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The Lost Laptop And The $54 Million Lawsuit

Washington, D.C. - Best Buy is yet again at the center of an unusual lawsuit: A customer sues the retailer for $54 million over her laptop that the company apparently lost during a repair process. A ridiculous amount? Sure. But this is actually one of the smarter lawsuits we hear about these days.

The story of Raelyn Campbell may sound like a familiar scenario to many of us. There is a technical problem, in this case with Campbell’s notebook, which results in a submitting the device to repair. Communication with the customer and repair service at Best Buy did not go exactly as you would expect. After purchasing her laptop at Best Buy in early 2006 for $1100, which included the price for the system itself as well as a $300 extended warranty, Campbell brought the computer back to the store for repair in May. The problem, however, is that the computer has not been returned since then.

Campbell says Best Buy has stalled communications throughout the summer, without providing reasonable information about the status of the repair, and was finally told in August that the laptop had been lost. Best Buy then offered a $900 gift card as compensation. She initially demanded $2100 in cash, claiming that she not only did she pay $1100 for the computer, but she would also have to replace the system, software and music stored on the system. Best Buy eventually raised its offer to a $1100 refund and a $500 gift card, but Campbell ran out of patience.

Without legal representation, she filed a $54 million lawsuit against Best Buy last November and actually admits that this is a ridiculous amount. But she hoped that this amount would attract plenty of media attention, which it actually does. While she knows that she will not get those $54 million, the strategy appears to be working: Best Buy’s last offer was $2500 in cash, in addition to the refund and the gift card. Campbell did not accept, saying that here expenses have risen since the time of her $2100 demand. She also said that she is still waiting for an explanation how her computer could have been stolen from a secure area."