BUYER BEWARE – Is The “Coquitlam Best Buy” Running An Extended Warranty Scam?

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After spending almost 2 1/2 hours at the “Coquitlam Best Buy”  – one of Canada’s “apparent” leaders in the Computer and Electronics sector here in Canada.  And after going through the most bizarre series of events I could have ever imagined – one has to wonder whether or not the “Coquitlam Best Buy” is running an extended warranty scam.

It’s December 18th, 2011 and I just returned from the “Coquitlam Best Buy”. I went into the “Coquitlam Best Buy” location with my computer that I had bought about a month ago from the “Coquitlam Best Buy”. It’s an HP Pavilion dv4. It seemed that I had an issue with the computer and I wanted to get it checked out to see what the problem was. They started off by asking me if I had Norton anti-virus. I said I just had the version that came with the computer – but it was going to expire within 30 days, so I agreed to have them install Norton 360.

They asked if I had recovery discs and that they would throw those in for an extra $20. Apparently, if my system crashed it was going to cost $400 to fix it, so the recovery disks were important.  Those normally cost $39, but we will let you have them for $20 – they say.

Then they started talking about their extended warranty packages and how they highly recommended that I purchase an extended warranty package for $149.  They had me convinced that within 2 or 3 years my computer was going to have problems and that this was like insurance.  By the time they went through the whole spiel with 3 of their sales people – and created the pain in my mind of having to get my computer repaired or being without the computer for extended periods of time,  I figured that $149 would be better than paying $699 for a new computer, so I agreed to buy it. Then they offered to throw in an extra year for $30 making it a 3 year extended warranty.  So I leave the store paying a bill for $310.63 and my computer is supposed to be ready the next day for pickup.

Something just wasn’t right – I thought.  I had a knot in my stomach ever since leaving the “Coquitlam Best Buy” and felt like the sales rep had been lying to me. So before I paid the bill, I said this seems like a really high amount to be paying for an extended warranty package and an antivirus set up.  The sales rep assured me that this was standard in the industry.  I couldn’t get it out of my head the entire night after leaving the “Coquitlam Best Buy” and it continued all through the next day.  I knew that something just wasn’t right.

When you find out what happened the following day – you probably will not trust another sales rep at the “Coquitlam Best Buy” EVER AGAIN!  Find out more INSIDE.

BUYER BEWARE – Is the “Coquitlam Best Buy” Running An Extended Warranty Scam?    

So here it is Day 2 and I miss a call from the “Coquitlam Best Buy” Geek Squad – asking me for my password. I call them back from 12 pm every 30 minutes until 5:30pm and they will NOT answer their phones. I’m talking about at least 15 attempts to reach the “Coquitlam Best Buy” store.  The computer department, the Geek Squad and the customer service will not answer their phones for the entire day.

I’m thinking to myself, maybe its Christmas time and they have a line up of people wanting to buy products or something.  So I get in my SUV and go down to the location to try and give them my password so I can get the work done.  I walk in and the store doesn’t look any busier than any other night. A technician brings out my computer and tells me that it’s ready.  How is that even possible?- I say.  I have been calling your store since 12 noon today to try and give you my password and no one will pick up the phone.  The technician blows it off like it’s nothing and tells me they have some sort of software to unlock the computer.  Really?  I’m thinking.  What is the point of having a password then?  So you’re telling me you hacked into a brand new computer?

I proceed to do a test on my computer and it looks like there is some sort of an issue with thumbnail pictures loading from Facebook. Sobest buy, best buy canada, best buy consumer electronics, best buy computers, best buy usa, best buy they run a series of tests to try and identify the problem.  Luckily, as I’m sitting at the “Coquitlam Best Buy” Geek Squad counter for the next hour, I’m listening to a couple being pitched on buying 3 computers for their kids.

The sales rep is scratching down numbers.  Ok Sir – he says. So you’re looking at this total +$89 for Norton 360 + $20 for recovery discs x 3, plus $30 each for a 2 year extended warranty package.  So that’s $90 TOTAL  for the 2 years extended warranty that will cover ALL THREE COMPUTERS.

$30?  Excuse me?  Did I hear that right?

I lean in a little more so I can hear the pitch too.  He repeats the numbers back to the wife who is calculating all of the totals and repeats $30 x 3 for a two year extended warranty for all three computers.

WTF?

I interrupt the sales pitch.

Excuse me, sorry to interrupt, but did i just hear you say that a  two year extended warranty is $30?

Yes that is correct he says.  My manager authorized that.

Really? I say.  You mean the same lady that just charged me $190 for a 3 year extended warranty?

I call the lady over and show her my bill.  What kind of business are you people running here? I say.

So let me get this straight… a 2 year extended warranty for THREE computers is $90 and a 3 year extended warranty for ONE computer is $190?

I ask to speak with the General Manager and the lady leaves for about 15 minutes.

She comes back and says that the General Manager has offered me a 50% discount on my extended warranty package. I ask to speak with him personally and she is gone for another 10 minutes.  By this time I’m thinking to myself, these guys are total scammers.

The General Manager comes over and I put out my hand to shake his hand and he looks at me with this stern look and pulls an Arnold Schwarzenegger “HE MAN” grip and just about crushes my hand.  He takes this really stern stance like we’re gonna have a “scrap” or something.

What is this –  intimidation tactics at the “Coquitlam Best Buy” – I’m thinking?

He proceeds to offer me a $50 refund and gets into this volume buying spiel and tells me that if I buy 3 computers I will get this type of discount too.  By this time – I’m thinking to myself, these guys are total cons.  So I proceed to the checkout to re-crunch the numbers in my head to try and figure what has just gone down.

I call the General Manager over again and say – Did I hear you just offer me $50 off when you’re Manager just offered me 50% discount?

$50…..50% – I must have gotten the numbers confused he says.

Yah right.  So he says he’s gonna go check with the Manager and ask her.  So I’m waiting for another 10 minutes.  Who is the Boss here again?  I thought HE was the Boss.  Now SHE comes back and asks how she can help me.  By this time I’m so choked with what I’ve just witnessed I just ask for a complete refund and I’m outta there with the $190 back in my jeans and 2 1/2 hours of my time totally wasted.

All I can say is BUYER BEWARE!!  If I hadn’t witnessed it myself I would have never believed it could happen for real. But it does.  In fact I am in such shock right now that I had to take the time to write out this blog post to help completely innocent consumers from being taken advantage of by The “Coquitlam Best Buy”.

What I believe to be the case is that the sales managers are trained to eye up the buyer – look at their clothes, their shoes and their jewelry to determine what they feel they can scam for each deal and what they can get away with.  Apparently at the “Coquitlam Best Buy” – a 2 year warranty can go for as low as $30 if you’re a couple buying 3 computers and if you’re a business man wearing a Rolex, you can expect to pay $190 for 3 years.  WOW!  Here is another article I found on Google of a Best Buy Scam Confession from a former Employee.

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Comments

  1. I figure I will just drive it to the top of Google instead.  It will help a lot more people that way. 

  2. That ridiculous.  Even more reason for everyone to switch to Mac… 😉 !  I think it goes beyond just warranty scams.  I believe you could make one heck of a valid argument for corporate greed and even conspiracy in the world of computer media as it relates to anit-virus and anti-spyware based software.  Just build the operating system right so we don’t have to worry about garbage like that.  Will share this around for you Darren.

  3. Hi Darren, after reading your article bit by bit, I can clearly tell that you have no sense of business when it comes to the retail world. Example: If person A goes to a car dealership and is buying three cars and person B is only buying one, who do you think should have a better margin for discounting?

    Lets start from the beginning: The technician charged you $149 for recovery discs and Antivirus and the setup. Its pretty good considering the fact that a good antivirus will cost you $100 and if you order a set of recovery discs from the manufacturer, its $50 including shipping and taxes (I’ve ordered a set before!)

    Secondly, thinking a store is busy and walking thirty minutes later doesn’t mean the store was never busy in the first place. In retail, traffic flow can change in a matter of minutes so your hypothesis is completely irrelevant.

    Thirdly, I have brought in my computer to Geek-Squad before since my friend changed the password on my computer, I paid $39 to have the password removed and they used a tool in front of me to remove it. You should be grateful they did it for free.

    Fourth, the couple next to you, you’re clearly asking yourself if the couple are getting the warranty and service for $90, its clear that you’re basing your judgment on two minutes of the thirty minutes pitch that the salesperson might have spent with the customer. Besides, if someone is giving away services dirt cheap, its a matter of time before someone gets fired.

    Fifth, you must be extremely stupid to assume, believe or even think someone would give you 50% off your purchase.

    Sixth, if you find someone intimidating in appearance, and you believe that individual is intimidating you, once again, that is simply your narrow perspective of the situation.

    Its become clear to me that you don’t care about the reputation of good people that really want to help. You’re simply selfish about your own opinion so you go ahead and post it worldwide on the internet and call it a scam to get attention and then sell yourself as a “Millionaire Mentor”!?

    That is the confusing part, because it seems you clearly lack the wisdom to differentiate between your side of the story, and the other side of the story. I”m not sure why you are a mentor if you lack such common sense.

    I have had good bad experiences at Best-Buy but I know in the retail environment, we as customers should also understand that real people run businesses. Scams only last for months, but if a company has lasted more than ten years, then there is clearly a different side to the story.

     People should read about your inconvenient story, but please do not start labeling insurances and warranties as a scam.

    I would be more logical to believe “Multi-Level Marketing” businesses to be a scam.

    Thanks,

    R

  4. R,

    Everyone is entitled to share their experience just like you.  I always look at every situation objectively and if I didn’t feel that the general public should know about this, I wouldn’t have written it. On further research online, it seems that their staff is trained to do shady business. I would encourage you to visit this article online.  An article I might add that was written by a Best Buy Employee – not me..

    Best Buy Employee Confesses To Scams Similar To Ones Outlined In Racketeering Lawsuit
    http://consumerist.com/2007/05/best-buy-employee-confesses-to-scams-similar-to-ones-outlined-in-racketeering-lawsuit.html

    I found your post quite entertaining.  It must have taken you some time to write that out.  Thanks for that.

    Keep smilin R.

    Darren

  5. I can believe this Darren, I went through something similar at the Future Shop in Saskatoon, SK. which is owned by Best Buy Inc.   After buying a new imac, the salesman offered to transfer everything over from my old computer for a fee.  I had to take both computers back 3 seperate times because the work was never done and then they erased my original hard drive when I specifically told them to make sure that I could use my old computer.  I was in the store for about 2 1/2 hours on one of these occaions.  I will never buy anything from these morons again, I was totally frustrated