A Best Buy customer in the US has filed a lawsuit seeking $54m in damages from the company after the electronics retailer lost her laptop last year.

The lawsuit was filed in the Washington DC superior court last November but was publicised in media outlets this week. According to plaintiff Raelyn Campbell, Geek Squad technicians at Best Buy's Tenleytown, DC, store lost the computer sometime around July 2007, then the company misled her about its whereabouts for a few weeks before finally admitting on August 9 that it had been lost.

Best Buy offered Campbell $1,110 (£550) and a $500 (£250) gift card in compensation, something she calls a "low ball" offer on a blog she has devoted to the issue.

According to her, the point of the lawsuit is to publicly embarrass Best Buy into changing its privacy policy in such cases.

"To me, the big issue is not the low-balling and bullying tactics, but Best Buy's systematic disregard for its customers' personal information and potential exposure to identity theft," she wrote in her blog. "I am hoping the attention that the lawsuit and this website generate might motivate Best Buy and other consumer electronics stores entrusted with products that contain consumers' personal information to adopt thorough procedures and policies to safeguard customers' property and personal information against theft."

Best Buy can't say much about the issue because it's still before the court, but the company is working to find out what went wrong, according to company spokeswoman Nissa French.

"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," she said.

Campbell could not be reached for comment.

On her blog, she admitted that the $54m in damages she was seeking was an "absurd amount", but said that she chose such a large sum in order to draw attention to the problem.