I purchased a Gateway laptop computer during the summer of 06 from Best Buy, and it functioned adequately for about seven months. Then, somehow the adaptor became rusted and I had to buy a new adaptor because Gateway refused to send me a replacement. I could not send my computer in to be repaired as they requested because I couldn't receive packages at my apartment and needed my computer for school.
A few weeks after replacing the adaptor, a problem with the actual power connection occurred. It seemed as though the plug in the computer needed resoldered, but as moving the plug around reestablished the connection and I needed the computer for school, I figured I would send it to be repaired after the semester ended.
I missed the end of the warranty by a matter of just a few days, and they refused to consider resolving the situation.
As I'm a student and don't have the money for a computer myself, my parents were kind enough to help me get a replacement computer. However, they are convinced Gateway is a good company, so they decided another Gateway would be a good investment.
The new Gateway laptop from the MT series with Microsoft Vista was purchased at the end of August of '07. First, games do not function on the computer. They crash. It doesn't matter whether the driver is updated or the video requirements are set far below the capacity of the computer, they still crash. As I didn't purchase the computer for the sake of playing games that's not a great problem for me, but the fact that the computer couldn't perform a basic function new computers should be expected to perform is an indication of the poor quality of the computer. I also asked the Best Buy representative for advice on how to avoid trouble with the adaptor; he said to not run the computer for more than five hours at a time and to be careful while plugging the computer in and unplugging it. I never leave the computer on for more than three hours.
Four months after the purchase of the computer, the same problem which occurred with the power connection on the first computer happened. I had to wait on hold for half an hour before being given another number to call after calling the 1-800 Gateway number advertized on the computer, and then had to wait for another 45 minutes. At this second call, they told me that damages aren't their concern until I asked to speak to a manager, and then they agreed to send me a shipping box to send the computer back for repairs. As this was during winter break, and had moved to a dormitory close enough to home that I could receive packages, I figured it'd be good to get the computer repaired as opposed to spending lots of money I don't have.
After waiting a week and a half for my computer to be sent back to me, which wasn't long, I went back to school with a repaired computer.
Two months later the same problem happened. Again, I had to ask to speak to a supervisor to get them to agree to send the shipping box, and this time it took two weeks to get the computer back. Note, this was during the semester, so I was without a computer that I needed during the school year.
Two months later the same problem recurred, but as this was close to finals I had to use props like textbooks to force the pin into a position where the power connected. Again, I had to wait more than an hour to speak to someone from Gateway, and I had to ask to speak to a supervisor to get the representative to do his job. After finals I shipped the computer, and it took two weeks to get the thing back.
Upon receiving the computer the keyboard was damaged, with the arrow keys all loose and the power button falling off the computer. I called them back and told them about the problems, and this was before August, mind, and they said my warranty was expired. I asked to speak to a manager and they refused to transfer me to one, and refused to take the computer back for repairs. I asked if there was another department I could speak to, and they said there was no other office with which I could speak. They accused me of wasting their time and insinuated that I was speaking fraudulently. At this point I was very angry, so to avoid saying anything stupid I hung up and called back that night.
In that instance after navigating through the labyrinth of electronic responses and being on hold I explained the situation very calmly to the person and asked what should be done from my end. This person was great; I was told to call back the next day and ask to speak to the Level 2 department.
The next day, the Level 2 agent told me that because I called the same day I received the computer back there was no way she could in good conscience consider that the damage had occurred anywhere else, and that they would ship another box for repairs. A week and a half later, I received my computer back, and in a little over a week the power problem recurred.
Again, I had to speak to a Level 2 representative, which meant waiting an hour and a half on hold after wading through the electronic labyrinth, and finally I got them to agree to repair this recurring problem. In two weeks I got the computer back, just in time for school.
A month after receiving the computer the same problem recurred, and I had to argue with Level 2 for fifteen minutes to get them to recognize that I was under the warranty for the repairs they had just performed, after an hour and a half of waiting. I was told by the representative that the problem was probably a result of me picking the computer up or taking the plug out, despite the fact that the computer is a laptop, which is supposed to be designed to be moved. They told me that I would have to take the computer to a FedEx store for shipping and gave me a service number. Upon taking the computer to FedEx, I was told I had to buy a box for $10 to ship the computer, and sent the computer in.
The computer was mailed nineteen days ago and was received by their service center seventeen days ago. I've called them and asked why this repair is taking so long, and they informed me they hadn't even placed orders for the damaged parts until they had been in possession of the computer for more than fifteen days, and that they are unaware of when the parts should be expected.
It should be noted that to get this information I had to wait for an hour and a half to speak to the Level 2 representative to get a phone number for their service report center, then wait for an hour to get in contact with somebody at that office. Whoever invented speakerphone was a genius, because without it all that time would have been taken out of my studies.
I have contacted the Better Business Bureau, the Consumer Complaint department of the Pennsylvania Attorney General, and a lemon law firm, and because my parents disposed of the paperwork sent back with the repaired computer it appears as though there's nothing I can do to file a suit against them. Because I can't afford a new computer but need one for school, I have to participate in their deceptive, incompetent, and inefficient customer service department, and so I have been really screwed by this purchase. However, I'm posting this report to notify others that Gateway computers are poorly made and their customer service is not helpful.
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