Bamboozled: Computer refund slow to arrive

Stephanie Goodson has been living without a computer for five months.

In October, Goodson took her machine to the Best Buy in Eatontown because she needed help with data recovery. She left the PC with the Geek Squad, Best Buy’s in-house fix-it team, hoping a tech could get the job done.

Not only were Geek Squad members unable to recover the data, somehow, under their care, Goodson’s machine died. The motherboard – the brains of the computer which operated just fine when Goodson dropped off the PC – was fried. Blue-screen-of-death fried.

She wanted a new machine. Best Buy said no.

Over the next several months, Goodson and Best Buy reps had dozens of email and telephone conversations about what went wrong and what could be done, but Goodson wasn’t offered any satisfaction.

“Having a computer is an integral part of my life, and being computerless is stressful,” she said. “Borrowing a computer or using my smart phone is not an acceptable substitute for my own computer.”

The company changed its mind in January after Bamboozled got involved.

Best Buy offered to replace Goodson’s machine. She spent the next two months in a more back-and-forth email conversation with Best Buy. They went over the specs for the new PC, and Goodson was happy.

She thought.

Goodson asked for order numbers or tracking information so she’d know when to expect delivery. Instead of information, she received excuses.

The machine was supposedly ordered in January, but there were delays. Best Buy reported to Goodson that it was back-ordered, that it needed to be ordered from a different supplier, that it would be coming soon, that there were new delays so Best Buy needed to go to a different supplier, and more.

That all turned out to be, well, inaccurate.

On Feb. 8, Best Buy called Goodson and offered her a check to cover a replacement computer. It also asked Goodson to sign a release.

She did, but it’s now March, and Goodson still doesn’t have a check.

“I don’t understand why they haven’t delivered the check unless they have no intention to deliver it,” Goodson said. “This is ridiculous.”

We asked Best Buy what was taking so long.

Resolution specialist Damon Gammon said he’s checking on the status of the agreement.

“Best Buy apologizes for Ms. Goodson’s experience and while Best Buy and Ms. Goodson had a previous agreement to replace her computer, there were some unforeseen difficulties fulfilling the agreement,” he said. “Best Buy and Ms. Goodson were able to find an agreeable alternate resolution.”

If the check ever arrives, that is.


Jim Gellman is getting the rate he was promised.

Gellman had reserved a unit with Public Storage to hold his extra stuff after a move. The unit had a monthly price tag of $85.

But when he arrived at the Public Storage facility in Dover with a full $150 per hour moving van in tow, he was told the $85 unit wasn’t available. He could have one costing $110 a month, workers told him.

Gellman didn’t want the more expensive unit, and when he asked for the reservation price to be honored, workers said they couldn’t. The workers contacted higher-ups, Gellman said, but no one would honor the price.

When Bamboozled contacted the corporate offices of Public Storage, the spokesman said Gellman should contact customer service – something he had been trying for weeks. No resolution was offered.

But on the day our story ran, Public Storage came through.

Gellman shared an email he received from a district manager, who agreed to honor the reservation price and credit Gellman’s account with the $60 overpayment of the past several months.

We’re glad to learn the company decided to do the right thing, but we still can’t understand why it took a newspaper column to get action. Satisfying a reasonable customer request shouldn’t be so difficult.

Back in October of 2011, we told you about Effie Marie Bradley, the woman who got stuck with her deceased brother’s $120,000 home equity debt.

Technically, the debt belonged to them both. She had co-signed the loan on the home that they owned together in Dover. But unbeknownst to Bradley, her brother proceeded to lose the $120,000, plus more, to scams: the Nigerian scam, the Spanish, Euro and Canadian lottos, and others.

When he died, Bradley was left with the bill. She tried in vain to get the lender, PNC Bank, to give her a modification on the $120,000 loan. Time and time again, PNC refused, and it even threatened to foreclose on the home.

The good news came last month.

PNC offered Bradley a modification in her name, with payments of about $500 a month at 2 percent interest for the life of the loan.

Bradley said she completed the paperwork and sent PNC a copy of her brother’s death certificate, as requested, by certified mail. The documents were received, and now she’s waiting for the final okay from the bank.

“I really do believe your articles played a big part in my house not being foreclosed on so from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for being in my corner throughout this nightmare,” she said.

That’s what we’re here for, Effie, and you are very, very welcome.


Talk about a resolution that was a long time coming.

In January 2011, Joe Cetti used a snow melt/de-icing product called Bare Grounds Solutions on a stamped concrete sidewalk and patio at his Newton home.

The product’s web site says it’s “environmentally friendly and virtually non corrosive liquid spray,” is “safe on all surfaces.”

But after Cetti used it on his stamped concrete, the materials started to crumble.

He faced off against Bare Grounds and the company’s insurance, Selective Insurance, hoping they would pay for repairs.

He had received two estimates to fix the damage: one for $396 to touch-up that would repair the damaged parts, and one for $3,662 to replace the damaged concrete.

Bare Grounds and its insurance company refused. We tried to intervene in August, and still, the company wasn’t interested.

But Joe Cetti is one persistent bugger, and good for him. Months later, he sent Bamboozled a message.

“Despite any proof of liability, an offer to repair my patio/sidewalk in the amount of $396, necessitating a release, which specifically indicates no admission of liability, was made in order to resolve this matter,” Cetti said in an email.

And he received his settlement check.

This spring, Cetti plans to use the funds to fix the crumbling patio.

Love, love that kind of persistence!


Last month we told you about a Verizon billing mishap. After the problem came to the attention of the right people at the company, the bill was fixed.

Since that time, Bamboozled received well over three dozen emails from Verizon customers with a variety of billing complaints. We sent those on to the company, and it has addressed each problem.

That’s how you handle customer service issues.

Thanks for the follow-up, Verizon.