Consumerist reader K. recently ended his 4.5 year tenure as a Geek Squad member at Best Buy. And while he says that he considers his time there to be “generally a positive experience,” K. did feel that there is some backstage info the public might want to know.
1. 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 This stems from inadequate and outdated training materials, such as the Best Buy Learning Lounge.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Employees are taught situational tactics to extract as much money as possible from a potential customer. If an individual had a small software issue that could simply be resolved, then we were taught to charge $200.
5. Although this changed shortly before I left, Geek Squad employees at the store I worked at were required to track each individual sale. Before the end of your shift, you were required to get a manager to look at your sales sheet and sign it. If you weren’t doing so well, then the manager “coached” you on how to sell more services.
6. Best Buy Credit Cards were pushed to customers at every available opportunity. More than once, I witnessed Best Buy employees talking to people about signing up for a credit card, only to find out they were not old enough. Also, we were taught in Geek Squad to push the credit card even if the customer was already paying with another form of tender.
7. There is no chance for advancement within the Geek Squad department. The only position an employee could move up to is the Manager.
8. 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.
9. 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.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Consumerist.