Best Buy Slapped With $54 Million Lawsuit for Lost Laptop

Dennis Faas's picture

A woman from Washington DC is suing Best Buy for $54 million after it lost a laptop she'd put in for repair.

The company already gave Raelyn Campbell the full replacement cost of her $1,100 laptop plus a $500 gift card as compensation. However, she's suing for costs including the replacement of software, music, pictures and other data, plus the actions she's had to take to protect against identity theft. Her laptop included material such as her will and tax returns which could have been used for such purposes. (Source:

She's detailed her case at the tongue-twister-named, and claims the company took three months to admit the laptop was lost. She says she originally asked for less than $5,000 in compensation but now wants to force Best Buy to take stronger steps to protect customers from identity theft when their computers are lost.

In a letter to the company and the District Attorney General, she admits the $54 million figure is "an absurd amount of money". She says she picked that sum as a publicity stunt because it's the same amount unsuccessfully sought in a high-profile case where a laundry firm lost a customer's pants.

A Best Buy spokesperson told the Associated Press "We've done what we can to try to learn about went wrong. 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." (Source:

It's clearly unlikely this lawsuit will succeed, particularly because there's no evidence that the customer was a victim of identity theft. There's certainly some validity to the point that Best Buy should have informed her as soon as they knew the laptop was missing. But the real lesson of the case is that any genuinely confidential documents should be either password-protected or encrypted, even if you've no intention of ever letting your computer out of your hands.

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