Friday, September 30, 2005

Deja Vu all over again

In May of 2004, my husband and I took a 7 day cruise. When we left our house, our computers were off and everything had been in fine working order. When we came back from the cruise, I was very anxious to get my digital photos organized so the first thing I did was turn on my computer. “We apologize for the inconvenience, blah, blah, blah.” Fantastic! What a welcome home. I needed a drink to stop myself from throwing my computer out of the nearest window. The 1-800 person that picked up my call was about to have a very bad day.

“Thank you for calling Gateway Technical Support, this is Blah Blah, Badge number blah, blah, blah. How may I assist you today.”

I took a sip of my rum and tried to compose myself. Threw clenched teeth I said, “my hard drive crashed.”

“OK, ma’am. Tell me what kind of error message you’re getting.”

Me: “We apologize for the inconvenience….”
Blah Blah: OK. Do you have your red drivers disk?
Me: I already ran GWSCAN. Too many errors. I just went through this not 2 months ago.
Blah Blah: OK, ma’am. I see that you had a hard drive failure in March and that a replacement part was sent. Have you installed that?
Me, again threw clenched teeth: “Yes, this is the replacement. I need a replacement for the replacement. If you could please send me one that works for longer than 2 months, that would be great.”
Blah Blah: I see that your computer is within the warranty period. I’d be happy to send out that new hard drive for you. I’ll just need a credit card number.”
Me: Why?
Blah Blah: If you don’t return the old hard drive within two weeks, you will be charged the price of the part.
Me: I paid $2,000 for a computer that has never worked right, and Gateway is afraid I’m going to cheat them out of a $200 hard drive?
Blah Blah: I can send out the part without a credit card, however, if you don’t return it within a week, you will void your warranty.
Me: My warranty isn’t really helping me very much.
Blah Blah: You’re getting a free hard drive.
Me: No, I paid $2000 for that hard drive. It’s not free.
Blah Blah: You can expect your part in three to five days.
Me: Since I just went without my computer for over a week the last time this happened, do you think you could possibly send it next day air?
Blah Blah: Of course, ma’am. I’ll just need a credit card number.
Me: *click*

I was seriously going to lose it if I didn’t hang up right then. Actually, there was a lot of conversation with a few different techs, but I can’t remember it all. I remember the part where one tech told me that they only send out new hardware, not refurbished. That, I remember vividly. Three to five days later, my “new” hard drive arrived. And I installed it. And I started loading up my files again. Actually, the first thing I did, was write a two page letter to Gateway’s senior vice president in charge of customer service and quality assurance.

I wrote about my experience with this computer and my frustration that I’ve had two bad hard drives and the computer was only 6 months old. I told them that I thought that the hard drive controller needed to be looked at and that at the very least, they should send out a technician to troubleshoot my computer free of charge to me. And wouldn’t you know that as soon as I sent the letter, the new hard drive started to fail. I say “started” because I had a sudden surge of corrupted files and settings and got a message about bad sectors. I know enough to know that this is the precursor to something very, very bad.

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