Friday, November 18, 2005

Finally, some good news.

Yesterday, another Gateway Executive Response Team member called in response to the complaint I had filed with Consumer Affairs. She basically said that since the computer was currently operational, there wasn't a lot she could do. She said that if the next hard drive failure happens within a "reasonable amount of time, say within a year" that I should call her directly and that she'd authorize a replacement system. Finally, a solution that is fair and reasonable to both parties.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Update on my Cow.

I haven't posted an update for a while, so I thought I'd better just put it all in writing while things are still fresh. My second letter to Gateway did finally get a response. A woman named Kathy with the Executive Response Team called me to schedule an "advanced tech" phone call. Basically, now that I was demanding a refund or a replacement, Gateway's all gung ho on the troubleshooting thing. I was very interested in how this tech was going to diagnose my hard drive/motherboard problems from 2000 miles away, but I was willing to give it a try.

So, the guy called and agreed that the problem was most likely on the motherboard and asked me how I wanted my situation handled. I told him that I wanted a refund or a new computer. He said that there was no way that I qualified for a refund because I had owned my computer for longer than 15 days. I said that I'd like a new replacement computer then. He put me on hold for a while then came back and said, "your computer doesn't meet the criteria for a replacement." I asked him to explain and he said that for a replacement computer, my computer would have had to be in for service 3 times for the same issue within a 90 day period. I was thinking, "well, I'm in because I went through 3 hard drives within 90 days." He said that that didn't count because Gateway had sent me the parts to replace myself and I never sent it "in for service."

Now, this just burns my biscuits. First of all, whenever I've called Tech Support, they always say, "we'll send you the replacement." They've never said, "and do you know that by us doing this, you basically waive your right to a replacement for your faulty computer?" And they have never asked me if I wanted to send my computer to them so they could crack it open and slide in the hard drive. And even if they had, I'd decline because I really don't want to spend $200 to send my computer on a trip to South Dakota or Arkansas or whatever, for God knows how long until they decide to fix it. No thanks. And I would have had to do that THREE times. I explained the rediculousness of the whole situation and while he agreed with me, there was nothing he could do for me. He said that Kathy had the power to elevate my situation.

The next morning, I was back on the phone with Kathy but she wasn't in the mood to use any of her "power" on me. She suggested that I should send my computer in to them for testing and that the best I could really hope for was that my motherboard would be replaced. I don't have a lot of faith in Gateway's motherboard replacements, (see previous posts.) So, I played along like I was very eager to ship my computer across the U.S. and she told me to call tech support and have them read my file and get the authorization to send the computer in. Upset and tired of arguing the absurdity of my situation, I gave up and said goodbye.

But it wasn't for long because not 10 minutes later, Kathy called back with some "good news." She said, "I did some research and asked someone if there was a batch of bad hard drives out there and they said that there was, and since we sent you a different brand just recently, your problem is probably already fixed." Spiffy.

I decided that I wasn't going to waste my time or money by sending my computer in for testing. When/if the next drive crashes, then I'll send it in. In the mean time, I'd just wait it out and continue my little ritual of backing shit up every two days.

OK. On to the next problem. I had been noticing for a while that my display hasn't been looking that great. I'd get some wierd static on gradient shaded things and just pixelated graphics stuff happening at random times. I had been putting off calling about this issue for a while, but while playing a game, I just couldn't take it anymore.

I was put through to a really nice tech in Canada. She walked me through some basic diagnostic stuff to see exactly what was causing the problem. The graphics card tested out fine. The monitor self test came up and looked fine, too. The tech said that I probably had a software issue. She suggested that I reinstall Windows and update my drivers. I was willing to believe that this was a possiblity since I didn't remember having the problem before the most current hard drive crash. So I reformatted my hard drive and started over fresh. Again. For the billionth time.

And... guess what? I was still having the problem. So, I unplugged my husband's monitor and plugged it into my computer. No problem. ARRGH!! I reformatted my hard drive for no reason! Anyway, I called Gateway back, this time got someone not in Canada, or the US I'm guessing, and after explaining my process finally got him to send me a new monitor. It should be here by Christmas... Maybe.