Thursday, April 27, 2006

Acer Tech-Service Blues

Complaints about poor service abound these days. I remember years ago when I had a problem with my Dell notebook computer, Dell had it picked up, shipped overnight to Austin, repaired it, and shipped it overnight back to me. I was without my computer for less than two days. Dells service has gone downhill since then, and woe be the unfortunate Dell owner whose computer needs service today.

I purchased an Acer 8200 notebook computer over a month ago, a top-of-the-line machine, and I still have not been able to us it. Two days after if arrived, before I had all of my software installed, it stopped accepting the BIOS password on boot. I hadn’t forgotten the password; somehow the BIOS had gotten garbaged, and the computer could not be turned on.

Because the dealer that sold me the computer has a restocking charge for returns, I sent it to Acer for repair. The computer sat in the Acer repair depot for three weeks, supposedly waiting for parts. With shipping, the computer was gone a month. It was returned with a note that Acer had replaced a defective motherboard.

When I turned the computer on, it made a horrible noise, and I discovered that loose wires were stuck in the fan, wires that the technician had failed to reattach after reassembling the computer. Had the technician bothered to turn the computer on after reassembly, it would have been obvious that something was wrong.

I called Acer again, and they promised to fix it on an expedited basis, but they only paid for two-day shipping. That means with roundtrip shipping, the computer will be gone at least another week. One-week service is considered expedited these days.

All of the reviews say that the Acer 8200 is a good notebook computer, but I am unable to verify that. I have owned mine for almost two months, and I still have not had the chance to use it. If Acer had tried to make amends for the shabby way it has treated me, I wouldn’t be writing this. However, I have to admit that Acer is no worse than many of its competitors. However, if you shell out $2500 to $3000 for one of these machines and it stops working, just throw it away. The hassle of getting Acer to perform a warranty repair are not worth it.