Wednesday, January 09, 2008

okay, THIS time i'm actually asking for a favor..

Back story:

Okay, so I'm a professional computer geek, both in the civilian world and when I play G.I. Joe. So people are ALWAYS asking for recommendations. More often than not over the last couple of years, whenever somebody asks what kind of laptop they should buy, I recommend buying an Averatec from Sam's Club. every once in awhile, someone comes along who's perfect for a MacBook, or for a high end system for gaming, or they need some super tiny Sony thing for seriously packability, but 90% of the people who ask for suggestions, just want something relatively simple, that they can get online with, type some emails on, maybe do some spreadsheets or word docs on and that's it. The Averatec brand fits the bill at a great price, and Sam's Club has just taken care of me time after time. I'm on my third deployment now, and every time I've had a computer problem.

The first two deployments Sam's Club bit the bullet and took a loss for me. The first time I had a KDS laptop and the fan stopped working so it'd overheat. I was still stateside but away from home at the time, and the manufacturer wanted me to send it in for 2-3 weeks for repair, or let them charge my credit card $1500, they'd over night me a replacement, and then when they received the original they would return the $1500. I wasn't financially in a position to do that and was using the laptop for school and to stay in touch with friends and family and didn't want to lose the laptop for 3 weeks. I emailed Sam's Club, and they told me to take it to my local Sam's Club and ask for the manager. When I got there, he was waiting for me, and told me to go take my pick from what they had in the store. Even though they were selling the laptop at a cheaper price than when I'd bought it, and I'd owned it for 5 or 6 months, they still let me trade it in for the same value that I'd paid for it.

The second deployment was a similar situation. I had an Averatec, was home on emergency leave, and all of a sudden my laptop stopped recharging the day I was going to leave the country. I stopped into Sam's Club, and the manager said I'd had the laptop for 8 months, and so if they swapped it, they'd have to eat the loss, they couldn't return it to the vendor. She asked me to call the vendor first, but said if they balked to come back in. I understood, went into the parking lot and called Averatec. Averatec issued me an RMA, but said that they couldn't ship to an APO address. So I would've had to ship it to a friend or family member, and then have them ship it to me overseas. I went back into Sam's Club and they swapped it on the spot.

So last year I bought an Averatec. A couple months ago I started having a problem with it and sent it in for warranty repair. I did this in OCTOBER. It's January and it still hasn't been returned. Apparently the parts were help up by customs and couldn't be released. I've called and spoken to them on several occasions asking what is taking so long. Today was the last straw though. Ten weeks later, without my laptop and no offer of sending me a refurbished laptop, of expediting my repair, nothing. I spoke to the original person and asked for a refurbished laptop and she said she couldn't. I asked to speak with her supervisor and he couldn't. I asked why, and he said they weren't authorized by their corporate office, and so I asked for a corporate phone number to lodge a complaint. He refused to give me a corporate number, saying that his department was authorized to speak on behalf of the corporate office. "Fine, then authorize the release of a refurbished laptop to satisfy me as a disgruntled customer." "Sir, I already explained to you, I can't do that." "Well, then you're not authorized to speak for your corporate office."

At no time did I curse, scream or berate anyone. I didn't yell and tried not to raise my voice, although it's very difficult to keep frustration out of your voice. But what pushed me over the edge? At no point did either individual apologize. Although they're authorized to speak for their company, they wouldn't apologize. No "Sir, we apologize for the delay, but..." I realize stuff breaks. I realize stuff happens. If someone has taken ownership for the situation and apologized for my inconvenience it would've gone a long ways towards making me feel better. 10 weeks is still unacceptable for a warranty repair, but "I'm sorry" is a great place to start making things better. And don't tell me that "most repairs only take 7-10 days" because that really doesn't make me, the guy who's been waiting 10 times that long feel better.


So the favor? Well, of course if anyone has the phone number for someone at Averatec, please feel free to share that, but the favor I'm asking is this: If you know of anyone buying a laptop, please share my story with them. And suggest they go with any brand but Averatec. I'm sure there are horror stories out there for any computer company, it's impossible to please everyone all the time. But I warned them, that they'd lose me as a customer forever and I'd spread the word as much as possible, and I'm doing it. If you're bored and want to waste time, feel free to just spam everyone you know with the link to this. If you know of anyway to get the word out...

I actually had to buy another laptop before I deployed. I didn't really have the money to spend, but it's just too hard not to have one. I justified it in my mind because once it was repaired and forwarded to me, I was going to load VMWare on it and play with a bunch of different servers OS's to keep my skills fresh until the deployment was over. My plans have changed. If the thing ever shows up it's going to the range with me and a video camera. I'm going to put some really big bullet holes through it, as well as some Afghanistan sand and it'll be sent back to the manufacturer with a copy of this story.

I'd still highly recommend Sam's Club as a possible place to buy a computer from. They may not have as wide a selection as the electronics stores, but if you just need the basics, they've usually got something to fit your needs. They've got a generous return/exchange policy, much more than you'd find at CompUSA or Circuit City and incredibly reasonable extended warranties.

It'd be interesting to know how many other people have been waiting months and months for warranty repair.



Blogger Paperback Writer said...

Done and done.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Megan said...


I will spread the news. I KNOW people...not important people, but nonetheless, people.

11:22 AM  
Blogger don said...

I recently bought a laptop so I could work from a remote location. (not quite as remote as Afganistan) I've always thought laptops were cheap devices and prone to fail. I got a Toshiba from Circuit City. It hasn't konked out yet but I suspect it will. So I bought the Circuit City extra replacement deal. We will see. I'm the so called network admin where I work even though we are a small company we work for many bigger ones. I'll spread the word too.

8:05 PM  
Blogger courtney said...

I have the solution for a Mac.
(you KNEW I'd say that):)

10:27 AM  
Blogger Loving Annie said...

Contact Us

Product and Sales Information
Phone: 714/429-8900

Out of Warranty Repair
Phone: 800/733-9155
Hours:Monday - Friday, 8:00AM - 5:00PM CST

Out of Warranty Technical Support
Phone: 866/871-4275
Hours:Monday - Friday, 8:00AM - 5:00PM CST

On-line Store
Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., PST
Phone: 877/841-7423

Technical Support or Repair
Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., EST
Phone: 877/462-3462
Fax: 714/429-9961

Service and Support for Puerto Rico and International Customers
Phone: 1-585/295-0819

For questions regarding Averatec products please email us at:

Corporate Office

Averatec, Inc.
1231 E. Dyer Road, Suite 150
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Phone: 714/429-8999
Fax: 714/429-9960

2:08 PM  
Blogger Loving Annie said...

Hope that's the right stuff, Sean ! Googled them...

2:08 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Well, I've never even heard of that brand, so I won't be recommending it. :)

4:07 PM  
Blogger Bubblewench said...

that's sucks, and I'm linking to this from my blog.

and I will tell everyone I know.

7:30 AM  
Blogger EDW said...

That's ridiculous! Like Courtney, I have a Mac, so I'm blissfully unaware of those lappy problems.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

I have a Dell, my third in 4 years, but becuase of my own abuse the first 2. the newest one, had it for 3 freaking weeks and the screen fried, sent it back got it repaired and returned in less than a week....Sorry but their customer service is good, now if I could only get the same service from the company that sold me my rabbit

8:23 PM  
Blogger MM said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:24 PM  

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