wickedkatze (wickedkatze) wrote in bad_service,

Geek Squad communication suck

I'm gonna emphasize before I post this that it's the communication problems, not the actual computer service, that are the suck here. I don't blame anyone for the problems with my computer, but I've been kept completely in the dark throughout the entire process.

I bought my laptop from Best Buy a couple of years ago along with a service contract that was valid until fall of 2010, so I decided to get a full diagnostic done by the Geek Squad in my hometown before I headed back to [college town]. I paid for a data backup in case anything went wrong, but otherwise the service was free. I got my laptop back with a clean bill of health, and I went back to [college town] the week before classes because of my job. This was August 15, a Sunday.

Midway through that week, I started having problems with my CD drive. Some DVDs would play while others would not, CDs could be ripped but not burned, and the drive would pick and choose whether it even wanted to read what was in there. Best Buy is a pain in the ass to access in [college town], since I have no car and the bus system doesn't go straight to it, so I took my laptop back to the [hometown] Best Buy when I went home that following weekend (the 21st).

After looking at the computer for only a minute or two, the Geek Squad agent who handled it told me that the reason the drive was malfuctioning was that my operating system had somehow not been getting the updates it needed, and was now completely out of date with the computer hardware. I know very little about computers and how the various parts work together, so this was news to me; my dad was there, who knows a bit more about technology, and he didn't seem to think this was unreasonable, so I went with it. Unfortunately, we were told that the only way to fix the problem would be to leave it with them and pay $130 for a system restore. When I asked why this problem was not mentioned in my diagnostic results, I was told that the problem I had was a software problem, and since the diagnostic test only scanned hardware, the problem wouldn't have been apparent.

Since I had to head back to school the next day, I opted out of leaving it there and instead took the laptop to the [college town] Best Buy, with the same results. I dropped the computer off on August 24 (Monday), paid the $130, and was told it would take 2-3 days to wipe and restore the system, and that they would call me when the work was finished.

That Thursday, the third day, I had not yet heard anything by evening, so I called out to the store out of curiosity. The Geek Squad member I spoke with told me that during the system wipe, my CD drive had crashed, and the system could not be restored until it was replaced; in order to do that, they would have to send it out to a repair center and needed my permission to do so.

This was the first part of the problem. Number one, since I was having problems with the CD drive in the first place, why didn't they check that first instead of making me pay the $130 for a system restore? Number two, isn't this something they should have noticed in the diagnostic? And number three, why did they not call me for my permission as soon as the problem had come up, instead of my having to call and find it out?

At this point, there was nothing I could do but to give my permission to send the computer out, which luckily wasn't going to cost me anything extra, and I was given a time estimate of a week and a half. This was August 27.

Late in the following week, I called to check on the progress of the laptop. I didn't expect it to be in yet, since it had only been a week, but my family was going to be in town Labor Day weekend, which would make transportation to Best Buy easier if for some reason it had come back early. It was not back yet; no big deal. This was September 4.

Earlier this week, around the week-and-a-half mark, I started to make calls out to Best Buy to check progress. I knew they were supposed to call me when it came in, but since the last communication I'd had was less than satisfactory, I didn't trust that they would call me on time. Every time I called, the results were the same - the laptop wasn't in yet, it was still being worked on, and that was all the information they had. When I called on Wednesday (Sept. 9), I asked if they could give me any estimation as to when it would be in, since by that point the wait was nearly at the two-week mark; the guy told me that they didn't know, because they had no contact information for the center. This smelled strongly of bullshit to me, but I wasn't really sure how to respond to that, so I just thanked him and hung up.

(By the way, before anyone tells me I'm being a sucky customer for calling so many times, I was never rude or short with anyone at Best Buy even when I was getting frustrated, and I was only calling every couple of days.)

Today, I called again and was determined to get some answers. Luckily, the guy I got on the line was more helpful than my previous contacts, and he was somehow able to access some sort of progress report from the repair facility itself, which none of the other people had even mentioned to me.

I was floored, however, when he told me something that should have been mentioned when they first sent out the laptop - if the repair center doesn't have a part in stock, and they have to send out for it, the repair could take up to FOUR OR FIVE WEEKS, depending on availability. Not even CLOSE to a week and a half. And apparently, this was what had happened to my computer. According to the progress report, as of yesterday (9/10) they were still waiting for the part.


Nobody informed me of the possible wait, regardless of the fact that I called three different times between the initial send-off and today.

Nobody informed me that there was a problem, even though the report said that the laptop had been received on Aug. 31st and the part had been sent for on Sept. 3rd. I feel like I should have gotten an update from either Geek Squad or the repair center when this was discovered.

And the guy on the phone seemed neither surprised nor apologetic when he found out that nobody had told me about this possible delay.

So basically, I can expect two to three more weeks of laptoplessness, when I was expecting to have it back earlier this week.

tl;dr - computer repairs turn out to be far more complicated and time-consuming than expected, but I get no information on this unless I call and nag them about it.

On a lighter note, I've got an update on this earlier entry about being forced to give up our seats at the movie theatre. I'm happy to report that our cast performed again this past summer, and not only was there absolutely no mention of giving up our seats, but the manager also agreed to keep the house lights partway on during the show so that people could see us.

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