Gloria H. said...

Unfortunately, we are in the same situation that you are in now. We dropped off our computer at a Best Buy in VA on the 21st of July, 2008. Today, we were told after several calls to them and visits to the store that the computer was lost...after it had been sent to Kentucky. I am very upset, all of my daughter's pictures are in that computer and sensitive information...and yes, even though I know we could have backed up the data, I did not do any wrong here...Best buy has. They have lost our computer..I ask them for tracking numbers for UPS, and they cannot provide me with this. I looked online becuase they sent me an email saying that the computer was ready ad now I see that it states that the computer has been picked up!!! By who? Not by me!!! I do not know what to do, I feel helpless.

Anonymous said...

They make large address labels and if you put your complaint in writing, you can put 1,000's of these labels all over the city. You can even put them on merchandise at Best Buy.

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Anonymous said...

No body should buy from best buy. They rob peoples money and have the worst customer service

Zahid Hossain said...

I trust you sue the poo out of Best Buy and win. On the off chance that they are not going to acknowledge duty and make the best choice, at that point they ought to be made a case of. Good luck!
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