Best Buy Geek Squad Charging $30 for Free PS3 Firmware Updates



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You're talking about turning a low mark-up high priced item into an open box discounted item automatically by doing an update... If anything happens to said system during that update Best Buy eats the cost of replacment, labor, and or any multitude of other things as the end user waranty does not cover the unit prior to sale... While they probably just PRC the damn thing and claim it was a bad unit and get a credit from sony... They still have to cover the labor of the probably 8 people (DC, product process, media sales floor, geek squad, product process backroom inventory day shift, PRC truck unloader, the guy who sorts it after, media ordering replacment, dc loading replacment, product process unloading and stocking replacment....) who touched it and it's replacment, and they are down two units on the shelf as another would have to be pulled to replace it for the customer...  I'd also like to add the replacment probably got shipped fed ex to geek squad... but that's stupidity on best buy's part... 


 If nothing bad happens Best Buy makes about 10-15$ in 5 minutes on someone else's ignorance... 


How the hell can you fault them for that?



I think I will offer a firmware update DVD for $10 and sell them outside of Best Buy stores. I mean come on, this is truly a low level move on Best Buy's part. I hate Geek Squad to begin with. They are a bunch of uneducated goons that know how to format a PC if you're lucky. Not only that but how can they sell a machine as new if they opened the box to do a firmware update? That's illegal last I knew. I guess that could be circumvented by saying it's a $30 charge to update the firmware, but they're not. They're selling opened box PS3's as new for $30 more than a new one for the same damn thing.

It'd be ok (maybe) if they actually offered factual information that customers can do this for free if they have their machine connected to the internet or using any of the latest game discs. But omitting this fact is taking advantage of the customer. I used to like Best Buy, but I won't shop there any more because of their crap like this.



"Not only that but how can they sell a machine as new if they opened the box to do a firmware update? That's illegal last I knew. I guess that could be circumvented by saying it's a $30 charge to update the firmware, but they're not. They're selling opened box PS3's as new for $30 more than a new one for the same damn thing."


Where does it say that they're selling new PS3's opened with updated firmwares as brand new? It says that for an extra $30 they'll update the firmware for you. And it's not illegal to open an item, then re-sell it as new. When I worked retail, and a customer wanted to see a camera, or PDA, if we didn't have one on the show floor, we'd open one up. If the customer didn't want it, it would be sold to someone else. As a brand new unit. Because it was brand new. An open box unit is one that was returned that the customer didn't want or a show model. There's a difference.



@ violian

Being a technoimmigrant doesn't excuse the fact that the consumer should be eductated in the first place. If they are naking an important purchase, they should be prepared on what to expect. If they don't know anything about what they're purchasing, its their fault. Being a good friend who knows these things and you won't be screwed in the process. The salesperson (and company) is there to make money, so if you rely on him/her for advice, your really asking the wrong person.

@ Caboose

Its not a scam, its just another way to make money for the company.

@ thebrookdweller

Couldn't agree with you more.

@ jihnn

The fact of the matter that products takes weeks to ship out before it even reach the shelves. I work at Staples, and were getting Christmas items in stock. While they are waiting on the shelves, updates and patches are being released. By the time the customer gets the product, it needs updating.

@ medicfirefighter05

Not sure about boycotting but we (the company that i work for) is competiting with them. Keep on fighting the fight.

@ popstop785

Your wrong on one level. If i gave you an X-box (expecting nothing in return) and you sell it to someone for profit, its still legal. However, since they don't own the firmware, they have to be authorized by Sony to work on them. If they're not, then they're screwed.

Didn't bother to read the rest of the comments, but it seems like the comments repeat. What seems to the problem is the fact that most people think they're ripping off Sony. We can say anything we want, but its up to Sony to allow this. If they don't mind BestBuy doing this, then i don't see a problem. The problem then lays with the consumer. If you don't know a whole lot about the product you want to purchase, then do a bit of research before making the purchase (unless you have money you want to throw away). If you want to make sure your not getting snagged into something that you don't need/want, bring someone who has some knowledge about the product. They can give you a little more unbiased opinion about the subject. If you rely on the word of the salesperson, who's at fault here?



"There's no such thing as a free lunch" - and that also applies to free stuff in our economy. Best Buy is merely giving customers the OPTION to have their firmware upgraded. There are people (like my mom) who doesn't even know what a program is. Let alone a firmware. So for the majority of Americans who never knew about firmwares, they could've been missing out on A LOT of stuff that the new PS3 firmware has to offer. For instance, if a person didn't know about firmwares, and they happened to have an older Xbox-360 and also happened to need a hard-drive for their 360, they would've had to shell out $99 for the Xbox-360 hard-drive as the old Xbox firmware doesn't accept 3rd party hard-drives. Now if Best Buy jumps in, tells the customer that there's this thing called "firmwares", and does everything for the customer for a small fee, now the customer would get the updated firmware on their Xbox-360 that allows the customer to simply use any cheap 3rd party external hard-drive that he may have lying around his house to use as a hard-drive for the Xbox-360.

Like I said, nothing is free. How would you feel if I just knocked on your door, interrupting your dinner, and asked you if you could upgrade my firmware? And $30 is like pennies and dimes in the business world. I work finance, and $30 is just breaking even after calculating: labor costs, training costs, equipment costs, marketing costs, insurance, rental space, etc.



Ok, see there's a huge flaw in your argument. Xbox, Wii and PS3 games include the latest firmware as of their release on the disc. That way if your console is NOT connected to the internet, or you don't know how to perform a manual offline update, the game will do it for you when you first launch it.

Some Blu-Ray movies do the EXACT same thing! There's no excuse for this. None what so ever!

"Like I said, nothing is free. How would you feel if I just knocked on your door, interrupting your dinner, and asked you if you could upgrade my firmware? And $30 is like pennies and dimes in the business world. I work finance, and $30 is just breaking even after calculating: labor costs, training costs, equipment costs, marketing costs, insurance, rental space, etc."

First off, if you were to do that to me, I'd ask you to leave. Unless you wanted to pay me to do it, as you're interrupting my supper.

$30 may be nothing in the business world, but to a consumer, it's a lot more than a few pennies. If you want to pay a company for that you can obtain easily, is done for you when you launch a game that requires a new firmware, and you don't have to pay extra for it, then fine. Go for it. But the rest of us think that it's a giant scam to get more money from customers...



To those who think that they're charging $30 is ridiculous because the tech's in the geek squad don't make $30 an hour and it doesn't take that long to do the upgrade, you need to remember the overhead costs of running a business. The $30 is not a transaction between the customer and the person doing the labor.

To those who think it's stupid to do something like this and charge for it when the customer can do it for free: I disagree. I've worked in the customer/tech support industry at the base level and i have come across people who don't know how to unplug the power to their cable box. Not that it's behind a shelf or entertainment center, but that they literally cannot tell the difference between the electrical cable and the others plugged in. To charge for something like upgrading firmware is perfectly fine. Is it unethical that they probably don't explain that the customers can do it themselves, sure, but in the end if the customer isn't educating themselves, who fault is that?



best buy should make sure every product they sell is up to date.

it is called good customer service.

i used to install sound and video systems for best buy, they would do a hard sell for monster products, some of the most over priced and hyped product line ever.

i would often A/B that $80 RGB cable or the $95 HDMI with the ones that comes with the equipment and show the customer there was no difference.

point is best buy sets their customers up to have "buyers remorse" instead of treating them like a valued commodity.



"best buy should make sure every product they sell is up to date."

So, every Wii, PS3, 360, DSi, DSi XL, Laptop, netbook, tablet, MP3 player, desktop, Mac, and cell phone, is always up to date? Are you insane?!

Do you know how many customers will be bitching and asking for a discount because "the box is opened" let alone how long that would take?


Are you insane man?!



It doesn't matter if its firmware upgrade or any software install, nobody should ever do it for free. To me $29.99 is a reasonable charge coz some firmware upgrades could take up to 1/2hr. Imagine GPS updates how simple that is too and could take up to an 1hr and and geeksquad also charge $30.



Ummm obviously you either work for Best Buy or you are an idiot who is on the wrong website. If you are willing to part with $30 for something you can do by pressing ACCEPT on a controller and walking away for 30 mins then you do not belong here posting comments. Geek Squad is a joke and a ripoff that preys on less than informed customers. What if a mother was buying this for her son? Obviously he knows to hit accept but does she know this? No. So F#%^ Best Buy's predatory practices. 

You probably just think you look good in those blue t-shirts



I'm just a person that believe in this. It's not my money. If youre not comfortable charging clients then youre in the wrong business. Try making real profit charging your client $25/per job compare to $60/hr. And yea people actually pay me that because I know I do a damn good job and they always call me back for more work.



It seems that maybe you are missing the issue here. By including the upgrade in the price of the console they are in effect masking the fact that you are being charged for the update. To make matters worse, an unsuspecting customer may be lead to believe that the update does in fact cost 30 bucks if they do not already know it can be had for free. After seeing years of Best Buy using all the "trick the consumer" tactics they can (i.e. Bait and Switch, Loss Leader, including mail in rebate in the advertised price, etc..) I am not surprised that they use Geek Squad gimmicks for another marketing ploy that if you ask me borderlines on scam. If they were to advertise the update as a "service" and make it clear it is optional would be a better way to market it, but again, it seems the consumer has never been the main focus of Best Buy's main interest which puts profit first.



"You probably just think you look good in those blue t-shirts"

You, sir, are a champion of the people. Pretty soon, they'll just have a kiosk where you can pay money to wait in line and get mugged. They'll call it the "back alley service center."



This is just more proof that the only thing BestBuy should be used for, is a place to go and physically look at something you plan to buy from NewEgg later.  Having said that, BestBuy is not selling the firmware upgrade for $30, the are charging $30 as their fee for upgrading the ps3.  If they were to charge $30 to flash the bios of your motherboard, they would not be selling the bios they would be selling the service.  And as this is more difficult than upgrading ps3 firmware, I doubt a $30 charge to do this would be much of an issue here.  While this is definately one of the biggest rip-off's I have seen in a while, if BestBuy wants to charge $30 for this service and someone is dumb enough to pay it then so be it.



Honestly this is the dumbest idea yet, and people will still buy into it. FFS, it doesn't take a tech savvy person to do firmware upgrades on a PS3. I know how to do a PS3 Firmware upgrade and I DO NOT OWN ONE. Sitting at my friend's house when he did an upgrade and I am good to go. Not this nonsense "Oh we don't know how to update our ps3." You don't have to be a genius to following on-screen instructions. It's stuff like that makes me want to stay away from Best Buy.



What's so sad is how many people will actually pay them for that and for the console installs too, thinking it must be real hard to do.



Is it incredibly stupid to pay $30 to have someone do a free firmware update for you? Yes.

Is Best Buy wrong to charge people $30 for the service if they are willing to pay it? No.

People spend money on stupid things all the time, but that money then goes to someone's paycheck, which they will use for food, rent, bills or other goods and services. It may seem foolish to us to pay this particular fee, but if there are other people out there who willingly pay it, who's to say it's wrong? It's money into the economy just the same, and nobody is forcing people to pay this entirely optional fee.

If the service sucks and nobody uses it, then it will make no money and be discontinued. Free market capitalism works if you let it.



I agree, everyone else is missing the point.

There are lots of "over priced" services out there, hell I'll even charge 100$ to recover a few gigs of data off a crashed windows hard drive, even though it takes me 5 min, and users some space on my server for a few days.

The point is, it's a service, I am the cheapest around, and treat the customers well. I am not forcing anyone to use my service, and they are free to do as they please.

The free market will always equal itself out.




what's wrong is not what they are selling, it's how they are selling it.

if bestbuy went out and said, "i am charging you 30 dollars to hook a PS3 up, click yes, and pack it back", how many people you think would buy it? what they are doing is the same as burgerking saying "i am initalizing(open the box) your burger for a mere fee of 5 dollars".



I think we as geeks and MPC readers should boycott Best Buy their policies are out right theivery I would not recommend them to my worst enemy.



This business practice is unethical (period).  If you don't have an internet connection then you don't NEED an update.* The new games would come with all the necessary updates for them to be playable. SMH. 


*If you're trying to play PS2 games then you're SOL.



Installing a stick of ram, or a hdd, or pretty much any other hardware component...installing Windows...installing most software....setting up antivirus or regular backups. These are all things that, let's face it, are pretty damn easy to do, even if you've never done them before, with a quick google search, a few minutes of time and no fear. Problem is...most people either don't want to take the time, or are afraid to learn new things...especially with computers. "I don't know anything about these contraptions! Damn things are taking over the world!" Even if the kid who's getting the PS3 knows how to do this stuff, the parent who's buying it for them doesn't know how, and probably doesn't realize that their kid knows how, so they figure they better have it done before bringing it home to little Johnny for Xmas.

Bottom line is...if it weren't for the fear and ignorance of the general public toward computers....most techs would be out of jobs.



This shouldn't even be legal. They are making an extra profit off something Sony owns and is giving away. Just another reason why i will continue to refuse to buy from Best Buy.



They are not selling it as a product, they are selling it as a service. Best Buy sells thousands of computer setups a day across the country, and those could be done for free... Whether you think its a rip-off or not, there are some things people just do not want to do themselves, not matter how hard or how easy it is.



Maybe the title should be lazy customers willing to PAY Best Buy for free PS3 firmware updates.



Only time I could see someone using this is if they don't have internet at home.  Believe it or not there are a few people left in the U.S. who don't have/need internet but do play video games.



One thing that these comments are somewhat lacking on, is how well they know Humanity. Working in the service industry you learn that there are many kinds of people, two of which are people that really do not know how to do a firmware upgrade, and do not want to risk messing something up. And the other are people with a lot of money that just do not want to bother with setting it up.
Within that, what if they do not have internet (Which DOES still happen), but want the newest update to play 3D Blurays. $30 not THAT much. Yes, the techs MIGHT have it on a flash drive, they might have a station setup for it, so it might only take them 5 minutes. But do the customers have that stuff set up? Maybe not, it might take them bit longer.
Regardless, $30 may be a BIT to much to be charging for this, but the reason that it exists, is that people want it, and are willing to pay for it. You can say they are getting ripped off ALL you want. You could say "I would never pay for that, I always do stuff myself" and that's you. Not everyone is the DIY kind of person. All in all, they are getting a product and service they are happy with, and thats all that matters to the customer, and to best buy. If you've got a huge problem with it, stand next to the tech counter and offer to do it for free for all of those people.



If you buy a fairly recent game then the newest firmware will be on the disk for those who don't have an internet connection.



Step 4. ???

Step 5. PROFIT!!!





If someone is stupid enough to go into a Best Buy, then they already are most likely not reading anyway.



hear hear



If they think that upgrading the firmware is so hard, will they upgrade the firmware everytime they release a new one?

But damn, $30 for them to open the box, plug it in, and press one button? I bet they have a TV with a power cable and av/network cables connected and it takes them 5 seconds at most to hook up. They may even have the firmware on a DVD or USB instead of having to download it each time, so that would go even faster.

At most 5 minutes of work for $30. That means they are charging $360 an hour for upgrading the firmware. I can't believe there is anybody NOT OUTRAGED by this.

They will probably start offering extended warranty on the firmware so if the firmware causes issues they will revert it back. Another $30 maybe?

I wonder if Sony would even allow them to charge for this 'service'.

What else can Best Buy charge for? Ripping CD's to your console. Installing Apps on your iPad. Insertting memory card into camera. Removing DVD from case. The possibilities are endless!



Sony has no say in it. They are not charging for the Firmware its self, just the labor to install it. Also, if Steve Jobs can charge $30 for what is basically a service pack for OSX, why is this so bad?



Oh now let's not sugar coat it... this is a straight up gouge of technologically ignorant customers. Not that best Buy has ever been the most morally upstanding company around when it comes to upselling, but this just takes the taco. It makes those "extended warranties"  and Monster Cable installation packs sound like a positively righteous and forthright upgrade in comparison.The fact that it's clad in Geeksquad orange rather then BB blue is irrelevant.

And not to sound like a tin-foil sporting conspiracy theorist, but considering that the past few firmware upgrades have been almost exclusively aimed at anti-jailbreaking measures; I don't think it's a great logical leap to wonder if maybe Sony doesn't have its hand in on this one to keep people from buying up older, still hackable stock.

mi dos centos.



Now, I'm no fan of Geek Squad and am an avid DIY'er, but I can recognize unnecessary bashing for the sake of bashing when I read it.

What's wrong with charging someone a fee to do something that person doesn't want or have the capability to do themselves? If that person wants to pay someone else to do something, they are consenting to pay that someone to do that something for them. In fact, there is an entire industry around this concept. What's it called? That would be called, umm... oh yeah... the SERVICE INDUSTRY.

In fact your three easy steps "logic" is incredibly flawed. I'd like you to explain how easy step #1 is to an 8-year-old boy whose house isn't wired for ethernet and whose parents have a single PC plugged directly into a cheap DSL modem from the local telco.

This is sensationalistic at best.



It is a giant scam. Don't kid yourself. Heck, PS3, Wii and 360 games also include the firmware on the disc. If your console isn't at the right firmware, you can update it from the game disc! So really, there's no reason for this!

But hey, just continue advocating scamming consumers!



So it's reasonable to charge a family who is in that situation $30 for a one time upgrade (upon purchasing the PS3 mind you, but never again after that)? That almost sounds like exploitation at that point.

And this whole thing reminds me of Mr. Crabs from Sponge Bob whenever he gets a money making idea.


Red Ensign

What kind of half-assed parent would let an 8 year old hook up a PS3? Neverming, the kind of irresponsible parents that Best Buy preys upon with the simpleton "Services" they offer for a fee. Besides, those parents with " a single PC plugged directly into a cheap DSL modem from the local telco", should be smart enough to do a simple Google search and see how they can use a flash drive to update the firmware. It's so easy even a person who doesn't read MaximumPC can do it.



It's so easy in fact that even an Apple Genius can't screw it up :)



I can certainly respect your point of view, but charging $30 for bug fixes is morally questionable at best. You would also only require a firmwire update in most cases if the store has been sitting on old stock, another problem that isn't really the customers fault. As I said in my post I have nothing but respect for the Geek Squad, but I believe this service is simply trying to root out those who don't know any better. 

The ad shown above also dosn't mention the fact that the firmware update is free for the DIY'er, and usually pointless if your using your console offline anyway.



I agree. If you are going to drop off your console to have someone else do it - then charging a fee is reasonable. Those techs aren't working for free.



Yeah, but I doubt that 1.) these techs are making $30 an hour 2.) it takes an hour to unbox a single  PS3, log it in, flash it, and then repackage it,  and 3.) that it takes up that much electricity and/or bandwidth to account for the price difference. I could see maybe asking five or ten bucks, but let's be straight up... this is exorbinant.



I didn't say the tech gets the $30, the computer store does (pays for the building, power, employees, employee benefits, etc).  I can't speak to Geek Squad, but back in the day when I worked computer support - any work done on a system had a minimum 1/2hr service fee. I only made ~$10/hr - but the shop rate was $80/hr (and that was years ago). So even at those rates $30 is in line (it is not outrageous).



<---former geek squad employee.



I think that's what he's saying: He doubts they're making $30/hr. :)



I work for the GeekSquad parttime and yes they are out to get every dime they can.

Let me start by saying i make $9.55 an hour

I am A+ certified and Net+

I have a degree in IS and code Web applications for a Software Company Full time.


that being said they wont let me do shit. 8 out of 10 problems i could fix in 2 minutes if i could use my own freeware tools, nope i have to use GeekSquad certified software to fix it. For any little problem, especially if it is not under a manufacturer warranty or BTP plan they want us to try to get the customer to pay 199.99 for a repair and diagnostic charge up front

why so if they can't fix it we will only refund a 160 dollars and keep the rest for labor charge.

Dont even get me started about their PC setups aka presetups.

Their whole model is to make you pay as much as possible but the sad thing is that there are people that will pay 200 for virus removal or to have their disk defragmented.

another thing

get this if your hard drive dies and you buy a new one and have the restore disks from your manufacturer they will still charge 200 dollars for putting the OS back on, even though a retarded monkey could do it.

why am i there, I need the money

If only i could 1/100 their business on the side i would be set.

signed Chinaboy

Eastern Omaha

Store 206

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