Print 96 comment(s) - last by nafhan.. on Jan 6 at 4:34 PM

  (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: Good Ol' Geek Squad....
By jonmcc33 on 1/5/2010 1:38:46 PM , Rating: 5
I'm a CTO and out resume you in both depth and scale. But as you said before, there is no need to shout out resumes.

But you just did. FYI, I have known more mentally retarded CTO/CIOs in my time then I can count on two hands and two feet. Being an executive doesn't mean you have superior intelligence over anyone else. It means that you are great at kissing your ass to the top.

One thing I have learned in my IT career is that there is ALWAYS (and I mean ALWAYS) someone out there that is smarter than you. So tooting your own horn and resume is literally worthless.

It is my experience that on several occasions Geek Squad was used successfully to correct previous attempts to fix shady tree hack efforts.

You must be joking.

I built a PC for my mother a few years ago (Pentium 4) and shipped it to her. When it arrived it wouldn't boot. I had USPS insurance on it and they needed proof for cost of repairs. She took it to Geek Squad and they told her it was a bad motherboard ($50 value) and PSU ($50 value), that it would cost $700 to replace. She told them to forget it, we got the USPS insurance money and she sent me the PC back. I looked and the motherboard and PSU were fine. However, the CPU had been removed from the socket and had all 478 pins bent as if someone took a hammer to it. I replaced the CPU with a spare Pentium 4 ($20 value) that I had and it booted without a problem.

So Geek Squad lied to my mother. They tried to rip her off $700 of actual working parts. They destroyed her property when she declined their service.

Do you really want to go chanting about Geek Squad's successful solutions and claim any sort of intelligence with your resume?

RE: Good Ol' Geek Squad....
By Lord 666 on 1/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: Good Ol' Geek Squad....
By jonmcc33 on 1/5/2010 3:13:56 PM , Rating: 2
My limited experience with BB GS is similar to your story; a computer was shipped and did not work afterwards. I troubleshooted for a bit and then punted. BB GS removed reseated CPU and fixed issue and charged minimal fees.

The problem is that I did not punt. In order for USPS to cover insurance, a quote had to be made and that is why my mother took it to Geek Squad.

The CPU that I had installed was seated properly, a brand new heatsink installed. I assume that before Geek Squad looked at it, possibly a wire had came loose. It's hard to troubleshoot hardware from across the country.

However, lets be honest about any trade. Any mechanic could have told your mom she needs a new motor when its really a sensor or a doctor could say she has cancer when its just a cyst. Thats why people get second opinions like your mother did.

What? No doctor I have ever known would lie when it comes to cancer and I have unfortunate experience dealing with that in my life. A biopsy is done to confirm whether a spot/lump is cancer and what type it is.

My mother did not get any sort of second opinion. Geek Squad was involved merely for the USPS insurance and no other reason.

My argument is people pay the doctor for their opinion, but the expectation for IT is that its free no matter what.

Again, you must be joking. Geek Squad charged my mother $70 to analyze the computer...and essentially destroy the CPU because she decided against their service.

That Geek Squad location was very fortunate that I lived on the other side of the country at that time. It wouldn't have been pretty if I had showed up with what they did. In fact, it could have been a potential lawsuit if I had wanted to peruse that avenue.

RE: Good Ol' Geek Squad....
By Lord 666 on 1/5/2010 3:46:54 PM , Rating: 2
So did you send the inflated $700 quote to USPS or the actual $20 one? Smells like potential mail fraud either way.

I shipped the computer to a different country and it made sense for the end user to reach out to a local repair shop.

Sure, you should have sued BB because they are a business, but little Tommy next door, are you take him to court or his parents?

Getting more personal, medicine is NOT infalliable and biopsies are only as good as the doctor extracting the sample. Personal experience with melanoma and my father that has now spread to his liver, lungs, and brain. Going to a second opinion is what found the spread in the first place.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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