Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bad computer and terrible customer service

This is a story posted on I have seen and heard this exact thing happen many, many times before.


“I purchased a computer in late March, two weeks later it started having problems. Little annoyances but problems. They got worse and I contacted customer service who very quickly offered to fix it if I sent in the computer with everything.. I had bought extra memory ($300 worth). I got the computer back and NOTHING was fixed AND they did not return the extra memory! They kept it!!. I called and was given the run around (over THREE hours on the phone!). TWO months have gone by and my computer gets worse and worse. I cannot completely restart it, the screen goes black, the sound sucks... it won't recognize files or accept updates etc etc. At first the techs pretended to be concerned and helpful but I never was allowed to talk to anyone higher up and there is nothing they can do, nothing over the phone for sure. I was told a case manager would contact me to discuss another fix or a new computer. One tried to call me at the time I was NOT able to answer phone. I called back that same day and got routed to leave message,I did, explicitly stating the times I could be contacted. Two weeks later one called back at a time I specified not to call ( I work nights) and left me a message saying they had called me multiple times (they have not.) when I call I leave a message and they never call back, now when I call it says there is no room for messages. Like others before me, it is always a different person and the second caller said the first had left the company (REALLY?? I wonder why? ha). I sit here wondering if I should try to get a lawyer. It has been two months since they promised to find a solution. I have a relatively new laptop that is a piece of junk. I paid over 1000 dollars for nothing! Their customer service is the worst and it is an abuse of a corporation to take your money and not care for the quality of the product they sell.”

It sounds like this lady has fell into the “cheaper computer trap.” She paid over $1,000 for her laptop ($300 of it was the memory upgrade) most likely because it was a good deal. Why was it a good deal?

#1 The companies support is outsourced over seas to save money and lower the price tag.

#2 When she sent it in for repairs they had no way of tracking the fact that she ordered the extra memory and shipped it (or a replacement) back to he just as it would have been with out the upgrade or (stock condition). This is both a failure of internal systems and people. Great systems and great people cost money. Low prices and margins on these “bargain” systems do not allow greatness, only mediocrity at best.

#3 The “complaint department” is also outsourced over seas where there is a language barrier, time differences, low wages, high turn over and (due to the low quality of the product) a huge influx of complaints.

So my question is this:
How do we stop the cycle of wanting high quality computers for low prices. The two things just haven't proven to me that they co-exist. As an example, take Apple computers. Pound for pound they are the most expensive computers on the market. And while they are not perfect, they have an incredibly high customer satisfaction rating.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Technician Steals Customer's Computer, Company Refuses To Refund

According to the Orlando Sentinel, a Geek Choice computer technician disappeared along with a school principals computer. Turns out he couldn't be found because he was in jail.

The company admitted that they don't run background checks on the "technicians" they're sending into a customer's house. Oh, and they also deny all responsibility and refuse to refund the computer because there's, "no evidence of the cost of what was stolen." But they will, "offer discounted future service. " Awesome, 10% off your next opportunity to get a computer stolen.

A few things come to mind here:
1) How many companies are there in the US just like Geek Choice?
2) How do companies like this stay in business?
3) Do consumers have some responsibility in checking out a computer company before they entrust their technology and data?
4) cat-man-du runs full background checks on ALL employees prior to hiring as well as an extensive interview process (we even require a clean driving record).

** The last is shameless self promotion :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Sony Recalls Thousands of Vaio PCs Over Burn Risk,2817,2329434,00.asp

Cheap is better, right?

So what are we looking at in this picture (and how is it relevant to this Blog)?

This is one corner of a room full of dead computers. The majority of these are eMachines. You can clearly see a Dell, a "whitebox" system and a couple of HP/Compaq computers.
Most of these computers were just over a year old when they "died" (just outside of the manufacturers warranty). They are also mainly the least expensive (ranging from $399 to $599). Most of the consumers that purchased these systems brought them into one of our offices for repair and were shocked that it was a catastrophic failure (most of these had failed power supplies, motherboards and CPUs upon arrival). They also received no help from the manufacturers tech support because the systems were out of warranty.

Is there a lesson to be learned here? Are the larger desktop makers making cheap computers to meet the public's demand or is the consumer caught up in a price war and ultimately paying the price? Am I being biased due to the large number of these "value" machines that I see come in for repair?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Post

As this is my first post, I would like to begin with the question "Where has the service gone in Computer Service?" I would also like to look not only at PC repair, but at the big chain stores and the online computer manufacturers. What happens after the sale? Why are there so many horror stories on the Internet? What has gone wrong. I welcome all comments but request that we keep them clean (or at least **** out foul language).
Thank you.