Friday, September 15, 2006

Rotten Best Buy Experience

Below is the text of a letter I've sent to Best Buy corporate and to the manager of the local store. As you can see, it describes a very disappointing experience I've had in trying to get my laptop repaired.

September 15, 2006
Geek Squad Mission Control
7601 Penn Avenue South
Richfield, MN 55423-3645
Dear Sir or Madam:
Subject: Unsatisfactory service experience
I’m writing to express my extreme dissatisfaction with my recent service experience. On August 24th, 2006, I delivered a laptop with a defective LCD screen to your store in Moline, Illinois for repair. At that time I was given a work order that showed an expected completion date of September 1st, 2006.
I called to check on the status of my laptop several times starting on August 31st, but was only told it was still out. Each time I called, the tech on the phone seemed burdened by my call, implying, and in some cases outright stating that there was no way my laptop would be done this soon. I was told I should disregard the expected completion date, as normal repair times for laptops are at least 2-3 weeks.
Eventually I was given the address for a web site where I could check this information myself. Imagine my surprise when I found that a week after the expected completion date, work had not yet been started on my laptop.
On Monday, September 11th, 2006 your repair site listed the repair as completed and the laptop having been shipped back to the store. I contacted a tech in the store, who told me he couldn’t give an estimated travel time since it had been repaired by Gateway, and first had to travel to the service center, then back to the store. September 13th I called again to see if it had arrived, and was told that according to the notes in the computer, the laptop should be in Wednesday or Friday, but was not repaired. The unit had not, in fact, been sent to Gateway as I was told, but rather sat at your service center over the last 3 weeks only to be sent back with a note it needed to go to Gateway. I picked up my laptop from your store today, September 15th, and unfortunately found Brian to be correct. No repairs were done on my laptop during the 3 weeks it was in your possession.
I find this lack of service utterly unacceptable. If the laptop had come back repaired but taking 3 times as long as I was advised initially, I would have been upset, but likely not taken the matter further. At this point, I am expected to be without a computer for another several weeks while waiting for you to send it to the right service location this time. Even here, there seems to be some confusion. While the notes from the service center indicate the unit should be sent directly to Gateway, Brian now says he’ll send it to a Best Buy service center in Louisville rather than the one in Chicago. I’m concerned this confusion may cause another error on your part and leave me waiting even longer.
I have been without my computer for the last 3 weeks. While this is a personal laptop, there is real demonstrable financial loss to me for this downtime, as I pay monthly fees for gaming subscriptions that I haven’t been able to use while the laptop was away. This doesn’t begin to included the extreme inconvenience of being a college student, at the beginning of a new semester, without a computer for 3 weeks. In today’s digital age of online banking, computerized check registers, digital music, photos, and more, this is an extreme inconvenience. To be told that I’ll have to repeat this experience again is unacceptable.
Your store offered an option for me to purchase another laptop, and return it when the work on mine is complete. This would avoid me being without a computer in the interim, but unfortunately as a family man working my way through college, I don’t have $1000 extra lying around to spend on a laptop, even if it is just temporary. On top of that, it seems to me you already have a $1000 laptop of mine, and have held it for 3 weeks without taking any action. For you to ask me to pay for your mistakes seems to be extraordinarily poor customer service.
I need my laptop, and am not happy about having to wait another 3 weeks for your technicians to ship it out and maybe have it come back repaired. As a result, I’ve taken my laptop from the store until this matter can be resolved satisfactorily. I’ve contacted your corporate customer service number, but while very pleasant, Geraldine was not able to remedy this situation to my satisfaction. I will bring my laptop back to the store in the near future for the needed repair. I have been advised by a local manager Steve Larson that my laptop will be shipped more expediently this time to a ‘super service center’ and can expect a significantly faster turnaround time. This would certainly be appreciated. Unfortunately this still leaves me paying for your error, and not at all satisfied with the overall service experience.
Steve Whitcher
cc: General Manager, Best Buy Store 23
cc: Public Posting @