The Dodge Retort: Toshiba gets A-, Best Buy C-


By John Dodge

A couple of posts ago, fellow blogger Dana Blankenhorn asked if 2010 would be the year of the tablet computer. Maybe so, but for me, the past three months made 2009 the year of low ball laptop for me.

Yes, I am an open box and closeout fanatic. I pass all the shiny new units and head right for the locked cage at Best Buy where they’re kept. And that’s what I did on Nov. 23, picking up a Toshiba M505-S4945 for a mere $415 or close to a third off the original price. Yes, it came with the older Microsoft Vista operating with a free upgrade for Windows 7 through the mail, but the deal was too good to pass up.

Two weeks after my purchase, the display failed and for the life of me I could not think how I could have damaged it. I took it back to Best Buy in early December where a Geek Squader told me there was nothing he could do. He summoned his boss who immediately pointed the finger at me and claimed the display had suffered an impact although I could not recall any such incident.

Best Buy also told me it would be expensive to fix and that I was out of luck. Fortunately my wife was with me said she would take her business elsewhere, which prompted the manager to offer an open box HP Pavilion dv4 2045dx for $290 or about half the price it is going for now. I bought the HP machine and it has performed well.

Well, there’s an even happier ending to this story. Toshiba Repair just sent back the M505 with a brand new display free of charge. And here’s the truth of the matter: while I was haggling with the Best Buy manager, I recalled stepping ever so lightly on the M505 when it closed on the floor – but not hard enough to damage it. After all, the unit worked properly for a day or more after that. If a display gets banged up and damaged, I suspect it would stop working then and there.


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5 thoughts on “The Dodge Retort: Toshiba gets A-, Best Buy C-”

  1. I’ve stopped buy anything from Bestbuy since I had anpleasant experience with it bout 8 months ago. I bought a laptop from it and I could not install Perl on it (it was MS Vista, 64-bit Toshiba). So I recovered to its factory status before I took it back. The customer service lady then called tech. guy which was fine to check it up. When the tech. guy came, he told me that he had to check harddisk blah blah and said that would take 4-6 hours to get it done and could not finished that day. I said you could do now and I could wait. But he refused and insist that he would call me once he was done. I asked to its manager and his manager stand on his side firmly and told me that every returned item must be checked up. I told them This would be my last time to buy a thing from Bestbuy. After 24 hours, the tech. guy called me and said he had checked the computer and everything was good and I could come over to get the refund. It felt just disgusting. Bye Bestbuy!

  2. for John Dodge:
    1. If you did not buy a Black Tie protection program from Best Buy (which most likley will not be extended to you for a returned (open box) item, then Best Buy contractually can not do any repairs.

    2. Since you obviously sent the Toshiba back to Toshiba (which is what is necessary for you to do if you did not purchase the Black Tie protection), it is only rational and reasonable for Toshiba to have repaired the unit under the original manufacturer’s warranty. What more would you want?

    3. Since you acknowledge that you did, in fact, stepped on the computer even ever so lightly, it is easily reasonable that you did in fact cause sufficient damage to initiate destruction of the monitor. YOu were lucky that the damage was not immediately noticeable, but overt time and heat generated by a lap top and the heat generated by the LCD’s, eventually cracked the screen. This would be expected.

    I can sympathize with your wife since she probably did not take part in the purchase and the potential and expected conversations you should have had with Best Buy associates at the time of purchase. Had she known, then her opinion of Best Buy should be considerably different. It is a wonderful company with a very customer-oriented attitude. Granted not all stores operate the same. Not all Best Buy associates are fully knowledgable of company policy and/or thoroughly versed in product technicalities, warranty terms and conditions, and also not as well versed in customer interface.

    Better luck next time with a more understanding wife.

  3. I too gave up on HP years ago. Their first peccadillo was telling me that it was normal for their inkjet printers to print skewed on the paper. No adjustments. No replacement. I’m just to live with it. Second problem I had was a HP laptop that quit working entirely a few weeks after the warranty ran out. HP had me take it to a local Radio Shack for evaluation. After a few more weeks in the shop the diagnosis was made. The motherboard was not repairable and replacement would cost more than a brand new laptop.

    That was the very last HP branded item I ever bought.

  4. Your right Tim. Had so much trouble with H.P. and Compaq. All
    service goes through India by names like Ken or Mary. They don’t
    ever seem much help and might as well be on Mars. In addition I
    found both brands (same company) to be very trouble prone also
    too proprietary for me over the years. I have a HP Laptop only
    3 years old that ate up 3 Toshiba hard drives and 1 battery.
    The reason, a faulty H.D. and cheap cable connector.Never aagain especcially with their poor customer support and bad record with the chip problem and failure to recall all faulty
    chips as Dell and some others did.

  5. Tim, Brentwood CA

    I had a similar problem with HP. I bought a refurbished laptop that came with a bad battery. (I think someone bought it, swapped out the battery, and then returned it.) I called customer support, since it was supposedly still under warranty. I tried to explain that I was not a novice computer user and that I had charged the battery fully several times, but that it would only give me 7 minutes of life. The laptop came with Vista Home installed. I had upgraded that to Vista Ultimate. HP’s customer unsupport told me that because I changed the Operating System, I was no longer covered by the warranty. I asked how changing the operating system affected the battery and, of course, no one could tell me. I spoke to several people, including a few supervisors (all in India) and got no where. I wrote a blistering letter to HP and told them the story and they sent a response telling me they felt my pain, but they weren’t going to help. That’s my last HP>

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