Over the years, while Googling around the web and researching  technical documents, I noticed that the Geek Squad would often pop up when my keyword was computer repair. And what I also noticed were swath the reviews and complaints against them. A simple Google search today produced this:

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My opinion on the Geek Squad is this. It is purely for profit. There doesn’t seem to be anyone behind the scenes looking out for the best interest of the technically challenged customer. No one is really there for quality control of the services. The reviews say it all.

So I decided to research to see what requirements are needed to become a high level Geek Squad technician. And what I found scared me. This link may die, but this is where I found the requirements below.

What are the professional requirements for a Geek Squad Advanced Repair Agent? 
Basic Requirements:

  • 3-6 months experience in customer service
  • 1+ years experience diagnosing or repairing PCs or consumer electronics

What does this mean? Why am I so worried for their customers? Well, because it seems they require NO computer certifications of any kind. I mean, even the most basic computer certification is called the CompTIA A+ certification. Now it should be noted, that this certification only really relates to Windows computers. The CompTIA A+ certification teaches nothing about Apple computers.

So this means that Best Buy and the Geek Squad service care so little about you, the computer customer, that they only require some basic experience in working with computers. And this means Windows PC’s. I haven’t even started on the Apple part of their business yet.

I located a very interesting / disturbing article written by a former Geek Squad agent called “9 Confessions Of A Former Geek Squad Geek“. His anonymous moniker is “K.” Some of the statements in that article are as follows:

– A high percentage of Geek Squad employees lack basic troubleshooting skills such as correctly identifying malfunctioning components. This stems from inadequate and outdated training materials, such as the Best Buy Learning Lounge.

 People are hired or promoted from other departments to Geek Squad simply to sell services. Specifically, individuals who have no experience working on computers are given the appearance of being a technician.

 Selling services and warranties are pushed more than actually completing repairs. I remember one instance where my GM said that selling a new computer with services was more important than completing a customer’s unit that they had already paid for.

There is no chance for advancement within the Geek Squad department. The only position an employee could move up to is the Manager.

 Best Buy does not encourage Geek Squad employees to get certifications or reimburse or pay for part of taking a certification. I specifically remember inquiring about this, and apparently there exists such a program for the GS Auto Techs in which they also get paid more for each certification passed, but not for GS Computer Techs.

 Geek Squad City, the repair center for repairs we could not do in-store (any repair that was not a hard drive, memory, or power supply replacement), routinely completed unsatisfactory repair work. There were times I would send off a computer 3 times for a verified issue and the unit would come back with the same issue un-repaired. The worst example I can remember was a laptop that had its screen replaced and where the webcam was supposed to be on the screen bezel was instead a screw that held the LCD together.

Scary right?

OK, now let’s talk about the fact that these same technicians (and I use that term very loosely), want to help you to repair your Apple computers. Yes. The Geek Squad wants you to put your private, sensitive data and Apple iMac or Macbook computer in their hands and they aren’t even A+ certified, let alone Apple certified.

Just because Best Buy sells Apple products, doesn’t mean that you should let them anywhere near your Apple computer. And here is an example of why.

One day while standing in the Apple computer section of Best Buy, I was shopping for an Apple Thunderbolt cable. (Now, for the purposes of these stories, I’d like for the readers to know that I myself hold several Apple certifications and have been working exclusively on Apple products for over 10 years.) As I was standing there, I saw a Geek Squad agent walk buy and a customer grabbed him to ask a question. As I stood with my back to them not paying much attention, something I heard caught my attention.

The customer had asked if the computer came with a warranty. The Geek Squad agent replied “No. But you can buy a Geek Squad protection plan. It will cover everything on the computer and if it breaks, you can just bring it in and we’ll swap it with a new one no questions asked!”. (Oh, and that last part was an outright lie. Trust me).

Now, this upset me for a few reasons. Number one, all Apple products come with a standard one year warranty. This only covers manufacturer defects and issues, but it is still a standard warranty. Number two, Apple offers an Apple Care Extended warranty. And it is far superior to Geek Squads service. (I’ll get to that in a minute). So the Geek Squad is doing another disservice to their customers for trying to sell them lies with their own Geek Squad warranty.

I am sure Apple would not be too happy to hear that the Geek Squad was pushing it’s own warranty in place of Apple’s. I would also bet that as part of the agreement with Best Buy to bring Apple products into their stores, that there was an agreement signed stating that Best Buy must sell the Apple Care plans with the Apple products.

Now, let me tell you about my one and only experience with the Geek Squad’s Extended Warranty repair process. A few years ago I had a client with a Windows computer where the LCD went bad after 1 year. He had the Geek Squad Extended warranty, so I brought it in for him as a favor.

The “agent” told me that in fact it had the extended warranty, after looking it up by serial number. He said it would be repaired. No problem. They would need to send it out for the repair though. But my customer insisted that he was told when he bought the warranty that if this happened it would simply be swapped out of r a computer of the same or newer model. So I put them on the one with each other and the agent insisted that that is not how it works. The problem with that is, I have been told that same thing personally almost every time I have ever been offered that warranty from Best Buy. And I buy a lot of stuff from them.

So I concede, and allow them to ship it off to their “Repair Center”. Long story short, after calling for 3 weeks, I finally get an answer on the repair process. They said that they couldn’t repair it so they had to send it back to the manufacturer in Japan. Yeah. Japan. No updates, no nothing. They say it will be fixed the next week. So anyways, 3 weeks later I call and they say that it is ready to be picked up. Yes. I had to call. So I went to pick it up. And guess what. It still wasn’t fixed. It was in the same exact condition we shipped it out in. They handed me the computer and started checking me out, so I booted it up while at the counter. The LCD was still non working. I said “Um, this is still broken, can I see the notes?”. The agent says “That’s weird. Yeah let’s look”.

It turns out that the manufacturer said that, although it was simply a failed lcd assembly, that this repair was out of their 1 year manufacturer warranty, and that it would not repaired for this reason. So I am now to assume that Geek Squad are responsibly for performing, or paying for the manufacturer for this repair. Well the “agent” is confused and baffled now. So I have to get management involved. Management apologizes and offers to send it back to Japan for the repair, but that it would be another 6 weeks or more for the repair. I then let them know that this is unacceptable. The customer was being inconvenienced. They apologized, but didn’t really seem to care. They refused to replace the computer. So my client bought a new one. From Apple per my recommendation.

Reaching Out
A few months ago I reached out to Best Buy executives about an idea that I had for a separate division of Geek Squad. I found a good up to date list of the correct departments and executives. So I sent all 10 or so addresses my basic offer, suggestions and ideas without going into too much detail. I asked them if they’d be interested in bringing me in for talks about how to section off their Apple Repairs and build a separate “Apple” department that cared about the client’s had quality control, actually paid their Apple technicians, certify them, and to put the customer first, and the sales last. At least in this department. It was my idea, but it’s common sense. Everyone hates the Geek Squad. Face it.

If Best Buy took my suggestions, they would still make a good amount of money. How? I’ll tell you.

I know they markup on Apple computers is not much. I’ve heard 12%, but I don’t really know. But the point is, if the service at Best Buy’s “Apple Squad” version of the Geek Squad is there, then people will come to Best Buy to buy their Apple Computers, Devices and accessories rather than going to the Apple Store. People love Apple, but hate going to the store. And people hate the Geek Squad, but love the store.

The few responses I got back from Best Buy were from their legal team stating that they do not take idea submissions and that if they used my idea it was coincidental or something along those lines. Basically to protect themselves. So I quit. They’re on their own.

So in closing, I guess the point that I’m trying to make is that, if Geek Squad agents are not required to hold even a basic certification, then they surely are not adequately trained to service Apple Computers.

So please. Trust your Apple devices to the Apple store, or to an Apple Certified Technician like myself. Apple technicians that hold certifications have proven that they care enough about you, the customer, to put the effort in to prove their knowledge.