Customer sues Best Buy for breaking the law, gets banned


Posts: 5,269   +103
According to a story posted by The Consumerist, Best Buy has banned a shopper after being busted for violating consumer protections. In January, a Consumerist reader named Jed broke the digital audio-in port on his Sony receiver. He decided to have it repaired by Best Buy's Geek Squad, who charged him a $34.99 deposit and promised to call before making any costly repairs.

Read the whole story

Greg S

Posts: 1,607   +442
Lawyers are making this world really difficult to live in. If it ain't broke don't fix it, well bad saying for this story, but its true. If you got what you want don't go any further. The guy probably shouldn't have sued, but he was right to make a complaint. The ban does make sense because they don't want another law suit.


Posts: 60   +3
He was well within his rights to sue them. Too often, companies mistreat customers and try to bully them into submission. Jed was clearly in the right, and $3,000 isn't exactly a huge settlement. Had Best Buy admitted their mistake immediately and returned the product and refunded the deposit, it would have been wrong to sue... but he was without his product for over 3 weeks, and they tried to force him to pay for unrequested services (I can't mow your lawn and demand you charge me.)

Best Buy deserves what they got... and should have been fined by the government for the violations even if Jed hadn't sued them. It was extremely poor taste to ban him (unless there were extenuating circumstances, i.e. he became violent, or the like). Now they will probably lose even more customers when the word spreads.


Posts: 513   +0
Best Buy should have checked in with the customer - *before* sending in the device for costly repairs. They did not, turns out the consumer did not want them to, they did it anyway. Consumer gets pissed, sues Best Buy, wins.

Best Buy gets pissed, bans the customer.

No, Best Buy should not have banned Jed from the stores, (I personally think) it was their responsibility to check in with Jed before sending away the reciever. In fact, Best Buy's threat of banishment, might just be further ammunition for Jed's 'court-gun'...


Posts: 1,156   +146
I wouldn't have sued, although they screwed up. Best Buy, however, is sending a very clear message to people, that by suing them for illegal practices, that you will get banned from setting foot in another Best Buy. To me that just sounds like bad PR, and it could come back to bite them in the ***.


Posts: 51   +12
If Jed donates his check to charity...then I'll side with him...until then Best Buy has every right to ban him.

It's not like Best Buy stores are public property...If he sued me I'd charge him with trespassing as well any time he set foot on my property.


In his place, I doubt that I would have sued after the fact. Unless he needed the receiver repaired for some time-sensitive use it's not as if he faced any real hardship because of its absence. That said,the free repair is not exactly compensation when he didn't agree to pay for it in the first place.

Is BestBuy a sore loser for banning him? I don't think so. They can choose to do business with him or not as they see fit. In their place I probably wouldn't want to do business with someone who has proven he'll sue if he gets upset enough either.

Perhaps a better solution for both would have been for BestBuy to waive the repair fee (since it wasn't authorized in the first place) and offer him a $500 gift card for his trouble. This accomplishes three things:

1. It would probably go a long way to mending the damaged relationship with their customer.

2. It saves money. Since a gift card is just store credit, in reality the cost to BestBuy would be less than $500. Specifically, it's BestBuy's actual cost of whatever he buys with the gift card so $500 minus the retail markup.

3. It keeps the customer in the habit of shopping at BestBuy. That way, his last experience at the store (spending his gift card) is a positive one. As it is, he can spend the $3000 award anywhere and absolutely WON'T spend it at BestBuy since he's not allowed to go there.


Posts: 1,156   +146
mizkitty said:
If Jed donates his check to charity...then I'll side with him...until then Best Buy has every right to ban him.

It's not like Best Buy stores are public property...If he sued me I'd charge him with trespassing as well any time he set foot on my property.
Charity? Are you serious? Best Buy broke the law and they got called out on it. Are you saying that if you got caught violating the law as a proprietor, that you would try to punish the person that caught you? That's a bad move if you ever want customers again. A good protest and enough bad publicity could break your company. Word of mouth spreads fast.


No way I would sue them - they admitted their mistake and gave him the repairs for free. You got to understand that big businesses can sometimes make a mistake, but it's not anything intentional or personal (nor something that was very time sensitive for him or of business value). 1 in 50,000 repairs is going to be mixed up, you don't have to be a **** about it.


I'm siding with Jed here, mainly because i know from first hand experience that the geek squad department is run by the most inexperience *****ic people you can find, something similar happen to me years ago. I'm glad they got sue and hopefully makes them change their stance on hiring dumb people to pay them less and not provide the proper technical training.

As for the ban, we'll if it was me and had sued then I wouldn't care in this online retail age we live in. I haven't shopped in best buy over 7 years now and frankly if they go bankrupt....good riddance!


Posts: 3,836   +1,186
First off, Geek Squad is a Rip-off they overcharge for the work and half the time they don't even do it.

I have an aunt that bought a notebook and paid almost $60 to have windows reinstalled on the language of her choosing, to find on arrival they did nothing (She went in a trip to the US, she found out when she arrived here back at Chile), and this is only 1 of the many I've heard not counting the overprice they charge. I also told her next time to ask me first, since that could've been done by me for free.

Every store on almost everywhere takes us consumers for granted and pretty much after they stuff you with whatever they sell you never hear from them again, even if you have to go there. I have to agree with Jed I would sue and they wouldn't even have to ban me from their stores since after a bad time such as this I would NEVER EVER go back.

Hell... after the earthquake here in Chile (Concepcion to be more acurate) I went to buy groseries to a store near my house and the guy there was a jerk even though I always went there, after that (and a couple of venting words from me =)) I never went back there just out of spite.

It's like Geohot being banned from Sony, I doubt out of principle he would ever again buy something from them =P


Posts: 611   +94
1. he did nothing wrong, therefore suing bestbuy was the right thing to do for social justice.
2. he should keep the $3000.
3. never go to best buy again, their product is overpriced anyway,and service is terrible at best.

this happened to me with Fedex Kinko, i am actually surprised to find that this violates the consumer law. had i known is would've sued too. i went to Fedex Kinko to print out a large format artwork poster one time, and the guy at the counter waved my right to examine the artwork by checking off the box himself without consulting me. i come back two days later to pick-up the art work and found the color was completely over saturated with a heavy blue tint. i told them i couldn't possibly pay for something like that. the manager tried to make me pay for it and showed me the form where the box of waver was checked. i told him that his employee had checked that box without consulting me. it was good that i left without paying. but had i known that was a violation of consumer law, i probably would've took the action farther.

lack of training in these large corporate vendor these days is really hurting the consumers.


Posts: 14   +0
the guy shouldn't of sue. i mean if it was a computer and he needed it for business and they did that i could see going as far as sueing MAYBE but then again i would never let geek squad touch my computer lol or anything else for that matter. ill do that myself!


Posts: 305   +161
Assuming I was dumb enough to use Geek Squad, I would of just taken the free repair, chalked it up to a lesson learned and never used Best Buy's services again.

That would of been the logical/normal thing to do.


Posts: 744   +13
Best buy should be shut down just on the account of Geek Squad. Those guys do daylight robbery under the pretense of "work".

My mother sent her laptop to Geek Squad (sadly before consulting me) because of a virus and all they did was restore the computer to factory conditions and charged her $100 for it. I'd burn down the place on principle, but there's other stuff I wish to do with my life before being convicted for arson.


I purchased a car alarm from Best buy recently on sale, it came with free installation. When I brought my car in fro the installation, they tried telling me it would be an additional $450 for this "free installation". After an argument, the manager said to go ahead and honor what I was told, and the guy installing the alarm broke all of my doors, so now 3 of them won't open from the outside at all... I HATE Best Buy. When I told the manager, he just shrugged his shoulders and walked away.


Posts: 72   +2
Are some of you people brain dead and breathing? He was well within his rights to sue them. I expect an established company to which I pay a premium over an online store's price to manage customers accordingly. They COULD and SHOULD have informed him that the repair would require the receiver to be sent to sony for an extra charge.

It's not like suing starbucks for the coffee being too hot.. Or mcd for making you fat.
This is one of the cases in which one consumer actually sets a GOOD precedent by suing a company, and some of you still find ways to be against it.. That, for me, is proof of under 100 iq, to put in nicely.


Even though it will always look like the buyer is only after the money, its also a good thing that someone stands up to the wrong procedures these big companies do and keep them in line.


I Take this with a grain of salt. Seriously, How is Bestbuy going to enforce this? What do they have a picture of him sent out to every Bestbuy in the nation, Forcing the thousands of employees at each location to remember his name and face? And just think of the PR nightmare if he were to actually get arrested. Bestbuy would lose millions in business from people all over the internet. This is a completely empty threat.

Personally I am anti-Bestbuy, Way to many people I know that have been seriously ripped off in one way or another. This guy was absolutely in the right to sue them, Although I thing the reward may have been a touch high, Although None of us know exactly what happened, So it is difficult to truly judge.


Posts: 16,302   +5,089
"The customer is always right", is an adage that is rife for abuse.

I actually come down on this as both sides of this dispute are within their rights. The "Geek Squad" is compiling quite a litany of stories about excess cost and incompetence.

With that said, I'm very glad that a business in this day and age, can enforce the sign behind the counter, "we reserve the right to deny service to anyone"!

I think it's a good sign that a business can still assert its freedom, civil rights, and independence.

I was in sales, and please take my word for this, there are plenty of people in this world whose money you don't want to take, under any circumstance.


Posts: 835   +226
Im sure banning him won't be of any use since i'm sure he'll never go there anyway lol like they would be able in enforce this ....Gamer version: Best buy got caught hacking, and they went all %^$^&$%^$ BaNHaMmEr!