Report says Best Buy 'optimization' is a waste of money

According to a study done by The Consumerist, Best Buy's computer optimization service is "a big, stupid, annoying, waste of money." In fact, their conclusions were that sometimes, the service can even leave your computer slower than it would have been out of the box. For the study, The Consumerist sent out shoppers to 18 different Best Buy locations in 11 states to see just how "optimized" these computers actually were.

For $39.99, Best Buy tries to convince consumers to let them clean out and speed up their newly purchased computers. In some cases, the study showed that customers were lied to and forced to take the optimization package, or else they would not be allowed to purchase the computer. When expecting to buy a specific laptop, one woman was told that she'd have to pay the $39.99 extra because they only had pre-optimized versions of the laptop she wanted in stock. Since the optimization was already done, she was told that she could not buy the laptop without paying the extra fee. This specific customer managed to talk her way out of it, but unfortunately, most consumers can't.

This is what Best Buy claims of their optimization:

"Our Geek Squad Agents enable up to 100 system tweaks that improve PC performance and functionality, including optimized startup and shutdown, improved menu navigation, quick launch and taskbar cleanup and program shortcut creation."

One shopper sent by The Consumerist was told that the optimization makes the computer's processor 200% faster (a Best Buy spokesperson later called this claim, "a big aggressive"). As well, the person was told that, sure, they could optimize it on their own, but then they wouldn't be able to increase the processor speed. Other people were told that the computer was "incomplete" without the optimization and it would not come with anti-virus software or Microsoft Office.

Here is some of what The Consumerist found from the test models they received:

  • The job was sometimes rushed, leaving the computer in standby mode or in the middle of installing Windows updates
  • A power cable was missing
  • Papers for another computer were in the box
  • Desktop was cleaner, but the bloatware was never actually uninstalled (only the shortcuts were removed)
  • Windows updates had been downloaded, but one machine's Windows Defender was not up to date, because it was deactivated by the system's default factory settings
  • The other "tweaks" were basic things that any normal user can do, such as adding the status bar to explorer, or showing the file menu in IE

The Consumerist also ran a graphics benchmark and found that changes from the optimization were negligible, except on one of the laptops, where optimization caused it to score 32% worse than the non-optimized laptop. They were unable to determine the source of the performance change, but a commenter pointed out that this could have been due to the dedicated graphics card being disabled by the Geek Squad in the optimization process.

In a world where you can rarely buy a computer that's not pre-loaded with oodles of junk, it's unfortunate to see Best Buy taking advantage of people and taking their money without providing any real service in return. The Consumerist concludes that people should avoid Best Buy's optimization service. At the end of the report there's a list of free programs that a person can use to optimize their computer by their lonesome.

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My biggest gripe with them is the bold face lie they tell when you buy a printer. Saying it only comes with a "demo" ink cartridge that will only allow you to setup your printer margins. I been told this lie about 4 times and I always say no to it.

Gotenks98 said,
My biggest gripe with them is the bold face lie they tell when you buy a printer. Saying it only comes with a "demo" ink cartridge that will only allow you to setup your printer margins. I been told this lie about 4 times and I always say no to it.

Well its just not the Geek squad, you read about that one online too.

Well some printers actually used to do that a few years back. It wasn't really a "demo" cart, but it certainly wasn't your standard capacity ink cart. The printer box itself would state that the cart was a "starter cartridge" or similar. However, most printers I've seen nowadays have ceased doing that.

I used to work for the computers department at a Best Buy... and believe me the LAST thing they care about is the consumer. They're a sales team, plain and simple. I was reprimanded many times for not offering top of the line PCs, battery backups, and gold plated USB cables to old grandmas who just want to email their grandchildren. I was working around the time when Best Buy first started the GeekSquad services and believe me there is a TON of pressure on the employees to sell those services. Most people didn't want them at all, and especially didn't want to listen about them. Who's going to pay good money for someone to set up their PC when the cables are color coded? In any case I didn't stick around there very long... this was mostly off topic but I never miss an opportunity to rant

ninjagowoowoo said,
I used to work for the computers department at a Best Buy... and believe me the LAST thing they care about is the consumer. They're a sales team, plain and simple. I was reprimanded many times for not offering top of the line PCs, battery backups, and gold plated USB cables to old grandmas who just want to email their grandchildren. I was working around the time when Best Buy first started the GeekSquad services and believe me there is a TON of pressure on the employees to sell those services. Most people didn't want them at all, and especially didn't want to listen about them. Who's going to pay good money for someone to set up their PC when the cables are color coded? In any case I didn't stick around there very long... this was mostly off topic but I never miss an opportunity to rant ;)

I don't think its off topic at all. I think its right on topic.

"The Consumerist concludes that people should avoid Best Buy's optimization service."

People should just avoid Best Buy. That's my .02 conclusion.

.

...
As far as what XChrome said.

If the people buying these computers have nobody to help them set them up, like friends, family or the local computer guy (me) then maybe this service (while it is expensive) may be of some value to the costumer (assuming they don't turn off UAC).

He does have one thing right. Most of the people out there don't know there ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to computers. I hate to say it, but if the geek squad didn't remove the free trial antivirus that came with the machine, then the customer would mostly likely be running 2 AV's, the one they bought and the one that came on the computer.

The one guy said 30% of people know what an service pack is. I'm shocked the % is that high. I'd put it at around 1%. You would be surprised (or not) how many people have never installed service pack 2 for Vista.

So while i'm not very fond of Best Buy as a whole, if idiot goes to buy a computer and has NOBODY to help them set it up, then MAYBE the optimization service could be beneficial.

With any type of service you are going to get helped by someone who knows a lot and other times with someone who knows a little. Unfortunately if we could get someone who knew what they were doing 100% of the time it would be a perfect world.

As an example, I helped someone who was having problems installing windows and didn't know how to install the drivers for his machine and needed my help. Long story short this same guy wanted me to write him a recommendation to Best Buy to work for the Geek Squad *laugh*. I basically told him "Dude you didn't even know how to install your own drivers, so no!". I'm going to guess these are the kinds of people that do most of the half ass job mentioned in the article. All in all these people give the ones that know what they are doing a bad name.

**** i live in New Zealand and even i know to avoid any company offering to "Optimize" for a fee a new PC/laptop first thing i do when i get home is format c:\ and clean install only what i want and need

Atlonite said,
**** i live in New Zealand and even i know to avoid any company offering to "Optimize" for a fee a new PC/laptop first thing i do when i get home is format c:\ and clean install only what i want and need


Here here!..or is it "hear hear"? hmmm lol

ANYTHING GEEK SQUAD is a waste of money! When will people get this through their heads to stop using the geek squad for anything??? They are the most incompetent and unprofessional bunch of losers you'll ever see! I cannot believe they have lasted as long as they have, I honestly don't.

As much as I know bestbuy pre-optmizations are a joke.

I bought a PC that was pre-optimized. My assumption was they didn't know it. I didn't ask nor was it offered.

The one thing I was impressed with and find it worth it marginally if they make the recovery discs all the time for the user. That was a suprise when I opened the box to find the recovery discs already made. It made it easier for me to wipe it out and put a clean OS (not using the recovery discs). But normally I have to make them myself.

Duh!! Do you think?!!

I have the EXACT same cd those guys use for "cleaning" computers.

Nothing more than Spybot, AVG AV, and a few other goodies that are FREELY available on the net.

The Geek Squad is a total joke.

Little known fact,

When you buy a computer that was optimizated, it's ready to go, theirs nothing more that you need to do to the computer. All the updates are completed for you, Advertisements are removed, anti virus is installed, updated and configued for you.

Surely anyone with a brain can do this, but its more about the convenience your paying for not the labor.

250$ acer laptop was a holiday item a week before Christmas, if your a bby employee its the 5446 model or whatever one is 349$ reg priced.

About the black tie protection, We make 60% profit on the plans and they really do cover a lot more then your manufacture warranty. Do you really wanna call Tom from India for help? These plans do get fulfilled on a daily basis.

However, We push protection plans, credit cards and services because we are a business.
We sell computers nearly UNDERCOST. We make either 10 cents on a computer or we loose money on em, especially if they are on sale.

Our credit card helps us because we don't pay fees at the end of the day to visa, Amex, or master card.

Alone in the month of December we paid Visa 40k, Amex 90k, and master card 50k, thats 180k in just fees.

zeroeh said,
Little known fact,

When you buy a computer that was optimizated, it's ready to go, theirs nothing more that you need to do to the computer. All the updates are completed for you, Advertisements are removed, anti virus is installed, updated and configued for you.

READY TO GO?! UPDATED?!

How about you read the article. it very clearly states that
"â€Â¢The job was sometimes rushed, leaving the computer in standby mode or in the middle of installing Windows updates"
So tell me, if the lid of the laptop is closed (obviously for packing), how was it "ready to go" since Windows Updates won't complete if the computer is in standby? In fact, presenting them with a half-completed window throws them into the middle of a problem they may not be able to handle. at least if they do it themselves, they are presented will the intro explanation pages of what WU is going to do.

Or perhaps
"â€Â¢A power cable was missing"
Is it truly ready to go if the computer is lacking an essential feature that would be required for more than 8 hrs? (let's be generous and assume a thin and light, battery efficient model).

What about this
"â€Â¢Papers for another computer were in the box"
So you want to confuse the consumer perhaps? What if that paperwork discussed features that were not available for that model?

Or this
"â€Â¢Windows updates had been downloaded, but one machine's Windows Defender was not up to date, because it was deactivated by the system's default factory settings"
Again, NOT ready to go. If they "fully update," your computer, then ALL anti-virus/spyware tools should be ready for use. Why not just disable Windows Updates? They did Defender.

Finally, ur thoughts on this please:
"â€Â¢Desktop was cleaner, but the bloatware was never actually uninstalled (only the shortcuts were removed)"
Advertisements were not fully REMOVED. They were HIDDEN.

So please, tell me how your original comment applies to this article.

zeroeh said,
We sell computers nearly UNDERCOST. We make either 10 cents on a computer or we loose money on em, especially if they are on sale.

Money is neither loose nor tight.

/Wonders why people lose the ability to spell lose correctly...

zeroeh said,
Little known fact,

When you buy a computer that was optimizated, it's ready to go, theirs nothing more that you need to do to the computer. All the updates are completed for you, Advertisements are removed, anti virus is installed, updated and configued for you.

Look. You missed some other obvious ones.

Optimizated? OPTIMIZED! L3@rn to sp311

"their's nothing more that you need to do to the computer" Theirs? "Their's" is plural possessive. You mean "There's" as in "There is"

GOD. /cries at the eduction system of the world

Only time I have "used" geek squad was when I purchased a sony record player... they were selling the floor model for $40 or so (originally $120, pushing it out for the new model with the USB port) and I got the replacement protection for $15 in case it didn't work. Well, it didn't. Brought it in, geek squad was going to fix it, couldn't, so i got a new one! No complaints there!


Otherwise, I would never allow them to touch any computer product of mine... never.

Optimizations for what? Saying the PC is optimized is so broad that with no actual proof like benchmarks is fraud imo.

Apple and Microsoft OS by itself are "moderately" optimized for all tasks. Once you start to tweak it for a specific task "optimization" then you will see a speed hit when you use it for something else.

And with nothing on it and no usage thus far, what could possibly need to be done too. It's silly. AND dear god if I saw that all they did was remove SHORTCUTS?? What a fun conversation THAT would be... LMAO

Can't BBB or something go after Best Buy for selling open box items (used) as new like when they sell you the laptop but you talk them out of the optimization BS?

Personally I would never buy anything in the price range of a computer already opened. I do not care who did it. Sealed box or my money goes elsewhere.

Crap like this is why Newegg sucks my wallet dry every month or so.

necrosis said,
Can't BBB or something go after Best Buy for selling open box items (used) as new like when they sell you the laptop but you talk them out of the optimization BS?.

This.

If the box isn't shrink wrapped when I get to the counter, I want a display item reduction'' in the price kthnx

A cousin of mine was forced to buy his kid a PS3 slim that was 'optimized' by the geek squad for an additional $30 over the $300 retail price. (he bought it right before xmas and at BB because there was none that were not optimized and his kid wanted it 'now' because it was his birthday and toys r us etc were out of them.) I asked him what they did to optimize a PS3 for them and he said they had already opened the PS3 package (Wonderful) and set it up already so all he had to do was plug it in. I went to the local best Buy in West Paterson NJ and all the PS3's before xmas were stickered that they had been pre-set-up by the geek squad and there was a $30 charge for this 'service'. When i asked what they meant by pre set-up they told me that "you know, all i had to do was take it home and plug in all the wires and it would automatically work." I got into it with the guy but Best Buy is a scam. I refuse to shop there.

KXH said,
A cousin of mine was forced to buy his kid a PS3 slim that was 'optimized' by the geek squad for an additional $30 over the $300 retail price. (he bought it right before xmas and at BB because there was none that were not optimized and his kid wanted it 'now' because it was his birthday and toys r us etc were out of them.) I asked him what they did to optimize a PS3 for them and he said they had already opened the PS3 package (Wonderful) and set it up already so all he had to do was plug it in. I went to the local best Buy in West Paterson NJ and all the PS3's before xmas were stickered that they had been pre-set-up by the geek squad and there was a $30 charge for this 'service'. When i asked what they meant by pre set-up they told me that "you know, all i had to do was take it home and plug in all the wires and it would automatically work." I got into it with the guy but Best Buy is a scam. I refuse to shop there.


a good friend of mine Josh works for the GS and he had 2 customers on 2 separate days bring in a PS3 both not the slim 1 of the original Ps3s and 1 a year old neither had capability to connect to the internet. the issue 2 separate new BD movies did not play cause it needed new FW so BBs can offer for $30 i think it is to update the FW for you if you cant do it yourself or know someone who can.

I have been in best buy and over heard the sell's people telling customer the biggest load of crap you can possible imagine. mostly to do with buying extra warranty or services. They even tried to sell me a laptop that was a 150 less than the one i wanted for the same price has the one i wanted but they would give me the Windows Vista DVD.

Oh, they would give you the Windows DVD? That's like a $ 20 savings right there... You know, they don't just *give* those away at Best Buy... LMAO

I honestly would not trust a Geek Squad person (at least at my local best buy) as far as I could throw em. We were looking at a laptop of my friends because it wouldn't power on. At our house we tested the power cord with a volt meter, tested the connections in the laptop, etc, leading us to believe that either the transformer in the cord was busted, the power supply in the laptop was busted, or a combination of both. A trip to Radio Shack really confirmed this when we tried using a power adapter they had for the series of laptops which failed to power it.

We brought it to the Best Buy Geek Squad counter to get a second opinion, just to be safe, and when we gave the laptop to the guy he just stared at it, checked if the battery was there... stared some more. Then we said "Do you have some kind of universal power adapter or something you can try?" So he tried that, had a hard time figuring out which plug to use, until he said "Yeah, it's probably dead." USELESS!

Luckily we didn't pay for any of that :P

TrueMonolith said,
Doesnt it violate their OEM agreement with manufacturers if they try and sell the OEM stuff to the customer for a retail price?

What OEM stuff are they selling for a retail price? They charge for the discs (Windows 7, system software, etc.), but it isn't the retail cost. It's (I think) $ 20 and the charge is *technically* for the "service" of burning this CD for you.

Now, I strongly disagree with this practice, and feel it should be put to death. For what it costs for the OEM to burn a CD and throw it in the box, it would save consumers countless headaches, AND prevent slimy companies like Best Buy from taking advantage of people that don't know any better.

It's really a disgusting trend.

I already knew about this best buy often. I don't trust best buy store for fix computers.

I can speed computer up with MSE anti-virus on Windows XP, Vista and 7 also upgrade memory too. I don't trust any anti-virus or anti-spyware programs on this computer, because they can eat performance on all computers.

Gameboy1977

gameboy1977 said,
I already knew about this best buy often. I don't trust best buy store for fix computers.

I can speed computer up with MSE anti-virus on Windows XP, Vista and 7 also upgrade memory too. I don't trust any anti-virus or anti-spyware programs on this computer, because they can eat performance on all computers.

Gameboy1977


Haha. Wow.

The geek squad is about as reliable as a used car salesman or a car repair place. Only about 1% are honest.
It amazes me when I'm in BB, killing an hour when I'm bored, overhearing some of the crap they are telling
uneducated computer shoppers. If only these reports from the consumerist were published on major newspapers & TV outlets.
It's not about customer service, it's about selling extended warranties.

I can tell you from experience that the vast majority of "techs" are arrogant little ****s that get a few smileys (certs) and think they're rocket scientists. Most people here know more than they do. They take total advantage of trusting customers. It's exactly the same scenario as the housewife and the mechanic. I recently had Best Buy "Squad" bid on a commercial wiring job, they bid around $12,000 .... I hired a local guy and it was done in 5 hours for $550. Go ahead and justify that. They rape customers at every turn. Pushing warranties and flat out lying to customers. I haven't stepped foot into a store in years and agree with most above, why even bother, you can get everything they sell elsewhere for cheaper without the nonsense. Don't forget they absolutely sell your information to third party marketers, for more "cheese" I guess.

XXChrome is absolutely correct!

Best buy and similar large businesses do not understand nor care about the technical aspect of their products.
Yet they generally do a very good job of making computers easy to understand for seniors as many older people only ever want to send email or print photos, something most sales people actually know something about and will spend time with.
One thing that is never mentioned in these forums of course is any kind of sympathy for sales people, they are not all "coining it in hand over fist," the people who work at these places get minimum wage and mostly no bonus in fact they are almost always bullied and told they MUST sell extra services with 9 out of 10 sales or they WILL be PUNISHED! (Yes the word is accurate. I have witnessed it first hand in previous jobs) managers say things like "you aren’t trying" "Go back to them and try again (x10)" "If it doesn't have cover you might as well get your coat now" "You can forget having Tuesday off/lunch etc if we aren’t hitting target" And yes it’s your legal right etc but only those who have done this kind of work truly understand that they CAN get away with treating sales people like this. To cut a long story short PLEASE GET THE MDS ADDRESS AND WRITE TO HIM/HER, THEY ARE THEY ONLY PEOPLE WHO CAN MAKE A CHANGE, anyone else just passes the blame down the line and it ends up costing the front line people their time/pay and trust me that COSTS THE CUSTOMER because they get treated with contempt, honestly it’s the fat cat MDs/Chief Execs you need to stick the knife into if you want to make any kind of difference.

I had managers like that. I handled the situation by citing company policies and your legal rights as a worker. It makes them back off you real quick.

Follow the rules and there isn't much they can do against you. The ones who try to get you can easily be dealt with if they become a problem. If they break the rules bring them to the attention of their superior.

Because there isn't a standard for what needs to be done. Most of the technicians don't have the experience to do this kind of stuff which is why you'll get wildly inconsistent results in their services. Technicians also don't rely on a trouble ticketing system to keep each other up to date on what is going on with each computer which causes lots of problems. When I worked for them I fought management to enforce the use of a ticketing system to come up with documents that standardize what we actually do when we perform these services but since this stuff was technical in nature they had no idea how to check for compliance. Their standards for who becomes a technician is way too lenient as well.

The job was a total nightmare for me. When I got out of the Air Force as a 3C0 I decided to go to college and take up the Geek Squad as my part time job. The fail was so strong in the their organization I quit and found some other BS job in the area.

Back in the day, I worked for "Firedog" (Circuit City)
This is what "I" did to optimize XP systems:

-Change windows update to "Microsoft Update" and perform all updates
-Adjust display settings to nix the animations/sliding behaviors of windows
-Adjust the settings of a select set of system services (disable some, change some to manual verses automatic)
-Edit SYSOC.INF so I can uninstall "Windows Messenger" from add/remove programs and subsequently remove it
-Remove MSN Explorer
-Carefully adjust startup programs in msconfig (keeping important things enabled)
-Move the pagefile to the second drive if it was a dual-drive system
-If the customer opts for all 'trialware' to be removed I would remove all bloatware (not just icons)
-Remove duplicate tools for managing wifi/power/settings (OEM-ized versions)
-Adjust the registry settings so that the shutdown process automatically kills open tasks and services
-Increase the concurrent connections limit of Internet Explorer
-Add more changes to the registry including a few tweaks to make network browsing faster

and more... that I Cant really think off the top of my head

I did a lot for my customers, even point them out to the dozens of free options for pc training (Like HP free training) and use discounted skews to try to give the customer the best value for their money.

I'll start by saying that I am an ex "agent" for the GeekSquad and I will also say that I can only speak for my specific store and the observations I made therein.

1) Is the optimization a joke? Yes and no.. Alot of the "optimization" is done via registry tweaks to speed up the overall appearance of the operating system. It also changes some Cache sizes for IE and other things so that junk doesn't build up. Can anyone read how to do these things and then apply that knowledge? Yes! But BBY has them all in one little package. It is pure profit for the company and that is why they offer it!

2) Things that should happen during an optimization... Tweaks (as outlined above), Windows Updates, Removal of Bloatware. At my store, all the people with whom I worked (with the exeception of one), were outstanding individuals and knew what they were doing. Many of them had prior experience and had pursued various certifications. We all worked to provide the best experience for the customer, often at the expense of the company. If a computer was old enough, I would often suggest they buy a new one for a whopping $75 more than they would pay in service fees where the store could have easily turned a much larger profit from us fixing the computer..

As was stated above, don't judge the entire compnay on just one experience. Sure corporate pushes alot of things down the pipe, but in the end it is up to the stores, and eventually the employees themselves on how to handle and implement those directives...

cswadner said,
I'll start by saying that I am an ex "agent" for the GeekSquad and I will also say that I can only speak for my specific store and the observations I made therein.

1) Is the optimization a joke? Yes and no.. Alot of the "optimization" is done via registry tweaks to speed up the overall appearance of the operating system. It also changes some Cache sizes for IE and other things so that junk doesn't build up. Can anyone read how to do these things and then apply that knowledge? Yes! But BBY has them all in one little package. It is pure profit for the company and that is why they offer it!

2) Things that should happen during an optimization... Tweaks (as outlined above), Windows Updates, Removal of Bloatware. At my store, all the people with whom I worked (with the exeception of one), were outstanding individuals and knew what they were doing. Many of them had prior experience and had pursued various certifications. We all worked to provide the best experience for the customer, often at the expense of the company. If a computer was old enough, I would often suggest they buy a new one for a whopping $75 more than they would pay in service fees where the store could have easily turned a much larger profit from us fixing the computer..

As was stated above, don't judge the entire compnay on just one experience. Sure corporate pushes alot of things down the pipe, but in the end it is up to the stores, and eventually the employees themselves on how to handle and implement those directives...

The service itself ain't bad.... it's actually good.... but the fact that many stores FORCE the service upon customers is another thing...

For alot of employees, if you offer them bonuses if they push X amount of services (that are, as you said, pure profit), they get a bonus, they will force VERY hard for people to get it.

lol in Canada, we have a company that's owned by Best buy called Futureshop, which are basically the same thing under a different name. They do the exact same

I watched a TV show about this a couple years ago on a french canadian TV show called "La facture" (Loosely translated, 'The bill'). The show takes care of matters consumers takes to them about stores or companies abusing the customers's good faith.

Basically, they showed how Futureshop (and, I assume, Best Buy is the same) pressure salespeople to push people to get extended warranties/additional services when they buy items in store for 'extra bonuses' at the end of the month.

Personnally, I buy my computer stuff at a trustworthy computer shop downtown. I help a local business and they don't try to rip me off in half.

I don't know why/how Best Buy is even in business still. I can find everything cheaper elsewhere, guaranteed. USB cables $50? Network cables for $35? HDMI for $80? Give me a break. I'll get my on Cat6 cable at Fry's for $3.

If you know what you are doing and I hate to assume but most here do the yes of course it is not a benifit don't overstate the obvious.

If you don't know what you are doing and don't have someone to do it for you then yes it is a benifit.

Now I have a battered hilt to sell in wow and some zombies to kill in killing floor and btw when the heck is RUSE comming. I want it and I want it now CoH is getting tiresome.

Completely ignorant and off topic. If you read the article it was simply stating that BB is obviously employing deceptive practices to sell merchandise when a "plan" is not needed and does NOTHING for the consumer.

XChrome said,
If you know what you are doing and I hate to assume but most here do the yes of course it is not a benifit don't overstate the obvious.

If you don't know what you are doing and don't have someone to do it for you then yes it is a benifit.

Now I have a battered hilt to sell in wow and some zombies to kill in killing floor and btw when the heck is RUSE comming. I want it and I want it now CoH is getting tiresome.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the sort of person Best Buy employs to work on systems. Save your money.

I just bought a laptop form bestbuy the other day. and they tried to push their "optimization" service on me i complained to the manager and stated that if they can't keep non optimized laptops in stock i would take my business elsewhere. He agreed to let them sell it to me for the normal price with their optimizations in place. i Then made my system restore discs and put it back to out of box state and removed what i wanted to and did my own optimizations. these services are a joke and are made for pure profit on the stores behalf.

snakes200 said,
I just bought a laptop form bestbuy the other day. and they tried to push their "optimization" service on me i complained to the manager and stated that if they can't keep non optimized laptops in stock i would take my business elsewhere. He agreed to let them sell it to me for the normal price with their optimizations in place. i Then made my system restore discs and put it back to out of box state and removed what i wanted to and did my own optimizations. these services are a joke and are made for pure profit on the stores behalf.

Are you people dumb? For the pure profit of the store.....well duuuhhhhhhhhh everything sold in a store is for pure profit. Man I hate these theaters charging for food it just for their pure profit and they $9 for a ticket. How dare they it obviously for pure profit, ROFL.

Clearly in the context "pure profit" is pointing to the fact that there was no benefit to the purchaser as opposed to a movie ticket which provides entertainment or popcorn which is delicious.

XChrome said,
Are you people dumb? For the pure profit of the store.....well duuuhhhhhhhhh everything sold in a store is for pure profit. Man I hate these theaters charging for food it just for their pure profit and they $9 for a ticket. How dare they it obviously for pure profit, ROFL.

Is everything you have to say not worth reading?

kukubau said,
@XChrome

Who are you? A geeksquad 'secret agent'? :)

Nice try.


Sounds like one haha. Extended warranty is close to pure profit, and I believe it's common sense.

kukubau said,
@XChrome

Who are you? A geeksquad 'secret agent'? :)

Nice try.

I used to be so therefore am in a better position to know.

Also facts are facts.

Most people I assume that come here are computer savvy because well this is a tech news site and most laymen would not come here, in general. So for most of "us", yeah we don't need the services offered and we build our own systems but the average "Joe". Well to be honest aren̢۪t too bright.

When I still worked there an "I.T." professional came in complaining that his system did not come with restore discs and we had to make right because he wanted to restore it to sell and get rid of his Linux. Well upon looking at it I noticed 2 things he changed HD and it was systems that did not come with restore discs but I guess because he "knew" what he was doing he just set up Linux without reading any of the documentation. I said sorry it's not our responsibility to make him aware of everything about his system and that the sales person would have offered him the creation of the discs and so at this point all he could do was call the MFG and pay the 80$ for the restore or put in the old HD which may have a hidden partition with the recovery on it. He lost it and we threw him out; either way normal people can and would benefit from the service and yes there are bad apples just like there are everywhere.

I mean people here are acting like the conservative republicans saying Global Warming is proved bunk because one researcher was over zealous in trying to get published. Bad Apples are everywhere it does not make a bad Apple Tree.

chconline said,

Sounds like one haha. Extended warranty is close to pure profit, and I believe it's common sense.

LOL. Yeah pure porfit if they never get used but at least 30% do and many don't because forget tehy have a plan. I bought one of the last Toshiba tube 16:9 televisions that came out, a 21" if I remember right. I got the 4 year PSP[The warranty though I think they call it something else now] on it. Me plus 2 kids = it went dead in the 4th year. I paid $700 for it. That $700 got me a Samsung 42" HDTV [on sale]. The PSP cost me 99.99 and so it saved me $600 from buying a new TV. Well worth it. Now a $40 PSP on a $80 Digital camera maybe not worth it though if used it saves you $40 over all.

i had a similar experience with my audio system except instead of giving me back the total amount of money or allowing me store credit for the same, they only gave me whatever they considered "a reasonable replacement of my old music system"...another old outdated system that was a fraction of the cost.

XChrome said,
I mean people here are acting like the conservative republicans saying Global Warming is proved bunk because one researcher was over zealous in trying to get published. Bad Apples are everywhere it does not make a bad Apple Tree.

Republicans aren't disputing global warming, they are disputing man made global warming. Anyways, off topic.

1. The bad optimizations at 18 of 400+ cannot be looked at as a reflection of the whole.

2. Like it or not people are just that and make mistakes and or feel rushed. When were the purchases made? Black Friday? A slow Wednesday morning? What was the size of the Best Buy was it the BIG Super ones with a Magnolia and the works or a smaller one. All can play in a factor of work being done properly or not.

3. A report should not guess at what may have caused a performance dump. If the people doing this "study" knew what they were doing then they surely would be able to exactly pinpoint what caused the problem not guess. If you guess you are usually wrong.

4. Sure I bet power cords do get forgotten it can happen.

5. Most people want a computer ready to go. I know people with Windows XP on a P4 that still have not ran windows update because they are afraid of changing something. A proper optimization is a benefit, even if only for the updates.

6. Best Buy has started making pre set-up/optimized computers for the grab and go market, however all Best Buy employees are instructed that if no more non optimized/set-up systems are avail then you have to sell the pre ones at normal price and simply remove the installed AV if it was one with a pre installed. If as a consumer you say you don't want to wait the 15min or so for the uninstall then you can buy it with the cost or not.

7. Ultimately this is like saying we sent people out to 18 McDonalds and found blah blah blah. Ni Difference one sells you food with upgrade options one sells you electronics.

8. Finally on the warranties: If you don't buy one your a dam fool. Electronics no longer give you a MTBF rating but based on most consumer use the average life of any electronic it less than the MFG warranty. Add in that they also sell "dumbass protection" i.e. accidental damage protection where can you go wrong. I'd like to see then send people to 18 stores to hang out all day and record how many people **** and moan about the fact that the item they bought either is not under warranty or the people is not covered cause of "dumbass" use like leaving a digital camera in a back pocket or dropping their laptop down a flight of stairs at school.

nuff said.

Let's see. Sample 18, and 17 of 18 cost a fist of cash for no improvement in performance. The 18th one had a significant reduction of performance. Yeah. That is significant. I don't need to check all 400+ stores to know the service is crap, and I am getting ripped off.

Add in the other issues? Well, it looks like you pay for a disservice, to me.

@XChrome: Thank you, it makes me happy to read posts that actually make sense, and for that, I'll expand as a former employee.

1+2. Yes, people (employees) are a common cause of this. Sadly, consumers are also just as much a cause. A typical service may only generally take 2 to 3 hours, but that isn't always the case, and it's often a case of inpatients on the consumer end. (Yes, many people are often multiple service packs behind for example). It's not fun trying to perform a full service on a laptop when a customer doesn't even bring a power adapter along for the service. Not to place blame on the consumers however, just stating it happens on both ends, and yes, human error can come into play.

3. Actual data doesn't look as good on paper when it doesn't help their cause.

4. Can happen, but should be rare. They note what is there at check-in, and what is there are check-out, and will take appropriate actions to remedy solutions when they are clearly at fault.

5. That is something most people at Neowin will not understand. Most people here are computer enthusiasts in some shape or form, but the mass population is not. I'd be surprised in more than 30% of Geek Squad's customer base knows what a service pack is. I'm not making fun of them, it's just common nature. Not everybody knows that tires need to be rotated on a vehicle or lint needs to be removed regularly from a drier. As long as somebody they can depend on knows, that's all that matters for some people. Indeed, updates are the biggest advantage of an optimization, no question. But the potential performance that can be gained from other aspects is nothing to scoff at either. The problem is this service is very open-ended to description. When I perform an 'optimization' type service (be it in the past for Geek Squad) or in other services not related to Geek Squad, I find best practice is not to remove things unless their very being installed is hurting performance (We're looking at you anti-virus trials that don't really do much until you give up your first born child). But just because something isn't removed doesn't mean the optimization was a failure, as long as things aren't running unless you're asking them to run... on some computers it makes a world of difference, on others almost none.

6. Absolutely. Best Buy/Geek Squad does a pretty good job of determining percentage of sales with their pre set-up/optimized computers, but if by chance they are wrong, they can never force you to buy this service. You always have both the right to refuse the service, and the right to purchase the product. In fact, it is often more work for them to remove the services, and they usually will sell the machine as-is (that is, not charge for any services)

7. This is what consumerist does best. Don't get me wrong, some of what they stand for is fantastic, but more often than not, they're running on extremes. Best Buy services millions of people in a month, percentages say there is going to be some dis-satisfied people, that happens with any company as they service more people. You go to any mom and pop store, and they'll often have higher prices and the same disappointment percentages, it's just not as easy to target.

8. The accidental warranty coverage is absolutely phenomenal. I don't know why they offer it, as it seems like it can't be as profitable as the warranties they offered in the past, but I suppose it's an easier sell, so they get more which may even it out for them. Extended warranties, or service plans, or whatever name people want to give them are always a matter of opinion. People are unhappy if they get them and don't use it, or need it and don't have it. That's the way it goes. Everybody has a different opinion on insurance, but ultimately, the choice is always yours. Think about this; in some states auto or home insurance is made mandatory by law. I'm not saying that this should be the case with computers or electronics, but insurance has it's place in the world, whether we like it or not.


In an extension to #7, if Best Buy/Geek Squad didn't exist, there would only be 2 cases: 1) There would be somebody else in their place for people to complain about, or 2) prices would be generally higher.


I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent doing my best to help people who knew less about computers and electronics that me, but in absolutely no way resented the people who did not need my, or Best Buy/Geek Squad's services. Before I worked there, I never utilized their services, but that doesn't mean there isn't value in them for others.

1. If all 18 were bad or offered no gain then yes, it is a bad trend and one that should be considered as at least somewhat relevant. a 3 or 5% sample size isn't that bad.

2. Why should it matter. The quality of service should be deemed good be it a high or a low time, small or large store. Yes factors come into play and experiences will differ but thats not an excuse for someone to leave unsatisfied. If it's busy add staff to the roster.

3. I don't think they did. It said a "commenter pointed out".

4. Its still lousy for the consumer and it should be on a check list that gets ticked off as the computer is packed if they are likely to forget it.

5. Windows at least now days has all the updates run in the background anyway. The consumer doesn't need to worry about installing them because by the time they are notified its usually already installed.

Anyway I get the impression that this was while buying a new system. Really any system built after the service packs last release should have been installed with the service pack to begin with, with some exception given to systems produced and set up prior to the updates release.

That and if the users are so novice why are they trying to add in extra tool bars which the user likely doesn't need into explorer and IE. I'm pretty sure MS with all their R&D money has a better idea what a user needs to be able to see and if anything adding UI elements that are disabled by default on other systems will just confuse those novice users.

6. Point was in this article they pushed the higher price.

7. See Point 1

8. Extended warranties seems irrelevant to the article about the optimisation service being a waste of time

When she asked if she could install anti-virus software herself instead of paying Geek Squad to do it, she was told installing software yourself, "negates the vendor's warranty."

WTF?!!?!

The nerve of those people.

kukubau said,
WTF?!!?!

The nerve of those people.

A bad employee I doubt it can be said all say this because it's not true. again don't be stupid. 400+ stores x 100 emplyess means you get poorly trained people sometimes.

XChrome said,

A bad employee I doubt it can be said all say this because it's not true. again don't be stupid. 400+ stores x 100 emplyess means you get poorly trained people sometimes.

Unless it's something that's being disseminated from the corporate office. That happens too. In Insurance for example, you're claims process will only run as smoothly as the Regional Claims Manager (The top level in your area) chooses. He sets the tone. It can be the same with retail in many regards...

Never ever use Geeksquad. I tell everyone i know.. they are overly expensive and they dont know what they do most of the time!..

dimithrak said,
Never ever use Geeksquad. I tell everyone i know.. they are overly expensive and they dont know what they do most of the time!..

I agree. It's scary. I don't let anyone play around with my computers like that. Oh the damage they can do. I allowed someone in Corporate take my laptop one time to hook it up to their printer. He had it for a full day (Which should have horrified me). Later I found files missing (?), it was now unable to connect to or see ANY wireless network, connect to the internet directly through a router, OR print... So yeah... No one touches my computer.

I honestly didn't need a report to tell me that, as if you ever ask a sales rep what the optimization does, you can tell that all the alleged benefits are just something that someone in upper-management just blew out of their you-know-what.

Oddly though, at both of my local Best Buys, the sales people are more pushy towards credit cards than anything. If you say no to the protection plan/optimization/home setup, than they accept that and move on. However, if you say no to the Best Buy credit card, they will keep nagging you about it, and offer you brochures, and and really try to convince you on getting a credit card.

Yeah, I've been there. The nagging is getting very old. I very rarely go to Best Buy because of that. For years Circuit City was like that and then I stopped going there. They in later years changed that practice, so I started to return, but in the end that was to late for them... I think people need to vote with their wallets on this one...

Geek Squad is a joke. Over my 9 years in I.T. I've heard nothing but bad reports and bad experiences about them both first hand and via the internet.

I agree. I was told the same thing when I was trying to buy a laptop from Best Buy. I told them I was reformatting the PC once I got home and this would be a waste of money for me. They called the manager and removed the restore disks and I was able to buy the laptop anyway. This is a big waste of money.

They removed the restore disks?!? WTF! How can they do that? You're purchasing the laptop and the disks come from the manufacturer. Plus how does a restore disk have anything to do with "optimization"? Obviously they were trying to screw with you and keep you from doing a reload on your own (to teach you a lesson) but that's ridiculous.

Tim Dawg said,
They removed the restore disks?!? WTF! How can they do that? You're purchasing the laptop and the disks come from the manufacturer. Plus how does a restore disk have anything to do with "optimization"? Obviously they were trying to screw with you and keep you from doing a reload on your own (to teach you a lesson) but that's ridiculous.

They removed the restore discs because they no longer come with restore disc they have to be made one of the offerings fromBest Buy so a pre setup system bought without the pre setup have the discs taken out because you did not pay for the service, Don't be stupid. About the only systems that come with restores are ASUS and specific models of Dell. At least those sold at Best Buy. Other wise you have to run a utlity to make them using from 3-5 DVD depending on the system. All systems allow you to make them as often as you like except HP which requires that yiou do a full restore with format to re-enable the creation process.

A friend of mine just bought a laptop at Best Buy and was told that they charged him to burn a backup copy of Windows... I told him it was no biggie as I have Windows install discs up the whazoo, but I still find this to be an appalling trend. Manufacturers should just ship the discs and be done with it. Not doing so is allowing companies like Best Buy to take advantage of customers that don't know better.

XChrome said,
They removed the restore discs because they no longer come with restore disc they have to be made one of the offerings fromBest Buy so a pre setup system bought without the pre setup have the discs taken out because you did not pay for the service, Don't be stupid. About the only systems that come with restores are ASUS and specific models of Dell. At least those sold at Best Buy. Other wise you have to run a utlity to make them using from 3-5 DVD depending on the system. All systems allow you to make them as often as you like except HP which requires that yiou do a full restore with format to re-enable the creation process.

Thats not true. Both my toshiba laptops came with reload disks, and the e-machine laptop came with a reload ISO which takes up ONE normal DVD.

Used to work at Best Buy. At the meetings, they would claim, themselves, that entering the services business such as this is what keeps them profitable. Optimizations, memory upgrades, home installations, and the (at the time) performance service plan (we called these plans "cheese", as they were pure profit) were being heavily pushed whenever you tried to buy a computer. Nice to see them being called out.

Oh I'm sure they're VERY profitable. The only expense is labor. I hope this results in a class action personally. I find this disgusting.

One of the things that was also pretty misleading is that we were encouraged to tell customers that we were non-commission sales people. And while it's quite true that we did not get commission on sales, the whole purpose of even bringing it up was so that we could ease the customer in believing that we had no reason to pressure them into buying anything they didn't need. And that part was the farce. We were very heavily inclined to sell those extra things, as if we sold less, we would get less hours the to work. That means less pay. The more you sold, the more hours you got. So it wasn't simply commission that was dangled over our heads, it was our damn pay.

But with a warranty they do actually provide a benefit should something go wrong. They replace the piece of equipment. Here they really aren't even doing anything. Deleting shortcuts? Who can't do that?

M_Lyons10 said,
But with a warranty they do actually provide a benefit should something go wrong. They replace the piece of equipment.

They rarely honor those extended warranties that they sell. There's still pending litigation over failure to honor them. So, in many cases, as is with the Geek Squad, they actually provide nothing extra to the consumer.

Best Buy have been in the limelight over shady dealing since before they were called Best Buy.