CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

February 19, 2008

A REVIEW OF RESPONSES TO CAMPBELL’S BEST BUY LAWSUIT: Part 1


Click here to read A REVIEW OF RESPONSES TO CAMPBELL’S BEST BUY LAWSUIT: Part 2 filed in category B/W CAROLYN

Click here (in category COMMENTARY) to read PROTECTING PRIVACY OF PERSONAL DATA ON YOUR COMPUTER.

Click here to read the article on Raelyn Campbell’s $54 million lawsuit against Best Buy: http://redtape.msnbc.com/2008/02/a-lost-laptop-a.html#posts

PART 1 OF 2 PARTS

When I first purchased my high-end (for me) laptop at Best Buy, I purchased the service contract with it. The laptop worked fine until three months before the service contract ended. I backed up all my information and returned it to the store for repairs.

The word came back: the laptop was unrepairable, and would be discarded. They reassured me that the hard drive would be shredded. It surprised me that they wouldn’t return the laptop, but then, I didn’t push for it.

Then they informed me that I could choose a new laptop at equal price-wise to the same price I had paid for the original item. Since the same money would now purchase an updated laptop (prices had come down), I came out ahead. Actually, even including the when considering all the factors, I came out about $100.00 ahead.

When the service contract ran out on my new laptop, I backed up my information and took it to Best Buy for a final servicing. They convinced me that the item was too old to continue a service contract on it. They sent it out for the service, and three weeks later I had it in hand again, with three months more warranty because I had had it serviced.

They had replaced the CD/DVD burner, saying the original was broken. However, when I discovered that I couldn’t burn any CD’s, I took the laptop in to the store, they again sent it out, and it was returned: the company had no problem burning CDs. I took the laptop home, expecting to remove pictures from the laptop. The machine still wasn’t working.

Three times I took the machine to Best Buy. Three times they were able to burn CDs in the store. I couldn’t do it at home. I was feeling like a liar…a troublemaker…

Three times they tried different things to correct the problem. Each time I took it home, and the CD burner didn’t work. Only now, it didn’t work for my husband, Monte, either. The very same discs did work on his computer. What was the problem? I was beginning to believe our household joke: electronics items KNEW when I was coming, and the electronics ghost was playing games with me.

The fourth time I returned to Best Buy, the Geek again cleaned the burner. Then, after examining something in the computer, he discovered a setting was on multiple rather than single (don’t ask me—I don’t know what he meant!). I burned several CDs in the store successfully, then went home and was able to remove my pictures off my laptop.

Never were the service persons rude to me.

Thus, I read with interest about Raelyn Campbell’s “tale of frustration” in dealing with Best Buy and her laptop problems. The article (http://redtape.msnbc.com/2008/02/a-lost-laptop-a.html#posts) reports that when Campbell purchased a new laptop at a Best Buy store, she also purchased a $300 extended warranty. When the on/off switch broke a year later, she felt fortunate she had this warranty.

She uses her laptop in her work at a non-profit, which requires traveling.

She waited unsuccessfully for six months for it to be repaired. It took another three months for Best Buy to admit that they had lost it. Best Buy offered to settle with her for less than the laptop’s value.

The general manager of the Best Buy where she purchased her laptop, Robert Delissio, responded to two letters written by Campbell’s supporters (stating they would not shop there until the problem was resolved).

“For every customer that has had an unpleasant experience I can show you hundreds who have had a great experience. I have been in retail for a long time and the one conclusion I have come to is that not every customer can be satisfied,” he wrote in an e-mail supplied by Campbell.

“Does my store have opportunities? Absolutely! What I can say is that we strive to deliver the experience that every customer deserves to receive.”
Campbell spoke with an attorney when she reached the end of her rope. Since she had personal information on her laptop, including tax returns, he raised the issue of possible identity theft.

In November she filed a $54 million dollar lawsuit against Best Buy. She did it by herself, without legal representation.

Responses to media publicity have been so great that a website was created just for the posts. When I discovered the, on January 18 (the posts begin February 12) there were 3319 responses.

I scanned 20% of them, categorized them and came up with the following evaluation.

The article appeared to grant persons permission to blow off steam on their own cases. Often, they wanted Campbell to know she wasn’t alone.

Noteworthy was a post related by Bryan Ogletree: I had one of their customers contact me after they received the wrong computer. The computer which belonged to a friend of mine was brought in for service and returned to another customer with all his personal information on it as well as some of mine…He told the attendant at the store that the computer wasn`t his when he went to pick it up and the attendant said it was. Even after management was involved nothing happened and he had to take someone else’s computer!

This tale was particularly frightening because there were several other similar ones!

Another post by Dave in Fairfax, VA. expressed problems with Best Buy’s extended warranties. It appears in one case it covered nothing, and in another case the repairs, with the warranty, cost more than the original computer.

Many posts complained that computers taken in to the store were held well over the agreed upon return date, and that when it was returned, it was still not properly repaired.

Campbell has many cheerleaders.

Rake ’em over the coals! Take every penny you can get, and feel absolutely no remorse whatsoever!!!— I say go for it Raelyn You go, girl!— Go Get em Tiger!!!!—You GO girl! I just wish I had your drive and hutzpa— Hallelujah! Finally, somebody with enough chutzpah to fight against poor customer service.— BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!! Finally, someone is doing what ALL of us had thought about one time or another— it is about time that somebody stands up for incompetent customer support. Unfortunately, it is the status quo in the industry – not just with Best Buy.

Thank you for standing up for rights. If everyone would do this instead of just turning over the whole country would be better off. Mijke Reilly, Wenatchee Wa.—These stores rip people off all the time. I hope more people will demand the same service and RESPECT that we deserve as CONSUMERS. Good luck and thank you…Anonymous—It is obvious they tried to get you to spend every penny they could get from you, so do exactly the same to them, and don’t take “No” for an answer. This is a case of pure negligence, obfuscation, and malfeasance. Darrel In Edinboro, PA—“It shouldn’t take a $54 million lawsuit to motivate Best Buy to address these issues.” –Evidently it does. It’s about time someone rattled their cage. Best Buy’s cavalier attitude towards their customers needs to be adjusted big time! Jay, Miami, FL

Computers with personal data are not toys and the companies who repair them must bear the responsibilities associated with that fact. Jay B, Willliamsburg, VA — When is enough enough? Raelyn has every right to demand more than the monetary loss. It is time that corporations and businesses realize that OUR time is worth something and we should be compensated for the loss. Anonymous

You’re doing the right thing. It’s about time someone had the guts to hold these corporations responsible…We live in an age where computers are so valuable, so important; they’re a real part of our lives. It’s hard to live without one, especially for someone who travels for work… Erika, Kansas City—I admire people ,as yourself, who STAND up and FIGHT a good fight in the name of consumer integrity . Ms Campbell will set precedent for those who are to timid to pursue legal action. A frivolous case, one may presume – NO. mateo

In spite of the Campbell’s staunch supporters, some persons oppose her actions. Welcome to the world of “it’s not my fault, my job, my responsibility (fill in the blank).” Stephen van Scoyoc, London

And why are we hearing about this story? To glorify another self-entitled consumer who feels the world owes her?… Pathetic Howard Bergman, Madison, WI—People like this should be shot for being an idiot. Ever hear of backing up your information? You’re surprised the minimum wage geniuses at Best Buy lost something? Give me a break. If you win one dollar more than replacement costs, you should be sued for wasting everyone’s time of your petty nonsense. Webster, Chicago, IL—This is what is wrong with our society, sue happy people. We are all inconvenienced at times, does that mean next time I’m inconvenienced I can just call her lawyer and never have to work again????? Bunch of BS. Get a new laptop get over it crap happens. Best buy should pay for identity theft protection supply her with a new laptap, and maybe throw in an extra extended warranty to another repair shop. But 54 million, I refuse to have the prices raised at my Best Buy because one customer got po’d. Get over it!!!!! Anonymous

Campbell’s issue over lost data was a non-issue for most respondents. Please. What kind of idiot doesn’t back their laptop up before they send it off to never neverland to be repaired? No Backups? Who is she going to sue if it was stolen on her “many trips” to Asia? Leaving Tax returns on it? How many people are going to touch it even if it wasn’t lost? Take some personal accountability in this matter, take Best Buy’s settlement, and move on. Sean O’Farrell, Indianapolis, IN—I have no sympathy, however, for a computer user who doesn’t back up her computer’s hard drive or use data encryption on the fly (standard on Macs and probably there on Windows as well). This would be her “failure to mitigate” her damages. Stephen van Scoyoc, London

This woman whines that her paid-for music was lost. She whines that her photos were lost. She whines that her tax returns were on the laptop. But it was HER responsibility to back up her data, and to ensure her laptop didn’t go to ANY service center loaded with irreplaceable and/or sensitive data… only she’s responsible for caretaking her own important data…having been in the computer-fixit business for a long time, I can tell you nobody I know who does that EVER guarantees a customer’s data; the data is the customer’s responsibility… as well it should be! David M. Fitzpatrick, Bangor, Maine— That is why you are supposed backup all your information on a DVD or CD. That would of saved all your information. What would of happened if the hard drive had gone and she lost all her information, would she of still sued Best Buy for lost information? Dean W. Cuba, Mo—What type of backup system did she employ? If she didn’t use a backup system then does comparative fault apply and how much will be applied to her? No matter what backup system she used or didn’t use the repair process is faulty. Steve Lombardi — Has she not heard of Back Up?? A few CD’s and a little time every day will save a world of trouble when your computer goes down. Notice I said ‘when’ not ‘if’. Pat Helyer (72 yrs), Bedford, TX

Ms. Campbell, unfortunately, has some responsibility in the matter. When dropping off the computer, she had to sign a waiver agreeing to the terms and conditions of the repair. In that waiver, she agrees that Best Buy is not liable for any loss of data. Though the unit should never have been lost, she was responsible for backing up her data prior to having their sending it out. Richard, Chicago, IL

Return tomorrow night for Part 2 of this review of posts in response to the article on Campbell’s lawsuit.

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3 Comments »

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