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 Post subject: To the wonderful people at Gateway Technical Support
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 1:34 pm 
8086
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Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:59 am
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I would like to take a moment to acknowledge and recognize the "amazing" job that the folks at Gateway are doing when it comes to technical support and customer service.

First I'd like to give everyone reading this a little background on the situation. I am the proud owner of a Gateway FX 7811 Laptop. Ever since I saw this machine reviewed in MaximumPC I knew this would be the machine for me. I waited for the price to come down and happily purchased one at my local Best Buy.

After 9 happy months of using this laptop I suffered a tragic blow. I found I was suffering from a over-heated video card. You could tell by the usual signs, I had random horizontal lines streak across my screen whenever I'd watch any video or play any games. I knew it wasn't a driver issue as the lines would also present themselves in the BIOS and POST screens after an immediate reboot.

Being an IT Consultant by trade, I knew the diagnosis and started to explore my options. I figured the best course of action would be to contact the manufacturer and get my laptop repaired. Here is where the real story begins.

Knowing that there is sometimes a language barrier to break through when phoning in for support, I opted to use Gateway's Chat support to setup a repair for my laptop. After allowing the support agent to register my laptop with Gatway I begin to explain my situation very clearly. The support representative insisted that I MUST see if the lines present themselves in safe mode. I tried to explain to the representative that this step was unnecessary as I confirmed the lines were present in the BIOS and POST, but they insisted. As I was unwilling to perform this unnecessary troubleshooting step while logged in with Chat support (I know I should have probably opened chat on a computer that wasn't experiencing the issue), the issue wouldn't go any further and this support call was ended. This process took about 1.5 hours, and got me nowhere.

I decided the next day to bite the bullet and phone in for support. After going through all the motions that I had to go through the day before with chat support (Including the Safe Mode reboot), the phone representative finally decided that the computer needed to be sent to the Gateway Repair Facility. I gladly followed the instructions in the e-mail I was sent and shipped my laptop next day to the Repair facility. I was happy to see that three days later may laptop was on its way back to me!

After fighting with FedEx to get them to deliver my laptop at a time I was actually home, I was ecstatic to see my laptop back in my house. My happiness was very quickly turned to anger when, after a complete inspection of my laptop, I found that the rear left corner of my computer's once pristine case was torn off. Now, I'm not talking about a small piece of plastic. This was about a 1.5x3 inch piece completely missing from my laptop. This was not damage caused by shipping as the piece was nowhere to be found in the box that the computer was shipped back to me in.

I very promptly called Gateway Support and they wanted me to send them my computer again. This time they paid the shipping. As I was packing up my computer for the second time, I began to worry about the state my computer would be in when it returned to me. This time, the laptop was in Gateway's possession for almost two weeks before it was shipped back to me.

Upon receipt of my machine, I began to inspect and test my machines functionality. To my relief, all looked to be working as it should.

It wasn't until I needed to plug in my headphones to the laptop that I found yet another problem with my computer. The headphone jack was no longer operational. There also appears to be a red light emitting from the jack.

I contacted Gateway Support via Chat again and spent close to 45 minutes fighting with the representative on the warranty status of my computer. After much confusion, on their part, we seem to have come to the realization that when the first representative I spoke to registered my computer, they placed in the incorrect Serial Number. So, now when I look up my computer on their tech support website, my warranty status is unavailable. Also, when I am asked to provide my SN, I cannot enter the correct number because the number they have on file isn't in the correct Alpha-Numeric combination.

After that conversation, I was also directed to contact Level 2 support via the phone. This department, however, was not open to take care of my issue. I already have a very bad feeling where this will lead. I know deep down that they will direct me to ship my computer back to them. When all is said and done, I will have been without my computer for almost a month. This type of service is completely unacceptable.

Rather than continuing my quest with Gateway Support I have now purchased a Creative X-Fi Notebook soundcard to replace the Gateway part that is broken, yet "under warranty." I am very disappointed with the level of support I have received. I cannot fathom the type of Quality Control that the repair facility has that would allow such gross oversight.

In summary, I have sent my laptop to Gateway Support twice now and have received it back twice in a broken state. I am now afraid to send it to them a third time for fear of the state which it might be returned.

I hope my experience will help those considering a Gateway product make an informed decision.

Respectfully,
One Very Unhappy Gateway Customer


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 1:38 pm 
Thunderbird
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Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:07 am
Posts: 839
Location: Maryland
I will never buy Gateway.

I have an HP laptop, no problems so far but now I'm prolly out of warranty anyway.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2009 1:44 pm 
8086
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Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:59 am
Posts: 10
Hello Queenof1,

The sad part about the whole ordeal is that I absolutely LOVE my laptop. The screen is gorgeous, gaming performance is phenomenal, and media use is a dream.

If it wasn't for this AWFUL Customer Service, I'd have nothing bad to say.

Does anyone know the e-mail address that I can send this message to so that it can reach someone at Gateway in the USA? Complaining to the Service Desk management seems a bit pointless.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:23 pm 
Thunderbird
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Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:07 am
Posts: 839
Location: Maryland
All I found on the website was this

http://support.gateway.com/support/cont ... ech1.shtml

a link to an email form which forces you to create an account. Not sure who will get your message. You may do better to snail mail the corporate address. At least that's in the US for sure.

Gateway, Inc.
7565 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:59 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:59 am
Posts: 10
Well, I did the unthinkable. I decided to give Gateway another chance. I called Gateway Technical Support again this evening (8/27) to see if they could redeem themselves. Here is a breakdown of my experience.

I called Gateway Technical Support and got through to a representative. I explained the situation in detail and asked that we work to get the motherboard replaced (yet again) to fix the headphone issue. She insisted that we run through some troubleshooting steps first. I understand that they have to run through their procedure so I played along with it. After she had me verify that the speakers and built in microphone were working (and set to default) she asked me to plug in my headphones. Low and behold, no sound. She placed me on hold for a bit and then came back to inform me that my headphones must be bad. To humor her, I tried 3 different headphones and received the same response (go figure). After running through this song and dance, she sends me, via e-mail, a link to download the drivers. She informed me that I had to download the drivers, install them, and then call them back. I insisted that she stay on the line with me while I install these drivers, but she tried to get off the phone. While she argued with me about her not being able to stay on the line with me, I completed the download and installed the drivers. I then rebooted my computer. During this process she continued to argue with me and then basically called me a liar because she couldn't believe that I could have downloaded the files so quickly and have installed them. I asked to speak with her supervisor. She informed me that none were available. I told her that I wanted to wait on the line for one to come available. While waiting, she came back on the line and insisted that I needed to perform the driver installation, and that the installation should take 20 minutes! After trying to explain to her that I had already performed the driver installation, without success, she hung up on me.

I called back as soon as I came to the realization that I was hung up on. I was then connected with another representative and spent the next 40 minutes on the phone with him trying to convince him that the problem I was calling about was related to the original problem. I also wanted to complain about the service I just received by the previous representative. He ensured me that the complaint would be filed. He was also able to setup my computer for yet another repair.

So after yet another estimated 1.5 hours of my time, my computer is going to be on another journey back to the Gateway Repair facility. I fear for the state which it will be returned to me. I only wish that someone at Gateway Corp. would comment on my plight. The letter will be in the mail soon.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 2:17 pm 
8086
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Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:42 pm
Posts: 99
Hey -
I used to work in tech support about 5 years ago for Comcast. You know, from their perspective (and I'm NOT taking up for gateway) you run into all sorts and types. It's your job to make sure the customer runs through the proper steps to ensure proper trouble shooting was done. I agree this can be irritating, especially to someone who is tech savvy and knows what they are doing, but the truth is, the vast majority of people who call in don't know what they are doing - or pretend to know. Its also true that 90% of who you speak to doesn't care about the customer or their problem (i was one of the 10%, which is why i quit.. how can you right a wrong when the company won't give you the lee-way to do so?).

All that said I've always wanted a laptop myself. Just prior to building my current PC a week ago I was online shopping for a laptop. I just wanted to have one for having sake. But to get a laptop even remotely close to the power of the desktop i was going to build i was looking at 3,000 and above. The price, along with one of my main fears - warranty issues, customer service, language barriers etc.. drove me away from the laptop and went for my current rig.

Your story just re-enforces my feelings. Your story along with others, such as real life friends with various HP/DELL/GATEWAY computers that have failed them one way or another and have nothing to share but horror stories of poor tech support, weeks without their PC, and getting it back either not fixed, or something else broken.

I've been building my own PC's for the better part of 8 years now. In that time i've only had a handful of parts that failed and because of the way, and where they were purchased from returns were made quick and easy.

Good story, terrible situation. I hope you get everything resolved.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 2:40 am 
Team Member Top 500
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Joined: Fri May 01, 2009 7:22 am
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Location: Huntsville, AL (Currently Afghanistan)
Silence I'll agree with you that there are necessary steps that they have to make sure have been done, but most of the time the level one, two, tech supports are just reading from a list, they have no knowledge themselves.

magno, you're not the first and i'm sure you wont be the last to complain about Gateways customer service. If only major corporations actually cared about the opinions of their customers we might get somewhere.


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