Skip to main content

Best Buy doesn’t always wipe returned devices, so delete those ‘artful nudes’

best buy return data resale tvs
Update 08/06/2015: Best Buy reached out to us with the following statement.

“We have detailed procedures in place to wipe client information from the devices that are returned to our stores. Our stores wipe thousands of devices and return them to factory settings each year. If that doesn’t happen, it runs counter to our company values and how we expect to handle customer data.”

Related Videos

Unfortunately, the statement does not say anything that wasn’t already known. Best Buy of course has a data wiping policy — but obviously, it was not followed in this case.

Original text: If you return an item to a store for being faulty, it might not be possible for you to zero the internal storage, or format whatever drive it has, to delete any of your personal data, so you would assume that the store would do that for you; if it is planning to resale it at least. Apparently that isn’t happening in all cases with Best Buy, though, as yet another instance has cropped up of it leaving customer data on a device that it resold to someone else.

In this particular incident, Best Buy customer Michael Urban treated himself to an Apple TV from the pre-owned hardware section, only to find that when he turned it on, it was still logged into the previous owner’s accounts. Although obviously a good hearted enough individual to bring this to the world’s attention, Urban could have taken advantage of the previous owner’s iTunes, Netflix, Hulu and HBO Now accounts.

“Although one could say the original owner should have known better and reset the unit before returning it, many/most people are probably clueless in this area,” Urban said to Ars. “So if the retailer accepts the return and resells the item, it’s their responsibility to return it to factory defaults. Although I’d like to believe it’s not true, I suspect they completely ignore this in many cases.”

As has been pointed out, this is far from the first time Best Buy has been found lacking in its resale privacy department. In one case a computer was sold to a new customer without any data wiped from its drive, allowing the new owner to login as the old without issue. Other stories gleamed from complaint forums suggest these are not isolated incidents.

Have you ever purchased second hand hardware, only to find the old owner’s details still on the device?

Editors' Recommendations

Best Buy didn’t sell as many smartphones as it wanted to over the holidays
best buy smartphone holiday season sales trends 2015 meizu smartphones china mobile phone m2

With the holidays usually eyed as a prime opportunity for smartphone sales to go through the roof, it's not surprising to see how thrown off Best Buy was when it realized its smartphone sales didn't reach expected levels, reports the NY Post.

Best Buy expected strong smartphone sales during the 2015 holiday season, based on 2014's smartphone sales trends. Unfortunately for the retailer, that strategy backfired in a big way, as the Minneapolis-based chain reported a 7.2 percent drop in same-store sales of computers and mobile phones for the nine-week holiday period ending January 2. This compares to a 1.8 percent decline during the same period in 2014.

Read more
Apple planning to score more Watch sales with Best Buy launch on August 7
only 3 of u s consumers own a smartwatch apple has the strongest brand association watch

The Apple Watch is set to arrive at Best Buy in August, making it the first store – besides Apple's own – to offer the smartwatch to consumers since its launch three months ago. The retail giant announced Sunday it'll start carrying Apple's smartwatch at 100 of its U.S. stores, as well as at, from August 7, with a further 200 stores stocking it in time for the holiday season.

Consumers visiting Best Buy stores will be able to choose from the Sport and Watch versions of Apple's wrist-based device. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the priciest "Edition" version, which starts at $10,000, will stay with the Apple Store. Apple Watch accessories such as watch bands, screen shields, stands, and chargers will also be offered at Best Buy from next month.

Read more
Is the Apple Watch’s screen too small for photos? Instagram doesn’t think so
instagram steps into wearables space with apple watch app

Instagram is one of a number of notable companies launching an app for the Apple Watch this week, a move that marks the company's first official step into the wearables space.

According to an FT report, the team behind the media-sharing app was initially unsure about taking its service to the Apple Watch as the device is focused more toward health tracking and messages than sharing images. However, reluctant to see a competitor make a possible success of the relatively new platform, the Facebook-owned company eventually came around to the idea of redesigning its own app for Apple's debut smartwatch.

Read more