Woman Accuses Best Buy of Holding Disabled Sister's Laptop Hostage

Paul Lilly

More often than not, it seems that when Best Buy makes headlines on a computer site, it's because the company's Geek Squad division did something boneheaded. In this case, a woman is accusing Geek Squad of foul play by holding her disabled sister's laptop hostage until after the warranty expired. Let's go back to the beginning.

A woman named Jenni wrote in to the Consumerist to complain of how her sister is being treated by Best Buy after purchasing a laptop from the brick and mortar store and paying $300 for a warranty. Her sister also happens to be deaf and an invalid due to RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), "so her computer is her world."

Back in May, the laptop began freezing, so Jenni's sister had her mother take it in to Best Buy for repair. Long story short, she's been getting jerked around ever since. First Best Buy said the laptop was ready for pickup, then told the mother to bring in the battery and AC adapter because they couldn't get the laptop to stay on long enough to restore it.

"Then they called her and said they needed an 'activation key number' and my mom asked them were she could find this information and they said 'on the side of the computer' (which, of course, they had in their possession)," Jenni writes. "So they have her call HP to get the computer's activation number and HP couldn't give it to her because she couldn't give them the product number and information that, of course, was on the computer."

By the time everything got sorted out, the warranty had expired, and Best Buy is claiming the AC adapter had to be repaired, which was going to cost $170.

"Since then there have been ongoing phone messages back and forth between my poor mom and the Best Buy Geek Squad, my mom trying to talk with a manager, them giving her the run around, them telling her it is an HP issue, HP telling her it is a Best Buy store issue, and so on," Jenni explains.

Bearing in mind this is Jenni's version of how it all went down, bottom line is, the laptop was dropped off to Geek Squad while still under warranty, the warranty has since expired, and it remains in Best Buy's possession until the owner ponies up $170. The owner being disabled is beside the point, other than making this a particularly callous act if, as Jenni says, the laptop is "her world."

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