used to work for geek squad for a couple months...there some AMA out there but all kinda avoiding the truth which is, People got ripped off ALL the time at geek squad. Never EVER send anything there.

felt really bad for all the people that got ripped off.

i.e. Our go to solution was always an OS recovery where you paid $150 to have us reinstall your OS. MOST of the time we also charged to have us back up your files ($80) and then transfer it back. OOH also then made you "find" the os disks (really they are partitioned on your HD) and if a new one from our conveniently placed shelf of software right next to us ;)

edit: worked at bb during college. majored in CS and MIS and tinkered with computers since i was a kid. only worked at bb since it was close to my campus and honestly...i wanted the employee discounts. finally quit after taking way too much crap from customers complaining about getting ripped off and managers insisting we ripp em off.

Comments: 299 • Responses: 38  • Date: 

IDoLogistics19 karma

So what is the best advice you could give someone who has 0 tech savy when trying to repair their computer? What are some tricks?

zomiaen71 karma

Useful answer: Use Google.

ciny5 karma

and youtube if you need instructions on how to change your hdd or something...

yellowflashh4 karma

+1 youtube can do everything you need with tutorials.

yellowflashh22 karma

Honestly speaking, i hate to say this but there is more ROI in buying a new one vs. fixing your current model. the people who currently have an issue with their computer who is not tech savvy enough to repair it on their own(google), will not require a computer of crazy sophistication. Laptops are cheap now, 300-400 for something that can satisfy your needs. also most laptops that are broken are not new, they are on average 1-2 years old. its cheaper to upgrade to a better faster laptop then it is wasting enough money to repair it.

dhtseany16 karma

As the owner of a small business repair shop who has built it around shit talking Best Buy, I call bullshit on that.

Any laptop that is 1-2 years old and in good cosmetic shape retains a resale value of at least $199.99 minimum. (Realistically, if it's not a cheap brand, more like $299.99+)

Most repairs that require us to tear the laptop down to the component level to replace, oh say, the motherboard, runs $99 labor and usually $50-$100 parts.

The laptops that are in the $300-$400 range are the garbage brands. Someone who swung for the better brands should repair a 1-2 y/o laptop, not replace it.

That right there, people, is the shining reason why Best Buy doesn't want to fix your PC, they'd rather sell you new instead. Why? Because they have a better profit margin for new sales vs. repairs.

Edit: However, much love to OP for doing the AMA regardless of getting flamed ;)

Edit 2: Clearly all of you replying about the profit margins are bottom level people, not involved in the purchasing aspect at a corporate level. Seriously, do you even Ingram Micro, bro?

maerdred17 karma

That's a fallacy. At Best Buy the margin on a new PC is somewhere in the 2-12% range. Margins on repair services are somewhere in the 90-100% range.

Best buy would rather charge you $150 to repair your PC than sell you a new one for $400 because they'll only get $10-50 from the sale of the new PC. The rest goes to the manufacturer. On a geek squad repair charge, they get all of the money.

yellowflashh3 karma

hes right....BB most often times dont make any margin on the laptops. but they do on getting you to sign up for geek squad protection/setup/optimization etc...cause once you're in you're in til we tell you to buy another laptop from us of course :)

and fyi your assumptions on residual value is based off people spending 800-1200 on a new laptop. average purchase for a laptop is 500-600 range at a best buy.

Kind_of_Hippy15 karma

I just bought an MP3 player, and got the Geek Squad protection plan. Was this a bad idea? What is the most extreme, unintentional thing I can do to the device and still have it covered?

yellowflashh19 karma

for small electronics, non laptops, its pretty much a replacement plan.

go buck wild, stay away from water, and return/replace it all you want.

i have a warranty on my jawbone. spent 120 on it and a 15 dollar plan for 2 years.

i have upgraded my jawbone every time a new one came out. even went to a different brand and just renewed my warranty when 2years expired. went through at least 15 pairs of jawbones :)

Jewshavehorns4 karma

Wow! So you can switch it with another item? How? What do you say?

yellowflashh11 karma

nope...just tell customer service it doesnt work. i mean would you put that thing into your ear to test if it worked?

also fyi...this works on any purchase with service plan. excludes tvs/laptops/big stuff. but anything portable electronic wise, instant replacement, so TAKE AWAY, warranties are kickass if you know how to use the system ;) Advice from a geek squad agent.

i.e. my ps3 warranty plan was used 3x so i could get 3 different versions of it. original > metal gear solid with backward comp > slim (got money refunded since slim was cheaper.)


Had a friend do this with XPS's across the years, So yes this works with Laptops.

yellowflashh2 karma

yea but you gota send it away for service a couple times on average. everything else is walk in and walk out with new toys.

nikcers10 karma

what was your record number of toolbars installed on one machine? or, worst machine you ever worked on?

yellowflashh30 karma

of toolbars?

cant remember....they all were just so horribly f*ed up. like how you screw up your computer that bad is beyond me

worst machine: some dude came in and complained about his laptop not working. consulting is free so i boot it up. sure enough takes like 15 mins to boot up. when it finally loads....there on his desktop is child about awkward......till i tell my mananger and calls the cops...even more awkward :X dude tries to run which he does, but leaves his laptop behind for the cops. #fail

yellowflashh8 karma

porn was pretty frequent. people would request folders to be backed up and what not so it was common to see em.

also there was a time when i go to pop in the diagnosis cd and look and porn dvd in the slot. i made sure i taped it to the folder when i gave him the laptop back.

child porn only saw 1 case of that while i was there but heard about other incidents at other BB

drwhoisntgood9 karma

Did you copy people's music libraries for your own use?

yellowflashh19 karma

quite possibly... :0 pirating off pirated music makes the world go round

CourtneyHammett9 karma

I completely know what you're talking about...My dad never gets publicly upset, but at Best Buy, he told off the Geek Squad so much, I doubt we'll be allowed in again. So you quit for conscience reasons?

yellowflashh9 karma

its kind of insane how they rip off customers....its worse than the quick oil change places. since youre at the mercy of having no laptop right here and now vs. car MIGHT not be working later.

bryanross116 karma

I heard that Geek Squad doesnt actually do the more difficult work on the computers, they just send it to another repair company to deal with. Is this true? Or does Geek Squad actually do the repairs?

yellowflashh12 karma

so the truth is, the people who actually work at geek squad, not many of them are qualified or even have the knowledge to do any repairs. a guy or two and i would do most of the repairs, the rest just did cashier and sales for geek squad i.e. selling you stuff you dont need or know what it is.

most of them come from sales who want a higher pay. when i was there i was paid 16 an hour vs other people who were around 10-12.

everyone is taught to follow the "list" think trouble shooting for dummies. you pop in a cd, it does the checks, if it fails you send it out for "service" never knew where it went, only it would on average take 2 weeks to get there and another 2 weeks to come back. not including fixing time.

interstice2 karma

All of your poorly diagnosed hardware was shipped to Geek Squad City, located outside of Louisville, KY. I performed hardware diagnostics and repairs on most major brands there for approximately one year, and occasionally repaired All-In-Ones. The general consensus was that every agent that worked in a BBY was scum, which seems to be the case based on your description of in-store business practices. Many of the Agents that I worked with had no business working there, though most of them were honest hard working people.

yellowflashh1 karma

ouch...always wanted to meet someone from the service side.

you guys were leveraged almost every time the agents had no idea how to handle something the cd said.

its honestly a bad system since you guys are treated as a endless black hole of things that you magically send things to and would come back fixed. its human nature to not question things that saves em time and work. bound to be used and abused. sorry mate felt bad for some of the things that got sent to you vs. stuff we gave over to india to fix over ip

spearhard6 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. I used to be a Best Buy customer specialist, so I don't know a ton about Geek Squad stuff, but I know enough to realize that they rip people off so much. Our managers on the sales floor would always push us to sell Geek Squad services, but I just couldn't do it. I would sometimes talk people though things (in person or over the store phone) to avoid making them pay for Geek Squad. I also referred numerous customers to to get HDMI cables for $1.99 instead of $30.

I guess I don't really have a question, I'm just glad that you're showcasing how much Best Buy/Geek Squad rip off customers.

yellowflashh2 karma


do_elaborate6 karma

How did it feel?

yellowflashh37 karma

it felt horrible.....there were legit people who were completely devastated that were really old, 50s-60s and had no idea but to "trust" us.

but as time went on, you kinda got used to it. it stopped becoming harder especially to the assholes that would come in and make your life like hell. it was a vicious cycle, customer would be a dick, you rip him off(delay like crazy! 2-3 months delays!!! or upsell like crazy, tell em your hdd is broken, and your ram blew up, motherboard fried, they have to get new ones) and they get mad at you for all that and be bigger dicks. some many computers were honestly perfect, but we replaced it for you anyways

but i was extremely nice to people who were nice to me. i wouldnt charge you for a lot of things, throw services on the house, charge you like 10 bucks (lowest thing i could charge) for like $500 worth of services i should have charged. i would go out of my way for you if i liked you. simple as that

slightlydENTed2 karma


yellowflashh1 karma

:D thanks man. its a shame really, i think geek squad would have done customers right if they stayed small. but it is BB only cash cow these days. it was typical we'd do about 10-12k a night on service charges, dunno about you guys.

KunSeii5 karma

I had geek squad do data recovery on an external drive. When I handed it over, the guy told me that if they couldn't recover it, I wouldn't pay anything. When I didn't hear anything, I called a week later, and was told that it was ready. I got there and was told there was no partition to it, and they couldn't fix it. I was handed a bill for $75 and the guy denied ever saying that as it was "labor". He said 3 people worked on my hard drive for at 2-3 hours, which I knew was absolutely bullshit. He handed me my drive with their 5 ft USB cable still attached, and I just kept it as a fuck you to him.

After this experience, when my aunt said she was calling Geek Squad to get a virus out of her computer, I tried to help her over the phone. She called anyway, and a guy showed up, played around with the settings for an hour, told her there was nothing he could do and gave her a form saying that she was satisfied and he had fixed her problem. He laid a guilt trip on her saying that he was an independent contractor and if she didn't agree to pay, that he wouldn't get paid.

Do either of these sound like tactics that you or colleagues used?

yellowflashh4 karma

geek squad data recovery consists of this: step 1 take drive and assure you we can fix it... step 2 take the drive and plug it into computer 1 Fail? then.. step 3 take the drive and plug it into computer 2 Fail? then.. Step 4 Call customer tell em it cant be fixed, but can if you pay 300 dollars to send it to our "repair center" where we use military software to recover it. Step 5 charge you for plugging it in a couple times. $$$$$$ bb win

geek squad home service thing though yea...he went out on call.. thats a service, billiable hour and such cant do much on that one, but not being able to fix the "virus" thats the geeks fault.

captain_obvious_scum3 karma

Military software? Did you guys really use that to recover their hard drive?

Come on now.

interstice2 karma

Having worked and conversed directly with many members of the Data Recovery team, I can assure you that the software that they used was not military. If there was ever a situation that DR couldn't be performed in house, there was a third party company that would remove the platters from the drive in a clean room and attempt it for a hefty fee.

Edit: Grammar

yellowflashh2 karma

interstice is correct, third party would be leveraged for like 300-500 bucks.

tbh thats what we were told to say. "serious military grade shit" as my manager would say.

patrickbateman964 karma

i wonder if i really needed that brand new hard-drive they suggested. FML.

yellowflashh5 karma

sorry bro....hope you didnt pay for them to install it too :p

Schadenfreude74 karma

I just had an interview with Geek Squad today. I'll take some tips from here and be super successful.

yellowflashh3 karma

tell them you <3 wearing clip on ties with a short sleeve button down. Homer simpson style

The_Drunk_IT_Guy3 karma

If you plan to proceed with that then you'll need to be A-ok with being a pushy salesman. Employees are either koolaid drinkers or dissenters. The koolaid drinkers last forever and eat up all of that Best Buy blue crew (customer centricity) BS. Managers are number-crunching cut-throats who're trying to work the system. They can smell out dissenters like bloodhounds and cut their hours until they quit. Also, the Sunday early-morning meetings are a sick joke. Every preceding Saturday night is fucked knowing you'll have to be there for that. Nothing you will "learn" will affect your job very much, it's just a circle jerk of forced Best Buy enthusiasm.

The good: you'll be a break-fix god and you'll learn to deal with stress and the public and learn the insides of retail.

yellowflashh2 karma

amen fellow dissenter <3

850enthusiast3 karma

Thank you for doing this. I hate anything related Best Buy with a burning passion.

I had a Geek Squad guy try and sell me Mircosoft Office, even though it came pre-installed into the computer. I told him "no I don't want or need anything else, just the computer..." but he insisted on it and he said "Well were going to give it to you for half off, just in case it doesn't work." I then said to him "your fucking joking me right?"

yellowflashh6 karma

lol that made me laugh...not a lot of customers challenged the tie and shirt.

Papa_Shin2 karma

How did you feel about the Best Buy Blue Shirt employees? I'm currently one, but I've honestly always wanted to know the perspective from behind the counter.

yellowflashh5 karma

since we did do a more technical job, well some of us anyways, we were a bit stressed since we had deadlines for customers, so you guys were more chill, always fun to joke around and relax with the blue shirts. something about the clip on tie makes you all about business....

but it was sad since it really didnt take too much to do what we did and make almost 2x more than you guys, i'd train some customer service guys while we had down time since we were neighbors.

yellowflashh2 karma

same question but reversed. whatd you think of us ?

anoutlier2 karma

I feel like it would be so awesome to take my messed up laptop down there, have them give me some bullshit, then call them out on it xD

yellowflashh7 karma

do it...i bet you if you bought a brand new one and took it to geek squad and complained of a virus or something. they'd fix it and charge you for it.

clsteveparks2 karma

OK, I just Googled Geek Squad CIA. Did Geek Squad really name everything in a paramilitary/parapolice manner? The site mentions squads, counter intellegence, shows badges, calls employees agents, even calls the store a precinct. Was this superficial for the public or did they persue this nonsense even behind the scenes?

yellowflashh1 karma

we also wore ties and white shirts with badges....legit badges. dont forgot the geek VW ;)

adamup272 karma

Is best buy's music section a rip off too? I know the "guitar" section (all 3 models) is total bull but the recording and mics section seemed pretty fair.

yellowflashh3 karma

dunno why you have a particular reason to buy it at a BB but i would much rather go to a guitar center where techs would know their shit vs. clueless blue shirt.

yellowflashh2 karma

Some highlights of my 3 month stint: 1: Got tipped a hundred dollar bill from a customer that i did a lot of freebies for. thought it was like 5 bucks but when i opened it, it was george smiling. honestly didnt need tip from him cause i enjoyed doing all that stuff for him at no charge. nice guy, nice people get the best service

2: One night, our yellow shirts(security guards) tackle some dude wearing really baggy sweatpants. what occurs afterwards was disturbing and fascinating. they reach into his pants and pull out like 5 mp3 players stashed in there. talk about dedication and fanboys to bb. i would never restrain some dude from stealing and certainly never reach down into anyone to get things out. not paid enough to get stabbed and cop a feel on some dude.

FYI: any retail store is by law not able to detain you much less accuse you of theft. they have only the ability to call the police and have them handle it. If they detain you, or accuse you, you are able to sue on a lot of grounds. if this ever happens to you, just yell about defamation and lawsuits. im sure a lot of people can confirm.

3: Had a woman chew me out since we had to charge her 40 dollars for installing ram. while doing it was insulted every which way about how im stealing from her and cursing all the time while her 4 year old just watched.

4: a 9 year old boy came to me asking how to hook him up with the best computer equipment money could buy. did what i could and then next night he comes back and pays for it with his mother.. 4k worth of gear from a kid that looks like manny from modern family.

5: there was a crap load of sex drugs and booze. lots of parties between the blue shirts. hook ups were pretty common. it was kind of cool, kinda college culture going on. also lots of manager/employee hook ups. kinda gross but it happens everywhere.

6: If you yell loud enough things will happen in your favor. no GM wants a customer yelling how he is being wronged. GM most likely will cave and try to make you happy to silence you and not create a scene.

7: ill leave everyone with this. buy a mac.....get the apple care. apple geniuses are more help than GS...if they cant fix it...they'll just give you a new one. benefit of buying things from a company with 100 billion in cash reserves vs. bby losing margins every quarter. im not saying their better, just saying customer service is on a different socio-economic level.

Jethrogalloch2 karma

Not a question, but I kind of came to this conclusion after being told that I had a problem with my USB ports beings loose, which they promised would be addressed when the laptop was to be sent away. They kept it for longer than they had promised, and yet it never even left the store, as apparently everything ran "perfectly fine" for them. The USB ports were untouched (they really are problematic, however), my backup was completely unnecessary (they had stated that as my computer was to be sent away and potentially taken apart, it would be wise to back up my files. I immediately regretted the decision, needless to say), and I was left feeling scammed.

yellowflashh3 karma

heh sorry buddy.. this is pretty common. bait and switch.

the excuse to send it away presents you with a bill to back up your files or else you may lose em ;) it makes total logical sense, but why pay for something you can do with a thumb drive and 10 minutes?

hookedtoreddit2 karma


yellowflashh2 karma

dont get me wrong... i love USING best buy. they price match amazon :) and i get a 90 day return policy no questions asked. that with my knowledge on warranties= i get some really sweet deals most of the time without having to wait 2 days for prime.

hookedtoreddit1 karma


yellowflashh2 karma

yea i dunno how target and bb are price matching them. its insane.

on the contrary....more computer sales and more people coming in.

also my favorite sell: Antivirus for MACs....stupid mac generation ate it up.

justbrae12 karma

I worked for GS about 6 years ago, but I think the BBY mentality back then was a bit different. I don't think there were very many times I felt the store was ripping a customer off. We never pulled the whole "you have a bad hdd" or "we need to reinstall windows" crap when they had spyware we didnt want to clean up.

I learned a hell of a lot in the process of fixing problems and recommending solutions to get to the job i have currently in IT.

Sounds like you're a bad apple?

yellowflashh5 karma

blame the store mentality, it was in a very "urban" place and the customers werent exactly sweet and cuddly.

C_Diddy_MuneyBagz5 karma

Ex CIA Senior here... Always trained my people to be honest and do the right thing. I agree, the prices are high but as long as you managed people's expectations and had the customers best interests in mind you should be able to sleep fine.

The Geek Squad was a great learning opportunity and I am now a successful Contractor doing IT work for a major government agency. A lot of my fellow agents also made the transition to the same work site and we all look back fondly on our time in the Precinct.

It's sad that the culture in your store was built around taking advantage of the customers and loopholes in store policy. You missed out on gaining valuable customer service, communication, and troubleshooting skills that will be really helpful in the long run.

FaceMelterLux1 karma

Current CIA SR. How did you make the transition? Did your GS experience prove valuable in your new job? GS is a pretty cool place to work but I'd like to leave eventually. It gets stressful sometimes.

packysauce3 karma

Not the person you replied to, but I was a CIA, then DA, then CIA Sr. I left when I got offered a foot-in-the-door helpdesk spot at a gov't research facility.

GS experience is helpful. It's not the experience with computers that is impressive thought. It gave me a plethora of responses to the standard bullshit interview questions (tell us about a time you had to overcome a difficulty, and other such questions) and taught me a lot about people.

It's not helpful about subject matter since you're not doing any REAL troubleshooting and repair and computers may as well be legos. "Look for something that looks just like the part you bought, and take it out, and put this one in the same way the old one was" was how I told people how to replace their own stuff if I deemed it necessary. Geek squad or not, most people that are into computers at any skill level can be handed sticks of RAM and a screwdriver and have it figured out within 20 minutes. Demonstrating that you like to go above and beyond in your work and spare time to constantly hone your craft is much more impressive.

Learning how to work with people was the best part about my time at GS. Not just coworkers and managing Agents, but also customers. There are different types of people in this world. From timid little creatures to people who just seem to get off on being uber-pricks. Learning how to work with such a variety of people has led me down a pretty successful path in IT (or, not bad for a guy with no college education). Being able to "change attunement" depending on the type of person you're working with is really handy, too.

Hate to quote some self-help-type shit, but you get out of it what you put into it. If you go into work every day taking everything seriously, you'll get out of it a bunch of experience you can put towards your next adventure. Take the best buy side seriously, as in: go in, take a gander at budgets, develop a strategy to reach those goals. Take the customer service side seriously: your customers come to you for help, and will have to trust you. Abusing that trust means they stay away. Helping them helps the business. Take the Agent management side seriously: train them to do exactly what you want. Retrain them if necessary. Take responsibility for a failure in training.

If you have your managers, customers, and agents happy at the same time, you'll be able to move forward in your career pretty easily.

Reading this over, it meanders a bit from a concise response to a 4 sentence post, but since it's already typed I may as well post it.

yellowflashh1 karma

well said.

my time at bb was definetly interesting. learned a lot about people and working at GS would give you a lot of time to people watch as they shopped.

you learn how to deal with irate customers who always result to insults and questioning your integrity. patience is something that is taught at retail.

im really happy for you packysauce. congrats man for moving on. its sad that theres not more people in GS who do that.

PandaXS1 karma

What is the craziest person that you talked to? Did you ever get a call saying their drink tray had broken(cd tray)? I used to be a Geek Squad member and I have some crazy stories of how fucked some people got, not only customers but employees as well.

yellowflashh1 karma

craziest person that i talked to was a normal guy...did liek 200-300 amount of work for him. he came to pick up his desktop. legit old school sized one weighed like 60 pounds. was talking to him really normal, seemed like a legit guy.

we were checking him out at the register. and all of a sudden the dude picks it up and start running out of the store. we just stood there...laughing. no one tried to stop him.

j_ohhhhh1 karma

I bought an open floor model laptop with the 1 year GS plan. Its been about 5 months and its already BSOD'ed twice and is slowly feels like its starting to die.

What would you suggest I do?

yellowflashh3 karma

after 3x of service you get a refund/exchange.

mrcharlescarmichael1 karma

Are you certified in anything? I am getting CompTIA A+ and Strata certified, do you think this would help my chances of getting a job at GS?

yellowflashh3 karma

nope all stuff i picked up from tinkering. yea certs would definitely help, like i said not a lot of people know how to do basic repairs at GS so you'd be a god send.

CaptainGertie1 karma

I just bought The galaxy note 2 with Geek squad insurance, is there anything I should know at all?

yellowflashh3 karma

geek squad insurance is better than your carrier insurance. but honestly, go get a homeowners policy. covers everything you own for much of the at replacement cost.

im covered up to 20k worth of things i own. for 20 bucks a month with a deductible of 100 bucks.

vs. phone insurance 10 bucks a month for 1 device worth 600 bucks.

skswldms1 karma

How much did you guys charge for routine virus and spyware removal? Did the severity of the infection change prices? How do you go about root-kits (something I could never fix, I usually just backup as much crap as possible and reinstall OS)? Last, how much do you guys charge for installation of RAM?

Only asking so I can charge right under the rip-off price you guys do cause I get asked to fix computers by plenty of classmates constantly. (jk just wondering how much I could be making)

yellowflashh2 karma

diagnosis was like 80 bucks ...running a cd. virus removal was an OS recovery ;) 130 + back up (score!) 80 or so ram install 20 bucks PER STICK!!