Gateway Admits That Complaint "Escalation" Really Means "Go Away For 3-5 Days"

Reader Alex writes:

My fiancee sent her computer in to Gateway 3 weeks ago for warranty repair. After repeatedly being told the computer would be repaired we have now been told it is still in the repair depot waiting for a part. Here’s the transcript of a chat we had with agent “Patrick” this morning. When he said he would escalate the issue, and we should check back in 3-5 business days, I asked if the escalation had any effect other than to make us stop bothering them for 3-5 business days… his response? “No.” When I asked him to connect me to someone who could solve the issue today, he ended the chat session.

01 Apr 2008 08:45:08 AMAlicia has been assigned to the Support queue.

01 Apr 2008 08:45:09 AMAlicia was added to the incident named Alicia by Patrick_GWER4786

01 Apr 2008 08:45:09 AMPatrick_GWER4786 created an incident named Alicia .

01 Apr 2008 08:45:14 AMPatrick_GWER4786 says: Thank you for contacting technical support. My name and badge number are Patrick_GWER4786. Please hold while I review your issue.

01 Apr 2008 08:45:39 AMAlicia says: ok

01 Apr 2008 08:46:46 AMPatrick_GWER4786 says: According to your submission and my data, the serial number for your Gateway system is [] and the model name is MT3423 notebook. Also, I can see your primary email address is [] and the limited warranty expiration date will expired on (3rd Quarter) 2008. Is this correct?

01 Apr 2008 08:47:02 AMAlicia says: Yes

01 Apr 2008 08:47:51 AMPatrick_GWER4786 says: Thank you for verifying your information. I see some opportunity here to enhance your computer experience. Lets resolve the issue first and then discuss these options.

01 Apr 2008 08:48:17 AMPatrick_GWER4786 says: I believe that you want to check the status of your PC that was send in for repair.

01 Apr 2008 08:48:35 AMAlicia says: Ok. I sent my computer in for warranty repairs and I want to get it back (repaired).

01 Apr 2008 08:48:52 AMAlicia says: 3 weeks ago

01 Apr 2008 08:49:07 AMPatrick_GWER4786 says: Please wait while I check our records.

01 Apr 2008 08:49:20 AMAlicia says: Ok.

01 Apr 2008 08:50:10 AMPatrick_GWER4786 says: I have check our records and it shows that your system is still in our repair depot.

01 Apr 2008 08:50:28 AMAlicia says: When is it going to be repaired and returned to me?

01 Apr 2008 08:50:48 AMPatrick_GWER4786 says: There are parts to be replace and they still waiting for the part to be delivered.

01 Apr 2008 08:50:48 AMAlicia says: Last week I was told that the part had arrived.

01 Apr 2008 08:51:06 AMAlicia says: Before that I was told it would take 10 days

01 Apr 2008 08:51:14 AMAlicia says: next week you will have had it for a month

01 Apr 2008 08:51:20 AMPatrick_GWER4786 says: Please chat us back with in 3 to 5 business days.

01 Apr 2008 08:51:21 AMAlicia says: and still tell me that it will take longer

01 Apr 2008 08:51:27 AMAlicia says: How many more months?

01 Apr 2008 08:51:30 AMPatrick_GWER4786 says: Im sorry for the inconvinience.

01 Apr 2008 08:51:38 AMAlicia says: well that’s not really helping

01 Apr 2008 08:52:06 AMAlicia says: I appreciate the fact that you’re sorry but it doesn’t change the fact that I have not had my computer for almost a month

01 Apr 2008 08:52:36 AMAlicia says: and it doesn’t change the fact that every step of the way I’ve been told it’s going to come back soon, and it hasn’t

01 Apr 2008 08:53:56 AMPatrick_GWER4786 says: We will escalate this issue and please chat us back within 3 to 5 business days.

01 Apr 2008 08:54:12 AMAlicia says: I was told that last time.

01 Apr 2008 08:54:22 AMAlicia says: What does it mean?

01 Apr 2008 08:54:44 AMAlicia says: Is there any effect of escalating other than to get rid of me for 3-5 business days?

01 Apr 2008 08:55:14 AMPatrick_GWER4786 says: No.

01 Apr 2008 08:55:53 AMPatrick_GWER4786 says: But that is how it goes we will have to wait.

01 Apr 2008 08:55:58 AMAlicia says: Can you please put me in touch with someone who can help resolve this today, either by committing to a repair timeframe or sending a replacement?

01 Apr 2008 08:57:14 AMPatrick_GWER4786 says: I will have to escalate this issue and you will have to chat us within 3 to 5 business days.

(chat ended here)

Ummm. Maybe it was a clever April Fool’s joke by Gateway? We tried to find some contact info for you at Gateway, but it seems that they’ve been purchased by Acer and no longer have a CEO to whom you can write.

For what it’s worth, here is a list of Acer executives. Their corporate email format is firstname_lastname@acer.com. Maybe if you forward your chat to them, they can explain how they were just kidding around…

Anyone have better contact info?

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Comments

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  1. JPropaganda says:

    No more conglomerist? Awwww….

  2. nrich239 says:

    Unfortunately, you’re not going to get anywhere using their chat service. You’ll need to call in to get any form of service. Gateway was terrible when I had to take my PC in and that was when they still had physical stores to go into.

    Good luck

  3. renilyn says:

    I was just so happy to be saying TURTLE POWER after 20 years… I’m sad now (or something).

  4. JustaConsumer says:

    Gateway still makes computers?

  5. missdona says:

    I hate the “sorry for the inconvenience” macro. It’s like the most meaningless phrase ever.

  6. valarmorghulis says:

    It would be interesting to find out at what point an item goes from “taking really long to repair” to “theft.” Why aren’t warrenties required to state a maximum turn around time for repare / replacement / refund?

  7. Buran says:

    Isn’t it a fireable offense to hang up on customers at most tech support places?

    Oops.

  8. Maybe they’re just holding on to it until (3rd quarter) 2008. Then they can send it back, unrepaired. That way when you complain about needing a repair to it, they can tell you it’s out of warranty…

  9. IrisMR says:

    Our service sucks ass but we’re sorry for the inconvenience. That means you can’t be mad at us for our mediocrity, nahnahnah!

  10. Anonymous says:

    @JustaConsumer: I’ve got a Gateway M-6755 laptop and it actually wasn’t a bad deal. I was surprised by the quality for the price I paid (less than $800) and I have yet to have a problem with the machine. *knock on wood*

  11. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    I think most service centers give customers the run around, hoping the customer will either forget or give up in frustration.

    On a related note: Chat support is kinda cool but not really. It’s better than having your ear go numb from waiting in the phone queue. But it seems like chat support is Level 1 only. I had a billing issue with my cable company and it seemed like they can only do basic account changes. When I pressed on, the rep told me to call the 800 number instead. When I asked the rep if that was a customer service number or sales number, she said.. “it’s the number that will help you answer your question”. WTF?

  12. heavylee-again says:

    @LatherRinseRepeat: Not always. All Dell equipment we purchase at work have Business-class Gold warranties. Whenever I need to contact Dell for support or a part, I use chat because I’ve never had to wait longer than a couple minutes to get a rep. On the whole, the people I have dealt with have been competent and helpful. But obviously, most consumers don’t have business-class warranties.

  13. trujunglist says:

    I prefer the text chat support to live tele support in only one way, and that is because you have the opportunity to put the problem out to the CSR in as plain as english as you can type. Instead of explaining in length about anything and then potentially getting hung up on, I can just type it all out and if the chat disconnects, copy and paste it.

  14. Wow. It’s companies like these that make me wanna buy some fierce semi-automatic, drive to the customer service rep’s office, hide approx. 300 feet away from their car, watch them leave the office… and be prepared to take the title of the person “on the grassy knoll”

  15. joepercussion1 says:

    Try this number for Gateway and ask for executive customer support.

    1-408-273-0105

    Joe

  16. scoosdad says:

    Does anyone have proof that these chats are anything more than a friendly computer program? I’m suspicious when I read these things by the total lack of any kind of personality to them. I think the response “no” to the question about anything really happening in those 3-5 days is just the computer not really knowing what to say and taking a good guess at a proper response.

    And if there’s a real person on the other end, they’ve got a very limited number of pre-canned response buttons to push, by design.

  17. sean77 says:

    Why do you think your computer in for warranty repairs and you want to get it back (repaired)?

  18. ChadSteelgate says:

    @missdona: What are you saying? They are sorry for the inconvenience, what’s so hard to understand about that?

  19. dragonfire81 says:

    I used to work at sprint who uses a similar “Escalation” process in which we are trained to give the customer a 3-5 business day timeframe for resolution.

    The kicker? That timeframe means squat, I’ve seen cases thar are unresolved after a MONTH or more. I’d say of all the cases I saw the ration between successfully resolved and still in dispute was about 1:38.

  20. adambrock says:

    Did you send your machine to the Acer repair depot in Temple, TX (that’s where most of them end up). If so, you can call them directly at 254.298.4000. hth.

    ACB

  21. dieman says:

    Best Buy PSP repair does the same thing with ‘backordered’ parts. They always say the part was to ship today but they don’t have a tracking number yet and to call back tomorrow. I’ve been doing this since Feb. 18th now. Argle.

  22. nikitab says:

    I also have a problem with warranty. Haven’t been able to use my laptop for 2 years – they tried to fix it 3 times and then thrice promised to send me a new one. Pathetic. Never buying Gateway again. Will post more info with details eventually when I get to it.

    Cheers,
    Nikita