Irvine, California
Not resolved

The sound on my notebook computer (PC) stopped working. I used the restore CD that came with the (PC). When I was finished and restarted the (PC) I saw a blue screen with the message " missing system 32 hal.dll.".

I took the computer (PC), restore CD and power cord to Best Buy (Geek Squad) on 8/28/09. The employee told me that they charge $69.99 to Diagnose the computer; the employee told me that the geek squad would call me when they were done. I received a voice mail message from the geek squad 4 days later on 8/31/09. I went to the store and talked to the employee about the (PC). I was told that the Hard Drive was bad. I asked the employee what needed to be done to get the (PC) working again. The employee said, "The Hard Drive in your computer needs to be replaced". I asked "How much will that cost?" I was told, $129.99 + $49.99 + $69.99 + price of a new hard drive. I was told hard drive price was around $50.00. (Copy of service order included with this letter) I told the employee NO THANK YOU and that I was not ready to spend that much on the (PC). I paid the $69.99 for the diagnostics and took my NOT WORKING (PC) home. I was OK with the $69.99 diagnostics charge at that time. That same night my next-door neighbor and I were talking about the (PC) problem I was having and he told me that his teenage son fixes his computer when it stops working properly. I asked my neighbor to have his teenage son look at my (PC) to see what he can do. I gave him the computer, restore CD and power cord. The (PC) DID NOT work properly anyway. Two (2) hours later that teenager came to my door with my WORKING computer. I asked the teenager how he fixed it and he told me that he formatted the hard drive 2 times in a row. He also told me that he had to do the same thing to his friends (PC) he fixed a few weeks before. He formatted the (PC) then turned it off rite away, restarted the (PC) reformatted again then installed the operating system. I spent 20 minutes checking out the (PC) then I paid him the $50.00 he wanted for fixing it and Thank him over & over again.

I took the WORKING (PC) back to the geek squad and talked to an employee named; Francisco Tapia. I asked to talk to the manager (Andy or Mahmud) and Francisco Tapia said "He is not here and will not be in until much later, can I help you?" I explained the whole story and asked for the $69.99 to be credited back to my credit card for the FAULSE diagnoses. Francisco Tapia told me that the geek squad was NOT going to give me a refund because the hard drive was bad and the diagnoses found bad sectors in it. I opened & turned on the notebook and showed Francisco Tapia that the notebook was working fine. Francisco Tapia said "We could have made the (PC) work by reinstalling the operating system too but it would have cost you more then the $69.99 we charged you. All I was told when I picked it up was that my Hard Drive was bad and needed to be replaced.

I understand what happened here, Best Buy (Geek Squad) wanted to sell a new hard drive to me and make money off me for the Installation Fee, New Hard Drive Fee, Operating System Installation Fee and the HW Install Fee whatever that is.

I honestly wonder how many people this company has RIPPED OFF?

I am writing this letter to you on the notebook computer that the Geek Squad said needed a new hard drive to work and were going to charge me about $300.00 for.

The wireless Internet, the speakers, the DVD player and everything else works now.

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i just found out myself they(Geek Squad)are rip offs. my boyfriend went in to get his music (produces music) off an old hard drive to be put onto a disc.

When he got it back 70% of his work was missing. Geek Squad said they had to keep it for "diagnostic testing". then they said they were "not able to pull data off. hdd locks up everything and a small ticking noise comes out".

asked for the old device back and they pretty much were like no. we are no longer going to best buy for anything anymore.


Rips off is just a short version of what they are!!! I have paid for their *** services than the freakin CPU!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Make up *** as they go along, install *** on the CPU so that in 30-60 days you have to take it back! Trust me find someone else!!!


The easiest fix would be to buy a Mac. I switched in 2005 and only had to bring one in for a minor warranty covered motherboard problem.


New HP 17 daysold . Took to Customer service desk and was sent to THE GEEKS.

They imolied that they were service Reps for HP . Called HP nope they sid noting about THE GEEKS. They were there to rip me off on a reinstall of Widows 7 . When iyt needed a hard drive.

Rip OFF artist.

Wont buy a ball point pen from Best Buy or deal withe thGEEKS again !!! Beware !!


"I was told, $129.99 + $49.99 + $69.99 + price of a new hard drive."

Sad thing is that doesn't include data back up.

The thing about Geek Squad or any other large corp service center. The employee doesn't make the prices. The company does.

If people would just learn the basics of how to use their computers then there would be no need for tech centers like that.

You had your recovery disk. Buy a hard drive (from anyone). 4 to 6 screw to put it in. Pop the in the recovery disks, actually READ the prompts. You're done. The only problem the average person my not able to do is if their recovery disks don't have all the drivers for their devices.

Computer tech centers are not a charity, they are a business. They will charge a lot because people are ***.



My laptop is still working fine!

I am writing this UPDATE comment on the same laptop. It is now 12/13/2010. I don't mind Best Buy trying to sell me parts for my computer, After all I understand that they are in business to sell. The thing that *** me off is that if you advertise as a repair service then you should try to repair!!!

If you are selling then sell but Don't screw with peoples heads!!!Do one or the other!!! It's *** what they are doing.


I've done everything from software engineering to systems engineering and administration for the past 20 years. I have owned countless computers and repaired way more than I care to count for friends and family. I've never dealt with Geek squad (no need to) though can you really expect an unbiased assessment of a technical problem from a service that is funded by a business that is in the business of selling you new systems and hardware?

Based on what the teenager told you (having to format the hard drive twice) I feel you probbly have a ticking time bomb on your hands because it really shouldn't take two attempts to format a good hard drive. The first attempt probably identified bad sectors and mapped them and the second attempt formatted around the bad sectors. Your computer may work for awhile or it could crash and burn the next time you boot up.

Hard drives are the most fickle parts of a computer, mostly because they are the only moving part in a modern computer system besides a cooling fan, yet everything that makes your computer what it is is contained on that drive.

I'm sure the Geek Squad is probably a rip off to some degree, but I highly advise anyone who is dependent on the data on their computer to backup important data often! Drives WILL fail and it's only a matter of time before one does. Think of it like keeping your important documents in a safe deposit box at a bank to hedge against them burning up in a house fire.


I do IT work and have been working in the industry for quite a while...

Best Buy d.b.a. Geek Squad, these dorks make up half of the things they talk about.


I am in now way, shape or form supporting Best Buy. I hate them actually. The tech that looked at your computer was probably not wrong though. Here is my reasoning....

hard drives are funny. Some fail quickly. Some can go years without issues. Some can give you warning signs that it is failing but not fail for a very significant amount of time. The tech that looked at your HD probably ran a read/write scan on it and saw that there were bad sectors that we not able to remapped. This means the hard drive is going bad. He would have been able to do the same thing your neighbor did (wipe and reload), and the drive may have failed right after, or maybe would have lasted another year. He was prob covering his ***. If he did just wipe and reload it, and it failed, you would have come back complaining that he didn't fix it because you have no idea what is going on inside of a computer. What he was doing was prob a preventative repair.

And to the *** who said 100% of data on a failed drive can be recovered is a complete ***. Drives fails for 3 reasons. Problems with the magnetic material (think of a VCR tape that has been recorded or way too many times), failed clutch not grabbing the platter(s) and making them spin (usually a clicking sound occurs), and electronics failure (boards and circuits). I would say that most failures can be recovered from about 60% of the time without having the drive disassembled in a clean room so have to data removed from the disk bit by bit and recreate the file system.. I could go on, but I would make your head hurt.

On that note....computers take a significant time to fix sometimes. And usually you need a lot of experience to diagnose issues. That experience usually cost $75-$85 an hour for repairs. It is expensive. It is not a rip off.



I am writing this update with the same laptop PC that best buy said needed a new hard drive and was going to charge me about $300.00 to fix. It is now 4 day's short of a year 8/24/10 and my laptop PC is still working fine. I hope Best Buy goes out of business!!!!!


That's what they get paid to do. It's meant to make money.

They take advantage of people.

That's how Best Buy works. It's a terrible company.


I am an in home installer and I know all about our up sell process. We have almost no training (I have had one in five years) and we are made to up sell.

I know I rip people off but I have no choice. If I don't up sell people then they threaten my hours. One agent didn't sell enough in the home and was demoted.

On one occasion we complained to the store about the level of overselling and we almost got written up. Be prepared to get very up sold,thats how they make all their money...


I work for geek squad and I am no techy nor is half the staff I work with....but we are salesman. Any *** who complains about getting ripped off should not get mad at us, we never held a gun to your head and forced you to pay.

We just sold you what you percieved as a value service (whether or not it turned out to be so) and you paid for it. When a carny takes you for 50 bucks for a stuffed elephant that costs 2 bucks at any toy store you don't get mad at the carny ( if you are a logical person instead of said idiots). You got duped by our excellent sales strategies.

Get over it.....we are a business.....if Unicef ever gets into the computer industry you can take your piece of *** to them. We don't care if you buy from us anyways (we don't get commision).


Wow, I can't believe Geek Squad charges what they charge for the service they offer.

$150.00 bucks for hardware install!? Ha, $50.00 if you take it them?

I love the tune up fee, you basically change the msconfig file and click a check box in IE and think that it is worth something? What a joke, and to the guy who said "your paying for knowledge", what knowledge, you took a class and got A+ certified and think that your are all knowing? What did, you get a masters in CS and then went to work at Geek Squad?

You get paid 15 bucks an hour, and Best Buy screws you and the consumer, just like $20.00 for a DVI to VGA adapter. Haha.


Of course Geek Squad is a joke. Their sole purpose in this world is to jab you where the sun doesn't shine with the biggest pole they can find. Just look at how much they charge to install Memory. Here is the correct process for installing memory.

Step 1. Open the case

Step 2. Insert the memory.

Now this isn't as hard as it sounds since the memory chip has a knotch which is so far of the center of the memory card that it can't be put in the wrong way.

Step 3. Once the memory is in place it will latch itself.

Step 4. Put the side of the case back on

Step 5. Turn on the computer and enjoy faster processing speed due to more memory.

The whole point of this is that it will take you less then five minutes to install a memory chip and you will save yourself the "service" charge.

They should be ashamed of themselves for what the gouge people with.

Now if your hard drive is bad, have the kid down the street do a diagnostic test and tell you if its bad. If it is, have him install it for you and get you back in business. Its worth the $50 bucks he wants to do it then to spend hundreds of dollars for the *** squad.


1 - Don't blame the Geek Squaud for performing a service, and then charging you the fee they promised.

2 - If they said that the HDD is bad, it probably is. A dying HDD can still be used, but it's just a matter of time before it crashes, and now you've wasted the $50 you paid the kid, and you'll need a new HDD anyway. Good job.

3 - You really shouldn't complain about diagnosing a problem on a product that you very onbviously dont understand.

Your ***. And the Geek Squad will thrive, because there are *** people like you.


I just delt with a similar problem. My external drive stopped working, had no power. I took it to Geek Squard and they called and said they could not fix it and would have to send it to and outside company to get the data. The minimum charge was going to $1200.

Took the hard to a local computer company and for $180 in parts and labor he was able to find a short in the board and was able to get me data onto a new drive.

Geek Squad is a TOTAL rip off!


:grin you all are funny, sure take it to the local place, or even a friend who graduated a two week class. 9 chances out of 10 you get your computer back with a formatted HDD and the problem waiting to corrupt your data when it spreads, and it will spread. S.M.A.R.T. failure is when a drive has reached its life expectancy this is something the manufacturer installs to let you know when its time to get a new HDD as for getting your data back, the best option anyone can do is back up to an external drive. if your wondering about your HDD condition then test it yourselves with a diagnostic program. get one and run a through test. most manufactures will include a diag program for your HDD when you get it....throw it out if its still under warranty I.E. again with the smart option that records the life of your drive it will 9 chances out of 10 pass the drive. Don't be ignorant with your computer repairs people if you paid 60 bucks for a quickfix your gonna get what you paid for and thats about it. with reputable company's like Geek Squad your paying for Irrefutably accurate diagnostics as they pay for the Licencing on over 10 programs just to check your system to see if its repairable. now that thats over we can get onto the good part

If your Capacitors are leaking out fluid or swolen from the top that is caused by the buildup of hydrogen gas in the electrolytic fluid. DONT THROW THE COMPUTER AWAY!! GS wont touch it but you can :) just replace the cap with the same microfarad and tempature range the voltage dosent matter unless you go under the source voltage get a 15-30 watt soldering gun and some solder and pop a new one in. that simple.

M.I.T. graduate class of 99

on a side note......If you know what the problem is and can repair it or know someone who can the why did you bring it to them in the first place?

In conclusion...Stop whining and moaning about prices cause you get just as screwed over when you get your car worked on, a computer is no different. your paying for the tools time and knowledge or you can go to autozone/radioshack and get the parts and do it yourself.


Even if hard drive fails, the files are not lost. 100% can be recovered for as little as $20 with a Hard Drive adapter and a second computer at hand.

Geek Squad wanted to charge me $280 for data recovery. I asked why so much. He said they will have to put all the data on new external hard disk. I said I have my own 1 terabyte external drive!

He said they have some kind of special drive... what a BS...

they have unprofessional dirty bussiness. Geek Squad is only interested in selling unnecessary stuff to you.



After I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau & Consumer Affairs, The manager of The Geek Squad called me, Apologized to me and Refunded the $69.99 for the FALSE diagnostics.

It is now 7 months later and my laptop that Best Buy said needed a new hard drive to work correctly is still working fine. I am updating my complaint on this web site from that same laptop. It is very sad that it took the Better Business Bureau & Consumer Affairs to get involved to get a Refund from Best Buy.

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