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Thread: Trivial lawsuits are stupid, but listen to my story...

  1. #1
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    Trivial lawsuits are stupid, but listen to my story...

    If any of you have noticed that I was away for a long time and only posted every week or so, it was because of the computer problems I have been experiencing.

    It started 7 weeks ago when I noticed there was a beeping sound on my computer and it suddenly froze. I called Compaq support center, paid $40 for the extended warranty, and they told me after about 2 hours that it was a memory card problem. I looked at it for a day and then said that the memory cards were fine. They told me then that it was a motherboard problem, and that I needed to get a new one. Later, they said I had to pay $200 to get the hardware support...

    We said that was too much, and my dad asked for some alternatives. They said we could take it to a local Radio Shack. They told us it would take 2 weeks and that it was guaranteed to be fixed. However, it took 7 weeks instead, (because motherboards are that hard to find), and it ended up costing almost $300.

    But the thing was... when we got home, the computer with the motherboard wasn't fixed. Instead, it began malfunctioning and froze. In addition, they put a plastic plate over our headphone jack, USB port, etc. so that we couldn't use it. We were so frustrated that it didn't work that we just put in our old mouse, and suddenly, the computer worked!

    After many dollars of phone bills, wasted hours, wasted money (about $500)...I can't believe what happened.

    I don't know if this the tech support's fault or not, but I can't help feel too sorry for them. My parents are even more angry and thinking of filing a lawsuit against Compaq. Does that make any sense? :-?

  2. #2
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    Sorry about the double post guys, please delete when you can, BA.

  3. #3
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    That sounds pretty bad. I don't know how well a lawsuit would fare, I'm not a lawyer.

    But this is why I build my own computers (well aside the fact that I like doing it). I can cherry pick componants, so I know what is going in the machine is what I want. Too many pre-fab machines are built up from simply the cheapest parts available. And in a lot of machines, these parts are outdated before the machines hit the shelves. Just built a new system myself. Before I bought the parts though I decided to just check what kind of pre-built system I could buy for the same money (or possibly less). Actually found it would have been dramaticlly more expensive than just building it myself. But then I am an avid computer gamer and demand a lot of performance from my PC. Someone who just wants to type papers up and browse the web can be satisfied by any of the low end machines that frequently come up as specials from such companies (and I'd have a hard time making a complete system for less).

    What really sucks in your case is for the money you spent, you could have bought a new motherboard, memory, and CPU for less than what it cost to just replace your motherboard. Though I am not sure of the vintage of your Compaq. There was a time companis like Dell, Compaq and the like chose to use custom form factor motherboards in order to force their customers to come back to them for upgrades. Lately though they seem to be all using standard parts, so upgrading and replacement should be fairly easy. There is just no way that motherboard should have cost 300 dollars though. Brand new, high end motherboards with all the bells and whistles barely break 200 (exception being dual processor boards, but those are mainly aimed at folks building low cost servers). A good motherboard that isn't too terribly fancy should only cost somewhere in the 80 to 130 dollar range.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brady Yoon
    Sorry about the double post guys, please delete when you can, BA.
    Since no one's replied to it, you should be able to delete it yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brady Yoon
    Sorry about the double post guys, please delete when you can, BA.
    You can delete your second post, Brady. [edit - Lycus beat me to the punch line]

    Sorry to hear about the computer problems. When my German laptop went out, I thought it best just to get a new laptop. It would've cost the same amount or less to get a new PC to having it fixed, but I went for the notebook. I'm now debating on getting a home PC, so I'll have a back-up to my Dell when it goes.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candy
    Quote Originally Posted by Brady Yoon
    Sorry about the double post guys, please delete when you can, BA.
    You can delete your second post, Brady.

    Sorry to hear about the computer problems. When my German laptop went out, I thought it best just to get a new laptop. It would've cost the same amount or less to get a new PC, but I went for the notebook. I'm now debating on getting a home PC, so I'll have a back-up to my Dell when it goes.
    Well dollar for dollar spent you will get a more powerful desktop machine compared to a laptop with a similiar price tag. It comes down to usage though. If you need a machine you can take with you on trips, to the office, etc then a laptop is obviously the way to go. Otherwise a desktop machine is a much better choice. Desktop's are cheaper and it's easier to replace or upgrade componants (there's not much you can easily upgrade or replace in a laptop).

    Ok, enough thread derailment, sorry about that.

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    Yeah, that's definitely true Yoshua... One thing I can say is that customer service is absolutely appalling. Even today, before we figured it out, I put my phone right next to my computer so the beeping noise could be heard, and they still said it was a hardware problem! They screwed up 3 times, once saying it was a memory card problem and two more with the motherboard.

    Solution: a 5 year old mouse.

    Maybe the money from the lawsuit's gonna get enough for a nice laptop.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brady Yoon
    Yeah, that's definitely true Yoshua... One thing I can say is that customer service is absolutely appalling. Even today, before we figured it out, I put my phone right next to my computer so the beeping noise could be heard, and they still said it was a hardware problem! They screwed up 3 times, once saying it was a memory card problem and two more with the motherboard.

    Solution: a 5 year old mouse.

    Maybe the money from the lawsuit's gonna get enough for a nice laptop.
    The beeps are at startup? Because they usually form a sequence that tells you exactly what failed. I don't think these beeps are the same for all motherboards though, so I couldn't tell you what to listen for. You'd need to either find the information from Cmpaq's website, or try and find the chipset manufacturer and try their site. Well moot issue I guess, you said you fixed the problem. But consider it next time.

    I'm sorry you went through so much trouble though. I hate saying it, but I am dubious your fix will hold. But not having enough information I could well be wrong, and I certainly cannot tell you what is wrong (a number of things spring to mind).

  9. #9
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    Re: Trivial lawsuits are stupid, but listen to my story...

    Quote Originally Posted by Yoshua
    [edit]But this is why I build my own computers (well aside the fact that I like doing it). I can cherry pick componants, so I know what is going in the machine is what I want...
    Same here. That's why I've been building my own computers since 1987.

    Not only are the low-end consumer/business machines built from the cheapest parts, but wherever possible, they're integrated, so when one part fails, a huge chunk of the machine fails. Plus suppliers seem to be unable to resist making/OEM manufacturers can't resist specifying...proprietary parts for these things. Laptops are the worst since there seems almost no standardization for their parts. One of the reasons why laptop memory is so overpriced.

    I've hardly ever had a problem with any machine I've built, and when there was one, it was simple, straightforward, and cheap to fix.

    Wish I could do the same thing with software, but never got beyond C, BASIC, and some FORTRAN.

    Re the mouse, I take it the beeps were trying to tell you you had a bad pointing device/peripheral? Did the touchpad still work?

  10. #10
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    As a career professional in...ahem...electronic service, I have a couple thoughts.

    If it turned out to be your mouse, then it was a hardware problem, albeit maybe not the kind they thought.

    And did you consider taking it to a computer service facility? I help many people every day with their service needs, many over the phone or online, but there is no substitute for having it right in front of me. If I am asisting someone elsewhere, I can suggest things to check, and I can rely on past experience to give me clues. But ultimately I am using the unskilled hands of the customer to attempt the service that way. Simple things we can get, but there are times I tell them to ship it to me or bring it in, because I cannot service it when I don't have it.

    Unless you have a different kind of Radio Shack there, they don't service on-site, they forward it to a depot. And who knows what depot at that. There should be a pile of computer service facilities in your area. Our area is about 400,000 or so population and we have a couple pages of them in the phone book. I gotta think you have more out there. They often advertise on local talk radio aiming at business people. Usually the name wil include Digital, or Systems, or Technology. But Geeks R Us might even work.

    At a local service facility you can plug it in right in front of them and demo the problem. Keep it in mind for the future. You obviously were not well served in this instance.

  11. #11
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    This comes with the usual caveat that I'm not a US lawyer , or a litigator, but it sounds like your claim should be against Radioshack. They didn't fix the problem but did have the computer for weeks. They also blocked off the ports. Compaq could argue that their warranties are still valid, and they did identify it as a hardware problem.

    I don't think there is anything trivial about losing 500. (Hmm no dollar sign on this keyboard, take that Yankee Imperialists!)

    There used to be at least one US lawyer about, but I can't remember his name.

  12. #12
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    Just pasting this in from the other thread; didn't notice the duplication until too late.

    I could tell you a hard-to-believe horror story from my experience with Dell (but I won't because it would take forever even by my long-winded standard). Bottom line is that I wasted my money buying their PC and the extended warranty. I did get 2 years out of the machine, and also came to the conclusion that it would be cheaper to just buy a new machine than engage them in a legal battle for a few hundred dollars.

    In a very odd coincidence, right after my experience with Dell l had an opportunity to chat very candidly with someone who ran one of their call centers (my employer was considering buying a site they were vacating). They confirmed my suspicions that their goal is to be the lowest-cost provider, and that the occassional horror story is an acceptable cost. We talked at length about what they pay their employees, their strategies for cost-avoidance, and so on. I accepted what they said because of their position of authority and because it was the only thing that seemed to explain how poorly I got treated and how badly I got screwed.

    I bought my next computer from Comp USA. I wanted to be able to walk in, set it down, and just say "Fix it please." Turned out to be a good move because right on schedule, after 2 years of use, the mother board and hard drive fried. Thank god I was able to actually meet somebody and talk to them in person and get my problem solved.

    Bottom line is that, as someone said, they have become a commodity and it is a crapshoot. But I will not buy anything of significance on-line anymore, and I do not go to the lowest cost provider of goods for much of anything anymore. Without meaning to start another Wal-Mart thread, Dell is the Wal-Mart of computers, and it is just not worth it in the long run.

  13. #13
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    Since it only costs $22 to file in Small Claims Court, it might be worth a lawsuit if only for entertainment value. On last night's Charlie Rose TV program, Thomas Friedman, author of "The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century", pointed out that when a Toshiba computer is returned for servicing, UPS itself does the repairs, in this age of outsourcing, this is referred to as insourcing.
    ________________________
    *edited to add Transcript link and correct initial misquote referring to a Dell/FedEx relationship.ops: *

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    I did hear something about Fed-Ex, and maybe also UPS, getting into that line of the business. How bizarre. I did consider doing the small claims court thing. If I had started recording my calls earlier I definitely would have done that. The icing on the cake was that after several hours spent on several calls, suddenly they lost all record of my ever having contacted them. As an Ops Consultant who has done a lot of work with contact centers I understand that stuff can happen, but this was extreme, and they laughed at me for getting angry. If I had only recorded those earliest calls.

    Anyway, the main reason I'm posting again is to recognize that Dell is probably no worse than any other provider of goods and services that has decided to dominate the low-cost niche of a market. But the volume of business they do means that their means of measuring success, and garnering those gold awards for service, is manipulative in that it discounts the large numbers of people they do not satisfy. They probably handle 10's if not 100's of thousands of calls per day, and consider 99 point something percent satisfied as successful. But even at 99.5% satisfied, that means 500 out of every 100K calls per day end up with unhappy campers.

    It is interesting to follow the discussions in this thread of those who build their own. Maybe for my next machine I look up someone with those skills for a custom build job.

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