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  (Source: Engadget)
Consumer Reports/Consumerist investigation details Best Buy's worthless optimization service

With Circuit City now out of the way as its major competitor in the U.S. consumer electronics retailing business, Best Buy is plowing along with little resistance. The Richfield, Minnesota-based company employs over 150,000 people and has over 1,000 stores in 49 states.

However, Margins are notoriously slim in the consumer electronics retail business, and Best Buy has been using its Geek Squad services subsidiary to help bolster revenues.

In its latest investigation, The Consumerist tackled Best Buy's Geek Squad optimization services which retails for $39.95. During its investigation involving 18 Best Buy stores in 11 states, the publication looked to determine 1) What exactly is included in the optimization service, 2) How does Best Buy market the service, and 3) Is it worth it to the consumer to purchase the service.

The results were pretty much in line with what most tech heads would expect when it comes to services offered by Best Buy or similar big box retailers. The Consumerist found that one Best Buy rep promised that optimization would boost a new PC's performance by 200%. In actual Consumer Reports testing, however, it was found that at least one machine which had been optimized by Geek Squad performed 32% worse than a stock, non-altered system -- in fact, none of the optimized systems performed better than machines that were fresh out of the box.

So what exactly are these optimizations that are being performed? According to The Consumerist, Windows Updates were downloaded on machines, desktop icons had been cleaned up a bit, and some UI tweaks were done to make navigation "easier" for the consumer.

Even more telling were a few other issues that cropped up in the investigation. While Best Buy's Geek Squad removed desktop icons related to trialware that is notorious for cluttering and bogging down new systems, the offending programs were still left installed. A power cord for one of the systems had even been left out of the box after the "optimization" was performed.

In addition, at least one reader was told that she could not buy a new laptop at the advertised sale price because all of the machines in stock had already been pre-optimized -- and thus came with a price tag that was $39.95 higher -- and there were no un-optimized machines in stock.

Understandably, The Consumerist surmised that not only is the service not worth the $40 price tag, but it didn't even improve the performance of the new machines.

For its part, a Best Buy representative noted that the service "isn't for everybody" and that "I would get optimization for my parents."



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RE: Computer salesman are the new car salesman.
By tastyratz on 1/5/2010 8:23:02 AM , Rating: 4
You think that's bad? Try high end audio gear salesmen. Plenty of snake oil here, all you need are these $1500 speaker wires or that $600 power conditioner.

What about weight management? Take this pill and lose 900lbs like this guy or that girl. These people who lose hundreds of lbs always look incredibly sexy in bathing suits instead of the deflated baloons they should really be after that kind of weight loss.

Lets face it, there are sneaky sly salesmen in every field, and there are suckers born every minute that eat it right up. This just happens to be best buys flavor.

I have no problem with them providing a service like this as they have every right to do so, but they should be required to provide full disclosure of whats happening as well as be held accountable for misleading statements. call it the "no more fine print" law


RE: Computer salesman are the new car salesman.
By Spivonious on 1/5/2010 10:23:28 AM , Rating: 5
"Caveat Emptor"

"A fool and his money are soon parted"

"There's a sucker born every minute"


RE: Computer salesman are the new car salesman.
By mcnabney on 1/5/2010 11:03:51 AM , Rating: 2
FTA:
quote:
For its part, a Best Buy representative noted that the service "isn't for everybody" and that "I would get optimization for my parents."


Translation: Look, we are trying to rip-off people who don't know anything about computers. Why don't you just butt-out.

It is unbelievable that a company PR rep actually said that to a media representative.


By iFX on 1/5/2010 11:21:34 AM , Rating: 3
Absolutely, it's completely despicable. I haven't shopped at BB in years and have no plans to in the future.


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