Best Buy…Worst Buy

Electronics retailers ripping you off with backup discs

Best Buy and Circuit City have come up with a new way to rip off customers buying computers — and it has nothing to do with extended warranties. According to PC World, these retailers are now trying to get customers to pay for Windows recovery discs. The backup discs are rarely needed, but the retailers have found a way to boost profits by tapping into the “What if?” fear of consumers who may not know a lot about computers. It turns out that you can make these discs yourself or buy them from the manufacturer for half of what the stores charge you.

PC World got so fired up over the whole issue that they sent in secret shoppers to get the real scoop. The shoppers found that Circuit City pushed them hard to pay an extra $30 for the store-made recovery discs. But at Best Buy, 3 out of 5 stores outright told the shoppers that it’s not possible to make the backup discs yourself. Meanwhile, several of the top computer manufacturers say that their notebook models come with instructions and software for creating the recovery discs. Best Buy tried to explain its way out of the situation by telling PC World that it was all just a miscommunication between the secret shoppers and the sales associates. But you have to understand that electronics retailers have really had their profit margins crushed, so they’re desperate to push extra stuff on unwitting consumers. One last word on extended warranties on computers: Don’t get them! Computers develop so quickly that there’s no sense in insuring what may be obsolete in a year or two. When you’re shopping for a laptop, just make sure you get one that has at least one gig of RAM for the memory.


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