This happened a coupla years ago. I bought a laptop at Best Buy, but didn't bother with any of their fancy service plans, because the first thing I had to do was change the operating system, which voids all their service plans anyway if you do it yourself instead of having them do it for you. But the manufacturer's warranty was still good for a year after purchase. Or was it two?
At any rate, a few weeks before the warranty expired, I was having some problems with the laptop. It was making these weird squeaking noises, like nails on a miniature chalkboard or maybe an itty bitty mouse somehow inside the thing, and giving me a scary sounding error message when I started it up. I took it to Best Buy, they sent it to wherever they send laptops for repairs, it came back a week or two later and (as it was still under warranty when I brought it in) there was no charge. However, the warranty had expired while it was gone.
I moved a few days later to another state. Prior to moving, all I did was turn the laptop on and check that the odd noises and the error were gone (the same thing the Best Buy people did in my presence at the store before giving it back to me). After I got settled in again, I started reinstalling my software (because they wiped everything off the laptop when they 'fixed' it) and...it breaks again. I seriously had installed only two or three programs again, and I'm having the exact same problem.
I started panicking about how I would get it back halfway across the country to get it fixed AGAIN and what I would do about school in the meantime (all my classes were entirely online) when the lovely Best Buy employee at the store that had previously repaired my laptop informed me that ANY Best Buy in the country would be able to find my information, and not only that they would repair it again for free since they obviously hadn't fixed it the first time around. Relieved, I head over to the local Best Buy and here is what happened...
Paraphrasing of course, because it's been a few years. Let it be noted that I walked into this store very smiley and friendly, because in the past I've had awesome customer service at Best Buy and always felt like they were going out of their way to help me with things (previously mentioned phone call is a good example).
Me: Hi, I just moved here from [some place halfway across the country] and I got my laptop fixed at the Best Buy there just before I left, but it's still having the exact same problem and I haven't hardly touched it since I got it back.
Tech Girl: Ok do you have your receipt?
Me: No it's back at my parents' house [some place halfway across the country], but I called the Best Buy there and they said everything was in the computer system.
Tech Girl: (asks for whatever info they need to find me, can't find ANY record of me in their system other than the original purchase of the laptop)
Me: (completely confused)
Tech Girl: Well your laptop is not under warranty anymore, so it will cost $xxx to repair it.
Me: Well the person at the other Best Buy told me that since I brought it in before the warranty expired and it was still broken when I got it back, it would be done for free again.
Tech Girl: No the warranty is expired so we can't do that.
Maybe she thought I was trying to scam her, but her tone was just really snobby with me the whole time. Her outright refusal to do what the other Best Buy employee told me was supposed to be done really shocked me, so I scooped up my laptop and fled without another word, extremely embarrassed and almost in tears. I called the other Best Buy employee again and told him what had transpired, and he again reassured me that what he told me initially was correct. He gave me some kind of case number that should point straight to my information in the computer system. He even offered to print the receipts and fax them directly to the other store AND told me to have the other store call him so he could explain the situation himself.
So I pull myself together and march back into the store, determined that I WILL NOT LET MYSELF LEAVE until this has been resolved. The same tech girl is still there, and I think we both took a deep breath before confronting each other again. I tried to smile, but I think it was more apologetic/confused/frustrated than anything else.
Me: Okay I called the other Best Buy again and they gave me this number for the computer information.
Tech Girl: (takes the number, looking completely confused/skeptical about it, and tries several different terminals, and STILL can't find me in their system) Look, okay, this is what we can do... (and she repeats the whole thing to me about the warranty being expired and things costing $xxx to fix.)
Me: I know, but because it didn't *really* get fixed the first time, I was told it doesn't matter that the warranty is expired now. It wasn't expired when I first brought it in and this is still part of that same job since it didn't get fixed.
Tech Girl: Sorry, we can't do that.
Me: Okay do you have a fax number? Because the person I talked to at the other store told me he's printing off my information and would fax it to you.
Tech Girl: Sorry, we can't do that.
Me: (at a loss by these flat refusals) Ummm...ok...well...there is some kind of confusion here because I have one store telling me you can do this and one store telling me you can't. I have this other employee's name and the store phone number right here, can you just call him (offering MY cell phone even, since it's long distance) and talk to him to get the story straight?
Tech Girl: We can't do that.
This whole time, she is being barely cordial...just kinda giving me the impression that I'm a total jerk and trying to scam something out of the store.
I was trying very hard not to cry at this point, because they were just flat out refusing to work with me at all and I really didn't know what else to do, especially since they hadn't given me any explanation as to WHY they couldn't do what another store was saying they could. The girl saw me gulping back tears and called for her manager, then asked me to sit down and wait.
A good 15 minutes later (with various tech support people hovering behind the counter, whispering with Tech Girl and glancing at me pointedly), said manager appears, draws me away from the tech support counter and after I repeat my story again tells me "we can't do that" to everything I ask. No explanation, nothing. If he had even seemed concerned that another store was telling me something that was obviously (in this store's eyes) completely wrong, it would have been so much better...but he just didn't seem to care that this conflicting information was out there.
Now I'm just standing there, boggling at him, tears in my eyes, with no clue what to say since he won't even try to understand my problem. But Mr. Nice Wonderful Best Buy Employee on the telephone told me I was right and I really needed my laptop fixed, so I couldn't just run away again.
Then I notice some type of security person approaching and realize that not only are they not going to help me figure this out, they are going to have me forcibly removed from their store. So I give in and hurry out to my car where I just...bawled. I ended up calling my fiance to come get me because I was so upset I couldn't remember how to get back to my new address.
I was actually flying home again in two weeks for a short visit, so I ended up calling the Best Buy person at home again and he told me that if I dropped it off, they could repair it and ship it directly to my new address if I wasn't able to come back to the store and pick it up when it was ready. Awesome. School was crazy for two weeks without my own computer (they used a lot of fancy software so it wasn't like I could just go use any random public computer easily) but I finally got home and took my laptop to the NICE Best Buy store. I deliberately did not mention the incident at the other store.
Note that this was not the same guy I talked to on the telephone.
Me: Hi, I got my laptop fixed here about a month ago and then two days after I got it back I moved to [some place halfway across the country], but it's still having the exact same problem and I didn't really do much with it before it started happening again.
Tech Guy: Okay do you have a receipt?
Me: No, sorry.
Tech Guy: That's okay, it's all in our computer system! (pulls up my info) It looks like your warranty is expired-
Me: Yeah but I brought it in before-
Tech Guy: Right right okay, so (makes some notes on the computer, takes the laptop) I'll get this sent off again and we'll call you when it's ready.
Me: (boggling at how easy that was and how I didn't even have to explain in great detail) Well, I'll be going back to [some place halfway across the country] in a week...
Tech Guy: Oh, no problem! We can just ship it to you there. What's the address?
I was so relieved I was shaking. I did end up telling him about what happened at the other store and he was just as baffled as myself and his co-worker had been.
And let me tell you, I was REALLY tempted to go back to that other store with my new receipts in hand and SHOW THEM that I was right.
Whew. *tiptoes off again*