Best Buy and their Product Service Plan

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by ILubMyTivo, May 22, 2006.

  1. ILubMyTivo

    ILubMyTivo New Member

    Oct 13, 2003
    Wausau, WI


    Four years ago I was walking through my local Best Buy and noticed that they had a floor model Tivo on the shelf with a “Last One” sticker priced at $99. I asked the sales associate about the box and he told me that it was priced as is and that the remote was broken. I told him that I was interested and asked him to ring it up.

    We got to the inevitable point of the Best Buy Performance Service Plan and he started his pitch. “If it breaks and we can’t fix it, we hand you a new one. It’s even better if we don’t have one exactly like it because we just give you the upgrade for free. It is $80 for four years, it’s CHEAP!” I argued with him that I didn’t think it was worth it and he replied with, “If I drop the price of the Tivo down to $80 would you buy the Plan?” I thought about that for a moment or two and was finally swayed. I walked out the door a happy man with an $80 30 hour Tivo and an $80 4 year exchange warranty if repair was not available.

    In June of the next year, the 30 Hour Tivo started locking up, I believe that the hard drive was starting to go out. I took my Tivo back to the store with my receipt and turned it in for service. There was some confusion regarding if it was something to be fixed in the store or shipped off to be fixed elsewhere and how long this process would take, but that was soon sorted out and I left the store a happy man.

    Approximately two weeks later, I called the Best Buy 800 Service Department number to try and follow up on my Tivo and how long I would be without one of the most used devices in my house. A very nice woman talked to me over the phone and gave me some reassurances that she would track down the progress my Tivo had made and would call me back. A few days later she did indeed call me back and told me that the Tivo was unfortunately not a repairable item and that she would need to process some paperwork and forward it to the store so I could go in for an exchange. I asked her how long that would take and she replied that it should not take more then a few days and that she would call me again when that process was completed.

    A few more days pass and she does again call me with news that I should be able to head to the store and look for an exchange. I was happy with the news, it had been around three weeks by this time and I was suffering from Tivo withdrawal. That night I headed to the store and went to the service desk and identified myself. The person at the service desk looked up some paperwork for a few minutes, asked me to wait for a few minutes while she tracked down a manager to handle the exchange.

    After a short wait, a manager started to work with me. She asked that I find a replacement model on the shelf so I walked to the electronics department and found a 40 hour Tivo and brought the box up to the service desk. The manager told me that I would have to pay for the price difference between what I paid for my original Tivo and the replacement Tivo. I disagreed with her because of that the associate told me when I purchased the Performance Service Plan, that if repair was not an option that it was Best Buys responsibility to provide me with a replacement. She and I continued to disagree on this point, telling me that all of the things that the original sales associate told me were wrong and while she was sorry I was told these things, it did not change the facts of what we were facing at the moment. If I wanted a replacement Tivo, I would need to pay an additional $130.

    I was extremely unhappy at this development. After finding out that I was lied to, I was now faced with an expense that I certainly was not expecting. I worked through my options and told the manager that I would pay the difference between the two. I settled the bill and left, a very unhappy man.

    Three years later, I am now faced with a Tivo that has similar symptoms. Locking up and now the hard drive in the Tivo is clicking, certainly not a good sign. I called the Best Buy Customer Service department to determine what if any coverage remained from my Performance Service Plan. I was informed that I had originally purchased the Plan on May 30, 2002 and I had 10 days left. I wrote down the receipt information, unplugged my Tivo and headed for the store.

    After waiting in line for a few minutes, I presented my broken Tivo and my paperwork. This time a manager was on hand and asked me to retrieve a Tivo from the shelf. Familiar with the process, I looked at the available Tivo’s and chose an 80 hour Tivo thinking that I would be paying for the exchange anyway, why not upgrade?

    Back at the service counter, the manager greeted me and informed me that repair was not an option and that exchange was also now out of the question as I had already used the Plan to do an exchange once already. He offered to discount the new Tivo 10%, but this is $225, not the $50 or so I was expecting to spend. I told him that I was extremely unsatisfied with the process that I had been through over the years with this Performance Service Plan and that I would not be paying that much money. I left the store, again a very unhappy man.

    Let this serve as a warning to any potential Best Buy customers.
  2. cowboys2002

    cowboys2002 Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2001
    Cypress, TX
    Where to start.

    Always read the buyer protection/warranty plans. In most cases, they don't work out for the consumer.

    After the first experience, why not request a product refund and not do busines with them again?

    Do you not have a Circuit City or other reatailer to get electronics from?

    No Costco or Sam's Club? Heard of, Crutchfield, or

    Not trying to slam you , just giving some random thoughts.

    I had a issue with Ccity over 20 year ago. I have not made a major purchase from them since. Yes, I can hold a grudge a long time.With The Good Guys and Local retailers in S. Cal., I had choices. Those choices are drying up, but there is always the internet.

    That said, a salesperson can't verbally change the terms or interpret the coverage on a warranty. Most stores have copies for review. Read it, or take it to a lwyer to read. Sounds crazy, but the "language" of the warranty makes a huge difference.

    Good Luck.
  3. jilter

    jilter Not.

    Oct 4, 2002
    We have used Best Buy's service plans for years.
    It is my understanding that once the first "exchange" was done under the plan (I think you should have yelled a little louder NOT to pay any difference at the time), you would have to pay again for a service plan on the next unit. We have received many repairs and replacements over the years and once a "replacement" is done for a new unit, the existing plan is then void. I may be wrong, but I can't see how they can remain profitable if they were to allow coverage for the new item without paying for another extended warranty.
  4. Mamoth

    Mamoth New Member

    Jun 21, 2004
    It's common practice, jsyk, to only allow one (1) repair/exchange on those service plans.
    Best Buy does it this way, Circuit City, etc.
  5. cowboys2002

    cowboys2002 Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2001
    Cypress, TX


    Because many more customers never use their extended warranty. Just like insurance, maybe less than 5% (and I'm being generous here) of all extended warranties are never used. Not even for preventative maintenance. If the store charges you $200 for a warranty, they make at least 50% or $100. They are not eating the cost of the repalcement, the insurance company is.

    Think of it this way:

    You purchase a $2,000 tv that only cost the retailer $950 (yes there is that much markup on some items). They make profit on the item, they get a commission from selling subscription services, and spiffs from the manufacturer. PLUS they con you into an extended warranty by lying about the coverage. Once again, making money.

    When you actually come in to replace the item that is no longer available, they require you to pay the difference, say a couple hundred, then you are no longer covered uless you buy another warranty.
  6. cheerdude

    cheerdude Reed & Juliet's CPA

    Feb 27, 2001
    Las Vegas, NV
    When I bought my first TiVo (Sony SVR-2000) from BB, I also got the plan. While the modem became useless, I was still able to use it w/ TurboNet and upgrade to more capacity.

    When the Series 2s started to come out, I wondered if I could get them without paying a cent. So... I reopened the Sony, put the original drive back in, took out the Turbonet... and returned the TiVo for repair.

    A week later, I received notification that the Sony was not repairable and then I could come into BB and pick out a replacement. When I did so, the person behind the desk stated that I could pick up to my original purchase price ($ 399) and would not need to pay anything... however, I would not be able to recoup the difference.

    Funny thing - when I did pick out an 80 hr Series 2 (think it was 80), I did get the difference as a BB refund/return card! Needless to say, I've been very pleased with my experience; but I don't make it a habit of purchasing the extra service plan.

    Biggest thing to the OP that I can say is read the information that you get with the Service Plan. My understanding would be that the Plan is tied to the equipment that you purchased; if you replaced that equipment, you would need to need to "replace" the Plan. However, I don't have the Plan in front of me... so I could be wrong.

  7. jkalnin

    jkalnin Baad Spellor

    Jan 8, 2003
    Warrington, PA
    You have horrible Tivo luck! I've had mine for many, many years without a problem. Everyone says that the first thing to go is the Tivo HD, so why not just do a HD upgrade for like $100 and see if that fixes the problem. That weeknees site is a great resource for these types of problems. I wouldn't buy a new Tivo unless it was more then just a defective HD.
  8. Guindalf

    Guindalf Now with added dalf

    Jun 13, 2001
    I have a golden rule - don't buy the plan!

    I read an expose recently that stated that the plan was just pure profit for the store, which is why they push it on you when you buy anything. It can save you from having to deal with a manufacturer, but in reality, with electronic equipment, it's often cheaper to replace it than the warranty costs (or not a lot more).

    Having said that, I was talked into buying a protection plan on my camcorder ($149 extra) and I had to use it recently when the screen went black and wouldn't record. It was repaired and shipped back to me free of charge. However, the equivalent camcorder I paid $600 for a couple of years ago is now under $300.

    My 53" widescreen Panasonic TV has not given me a day's problems since I bought it about 4 years ago, so I've "saved" a lot of money. Even if a repair becomes necessary and it costs $200, I've made a profit over getting the plan.

    For me, I like the process of "upgrading" when something breaks.
  9. peggylenox

    peggylenox New Member

    Dec 29, 2003
    Lenox, MA
    We've had very good experience with Best Buy extended warranties. We have a bed and breakfast and our vacuums get lots of use. We always buy an extended warranty and have returned several, more than once, and always, they gave us a new one.

    Usually, I don't do extended warranties, except at BB. Sorry to hear about the bad experiences.
  10. Javelin3o4

    Javelin3o4 New Member

    Apr 22, 2003
    Well if you look in the plan, unfortunatly it does specifically say that the item will be replaced but "Not to exceed the original purchase price...And For clearance and open box items they may issue you a voucher for the purchase price". I originally bought a 60hr a few years ago, paid almost 300 for it, 2 years later, died, got replaced with an 80hr I did not have to pay anything, now 3 days ago the unit froze and the record light was on for 3 days. Took it down there again replaced it with a 80 hour dual tuner tivo, again I paid nothing except I bought a new warranty cause i only had a little over a year and a half left.

    As far as the service plans go, you can exchange it as many times in the store during the manufactor warranty and keep the same plan, however once the unit is replaced after the manufactor warranty you have to buy a new warranty. Basically because bestbuy receives credit for the unit when they send it back within the first year.
  11. thebigbezona

    thebigbezona New Member

    Apr 21, 2006
    Windsor, CT
    Extended warranties are always a bad deal. You are essentially making a very expensive bet that the item you are purchasing is going to break.

    Most electronic devices, if they fail, will fail well within the manufacturers warranty period. In fact, if a device is actually defective, it will almost always fail virtually immediately.

    If it doesn't fail within the first 30 days, chances are better than 90% that it will function long past it's useful life. Even parts that have a potentially limited lifespan - a hard drive for example - will usually last for years without a failure.

    While this is merely anecdotal, between various computers, TiVo's, etc. in my house, I count a total of 15 hard drives. Almost a third are over 5 years old, a couple are almost 10. None has ever failed. It's probably only a matter of time before one does, but the money I have saved by never buying an extended warranty for any of the associated items could easily replace every one of the drives - and with newer and better models.

    This is not to say you won't some day buy something that will break once it's out of the manufacturers warranty, but let's say over a period of time you buy 10 items, and one fails. If you had purchased the extended warranties for all 10 items, chances are you spent more on the warranties combined than the cost of repair or replacement of the one item that did break.

    These are the odds that the companies that underwrite the warranties count on, and why retailers push them so hard - they are almost pure profit.

    Add that to what the original poster found - that they don't always cover you as well as the sales person claims - and it's simple. Save your money.
  12. MikeMar

    MikeMar Go Pats

    Jan 7, 2005
    I have yet to buy a warrenty from best buy, and this just adds to the fact that I never will.

    I love when they ask if you want a $8 plan on a $30 product
  13. terryfoster

    terryfoster TiVo Pioneer

    Jul 21, 2003
    Dayton, OH
    The best was when I bought the Original Television Christmas Classics DVD from Circuit City.

    Clerk: "Do you want to buy the product protection plan for these DVDs?"
    Me: "You've got to be kidding me. Is there anything in this store that doesn't have a protection plan?"
    Clerk: "I think that candy behind you doesn't have a protection plan."
  14. DancnDude

    DancnDude Thrice as nice TCF Club

    Feb 7, 2001
    Madison, WI
    I never really buy Extended Warranties, but for TiVo I did. Here's why: the Product Lifetime COULD be transferred to a new unit if the old unit broke. That happened to me twice where I now believe my new apartment's phone lines were frying the TiVo modem. Both times I was able to take my TiVo back, they said that they couldn't fix it, I got a replacement from the floor immediately, and I called TiVo to easily transfer the lifetime subscription. It was very quick and painless and I saved a bunch of money and effort. If I got one now though, without the lifetime I don't know if it would be worth it.
  15. jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Yup, that's the only reason I'd consider an Extended Warranty on a Tivo box.
  16. JacksTiVo

    JacksTiVo TiVo User since 2001

    Jan 7, 2006
    New Jersey
    It can be assumed that new non-mechanical solid state electrical equipment that is trouble-free in its first year of use will last for a long time. By non-mechanical I mean equipment that does not use motors, such as hard drives and fans.

    Here is some examples of my experience and lessons learned with extended warranties:

    I purchased a 26" RCA color TV in 1986. The saleman convinced me that an extended warranty on the picture tube for 5 years was a safe bet to protect my investment. 20 years later the TV is still working with the same picture tube. Lesson learned, TV CRT picture tubes are a lot more reliable than they were 40 years ago.

    I can not remember the exact cost of the extended warranty, but I believe if I wanted to I could buy a 26 inch CRT type color TV today it would cost about the same as the extended warranty did in 1986. If I had taken the money I spent for the extended warranty and put it into a simple savings account, I would probably have enough money in the account with the earned interest today to purchase a 27 inch LCD TV set .

    I did not learn from this experience because four years ago I purchased the extended warranty with my Dell computer and the only repair needed was in the first year of ownership (normally covered period) for a new DVD read/write drive.

    I have now learned a lesson since I just purchased a new Dell PC for my wife and did not include an extended warranty for it. The modular design of today's PC permits easy replacement of parts that are not costly and are very easily obtained.

    I now refuse extended warranty and protection plans. If you add up the cost of these plans for each item you purchase over a period of 5 years you'll find that the sum could be in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The likelihood that more than one or two will ever need to be repaired in that time frame is small and if an item needs to be replaced it will be less than the total cost of the plans. Also the replaced item will probably be less expensive and will have newer technology.

    Lesson Learned: Save your money, don't purchase extended warranties or exchange plans.
  17. Hairking

    Hairking New Member

    Dec 3, 2004
    I purchased a previously opened TIVO (it was the only one on the shelf) from Best Buy in May of 2003. List price was $399. As a rule, I never buy the service plan but it was a wash given the price reduction so I bought it. It ran great for just under 4 years. It was still under the plan in March when it died. They asked me if there was any thing on the unit that I wanted to keep. If not, I could get a new one. I opted for the new one - it was 80hrs versus the 60hr one that I was returning. When I went to the counter they asked if I wanted a service plan for $25. Sure, given the success with the first one - you bet. When the unit rang up, it qualified for a $150 rebate. Wow!! They just paid me $150 to get a new unit. How can you beat that?
  18. whitmans77

    whitmans77 Member

    Mar 5, 2003
    bottom line is --its a gamble. I use to work for 5 years at one of the BBusinesses that offers the extended warranties. To say that they are all evil is crazy. You have to really weigh the pros and cons of getting one. Almost everybody here on the board has some kind of technical savvy so repairs of products are not difficult. NOW the typical customer to those stores have no idea what side is up on a DVD(actually had a call about that once).

    Anyway to the topic of thewarranties. I believe they are good on certain products. Yes it is insurance. you are gambling your product will break. But once the manufacturers warranty is up you could be stuck. For instance If I was to buy a big screen TV I would but the stores warranty because its in home. I would not want to have to worry about trying to get it shipped off . (BTW a $2000 TV does not cost $950---the markup on electronics is not that much--accesories is the moneymaker).

    Another thing people do not realize about the warranties is that they offer other services and I have always used mine for preventitive maintenance. I have been able to exchange my tivo twice under the plan offered by one of these stores. i started with a 40 hour and now have an 80 without paying any extra.The moment I THOUGHT there was a problem I took it in and had no problem getting it swapped.

    Most plans hold the cost of the product. If you pay $600 for it today you can get your $600 bux worth of credit. One time I had a gentleman with a camera that he had paid $800 for. The year was 2002 and it was a camera that still used VHS tapes. He had it for 3 years 11 months and a few days . The camera was broke and he now had $800 credit to spend on a MUCH better camera. So most plans hold the value. Its all in how you approach teh situation.

    Here (IMHO) are some tips-(if you do have a warranty)-dont go in to one of these stores being hostile. I used to hate it when a customer came in demanding something. At that point the people in teh store are turned off. Go in and be "nice" and only get hostile when needed. When all else fails work your way up the chain and just dont be a butt.

    yes the warranties are profit for the company but you can take advantage of them. TO say that they are all bad is not right- While most are you must take into account replacement parts and repair. Sometimes its worth it sometimes its not. Be an informed consumer. read the store plan -read the manufacturers plan--see whats covered --see whats not.

    BE Informed
  19. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    I hopefully didn't miss anyone else mentioning this in my somewhat-skim.

    This doesn't help with the Best Buy issue, but if it is really just your hard drive going, you can fix it yourself fairly easily. *especially* useful if you have a lifetime subscription. If you don't, then maybe you'd just rather get a new dual tuner one.

    You can either buy preformatted drive from a place like, but that's VERY expensive, IMHO.

    You can do a bit of hacking yourself and/or get a geek friend to do it.. You'd be out at most around $100 for a 200-300 gig drive.
  20. pmcoolt

    pmcoolt New Member

    Mar 27, 2005
    you know what's kinda that the associate that gave the wrong information was probably trained by another associate, but at the end of the day they are trained by a it all goes back to the manager.....and i don't understand why the associate will negotiate with you to get the service plan...the reason i say this is 'cause he gets no incentive if he sells it and he gets no commission...that's also odd

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