Best Buy Sued for $54M Over Lost Laptop

A woman is suing Best Buy for $54 million because she claims the consumer electronics retailer lost her laptop while it was in for repairs and tried to cover up its disappearance.

"It's a ridiculous number," admitted Raelyn Campbell, 37, of the $54 million figure. "I had to come up with a number that was significant enough that might force them to pay attention to me."

In her lawsuit filed Nov. 16 in Washington Superior Court, Campbell also claims the Richfield-based company failed to immediately notify her of the possibility of identity theft. She wants Best Buy Co. Inc. to change its practices and ensure customer privacy protection in the future. She is seeking punitive damages, plus the cost of her computer and expenses for identity theft protection.

A Best Buy spokeswoman said the company already gave Campbell $1,110.35 for the cost of the laptop and warranty, as well as a $500 gift card for her inconvenience.

Campbell, a Washington, D.C. resident, said in her blog that the $1,110.35 was put on her credit card without her knowledge in October, and she kept it to cover expenses. She tried to return the $500 gift card to Best Buy, and when she got no response, she donated it, she said.

"We've done what we can to try to learn about went wrong," Best Buy spokeswoman Nissa French said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "We're obviously embarrassed and disappointed that we were unable to resolve this customer's issue. We've tried to resolve this dispute and feel badly that it escalated to a lawsuit."

Campbell said she spent over $1,000 on her 14-inch laptop, which was about a year old when she brought it in to repair a fickle power switch.

On her blog, Campbell claims the Geek Squad and Best Buy employees kept her in the dark about her computer's whereabouts for months — she said the computer was "stolen" sometime after May 25 and officials didn't confirm its disappearance until Aug. 9.

Best Buy also offered $2,500, "with nondisclosure and non-liability provisions and no offer to address the systemic failure in Best Buy's practices, i.e., the main motivation for my lawsuit," Campbell wrote in her blog.

Campbell said a judge suggested the two sides negotiate a settlement, but one hasn't been reached.