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Hardware Your Rights Online

Do You Want Best Buy Opening Your New Laptop? 543

An anonymous reader writes "I went to Best Buy the other day to get a new laptop for a client. I didn't realize till I got it home that they had broken the seal and opened the box. They put a sticker on the box that said, 'Inspected by Best Buy.' I found they had created the user profile, recovery disks, and installed a trial of Trend Antivirus. Seems to me this is more of a marketing agenda than inspection."
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Do You Want Best Buy Opening Your New Laptop?

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  • they open everything (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ironicsky ( 569792 ) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @04:28PM (#37211698) Journal
    Any big ticket electronics I buy from best buy gets unpacked, plugged in and inspected by the employee and myself as proof that the device works, that its not scratched, dented or damaged and we both sign off on it. The difference here is, they do it in front of you. They have asked me before if I want their shit installed on the laptop before I leave and I always decline. I've purchased 2 laptops for personal use and 5 for friends/family (not as gifts, just helpful shopping) and never ever had this happen
  • Re:Return it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @04:48PM (#37211978)

    While you're at it, take some time to wonder why you're buying a client's computer at Best Buy. Are you really doing your client a favour by getting them a machine with a return-to-depot-and-you-probably-won't-get-your-data-back warranty?

    I've done this. Its usually because they want a laptop by lunch time, and do not want to wait a week or even overnight for a special order job.

    So you walk into BB and grab a unit that meets the specs, and just deal with the fact that its got windows 7 home premium, and you hope you aren't getting some goofy grey market product that you have to go to the japanese support site for drivers because according to the North America site that model doesn't exist...

  • by KWTm ( 808824 ) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @04:58PM (#37212138) Journal

    had a camera covered by Best Buy warranty, one of those point-and-clicks (Canon Powershot SD400 or something). After a while, something mechanical failed --either the lens barrel wouldn't extend/retract, or the lens cover wouldn't close up. Also the slider switch (to select Photo/Video/Playback) was loose. It was covered by the 4-year warranty, so I went to Best Buy and they took it and sent it back for repair.

    After a month, repair dept sent it back to my local store, and I picked it up. It was exactly the same: mechanical failure, loose slider switch. I showed the staff at Best Buy, that it was malfunctioning and I hadn't even walked out of the store after picking up the camera. So they sent it back for repairs a second time.

    After another month, repair dept sent it back again. Again it was exactly the same, so I told the staff, WTF?? THey said they'd check. After a while, someone called and said, the repair dept could tell that I had damaged the camera, so the repair wasn't covered. What!? I spent almost an hour on the phone with some Best Buy headquarters person, saying, Hey, I just sent it back a 2nd time after having gotten it back from your repair department, and the 1st time there was no mention of damage, so it must have been the repair department that damaged it! (I was confident that it had not been I who damaged it.) The guy said that just because they send it back the first time it doesn't mean that they guarantee that it's in good condition, so it was perfectly valid to say that the 2nd time it was in crappy condition because it was already that way when they sent it back the 1st time.

    I said, fine, what about the slider switch that was loose? The guy said, it was already loose, as I had given in my statement the first time I sent it in. That's when it struck me: if I had *NOT* told them about the slider switch, then *THEY* would have been responsible for fixing it since it would seem that they had damaged it during the repair process.

    It was maddening, but finally I found a reason to send it back (I remember now: the first time the lens had gotten stuck in the retracted position, and now I could say that it was stuck in the extended position) and it went back. Of course it came back unrepaired, and I ranted and raved at the local Best Buy, saying that I had been missing my camera for 3 months now (in fact, it was a big deal since we had a birth in the family and I had wanted to take pictures). The local staff quietly upgraded to --well, an equivalent camera, but of course the model number had advanced since the 3+ years since buying the malfunctioning camera.

    Lesson: if there is more than one thing wrong with the camera, do NOT mention anything else wrong. Gives you more leverage when they try to send it back saying that repair is not covered, and you can say, "What about this here thing wrong? Did you cause this?"


  • Re:Why.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by djdanlib ( 732853 ) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @04:59PM (#37212162) Homepage

    Indeed. Business class laptops are better built.

    Okay. I am not employed by a computer manufacturer or distributor, so you know. I don't even really like the brand I'm about to talk about. I'll probably catch flak for using this particular brand as an example, but it's pretty common that people consider it when buying a PC.

    Take for example the Dell Vostro, the "home user" aka consumer grade model. Then look at the Dell Latitude. They can be ordered with similar specs, but the Latitude costs a lot more for the same specs. Why? Well, besides the obvious "because a business will pay more" factor, they have sturdier mounting hardware that holds everything in place inside the chassis. That means when you carry it around every day, it won't fall apart as fast. It WILL fall apart eventually - that's always been my experience with laptops in general - but the Latitude will reliably outlast the consumer class Vostro by a great amount. Then again, you've still got a Dell.

    When you call the company for support on an enterprise class laptop, you'll have a different number to call, with a different length queue, and different agents to talk to. Even the website you visit is different. They have to maintain a specific level of service or businesses wouldn't do business with them, so you get in on that if you spend enough money on the computer.

    So you're absolutely right. It makes a difference.

  • They charge for this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drcagn ( 715012 ) on Friday August 26, 2011 @01:32AM (#37215828) Homepage

    I work at Geek Squad.

    Before I worked here, I abhorred the Geek Squad. But I needed a job, so I took this one. It's not really that bad.

    Tons of people actually want this service. They pay $100 for us to turn on the computer for the first time, go through the Windows out-of-box experience, uninstall the Norton/McAfee 30-day trial, install 1-year (or more) Trend Micro/Kaspersky/Webroot of their choosing, burn recovery discs (since the OEMs don't include them anymore), and install all Windows updates.

    All this takes about 2-3 hours and we use automated software to do this stuff.

    We "preset" computers as well, meaning we take them out of the box, perform all of these services, and then rebox them up and badge them as "Set up by a Geek Squad Agent." We are only supposed to pre-set up a certain percentage of our stock, however, a lot of what we agents call "cowboy managers" (managers who break standard corporate operating procedure) make agents set up 50% or more of the stock, hoping that people will be more inclined to purchase setups if they are already performed and they're all that's left.

    A lot of times at my store we give away the presets because the client doesn't want to pay and the preset stock is all that's left. It sounds to me like you got one of the preset units and they never charged you for it.

    By the way, the only two types of tape available in the entire store are "Inspected by Best Buy" tape and "Geek Squad Priority" tape. The tape says "Inspected by Best Buy" because it indicates that Best Buy is the one who sealed the box last. It doesn't mean that the presetup process is an "inspection."

    Given the high demand by some to buy their computers pre-set up, I don't think it's such a horrible service anymore. Some people are just stupid and want to turn on the computer for the first time and just click IE. The out of box experience, as silly as it sounds, can be confusing to many users, and they would rather walk out the door knowing that the antivirus is installed properly, even if that isn't hard to do at all.

    Before you go hating on Best Buy, keep in mind that margins in PCs are extremely low. Best Buy _loses_ money if you buy a non-Apple computer without any Geek Squad services. This is called selling a "brick." The PC sales market is extremely cut-throat. Office Depot makes its money by hoping you never send in a rebate or send it in incorrectly. Best Buy makes its money by attaching services. Without this, the price of buying a computer from these stores would go up.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.