Best Buy blues

I was down in the southern part of our state last week and had the need to buy a TV accessory that cost $100.  Best Buy doesn’t use commissioned salespeople, or so they say, so I will say that the “sales associate” was very friendly.  When he started to go down the route of offering me an extended warranty on the product for 2 years, I nearly had a fit.  However, when he said that it would only be $9, I accepted.   I started to think that perhaps Best Buy was becoming far more reasonable in marketing their product service bundles.  I honestly thought there was a chance that the product I bought could go bad in 2 years and that $9 was a very reasonable cost to pay especially when the associate said that if it went bad and there was a newer model out — I would get the newer model.    I came away from that experience thinking — THIS WAS THE BEST EXPERIENCE I HAD AT A BEST BUY EVER — and I couldn’t wait to tell you all about it.

Well, the item that I bought was defective.  I am being intentionally vague about what the item was because I want to save that for another Update.   The manufacturer had an extensive support section / forums on their website and I found this very helpful in troubleshooting my problem.  I likely will be buying the same product from that particular company again.  The defect was in the specific way I wanted to use the device and to date, there had not been a fix for it.   Therefore, I returned the item on Saturday morning and surprisingly it was a smooth process.  I received a full refund in cash within about 5 minutes.  I did not like the fact that I had to give my license and that all of my information was inputted into a computer system when I made the return, however many large stores are doing this now to deter people obsessed with returning things.   This is not the reason for my complaint.

At the customer service desk next to me was a young couple buying a laptop.   Like said previously, Best Buy claims they do not use commissioned salespeople.  The customer service rep was PUSHING SO HARD for them to buy the extended warranty on that laptop; he was adamant — like the worst of the worst used car salesman.  I did not hear the price of the warranty, but what the representative said next was outrageous.    He claimed:  I am just telling you guys — you should buy it because WHEN YOU NEED REPAIRS IT WILL COST YOU $300.      Can you believe that?   The Best Buy employee was so sure of that.   He was blatantly spreading misinformation……

I work on laptops often.  Sometimes it is a simple problem and only takes an hour.  In more serious instances, the bill could reach $300 or more with parts included.  However, I think the store rep was automatically assuming that the buyers would be returning to Best Buy for service.  I almost stepped in and handed them my business card, but I thought it would be a little out of place.  I don’t entirely know Best Buy’s service schedule but I can recall sharing with you a few weeks ago that they charge $299 for a visit to your house or business to do virus removal.  The representative may have had that in mind when he tried to scare the customer with the $300 figure.

I believe Best Buy does offer some extended warranty packages on computers with virus removal included, but the one thing that you or anyone should ask is — does this service plan (when I have a virus) include a complete backup of all my files and a re-installation of my operating system with critical updates?   I believe the answer is NO.  And if they were to go this route the customer would be paying close to $500.    For all of those services, which is the only sure fire virus removal in my opinion, I would certainly do it for under $300.

Finally — if you wanted to buy a Windows laptop, Best Buy is the last place I would send you to.  Remember my endorsements to date:  Dell Latitude 6400 / 6500 series.  Lenovo (IBM) Thinkpad T400 / T500 series. (Refurbished units purchased directly from each company are fine also and a great way to save $$).  These are quality laptops and most importantly SHIP WITH NO JUNK SOFTWARE that could take considerable time removing at installation.


  1. Richard Ellian

    Though I had lived just two blocks from a Best Buy, it was eventually the last place I would go to purchase anything. Indifferent young clerks were hard to get away from the stereo departments and were not interested in anything Apple. The last straw was when in my new location further away, I purchased a 42″ TV, lugged it home and when I got it up to the fourth floor where I live I discovered they had given me the wrong one and I had to load it up and take it back. The manager was unpleasant over the exchange so I won’t go back.

  2. acronymonline

    Thanks for the comment Dick. Apparently whatever Best Buy Tom Martino shops at does well by him and his staff, but there must be several in the Denver area. I too have seen the indifference at their stores. Personally, in that experience I describe in the post above — I had a great experience with their staff. I have no problem with employees being paid on commission either as I think it motivates them to perform. Best Buy must have incentives or threats hanging over their employees heads. Otherwise, why would this kid be so aggressive about pushing the extended warranty and doing so in a deceptive fashion?