Best Buy Geek Squad Services Now Offered on EBay
In the hopes of earning new revenue, struggling electronics retailer Best Buy Company, Inc., has reportedly started offering Geek Squad service plans on auction and shopping website EBay.
According to a Bloomberg report, consumers can now buy the service plans on EBay even if they do not purchase any electronics on the website. Geek Squad plans currently available on EBay, which has about 100 million active customers, cost $29.99 for three months and $49.99 for six months and include support services for up to three computers and/or tablets; customers who purchase these plans can get around-the-clock Geek Squad help online or over the phone, but not in Best Buy stores, according to information on EBay.com.
Best Buy and EBay didn’t disclose how they would split fees, Bloomberg reported.
The Geek Squad was founded in 1994 as a 24/7 consumer technology repair and support service in the Twin Cities. In 2002, it was acquired by Best Buy—and it expanded nationally in 2004.
The EBay partnership is Best Buy’s latest attempt to boost its services business as the Richfield-based retailer faces declining sales and increasing competition from online vendors.
In August, Best Buy announced a similar partnership with Target through which some Target stores, including one in Minneapolis, now feature Geek Squad tech experts and services. That pilot program was rolled out earlier this month, and Target will determine whether to expand its Geek Squad partnership nationwide after the pilot has been completed.
Prior to that, in April, the Geek Squad reportedly began offering its services to members of AARP, an organization for people 50 years and older. The service plan available to AARP members costs $169.99 a year and is similar to the ones offered on EBay. However, unlike the plans being sold on EBay, buyers of this plan can receive Geek Squad help in Best Buy stores as well as by phone and online.
Additionally, in July, Best Buy teamed with Verizon Communications, Inc., to offer Geek Squad services to the telecom company’s customers; cost of those service plans range from $6.99 to $19.99 and include 24/7 phone support for computers, TVs, and phone equipment.
“They’re trying to make Geek Squad a ubiquitous, stand-alone brand that stands for great help around your technical problems,” Stephen Baker, an analyst at New York-based research firm NPD Group, told Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, in early July, Best Buy announced plans to cut about 600 Geek Squad workers but said later that same month that it would hire about 500 new Geek Squad employees by year’s end. The Geek Squad reduction targeted technicians who exclusively serviced individual products, like televisions and personal computers. Instead, the electronics retailer is hiring higher-skilled workers, as it shifts more Geek Squad employees away from basic home installations to focus on services for small businesses.
In addition to boosting its services business, Best Buy is attempting to turn itself around by shuttering big-box stores across the country and opening smaller shops that sell mobile phones, e-readers, and tablets.
The company reported net earnings of $12 million, or 4 cents per share, for the quarter that ended August 4—down 91 percent from last year’s second quarter. Revenue for the quarter fell 3 percent to $10.5 billion.
Meanwhile, Best Buy founder Richard Schulze, who left the company's board earlier this year in the wake of a scandal involving former CEO Brian Dunn, is working on a private takeover attempt and recently reached a deal with Best Buy’s board that grants him access to the company’s non-public financial information in order to put together a formal buyout offer.
Best Buy is Minnesota’s third-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $50.7 billion for the fiscal year that ended in March.