Friday, April 6, 2007

Buying a new computer? Buy Local, F* The Internet

When buying a personal computer the advice I always give people is as follows: "Call around to local computer stores, when you find one that treats you like a customer, buy it there"

I say this for two reasons:

1. They treat you like a customer, meaning they answer your questions and don't make you feel stupid, and if there's a problem, they'll make it right.

2. They are local, so if there's a problem you can put your computer in your car and drive it over to the place you bought it, and ask them to fix it, or for your money back.

I'll also from now on, add this bit of advice; Do a "Sucks Search". Go to Google and type in for example "ibuypower sucks". If there are alot of hits to your search of people that took the time to write about their poor experience, then you probably shouldn't do business with that company.

A case in point. I bought 2 computers for my childen (1 each) for Christmas. The machine I bought for my son worked fine. The machine for my daughter however has not worked since we purchased it for more than a couple of days.

When we got it and plugged in, it ran fine for a couple of days, then the hard drive started to fail. They sent me a new hard drive, I installed it, and it ran fine for another couple of days, then the machine stopped booting. It would start to turn on and the fans would start up, but then the machine would just turn itself off. The company sent me a new power supply, and I installed that, but it did not fix the problem.

I then sent the whole machine back to them for repair. They replaced the motherboard (or so they said) and sent it back to me. It ran fine for two days then started doing the won't boot thing. They received the computer back over 2 weeks ago, and I talked to them yesterday and I was told by someone that they hadn't started work on the machine yet, but they were waiting on a part to come in and should have it in the next couple of days.

At this point I've had enough, 3 months and I haven't had a machine that I paid for work for more than a week straight. So I ask for my money back. First I am told that I am past the 30 day Warranty period and they won't give me my money back. Then after arguing on the phone with a "Manager" for half an hour, he finally agreed to give me my money back, but less a 20% re-stocking fee.

Even thought the machine has not been working for any given 30 day period, and even though they have had the machine for more time in the last 3 months than I have, they refuse to honor their warranty stating that's it's been longer than 30 days since they shipped it.

Now had I done a sucks search on ibuypower before I started this whole nightmare, my daughter would probably have a working computer and I wouldn't be out several hundred dollars or hard earned money, because of a 20% re-stocking fee on something the company never actually delivered.

To make a long story short, when buying a new computer, heed the following advice:

1. Don't under any circumstances buy from :p
2. Don't buy it on the Internet and have it shipped, if there's a problem, you'll have to ship it back, you could buy on-site repair service, but if they can't fix the problem, you can't take it back to where you bought it and talk to the person you bought it from face to face.
3. Use a local computer dealer for the same reason above. Talk to the person who will put together your machine and if he/she treats you like a customer and answers your questions, even if it costs more up front, you will save money in the long run in time and sanity.
4. When you buy a computer from a local store, make sure they service it on-site, and don't have to ship it back to the manufacturer for repair. This is basically the same as buying it from the Internet with a middle man involved. It gives the seller an excuse to say, "We're not responsible, you'll have to take it up with the manufacturer".
5. Look at the Warranty that comes with the machine. Does the warranty start on date of delivery or date of purchase? If something goes wrong will they use new or "refurbished" parts to fix your machine? Will they give you your money back if you are not satisfied, if so, for how long?
6.Do a "sucks search" on google before you buy. That one would have saved me alot of money and hassle.

I'm sure there is more to add, but that's the basics. Follow this advice, as I should have, and you'll be a happy computer owner.


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