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Apple Expands Its Repair Partnership with Best Buy

Apple has announced that it has expanded its repair partnership with Best Buy, making every store (nearly 1000) across the United States an Apple Authorized Service Provider. The move is aimed at addressing complaints that Apple can’t keep up with the number of device repairs needed.

But should you take a broken Apple device to Best Buy to be fixed? Apple said in its announcement that Best Buy uses genuine parts and that Apple backs every repair. Best Buy says it can do screen repairs, battery replacements, and more, often with same-day service, although the fine print on Best Buy’s press release acknowledges that “certain repairs may require a longer mail-in exchange process,” presumably to Apple. In such cases, you may be better off sending the device to Apple yourself.

That said, even Best Buy locations recommended by Apple Support have turned me away when I’ve sought to have devices repaired in the past, and other TidBITS contributors have stories of Best Buy’s Geek Squad techs being unable to resolve standard repair problems. Developer Michael Tsai wonders if Best Buy will be able to perform MacBook Pro keyboard replacements in-house and if the company will attempt to charge for what are supposed to be free services. Tsai also shares some negative stories about Best Buy’s Geek Squad.

Regardless, if you don’t have an Apple Store in your area, Best Buy might be your best bet for quick turnaround. But if same-day repair isn’t essential, Apple’s mail-in service might be better.

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Comments About Apple Expands Its Repair Partnership with Best Buy

Notable Replies

  1. As Adam Engst would tell you, there are many independent apple Authorized Service Providers located around the country that are more experienced than most Apple Geniuses.

    So, should you go to Best Buy for a repair of your Apple device? Only as your last resort. Look for and support the locally owned independent Apple Authorized Service Provider.

  2. ZDNet had a similar article today, and it wasn’t too complementary towards using Best Buy, and only in very limited circumstances. They interviewed Best Buy and found out that they do have a repair facility for more complicated repairs (the ones that require mailing out and loosing your device for 2 - 4 weeks) but it’s located in Kentucky.

  3. Indeed! Through our TidBITS Content Network service, I’ve met a lot of independent Apple resellers, service providers, and consultants, and their experience and skills are generally much higher than Apple Geniuses who might have been in the job for a year or two. In fact, some of them younger ones got their starts as Apple Geniuses and then struck out on their own.

  4. A friend posted this to another list and said I could repost anonymously:

    Summary : My wife and I tried using Best Buy to repair her iPhone. It was a disaster and you shouldn’t try it.

    We upgraded my wife from an iPhone X to an iPhone 11 Pro. She had a case on her X. When we removed it, the glass back of the phone was shattered. She hadn’t known.

    We have AppleCare+ on the phone. A back glass repair on the phone will cost $99 and will increase the trade in / sale value substantially more than the repair cost, so we decided to repair it.

    I went to the Apple repair website to set up an appointment. The two Apple stores which are local to me (Seattle & Bellevue) were booked for the weekend but the Apple site offered an appointment at the local Best Buy and listed them as an authorized repair center. I decided to give it a shot and booked an appointment.

    Our appointment was for yesterday at 6:00pm. We got there a few minutes early. We were listed on the Geek Squad appointment board not by name but as “Apple.com reservation”. Nobody was at the Geek Squad counter. Someone came out from the back about 5 mins after we arrived.

    The first thing she told us was that the repair tech hadn’t been told that a repair had been scheduled so didn’t come in that day. So they couldn’t repair the phone while we waited.

    She told us we could leave the phone and they could repair it by Monday. Ok. Fine. We discuss the cost with her and she confirm that the AppleCare+ cost of the repair would be $99.

    She then says that she has to run a diagnostics pass on the phone. I ask if the phone has to be signed in for that since I’ve fully wiped the phone to prep it for sale. She says “Yes.” I ask if that’s something the tech can do on their own and she says that I have to set the phone up and do the diagnostics before I leave. I ask “can’t your tech do this” and she says that the tech won’t have an Apple ID to use. Huh?

    I have no idea if this is typical of a repair done at an Apple store but I have a hard time believing it is.She at least does agree that I can wipe the phone after the diagnostics and before I leave.

    I proceed to fully set up the phone.

    She starts to wrestle with some software I never see on the Dell computer she is using. I fully set up the phone and she’s still wrestling with the software. Another ten or so minutes and she is now ready to do the diagnostics.

    The phone does recognize her computer and we appear to get through a diagnostics pass. She’s back to the software and into the tank. I think we’re there for a solid additional 20 minutes of silence with me occasionally asking how it’s going. She’s having problems with the software. Says it’s not working. Turns out she’s entering our serial number wrong and who knows what else.

    After all of this, she tells me the only option is a full phone replacement for $549. It does not matter that I explain to her that https://support.apple.com/iphone/repair/service#otherfees (and every other source on the internet) is clear that the AppleCare+ cost of this repair is $99. She says that’s what her software is telling her and that’s the only option.

    We take the phone and leave.

    This was an awful experience and it reflects poorly on Apple that they’ve authorized Best Buy to represent their brand this way. Apple employees have my permission to forward this mail to anyone they choose.

  5. Ugh. Sounds awful. I never liked Best Buy and although I’m totally put off by the Apple store wait times (at least I have a store close by), I’d prefer to wait than go through something like that. This story just re-emphasizes my vow to never let Best Buy anywhere near one of my devices.

    Apple would be well advised to cut ties with an outlet like Best Buy and instead beef up their own stores. Increase floor space, employ more techs, rent additional space. As the post says, a partnership like this reflects very poorly on Apple. My guess is Apple likes the idea that they don’t have to be present in small town areas and instead have BB to cover all those regions. In reality, that just doen’t work. You can’t outsource what should be quality service to a hack shop.

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