This is a bit of a long story, but I want to be careful to incorporate every excruciating detail to hopefully save you, a consumer savvy enough to do some digging and find the real story, from a massive nightmarish headache before you do business with the mixture of rip off artists and incompetents that is Best Buy/Geek Squad and their 3rd party vendors. As they say, let the buyer beware!
I swore I would never purchase anything from Best Buy after my last disaster with them, where my girlfriend and I purchased a DLP television for almost $2000 back in 07 and paid another $300 or so for an extended warranty. Sure enough, the bulb went after about 6 months, and while the warranty stated it would be replaced within 24 hours on our premises, they brought the wrong bulb out twice and it took them two months to finally resolve it.
If this is not egregious enough, I called Best Buy corporate and got quite a way up the chain, and their attitude was basically that I could pound sand. Needless to say, I was very hesitant to purchase a Palm Pre there, but they were selling for $150 less than they were through Sprint at the time. I took the plunge, and once again I was in for another shocking episode of horrific customer service and incompetence, and I have to take partial blame for not listening to the inner voice.
So I purchase the phone and then have this kid who looks like he is still in high school extolling the virtues of the "Black Tie Insurance Plan", basically telling me that if anything happened to the phone other than me losing it, it would be quickly repaired or replaced. While it did not make a lot of sense that I could break my phone but would be out of luck if I lost it, especially for $8 per month, I took the plunge because I wanted the protection.
What this poorly trained kid did not tell me (along with a lot of other things) was that the Best Buy where I bought the phone was the only one in the area carrying Sprint, so when I moved 40 miles away and my phone broke, it became a serious inconvenience. Having to go out there once would not have been a big deal, but I ended up having to go out there no less than 4 times.
When my phone broke, I took it in and spent most of the day on a Saturday working with very poorly trained staff and having to shuffle back and forth between Best Buy mobile and Geeksquad in the store. Things started to go downhill when these geniuses could not even get the cover off the back of my phone and damaged the battery because they could not get it out of its housing. Incompetence is too kind of a word. I mean Geeksquad is their service department and they have no training on the products they are servicing?!
Then, to add insult to injury, because the guy I was working with at Geeksquad went to lunch and neglected to give me some paperwork I was supposed to fill out, I had to wait in the Geeksquad line a second time which had now filled up with about 10 people. Geeksquad has an average transaction time of 10 minutes. I tried to make my case with this Geeksquad staff guy, and he raises his voice and tells me to go to the back of the line, so that everyone in line would think I was trying to cut. Nice. This was enough to make my blood boil. Really just one of the worst customer service gaffes I have ever experienced.
Then, watching the Best Buy mobile freakshow in action, seeing this girl who could not have been older than 19 trying to get my data over to my "loaner" phone was pretty funny. Suffice to say, it did not work and I had none of my data, settings or contacts when I left the store. And for the "pleasure" of being able to use this HTC Hero, they charged me a large deposit. They took my phone, but felt the need to charge me a 3 figure deposit for this awful HTC phone I could not use and did not want. And they told me if I lost it, I would not get my original phone back. Wow.
So I turned in my phone expecting a quick turnaround on either repair or replacement as was promised by this person who sold me the insurance, and actually also by the agreement itself. This turned out to be far from the case. I turned my phone in toward the end of June and did not get a replacement until August. Best Buy/Geeksquad uses a 3rd party repair company called Touchstone Telecommunications and they can only communicate with them via email as they have no working phone number. Thats right, Best Buy has a major vendor through which their Geeksquad apparatus can only communicate via email because they had NO WORKING PHONE NUMBER FOR THEM?!?!
I had a friend who is a former Sprint engineer hop on the case. She got through to Best Buy and was told the phone was schedule for repair and would be ready on July 26th. When I went back after that date, I was told that the last note made on my account was on July 5. More lies and incompetence. Finally, one far brighter than usual Geeksquad employee took a personal interest in handling my case because of the obvious insanity I had already endured. He ordered me what was apparently the last Palm Pre in stock in the entire Best Buy chain. Kudos to him.
Why is Best Buy able to sell extended warranties and insurance on items they stop carrying several months later? Why do they contract with companies they have no way to effectively communicate with? Why do they hire kids who have no clue about customer service or even the service they are supposed to be representing? Why would someone paying a premium have to experience precisely what they were trying to avoid by paying that premium? Why are they allowed to get away with this?
In the end, the "manager/supervisor" on the floor offered me a $30 gift card but I refused it after spending another 2.5 hours in the store just trying to get my deposit back for the loaner they gave me. This company continues to do well despite outright customer abuse, so be smart and stay away. If you are in Socal like I am, Frys is a far better option. Thanks for listening and good luck.