View Full Version : Returning goods to a store or manufacturer

Jeff Root
2011-Sep-03, 05:10 PM
I'm sure a lot of people here have far more experience
than I have in returning items to stores and manufacturers.

Generally, if I return something, it is because the thing
is unuseable. So is the only reason they want the item
returned to prevent fraud? I clean the thing up, put it
back in the original packaging with all the accessory
parts and literature, and transport it several miles or
send it by mail or UPS or FedEx, and they toss it in a
dumpster and it goes into a landfill? Or what?

I have had a problem with my computer almost since I
built it a year and a half ago. It's looking like the source
of the problem might be the power supply, since its fan
isn't spinning. The power supply was built into the case
when I bought it new from a store near me, so I don't
have far to go in this instance if I take it back to the
store... but... I think it's too late to take it back to the
store, I would have to send it to the manufacturer, in
far-off Elsewhereland. And the problem is with the power
supply, not the case. So I wonder if I can take it out of
the case and get just that part replaced... Except... I
may want to replace it with a better part.

Any advice before I contact the store and/or manufacturer?
The manufacturer is Antec.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

2011-Sep-03, 05:29 PM
They want to make sure that you're not saying, "No, it doesn't work!" and getting one for free even though it does.

2011-Sep-03, 06:08 PM
Certain items returned to the manufacturer or designated service center may be refurbished and used as a warrantly replacement on other returns. I ran into this some years ago when I returned a cell phone under a purchased service agreement. I didn't get a brand-spanking-new phone as a replacement. It was a refurb. Some manufacturer's also have outlet channels for refurbished items.

But yes, many items are discarded when repair is not practical or economically feasible. On the other hand, some companies don't go to the bother of collecting the defective item. I have two Mosquito Magnets because they didn't want to bother with a return. I later learned how to repair them myself, so they both work now.

2011-Sep-03, 06:21 PM
It's not hard to replace the power supplies in desktop computers. However, if that would be a new adventure for you, you have to decide whether you want it. A local computer repair shop should be able to do it.

It you want to return something somewhere, you have to get straight who will take it. Maybe neither the store of the manufacturer will, so you won't have any decision to make.

(In the USA, Antec is known as manufacturer of computer cases, power supplies, and accessories, not entire computers. )

The usual procedure for returning something is that you must first contact the company you want to return something to. You must give them the information they require. Then they email or mail you a "Return Merchandise Authorization" (RMA). This will often be a UPS shipping label that you must put on your package. Only the company you are dealing with can tell you what parts to return and what condition they must be in.

Sending a company a package "out of the blue" with an attached cover letter will probably result in them not accepting the package.

2011-Sep-03, 06:23 PM
When they take it back, it also helps the manufacturer figure out if (and what) might be wrong with the main product line that doesn't come up in QA. If the problem isn't serious, they can often refurbish it and resell it through places like NewEgg and Tiger Direct. (Those are often worth buying, believe it or not, and not just for the price reduction. Refurbished devices are tested individually. They can often wind up being more reliable than batch-tested new stuff.)

Jeff, between the shipping and handling, you might actually be better off just buying a new power supply. Good, quiet, modular ones aren't expensive, and will almost certainly be miles ahead of what you got pre-built in your PC. Even mail-ordering, you'll almost certainly get one weeks faster than you'll get on a warranty replacement, even if you can find someone there to respond. Just something to consider.

2011-Sep-03, 07:04 PM
Some computers have a thermostat to turn the fan on when it reaches a certain temperature, check your BIOS for a setting that allows you to have the fan on all the time.

If there isnít a setting then the fan probably is supposed to run continuously; if thatís the case then it could be the fan or the power supply.


2011-Sep-03, 08:18 PM
Not power supplies. Those fans are supposed to run continuously.

/ Also trying to clear the "close thread" cookie that appears to be stuck on my account at the moment. Bear with me.

Jeff Root
2011-Sep-03, 08:54 PM
There is a connector on the motherboard for a power supply fan,
but the fan doesn't have a wire/connector for it. There is no info
in the documentation I have that the fan speed is controlled,
and I've never heard of one that is supposed to stop.

Every time I've looked at it today it has been stopped. I first
noticed that it was stopped about two days ago, shortly after
changing the speed of the main exhaust fan from low to medium.
I did that because the motherboard temp was just over the red
line at 45 degrees Celsius. (It is now 43 C, and the CPU is a
cool 29 C.) I felt the power supply box several times yesterday
or the day before. One time it felt a bit warmer, so I watched,
and after about a minute the fan ran for about 20 seconds, then
stopped again, after which the box had cooled back to the usual
temperature. It has never felt hot, and the case has never felt
warm at all. So even if the fan did fail, it seems unlikely to be
the source of the problem that got me investigating.

Also the fan blades swivel easily, rocking back and forth when I
let them go, so there is no significant friction. Any failure must
be in the circuit.

I think I'll have the store look at it, and maybe buy a new one
at the same time.

* * * *

I'm interested in more thoughts on returning things in general.
Mostly when I return things they don't seem to have any interest
in what the defect was. I write up a list of problems, and when I
ask if they want it, they say they don't.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

2011-Sep-03, 09:03 PM
Get a new iMac. :)

2011-Sep-03, 09:58 PM
Not power supplies. Those fans are supposed to run continuously.

/ Also trying to clear the "close thread" cookie that appears to be stuck on my account at the moment. Bear with me.

Google "Antec Low Noise Technology"

2011-Sep-03, 10:33 PM
If you're comfortable burning an ISO file onto a cdrom or dvd then http://www.memtest.org/ is a good 1st step to try to determine the cause of intermittent problems. It will test your computers memory thoroughly. Bad RAM can do weird things to a computer, and bad can mean either broken, or a bad match between RAM and mainboard.

2011-Sep-03, 11:42 PM
Google "Antec Low Noise Technology"

Huh. That's new. Not sure I'd use one except with a full-tower open mesh case or (at the very least) a dedicated case fan. Quiet air cooling works best with constant airflow from lower-front to upper-rear of the case. The power supply is in the sweet-spot for all of that.

Sure, the CPU and motherboard self-monitors, but the drives and RAM won't. They can develop heat pockets if the airflow is at all restricted.

2011-Sep-07, 01:39 AM
I have had a problem with my computer almost since I
built it a year and a half ago. It's looking like the source
of the problem might be the power supply, since its fan
isn't spinning.

I hate to say this, but if the fan isn't spinning, your power supply is probably toast. Chuck it and buy a new one from Newegg. Shoot for one about 50% more Watts, as the video cards keep needing more, and you can always keep your case and power supply when you upgrade.

Jeff Root
2011-Sep-07, 04:54 AM
Except for the video outage when re-starting, though, there is no
other sign of any problem. And the power supply has never felt
hot. The computer has been on for hours, now. I just opened it
and the warmest part of the PS box feels like less than 30 deg C
even though the fan isn't running.

When I tried to re-seat the connectors I wasn't able to unplug
the main connector from the motherboard. If I can get that out
I'll take the PS to the store to be tested.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis