It Took 10 Emails, 4 Faxes, 40 Phone Calls and 7 Months To Get Acer To Replace Laptop

Scott in Ireland writes in with proof that it’s not just American/Canadian consumers who get screwed by bad customer service. When his new Acer laptop went kaput, it took him over half a year to finally get a working, equivalent replacement—and after all that, Acer told him they wouldn’t extend his warranty for the time he was without a laptop.

I thought I’d let you know about my little adventure with Acer here in Ireland. How these guys stay in business if beyond me. Hopefully it’ll help people to make an informed decision before buying from them.
 
I bought a laptop from them in March of 2007. It worked fine for a while, then started acting weird – starting up really slowly, crashing, etc. I made a series of frustrating phone calls and eventually was told to send it back to them for repair. I put my suspicions that they were a bunch of clown shoes aside, and figured they’d get it sorted out.
 
It was away for a month, and when I got it back it had the exact same problem, and blue screened within 15 seconds of turning on. I told them it was still broken, and sent it back to them again. Almost 20 fruitless international phone calls and four months later they eventually said it was beyond repair. I argued and argued and eventually got a replacement.
 
Six weeks later the replacement arrived, and had about half the spec of my original model. I phoned them another five times until someone agreed it was inferior, and told me to send it in and they’d organise a replacement. The guy I was talking to was laughing and said he wasn’t surprised I called, that the spec of the one they sent me wasn’t even close. Another guy was so rude that I asked to speak to his manager. He told me I’d have to hang up and call back to get someone else, and ask to speak to their manager.
 
I sent the replacement back to them, only to have them courier it back to me. They called me, told me they had made a mistake, and asked that I return it to them again.
 
Eventually, after a total of more than 10 e-mails, 4 faxes, 40 phone calls and 7 months I received an equivalent model. Only, it turns out that it’s also got a fault; the charger makes a loud buzzing noise. I e-mailed them to tell them and they say I have to send it back to them, and pay for shipping and insurance. They said they’ll have a look, but that it may have to go back to Taiwan for a full inspection. I also asked if they were going to entend my warranty to account for the seven months and they replied with an e-mail that simply said “No extension to warranty.”
 
All-in-all, a very slow, rude and ineffective company. Hardly a master class in customer service, doncha think?
 
Cheers,
Scott

Comments

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  1. snoop-blog says:

    better late than never!

  2. howie_in_az says:

    Another guy was so rude that I asked to speak to his manager. He told me I’d have to hang up and call back to get someone else, and ask to speak to their manager.

    Wow just wow.

    At this point I would have sent it back and issued a chargeback.

  3. Dobernala says:

    @howie_in_az: A bit late for that, I think.

  4. I used to work at Compaq in Singapore and it was well known in Asian circles that Acer made the absolute cheapest (as in worst) laptops on the market and appalling customer service. I see that their standard has not risen a bit since then.

  5. secretoftheeast says:

    I’m not sure if you have a similar law over there, but in CA, manufacturer’s are required to extend their warranty to cover the time the item was in repair. May be worth looking into.

  6. demonradio says:

    I’m on an Acer and it’s been a great laptop. ::knocks on wood::

  7. lestat730 says:

    The only Acer product I’ve owned is my current 19″ LCD monitor which I absolutely love and have experienced no problems with. I wonder if someone stateside would have had any better luck with this..

  8. I actually have to wonder how Acer stays in the laptop manufacturing business. I can understand how they operate in the manufacturing of accessories but it’s been their laptop manufacturing brand which makes me wonder how they stay in business. Must be licensing…

  9. ShirtGuyDom says:

    Who buys Acer products?

  10. dragonfire81 says:

    Wow that’s unbelievably sucky.

  11. larrybike says:

    i bought an Acer 9300 laptop 17″, nice specs, XP MCE. Never Again. It seemed to thrive on BSOD. They replaced the motherboard and hard drive – was good for a while. I think the turion 64×2 TL-50 processor has something to do with the instability. When it works, it is great. Buyer Beware

  12. AcidReign says:

        We bought one, an Acer Aspire with a Sempron 2800+ processor, and a gig of ram. Overheat, crash. Overheat, crash. Acer “fixed” it a half-dozen times. At one point, I was told that it was dangerous to actually put 1 gig of ram in the thing, because it wasn’t really built to hold it. (Manual says capacity is 3 gigs…)

        I got tired of dealing with it, and bought a Thinkpad that’s given no trouble. The Acer’s a spare, hopefully for surfing and unimportant things. If an important family computer goes down for an extended period, I unbox an old 300 mhz Win98SE machine…

  13. irv says:

    So far (1 month) my Acer laptop has been great, but I don’t know how long it will last…

  14. tcp100 says:

    @howie_in_az: No, you wouldn’t have, because chargebacks can only be issued 60 days after the date the charged appeared on the statement.

    What you might have been able to do is take up the issue with your credit card – many credit cards extend / double manufacturers warranties, and they will make good when the manufacturer doesn’t.

    On that note, I’ve got an acer 7720 here that I’ve loaded up with 4gb and an extra hard drive, not a bit of trouble and running Vista x64. I haven’t had to use their service yet, but from working back at best buy years ago (when Pentiums didn’t have numbers after the name) I can tell you that Acer has many divisions – sometimes two per region/country, and support varies wildly from division to division.

  15. tcp100 says:

    @larrybike: You need to consider something; in the 25 years I’ve been dealing with laptops and desktops, I’ve never been impressed with any 3rd party AMD chipsets.

    Ever since AMD got out of the chipset business in 2001 or so, the supporting sets (Via, now mostly NVIDIA) generally are geared more towards speed versus stability.

    Every AMD laptop I’ve used (and the same does not go for desktops) starts getting unstable when you’re not running absolutely stock.

    This isn’t a knock on AMD (although they do have some catching up to do as of late) – but a lot of manufacturers don’t quite take into account the much wider tolerances in power, memory speed, and thermal parameters that AMD processors have needed especially in a mobile situation, and 2nd-tier asian manufacturers seem particularly bad. That goes for Sony too, by the way. They still don’t “get” cooling a mobile machine.

    That being said – another snafu a lot of people run into with Acer is that (lame) their cooling is NOT handled by their BIOS. They use there Empowering Technology Framework software (again, lame) to monitor and do thermal management. If you wipe and reformat and don’t install this, you’re in bluescreenton, KY. Same goes for running linux without some clever scripts out there..

  16. Trai_Dep says:

    Imagine, just imagine if this was a MacBook and Apple did 1/10 of as poor a job as this.
    The PC fanboys would be climbing the walls.

    A PC mfr does it, and it draws largely giggles, shrugs and patient explanations.

    Sigh.

  17. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    Uh oh. My laptop, also an Acer, needs warranty work as the Bluetooth & Media reader have never worked since I got it. I hope I don’t have the problems this guy had.

  18. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @tcp100:

    The first thing I did with my Acer laptop (Aspire 3100) was wipe it & reformat it. With an HP XP Pro OEM CD. The power management *is* in the BIOS & works just fine. Actually, for all it’s hardware faults (see above), my Aspire is rock stable.

  19. FrancescaS says:

    My Acer Aspire did have an overheating problem. I bought one of those notebook cooling mats and its just fine now.

    But its working well otherwise. I paid very little for it and so long as it lasts me a year, I’ll be happy.

    But I won’t buy another one!

  20. 1309mw says:

    i am responsible for over 400 Acer desktop/laptops. That is all we use. Im sure every company has faults but as far as maintaining this many computers i couldnt have asked for any better. We still have Acer 4100 Windows 98 machines that run 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

  21. blackmage439 says:

    “How these guys stay in business if beyond me.”

    That’s easy. They took over IBM’s ThinkPad manufacturing. With a well trusted name under their belt, they were able to secure the loyalty of many American businesses. With so many enterprises hopelessly devoted to the ThinkPad, it’s fairly easy to stay in business. Besides, their main business is overseas in Japan. They care not for the frustrations of us fat, lazy Americans. They have just enough loyal customers here in the States to make them appear on-par with American manufacturers.

    Besides, certain companies (I’m looking at you, DELL and GATEWAY!) don’t exactly cast a sunny spot on American manufacturing quality anymore…

  22. EvilSwine says:

    After working for a company that sold only Acer and Open products I can tell you this doesn’t surprise me. I think I would rather have hemorrhoids removed with a chainsaw then have to deal with their support ever again. HP is a close second.

  23. Uriel says:

    Not that it excuses Acer’s actions, or lack thereof, but I remember my friend going to Circuit City to get deals for auctions that he held, and seeing that they were trying to give the Acer laptops away with a 12-month sign-up of AOL, and they were simply not worth the $120.

  24. Nighthawke says:

    @Trai_Dep: If Apple didn’t go with Wintel chips, we WOULD be climbing the walls to come over to them.

  25. rioja951 - Why, oh why must I be assigned to the vehicle maintenance when my specialty is demolitions? says:

    @blackmage439: Wasn’t Lenovo the one who took over the IBM laptop division?

    Because every thinkpad on the company, while still showing the IBM logos, all say lenovo.