How can I get Geek Squad to replace my laptop?
June 2, 2009 2:38 PM   Subscribe

How can I get Geek Squad/Best Buy to replace my laptop?

In a couple of hours, I am taking my computer to Best Buy for repairs under my 3-year extended service plan, which expires in a few months. Right now, the computer is having a hard time recognizing the AC adapter, which has happened about 4 times with this computer- they always replace either the motherboard or the adapter itself. It also tends to go through periods where it processes very slowly, and Geek Squad hasn't been able to ID the problem. It completely crashed a couple years ago, requiring data recovery and serious repair work. I've heard that sometimes they'll offer you a new computer when you've been in for repairs enough- I was planning on buying a new one when my service plan expires in August, but I'd like to see if I can get a free one out of them.

What could I say or do to get them to give me a new one?
posted by emilyd22222 to Computers & Internet (18 answers total)
Sadly, my experience with BestBuy do not give me much optimism for you. I could not get satisfaction out of my local store, so I wrote to the headquarters, who, in turn, gave me nothing on a piece of equipment that stopped working, for no apparent reason.

But, good luck.
posted by Danf at 2:46 PM on June 2, 2009

Good luck! It is very much in their interest not to give you a new computer. Read your service plan contract very carefully and be prepared to explain precisely why it says you should get a new computer.
posted by zachlipton at 2:47 PM on June 2, 2009

From Best Buy's Performance Service Plan page: If your product requires 4 qualifying repairs, we will provide a replacement of comparable performance. Technological advances may result in a replacement product with a lower selling price than the original product.

Sounds like you qualify to get a new laptop. Just point this out and show documentation.
posted by zsazsa at 2:49 PM on June 2, 2009

Response by poster: They have documentation that I'm on their service plan in the system, but the actual copy of my plan is at home, and I was planning on going straight from work so I can get there before it closes. I also see on the performance service plan that:

Parts and Labor Coverage
We cover all the parts and labor necessary to return your product to factory specifications. If we cannot repair your product, we will provide a replacement.
Since they haven't been able to ID the source of the slow processing, maybe this could work in my favor.

Normal Wear and Tear
We cover normal wear and tear as part of our PSP, protecting you from the decline in performance that can come from everyday use.
Let's just say this thing is pretty worn and torn. It would have to be replaced to cover that.
posted by emilyd22222 at 2:52 PM on June 2, 2009

I wouldn't go into the wear-and-tear issue; that gets to be a judgment call. Just cite the provision zsazsa gave you; it sounds pretty much automatic.
posted by palliser at 3:25 PM on June 2, 2009

I wouldn't work on the "factory specifications" or "wear and tear" angles as they seem like much more of a stretch than the four repairs rule, which seems pretty cut-and-dried.
posted by zsazsa at 3:26 PM on June 2, 2009

Response by poster: I'm just concerned that I haven't had 4 qualifying repairs. I've had the AC adapter cord replaced multiple times, but I wouldn't be surprised if that wouldn't qualify.
posted by emilyd22222 at 3:27 PM on June 2, 2009

As zsazsa said, if you have 4 "qualifying" repairs, those other terms wouldn't seem to matter. I would imagine you're in the Geek Squad system and could review the records with a tech before bringing this replacement clause up at all.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 3:27 PM on June 2, 2009

Well, computers as a rule don't generally wear out. Some of the pieces (like keyboards, fans, drives) can, but those are easily replaced. Computers do not slow down as they age. Diagnosing an intermittent performance issue is almost impossible.

As a rule, however, those "repair or replace" clauses aren't for your benefit, it's for theirs. They really can't repair a DVD player, for example, so they are going to generally give you a different one, and that clause protects them if you don't like how the new one looks. But a computer can be repaired, and they probably will do that.

I would very much doubt if replacing ac adapters would count as a qualifying event towards getting it replaced. This is very much like trying to get a new car after three years because the tires needed to be replaced a few times.
posted by gjc at 4:03 PM on June 2, 2009

I would very much doubt if replacing ac adapters would count as a qualifying event towards getting it replaced.

I'm not so sure of that, especially if they replaced the motherboard once as a result, as the OP mentions. Besides, AC adapters don't have moving parts and are not generally expected to wear out so quickly. I could see batteries going in this time frame, but not the AC...

A workmate recently had a subnotebook replaced by Future Shop here in Canada (who is owned by Best Buy). It was an intermittent issue that made using it for any length of time incredibly frustrating as it would periodically reboot with no warning. Wasn't heat related, nor power cord/ac/battery related, would just happen randomly. And wouldn't always happen when demoing the problem at the store either so they were reluctant to take it back. So finally the workmate stuck the thing in the microwave for 10 seconds. Then it no longer started at all. Replacement was not an issue after that. I'm not saying you should do that to force the issue, just that someone else did it, and it worked well..
posted by barc0001 at 4:29 PM on June 2, 2009

Go to Consumerist and look for Best Buy and/or Geek Squad.
posted by k8t at 4:31 PM on June 2, 2009

Response by poster: k8t- I'm aware of Geek Squad's reputation on the interwebs (if that was your point), but I have had dozens of interactions with them, and have been very happy with them. Until I can find a better alternative for national, "free" (my warranty has more than paid for itself) repairs, I'm sticking with them. I plan on buying another extended service contract from them with my new computer. Even if they're unlikely to give me a new one, I wanted to know what I can say/do to increase my chances.
posted by emilyd22222 at 4:38 PM on June 2, 2009

I've actually had good luck with getting best buy to replace a laptop because it was a "lemon" in very similar circumstances as you were in...Basically, it got me a free $1500 laptop close to 3 years after my original purchase (since there wasn't a comparable performance laptop, they just gave me a credit of the original laptop's price to use towards a new one). They're actually the ones who brought it up, so there is hope.

If I were you, I would get a copy of the policy, and highlight the portion pointing out that 4 qualifying events should mean they'll replace the laptop. Sometimes, you do have to be pushy and escalate the event. Worst case scenario? They just do the original repairs without giving a replacement. Also keep in mind that initially, you are very much at the mercy of whom you deal with first. If they're not apt to replacement, that's why escalation to someone else more willing to see your point is a good option.
posted by jmd82 at 4:57 PM on June 2, 2009

Basically, it got me a free $1500 laptop close to 3 years after my original purchase (since there wasn't a comparable performance laptop, they just gave me a credit of the original laptop's price to use towards a new one).

I got a free laptop from Best Buy as well. The one I bought from them had a broken speaker and a broken hinge where the screen joined the body. The store refused to repair it, insisting it was "cosmetic damage" and not covered by the extended service place. I spoke to the head geek squad person at the store and the manager of the store and both were rude and unhelpful. Then I called Best Buy corporate, explained the situation, and they sent me a gift card for the purchase price of the laptop.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:49 PM on June 2, 2009

Hey, I used to work for Best Buy/GS. I'm assuming this is all over now, but if not, mefi mail me, we can share tips. I'm long gone, so I have no pull or anything, but I've been in the same spot and came out with the same result as jmd82.
posted by frankdrebin at 10:36 PM on June 2, 2009

Response by poster: Frank, I decided to wait until today to take it in. I just mefi mailed you.
posted by emilyd22222 at 5:18 AM on June 3, 2009

Sorry, this comment isn't about best buy/geek squad, but rather what you might want to do if they don't replace it.

The "slow processing" aspect is likely going to be a windows driver or malware issue, and not something that you're going to get satisfaction over. It's a qualitative issue that they can easily blame on software you installed, and at best they might do a format and reinstall; you lose everything thing and they'll say "it looks fast to us."

Alterantely, if you've had problems with the external power adapter, when your laptop switches to battery mode your power savings might be set to lower cpu speed to save battery life. Try turning off all power saving features, and see if this affects your issue.

Get a linux live boot cd ( ), and some sort of benchmark which periodically prints the status (mprime with the "-d" option works well), and maybe take a look at see if you're actually having processing speed issues. If all iterations report about the same time per iteration, then it's not likely the hardware.
posted by nobeagle at 6:42 AM on June 3, 2009

Response by poster: Update: I took it to Best Buy, and they could only find 2 qualifying repairs in their system, so I had them send it out for repairs and planned on buying a new one. Today, I checked the status of my order, and discovered that they had found additional repairs that qualified me for the lemon policy and are replacing my computer for me on Thursday. Yay! Only downside is that I don't get the unit back to retrieve my data, and they won't recover it for me. I had my most important stuff backed up, though, so hopefully this won't be a major issue. I'm crossing my fingers that they give me a gift certificate to go towards a nicer model, rather than making me buy a comparable replacement. Thanks for your help!
posted by emilyd22222 at 1:28 PM on June 16, 2009

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