After much searching, bought a Sharp 52" 1080 LCD HDTV from Besy Buy in south Reno, Nevada, on November 26, 2008 for $1,299. Bought add-on warranty package for several hundred $$ to add to manufacturer's warranty. Had a choice of buying from WalMart (should have gotten it there) but I was oh-so-foolishly concerned about aftersales support from WalMart that I was misguided into deciding to buy from best buy. Stupidest mistake I have ever made.
Was watching TV April 26, 2009, and CLICK, it goes dead. It is 5 months old to the day. Called Best Buy, they said call Geek Squad. Called Geek Squad, described the problem, no sound, no picture, but the panel lights blink in a certain sequence, described to them in detail. It will be a week before a tech could come and look at it, OK, I say, I need it done and it is only a week (HAH!).
*If you have never had occasion to call Geek Squad about in-home service to your TV, consider yourself lucky. EVERY time you call, you puch 1 for English and wait for several minutes...someone answers, you tell them it is for in-home service for a 52" TV (they do NOT want you bringing the TV in, they will ONLY work on it in your home, on THEIR schedule), then you get transferred to another automated answering system, then you punch in your zip code and confirm by pressing 1, and wait for several minutes for a customer rep (it can be as much as 10 minutes that you are on hold, if you don't get disconnected that is)...and a human answers, then you tell your full name, home phone number and home address (and they confirm everything back to you), confirm that this is an existing service ticket, confirm that this is the TV you bought on so-and-so date, and then finally you are able to discuss the reason for your call (it is possible that this whole system is calculated to wear you out and discourage all but the very desperate from calling.) And you do this every time you call, there is no shortcut, you have to conform to their mode of communication, even if you are calling for the second or third time that day.
Took the day off from work to be available for tech. He came in, plugged it in, verified no picture (I told them that!) and no sound (I told them that!) and noted the blinking lights (I told them that, too!). Unplugs TV, gets on his laptop, tells me a new power supply is needed (NOTE: TV is plugged into a brand new UPS) and it will take 2 weeks to get the part. Appointment set for him to come back in 2 weeks, "between 12-4PM".
Tech also said that "these things" die easily (so why sell them, I wonder?)
OK, I say, what else can I say? Elapsed time, less than 15 minutes. He leaves.
2 weeks pass. I take the day off from work on the appointed day.
No calls, no messages, nothing. At 3:30 I call Geeks and try to find out what is going on. Was told the tech should have called me (he did not) to adjust the schedule. Operator says she can't reach his cellphone. Nothing can be done except to reschedule another week out. I say this is unacceptable, insist on speaking to a supervisor.
Supervisor sets schedule for the following day.
My wife takes the day off from work. Tech does not call, but shows up late in the afternoon. Installs part. TV still does not work. Tech says he needs to order 4 more parts...my wife calls me at work and I speak to the man, he says he needs to order TWO inverters, it will take 2 weeks (expected delivery date: May 25, memorial day). Tech leaves. Elapsed time, about 1 hour.
No calls, no messages, no information from Geeks. Supidly believing that when they say they are working on getting a part, I did not call until the week AFTER the part is supposed to have come in.
June 2 I call them and was informed that the part IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE, IS NOT IN PRODUCTION, AND CANNOT BE LOCATED but that they will initiate a "parts search"...oh, and they cannot guarantee if the part is new or refurbished! Mentions the possibility of replacing the TV with another one "of reasonable market value on the date of my purchase"....what does that mean? Since it was on SALE when I bought it, there is no guarantee I will get the same brand, nor the same size, nor the same resolution, nor the same features, but you can be damned sure Best Buy will guarantee it will be worth close to what a $1,299 TV less 30% depreciation would be worth...she mentioned it may not be 52" or may be 52" but may be 720p resolution (not 1080)!
June 4 I come home and there is a message on my answering machine: the part is in and they would like to schedule the tech to come to my house to install it.
I call, and am informed that the part DID in fact arrive on May 25, two parts were ordered by the tech and the second part order was cancelled on May 26th, but it is all there and all ready to be installed, the earliest possible tech availability is June 9....what can I do? I want my TV running, it has been more than a month now! So, OK, the schedule is set, June 9, between 12-4PM, if the tech does not call between 7-9AM I was told to call them back to see what is up.
The day comes. No calls, nothing. I call them at about 10:30AM or so, was told the tech's schedule was to be between 4PM AND 8PM! Once more, nobody thought to let the dumb schmuck paying customer know. But, OK, whatever. I verified that the part in question was there, yes, I was told, the part is physically in hand.
OK, I wait.
And I wat.
And I WAIT!!! By 7:45PM I know he is not coming.
So I call Geeks again. This time I ask to speak directly to a supervisor, and they transfer me to one, but first they have to verify my identity, phone, address, etc, then I wait on hold. And I wait. And then CLICK, line disconnect. I call again, and again ask for a supervisor, and again verify my information, and FINALLY....
I talk to a "Ricky" (didn't you know, the people working at Geeks have no last names?) and he tells me this:
1. The part is not there, was never there, and has been ordered from their supplier (on Mars?)
2. THE ORDER FOR THE PART WAS PLACED THAT MORNING ONLY!
3. I can do nothing but wait for them to get this elusive part that is not available anywhere else.
4. He is sorry that my 5-month-old thousand-dollar TV does not work, has not worked for nearly a month and a half, and has no idea when it can be made to work, but when asked, he said he is confident it would be/should be fixed before the end of the summer or fall. That is in the year 2009, I hope.
5. He has no explanantion for the lies that I have been told by the customer service reps on the phone. Repeats that the part is not there, and was only ordered that day, not in April, not in May, but on June 9.
6. He has no explanation for their dismal and totally unacceptable failure to communicate with the customer in case of delays or missing parts or parts that they screwed around with for over a month before ordering.
7. He repeatedly pointed to the wording on the warranty agreement that I purchased, stating the phrase "subject to availability of parts", conveniently ignoring that the d**n TV was still under the manufacturer's warranty (one year, so hopefully, I will at least be able to turn on the TV before the manufacturer warranty expires November 2009!).
8. When asked about my need to speak to someone in charge on the corporate (or at least Regional) level, he said that he, as a supervisor, is the highest I will get to on the phone.
9. Got the customer care mailing address in Montana, will write a complaint (doubt it will do me any good, based on the way they have treated me so far!).
10. I asked about their legal department, and this supervisor said I SHOULD CONTACT THE NEVADA SECRETARY OF STATE instead of BEST BUY or GEEK SQUAD!!!
11. Repeatedly stressed that there was nothing, absolutely nothing, that I can do except wait for them to find the part, get it, and schedule the install. He said the part order was placed June 9 (Tuesday), and that by Friday (June 12) I might be able to get confirmation that the part is indeed available from wherever it is they get them, and he refused to speculate on how long the actual delivery time to them would be (I even asked what country it is in, I will pay the excess for overnight shipping, it can't be more than a $1,299 paperweight that is crowding the living room...he said that they cannot accept extra payments for shipping parts ordered under warranty). He also mentioned that there is no point in calling to try to rush things, they will be done when they get done by the Geek Squad.
12. He had no explanation nor excuse for why the part was ordered on June 9 AFTER I was told twice (once by message on my phone and once by one of their custore reps, both on June 4) that the part was already in hand, verified and physically present with the infallible Geek Squad.
And the final insult: this elusive part that Best Buy, in all its branches and in all it's wisdom, in all it's commercial power, cannot locate, is SHARP PART NUMBER RUNTKA479WJZZ, also known as a Backlight Inverter Unit.
Go ahead, my friends, search it online....I got 3 pages of results, prices ranging from $49.99+SH to $122+SH, available in stock and ready to ship. Four of the places selling it offer overnight shipping as extra.
So, after my rant, here are my beefs:
1. A device costing so much should NOT fail after only 5 months. If it does, they should replace it (WalMart would!) and not d**k around for another month jerking the customer around.
2. A company supposedly dedicated to being the best electronics consumer store should NOT have to take 6 weeks or so to locate and acquire a part that an ordinary consumer can get online in less than 10 minutes (and ship overnight!)
3. With Best buy representing itself to take care of the SHARP Electronics factory warranty, it is paramount that their techs be able to know which way is UP and what is broken in a SHARP TV and be able to fix it! Anything less, and they are an embarrasment to SHARP Electronics Corporation!
4. I am sick and tired of being jerked around and lied to by the Geek Squad. If you order a part, you order it! You don't d**k around a month, tell the customer you have it, and then order it on the day you are supposed to install it!
5. Oh, and did I say I am tired of their customer reps being LIARS!
6. I am tired of their "I'm sorry for that", because "I'm sorry" does NOT fix my TV.
Just fix the damned thing, dammit!
Tired, annoyed, irritated, and most of all, insulted by the callousness of their staff and the incompetence of the technician (it's always the same guy), and THEIR PATHETIC INABILITY TO COMMUNICATE TRUTHFULLY AND IN A TIMELY MANNER!! The one and only call I got from them was a lie: that the part was in and ready for install as of June 4th, but in fact was only ordered on June 9th!
They offer no consolation, other than to say we're sorry you were given incorrect information, we're sorry you have no working TV, we're sorry you cannot make use of your HD satellite subscription, we're sorry you bought a piece of junk that blows up after only 5 months....I'm sorry I bought the damned thing from them!
My next step, I guess, will be contacting the media as well as SHARP USA, and spread the word. They have lost my business, and I will make sure everyone I know is aware of how efficient Geek Squad is at repairing consumer electronics (it's not rocket science, for chrissakes!) and of how Best Buy treats their customers after taking their money, and more importantly, to spread the word on EXACTLY what the warranty coverage means to the average consumer.
Best Buy? HAH, more like Worst Buy!
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