Posted Thu August 4, 2011 10:57 am, by McJohn.
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I have gotten a few people ask me what my problem with Geek Squad is.
So here you go...
I run a PC repair shop (2 in fact, one in Mass and one in Florida) I
have gotten to know quite a few of my customers and I develop good
relationships with them because I am fair and dont sell them more than
Last year while I was up in Mass. My Florida shop was being run by a
trusted employee who had a death in the family. He was forced to
close my shop for 5 days while he went out west of the funeral.
There was nothing I could do except have him post a sign on the door
explaining what happened.
One of my very good customers had a PC emergency and ended up at Best
Buys Geek Squad (her son recommended it).
Let me give you background on my customer...
She is elderly
She only uses the PC for email, weather, and skype/webcam to keep in
touch with her family.
She is on a limited income and because she has been coming to my shop
for years we treat her very well and never sell her things she doesnt
need and saving her money by using parts we have sitting around.
She brought the PC to Best Buy and left it there. She got a call the
next day that her motherboard was dead and she needed a new one.
They charged her $189.00 for a new motherboard. After that was done
they told her she needed new ram because the ram she had would not
work with the new motherboard. They charged her another $149.99 for 2
gigs of ram.
They wanted to keep all her old parts, but she asked for everything
back (we had talked about this before with her and she remembered you
never let someone keep your old stuff).
First thing monday morning she arrives at my shop and my manager
talked with her. She was upset at the cost and wanted him to look it
over. She gave him all the old parts and gave him the sheet from best
Her old motherboard was an asus M2N motherboard, no longer made but
you can still find them for about $30.00 online, the one they put in I
found at Newegg for $89.99
They put in 2 gigs of generic ram which I can get for about $40.00
They charged her over $500.00 in parts and labor. Not to mention
marking up the price of the motherboard and ram almost $100.00 each.
Long story short
My manager replaced the motherboard, checked all the connections and
everything worked great. There was NOTHING wrong with the
Without seeing the PC when it wouldnt boot its hard to say what the
issue was. It could have been a loose cable, or just a power issue.
With nothing wrong with the parts we probably would have charged her
$20.00 to diagnose and fix it.
When her son found out about this he was furious, Best Buy at first
refused to take back the parts and refund 100% of the money. Then
they found out he was a lawyer and she got her money.
Thats my main hatred for the geek squad. This is not the first time I
have heard of them taking advantage of people or charging for parts
that dont need to be fixed.
I have had many many customers come in and tell me they tried Geek
Squad first and how they were ripped off. I have also gained many
many loyal customers due to this.
They also do very little training and even people with very little
computer knowledge have landed in the geek squad. I know this only
because I know someone who is in the geek squad who thinks RAM is a
brand of truck.
I decided to start my very first blog here in response to a comment I
just read about how all Computer Companies will wipe your drive in
order to fix a computer.
There are 2 issues here
1) what the local shop will do
2) what the big manufacturers techs will do
If a PC is brought into my shop, the first thing I do is sit down with
the customer and get a detailed idea of the problem. If its say
randomly shuting down, I ask what programs might be in use, where the
computer is stored (heat problem?), when did it start, etc.
Then it gets brought into the back and we put in a CD of diagnostic
tools and we "play" with the PC trying to recreate the problem. If
the error doesnt occur we leave it on overnight. If the error has yet
to happen, we do 1 of 2 things, we call the customer explain that we
have failed to recreate the problem and we can send the PC home with a
diagnostic program running in the background to catch it when it does
happen, or we can take an educated guess and replace what we think it
might be and hope it fixes the problem.
A big manufacturer will 90% of the time start by wiping your drive and
getting it back to factory state. Then they will try to find the
problem. IF they are like us and cant recreate the problem then they
will ship it back to you and exclaim they fixed it. All the while
taking 2 weeks to get it back to you.
I have had many customers come to me with an HP, Dell, Alienware, etc.
after sending it back to the company and want us to take over. We
explain to them that by us opening the case it will void the warranty,
but most of the time they tell me they dont care.
I have hired a couple of techs who were ex-company techs and they are
very underskilled when it comes to diagnosing an issue. In fact one
was completely lost because I dont have a computer program that tells
him what to look for depending on what he inputs.
Thats not saying they are all like that, but when you make it as easy
as possible and dont allow them to think for themselves they will lose
that ability to troubleshoot on the fly.
I will repeatably tell people to goto a local shop every time. If you
dont like their work try another. I wont lie some of the local shops
are worse than the big companies.