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2/14/2008
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Woman Sues Best Buy For $54 Million Over Lost Notebook

Raelyn Campbell says she filed the suit and started a blog to bring attention to the "reprehensible state of consumer property and privacy protection practices" at Best Buy.

A Washington, D.C., woman has sued Best Buy for $54 million, claiming the consumer electronics retailer lost her computer and then tried to cover up the disappearance.

Raelyn Campbell, 37, acknowledges that the money she wants is more than the price of the notebook and the inconvenience she has suffered. But she said the lawsuit, along with a blog she started to chronicle her legal battle with Best Buy, is necessary to make a point.

"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," Campbell wrote.

Campbell filed the lawsuit in Washington Superior Court Nov. 16 after trying for six months to find out what happened to the notebook she brought back to Best Buy for repairs. During that time, according to Campbell, the computer was stolen from the Best Buy store in the Tenleytown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., the retailer's employees fabricated records to hide the theft, and lied for weeks about the repair status of the computer.

In addition, Campbell claims Best Buy was indifferent and insulting in its response to her repeated requests for a theft investigation and compensation, and showed 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."

Best Buy has said it has done everything it can to make amends. "We're obviously embarrassed and disappointed that we were unable to resolve this customer's issue," a spokeswoman for the retailer told The Associated Press. "We've tried to resolve this dispute and feel badly that it escalated to a lawsuit."

In her blog, Campbell provides a timeline of her contacts with Best Buy, starting May 25, 2007, when she left the broken notebook at the Tenleytown store for repair under a service contract. On Jan. 25 of this year, a Superior Court judge recommended that she and Best Buy try to settle the matter on their own.

Campbell said she offered to drop the suit, if the company paid her for her expenses and time and addressed "the shortcomings in its property and privacy protection practices." Best Buy hasn't responded, according to Campbell, and the next court hearing is set for Feb. 22.

The only compensation Campbell has received from Best Buy is $1,110.35 that was transferred into her credit card account in late October without her consent, the plaintiff said.

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