Report: #461154

Complaint Review: Best Buy Geek Squad

  • Submitted: Fri, June 12, 2009
  • Updated: Sun, June 28, 2009
  • Reported By: Phoenix Arizona
  • Best Buy Geek Squad
    geeksquad.com
    Nationwide
    U.S.A.

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

Is this
Ripoff Report
About you?
Ripoff Report
A business' first
line of defense
on the Internet.
If your business is
willing to make a
commitment to
customer satisfaction
Click here now..
I had lent my computer to my friend Tony, and three years later the computer presented symptoms that made the computer unuseable. The symptoms included the following:
* extremely slow Windows XP startup,
* mouse cursor freezing indefinitely during startup,
* extremely slow system function.

I was unavailable to help Tony, who lives approximately 50 miles away from me, so on April 7, 2009, Tony took the computer to Geek Squad for diagnosis and possible repair on my behalf out of a perception of debt to me for allowing him to use the computer for so long. Tony paid for the $69.99 Diagnostic service and after reading the posted warning about non-liability for lost files due to system failure during diagnostic procedures and worrying about some irreplaceable photographs, Tony paid for the $49.99 backup of his personal files.

After the Geek Squad agent explained their service and offered to Tony an option for Advanced Diagnostic & Repair, Tony paid $199.99 for the service, contingent on the results of the Diagnostic service.

One week later, Tony received a call from Geek Squad, during which the agent explained to him that the hard drive crashed and that their was a system failure, and Tony went back to the store to discuss his options. Those options included the following:
1) continue with the ~$200 advanced diagnostic and repair for which Tony paid in advance--a service that they couldn't guaranty;
2) try to save the existing hard drive by wiping the hard drive and running the HP recovery kit to re-install the original software, if Tony had the restore discs (but the recovery kit was on a separate recovery partition on the hard drive, and the computer didn't come with any restore discs), for an additional cost of $150, also a service that they couldn't guaranty;
3) try to save the existing hard drive by wiping the hard drive and installing a new copy of Windows XP, for an additional cost of $150, also a service that they couldn't guaranty;
4) replace the hard drive and try to run the recovery kit, as in option 3, for an additional $150;
5) replace the hard drive and install a new copy of Windows XP, for a total cost of $300.

Tony tentatively approved option 3, as it sounded like the most attractive option, considering no guarantee on trying to save the existing hard drive. However, Tony asked the agent for an opportunity to consult a friend before they started the repair, and Tony called me.

I told Tony that the diagnosis didn't make sense in conjunction with Geek Squad's recommendations, and I advised him to retrieve the computer so that I could evaluate and give him a second opinion about his options.

Tony retrieved the computer, and Best Buy credited his credit card $200 for the pre-paid advanced diagnostic and repair service that Tony declined.

I found that Windows XP had forced the IDE controller into PIO mode, due to having accumulated six CRC errors. I also found that the hard drive had two pending sectors.

I ran Western Digital's Data Lifeguard Diagnostic Extended Test, and the test reported zero errors, indicating with more than a high level of confidence that the hard drive had no physical defects, which told me that the pending sectors were correctable and corrected by the extended test. I then removed the IDE controller device from within Windows XP, and I rebooted. All of the symptoms disappeared. The computer has functioned normally for over two weeks now.

My complaint is that Geek Squad undermined Tony's confidence in the hard drive, when there was evidence that the hard drive had no physical defects. Geek Squad did not give Tony enough information to make an informed decision, as advertised by Geek Squad for that same service, when a five-minute Data Lifeguard Diagnostic Quick Test could have revealed with a high level of confidence that the hard drive had no physical defects. Whereas Geek Squad did not advertise that they would use that particular software, Geek Squad did advertise that they would test and ensure proper functionality of all software and hardware. All software and hardware was functioning properly, and correctable data corruption was the cause of the computer's symptoms. Therefore, Geek Squad deceived Tony into thinking that he needed a new hard drive. These actions fit the definition of violations of Arizona's Consumer Fraud Act. Accepting Tony's money and not doing what Geek Squad promised to do was a breach of contract and possibly fraudulent. Further deceiving Tony was also an unlawful act, even though he wasn't ultimately deceived (a willful violation, according to the Arizona statutes).

For more details, I have published a complete report of this transaction at http://geeksquashing.blogspot.com/2009/06/who-let-geek-fraud-in.html

Jack
Phoenix, Arizona
U.S.A.

Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Best Buy

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/12/2009 01:41 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/best-buy-geek-squad/nationwide/best-buy-geek-squad-breach-of-contract-by-virtue-of-misdiagnosis-and-failure-to-provide-ad-461154. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

Search for additional reports

If you would like to see more Rip-off Reports on this company/individual, search here:

Report & Rebuttal
Respond to this report!
Also a victim?
Repair Your Reputation!

Updates & Rebuttals

REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
2Author
16Consumer
0Employee/Owner

#1 UPDATE Employee

Comment

AUTHOR: Brent - (U.S.A.)

First off, you use a lot of language that I think a person attending their first year of law school would use. Obviously you are not a lawyer or you would not be posting here.

Second, while some of their suggested resolutions sound wrong, it seems that they were relayed to you by someone who is not technically inclined. Important information may have been lost in translation.

Now, the diagnostic software we use will perform a scan of the hard drive both for physical errors and file table errors. If errors are found on a hard drive we will usually (but are not required to) run a second test with different software to confirm the problem. If the hard drive failed one of our tests, then it either has an issue (bad cable, controller on motherboard or hard drive going out, bad sectors, etc). And since windows showed it also had CRC errors, that diagnoses can be confirmed. The fact that these programs (apparently) came back with hard drive issues means that a large portion of your complaint is invalid. Since the technicians honestly believe that the hard drive is going bad, which may be the case, there appears to have been no attempt to defraud in that regard.

Now, the fact that WD Data Lifeguard tools found no errors is interesting. If you feel the diagnostic was in error, I would recommend bringing it back, explaining (calmly and in a civilized manner) that you believe their diagnostic was in error, and asking them to re-run PC-Check, FACE with just hard drive diagnostics, and the Data Lifeguard tools off of our company approved diagnostics disc.


I do have some issues with your initial complaint. First, you say he was charged $49.99 for data backup. We do not (to my knowledge) have any data backup services offered at this price. You also say he paid $69.99 for a diagnostic and another $199.99 for a diagnostic and repair. This is not company procedure and is against common sense; the diagnostic and repair includes diagnostic, meaning the additional $69.99 is not required.

I also have a few issues with items you have said in the linked blogspot post.
"perform advanced hard drive diagnostic and repair" - We do not perform hard drive repair

"replace the hard drive with an installation of a copy of Microsoft Windows XP (a new license) and anti-virus software for an additional cost of approximately $300" - We do not have on hand, nor does Best Buy sell, Windows XP. It would be impossible to perform this without your friend purchasing a copy from another source.

"When he then learned that a failure of the recovery kit would cost him an additional $150 for the installation of a copy of Windows XP (a new license for a computer that already had an installation of a licensed copy of Windows XP) and anti-virus software..." - A full retail copy of Windows XP home costs $199.99. Antivirus average cost is $39.99 ($59.99 for Kaspersky). Antivirus installation from us is $29.99. Assuming they properly applied the repair portion of the Diagnose and Repair towards the operating system install, it would be an additional $269.99-$289.99.

"in PIO mode data throughput from the hard drive to memory is ~83% to ~92% of the throughput of UDMA Mode 5." - I'll assume you meant that in PIO mode data throughput is 11%-17% of the data throughput of UDMA. Unfortunately, hard drives do not operate at the theoretical limits of these systems. I have seen benchmarks stating the average throughput is closer to 35MB/s, but can attain up to 100MB/s in bursts. This is due to mechanical limitations. PIO should theoretically be closer to its maximum throughput due to the fact the hardware is able to surpass the specifications. You also don't state if you were monitoring Task Manager for CPU activity, which would tell you where most of your CPU time is being spent.

"The first attempts to back up the NTFS partition with partimage and ntfsclone failed due to read errors.... The read errors during backup in conjunction with having the primary IDE channel stuck in PIO mode for an UDMA-5-capable device" - From what I can locate on NTFSClone, it appears to be a linux program. If Windows was stuck using your hard drive in PIO, it would not affect how linux would access the hard drive. From an article on the -rescue switch: "The --rescue switch will make ntfsclone tolerate and report read errors off the source drive". That means that you ignored errors from the hard drive. That is pretty solid evidence there was/is a hard drive issue.

"I remember reading something a long ago about possible data signal deterioration over time. It is known as bit rot. Periodically refreshing the entire hard drive with a full read-write scan, such as chkdsk (aka ScanDisk) or DLGDIAG, will guard against this data signal deterioration and resulting data corruption. A small amount of bit rot does not necessarily indicate hardware failure; it just means that the data hasn't been written for an extended period. Here's one reference on the subject. As noted in this reference, this phenomenon is well known in the computer industry." Again, not something I have ever heard of. Some errors can be repaired by running tools such as SpinRite which will read/write each sector, performing that many times on bad sectors to try and repair it. Given the results at http://tinyurl.com/l8flrq I can not say that, with 51,000 results indexed by google that I would call this 'well known'.

"Depending on the undisclosed fallback PIO mode, UDMA Mode 5 improved data throughput between the hard drive and memory by 600% to 1200% over the previously forced PIO mode." - Again, the hard drive will not operate at maximum speeds. To say this statement with confidence I would expect benchmark results to be provided.

"Windows, partimage and ntfsclone previously all had difficulty reading the hard drive" - Again, this does indicate some sort of issue, even an intermittent one. Even something as simple as a slightly loose or worn out IDE cable.

You also mention a lot of tools that "a competent computer technician familiar with windows XP" should have ran. However, none of those tools have been approved by Best Buy's legal team for use by the Geek Squad. You also mention running "SFC /scannow". That operation usually requires a physical Windows CD to be inside the CD drive.


"misdiagnosis of hard drive failure" - If a hard drive comes up with any errors, we will recommend replacement. If we do not, we may be held liable by clients who lose data in the future. Years worth of photos and documents are worth the money spent on a fresh, properly working hard drive.

"failure to recognize and address the spin-up issue during diagnosis" - Again, an issue which I would say is not common, and which I have never come across. If I had noticed a brand new computer with those issues, I would have had it repaired or replaced.

"unnecessarily offering to sell a new hard drive to unnecessarily replace a perfectly functioning hard drive with zero physical defects;" Again, according to agent analysis, the hard drive was/is having issues. I would recommend the same thing.

"unnecessarily offering to sell a new copy of Windows XP, for which the computer already has a license;" Again, Best Buy neither sells nor has available physical copies or licenses for Windows XP.

"failure to fix the bad sectors on the hard drive during diagnosis" - Diagnose: To analyze the nature or cause of. A diagnostic should not include repair. You do say that the hard drive had no errors, then you say that it had some minor errors, then you say you fixed all the errors.

"Failure to reinstall the primary IDE controller software device to return the IDE controller" - We run our hardware diagnostics before any other troubleshooting to make sure we are not wasting time needlessly. A hard drive issue would correctly explain all the original symptoms; after seeing a hard drive error, we will do no further diagnostics, unless a different issue is suspected (such as defective RAM).

"failure to return the operating system and the file system on the original hard drive to a functional state, as a result of the diagnostic process" - Again, a diagnostic should not include repair.

"failure to give to Tony an accurate diagnosis or any instructions or recommendations to remedy the underlying problem that caused the symptoms" - The diagnostic was valid by your own admission - you stated multiple times that it had errors. We would not tell a client how to fix problems because we offer that service. It's bad business. However, recommendations were given - you have several such listed in your post on this website (which do partially conflict with your post on the linked blogspot site).

"failure to offer a reasonable solution that isn't presenting a completely unnecessary burden to the customer, monetarily and otherwise." - Our prices are set in stone. If you do not agree with our prices you are not required to use our services. For any work we are authorised to do, we have a SKU we charge and a price for it. If the combined price of required services exceeds what a client wants to pay, we recommend a new computer. If a new computer exceeds what a client wants to pay, we wish them a nice day. Giving special prices to people for no apparent reason opens Best Buy to legal issues (i.e. wealthy african american charged full price + white person on welfare receiving discount for same service = discrimination lawsuit)

"You can't make a diagnosis that the computer has a faulty hard drive without making adjustments or removing the hard drive from the computer case and testing it independently to understand why the device isn't functioning properly." - The company has not set up any way for us to test hard drives out of a machine. This is also not needed; if a hard drive is reporting errors, it's either the hard drive, the cable, or one of the controllers. An out of system diagnostic would only confirm whether it was the hard drive or not. It's also a data privacy risk - what if the hard drive went in the wrong computer? With dozens of diagnostics a week, it's easy to see that happening. And I don't see what is needed to adjust to diagnose a hard drive.

"R. told Jack that SMART values are only primary indicators" - Just yesterday, I was testing a hard drive through the computer's BIOS. Two large lines appeared on the screen saying "HARD DRIVE FAILURE SECTOR XXXXXXX". It then said "REPLACE HARD DRIVE". After that... "SMART STATUS: GOOD". SMART is not very reliable, and that IS widely known in the computer repair industry, as evidenced by 368,000 results (http://tinyurl.com/mxo5s7) for "s.m.a.r.t. hard drive unreliable OR useless" - far more than the other items you have mentioned.



Now I would like to quote the very page I am typing this on, from RipoffReport.com:
"An explanation that you believe the report is not accurate in some way (PLEASE BE SPECIFIC If you think the report is a hoax, please say so and demand that the author provide some proof that the transaction/event really happened);"

I am not saying I believe this is a hoax, but because of the above issues, I would request that you provide:
(a) Agent Checklist (the form that details the work performed - this is required for every computer we touch and stays with the customer)
(b) Receipts showing what items were paid for

Please blank out any personal information when you post these items.
Respond to this report!

#2 UPDATE Employee

Comment

AUTHOR: Brent - (U.S.A.)

First off, you use a lot of language that I think a person attending their first year of law school would use. Obviously you are not a lawyer or you would not be posting here.

Second, while some of their suggested resolutions sound wrong, it seems that they were relayed to you by someone who is not technically inclined. Important information may have been lost in translation.

Now, the diagnostic software we use will perform a scan of the hard drive both for physical errors and file table errors. If errors are found on a hard drive we will usually (but are not required to) run a second test with different software to confirm the problem. If the hard drive failed one of our tests, then it either has an issue (bad cable, controller on motherboard or hard drive going out, bad sectors, etc). And since windows showed it also had CRC errors, that diagnoses can be confirmed. The fact that these programs (apparently) came back with hard drive issues means that a large portion of your complaint is invalid. Since the technicians honestly believe that the hard drive is going bad, which may be the case, there appears to have been no attempt to defraud in that regard.

Now, the fact that WD Data Lifeguard tools found no errors is interesting. If you feel the diagnostic was in error, I would recommend bringing it back, explaining (calmly and in a civilized manner) that you believe their diagnostic was in error, and asking them to re-run PC-Check, FACE with just hard drive diagnostics, and the Data Lifeguard tools off of our company approved diagnostics disc.


I do have some issues with your initial complaint. First, you say he was charged $49.99 for data backup. We do not (to my knowledge) have any data backup services offered at this price. You also say he paid $69.99 for a diagnostic and another $199.99 for a diagnostic and repair. This is not company procedure and is against common sense; the diagnostic and repair includes diagnostic, meaning the additional $69.99 is not required.

I also have a few issues with items you have said in the linked blogspot post.
"perform advanced hard drive diagnostic and repair" - We do not perform hard drive repair

"replace the hard drive with an installation of a copy of Microsoft Windows XP (a new license) and anti-virus software for an additional cost of approximately $300" - We do not have on hand, nor does Best Buy sell, Windows XP. It would be impossible to perform this without your friend purchasing a copy from another source.

"When he then learned that a failure of the recovery kit would cost him an additional $150 for the installation of a copy of Windows XP (a new license for a computer that already had an installation of a licensed copy of Windows XP) and anti-virus software..." - A full retail copy of Windows XP home costs $199.99. Antivirus average cost is $39.99 ($59.99 for Kaspersky). Antivirus installation from us is $29.99. Assuming they properly applied the repair portion of the Diagnose and Repair towards the operating system install, it would be an additional $269.99-$289.99.

"in PIO mode data throughput from the hard drive to memory is ~83% to ~92% of the throughput of UDMA Mode 5." - I'll assume you meant that in PIO mode data throughput is 11%-17% of the data throughput of UDMA. Unfortunately, hard drives do not operate at the theoretical limits of these systems. I have seen benchmarks stating the average throughput is closer to 35MB/s, but can attain up to 100MB/s in bursts. This is due to mechanical limitations. PIO should theoretically be closer to its maximum throughput due to the fact the hardware is able to surpass the specifications. You also don't state if you were monitoring Task Manager for CPU activity, which would tell you where most of your CPU time is being spent.

"The first attempts to back up the NTFS partition with partimage and ntfsclone failed due to read errors.... The read errors during backup in conjunction with having the primary IDE channel stuck in PIO mode for an UDMA-5-capable device" - From what I can locate on NTFSClone, it appears to be a linux program. If Windows was stuck using your hard drive in PIO, it would not affect how linux would access the hard drive. From an article on the -rescue switch: "The --rescue switch will make ntfsclone tolerate and report read errors off the source drive". That means that you ignored errors from the hard drive. That is pretty solid evidence there was/is a hard drive issue.

"I remember reading something a long ago about possible data signal deterioration over time. It is known as bit rot. Periodically refreshing the entire hard drive with a full read-write scan, such as chkdsk (aka ScanDisk) or DLGDIAG, will guard against this data signal deterioration and resulting data corruption. A small amount of bit rot does not necessarily indicate hardware failure; it just means that the data hasn't been written for an extended period. Here's one reference on the subject. As noted in this reference, this phenomenon is well known in the computer industry." Again, not something I have ever heard of. Some errors can be repaired by running tools such as SpinRite which will read/write each sector, performing that many times on bad sectors to try and repair it. Given the results at http://tinyurl.com/l8flrq I can not say that, with 51,000 results indexed by google that I would call this 'well known'.

"Depending on the undisclosed fallback PIO mode, UDMA Mode 5 improved data throughput between the hard drive and memory by 600% to 1200% over the previously forced PIO mode." - Again, the hard drive will not operate at maximum speeds. To say this statement with confidence I would expect benchmark results to be provided.

"Windows, partimage and ntfsclone previously all had difficulty reading the hard drive" - Again, this does indicate some sort of issue, even an intermittent one. Even something as simple as a slightly loose or worn out IDE cable.

You also mention a lot of tools that "a competent computer technician familiar with windows XP" should have ran. However, none of those tools have been approved by Best Buy's legal team for use by the Geek Squad. You also mention running "SFC /scannow". That operation usually requires a physical Windows CD to be inside the CD drive.


"misdiagnosis of hard drive failure" - If a hard drive comes up with any errors, we will recommend replacement. If we do not, we may be held liable by clients who lose data in the future. Years worth of photos and documents are worth the money spent on a fresh, properly working hard drive.

"failure to recognize and address the spin-up issue during diagnosis" - Again, an issue which I would say is not common, and which I have never come across. If I had noticed a brand new computer with those issues, I would have had it repaired or replaced.

"unnecessarily offering to sell a new hard drive to unnecessarily replace a perfectly functioning hard drive with zero physical defects;" Again, according to agent analysis, the hard drive was/is having issues. I would recommend the same thing.

"unnecessarily offering to sell a new copy of Windows XP, for which the computer already has a license;" Again, Best Buy neither sells nor has available physical copies or licenses for Windows XP.

"failure to fix the bad sectors on the hard drive during diagnosis" - Diagnose: To analyze the nature or cause of. A diagnostic should not include repair. You do say that the hard drive had no errors, then you say that it had some minor errors, then you say you fixed all the errors.

"Failure to reinstall the primary IDE controller software device to return the IDE controller" - We run our hardware diagnostics before any other troubleshooting to make sure we are not wasting time needlessly. A hard drive issue would correctly explain all the original symptoms; after seeing a hard drive error, we will do no further diagnostics, unless a different issue is suspected (such as defective RAM).

"failure to return the operating system and the file system on the original hard drive to a functional state, as a result of the diagnostic process" - Again, a diagnostic should not include repair.

"failure to give to Tony an accurate diagnosis or any instructions or recommendations to remedy the underlying problem that caused the symptoms" - The diagnostic was valid by your own admission - you stated multiple times that it had errors. We would not tell a client how to fix problems because we offer that service. It's bad business. However, recommendations were given - you have several such listed in your post on this website (which do partially conflict with your post on the linked blogspot site).

"failure to offer a reasonable solution that isn't presenting a completely unnecessary burden to the customer, monetarily and otherwise." - Our prices are set in stone. If you do not agree with our prices you are not required to use our services. For any work we are authorised to do, we have a SKU we charge and a price for it. If the combined price of required services exceeds what a client wants to pay, we recommend a new computer. If a new computer exceeds what a client wants to pay, we wish them a nice day. Giving special prices to people for no apparent reason opens Best Buy to legal issues (i.e. wealthy african american charged full price + white person on welfare receiving discount for same service = discrimination lawsuit)

"You can't make a diagnosis that the computer has a faulty hard drive without making adjustments or removing the hard drive from the computer case and testing it independently to understand why the device isn't functioning properly." - The company has not set up any way for us to test hard drives out of a machine. This is also not needed; if a hard drive is reporting errors, it's either the hard drive, the cable, or one of the controllers. An out of system diagnostic would only confirm whether it was the hard drive or not. It's also a data privacy risk - what if the hard drive went in the wrong computer? With dozens of diagnostics a week, it's easy to see that happening. And I don't see what is needed to adjust to diagnose a hard drive.

"R. told Jack that SMART values are only primary indicators" - Just yesterday, I was testing a hard drive through the computer's BIOS. Two large lines appeared on the screen saying "HARD DRIVE FAILURE SECTOR XXXXXXX". It then said "REPLACE HARD DRIVE". After that... "SMART STATUS: GOOD". SMART is not very reliable, and that IS widely known in the computer repair industry, as evidenced by 368,000 results (http://tinyurl.com/mxo5s7) for "s.m.a.r.t. hard drive unreliable OR useless" - far more than the other items you have mentioned.



Now I would like to quote the very page I am typing this on, from RipoffReport.com:
"An explanation that you believe the report is not accurate in some way (PLEASE BE SPECIFIC If you think the report is a hoax, please say so and demand that the author provide some proof that the transaction/event really happened);"

I am not saying I believe this is a hoax, but because of the above issues, I would request that you provide:
(a) Agent Checklist (the form that details the work performed - this is required for every computer we touch and stays with the customer)
(b) Receipts showing what items were paid for

Please blank out any personal information when you post these items.
Respond to this report!

#3 UPDATE Employee

Comment

AUTHOR: Brent - (U.S.A.)

First off, you use a lot of language that I think a person attending their first year of law school would use. Obviously you are not a lawyer or you would not be posting here.

Second, while some of their suggested resolutions sound wrong, it seems that they were relayed to you by someone who is not technically inclined. Important information may have been lost in translation.

Now, the diagnostic software we use will perform a scan of the hard drive both for physical errors and file table errors. If errors are found on a hard drive we will usually (but are not required to) run a second test with different software to confirm the problem. If the hard drive failed one of our tests, then it either has an issue (bad cable, controller on motherboard or hard drive going out, bad sectors, etc). And since windows showed it also had CRC errors, that diagnoses can be confirmed. The fact that these programs (apparently) came back with hard drive issues means that a large portion of your complaint is invalid. Since the technicians honestly believe that the hard drive is going bad, which may be the case, there appears to have been no attempt to defraud in that regard.

Now, the fact that WD Data Lifeguard tools found no errors is interesting. If you feel the diagnostic was in error, I would recommend bringing it back, explaining (calmly and in a civilized manner) that you believe their diagnostic was in error, and asking them to re-run PC-Check, FACE with just hard drive diagnostics, and the Data Lifeguard tools off of our company approved diagnostics disc.


I do have some issues with your initial complaint. First, you say he was charged $49.99 for data backup. We do not (to my knowledge) have any data backup services offered at this price. You also say he paid $69.99 for a diagnostic and another $199.99 for a diagnostic and repair. This is not company procedure and is against common sense; the diagnostic and repair includes diagnostic, meaning the additional $69.99 is not required.

I also have a few issues with items you have said in the linked blogspot post.
"perform advanced hard drive diagnostic and repair" - We do not perform hard drive repair

"replace the hard drive with an installation of a copy of Microsoft Windows XP (a new license) and anti-virus software for an additional cost of approximately $300" - We do not have on hand, nor does Best Buy sell, Windows XP. It would be impossible to perform this without your friend purchasing a copy from another source.

"When he then learned that a failure of the recovery kit would cost him an additional $150 for the installation of a copy of Windows XP (a new license for a computer that already had an installation of a licensed copy of Windows XP) and anti-virus software..." - A full retail copy of Windows XP home costs $199.99. Antivirus average cost is $39.99 ($59.99 for Kaspersky). Antivirus installation from us is $29.99. Assuming they properly applied the repair portion of the Diagnose and Repair towards the operating system install, it would be an additional $269.99-$289.99.

"in PIO mode data throughput from the hard drive to memory is ~83% to ~92% of the throughput of UDMA Mode 5." - I'll assume you meant that in PIO mode data throughput is 11%-17% of the data throughput of UDMA. Unfortunately, hard drives do not operate at the theoretical limits of these systems. I have seen benchmarks stating the average throughput is closer to 35MB/s, but can attain up to 100MB/s in bursts. This is due to mechanical limitations. PIO should theoretically be closer to its maximum throughput due to the fact the hardware is able to surpass the specifications. You also don't state if you were monitoring Task Manager for CPU activity, which would tell you where most of your CPU time is being spent.

"The first attempts to back up the NTFS partition with partimage and ntfsclone failed due to read errors.... The read errors during backup in conjunction with having the primary IDE channel stuck in PIO mode for an UDMA-5-capable device" - From what I can locate on NTFSClone, it appears to be a linux program. If Windows was stuck using your hard drive in PIO, it would not affect how linux would access the hard drive. From an article on the -rescue switch: "The --rescue switch will make ntfsclone tolerate and report read errors off the source drive". That means that you ignored errors from the hard drive. That is pretty solid evidence there was/is a hard drive issue.

"I remember reading something a long ago about possible data signal deterioration over time. It is known as bit rot. Periodically refreshing the entire hard drive with a full read-write scan, such as chkdsk (aka ScanDisk) or DLGDIAG, will guard against this data signal deterioration and resulting data corruption. A small amount of bit rot does not necessarily indicate hardware failure; it just means that the data hasn't been written for an extended period. Here's one reference on the subject. As noted in this reference, this phenomenon is well known in the computer industry." Again, not something I have ever heard of. Some errors can be repaired by running tools such as SpinRite which will read/write each sector, performing that many times on bad sectors to try and repair it. Given the results at http://tinyurl.com/l8flrq I can not say that, with 51,000 results indexed by google that I would call this 'well known'.

"Depending on the undisclosed fallback PIO mode, UDMA Mode 5 improved data throughput between the hard drive and memory by 600% to 1200% over the previously forced PIO mode." - Again, the hard drive will not operate at maximum speeds. To say this statement with confidence I would expect benchmark results to be provided.

"Windows, partimage and ntfsclone previously all had difficulty reading the hard drive" - Again, this does indicate some sort of issue, even an intermittent one. Even something as simple as a slightly loose or worn out IDE cable.

You also mention a lot of tools that "a competent computer technician familiar with windows XP" should have ran. However, none of those tools have been approved by Best Buy's legal team for use by the Geek Squad. You also mention running "SFC /scannow". That operation usually requires a physical Windows CD to be inside the CD drive.


"misdiagnosis of hard drive failure" - If a hard drive comes up with any errors, we will recommend replacement. If we do not, we may be held liable by clients who lose data in the future. Years worth of photos and documents are worth the money spent on a fresh, properly working hard drive.

"failure to recognize and address the spin-up issue during diagnosis" - Again, an issue which I would say is not common, and which I have never come across. If I had noticed a brand new computer with those issues, I would have had it repaired or replaced.

"unnecessarily offering to sell a new hard drive to unnecessarily replace a perfectly functioning hard drive with zero physical defects;" Again, according to agent analysis, the hard drive was/is having issues. I would recommend the same thing.

"unnecessarily offering to sell a new copy of Windows XP, for which the computer already has a license;" Again, Best Buy neither sells nor has available physical copies or licenses for Windows XP.

"failure to fix the bad sectors on the hard drive during diagnosis" - Diagnose: To analyze the nature or cause of. A diagnostic should not include repair. You do say that the hard drive had no errors, then you say that it had some minor errors, then you say you fixed all the errors.

"Failure to reinstall the primary IDE controller software device to return the IDE controller" - We run our hardware diagnostics before any other troubleshooting to make sure we are not wasting time needlessly. A hard drive issue would correctly explain all the original symptoms; after seeing a hard drive error, we will do no further diagnostics, unless a different issue is suspected (such as defective RAM).

"failure to return the operating system and the file system on the original hard drive to a functional state, as a result of the diagnostic process" - Again, a diagnostic should not include repair.

"failure to give to Tony an accurate diagnosis or any instructions or recommendations to remedy the underlying problem that caused the symptoms" - The diagnostic was valid by your own admission - you stated multiple times that it had errors. We would not tell a client how to fix problems because we offer that service. It's bad business. However, recommendations were given - you have several such listed in your post on this website (which do partially conflict with your post on the linked blogspot site).

"failure to offer a reasonable solution that isn't presenting a completely unnecessary burden to the customer, monetarily and otherwise." - Our prices are set in stone. If you do not agree with our prices you are not required to use our services. For any work we are authorised to do, we have a SKU we charge and a price for it. If the combined price of required services exceeds what a client wants to pay, we recommend a new computer. If a new computer exceeds what a client wants to pay, we wish them a nice day. Giving special prices to people for no apparent reason opens Best Buy to legal issues (i.e. wealthy african american charged full price + white person on welfare receiving discount for same service = discrimination lawsuit)

"You can't make a diagnosis that the computer has a faulty hard drive without making adjustments or removing the hard drive from the computer case and testing it independently to understand why the device isn't functioning properly." - The company has not set up any way for us to test hard drives out of a machine. This is also not needed; if a hard drive is reporting errors, it's either the hard drive, the cable, or one of the controllers. An out of system diagnostic would only confirm whether it was the hard drive or not. It's also a data privacy risk - what if the hard drive went in the wrong computer? With dozens of diagnostics a week, it's easy to see that happening. And I don't see what is needed to adjust to diagnose a hard drive.

"R. told Jack that SMART values are only primary indicators" - Just yesterday, I was testing a hard drive through the computer's BIOS. Two large lines appeared on the screen saying "HARD DRIVE FAILURE SECTOR XXXXXXX". It then said "REPLACE HARD DRIVE". After that... "SMART STATUS: GOOD". SMART is not very reliable, and that IS widely known in the computer repair industry, as evidenced by 368,000 results (http://tinyurl.com/mxo5s7) for "s.m.a.r.t. hard drive unreliable OR useless" - far more than the other items you have mentioned.



Now I would like to quote the very page I am typing this on, from RipoffReport.com:
"An explanation that you believe the report is not accurate in some way (PLEASE BE SPECIFIC If you think the report is a hoax, please say so and demand that the author provide some proof that the transaction/event really happened);"

I am not saying I believe this is a hoax, but because of the above issues, I would request that you provide:
(a) Agent Checklist (the form that details the work performed - this is required for every computer we touch and stays with the customer)
(b) Receipts showing what items were paid for

Please blank out any personal information when you post these items.
Respond to this report!

#4 UPDATE Employee

Comment

AUTHOR: Brent - (U.S.A.)

First off, you use a lot of language that I think a person attending their first year of law school would use. Obviously you are not a lawyer or you would not be posting here.

Second, while some of their suggested resolutions sound wrong, it seems that they were relayed to you by someone who is not technically inclined. Important information may have been lost in translation.

Now, the diagnostic software we use will perform a scan of the hard drive both for physical errors and file table errors. If errors are found on a hard drive we will usually (but are not required to) run a second test with different software to confirm the problem. If the hard drive failed one of our tests, then it either has an issue (bad cable, controller on motherboard or hard drive going out, bad sectors, etc). And since windows showed it also had CRC errors, that diagnoses can be confirmed. The fact that these programs (apparently) came back with hard drive issues means that a large portion of your complaint is invalid. Since the technicians honestly believe that the hard drive is going bad, which may be the case, there appears to have been no attempt to defraud in that regard.

Now, the fact that WD Data Lifeguard tools found no errors is interesting. If you feel the diagnostic was in error, I would recommend bringing it back, explaining (calmly and in a civilized manner) that you believe their diagnostic was in error, and asking them to re-run PC-Check, FACE with just hard drive diagnostics, and the Data Lifeguard tools off of our company approved diagnostics disc.


I do have some issues with your initial complaint. First, you say he was charged $49.99 for data backup. We do not (to my knowledge) have any data backup services offered at this price. You also say he paid $69.99 for a diagnostic and another $199.99 for a diagnostic and repair. This is not company procedure and is against common sense; the diagnostic and repair includes diagnostic, meaning the additional $69.99 is not required.

I also have a few issues with items you have said in the linked blogspot post.
"perform advanced hard drive diagnostic and repair" - We do not perform hard drive repair

"replace the hard drive with an installation of a copy of Microsoft Windows XP (a new license) and anti-virus software for an additional cost of approximately $300" - We do not have on hand, nor does Best Buy sell, Windows XP. It would be impossible to perform this without your friend purchasing a copy from another source.

"When he then learned that a failure of the recovery kit would cost him an additional $150 for the installation of a copy of Windows XP (a new license for a computer that already had an installation of a licensed copy of Windows XP) and anti-virus software..." - A full retail copy of Windows XP home costs $199.99. Antivirus average cost is $39.99 ($59.99 for Kaspersky). Antivirus installation from us is $29.99. Assuming they properly applied the repair portion of the Diagnose and Repair towards the operating system install, it would be an additional $269.99-$289.99.

"in PIO mode data throughput from the hard drive to memory is ~83% to ~92% of the throughput of UDMA Mode 5." - I'll assume you meant that in PIO mode data throughput is 11%-17% of the data throughput of UDMA. Unfortunately, hard drives do not operate at the theoretical limits of these systems. I have seen benchmarks stating the average throughput is closer to 35MB/s, but can attain up to 100MB/s in bursts. This is due to mechanical limitations. PIO should theoretically be closer to its maximum throughput due to the fact the hardware is able to surpass the specifications. You also don't state if you were monitoring Task Manager for CPU activity, which would tell you where most of your CPU time is being spent.

"The first attempts to back up the NTFS partition with partimage and ntfsclone failed due to read errors.... The read errors during backup in conjunction with having the primary IDE channel stuck in PIO mode for an UDMA-5-capable device" - From what I can locate on NTFSClone, it appears to be a linux program. If Windows was stuck using your hard drive in PIO, it would not affect how linux would access the hard drive. From an article on the -rescue switch: "The --rescue switch will make ntfsclone tolerate and report read errors off the source drive". That means that you ignored errors from the hard drive. That is pretty solid evidence there was/is a hard drive issue.

"I remember reading something a long ago about possible data signal deterioration over time. It is known as bit rot. Periodically refreshing the entire hard drive with a full read-write scan, such as chkdsk (aka ScanDisk) or DLGDIAG, will guard against this data signal deterioration and resulting data corruption. A small amount of bit rot does not necessarily indicate hardware failure; it just means that the data hasn't been written for an extended period. Here's one reference on the subject. As noted in this reference, this phenomenon is well known in the computer industry." Again, not something I have ever heard of. Some errors can be repaired by running tools such as SpinRite which will read/write each sector, performing that many times on bad sectors to try and repair it. Given the results at http://tinyurl.com/l8flrq I can not say that, with 51,000 results indexed by google that I would call this 'well known'.

"Depending on the undisclosed fallback PIO mode, UDMA Mode 5 improved data throughput between the hard drive and memory by 600% to 1200% over the previously forced PIO mode." - Again, the hard drive will not operate at maximum speeds. To say this statement with confidence I would expect benchmark results to be provided.

"Windows, partimage and ntfsclone previously all had difficulty reading the hard drive" - Again, this does indicate some sort of issue, even an intermittent one. Even something as simple as a slightly loose or worn out IDE cable.

You also mention a lot of tools that "a competent computer technician familiar with windows XP" should have ran. However, none of those tools have been approved by Best Buy's legal team for use by the Geek Squad. You also mention running "SFC /scannow". That operation usually requires a physical Windows CD to be inside the CD drive.


"misdiagnosis of hard drive failure" - If a hard drive comes up with any errors, we will recommend replacement. If we do not, we may be held liable by clients who lose data in the future. Years worth of photos and documents are worth the money spent on a fresh, properly working hard drive.

"failure to recognize and address the spin-up issue during diagnosis" - Again, an issue which I would say is not common, and which I have never come across. If I had noticed a brand new computer with those issues, I would have had it repaired or replaced.

"unnecessarily offering to sell a new hard drive to unnecessarily replace a perfectly functioning hard drive with zero physical defects;" Again, according to agent analysis, the hard drive was/is having issues. I would recommend the same thing.

"unnecessarily offering to sell a new copy of Windows XP, for which the computer already has a license;" Again, Best Buy neither sells nor has available physical copies or licenses for Windows XP.

"failure to fix the bad sectors on the hard drive during diagnosis" - Diagnose: To analyze the nature or cause of. A diagnostic should not include repair. You do say that the hard drive had no errors, then you say that it had some minor errors, then you say you fixed all the errors.

"Failure to reinstall the primary IDE controller software device to return the IDE controller" - We run our hardware diagnostics before any other troubleshooting to make sure we are not wasting time needlessly. A hard drive issue would correctly explain all the original symptoms; after seeing a hard drive error, we will do no further diagnostics, unless a different issue is suspected (such as defective RAM).

"failure to return the operating system and the file system on the original hard drive to a functional state, as a result of the diagnostic process" - Again, a diagnostic should not include repair.

"failure to give to Tony an accurate diagnosis or any instructions or recommendations to remedy the underlying problem that caused the symptoms" - The diagnostic was valid by your own admission - you stated multiple times that it had errors. We would not tell a client how to fix problems because we offer that service. It's bad business. However, recommendations were given - you have several such listed in your post on this website (which do partially conflict with your post on the linked blogspot site).

"failure to offer a reasonable solution that isn't presenting a completely unnecessary burden to the customer, monetarily and otherwise." - Our prices are set in stone. If you do not agree with our prices you are not required to use our services. For any work we are authorised to do, we have a SKU we charge and a price for it. If the combined price of required services exceeds what a client wants to pay, we recommend a new computer. If a new computer exceeds what a client wants to pay, we wish them a nice day. Giving special prices to people for no apparent reason opens Best Buy to legal issues (i.e. wealthy african american charged full price + white person on welfare receiving discount for same service = discrimination lawsuit)

"You can't make a diagnosis that the computer has a faulty hard drive without making adjustments or removing the hard drive from the computer case and testing it independently to understand why the device isn't functioning properly." - The company has not set up any way for us to test hard drives out of a machine. This is also not needed; if a hard drive is reporting errors, it's either the hard drive, the cable, or one of the controllers. An out of system diagnostic would only confirm whether it was the hard drive or not. It's also a data privacy risk - what if the hard drive went in the wrong computer? With dozens of diagnostics a week, it's easy to see that happening. And I don't see what is needed to adjust to diagnose a hard drive.

"R. told Jack that SMART values are only primary indicators" - Just yesterday, I was testing a hard drive through the computer's BIOS. Two large lines appeared on the screen saying "HARD DRIVE FAILURE SECTOR XXXXXXX". It then said "REPLACE HARD DRIVE". After that... "SMART STATUS: GOOD". SMART is not very reliable, and that IS widely known in the computer repair industry, as evidenced by 368,000 results (http://tinyurl.com/mxo5s7) for "s.m.a.r.t. hard drive unreliable OR useless" - far more than the other items you have mentioned.



Now I would like to quote the very page I am typing this on, from RipoffReport.com:
"An explanation that you believe the report is not accurate in some way (PLEASE BE SPECIFIC If you think the report is a hoax, please say so and demand that the author provide some proof that the transaction/event really happened);"

I am not saying I believe this is a hoax, but because of the above issues, I would request that you provide:
(a) Agent Checklist (the form that details the work performed - this is required for every computer we touch and stays with the customer)
(b) Receipts showing what items were paid for

Please blank out any personal information when you post these items.
Respond to this report!

#5 UPDATE EX-employee responds

interesting

AUTHOR: solid snake - (U.S.A.)

geek squad couldnt fix a simple problem  of a controller issue i find that funny. but in nys they been sued time and time again. the stuff geek squad does makes  my job alot easier as an ex geek squad agent.  I can tell you that these untrained kids couldnt do a raid configuration let alone know the difference between ddr, ddr2 and  ECC ddr 2 RAM .   remember without their AJU & their 2 cds they are dead in the water.
Respond to this report!

#6

Apology

AUTHOR: Jp - (U.S.A.)

I think I accidentally double-posted. A series of mistakes led me to think I hadn't posted my update rebuttal.
Respond to this report!

#7

Re: Request for Receipt of the Transaction

AUTHOR: Jp - (U.S.A.)

In response to Brent,

Thank you for your input. Some of it is very sound, but quite a portion of it is rather baseless, considering that you read my report at blogspot. I apologize for the tardiness of this reply. I have not visited the page for quite some time.

Whereas Tony isn't the most tech-savvy individual, he did call me because something about the information which Geek Squad presented to him was illogical. He was very clear that Geek Squad told him that the hard drive failed and that he needed a new hard drive. Read errors on two bad clusters does not a hard drive failure make. The only misunderstanding on his part was what they were trying to sell him, which turned out to be a sales pitch with no substance.

As far as most of my complaint being invalid, I respectfully disagree. Twice, I have presented a receipt to Geek Squad and asked for diagnostic information. The first time, I was told that the complaint would be escalated and that I should expect a call from the general manager of the store, which I never received. The second time, I offered a receipt number to a supposed Geek Squad employee online, and that went nowhere. I asked for the diagnostic information that lead to the assessment that the hard drive should be replaced, and I didn't receive it. I feel that the replies that I did receive were quite evasive.

On to your comments, point by point_

"If the hard drive failed one of our tests, then..."

If Geek Squad's tests showed that two clusters on the drive demonstrated CRC-read errors... What about a write test? Ah, but there, despite Geek Squad's disclaimer about potential loss of data... Did they not want to accidentally fix the problem? Then the diagnosis would have been "correctable bit rot or other random anomally",  and the problem is mostly remedied.

Whereas Windows XP will demote the current transfer mode from UDMA to PIO after half a dozen CRC read errors, the SMART firmware will mark a sector with a CRC read error as pending, until an attempt to write to the sector fails, at which time the SMART firmware will relocate the bad sectors.

On June 29, I reported then-current SMART values, including Current Pending Sector Count of current=200, worst=199, and Relocation Event Count of current=200, worst=200. What does that show? Apparently, the hard drive had some pending sectors (after CRC read errors), but after the read-write scan, the relocation event count did not change. Bit rot, then no bit rot.

"And since windows showed it also had CRC errors, that diagnoses can be confirmed."

Actually, I turned Windows logging off years ago, and the logs show that logging was off until about the time that Geek Squad had possession of the computer. So Windows didn't show any CRC errors, it only displayed behavior that was symptomatic of CRC erros.

Which diagnosis? That the hard drive failed and should be replaced. It is now
over 120 days since Tony retrieved the computer from Geek Squad and one week shy of 90 days since I returned the computer to Tony, and the hard drive has not so much as even burped since I returned it to him.

"The fact that these programs (apparently) came back with hard drive issues means that a large portion of your complaint is invalid."

No, the fact that these programs (apparently) came back with hard drive issues and that Geek Squad convinced Tony that he needed a new hard drive means that either 1) Geek Squad's tools are inadequate to make an accurate diagnosis (which isn't entirely true, because C. at Best Buy in Phoenix confirmed that they have WDLGD, as you also confirmed) or 2) the employee who interpreted the data didn't have enough knowledge to make an accurate diagnosis or 3) despite evidence to the contrary, Geek Squad just wanted to sell a hard drive.

"Now, the fact that WD Data Lifeguard tools found no errors is interesting. If you feel the diagnostic was in error, I would recommend bringing it back, explaining (calmly and in a civilized manner) that you believe their diagnostic was in error, and asking them to re-run PC-Check, FACE with just hard drive diagnostics, and the Data Lifeguard tools off of our company approved diagnostics disc."

It is now over 120 days since the transaction occurred. The computer is now 50 miles away. Is Geek Squad going to give Tony a $130 refund if the diagnostic shows nothing wrong with the hard drive, because I know that Tony could use the money? But then why would you be trying to convince me that my complaint is baseless? Would Geek Squad be willing to send a mobile unit to Tony's residence to resolve the issue, so that I don't need to drive 100 miles roundtrip to drag the PC to the nearest Best Buy if Tony doesn't have the time or energy because he's out looking for a job? I tried to resolve this issue months ago, and I feel that I got the run-around. Do I have to keep running around to try to resolve an issue about which multiple Geek Squad employees have effectively convinced me that I have no recourse? I'd like to have an authorization number and a written statement that Tony will receive a full refund if Geek Squad sees that the computer is operating normally before I take this any further.

"I do have some issues with your initial complaint. First, you say he was charged $49.99 for data backup. We do not (to my knowledge) have any data backup services offered at this price. You also say he paid $69.99 for a diagnostic and another $199.99 for a diagnostic and repair. This is not company procedure and is against common sense; the diagnostic and repair includes diagnostic, meaning the additional $69.99 is not required."

When this transaction took place, there was a $49.99 Personal Data Backup Service. I believe it was on GeekSquad.com until at least 6/10, when I printed the $69.99 Diagnostic (which I don't see on the website now) for my records. Geeksquad.com has since changed its website and pricing structure. (I wish I had a printout of the $49.99 backup. I thought I had it. Perhaps I still have a copy in my safe deposite box.)

I agree that there is one discrepancy here. Looking again at the receipt, which I posted at blogspot, Best Buy/Geek Squad refunded the $199.99 ADR and charged for the $69.99 Basic Diagnostic Service, so they were not separate charges. I misunderstood the receipt, and Tony mis-remembered the details when I asked for confirmation several weeks later. I apologize for the confusion, but the substance of my complaint remains.

'I also have a few issues with items you have said in the linked blogspot post.
"perform advanced hard drive diagnostic and repair" - We do not perform hard drive repair.'

Actually, Geek Squad did have a service called "Hard Drive Advanced Diagnostic and Repair" or "Advanced Hard Drive Diagnostic and Repair". When I met with C. at the Geek Squad at Thunderbird Road in Phoenix on 6/4, the sign was on Geek Squad's counter. I wish I had photographed it with my cell phone, but the thought didn't occur to me. By "hard drive repair", I'm sure that the advertisement referred to repair of the hard drive's file-system, and I seem to recall that the details on the sign stated as much. I didn't believe otherwise, but that was the name of the advertised service on the sign.

"
"replace the hard drive with an installation of a copy of Microsoft Windows XP (a new license) and anti-virus software for an additional cost of approximately $300"

Tony said that he would have to pay X dollars to have Geek Squad restore the OEM software, and if he didn't have the CD-ROM or if the installation failed he would have to pay another Y dollars to have Geek Squad install a new copy of Windows. Whether it was XP or Vista is an inconsequential detail, when the substance of my complaint is that Geek Squad misrepresented the condition of the original hardware.

'
"in PIO mode data throughput from the hard drive to memory is ~83% to ~92% of the throughput of UDMA Mode 5." - I'll assume you meant that in PIO mode data throughput is 11%-17% of the data throughput of UDMA.'

You're right. Proofing 100,000 words isn't easy. Thank you for drawing it to my attention.

'Unfortunately, hard drives do not operate at the theoretical limits of these systems. I have seen benchmarks stating the average throughput is closer to 35MB/s, but can attain up to 100MB/s in bursts. This is due to mechanical limitations. PIO should theoretically be closer to its maximum throughput due to the fact the hardware is able to surpass the specifications.  You also don't state if you were monitoring Task Manager for CPU activity, which would tell you where most of your CPU time is being spent.'


I was basing my calculations solely on published specifications. I believe I did express it theoretically. Have you ever tried to use a 2.4Mhz single-core, single-cpu PC running Windows XP in PIO mode? Of course, I wasn't trying to monitor CPU usage in Task Manager--It was a struggle just to look at the IDE controller's transfer mode, at which point my suspicion was confirmed and I ran hard drive diagnostics. Is there a question in there somewhere?

'"The first attempts to back up the NTFS partition with partimage and ntfsclone failed due to read errors.... The read errors during backup in conjunction with having the primary IDE channel stuck in PIO mode for an UDMA-5-capable device" - From what I can locate on NTFSClone, it appears to be a linux program. If Windows was stuck using your hard drive in PIO, it would not affect how linux would access the hard drive. From an article on the -rescue switch: "The --rescue switch will make ntfsclone tolerate and report read errors off the source drive". That means that you ignored errors from the hard drive. That is pretty solid evidence there was/is a hard drive issue.'

Did my report at blogspot not clearly state that the hard drive had pending sectors but no evidence of physical defects, leading me to the conclusion that the hard drive was functional? CRC read errors and physical defects are two different species, and they're not always related.

"
"I remember reading something a long ago about possible data signal deterioration over time. It is known as bit rot. Periodically refreshing the entire hard drive with a full read-write scan, such as chkdsk (aka ScanDisk) or DLGDIAG, will guard against this data signal deterioration and resulting data corruption. A small amount of bit rot does not necessarily indicate hardware failure; it just means that the data hasn't been written for an extended period. Here's one reference on the subject. As noted in this reference, this phenomenon is well known in the computer industry." Again, not something I have ever heard of. Some errors can be repaired by running tools such as SpinRite which will read/write each sector, performing that many times on bad sectors to try and repair it. Given the results at http://tinyurl.com/l8flrq I can not say that, with 51,000 results indexed by google that I would call this 'well known'."

I heard or read about it at least 20 years ago, which makes it long enough to be well-known. I can't tell you how many times I have read recommendations to periodically run full read-write scans, so enough people know how to prevent the problem even if they don't pay enough attention to the advice to understand the reasons for it. I don't know... 51,000 is a fairly large number. Shall we run a poll online to see how big is big enough to call it well-known?

'
"Depending on the undisclosed fallback PIO mode, UDMA Mode 5 improved data throughput between the hard drive and memory by 600% to 1200% over the previously forced PIO mode." - Again, the hard drive will not operate at maximum speeds. To say this statement with confidence I would expect benchmark results to be provided.'

Again, you're missing the point. I'm using published specs to establish why normal operation of Windows will cause a system to slow to a crawl... Not to count the bytes going from my hard drive to RAM. It's not even hyperbole. I don't understand your reaction to the use of published specs to illustrate why tying up the CPU to transfer data to and from the hard drive would cause a problem.

'
"Windows, partimage and ntfsclone previously all had difficulty reading the hard drive" - Again, this does indicate some sort of issue, even an intermittent one. Even something as simple as a slightly loose or worn out IDE cable.'

But writing to the sector will resolve the problem, and that is a valid diagnostic step, which the customer should expect to have done after paying $70 for an accurate diagnosis (as advertised). Which one of us is splitting hairs here?

'You also mention a lot of tools that "a competent computer technician familiar with windows XP" should have ran. However, none of those tools have been approved by Best Buy's legal team for use by the Geek Squad. You also mention running "SFC /scannow". That operation usually requires a physical Windows CD to be inside the CD drive.'

Western Digital's Data Lifeguard Diagnostic is in Geek Squad's toolbox. chkdsk and sfc are shipped with Windows XP, and you can't use them? Are you serious? sfc /scannow only requires rebooting. (I know, because I ran it without difficulty and don't have a Windows CD-ROM because the computer didn't come with a CD-ROM but had the restore utility on a separate partition of the hard drive. Whether or not the HP shipped the 762c w/ a CD-ROM, Sam's Club sold me a display model without a CD-ROM.)

'"misdiagnosis of hard drive failure" - If a hard drive comes up with any errors, we will recommend replacement.'

So "You're hard drive crashed. The computer had a system failure. You need a new hard drive. Nothing else is guaranteed," is the right thing to do? In fact, there are laws that prohibit this kind of sales pitch. Is there some fine print on the checklist that says, "Despite our recommendations, which we conveyed to you in a manner meant to scare you into buying something that you don't need, there is evidence that you don't need a new hard drive." Tony never heard that last clause from Geek Squad when they were giving him the sales pitch, because Geek Squad did not run a full read-write scan to determine that nothing was wrong with his hard drive that couldn't be explained by a sector that may not have been written for over five years, since I started using Linux as my primary operating system on that computer.

'If we do not, we may be held liable by clients who lose data in the future. Years worth of photos and documents are worth the money spent on a fresh, properly working hard drive.'

But throwing money at Geek Squad for unnecessary gadgets will fix everything. Geek Squad did not give Tony a fair assessment of his options, which Geek Squad advertised that they would do. Those years worth of photos and documents would be much safer on a CD-R(W). How much would a CD-writer have cost him? Geek Squad didn't add that to their sales pitch, and Geek Squad didn't make any sale after I intervened for good cause.

'
"failure to recognize and address the spin-up issue during diagnosis" - Again, an issue which I would say is not common, and which I have never come across. If I had noticed a brand new computer with those issues, I would have had it repaired or replaced.'

QuickBoot was enabled. Perhaps the specs of the equipment didn't support it. I found that I preferred it, with the workaround I discovered. I only mentioned it, because it was the only reason I could imagine for Geek Squad thinking that the hard drive failed. If they didn't see that error by chance then the point is moot, but if they did and just took the error at face value, that is a dereliction of duty.

'"unnecessarily offering to sell a new hard drive to unnecessarily replace a perfectly functioning hard drive with zero physical defects;" Again, according to agent analysis, the hard drive was/is having issues. I would recommend the same thing.'

Again, a full read-write scan would have diagnosed a perfectly normal condition--signal degradation due to time lapsed between sector writes is a normal condition. Giving such a recommendation without performing an adequate test or fully explaining the options to the customer (spend another $130 to $350 for an unnecessary gadget or service or ...? There was another option.) It wouldn't have been an issue had the proper diagnostic procedure been done, because subsequent multiple passes of the scan would have revealed no read or write errors.

'
"unnecessarily offering to sell a new copy of Windows XP, for which the computer already has a license;" Again, Best Buy neither sells nor has available physical copies or licenses for Windows XP.'

Again, whether XP or Vista is immaterial. Why repeat what I repeated?

'
"failure to fix the bad sectors on the hard drive during diagnosis" - Diagnose: To analyze the nature or cause of. A diagnostic should not include repair. You do say that the hard drive had no errors, then you say that it had some minor errors, then you say you fixed all the errors.'

I did NOT say that the hard drive had no errors. I wrote that the hard drive had no physical defects. I wrote it multiple times. Is there a reason that you didn't quote that, too?

No, a diagnostic shouldn't necessarily include repair. I admitted that in my report. However, a proper diagnostic would have repaired the problem. (But the condition was still present when I received the computer, so a proper diagnostic was not done.)

'
"Failure to reinstall the primary IDE controller software device to return the IDE controller" - We run our hardware diagnostics before any other troubleshooting to make sure we are not wasting time needlessly. A hard drive issue would correctly explain all the original symptoms; after seeing a hard drive error, we will do no further diagnostics, unless a different issue is suspected (such as defective RAM).'

Unless... Unless a different issue is suspected... Two bad clusters, our job is done. If you try to write to that sector and the firmware relocates the sector, you can rule out other issues. If you try to write to that sector and the firmware doesn't relocate that sector, you have a normal event on functional hardware. Don't even look at the date of the file, because that would give you too much information. The whole point of my report is that there is evidence that the hardware has no physical defects, and Geek Squad wanted to make a mess of everything for whatever motive.

I'm not going to further pick apart your comments, because I feel that I have illustrated my point clearly enough.

I didn't find a means to upload images here, so I uploaded them to geeksquashing.blogspot.com. I don't have the checklist, because when Tony came to retrieve the computer, he had only one receipt, because he didn't understand that I was asking for everything that GS gave to him, which he would have gladly given to me for fixing the problem for him. When he mailed the other receipt, he neglected to include anything else that GS might have given to him. If GS wants to make an appointment with Tony to meet him at his residence, all is good. They can check their records and see that the hard drive is free of errors or sector relocations. Otherwise, I am not putting any more energy into this, because I know that the computer is functional as I have described, and I am tired of the runaround. Good day.
Respond to this report!

#8 Author of original report

Misdiagnosis & Deceptive Sales Pitch

AUTHOR: Jp - (U.S.A.)

D.,

Geek Squad misdiagnosed the symptom and then tried to sell Tony $150 to $500 of products and services based on the misdiagnosis, when a five-minute test would have cast doubt on that diagnosis. Furthermore, all but one of Geek Squad's recommendation would have made the computer less functional. Only Geek Squad stood to benefit from their recommendations.

Would you be satisfied if when you went to a mechanic with symptoms that indicated that your tires needed rotating, the mechanic talked you into buying a service that didn't reveal that your tires needed rotating but misdiagnosed the problem, after which the mechanic tried to sell you a service to fix the symptoms that would have reduced the functionality of the vehicle, for instance, by limiting the vehicle to right turns?

I have corresponded with one Geek Squad agent who has agreed with me that the dereliction of duty in this case warrants a full refund. We shall see whether he can resolve this complaint satisfactorily.

Granted, misdiagnosis happens. However, when a misdiagnosis for such an easily diagnoseable and remediable problem has been discovered, should the producer just keep the accepted money for which the producer gave no value in return?
Respond to this report!

#9 Consumer Suggestion

a question please

AUTHOR: D. - (U.S.A.)

I have to inquire about the actual rip off here. I know you addressed this, but I would like a clarification.

Tony paid $49.99 for a data back up, was that service preformed?

Tony paid $69.99, for a diagnostic, was that service preformed?

What I am going at here, is that it would not be a rip off if the Geek Squad performed those services. At the end of the day Tony would not have anything tangible from those services, but he would have paid for the Geek Squad preform those tasks.

It is similar to an automobile repair. A $20 part, a $200 installation. You end up with the physical part, but you paid the mechanic for his time. i.e. his service.

Just a thought.

But with that aside, good luck.
Respond to this report!

#10 Author of original report

Something about the Law

AUTHOR: Jp - (U.S.A.)

I have read the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act in the Arizona Revised Statutes numerous times, and I don't see that there is a need to prove intent to deceive.

A.R.S. 44-1522, Unlawful practices, intended interpretations of provisions
A. The act, use or employment by any person of any deception, deceptive act or practice, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, or concealment, suppression or ommission of *any material fact* (my emphasis) with intent that others rely upon such concealment, suppression or omission, in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise...
A.R.S. 44-1532, Violations...
B For purposes of this section, a willful violation occurs when the party committing the violation knew or *should have known* (my emphasis) that his conduct was of the nature prohibited by section 44-1522.

1.) An adept or expert in the art of computer diagnosis and repair of Windows XP knows__
a.) how to run 'chkdsk /r' (to check for bad sectors) and 'sfc /scannow' (to check system files) and how to remove a device from Windows XP and reboot.
b.) that a read error on a hard drive indicates the need to scan the disk for bad or pending sectors
c.) that bad or pending sectors might reveal corruption of system files, which would indicate a need to check the system files, for instance with sfc /scannow
d.) that pending sectors do not necessarily indicate physical defects of the hard drive

(I can cite online pages all I want and not prove that an adept knows this, but an expert on the subject would verify the above statements of fact.)

2.) Best Buy Geek Squad advertises itself as adept or expert in the art of Windows XP computer diagnosis and repair.

(The attorney general could easily find advertising to support this statement of fact. I even have hardcopies of what Geek Squad advertises for the Diagnostic service.)

3.) Any reasonable person would conclude that concealing 1.a.), 1.b.), 1.c.) and 1.d) from a customer to whom an agent of a business as in 2.) would deceive the customer, because revealing these facts would give the consumer a choice to either try to repair it himself in less than six easy-to-do steps or pay business to do it for him.

(Logic.)

4.) An agent of said business should know that it could deceive the consumer and should know that deceiving a consumer for the purpose of making a sale is a prohibited act.

(Logic.)

5) Geek Squad advertises that they have a large database of computer issues and remedies to aid the agents in diagnosis and repair. Can Geek Squad honestly claim that these well-known symptoms and diagnostic procedures are not in their database? That is very difficult to imagine.

Furthermore, if business or agent of business decided to sell the original service and didn't plan to tell the consumer about these facts on discovery of hard drive input-output errors before selling the original service to the consumer, that could be construed as intent to deceive in the sale of the original service... because the business or agent of business *should have known* that suggesting to the consumer these facts and procedures would give the consumer a choice of whether or not to purchase the initial service or subsequent products and services.

I rest my case.

Is there any precedent that distinguishes between a willful act as described in 44-1531 and intent to deceive? Perhaps there is precedent that would defeat this presentation. I don't know. I am not a lawyer and wouldn't know how to look for a precedent leaning either way. Sure, I could find a database of precedents and know how to query a database, but I wouldn't know how to go about querying that database for this kind of precedent without reading every single case precedent about fraud.
Respond to this report!

#11 Author of original report

Prima Facie Evidence

AUTHOR: Jp - (U.S.A.)

Thank you for the comment, Ashley.

Ohio's attorney general has filed suit against Best Buy on similar charges. There are enough testimonial reports online to make a prima facie case of conspiracy to defraud consumers. By supposed employees and former employees, there are enough reports of inadequate training. (Do I need to track them down for evidence that they truly are former employees and not just attention seekers?) Inadequate procedure by a company that advertises itself as adept in computer diagnosis and repair is prima facie evidence of intent. Inadequate training is prima facie evidence of intent. Reports by new hirees that they want good salespeople more than they want good technicians is prima facie evidence of intent.

I do not have the resources to track down, verify and provide all of this evidence to the attorney general. What more can I do than the work that I have already done in my aforementioned external report, including collecting all of the related links in the sidebar? I believe I have already established intent. What more do I need to do? What more is reasonable to ask of me before the attorney general, who has the resources and the responsibility, takes over?
Respond to this report!

#12 Consumer Comment

At this point

AUTHOR: Ashley - (U.S.A.)

You need to convince the attorney general that this company has intentionally misled the customer. If their procedures of diagnosis are just inadequate, but no intentional deception occured, its not fraud. Fraud is intentional deception. If you feel you can prove intentional deception, then you have a case.
Respond to this report!

#13 Author of original report

Technical Incompetence Is Not A Defense to Fraud

AUTHOR: Jp - (U.S.A.)

In response to Yemen:

In this case, because Geek Squad represented themselves as expert and adept in the field and the consumer paid for that expertise, technical incompetence is not a defense to fraud. By allowing an unqualified individual to act as their agent, Best Buy Geek Squad has committed an unlawful act in violation of Arizona's Consumer Fraud act, because they "should have known" that doing so could deceive the customer in the exchange of values and they "should have known that his conduct was of the nature prohibited by section 44-1522." (A.R.S. 44-1531)
Respond to this report!

#14 Consumer Suggestion

More likely technical incompetence; not fraud

AUTHOR: Yemin - (U.S.A.)

More likely technical incompetence; not fraud
Respond to this report!

#15 Author of original report

Now, I understand the consumer's question.

AUTHOR: Jp - (U.S.A.)

In my earlier update, I failed to recognize that Kevin had missed that Tony paid a total of $320 in advance, and he received the $200 refund for the optional service that was contingent on the results of the first diagnostic service, which Tony declined, leaving a balance of $120 paid.

I didn't understand the confusion. I think I do now. I apologize for the misunderstanding.
Respond to this report!

#16 Author of original report

How is there no ripoff?

AUTHOR: Jp - (U.S.A.)

In response to the consumer who doesn't see the ripoff:

You had all of the facts straight, but I don't understand your conclusion.

1) Geek Squad advertised themselves as experts or adepts in the art of computer diagnosis and repair;
2) Geek Squad advertised a service for $69.99 which promises to ensure proper functionality of software and hardware; to diagnose one computer; to allow the customer to make an informed decision;
3) Tony paid $69.99 for the diagnostic service and $49.99 for backup of personal files to protect his personal files from loss during the diagnostic service, for which the notice at the premises disclaimed responsibility;
4) The diagnostic and remedy steps that would have properly diagnosed the computer's symptoms are very well known in the art;
5) Geek Squad's advertisement and the agreement between Tony and Geek Squad required Geek Squad to perform proper diagnostic procedure as is well defined in the art;
6) Geek Squad failed to perform their consideration in the contract, which is called breach of contract;
7) Geek Squad further undermined Tony's confidence in perfectly functional hardware, i.e. the hard drive;
7) Geek Squad further tried to sell products and services to remedy symptoms that they didn't properly diagnose and withheld information which would have allowed Tony to make an informed decision, which by virtue of Geek Squad's advertisement (whether or not their employees are qualified) is called fraud.

Tony paid $120 plus tax to Geek Squad and received zero value in return in terms of what the contract between Tony and Geek Squad required of Geek Squad.

And you don't see the ripoff?

Perhaps in order to understand my complaint one needs to understand Arizona's Consumer Fraud Act. Had Tony not called me and had I not intervened, Geek Squad might have succeeded in deceiving Tony into buying something that he didn't need to remedy the problem for which Tony paid them to diagnose.

Regardless of the fact that the computer was intact when Tony retrieved it, he paid $120 for nothing, and Geek Squad further defrauded him, according to Arizona's Consumer Fraud Act. That's the ripoff.
Respond to this report!

#17 Consumer Comment

I don't see the Ripoff here

AUTHOR: Kevin A - (U.S.A.)

If I read your letter correctly, your friend was refunded the $200 he paid and the computer was returned to you without your information being erased (although you were somewhat unclear on this). That being the case, where were you ripped off? Best Buy/Geek Squad may employ people improperly trained in the repair of computers; they may have even deliberately misled your friend in the hope he would spend extra money. But they gave your friend several options to try to repair the unit and when all options were refused they returned the money AND the computer, in repairable (by you) condition. I see no ripoff here.
Respond to this report!

#18 Author of original report

Typo Correction

AUTHOR: Jp - (U.S.A.)

Yes, I do know the proper uses of 'their' and 'there'. It is a typographical error. I am usually much more careful about proofreading, and I am embarrassed for missing it.
Respond to this report!
Ripoff Report Recommends
ZipBooks Accounting Software

Advertisers above have met our
strict standards for business conduct.