General discussion

Am I being ripped off by Geek Squad?

About a week ago I noticed some weird pop-ups on my desktop screen saying that I should download some new software to get rid of the hundreds of viruses I had.

..... I became skeptical of it because for one if I had that many viruses I don't think my computer would be running at all.. and since when does your computer's desktop get pop-ups when not hooked up to the internet?

I took my laptop into Geek Squad and explained I was pretty sure I had a Trojan Virus or something. They confirmed this as well as a few tracking cookies.

Just getting rid of these things was going to cost 199$ so I thought what the hell I need new software to protect my laptop too, so I bought their recommended software for protection against viruses and adware/spyware. So I ended up leaving that day with 300$ less.. and they said since it was a simple and easy job it'd be done in 2-3 days.

... WELL, one week later they called and said my hard drive was defective. How is this possible? I've had this laptop for two years, it's always worked perfectly except for one virus and now conviently for them my hard drive is defective. "How is it defective?" I asked. The "agent" told me that "it just happens sometimes" and there's really "no reason" it just happens eventually. Yeah, okay. I can believe that eventually a laptop's hard drive is going to die and go to a better place, but WOW! How conveinent that it stopped working while with them! And not only that, but that I would need to pay them another 200$ to install a hard drive and back up my files, AND pay for another hard drive.

What the hell is going on? 500$ for a freaking virus? I'm not believing this at all. And I've just read all these horror stories and heard others one from people that they don't even work on the computers at all. They're just pre-college kids wanting to earn a buck and there's no training required to be in geek squad...

Someone please tell me if this sounds bad..

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You're options

You can ask them what their bench/diagnostic charge is to this point, pay that and pick up your laptop. You can probably find a diagnostic utility for your hard drive from the manufacturer's web site (probably what the Geek Squad uses) and test the drive yourself. You can download the various free malware packages and run these yourself. That pop-up should be easy enough to resolve yourself. Tracking cookies and suspected tracking cookies aren't necessarily threats but they sound suspicious. One way to avoid these is use other than IE. Use FF and set it up to remove cookies upon exit or add trusted sites as you wish to keep those cookies that are useful for you...such as those that remember you as a registered user, your banking institution etc.
Yes, the unaware can be taken advantage of and can't prove one way or another that a vendor is being completely honest. "Caveat Emptor" ( buyer, beware) is nothing new.

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About that hard disk.

Many hard disks have something called SMART. The diagnostics look at that and predict the hard disk is going to fail using SMART. You may not have SMART enabled but they would look there.

As to the virus we have our Spyware forum with free scanning tools and more that members here use to avoid paying others to do this for them. But not everyone wants to do it themselves so the industry has grown and just like the cost of fuel the service fees have as well.

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Geek squad

Geek Squad is one of the few computer repair/support companies that rose to nation-wide status and lasted very long. Any other company that I think of is actually just a handful of franchises. They didn't get to the top by inventing stories. You are much more likely to encounter crooks at a small unsuccessful no-name place.

Think of the profit motive: there's none for Geek Squad. That employee isn't on a commission, and adding a hard-drive sale isn't going to noticably impact even a single store's daily bottom line.

As far as qualifications -- I'm sure any GS person will be A+ certification, prob'ly plus a bit more. Computer techs at that level are educated at tradeskill/community-colleges or military.

On the one hand, there's prob'ly a reason they didn't go pre-med or MBA. On the other hand, they know a lot more than you do, and this isn't rocket-science, eh.

This kind of thing does happen, in all areas. You bring your car in for maintenance and they tell you the CV boots need replacing. You go to the dentist for a prophylaxis & checkup and they want to "up-sell" you on filling a cavity.

It's gonna happen cuz that's part of the experts' job, to test and evaluate.

If you think you know more than the expert, then clean your own teeth. But in this case, if that were true, you wouldn't have installed a lame trojan, eh.

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Very Nice

Nice explaination... and as to the reason we didn't go pre-med or MBA... the majority of Geek Squad agents are in University for Master of Computer Science or Master Information Systems.

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this is not true

while there are some true blue it professionals in the geek squad, most of them are not. A+ certified, not that A+ certification is big deal, I was A+ at one time with out a single class to train for it I could become a+ certified again. What the geek squad did to you was highway robbery. $199 is their base rate for diagnostics, that is how much you pay to have them look at anything. When I know anyone that is looking at the geek squad for repairs I laugh, it will be about $500 for anything. the only way all these tech companies fix computers is to erase your hard drive(tell you its defective) you were better off just having the backup and hard drive replaced in the first place. But this is you life now, get your comp back and get some screwdrivers. you can do the repairs yourself for less than $100. but if you're not comfortable with the guts of your machine get your money back and buy a new computer, that is the only course of action I see.

as for the success of the geek squad, they are part of big box BEST BUY, they will be here to take advantage of you for a long time as long as BB is solvent, they will be taking suckers to the cleaners(not calling you a sucker).

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I've heard plenty of bad story about them, if I was you I'd have it checked out somewhere else to be sure. Also if you can return the software do it! There is plenty of free software that works as good or better. AVG, and Avast for virus, Ad-Aware for spyware, just to get you started there are more.

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Free is getting what you pay for

I went on a personal vendetta after my customers were annoygin me with this misguided belief that free actually works, so I set up a little demonstration.

AVG does not recognize Blaster worm... a now archaic virus that there is no reason not to recognize;
AVG, Avast, MAlware Bytes, and AD-Aware all do not effectively block or remove Security Tool, the current most popular scare ware.

Not saying MB-aw is bad... just saying, it alone cannot be depended on. AVG is itself useless. Avast is a step better but still not worth the ram it uses to run.

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There's No Need To Recognize Blaster...

Basically, the problem with Blaster/Lovsan is it's a Windows Vulnerability that allows the problem in. (And by the way, AVG does indeed recognize "BLASTER/Lovsan" as a threat..) Any of the affected operating systems which are current with Windows Updates will be protected against it anyway and should have been since 2003..

And as to your examples about protection by free antivirus program, hopefully you're aware there are a number of "paid for" antivirus programs which don't correctly recognize Security Tool as well..

For those truly interested in the effectiveness of antivirus and antispyware tools, check the tests and reviews.. You'll see AVG is not useless and is better at detecting viruses and some malware than some of the "paid for" programs.. See the link below for just one such antivirus test site from November 2009.:

But please don't compare apples to oranges.. There are antispyware removal tools, vs antispyware DETECTION tools, vs antivirus removal and detection tools.. AVG is primarily an antivirus detection tool although it does have some antispyware detection and removal ability as well.. The free version of Malwarebytes is one of the better REMOVAL tools available but unless you purchase the "paid for" version, it doesn't run real-time and therefore won't "detect" the original infection process until a scan is run.

Free DOES work as long as you know its limitations.. But that's the same with any "paid for" program as well.

Hope this helps.


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Hook, line and sinker

Quite frankly, for the $500 cost, you could have brought another cheap laptop or pretty near another one. I would remove it from their grasp and go elsewhere. Of course this is up to you. As the other posters offered, there are s/w virus scanners, etc., and its getting to be alot to swallow if the HD went bad. It went bad under their care and wasn't described as such when you dropped it in. Of course now its too late to verify they are dealing with your system parts, but I tend to lean on the negative side of things. I think there is something at play here, maybe wrong fix or failed diags. All this now open to debate.

tada -----Willy Happy

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that is really not bad. also the agent said defective that dosen't mean it is dead. but will cause probs in the future. as for the $200 to clean your system if you don't like the price go take a class and do it yourself. remember you are paying for a service you have no idea how to do....

Agent 00-7

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GeekSquad isnt ripping you off

Well just to inform you, an anti-virus program doesn't remove viruses so you're out of luck there.. there's really not much you can do but to restore your OS on your own if you know how, otherwise you need someone like a Geek Squad technician to remove the viruses from your computer.. so when you pay that $199 for diagnostics and repair it covers all labor.. so when they told you your hard drive was broken and you needed a new one they were not lying because they make NO MONEY from you getting a new hard drive installed.. the hard drive installation is included in the $199.. they gain nothing but extra work.. you chose to back up your files so that's what cost you extra and if your hard drive fails and you don't have the know how you cant do it yourself so I'd say its well worth paying $150 to remove your personal info... Even if you knew how to do all this it is many hours of tedious work.. you're paying basically like $10/hr for em to fix your comp which is pretty cheap..

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Geek Squad

My daughter purchased an extended warranty from Best Buy when she purchased her Toshiba lap top. After approximately 1 year her laptop was making a noise. We brought it to the geek squad at best buy. The tech told her that it sounded like a fan and he would blow out the computer. She was emailed that they could not get the noise to stop and would send it to the main area for fixing computers. Two weeks later she received a phone call telling her her hard drive was replaced. Meanwhile she was never given the opportunity to back up any of her software including the operating system. After numerous phone calls to best buy they told her that her that they drilled a hole in her old hard drive and for $90 they would look into the matter. We paid it and are still waiting for results. The paper she signed off on was in fonts less than 8.5 and they should have called her before they went ahead and replaced her hard drive. By the way their total cost could by up to $2500. They are a rip off.

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Geek Squad

Geek Squad is a ripoff, plain and simple. People need to realize that bright lights, great advertising and catchy tunes and words are not a guarantee of good value. There are countless computer repair and support companies in all major US metro areas and the vast majority of them are run by skilled, experienced technicians and honest business men and women. When Big Corp America gets their hands on a business the customer is in trouble. Yes, all businesses are doing what they do to make money but the smaller guys typically don't have shareholders to worry about nor can they afford to be labeled dishonest. They have no choice but to be honest because their business depends on it. One such company is in Dallas, TX - AssureTeks. The guy that runs this company it straight-forward, honest, well spoken and won't just feed you what you want to hear. I contacted him a week ago about my Dell XPS. He contacted me back and asked for the service tag, which I gave him. He told me the unit was still under warranty with Dell and that he cannot get paid from Dell to fix my computer; that I should call them. They ended up replacing the entire unit after one of their techs came out and replaced nearly every part in the computer. He saved me a bundle of money and lost out on some for himself. However, I did need him to transfer my data and re-install apps for me. It gets better - he arrived at my home and explained to me that he could go through the process of transferring my data and re-installing apps, etc. but preferred to try to swap the hard drives since the computers were the same model - it worked! He passed up making money off me that he clearly could have got away with. It seems he is in this business for the long haul and that his reputation is very importatnt to him. He has a loyal customer in me forever and I will refer all my friends and family to him as well.

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Stay away

Some of those so called techs at Geek Squad know less than a lot of people using a computer.
I was having a video problem flickering, lines and stuff like that. I took my computer to them just as I was leaving for vacation. I told them I would be gone 10 days and needed the computer as soon as I got home.
I got back, went to BB on the 11th day and they hadn't even looked at the computer. After a heated conversation with the manager, they said they would get right on it. I called them the next day and they said it would be two more days because they had to order a part.
Two days later I called and they said it was ready and they had to replace the graphics card and that was causing the problem. Fair enough, but thought it awful funny BB didn't have a graphics card to begin with.
I got home,plugged the computer in and get a bunch of error messages about the graphics card.
Enough was enough and I pulled the cover off to have a look and turns out the "TECH" at Geek Squad had neglected to hook up the power to the card. Plus the front case fan was unplugged from the motherboard.
I made sure they give me the so called bad graphics card they had replaced.
I installed it in my Granddaughters computer, download new drivers and software from Nvidia and that card worked in her computer until she sold it 2 years later. What the original problem was I haven't a clue.
I still shop and buy from BB, but geek squad will never touch mine or anyone else I know computers.
I know other people who had had similar problems with them.
Those guys must have got their computer training at Whats the matta U.

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let me get this right..

first off geek squad is in it for the money the local store the guy could not tell me if the usb wifi would run in ubuntu or not..they told me my monitor is fried on the dvi port but a quick forced edid scan fixed this as it was merely locked in sleep by an old nvidia card for 3 years.. next thing i see wrong is why $200 bones for a new hdd when the price of a new 250gb is less than 59.95?? then there is this. how can they backup your current drive if it is GONE??? pay the bench charge get your machine back and replace the drive yourself. its not hard to do and only takes about 20 minutes. as for the virus i prefer eset32 but you have to chose for yourself. now you probably dont have the cd's dont frown yet they can be ordered from the manufacturer you need only the serial number.. this is true for hp dell and gateway. final note i would recommend a travelstar drive made for mobile pc's with higher tolerances pertaining to shock and platter wear..

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A little understanding goes a long way

First and foremost, I think geek squad is filled with idiots that refuse to make it any farther in their career than they already have.

Second, I myself have no college education, and was somewhat formally educated in the military. Instead I have 8 years of enterprise-level experience, an A+, N+, Sec+, MCSE (upgraded to MCITP), CISSP, CEH, CCNP, CCDP, and am a lab exam away from a CCIE. None of that required some expensive *******t school. Repeat after me, college for Information Technology is what we all call "easy mode". Certs and experience will always win a job over college.

Third. Sir, a diagnostic is a diagnostic. If the geek squad pimply faced kid was a surgical technician and your problem was chest pains, he'd easily charge you several thousand dollars to run diagnostics on your chest to see if it's gas pain or a freaking coronary. Users like yourself commonly get upset when an initial 5 second look at symptoms produces the statement of a problem that has common like symptoms. Why? Because you're cheap, you don't want to KNOW what's required to maintain and fix your machine, and then again, you don't want to PAY someone else to KNOW how to fix and maintain your machine. The problem is with you. Not the pimply-faced flunky behind the geek squad desk. If you don't want to pay money to fix your machine, don't buy one, or learn to do it yourself. If you think these machines should work without any flaw whatsoever, I challenge you to make one that does knowing that millions of people smarter than you or I have tried to do that since the computer was invented.

Fourth, A hard drive is made of several moving mechanical parts. A hard drive is electrostatic sensitive. A hard drive is magnetically sensitive. That being said, you should understand that even the slightest speck of dust can carry an electrical charge that will render your hard drive completely useless should it hit the right point on the hard drive circuit board. It's rare that this can happen but it can happen. Dropping the hard drive can cause the platters to fall out of place. Hard drive defects happen, and you need to understand that equipment with moving parts like that can, and will eventually fail due to age, mishandling, or misuse. It's a fact of life.

Perhaps the idiot at the geek squad desk doesn't understand the problem well enough to explain it to a user that doesn't understand that such a problem could even occur, but ultimately the responsibility falls on you to understand that you need to know exactly what is wrong with your machine before you pay.

For the record, if you picked on a nerd in high school, this is your kharma. We run the world now. Accept it.

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I must have missed something in your rant.
What does a collage education have to do the the OPs question.
All your A+, N+ etc, etc, etc has nothing to do with the Geek squad and ripping people off.
You insinuating that people are stupid and cheap is not real bright.

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The pop up you got may not have been an infection. It may have been an attempt to infeect your system by hoping that you would click on things. Did the pop up come frequently or just 1 time?

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it cost to much..LOL maybe they should charg you $5 an hour?

I know this thread is 2-3 years old.. Just thought I would post a little information..
For $199 the user gets one year of "most labor" support on problems that he/she has. (minus data backups) for up to three computers
Then they would change you $50-100 for a new hardrive (that has 10-30% markup)
Then I would guess you NEVER backed up your files, so they offered to backup your files for an additional $99-149

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Mostly Agee

Many people using computers don't have a clue as how to or just don't care about backing up their data until something goes wrong with the computer. Then they want the computer back the way it was before the problem started with very little money spent. I don't think any normal person would mind paying X number of dollars if the work was done right at a resonable price. In my case the Geek Squad had my computer for two weeks, charged me 3 hours labor. I have changed graphics cards and associted software and drivers out in 30 minutes. They also chargeds me for a new graphics card and I ended up fixing their mistakes. You emphasized the word "Skilled". The 3 dudes that worked on my computer were idiots and that is my complaint about Geek Squad. Anytime a person is charged from $80.00, in your case a $150.00 an hour it should be skilled work, but rarely is. I have a photo business from my house and I know that all my clients photos and records need to be backed up. I don't believe in the "cloud" so mine are backed up on external hard drives as well as two sets of DVDs stored in different locations. I also have a mirror image of both hard drives in my computer , yet I can't get one person in my family or friends to back anything up??. As Forrest Gump said "Stupid is as stupid does" If their computers crash I will have no problem at all charging them to get their computers up and running, but at a fair price. I guarantee it will be more than $5.

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NEVER trust Geek Squad - HUGE thiefs

I would never take my laptop to Geek Squad, they will do exactly what you said, just keep adding problems and costs. Besides, if it was a virus issue and your computer was working fine, you could have just scanned your pc and removed it manually once you found it. Seeking help from these guys won't get you anywhere. The installation of a hard drive on a laptop, is so simple, it makes me wanna cry when i hear they ask for 60 bucks to replace it. You open the lid, slip the old one out, slide the new one in! And also, don't be so sure your laptop will come back with all of its original components. My cousin went to upgrade his RAM there and the laptop came back WITH NO GRAPHICS CARD!!! Just trust me, you can do everything by yourself its just a matter of confidence and a little citation from google Silly Wink))

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Yes, it sounds bad

The biggest issue with the Geek Squad is they charge way too much for their services. It's entirely possible that your hard drive failed or was failing, but it is coincidental that it did so in their hands. They are struggling to justify their existence. Best Buy should never have scooped them up - they are giving them a black eye in many ways.

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I'm a Geek Squad agent going on 4 months now.
I've read through this forum thread and cannot believe the ignorance in a few of the posts.

As stated in one, Geek Squad has changed services and now offer what is called "Tech Support".
A client can purchase a 1, 2 or 3 year term of "Tech Support". $199, $279 & $349 respectively.
If the client is purchasing a new computer then this service is discounted by $100 across the board.

With this service, the client will be covered for virus removal, operating system repair, REMOTE assistance (so they don't even have to leave their home!) which allows them to go to and browse through a list of agents and choose the one they wish to work with based on their success rate and customer reviews. Or the client can call the hotline to establish the remote session also.
It also provides anti-virus complimentary (Norton, Webroot, Trend Micro, or Kaspersky) for the duration of the term.

Under Tech Support if the clinet has ANY software problems, ANY # of times during the term, they need only to contact us.
Lastly, this service covers not 1 but 3! computers as stated in a prior post.

This is NOT an extended warranty for hardware. The only thing not included in Tech Support is data backup, transfer & recovery.

You nay-sayers need to understand that the first step an agent does on a unit is to run a hardware diagnostics test. Doing this ensures first and foremost that we are dealing with ONLY software issues.
This is not a simple once over test but a very thorough and extensive compilation of testing utilities being used.
If failing hardware is detected, such as a hard drive for example, then yes we will notify the client and suggest a replacement. At Best Buy we carry many variations of drives a customer can choose from. Under Tech Support, the client only need purchase the replacement and the install will be at no extra charge. In the case of the failing hard drive, once the new drive is installed the operating system then needs to be reinstalled. Most clients already have recovery discs, either from the manufacturer or created by Geek Squad at the time of purchase, and if they do not then as stated earlier, the only action needed to be taken by the client is to contact the manufacturer with the unit's model # and s/n or p/n in some cases.

So now I'm going to address the $2500 cost that someone mentioned earlier in this thread regarding the recovery of data from a hard drive. Obviously we do not charge $2500 every time. Actually, this is a very rare occurrence and is only done when the data needed to be recovered is EXTREMELY vital.
Put simply, a failing hard drive is a failing hard drive. Data recovery is just that, data recovery. There are 3 levels, one being more costly than the next. The client makes the choice depending on how important the data is.

It is not our fault nor our responsibility to ensure that steps are taken to backup this data to circumvent a costly recovery.

We are not scam artists. We are individuals who have a passion for our jobs. We do NOT work on commission. Personally, I do my job, and enjoy it, because of the people who need the help and experience that I can provide. Geek Squad has always been a respectable and go-to source for those who would rather not have to know what we know.
We are Geeks...
That is all
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So mislead

As an agent of the Geek Squad for almost 2 years now... and a 40 year old mother, i have to say I am disappointed that some would even think of ME (without even interacting with me) as a rip off. Basically what your saying is my time is worthless to you. The licensed products we use to diagnose your computers everyday come with a cost... it's like getting an MRI at the hospital.......... your not just paying for the cost of the machine, your paying for the lights, the water, the advertising, the labor, the rent, and everything else that that machine is accumulating for cost. Those of you that think Geek Squad is a rip off... maybe need to keep in mind that our services are PREMIUM services... if you can't afford them then you do what you can by researching the material yourself to fix your computer... If you can't afford to go without your computer and you depend on your computer to run your everyday life then perhaps you need to make sure that you can afford some kind of service through SOMEONE... doesn't even have to be best buy... we really don't care where you get your service. We get people all the time coming to the counter and asking questions "show me how to do this show me how to do that" and for the most part we will help you at no cost... it's posts like this though really make me want to whip out that 1/2 hour labor charge EVERY time someone comes to the counter.............

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nope. still a scammer

You are still a con artist, here is why.

Geek squad is known for giving bad diagnostics (unless they are perfect, please tell me you are perfect)... everything is a virus or failed hard drive apparently. Haven't you noticed? This is not like getting an MRI, *** are you talking about..

If you are misdiagnosed at the hospital, there are repercussions and medical malpractice laws.

Same goes with car shops, if they wreck your car their insurance covers it.

With geek squad that doesn't happen, they don't turn customers away and when they break your stuff, steal your personal information, go through pictures of you and your kids, and load viruses on to your computer. Tough luck.

You don't know how much the licensed software costs either, because it's a big corporate site license which costs barely anything per instance to run. Windows PE? what a joke, there's nothing you are doing with PE that can't be done with a free version of linux.

Anti-virus is free. Windows defender and Clamav (open source) clean viruses. You can always run them in safe mode and stop root kit processes so they can be removed (not that you know how to do that.)

My point is, they have corrupt business practices and there is no stopping them from making a bad diagnosis.... every time. If they make a "careless mistake" while trying to fix everyone's computer, you have no way to recover financially from it. That is wrong. Charging a person for labor when no labor was done. smh. I do custom software.. can you imagine if I charged for a requirements meeting. lol.

And to the guy with all the useless certifications, that never happens and it's not ok for geek squad to drop my hard drive or leave it in a dusty room with no antistatic bag.

and trying to use your kids and age to coax us? you are the worst. Next time geek squad tells you that you have viruses or hardware failure ask for the diagnostic so you can see the SMART or the infections. and ***, cookies aren't infections, they are plain text files that are pretty much used for target advertising. hardly malicious. Your browser can delete them for you... for free.. lol.

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Hmmm, I was wondering the same thing...

I took my computer in, working just fine, just a bit worried about a virus. The "worked" on it, said no virus detected, removed some adware and disabled my eco-utility. took it home, wireless no longer works, took it back, and, now there is corrupt hardware. two more days, lots of perma hold and we'll get back with you, I went in, took back my computer and demanded a refund (not proud of the scene I had to create to accomplish this), they refunded $130.00, so, I paid $70.00 to have the geek squad destroy my computer-yay!

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Yes, your probably are

OK, the title seems a little harsh. The Geek Squad is there to get you to buy a new computer from Best Buy. For any of their services, you need to pay the about $200. They will then call you in about a week to tell you that there is something even more wrong with your computer that will cost you more. This will continue until they tell you it is cheaper to buy a new computer from Best Buy. After you buy the new computer, they will charge you an additional $100-$200 to transfer the files. The hard drive in your computer is most likely properly working. Go get your computer from Geek Squad and refuse any payment they may ask you for (Because is sounds like you have already prepaid). Go to a reputable computer fixing place and get your computer diagnosed by them. Tell them to remove any extra Geek Squad software. (The Geek Squad probably installed a lot of bloatware that is hard to remove and constantly tells you that you need a new computer). Your hard drive will most likely be working fine. If for some reason it isn't, and you have the extra cash, replace it with a SSD (Solid State Drive). A solid state drive is quite a bit more expensive than a normal hard drive, but it is much faster and is a lot less likely to fail. But DON'T buy it from Best Buy, because they just ripped you off.

Hope this helps,

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After 4 1/2 Years.. Time To Lock This One

Enough said.

Hope this helps.


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