Class Calls Best Buy Cellphone Insurance Bunk

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – If a cellphone breaks beyond repair, Best Buy promises a new one to customers who buy a protection plan for $15 a month, but it gives them a refurbished phone “at most,” an unhappy customers says in a federal class action.
     Debra Wanless claims she signed up for the Geek Squad Black Tie Protection plan, which promises a new phone if the old phone is damaged beyond repair, including if the damage happens by accident.
     But Wanless claims Best Buy conceals that it does not gives new replacement phones to customers but “at most” provides them with a refurbished phone.
     Wanless claims she bought an iPhone 4 from Best Buy because of the company’s protection plan, which cost her $14.99 a month for 2 years.
     She claims a Best Buy employee told her that the plan was “the best insurance one could buy for mobile phone. She was told that all she needed to do was bring in the broken phone and Best Buy would hand her a new phone,” according to the complaint.
     Wanless says Best Buy did not give her a copy of the terms and conditions of the plan, or a contract, nor did it tell her how to find them.
     She says that she accidentally dropped her phone and shattered its case, and when she brought it to a store in Folsom, she was told for the first time that she would get a refurbished phone.
     When she complained, she says, she was told that “most of the refurbished phones are basically new phones that are returned by customers who, after just a month of use, want to upgrade to a newer version.”
     Wanless claims Best Buy gave her the replacement phone in a plastic bag in a brown box. She says she asked if there had been any previous problems with the phone and a Best Buy employee told her the company had no information on the phone.
     When she asked how consumers were supposed to know whether the phone was comparable, she claims Best Buy responded that “refurbished phones were good phones.”
     Wanless says she spent $254 for the mobile phone insurance plan before making her claim. She says that “had she known at the time of purchase of the mobile phone plan that would only ever get a refurbished phone instead of a new one … she would never had paid so much for the Best Buy Mobile Phone Plan or bought it in the first place.”
     Wanless accuses Best Buy of unfair competition, deceptive advertising, breach of warranty, bad faith and unjust enrichment. She seeks class damages for California residents who bought protection plans from Best Buy within the past 4 years.
     She is represented by Jeffrey Lawrence.

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