The saga of one crazy suit began
with Best Buy customer Raelyn Campbell's purchase of a laptop computer from
a local Best Buy store in the D.C. area. A Best Buy staffer talked her
into buying a $300 extended warranty. The warranty includes coverage by
Best Buy's service technicians -- "Geek Squad" -- for three years,
and replacements of defective hardware free of charge.
Her laptop indeed experienced hardware malfunctions within a year when her
on/off switch broke. At that point, Campbell breathed a sigh of relief
that she purchased the warranty and took her laptop in to
Best Buy. She turned in her laptop in May and was told that it would
be up and running within two to six weeks. This was a major inconvenience
to her, as she was a frequent business traveler, but she figured she just
should stay optimistic that it came as soon as possible.
In July an 'Agent David Goodfellow’ told Campbell that the laptop would be
"ready within days". A call several days later
informed her that the laptop was not ready, and was in fact still at the repair
center. The rest of the month concluded with continued assurances that it
was going to leave the repair center in no time.
By August, she returned from a business trip to Asia and still had heard no new
word from Best Buy. Feeling concerned she called the store and asked to speak
to the manager. She was told the manager was in a meeting, so she left a
message. Her phone call was never returned. She eventually tried
calling again and another employee 'Cicero' listened to her story and searched
the store records, and informed her that he discovered that "[The laptop]
never appears to have left the store."
A few days later he called her back and informed her that it appeared that the
laptop was lost in store, without ever having been shipped out. While
Campbell says that 'Cicero' was considerate and helpful, she was extremely
angry that the other store employees had been apparently outright lying to
While 'Cicero' promised that he'd try to get the store to compensate her,
nothing happened. After weeks of calling, Campbell was finally informed
that she could accept a $900 dollar gift card, far less than the $1,100 she
paid for the laptop and $300 she paid for the warranty. Angered and
insulted, she wrote a frustrated letter to Best Buy's management detailing the
situation, on August 24. She rejected the offer and demanded $2,100
Best Buy outright refused her demands and she heard nothing from them by
October. So Campbell told her friends and family members to write Best
Buy and complain. Her friends did and received a surprising response from
the store's general manager, Robert Delissio in the form of a surly
email. In the email Delissio stated, "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. Does my store have
opportunities? Absolutely! What I can say is that we strive to deliver the
experience that every customer deserves to receive."
Further infuriated, Campbell contacted the Washington, D.C., attorney general's
office, who contacted the store. The store caved a bit and offered her an
increased offer of $1,100 credit refund and a $500 gift card.
That's when Campbell discovered that her identity could be at risk due to
private documents she stored on the computer. Shocked and infuriated with
Best Buy's lack of helpfulness, she found a lawyer and filed a $54 million
dollar lawsuit against Best Buy for losing her property and opening her to
Best Buy has since upped their offer to Campbell to $2,500 cash if she signed a
confidentiality agreement. Campbell refused. She says she realizes
she probably won't win a multi-million dollar settlement, but she does want
substantial damages for store negligence and an honest "explanation as to
how my computer could have been stolen from a secure area" within the
store. She also demands a company promise that they will institute
training for their employees on identity theft issues.
Campbell admitted a major goal of the suit is to draw attention, to what she
feel is atrocious customer service. Campbell strongly believes in this
role as a legal champion, stating, "I can't help but wonder how many other
people have had their computer stolen (or) lost by Best Buy and then been
bullied into accepting lowball compensation offers for replacement expenses and
no compensation for identity theft protection expenses."
Buy's legal representatives have refused to comment on the