Kevin Hunt: Geek Squad Wants $700 To Repair $599 Laptop. Did They Do Some Of Damage?


Going back to school isn't tough only for students. Imagine being an older, experienced laptop preparing for the rigors of another school year.

Oh, the pain. The outer cover, hard drive and processor can only take so much punishment!

Jeanne Gaucher of West Hartford knew her daughter's two-year-old laptop needed some TLC before the year started at Hall High School, so in late August she brought it to the resident Geek Squad at the Best Buy in West Simsbury.

The needed repairs appeared merely cosmetic. Gaucher says the DVD drive did not work but the laptop was otherwise functional. She paid $34.95 for the diagnostic charge when she dropped it off.

"The cover was very loose and didn't sit square on the base,"" says Gaucher. "I admit this freely, but must emphasize that the computer was in one piece when I left it with the Geek Squad."

The Geeks examined the laptop, which Gaucher purchased new from Best Buy for $599, and determined it would cost $700 to repair. No way, Gaucher told the Geeks.

"I picked up the laptop from the store," says Gaucher, "and never thought to check the condition. I had done this many times before without issue. The laptop was returned with tape around it, but I just thought it was so it couldn't get jostled during shipping."

The next morning, says Gaucher, her daughter tried to use the laptop but couldn't — it was in two pieces and did not work.

"They took a functioning, albeit decrepit laptop and rendered it dead," says Gaucher. "When I called the store to complain, I was told it was always a risk because of the loose hinges. That was never mentioned to me when I left it — I never would have left it with them."

The Geek Squad guarantee begins like a welcome to Disneyland: "We want to delight and surprise our customers, in a good way."

Gaucher was definitely not delighted, but she was surprised — and not in a good way. The Geek Squad guarantee also promises to those dissatisfied with their service to "please contact the Geek Squad location where the service was performed and we'll do everything we can to make it right."

When Gaucher contacted the Geek Squad location where the service was performed, she was offered free data transfer from the now-unusable laptop to a new laptop. That, in Gaucher's view, did not make it right.

"I cannot afford another laptop," says Gaucher. "It never occurred to me my laptop wouldn't be functional when it was returned."

Best Buy's corporate office, where the uber-Geeks reside, was eager to hear about Gaucher's experience when contacted by The Bottom Line.

"Our Customer Care team investigated the situation," says spokeswoman Paula Baldwin, "and confirmed that, unfortunately, the computer was no longer under manufacturer's warranty — it was purchased in 2011 — and that a repair would be more expensive than replacement."

But the head Geeks were also eager to show that they did not want to lose Gaucher as a customer. They gave her a $400 digital coupon code toward a new computer. By mid-October, Gaucher cashed in the coupon for a new laptop.

"It's official," she says.

That school has started? Yes, for the new laptop, too.

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