Why won’t Best Buy let me return this lemon?

By | December 22nd, 2016

Katherine Szczerbinski’s Lenovo laptop is a lemon. Can she get the manufacturer — or Best Buy — to fix it?

Question: I have several issues with my Lenovo Yoga laptop that I bought at Best Buy. I’m hoping you can help me, since I have been without use of my laptop for weeks.

My problems started with a charger that didn’t work, a nonworking mute button and a broken screen. I sent my unit back to Lenovo for repairs, but they didn’t fix it.

My monitor was never looked at, then replaced, then had to be replaced again. Plastic was found behind my newly replaced monitor the last time.

I never took my laptop home after my third repair because there was a new OS problem and my computer couldn’t even start.

Before picking up my fourth repair, I asked a Geek Squad representative at Best Buy whether I would qualify for the “no lemon” policy. I was told that if I needed another repair stemming from another new problem found, I would qualify.

I went to pick up my laptop and found all the apps I downloaded were gone. I was told by the Geek Squad representative that she could install them all back for me at no cost, but that it would take at least an additional two hours to do so. Because I had to get to class, I left without her reinstalling my programs. When I got home, I realized that my audio system was now broken.

I was then informed that the store insisted that none of my repairs qualified and that I would need my speakers fixed, which I would have to pay out of pocket for, after having already spent money on my initial payment and new monitor. The Geek Squad representative was as frustrated as I was — he pointed out that many of my problems could have been caught before sending the laptop back to me and that diagnostic tests must not have been completed.

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We both agreed that, at this point, I should have bought a new laptop instead of going in for any repairs. He ended up filing a corporate complaint for me, insisting that if there was anything he could have done to help me, he would have.

My recently filed corporate complaint has yet to be answered. I am hoping between this conversation and my complaint, this can finally be resolved. I need a laptop to finish law school. Can you help? — Katherine Szczerbinski, Chicago

Answer: Your Lenovo laptop was cursed. The only way to lift the spell was to return the lemon and start over. It’s unclear why Best Buy and Lenovo were insisting that you send your laptop back for yet another repair.

When a consumer purchase like this goes terribly wrong, you can appeal to the company through normal channels and then in writing. When that doesn’t work, you need to escalate your complaint to someone who can help. We publish the executive contacts for Best Buy and Lenovo on my consumer advocacy site.

Bottom line: A deeply flawed laptop like this should never have left the factory. It should have failed numerous quality tests and been flagged before they boxed it. Something clearly went very wrong with this PC — and you were left holding the bag.

Between Lenovo’s warranty and Best Buy’s guarantee, you’d think you might have some rights. Ah, but warranties are written by lawyers, and they only seem to give you rights. They give companies more rights: in your case, the right to leave you with a worthless brick.

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I contacted Best Buy on your behalf. The company offered you a new Lenovo Yoga and transferred all of your data to the new computer at no extra charge.



  • cscasi

    That’s great. A gentle letter (nudge) from Chris and his team and Best Buy finally came through. There is no way a person should have ot go through what he did to get his computer properly repaired or replaced.
    I will say that whenever I buy something of value, computer or vacuum cleaner, from Best Buy, I have opted for a Best Buy warranty. I have only had to use it on the vacuum cleaner my wife purchased. As a matter of fact, she went through 3 of the vacuum cleaners during the covered period; meaning that the vacuums were not holding up, but they were replaced with new ones. I am not saying one should have to purchase a store warranty on top of the manufacturer’s warranty, but I have found that the normal manufacturer’s warranty are not worth a lot, in many cases. Besides, it is easier to go back to the store and let it deal with the issue(s) as opposed ot having ot mail it somewhere (normally at one’s own expense). Then, when you get it back at the store, one can normally fire it up right there and see whether or not it works properly. Just my thoughts and experiences.

  • BubbaJoe123

    Glad it worked out for you. As a general rule, though, extended warranties are typically a terrible deal for the consumer – the margins on them are sky-high for the retailer, which is why they push them so hard.

  • cscasi

    I agree with your comment. And, in today’s world, it seems most products are better made and one does not have as many problems as there used to be – again most, not all. I only buy a warranty when I want piece of mind and do not want to go through the work of having to package up and ship my my item somewhere. Sometimes, forty or sixty dollars is worth not having the aggravation – even though 98% of the time I never need to use the warranty. Again, just my decision.

  • jim6555

    Perhaps the manufacturer should change it’s name to LEMONOVO.

  • Alan Gore

    Stories like this are why people are so willing to pay more for Apple.

  • Joe Blasi

    and you better get the apple care add on.

  • gpx21dlr

    Funny statement here by you, Elliot.
    “Ah, but warranties are written by lawyers”
    Katherine is going to school to become a lawyer. Maybe she’ll write a better warranty for Lenovo.

  • Harvey-6-3.5

    This is why I prefer to buy computers at microcenter over Bestbuy. Even if the price is a few dollars higher (and it usually is cheaper at Microcenter), they will eventually fix the problem right, in my experience.

  • PsyGuy

    See that’s the power of Chris, picks up the phone makes one phone call, all problems solved. I have to confess a few times I’ve dropped Chris’s name and my problem gets resolved.

  • PsyGuy

    This is why I don’t use big box retail centers for consumer electronics. Amazon would have just sent you a new computer.

  • PsyGuy

    Yeah but it would be better FOR Lenovo.

  • Bill

    without a bunch of haranguing and driving to and from …

  • PsyGuy

    Only if it’s a device like an iPhone would I get Apple Care, laptops desktops are going to go bad well within the first year and the standard warranty. I have an old Powerbook Ti G4 that still runs and has zero security issues despite most of its software is out of date. No one write malware for old RISC processors.

  • PsyGuy

    have you seen all the medical scams lately? I agree though Geek Squad is a sham for the clueless about technology.

  • PsyGuy

    Already taken by a Turkish manufacturer of consumer electronics that makes laptops.

  • Skeptic

    I don’t think I would have given Best Buy another chance. Credit card charge back after the first problem didn’t get fixed. And does it make sense for any vendor to push warranties so hard? Doesn’t it imply that, contrary to their glowing reviews of the items they sell, they know they are really junk? They can’t have it both ways.

  • Mel LeCompte Jr.

    I purchased a Best Buy extended warranty for my child’s laptop, and — believe it or not — it worked as advertised.

    When the laptop broke (within the extended warranty period, but after original warranty), I brought it up to the counter, and after about 5 minutes of verifying the issue, I was given a voucher for how much I paid to go towards any laptop in the store as a replacement.

    I’m not a big warranty guy, but I bought this one on a recommendation from my child’s teacher, and had absolutely zero issue when I actually had to take BB up on it.

  • AAGK

    I hate Best Buy. The only way to protect yourself these days is to use a card like Amex with purchase protection. My printer broke a day after the HP/Best Buy warranty expired. I filed an Amex purchase protection claim and my statement credit for the amount paid appeared in a week. I bought a new printer.

  • Rusty Shackleford

    Yes, there are some shady medical professionals. Just like there are shady lawyers, bankers, and salesmen. No profession is exempt – except maybe politicians. They’re definitely ALWAYS on the up and up!

  • The Original Joe S

    I build my own desktop machines.

  • The Original Joe S

    How the US Army deals with bad HP printers:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezXxiD83HBA

  • pauletteb

    I have always received excellent service from the Geek Squad; especially appreciate the fact that they can do most things remotely, with minimal downtime.

  • pauletteb

    You’re right. The extended warranties are the real scams . . . so many loopholes that they almost never pay out and a big profit for the retailer. When our Macy’s sold electronics, any associate who didn’t make quota on selling warranties first got a warning, then got fired.

  • Rebecca

    I actually had exactly the same experience purchasing a laptop at Best Buy. When it was 2 years, 11 months old, it just stopped turning on. I had a 3 year plan. I walked in (I did have the original receipt and the little folder they give you, so I’m sure that helped), filled out a piece of paper, and walked out with a brand new laptop that was nicer than my old one. It wasn’t cost effective to repair.

  • PsyGuy

    Well if you mean they’re always on top of their interns, okay sure.

  • joycexyz

    Any device should work properly from the get-go. I believe it’s called an implied warranty. If the problems were evident immediately, I would have insisted that Best Buy give me a new computer. Repairs on a new item are not a satisfactory solution. I’m glad Best Buy did the right thing (eventually), but the OP shouldn’t have had to go through all that aggravation.

  • joycexyz

    Any device from any manufacturer can be a lemon. Perhaps a bad day at the factory???

  • jim6555

    Sure, every manufacturer will produce some lemons, but there are different kinds of lemons. Some are perceived as being not so bad. That is when the manufacturer realizes there is a problem and either repairs it on the first attempt or exchanges the defective unit for a fully functional replacement unit. To me, that’s the manufacturer admitting fault and doing what is needed to satisfy the customer. The lemon discussed here was one that had multiple problems. The unit was sent to the manufacturer’s service facility several times without the problems being resolved. In this instance, the consumer is ready to tell all of his/her friends about the terrible product that was purchased and advise the friends to stay away from anything made by that manufacturer. Unfortunately, I’ve heard similar stories to this one from people that I know who have purchased Lenovo (Lemonovo) computers. I certainly would never buy one.

  • Fishplate

    And I’ve bought a dozen or more, from the day they began under that name to today, and never had any trouble at all. So, I think this one had a problem, but I say with confidence that they don’t have any more problems than any other computer manufacturer.

  • Fishplate

    Was the warranty from BB, or from HP?

  • AAGK

    HP 1 year warranty and Amex doubles it to 2.

  • Fishplate

    So Best Buy had nothing to do with it?

  • AAGK

    I have no idea why the printer didn’t work for more than a year. That’s not my field. I replaced it with a canon pixma from Best Buy as well though.

  • LonnieC

    Wait. “shady lawyers”??? Now you’ve gone too far….

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