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We found that they were a different company, Smoliak, in 1966 and rebranded as Best Buy in 1983 to become a consumer electronics store. They have several locations and subsidiaries throughout North America and the rest of the world. Best Buy offers a wide array of products to its customers, including one of the largest arrays of cell phones, including AT&T, T-Mobile, and many more. 

The Good

  • Customer service is great
  • Replace products that have issues
  • Wide variety of products

We liked the Geek Squad approach to customer service. In this medium, we found one of the most robust customer service platforms in the industry. Geek Squad is an owned subsidiary of Best Buy. In addition to providing customer service at every Best Buy store, customers can also get support 24/7 online or over the phone. Best Buy sells support packages with each item that is sold in a store. Geek Squad has a "lemon" policy.

If your product requires three repairs during the life of your service plan, the Geek Squad will turn your lemons into lemonade by replacing the product with a similar model if your model is no longer manufactured.

Here are some other things that we liked about Best Buy:

  • The number of Apple computers available: When Best Buy first started selling Apple computers, they only had a few models available. Now, it is possible to purchase Mac Minis, MacBook Pros, and the Mac Pro. Many of the items we looked at were on sale. A basic Mac Mini was available for $459.99, slightly cheaper than what was listed on the Apple website.
  • Computer accessories: There were more than enough accessories to make your computer user-friendly and ergonomic. When we looked at the keyboards and mice available through Best Buy, we found more than 164 pages of items, 97 items in total. We found a lot of good wireless mouse and keyboard combos, great for the person who wanted an ergonomic work center or specialized accessories for gaming.
  • An easy-to-use website: We liked the website's functionality, especially how it let customers sort through items. Customers could sort through items by brand, price, and other characteristics. Also, each item included a high-quality picture of the item.

Best Buy also had a wide variety of "wearable technology" available. These included sports training aids, sports watches, and activity monitors and pedometers. Some of the companies in the industry lacked the number of items from Best Buy. Best Buy also carried home assistive technology, items ranging from phones to computers that helped those in need live easier at home.

The Bad

  • Poor customer experience
  • Customer complaints
  • Pricing not listed

The in-store experience with Best Buy often leaves something to be desired. Some reviews online, as well as a recent Forbes article, listed this as one of the reasons Best Buy often struggles to keep customers in the store. The Forbes article commented on the typical customer experience at Best Buy. Often, a customer walking into a store for self-service (to purchase the items they know they need) will receive an experience pressuring them to buy more things. This was a trend in some of the reviews we read about Best Buy online.

One 2014 customer complaint involved the purchase of an Apple MacBook Pro from a store. The customer found the 2012 model sticker on the inside of their computer, contacted Apple, and was told that they had purchased an "old-stock" computer. The inventories of some brands in stores are often older models that Best Buy has purchased in stock.

One customer also had purchased a $450 computer, according to a complaint, and it was not working after the 15-day Return and Exchange Promise. The customer was advised to go to the manufacturer or purchase a Geek Squad plan. Electronics are expensive investments, and consumers should have access to the best product available.
Best Buy's Geek Squad does not have pricing listed on its website. In order to get a price, you must get a quote. Also, we found that liquid spills require a special plan, the Advanced Geek Squad Protection Plan with Accidental Damage from Handling. For high-dollar items, the Advanced Protection Plan becomes a necessity.

The Bottom Line

We recommend Best Buy as an online electronics retailer for the following reasons:

  • We liked the functionality of the website, which included a "deals" section that changed on a regular basis.
  • Overall, we liked the Geek Squad customer service, however, we want to see pricing on the website.
  • When we loaded the website on our mobile device, it was just as easy to use as the responsive website.
  • Best Buy offers an assistive devices category, which includes amplifiers for hearing issues and large-screen alarm clocks for the vision impaired.
  • Geek Squad offers a "lemon" policy, which gives the customer a new replacement item after the third repair of an item protected by the Geek Squad.

Sometimes, we felt like the customer service at Best Buy failed to deliver. We read about the 15-day Return and Exchange Promise quite a bit. Some customers had items break after the promise had expired, leaving the manufacturer's warranty or the Geek Squad as the only viable option.


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