Tuesday, November 22, 2005

How Best Buy Lost a Loyal Customer

The first Best Buy store in my area, in Springfield, opened when I was in seventh grade, which was either 1994 or 1995. Since then, I have gone out of my way to shop at Best Buy stores ever since, as they have CDs (which Radio Shack, CompUSA, and Circuit City don't have), a physical building (which Amazon and EBay don't), and more technology stuff than Wal-Mart has. I needed a new, portable computer, and so I decided on the Toshiba Satellite A75-S229, which was getting decent reviews. I bought the three-year service plan from Best Buy, and went home to enjoy my purchase.

Let me say that I have no intention of ever buying a Toshiba product again. It didn't take long for the computer to begin overheating and automatically shut down (it's got a Pentium 4 instead of a Pentium M). Toshiba's technical support was non-existant, but with the help of an online forum, I settled on simply sticking the nozzle of a can of compressed air into one vent in the back and blasting what turned out to be a cloud of dust into my living room. Since then, a regular ene...blast has kept it from overheating.

Unfortunately, the problems haven't stopped. The power supply is loose, and so it takes a fair amount of jiggling to get a good connection. That's not reasonable. I took the computer into the Springfield Best Buy and they told me that my AC adapter was fine, but that they needed to ship my computer off to their technical support people (it seems that the Geek Squad can't tighten a few screws, and I can't without voiding my warranty). Several weeks I got my computer back...and I still had problems with the power supply. I looked more closely at the AC adapter, and the bit that goes into the computer is, well, loose. Great diagnosis, Springfield Best Buy.

I took my adapter into the Springfield Best Buy, figuring that they could send it off so it could be fixed. Indeed, they could. I asked if they had some power supply I could use in the meantime, as a laptop without a power cord is pretty useless. Apparently they don't. You see, I spoke with some Geek Squad members and even the manager, and it turns out that they don't have any cords in the entire store which fit my computer. Furthermore, they can't just loan them out. Furthermore, it's standard operating procedure not to take power cords from unsold products. If I wanted, though, I could spend $100+ and buy another power cord. After a short independent investigation, I determined that:
1. The Toshiba computers they have in stock use the same adapter my computer uses.
2. The adapters they have may or may not work on a Toshiba Satellite A75.

I then informed staff that I had been going out of my way to shop at Best Buy for the past ten years, that they had either misdiagnosed the problem or failed to properly repair my computer, and that I fully intended to buy about $3000 worth of electronics (a laptop, a digital projector, and peripherals) within a year, and enquired as to how they were prepared to take care of a customer in need of support. I was basically told that there was nothing that they could do, although plainly there was.

According to my mom, Circuit City has always treated her right. Hopefully they'll treat me and my $3000 right, too.

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