Washington, D.C. resident Raelyn Campbell is suing Best Buy for $54 million connected to the loss of her laptop. The computer had been in for repairs for quite some time and she got fed up.
It's interesting to note that, while this may sound like another case of judicial vigilantism gone wrong, her grounding philosophy is seductively compelling. Her blog, the alliteratively-titled "BestBuyBadBuyBoycott.Blogspot" details her side:
I have filed a lawsuit against Best Buy and launched this blog in an effort to bring attention to the reprehensible state of consumer property and privacy protection practices at America's largest consumer electronics retailer, with the hope that it might motivate Best Buy to effect changes and spare future consumers the experience I have been subjected to -- or worse. The short story is that Best Buy and its representatives: 1) allowed my computer to be stolen from the Best Buy store in Tenleytown Washington, DC, 2) fabricated records and tried to cover up the theft, 3) lied to me for weeks about the repair status of the stolen computer, 4) responded to repeated requests for a theft investigation and compensation with indifference and insults, and 5) demonstrated a company-wide disregard for legal obligations to immediately disclose the theft and notify me of potential exposure to identity theft over the course of the ordeal. Relevant documents and details follow the below timeline. [All emphasis, italics, underlines etc. in original document.]
Best Buy has "compensated" her for the cost of the laptop, including a $500 gift certificate, which she donated to charity (they made these decisions without her knowledge and without indication after repeated requests for an investigation). Had they responded immediately and honestly with this information and paid the rebate upon the theft of the laptop, I think most rational people would take a "these things happen" approach, recommend that the woman take her money and be satisfied. That's not how things went down, though. After months of stalling, outright fabrications and neglect, she finally filed a lawsuit against the company.
Campbell freely acknowledges that $54 million is a "ridiculous" sum of money, but she has a point to make. I'm interested. I think that the actual amount awarded, assuming that she wins, should be less (a million at most for actual damages), but if the company is forced to acknowledge the systematic inconsistencies in their system, she'll have "won" anyway. Besides, this thing is going to get a lot more press with a $54 million lawsuit than a small claims lawsuit. What do you think?