"Privacy in Peril" Draft Op-ed

America’s privacy protection laws and policies are perilously inadequate. If my recent experience with America’s largest consumer electronics retailer is any indication, more proactive approaches are urgently needed, lest countless consumers fall victim to the costly and increasingly common crime of identity theft.

The Federal Trade Commission etimates that as many as 10 million Americans each year have their identities stolen, either through sophisticated scams or “low-tech” schemes. Losses to businesses and consumers may approach $53 billion per year.

In response to particularly egregious violations in recent years, both the public and private sector have upgraded consumer protection policies, and most states have adopted legislation to mandate prompt notification of potential privacy breaches to customers.

Nevertheless, I have learned the hard way that laws and policies – in the absence of aggressive enforcement – fall short.

Around May 25, a laptop that I entrusted to my local Best Buy store for repair was stolen. Based on indications that proper procedure was not followed on that day and an employee’s revelation that a false record was created weeks later, I believe that the perpetrator of the crime was a Best Buy employee and that the store tried to hide the theft.

As if the store’s initial actions were not appalling enough, Geeksquad “customer service” agents responded to follow-up inquiries with lies about the repair status and location of the phantom computer. These tactics continued until early August, when one conscientious employee finally saw fit to disclose the fact that there was no record that the computer had ever left the store.

More importantly, tax, financial, and other sensitive personal information saved on my laptop were in the hands of a criminal throughout the entire process. Despite this, not once did a single Best Buy representative prioritize (or acknowledge) my vulnerability to identity theft. The first warning I received about potential exposure and the need to protect myself came in late October – from a lawyer I consulted, not Best Buy.

Local statutes and laws in its home state of Minnesota should have compelled Best Buy to disclose the theft and potential privacy breach to me immediately. Best Buy’s official privacy policy asserts that it takes “great care in safeguarding… personal information and in complying with all applicable federal and state privacy laws and our own internal standards and best practices.” Best Buy’s systematic failure to honor its ethical and legal obligations to protect my interests belies this claim and left me unnecessarily exposed for months.

Fortunately for me, whoever has my computer failed to leverage the information it contained before I could subscribe to credit monitoring and identity theft protection services. Unfortunately, I will be forced to bear this cost and concern for years to come.

Were it an isolated incident, rather than the latest in a series of publicized violations by Best Buy and other companies, I would probably walk away without wondering if my experience is but the tip of the iceberg. Were it the act of a single employee rather than an organization-wide culture of disregard for obligations to its customers, I probably would not believe as strongly as I do that the issues involved merit broader consideration.

First, we as consumers need to take responsibility to get better informed about the risks of identity theft, what we can do to minimize vulnerability to it, and how and when we should report violations.

Second, the government should continue efforts to raise awareness. Moreover, local officials and Congressional leaders should ensure existing and pending legislation adequately address consumer needs and empower authorities with the mandate and resources to aggressively enforce the laws.

Third, laws, enforcement policies, and the courts should emphasize prevention of identity theft as well as restitution for damages after personal information is compromised. Authorities should proactively pursue cases where failure to hold a company accountable for ineffective policies could result in significant damages to consumers if practices are left unchanged – even if the initial case does not involve widespread damages.

Finally, Best Buy and other companies should undertake independent audits of the effectiveness of policies and educate employees on the importance of giving privacy protection the priority it deserves.

Five months of calls, visits, and letters to Best Buy went unheeded, so I requested help from the authorities in October. Best Buy’s response: a low-ball compensation offer and a statement to the Attorney General’s Office that “Best Buy feels we have appropriately addressed this issue.”

I disagree, and have filed a lawsuit with the hope that court and public scrutiny might motivate Best Buy to change its assessment and take action to prevent harm to future customers. I doubt I am Best Buy’s first and only victim, but, by bringing attention to the issues and urging aggressive responses, I hope to be among its last.

Raelyn Campbell is a former Best Buy customer. Her blog can be found at: bestbuybadbuyboycott.blogspot.com.

265 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 265 of 265
Pam,BSN,NP said...

"pay your stupid tax & move on..."?? WTF? are you that dumb goatley? you make no sense at all- shame on you!
Don't listen to this idiot Raelynn. Like another post said, over 95% of people agree with you. YOU GO GIRL!

goatley said...

Hmmm I rebut the lack of facts in her argument and put forth the contributory negligence argument and the best the opposition can come up with is “your stupid”. My, what an intelligent response. Maybe you could spell check my post and point out all the typos. Ad Hominem, the sure sign that an argument has been lost.
score: goatley 1.
opposition 0

GT500Shlby said...

@Goatley,
Sir, you are freely entitled to your opinion. I respect your views however, you may not understand the real reason the lawsuit was brought.

She is not suing because she lost data or the actual laptop.
She is suing because:
1.) They lost her laptop that had personal information critical to her and not only failed to notify her, per legal requirement - they attempted to cover it up.
2.) Best Buy has repeatedly lied about the status of the laptop and has even doctored records.
3.) They are not liable if the hard-drive dies or if they have to re-image the drive. However, they ARE liable if they allow it to be stolen. In which case they are liable not only for the cost of the hardware, they are liable for the replacement cost of the software and the data.
4.) They are only liable for the current estimated fair-market value of the laptop if the laptop is unable to be repaired and she is still under the store warranty. If they LOSE the laptop or allow it to be stolen, they are liable for the exact price of a comparable replacement.
5.) True, she doesn't know Best Buys policies and requirements for customer privacy - however it is apparent that they failed miserably.
6.) Best Buy has shown repeatedly that it didn't give a rats behind and threw the least amount of money it could at each request.
7.) It made and UNAUTHORIZED transaction to her credit card. Albeit, to give a credit. It was still unauthorized and violated a few laws.

Now, all you see if the large lawsuit. She is not suing to get a large cash settlement. She is suing to get media attention. Which she has. Her story went around the world, its on blogs, its allover the news. Best Buy has a big old spotlight and every action it does is being seen by customers, ex-customers and possible potential customers around the world. That is why she filed a $54m lawsuit.

Will she see a dime? Probably not. I think at best, she'll see $8,500.

The fact of the matter is, Best Buy didn't take her seriously. Even after the $54m lawsuit, they still don't. It is apparent from the lack of intellect in their lawyers correspondence with Raelyn, that they still don't give a crap. Just wait until they start seeing the news impacting their numbers. Sure, it won't make a dent, but it doesn't have to. Even the smallest amount of lost profits that can be attributed to Raelyns quest and they will finally own up to what they did to get back into the publics good graces. It's just PR.

Was that an intelligent enough response for you?

Cheers,
GT500Shlby.

WEDNPLNR said...

Raelynn

Good for you. I had a really bad experience recently with Best Buys and the Geek Squad. They ruined my laptop and the Geek manager was rather rude (Germantown, MD store.) I called their corporate office and they are as useless as the Geek Squad themself. I hope you get a HUGE chunk of change from them and I hope this lawsuit causes them to loose enough business to make them work a little harder for their customers and take care of things that are left in their care for repair.

Pam,bsn,np said...

Poor goatley sounds so stupid. Looks like many agree. There are no lack of facts in anyone's argument except yours. Stop all your silly "I am smarter than you" games & leave this blog now. I know you are trying to appear intelligent but you are not. No one wants to waste their time with people like you who don't give Raelynn any credit. You are a closed minded jerk.
Don't bother trying to scramble up some remark to this because I'm not going to bother looking at it. I know you woould like to feel that "an argument has been lost", give it up. Go find something useful on this planet to do. Go volunteer at Nursing Home & get some humbleness!

GT500shlby, don't even waste your time or energy with this goatley thing. Neither should anyone else- it's not worth it.

Good luck to you Raelynn!

Lucy said...

Hi Raelynn!

I had an awful experience at BestBuy Chicago (North Ave.). I really thought I was in the twilight zone when dealing with "them"! I took my computer in for a "clean-up" they said it would be ready by the end of the day. Wouldn't you know, it was ready by the end of the 2nd month! It was hysterical! They couldn't find it, then they thought they did but didn't, then they thought someone had given it to the wrong customer- I mean seriously! It was like Candid Camera!
The mgr. was semi-sympathetic b/c I went in there almost everyday to find him & have him work on locating my computer. He admitted to me that his workers were fabricating entries in the computer to make it look like work was actually being done. When he finally got his hands on it almost 2 months later, not 1 person had even looked at it or worked on it. He sat there & did it all himself & gave me a bunch of other upgrades & stuff on it because he was at the point of embarrasment for the company & everyone involved. He also didn't charge me for anything.
I would tell people at work & my friends about it & it was then I learned how many others had similar bad experiences at BestBuy. It's been about 5 years & I have never stepped foot into that store since & I don't ever want to!
You have my support!

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying what your doing is right or wrong, But please lets look at a couple things here if you took you laptop into any store (Not Just Best Buy) and you had a service plan and they like most stores send it out to the authorized service location and it gets lost! I'm sure that it did not get lost on purpose. UPS loses stuff all the time. so does fedex and the post office. next you cant sue a company for what might happen because has nothing has happened yet! you cant blame them for you leaving personal data on your machine either.(do you own a flash drive) you said they put money back on your Card and gave you $500.00 gift card wow that was more then they needed to do. if you read most service plans from retailers they don't cover software or personal data anyways. we live in a world where people store all there data on laptops and computers and when they break they run into a store and say please help me all my information is on there and I cant get it to work. please you gotta help me my laptop is my life. what you need to do is take responsabilty for your on actions. Suing a store only makes them change there policy and raise prices for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

I too am involved in a dispute with Best Buy. I purchased an iPod from them in August 2005. At the time, the cashier suggested that I take out a three-year extended warranty on the unit. He advised that iPods are very temperamental and that a warranty is a wise idea. He went on to explain that if at any time during this three-year period the iPod broke, Best Buy would repair it free of charge. Further, if for some reason the unit could not be repaired, Best Buy would give me a comparable replacement. This made perfect sense to me, so I took out the warranty. The iPod worked beautifully until December 2007, when it suddenly stopped functioning. I tried recharing it, I hooked it up to an iPod deck and to my computer -- nothing. The unit was totally dead. Accordingly, I brought the iPod to Best Buy to see what could be done. A Geek Squad member inspected the unit and advised that it had indeed crashed. He then verified that the iPod was still under warranty and that, pursuant to that warranty, Best Buy would repair or replace it free of charge. A couple of weeks later I received a call that my iPod was ready for pick up. I arrived at Best Buy the next day, only to be told by a different Geek Squad guy that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the unit and that I would have to pay a $35 no-fault charge to retrieve it. I pointed out to him that the unit was broken when I had brought it in two weeks earlier. His own Geek Squad co-worker had verified that it had crashed. Geek#2 maintained his position. I then asked to speak with a manager. I was told that I would not receive a different answer from a manager. I tried to reason with Geek#2, but got nowhere. I asked to speak with a manager several more times, each time being refused. Geek#2 then suggested that I call Best Buy's Corporate Office. I detailed my saga to a rep in Corporate, who advised that the charge certainly seemed inappropriate. However, she could not waive it. She suggested that I pay the $35 and promised that she would send me reimbursement in the form of a $35 Best Buy gift card (a flimsy resolution!). At this point, I was so frustrated that I decided to give in and pay the ransom. Before pulling out my wallet, however, a thought occurred to me. I asked the Geek if I could see the iPod for a moment. Amazingly, all of my music had disappeared. I pointed out to him that if, as Best Buy claims, the unit was working perfectly when shipped to them and if, as they claim, they did no work on it, the music should still be there. Geek advised that Best Buy had apparently reset the iPod (thereby negating his earlier claim that Best Buy had done nothing with the unit). When he realized that he had contradicted himself, he advised that resetting is not covered by the warranty. I was faced with the prospect of paying a bogus $35 charge for a two-and-a-half-year-old iPod, with no music on it, that would undoubtedly crash again (as Best Buy claims to have performed no repairs on it). I decided to leave the unit, and obnoxious Geek#2, and purchase a new iPod in BJ's. I then returned home and detailed my situation in a letter to Best Buy's Corporate Office. A few days later I received a letter from Best Buy claiming that nothing was wrong with the unit and that I remain responsible for the $35 no-fault charge. I wrote again to Best Buy and asked how it is possible then that I have a receipt from Best Buy advising that the iPod had crashed. By maintaining their ridiculous allegation that the iPod was working perfectly when brought in for service is not only an insult to my intelligence and integrity, but also to the competence of their employee who originally inspected my iPod. A few days later I received another letter from Best Buy, basically insinuating that I am lying about the situation. It's blatantly obvious that Best Buy is in the habit of selling warranties that they have no intention of honoring. It's unconscionable that Best Buy refuses to honor its contractual commitments with their customers. Sadly, for a dispute over $35 and a broken iPod, and as a result of truly shoddy customer service, "Best Lie" has lost a customer for life. I will never again shop in that store.

Best of luck in your lawsuit, Ms. Campbell!

goatley said...

Dear Pam,

Thank you for the statistics but they teach math a little different in your world. There is hardly a 95% agreement, much less over 95%. A review of the first 20 posts yields the following:
10 agree
9 disagree
1 no opinion

Sweetie that's 50% agree 45% disagree a virtual tie. Next time you want to add statistics to your post please don't pull them out of you axx.

Anonymous said...

Although her situation is unfortunate, she really has only herself to blame for any loss other than the laptop itself. The document you sign when you turn in your systems states you should back your data up, that they take no reponsibility for it and that it should contain nothing of a personal nature (well there's a no brainer!)
So.......they owe her for her lost laptop but nothing else.

GT500Shlby said...

Actually - a few of the previous posts are untrue.

That paper may *SAY* that they are not liable - however it is improbable for someone to remove ALL of their personal data from a machine every time they need to have it serviced.

Also - they are only protected when they need to re-image the drive or the drive itself fails and needs to be replaced. Also - it has to be REASONABLE that they replace/re-image the drive.

EVERYTHING ELSE, like losing or letting the laptop be stolen they are more than liable for.

People, out of all those liability forms you sign for various reasons, only about .4% are actually held up in court.

Now - Best Buy is LIABLE... 100%

I am about a hair away from writing an Amicus Curiae to the judge about this particular case outlining this.

John Macey said...

At what time does this become a "Class Action"?

I've not bought anything from Best Buy in years, and certainly will not trust any electronics purchase to be made there!

T said...

I had the same thing happen to me at the Best Buy store in Bloomingdale, Illinois. I left a computer in June 2007, after threatening them, I received it back in September 2007. There was evidence that a geek squad employee was using it for his personal usage, a there was all kinds of networks on the computer, and the sound card was disabled. The only problem that the computer had was the power system needed replacement. Best Buy offered me $ 549.00, which I declined. This seems to be a standard practice at Best Buy.

Anonymous said...

You Go Girl! I agree with you 100%! Yeah, the hassle and aggrevation, lying and bullshit you had to put up with is a MAJOR issue! However Best Buys total lack of concern for their shortcomings with this matter, their dishonesty, IS THE REAL ISSUE! I hope you drag them thru the mud! And I do think your point has been taken with them, and the rest of us that read your story!

Anonymous said...

Hey goatley, like the other post-er said- go find something useful to do! you DO sound like an idiot! I can't believe the time & energy you have put into this blog.
Take all this energy you have wasted on trying to convince others of your crap advice, & use it to make yourself a happier person.
To Raelynn, I'm glad you are fighting BestBuy!

SARA! said...

good for you raelynn! don't let your guard down!

for all you goatley haters out there- don't waste your time with the jerk. whatever gender it is, it's just trying to get your "goat".
I'm sure goatley has posted all the "anonymous" anti-raelynn blogs.

Anonymous said...

$54 million is quite ridiculous but I admire you for your boldness in making sure that Best buy should treat its customers with professionalism and responsibility. I hope that other big retailers or electronic manufacturers will make sure that they too will treat customers' in a responsible manner!

Anonymous said...

Your a complete Bitch! your the type of customer who should not own a computer nor even a laptop, you runin it for the rest of the 50 misslion people living on this planet. somebody should take you out side and shoot you. IMHO

Anonymous said...

I see you dont honro freedom of speech your a bigot and a bitch

Anonymous said...

So many people are quick to comment and blast. It is clear they haven't read the background. Realynn knows this is a crazy amount, it is only to get attention from BestBuy. She had to finally resort to this tactic. She probably will settle before it goes too far or ever gets to court. They sold her a warranty, she acted in good faith, they didn't. You go girl!

GT500Shlby said...

People, especially you anonymous cowards, listen up:

You are all entitled to your opinion. This is a free country, and you are free to be as ignorant as you please.

However, at what point is it intelligent to just call someone a "bitch" and call her stupid, yet you were unable to do so with any semblance of spelling or grammar?

This isn't an English lit class - but before you condemn someone as stupid or ridiculous you may want to look in the mirror yourself.

jen said...

how sad everyone has resorted to name calling. don't forget what this is about- raelynn felt entitled to take this issue of BB's mess up further & aren't we lucky to live in this country where we CAN fight for what we believe in?!

John Macey said...

Jen,

YOU ARE SO RIGHT! Excuse the Caps. I've fought and won against both SONY and H-P.

BB will fold!

Regards,

JJMacey
Phoenix, Arizona
www.jjmacey.net/blog

Anonymous said...

While I understand your pain, and understand that the only way to touch big business is through the bottom line. I think $54 million is unrealstic. I would have more respect and support, if like you said you want them to feel the pain, any monies you recieve are given to charity and not for your self gain. Then you are not better than Best Buy for looking out for themselves.

Bobbie said...

Raelyn, I live in Ohio and would like to know what kind of lawyer to contact.Better yet, I would love to contact you with similiar circumstances. Please advise.

rcdc said...

Bobbie,

This is a low-tech website, and doesn't provide emails for incoming posts. If you want a response, please send a post with your email address.

To protect the posters, I will not publish any posts with email addresses in them.

Raelyn

Anonymous said...

Raelyn, I hope you get them where it hurts--in the pocketbook! I am currently going through Best Buy and Geek Squad HELL! I have spoken with dozens of "agents" and "supervisors". Some of the "agents" and "supervisors" are actually polite, but most are uncaring and tend to pass the buck. The store where I purchased my laptop has given me the runaround for weeks. The original problem with my laptop was misdiagnosed by a Geek Squad agent at the store. That was 6 months ago! I was treated very poorly and impolitely by some agents and store personnel. The sad thing is most people just accept it. I have my own small retail shop. If I treated my customers like Best Buy treats theirs, I would no longer have a business. Good luck to you.

timaloha said...

Hi Raelynn,
Good for you! And good for other consumers too. I'm in the early stages of what looks like a real disaster dealing with these bastards who seem bent on keeping my new computer which ran for a whopping 42 days. They keep coming up with new excuses and procedures that need to be done, etc. Well, I'm inspired by your efforts and if I don't get satisfaction, I'm going to remind them of your case and take my complaint to the Massachusetts Attorny General's Office....for starters. Thank you,
Tim on Cape Cod

Paul S. said...

I am currently having an almost identical issue as you. It started when BestBuy sold me a used Mac with someone's info on it and I could not wipe the drive. Then they replaced it with a broken one. After a month the new one had an issue and I took it in and they tried to tell me the Service agreement they sold me was being altered because it was a Mac, I told them they could not re negotiate the contract down the road. The did fix the Mac but lost the box it came in and damaged the Mac! It had scratches all over it and they told me they were not responsible for the lost box or the damage! I spent over an hour on the phone with their customer service dept.. who told me it would all be taken care of. The guy a at the store told me it would be sent the next day. A week later I had no response. I can never get through to the store so I again called to the Customer Service #. I both calls the rep was not able to help only (escalate) the call. I had to get a supervisor on the phone each time to get answers. This guy tells me there is no record of my computer at the the store or service center. They don't know where it is and they think they lost it. I am at a loss with the deception. Who did you contact as a layer and do they do pro bono work? I had thousands of dollars of stuff on this Mac and use it for work. My info is redone5623@aol.com and my name is Paul

Paul S. said...

I am currently having an almost identical issue as you. It started when BestBuy sold me a used Mac with someone's info on it and I could not wipe the drive. Then they replaced it with a broken one. After a month the new one had an issue and I took it in and they tried to tell me the Service agreement they sold me was being altered because it was a Mac, I told them they could not re negotiate the contract down the road. The did fix the Mac but lost the box it came in and damaged the Mac! It had scratches all over it and they told me they were not responsible for the lost box or the damage! I spent over an hour on the phone with their customer service dept.. who told me it would all be taken care of. The guy a at the store told me it would be sent the next day. A week later I had no response. I can never get through to the store so I again called to the Customer Service #. I both calls the rep was not able to help only (escalate) the call. I had to get a supervisor on the phone each time to get answers. This guy tells me there is no record of my computer at the the store or service center. They don't know where it is and they think they lost it. I am at a loss with the deception. Who did you contact as a layer and do they do pro bono work? I had thousands of dollars of stuff on this Mac and use it for work. My info is redone5623@aol.com and my name is Paul

Anonymous said...

I can understant your problem I have a HP Computer which It had some warenty when I got it.
I paid for two more years.
It has been messed up and i have ask them many times to fix it.
They want to tell Me how to fix it,I am not able to drag it out and do what they tell me too.
I think more companys need sueing
I will never buy another HP anything and will never buy a wornty anymore.

Anonymous said...

In October of 2006 I purchased $10,000 + or – worth of Media Room equipment. You know TV projector, DVD player, power amp, many speakers on and on etc…

About 20 + individual items in all. My arrangement with Best Buy was to have the items delivered to my home on a specified date.

One week prior to the specified date I get a phone call from my 16 year old daughter and she said
“Best Buy just deliver a whole bunch of stuff to the house.”

When I got home that afternoon I took my receipts and proceeded to check the receipts against the items delivered to insure that I had received everything that I paid for.

I eventually discovered that the one item that had not been delivered was the 9 foot Video screen.

Oddly enough this was the least expensive item of everything. Less than $300. It was also the biggest item in size. (9 feet long) Not an item that is easily overlooked.

I immediately called the store manager and informed him of the situation.

His response: “Well Mr. Hudson we have evidence that you did receive the screen”.

I once again I assured him that the items delivered did not include the video screen. I went on to suggest that he contact the driver of the Best Buy delivery truck and ask him if he recalled carrying in a box that was 9 feet in length.

His response: “We have a signature that all items have been delivered and accounted for”. “If you want a video screen you will have to pay for another video screen”.

Now here is what happened. Best Buy showed up a week before the schedule delivery date unannounced, my under age daughter opened the door and the truck driver told her “We are from Best Buy and we have a delivery”.

She said, “OK, the media room is up the stairway.

Best Buy carried in box and box of items with the exception of the 9 foot screen.

After they carried in the last item they had a spread sheet with an itemized list of purchases printed on it.

They stuck it in her hand and said “sign here”. So she did and they left.

Best Buy did not ask for an adult when the door was answered.
They did not do a check off list with my underage daughter to prove that all items were delivered.
The store manager made a decision because he had a signature the screen had been delivered.

I then took all of my receipts and went to the store. I ask to see the manager. The assistant manager approached and introduced himself.

I explained to the assistant manager in chronological order the events as they unfolded.

His response: “I have spoken with the manager, if you want a screen you will have to pay for another screen”.

My response: “Look, we are not going to have to go to court over a $300 screen are we”?

His response: “Oh, if you are going to threaten a law suit I can no longer speak to you”. He walked off and left me standing there in the middle of the floor.

My response: I had to do some extensive research by way of the State Corporation Commission to determine the proper name and registered agent to sue.

I filed suit in Colonial Heights General District Court (Virginia) over a $300 video screen.

The day that they received the warrant the store manager called me and pleaded with me to come get my video screen.

I would not buy a flash light battery from best Buy!

Anonymous said...

I am also a victim of Best Buy. I signed up for a Reward Zone card and a month later I received a Best Buy CREDIT CARD bill in the mail with charges totaling over $1,800 dollars. After weeks of maddening calls on hold to help further protect my identity, and Best Buy saying they couldn't investigate until the police came to the store, I received an offer in the mail from Best Buy to insure my purchase. It had all my info on it but, the phone number was wrong. Five minutes on Google, I discovered another person with my same name in the city. It turns out they mixed up our adresses at the store. HSBC the Best Buy credit card company (who were actually very helpful) said this type of thing happens all of the time.
It may seem like an honest mistake but, when your information gets floated around unprotected it can be very scary, especially when you can have a credit card opened under your name in a second.
The Best Buy store (boston) dragged their feet and seemed to want to write it off like it was no big deal.
It was an extremely frustrating experience and I will never shop at Best Buy again. I applaud the principle of you lawsuit. The only way you can draw attention is with a dollar amount that high. I love it!

Anonymous said...

So, tell me what you think about a major company dismissing a friend of mine who worked in IT -- then losing valuable documents with personal info including social security -- from his desk drawer. How do you think that should be handled?

Anonymous said...

i do agree that best buy has horrible service and their extended warranty is a big rip-off. I had a very bad experience trying to get a dyson vacuum cleaner repaired. I simply had a hole in the plastic vacuum hose. they told me it would take 4-6 weeks to repair and they would have to ship it to their repair center. they wouldn't give me a loaner so i couldn't vacuum my house for weeks (i have 2 dogs...). After arguing with best buy, i called dyson and they shipped me a new hose free of charge, even though the manufacturers warranty had already expired. Best buy wouldn't even refund me the cost of their extended service plan which i obviously didn't and couldn't use.

That said, No matter how much I hate Best Buy, I still don’t agree at all with your law suit. If you don’t like the company, just take reasonable compensation (which obviously is not millions of $$), and stop shopping there like I have. I won’t buy a thing from them ever again and told them that. I also tell everyone I know not to shop there and I comment whenever I can on the web to give them bad press. That’s it. No million $$ law suit. Believe me, consumers can and will make the right choices when a company like best buy chooses to have horrible service. Competitors do exist and new ones will appear and pull the business away. That’s how capitalism works.

Most people now adays think they are entitled to everything, including telling private companies how to run their business. It should be up to the business to decide how good they want their customer service to be. If a business decides to have really really cheap products and really really crappy service, that is completely their choice. I know its hard for the average consumer to understand and most consumers think they are “entitled” to good service, but sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Good service is just another overall part of the total experience and best buy will either change or fail to exist in the future.

So my final words to everyone – DON’T SHOP AT BEST BUY!! But also, don’t expect lawyers to solve your problems and don’t kill the whole system with million dollar law suits that in the end hurt everyone. Let consumers make the choices and let the system work. And realize it doesn’t always work perfectly or work for every individual case, but in the big picture, it does work if you let the market do its thing.

Anonymous said...

Best Buy will never get any of mine or my friends and familys business. I took my 5 month old computer in for repaies 6-23-2008 and still don't have it back. Asked them what was the problem and they blamed it on the manufacture backordering the parts. I then asked for the work order and got put on hold for 45 minutes. Every time I called I was put on hold for long periods. Then hung up on. I decided to get ahold of the manufacture and try to get answers through them and found out they had never received my computer. Turns out Best buy repaired it themselves which voided my factory warranty. They now want me to purchase recovery discs..that the manufacture would have supplied if they had indeed received my computer for its repairs. I have been lied to countless times! I think more ppl should bewarned of their bad business practices.
They do not stand behind the products they sell! Do not buy from Best Buy.

Anonymous said...

I just came back from Best Buy after being screwed over again. Last time it was with an Ipod that stopped working a month after I got it and this time it was with a camera where the battery door cracked. Both items were under their meaningless warranties. I am a 54 year old mother of 6. I am responsible and careful. Yet I had to stand and be instulted by Patrick and Justin over at Vernon Hills, Illinois. Thank you Raelynn..by the way, to some of you other bloggers, I am not a liberal Obama supporter. Some businesses are so dirty, so crooked that you couldn't sue them for enough for all of the thievery and deception they have been part of !!

Anonymous said...

You are a dumb ass bitch, you will never get the money. and those that commented are dumb asses as well if you think best buy is commission. circuit city is that's why they blow dick

Opinionated said...

News flash!!! Just because some store posts a "We aren't responsible for your stuff" sign, does not releave them of their legal obligation. Of course she won't get the $54M - then, maybe she will.. If she gets it, it's hers. But I bet that Best Buys won't loose another one! Or, if they do, they don't try to cover it up. Rae's certainly entitled to property loss, time, etc (which even at teh cheapest rates would be well in to the 1,000's) Just what is your hoursly rate, Rae? haha.. But there is a thing called punitive damages - and that's where teaching them a lesson comes in to play. If I were Best Buys, the first thing I'd do is fire the lawyers they have. Stay the course, Rae! They may laugh now, but when THEY have something stolen (not just lost), the first thing they'll say is "Remember the 54M lawsuit?" Oh, BTW... for the idiot that says that she should have backed up her data first.... go read the reason she took the computer in to get repaired....

John Coker said...

3-3-09 reading articles from Feb 08 Best buy is still screwing its customers over. john Coker

GT500Shlby said...

Best Buy likes to victimize the uninformed consumer. The number #1 rule for shopping at Best Buy (any retail store, for that matter) is, Be Prepared. For instance, purchasing a new HDTV. There are literally thousands of HDTV's out there. Just as important as finding the right TV (aside: NOT all HTDV's are the same, see past the marketing, HDGURU.com is a good resource for info) is making sure you are paying the right price. Best Buy charges MSRP, no less, no more. Most times, discount stores sell items at UNDER MSRP.

Take for instance, the 60" Plasma - Pioneer PDP-6020FD is MSRP'd at $5,500.00 and that's what Best Buy charges. However, the actual price you SHOULD pay, is $3,700.00. That's a large difference.

The 2nd rule, NEVER get the extended warranty. Purchase the item with a Credit/Charge/Debit Card _with_ purchase protection. For expensive items, insure them. If you want a warranty, get a FACTORY warranty.

The 3rd Rule, the store is a place to purchase items - everything else should be handles through the manufacturer. So, PICK the RIGHT manufacturer.

People in the know.

Lisa said...

WOW - sounds like what I'm dealing with - only my hard drive was stolen from the computer while in their care. Their *corporate* personnel have now accused me of taking out before bringing it in for repair. I have written proof on their Agent Checkout Sheet about testing the hard drive - now they say - those tests would run with or without a hard drive. Also their call logs are wrong, etc. I plan to hand it over to a lawyer as I don't like being called a lier/thief! Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

Yes - this is a shit organization - Best Buy. They ripped me off on a computer I bought there - that was broken - and then refused return. I asked them repeatedly to produce paperwork, wording denying my return - and they couldn't provide any.

They were rude, unethical, grossly unprofessional, and totally inept - from the manager to the guy at the door. This is Best Buy Ocoee.

I contacted the corporate office - and they were just as inept. After 5 emails back and forth - they could not produce any wording also - but have done nothing to appease my situation.

Basically - long story short - is that Best Buy stole from me.

I will never set foot in one of their stores again -- and recommend anyone else NOT buy from them.

Anonymous said...

This is a joke right? How is your data someone else's responsibility? Since computers existed such matters have always been in the realm of the user. It is taught in basic computers and business, back up your data. Further more all operating systems have encryption protocols for this and there even exist 3rd party protection from biometric USB keys to software. Uneducated computer users like you are the real problem, not the repair techs/suppliers. Do every one a favor and purchase "Computers for Dummies" and learn comething about what you profess.

Anonymous said...

The "How is your data someone else's responsibility?" guy is an idiot.

BB is supposed to be in the business of fixing your computer. That means they accept and have the legal responsibility to safeguard THE CUSTOMER'S PROPERTY. It is part of the fee they charge whether they like it or not.

I'd like to see them hang a warning telling customers: Your data & property will not be protected under the serive terms of this store. It is your responsibility if it is stolen while under BB's custody.

They will get so few customers they would have to close the geek squad.

Anonymous said...

So how about an update? How is the lawsuit working out for you? Do you get it now that you should back up your data and should not put private data on your computer?

Jimmy said...

Best Buy will try and force a $200-$300 "tune up on you for the HDTV's they sell. Any one with basic knowledge of setting color,contrast, etc can do this themselves. They will "explain" to you why you can't, but you can. The $10,000 machine thing is just a scam. My son did this work and its one of their pushes to sell more un-needed services. Their warranties are also no good to purchase because they'll do their best to tell you why they won't honor them. Been there done that too. I've had 2 warranties and they never honored either of them, due to technicalities they said even though I was told the "bumper to bumper" story when purchased. Stay AWAY from Best Buy. YOU WILL BE SORRY!

Anonymous said...

Hi Raelynn,

We are having a similar bout with best buy/geek squad over lost data. If its possible could I get your personal contact info? We could really use insight in to what u have learned through our suit against this retailer.

rcdc said...

Please email me at raelyncampbell@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

I think it is great!!! Normally i would not say this as I do believe good companies do get sued for no reason.
However, a couple of days ago my son bought an xbox and when he got home he could tell that it was a used one and the power supply did not fit the unit.
He tried to take it back and exchange it but they would not take it back. He called me from the store and i ran up there to talk with them. We were there for about 45 minutes. They had my son calling microsoft. I told them that we did not buy it from microsoft but from them.
Eventually the store manager came out and told us there is nothing he could do, that the serial number had already been registered. duh! Really? and basically my son was stuck with a used xbox. Microsoft did send him a new power supply but since the serial numbers were probably switched it did not fit the unit either.
i got on the internet and have talked with several people and this is really a company that needs sueing. In fact after reading all of the posts not only here but elsewhere i am surprised that they are allowed to do business in the state of colorado
We will be taking them to small claims court and writing a letter to the better business bureau. I dont know that it will do any good but worth a try
I have always liked the store and for the most part the employees but this has certainly left a bitter taste for both my son an myself.
good luck to you!
Tim

David K. Lemming said...

Everyone,
I agree that $54mil is a HUGE sum of money for this, but as has been stated already; what amount is enough that corporations will take notice and change policies and procedure? BB and GS are mentioned in many a negative news articles from stealing pictures and music from computers they are supposed to be working on and more. The fact that Raelynn did not back up her own data has nothing to do with this at all. The point here is that the store "misplaced" her item, lied about it, falsified documents, covered it up and gave hugely negative customer service overall.
If anyone actually reads through everything BB was given the chance several times to make restitution but failed to do so or even act as if they cared. Yes, maybe they did dump money into an account and send a gift card, but again this is not the point either. I agree that business needs to take notice here and go back to actually training managers and employees in real customer service and not the crap that they spew out now. BB is not the only place where we are treated like poo, think about it, how many times have you went out to eat and been ignored by waiters, or went back after going through a drive-thru to get the food that you paid for only to met with disgust, anger and rudeness?
We need to send the corporations a message that we will no longer take this abuse and they need to amend their ways and create a better set of standards in customer service, privacy rights and more. I will agree with several posting in saying that if Raelynn would voluntarily announce that if the case is one, the only money taken is to cover costs and nothing more; everything else is to then be donated to a charitable organization or funneled back into the company as training programs and such that is overseen by an outside firm to keep them from just dropping the money back into their cash flow reports and being done.
I think that this was a horrible thing to happen just as the case of the 23yr old that had her "personal", thought to be deleted pictures copied and spread around (http://www.startribune.com/business/18470879.html?page=2&c=y) and many other stories that have been posted here or other sites as to how consumers are treated at the establishments. The companies need reminded that it is the customer that creates their profits and when more and more customers experience bad situations they are going to spread the word, and word-of-mouth advertising is the worst kind to try and fend off or recover from. I say good luck and I hope that corporations take note of this case and make some changes for better customer service overall.

Anonymous said...

In typical BestBuy fashion they have an item on their website but its not available. I do not understand why if its sold out its kept on the website. Calling them does nothing. Its the old bait and switch. They are clearly as dishonest as they seem and yet they continue to get away with it.

Glenn said...

I love your story. Best Buy is an evil empire. I purchased a home theatre system and paid to have them install it and since the installation it hasnt worked properly. Intermittant static and white lines and violent poppiong noise. They came a few times to have a look but of course the problem didnt happen while the technician was there. I actually video taped the problem (as they asked) and sent it to the president of Best Buy in Minesotta and never got any reply. Iv spent hours on hold, sent several letters via certified mail and now i am 3 days away from the 1 year anniversary so im heading down to small claims court tomorrow - I paid over $3500 for the system. This makes me crazy because i decided to purchase the system from a "big reputable company" and didnt go to my local owner operated store... big freakin mistake.

Dean said...

I think Best Buy is frauduLent activities because they aLso do not keep track of any items that are paid with cash.
They said if it's not with the rewards or credit they wiLL have no record of it. WeLL, how do they do their taxes with no record of the cash paid items.

This is one shady company. "Bad Buy" indeed. The Obama administration shouLd Look into that, after aLL, taxation is money for the bettering of America.

Dean said...

Btw ~ Fry's Electronics. did the same thing (the exact same thing) to me and I'm in a suit with them right now.

I'LL Let you know how my suit turns out once it's over.

Thank you so much for this bLog

brophy1 said...

I was told by the Best Buy store in Braintree MA that I would be receiving free fiancing for the laptop I bought there a few months ago. Specifically, 18 months of no interest or late charges that was a key motivating factor to buy the laptop.

When I recieved a bill from them recently with late charges I know I had been lied to by the store's employees. When I called their Customer service to honor the original deal they told me, in not so many words, get lost. They responded in the same way when I filed a complaint through the Better Business bureau.

This is called the old "bait and switch" and a deceptive, unethical sales practice that is common among second rate outfits. Do they seem to care? Of course not ! With Curcuit City going under their competition is limited. I will go to Staples next time and never to Best Buy again.

Mike Brophy
Abington MA

GT500Shlby said...

@Mike Brophy,
I personally have never seen any financing that said they didn't charge late fees. The only time where I would think it would apply, is if it was a "no payments for x amount of months" situation.

Also, with the 0% interest, you have to pay in full within the 18 months or you will be charged all the back interest and any future interest. However what they do is capitalize the back interest and charge you something ridiculous like prime * 10 on that new capital amount.

Now, I am sure the sales person probably 'said' no late fees. However, on the huge stack of ultra-fine print they give you, it says the opposite. Unfortunately a sales person's word is not a binding contract when they are only a limited agent of the store. Not to mention, it's a he-said/she-said situation without a recording. Now if the store advertised "no late fees" and the charged late fees, that would be a different situation. Find the sign that says "No Late Fees" and sue them for false advertising, bad faith lending and fraud.

Cheers,
GT

Anonymous said...

You are unbelievable!

Anonymous said...

PLEASE BE WARNED - Webroot is anti-virus program that comes with every computer Best Buy sells, they get a cut from every subscription. If you do not subscribe to Webroot after free period it disables your computer. It locks "Task Master", locks "Remove Program" and disables your computer entirely. Geek Squad had to remove Webroot while in "Safe Mode" during startup. Best Buy Geek Squad did not want to admit and wanted me to PAY $300 to "remove virus". Angrily refused and demanded they remove Webroot which they did fearing a seen at the store. This corrected problem completely. This is how they continue to make money after you purchase laptop. 6 months later - THE SAME PROBLEM, Webroot Reinstalled itself and disabled my laptop because I did not purchase subscription. Went very ANGRY to Best Buy to the point of starting a seen, afraid of other customers having to see this, they removed Webroot again. The manager said "it must be another program doing this" and I said how can another company benefit from reinstalling Webroot and Subscription Pop-up. They had no response. Even Geek who helped me remove Webroot twice could not believe what Webroot does. I have not purchased another product from Best Buy since and probably never will BEWARE ---- I hear stories of other unwitting customers being charged $350 for "removing virus".

QuyQuQuy said...

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Anthony Peterson said...

Never mind the small print, its still buyer beware with this giant. I brought a PS3 online refurbished after 3mons it failed reading game disks. Now Geek wont touch bc of tamper-proof label, will not Geek open and tell me (what I believe is an expected failure) the general cost. Even the employees buy PS3's from GameStop. Think I'm moving my money elsewhere. BestBuy, just keep adding to consumer frustrations.

Anthony Peterson said...

Never mind the small print, its still buyer beware with this giant. I brought a PS3 online refurbished after 3mons it failed reading game disks. Now Geek wont touch bc of tamper-proof label, will not open and tell me (what I believe is an expected failure) the general cost. To send out cost bout $80 to look. Even the BestBuy employees buy PS3's from GameStop. Think I'm moving my money elsewhere. BestBuy, just keep adding to consumer frustrations.

Anonymous said...

booo hooo I wont be one to regret seeing best buys eat the dirt.
When I said I would be a single national lab wide networ bain to anything best buys now to see my efforts to inform my friends to avoid being taken avantage and used by a flipping lot of theives who dont care if you complain well eventually enough people the nay sayers get their undue proof I was right they got treated as if they were stupid well the national labs are the best minds in this nation and we talk we are all techies and have the spending cash for the best minds need the power to compute best buys has done its dmage to enough people to prove they will not get any business from the rest of the public who they have families and we all talk who is the best for the use of our hard earned money and educations.
I told that stupid asset store manager I would let the word out and demise best buys for once you
abuse the best people of this nation you are dead as a business at this point you best just shut thedoors. I let out the word and your dead to this nation of lab employess and their entire families nation wide on our networks we passed the word dont be ripped of no more. change all you want in six months theonly buyers will be the vultures who buy only the bones leftovers all your equiopment was over 6months old out of service stuff anyway.
Found out the hard way went withe hype never more will best buys be that to anyone in the great colleges of this nation the word is out so is best buys die as you should.J Hunt Pleasanton California
LLNS 30 years of computer information systems dont buy from best buys watch for the finals sales at 75 percent off then pick them clean out of business sale.

coupons said...

I think this is long over due. They have played similar tricks with us. I completely stopped going to Best Buy. They sold me service plan for a vaccume cleaner saying that they will also clean it once every three months. When I took it for cleaning, I was abused saying that I am day dreaming. They do not have any control on their store employee and they are commissioned. So they do anything to sell - they can even steal your credit card to charge the sale and get commission on that.

Indigo Girl said...

Hi, I'd like to file a lawsuit against Geek Squad's negligence as well, and for hiding the fact that they failed to properly label my camera equipment, recreated new paperwork, fudged and lied about my actual drop off date, resulting in over a months worth of waiting time so I wasn't able to take all of my Sony mirrorless equipment that I bought just for my trip to the Galapagos. Needless to say, i went to the Galapagos wtih my backup camera that was I didn't want to use and my iPhone. I am so depressed from coming back with no quality photos that I can print and sell or exhibit. And the sad part? It happened again, at the same store with another camera that I serviced - all within 3 months! I'm still in the process of hearing back from the complaints department, who in her words "I'm speechless and have no words for what you just experienced." It's been over a week now and now after reading about your case, I want to file a lawsuit to make up for every related incident to this. Can you please guide me to the right person to talk to?

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