This Repaired Acer Laptop Needs More Screen Smudge

Joelle expected Acer to repair her chronically overheating laptop, not coat the inside of its screen with “a sort of brown dripping.” Acer insists that their shipping company caused the internal screen damage, and won’t repair the laptop unless Joelle pays up.

Joelle cc’d us on her Executive Email Carpet Bomb:

Dear Acer,

I have been a long time user and proponent of your products. My friends and family look to me when facing purchasing decisions, and for the most part I have been recommending Acer to them. Recently, I have had some trouble with my laptop, and I am afraid that I will no longer be able to recommend Acer.

I’ve had my Acer 8204 laptop for a while now, and it has been in for repair more than once. Either due to poor design or poor workmanship, the fan apparently becomes easily fouled and the laptop overheats. However maddening this may be, it is not the reason for this email.

I recently sent my laptop to you for repair, as in addition to again overheating, the sound and bluetooth components had failed. As much as I was not looking forward to being without a computer for two weeks, the overheating had become chronic and the situation was becoming increasingly untenable. I sent my laptop in for repair, and waited.

When I received my laptop back from repair, I turned it on to discover that (yes, indeed) the sound and bluetooth had been fixed. However, the screen was incredibly dirty, a sort of brown dripping appeared to be all over it. I went to wipe the screen and realized that this dirt was on the inside. I assure you that when I sent the notebook in for repair the screen may have been dusty, but not internally coated in grime.

When I contacted your support about this problem, they told me two things. First, I could expect to wait another two to three weeks without a laptop. Second, the screen is not covered under my warranty and that I would have to pay for a replacement. Also, the damage to the screen must have been caused by the shipping company, as rough handling can obviously cause this kind of damage. As I am writing this, the WI-FI has now failed on the laptop.

I believe that it is wholly unacceptable for me to be without a computer for upwards of a month. In addition, by attempting to shift blame from your repair technicians to me or the shipping company, it makes me think that you are not very much interested in customer satisfaction and more interested in the bottom line. I am very much disappointed that your company will not accept responsibility for the products and services that you offer.

A satisfactory resolution for me would be an expedited repair or replacement for my now perennially broken laptop and my warranty extended by the time that my laptop was missing.

I look forward to your reply with a resolution to my problem.

Sincerely,

Joelle

Comments

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  1. cotr says:

    i love the Acer!

    unfortunately, Acer didnt really repair it. UPS did. you can thank outsourced repair centers for that!

  2. 11hawkinst says:

    Wow this could not have come at a worse time. My computer is at the Acer Repair Depot!!!!! Greeeeaaaaatttttt……

    Actually, this is my third time sending it in and I’ve only had problem with Fedex loosing my laptop. Acer has been very helpful and replaced the laptop that Fedex lost. I’m surprised that this has happened to your computer.

  3. agb2000 says:

    2 weeks is unacceptably high turnaround time (TAT).

    If this letter doesn’t work, besides the standard EECB, BBB, attorney general, etc., options, Joelle has these two options:

    1. Set up a depot repair herself. She can set up a depot repair without speaking to any of their drones here: [secure2.tx.acer.com] (No guarantee they won’t bill her for it, though she can always refuse to pay.)

    2. Bring the laptop to an Acer Service Center She can find one here: [www.acersupport.com] Any of these companies should be able to complete the repair and bill Acer for the cost under her warranty. She may see faster TAT at a service center as well.

  4. fjordtjie says:

    so wait, the shipping company caused brown drips INSIDE of the screen? not quite sure how that could happen, short of cracking the thing open. I could see blaming them, if I thought that was true. even if it was, though, why didn’t acer package it better before using ‘their shipping company’ to deliver it? so either acer repairpersonell did it, or the shipping company acer sent an easily breached package through is the problam. either way, I think acer should man up, take responsibility, and deal with it.

    when i did finally agree to send my laptop to dell for repairs, it was gone 4 days, not 2 or 3 weeks, and the box they had DHL bring to me could have been thrown off the side of my house and not damaged any part of my laptop–there was literally like a 6 inch multi-type of foam coccoon around the entire thing. and this was dell. acer, this is unacceptable.

  5. superj711 says:

    That’s not “brown dripping” but the sheet behind the LCD that provides the backlight. It can “crack” in different places causing the smudge you’re seeing. This can happen during shipping if the laptop is not packed correctly.

    • Ellen Schaefer says:

      @superj711:

      any idea what is entailed in fixing this?! mine was not mishandled – i put it down and went to bed and woke up to these smudgies….thanx….

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

    The Bluetooth & Media Reader on my Acer 3102WLMi has never worked since I bought it. I haven’t sent it in for repairs since until now I haven’t been able to be without a laptop for any length of time. I’m hoping I can get it back without it being destroyed.

    This case sounds like an easy win in small claims court if you can’t get satisfaction in any other way.

  7. Mudpuddle says:

    Even if it was damaged by the shipping company it is still Acers fault for failing to properly package it.

  8. grayskies says:

    You just got Acer’d. With products and support so terrible I don’t understand how they’re still in business.

  9. AgentTuttle says:

    Next time try a Mac. Less money for the Gates family and less headaches for you.

  10. ZekeSulastin says:

    @AgentTuttle: Yes, because problems with a particular manufacturer surely mean Window$ is at fault …

    It’s people like you that give rise to the negative Mac fanboy stereotype. Besides, Macs are FAR from trouble free.

  11. AT203 says:

    Wow, way to suck Acer.

  12. ByeBye says:

    @AgentTuttle: Just because you hate Windows, doesn’t mean this consumer does too. @ZekeSulastin: Agreed to the Z. That’s my new catchphrase.

  13. 2719 says:

    @AgentTuttle:

    LOL Acer computers are very affordable and most Acer owners are people trying to get a good deal on a laptop.

    Suggesting to buy a Macbook that starts at over $1000 is just stupid.

  14. hypoxia says:

    Um, no, the shipping company did NOT cause this problem. Both UPS and FedEx REQUIRE laptops to be shipped in special shock-absorbent laptop containers which both UPS and FedEx provide. The only way around this is if you walk in with it already packaged and lie about what’s in the package. If you tell the shipping specialist that there’s a laptop in your package they will require that your laptop be packed in their special laptop packing case. If you refuse they are supposed to refuse to accept your shipment.

    They do this because claims on laptop damage are significantly less in their own packaging than the customer’s packaging.

    I work for FedEx (am trained in the shipping procedures) and my husband is a UPS driver.

  15. Kirk Douglas says:

    I blame the consumer for buying an Acer.

  16. geoffhazel says:

    I think the OP wrote an excellent complaint letter. State the facts and propose what you think is a fair (and IMO reasonable) settlement to solve the problem.

  17. AcidReign says:

        Acer is junk, and she’s lucky that they didn’t blame her for the damage. We have an overheating, flaky piece of junk Acer Aspire from late 2004 that mostly just sits on the bottom shelf of the coffee table in the living room. We went round and round and round with Acer. Charger. Initial battery would only last 15 minutes. Sound cutting in and out. If the unit is left on for more than an hour, temps rise into the 130 degree range, and you start getting weird crashes. Keep trying to use it at that temp, and either you’ll burn up ram dimms, or the thing will refuse to even POST up, till it cools back down.

        Ultimately, Acer did cough up a new battery, and get the charging and sound issues fixed, but on the overheating, on the 4th trip back to the service center, they suddenly stated that “soft drink has been spilled inside the unit, and that is not covered.”

        My next step was to go to Lenvonodirect.com and buy a similar computer, only the Thinkpad has a metal case instead of plastic, and some nice features like the hard drive drop sensor, and a keyboard light. Yeah, it cost about $300 more than a comparable Acer, but in two years, we haven’t had the first problem. It was money well spent.

        We still occasionally use the Acer, but no data gets permanently stored on that system! If you set it on top of an air-conditioning vent or a big fan, it can run for hours without crashing.

        Since I gave up on fighting with Acer, several keys have fallen off the keyboard, and we had a catastrophic head crash on the hard drive when someone bumped the table the laptop was sitting on. The metal contacts on the missing keys still allow you to enter than character, but you won’t win a speed-typing contest. The ink has washed off commonly-used keys, so you’ve got to know your keyboard. I fixed the head crash by rebuilding the partition table with Testdisk 0.6, then scrubbing the drive with Spinrite, and reinstalling XP Pro.

  18. darksunfox says:

    It’s hard to believe that kind of damage could be caused in shipping… it’s far too local. It looks a lot more like someone improperly handled the laptop in the factory, grabbed it by the screen and was rough with it while it was open. Gotta love blaming the shipping company – “Go sue UPS, not us!”

  19. ImCrying says:

    @AgentTuttle: You’re dumb. Stop commenting.

  20. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    @agb2000:

    I can’t find *ANY* Acer Service Centers using that link:

    acersupport.com/cfdocs/aspsearch/weblook.cfm

    No matter what State or Province I try get “No records found”.

  21. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    edit – link needs www

  22. Ein2015 says:

    Acer is cheap.

  23. SuperiorInky says:

    @2719: Yes, because Windows “magically” messed up the inside of the screen. Sorry, but your comment was completely irrelevant.

    I personally wouldn’t of gone with an Acer, but maybe it was all the customer could afford at the time. Still, Acer needs to shape-up it’s customer service. I wouldn’t stand for a smudged-up screen.

  24. firefruze says:

    I have an Acer as well, will never buy another one. The components are poor quality, I have problems with my screen ( including it turning off after a few minutes of being on battery charge) and while my laptop did get fixed at the depot dealing could have been way more easier.

  25. houston2882 says:

    hate MS/Gates but was a wennie and saved dollars by not buying a MAC. if MAC were a bit less expensive I would go that way.

  26. Yah! Mac’s aren’t trouble free. My old Titanium Powerbook quit running IE and I had to buy a Macbook Pro. And every now and then a program stops working and OSX gives me this cryptic, “your program stopped responding and was shut down. The rest of your system remains unaffected.” And it can get very confusing when I run Windows with VMWare Fusion in Unity mode. You guys are right Mac sucks. Where do I get the Acer?

  27. haoshufu says:

    Get what you paid for. There is a reason why Lenovo charges more for their Thinkpads.

  28. before I give my recommendations for future investments of laptops, I will start off that I am a certified Dell and Apple technician.

    With that said, Dell and IBM (now Lenovo have a “complete care” option that covers EVERYTHING. whether it’s user damage or mechanical falure, they have on-site warranty, or mail-in coverage (all shipping expenses are paid for by the manufacturer) and the turnaround time is ~2-3 days depending on the company. In any event, this is the best “warranty”. Yes it does cost more, but if you’re in college or just want to “insure” a computer, there is probably an integrated plan in place, or you’re simply willing to pay for this type of plan out of pocket

    Apple computers (which I deal with the most in my field) receive replacement parts the next day, if entered before noon. If I can see that the laptop has not been abused (i.e. no cracked LCD, no dents, horrific gouges/scratches/missing screws or other evident damage) will be repaired under warranty. Current systems (MacBook vs. G4 iBook) can have parts obtained more quickly, but all computers with applecare protection plan (APP)will be covered 3 years from purchase date regardless.

  29. fisherman23 says:

    Thanks everyone, you all have supplied me with plenty of reasons to NEVER buy an Acer product. Joelle, they must think we are all pretty dumb to think that the shipping company can get smudges on the inside of your screen. The folks that load the trucks must be taking things apart in the middle of the night.

  30. TuxRug says:

    I save time and money. When my laptop starts chronically overheating, first thing I do is take off one panel off the bottom of my acer laptop, remove the fan to get a better angle, and clean it out with compressed air. Recently my fiancé’s acer laptop overheated and shut itself off (mine never got that far, thanks to some cpu monitoring software I had installed that gave me a very early warning). I popped off the panel with vents on it, took out the fan, and pulled out a ~1mm thick strip of dust in nearly one piece (mine had gotten to about 2.5mm thick). These acer laptops are a generally a great bang-for-buck value, but their heatsinks are the worst dust magnets I’ve ever seen.

  31. theRIAA says:

    Acer makes awesome products and you shouldn’t hate Acer just because of their laptop customer service. Laptops break easily and most people can’t really fix them (that’s why I hate laptops), so the customer service is bound to have problems once and a while.

    The response is just the general asshole “give us more money” reply found with almost any company. Joelle should email Acer back saying it was their fault for wither dirtying the laptop, or shipping it improperly packaged. If Acer still says he has to pay he should call them and talk to a higher up. If the higher up says he still has to pay then Acer is crap and should be destroyed with fire.

  32. HOP says:

    back in the dark ages, i bought an acer 386….i think the thing is still running…i gave it to my daughter umteen years ag, and it helped her thru nursing school…..

  33. MyTQuinn says:

    Unless the damage was noted by Acer at the time they received the laptop for repair, she has a valid claim against Acer – she presented the laptop to Acer in a certain condition, and it was not returned in the same condition (ignoring any “repairs” that were intended). Acer may also have a claim with the carrier, but that’s between Acer and the carrier, shouldn’t involve the customer, and in no way should it delay resolution between Acer and the customer.

  34. “Recently, I have had some trouble with my laptop, and I am afraid that I will no longer be able to recommend Acer.”

    Why would anyone start a complaint letter in this way?

    You’re basically telling the company they’ve already lost you as a customer and no matter what they do to address your complaint, you’re no longer going to support them.

    What’s the incentive (other than altruism) for the company do go above and beyond, if that’s what you tell them?

    I’d say something like this instead:

    “I’ve had such and such problems with your product/service and the problem has not been addresses satisfactorily, please fix the problems so that I can continue buying/recommending your products/services in the future.”

  35. truthbuddy says:

    Buy an ASUS, I just got one and I had my problem resolved In 3 days. I fedexd it on Tuesday (they paid shipping both ways)and had it back by Thursday 11am. I love the ASUS. I had a computer at ACER for 3 weeks and still they did not fix it properly. ACER is junk.

  36. unohoo says:

    @agb2000: As an owner of an Acer laptop and desktop, I loved your suggestion for locating an Acer service center and so plugged in my area code and adjacent area codes, my state and adjacent states (tried New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts) and couldn’t locate a service center in any of those choices. Makes me doubly glad I bought a three year warranty from Staples for my laptop. The desktop is a re-manufactured Aspire T180 so only came with a 90 day warranty. I’ve had to make a couple of calls to Acer on it already (problems registering the dang thing) and have been underwhelmed by the support I received.

  37. tattoonish says:

    Unfortunately for you all I happen to be a repair technician that works for Acer… which is not an outsourced repair center.

    The screen issue noted is lcd dispersal, not liquid. It happens when too much pressure is applied to the lcd. Yes, IT DID happen during shipping and Acer WILL fix it for free if you follow the right steps.

    you need to call the tech support number, 1-800-816-2237, and as soon as the first person answers ask to speak to their supervisor. They will argue but be persistent. They will then transfer you to a level 2 call tech that is at the actual repair center. Continue your demands to speak to a supervisor with this tech. They will then transfer you to an escalation department. At this point you need to BE AS NICE AS YOU CAN POSSIBLY BE. DO NOT BE RUDE TO ANYONE YOU TALK TO, BUT BE FIRM. Simply argue the fact that it happened during return shipping and Acer does have shipping insurance with FedEx. If they do not relent, threaten to submit a complaint to the BBB. If you are polite, but firm and persistent, acer will pick the unit up via Fedex and Acer should fix it.

  38. chumleyex says:

    LOL to all of you. Acer stopped using service centers a few years ago. Trust me I used to work there. Also to the fedex employee, you must be joking, I’ve seen fedex deliver a notebook in a regular mailing pouch.

    1. You need to call back and demand a supervisor and explain that it isn’t a popped screen but rather something else. The tech just thinks you broke your screen.

    2. Send a letter to the BBB and then make a copy of it and send it to Acer Customer Service, 1394 Eberhardt rd. Temple TX. 76503 (make sure you send your info to the BBB too), add copied of the pictures.

    3. Demand a replacement of some sort, you don’t want that peace of crap anymore.

    Feel free to hit me up with any questions. I have been the person you scream at and I have been the person that fixes everything.

    chumley@chumleyex.info

  39. mariospants says:

    There is not one laptop I’ve ever owned that didn’t cause me trouble at some point (well, except maybe this huge brick of a Toshiba 486 I still have kicking around, but even then, the batteries won’t charge…)

    Given the engineering constraints involved, can there even be such a thing as a “dependable laptop”?

    methinks not. I’m taking my trusty old mid tower to meetings with me from now on.

  40. gent says:

    I had a similar experience with Canon, when I shipped my SD600 digital elph back to them for a repair of a dead pixel.. within the warranty period.. I received an email a couple of weeks after shipping it saying that the dead pixel was caused by damage and neglect to the camera… (sure.. what’d I expect right).. but.. they noted that they got to that point after inspecting the camera and finding a dent on it in the metal portion of the expandable lens.. but.. the thing is that when I shipped it to them, there was no dent the camera anywhere! I take very good care of all of my electronics, and that camera only went straight from the padded case to taking a pic and back into the case ever since I purchased it… They wanted $100 to fix the dead pixel, so I just said to send it back. Of course when it arrived.. guess what.. there was a noticeable dent right in the front of the camera that wasn’t there when I shipped it! It looks as if it was hit with an all or a screwdriver.. its probably about 1/8 inch deep.. definitely not there when I sent it. I called their customer service, and they said that their decision is final, and I have no way to appeal their warranty non-fulfillment decision. I eventually just gave up, and started using the camera with a dead pixel! Hopefully you’ll get your laptop situation handled with better luck than I did.

  41. SecureLocation says:

    Near as I can tell Acers are junk. My laptop has been sent back twice and needs to go back a third time for warranty repairs. Each time they’ve tried to subtly blame me for the problem. Funny, though, I don’t seem to be screwing up the other two non-Acer laptops I own. Avoid ‘em.

  42. SnehAglaea says:

    acer has the worst warranty service

    my monitor has been in RMA for over 6 months, it was sent in for rma 12 times now, each time I got a repair which they said they found nothing wrong and a refurbished replacement which also had problems

    the problem was a crap load of dirt behind the screen (it looks just like the laptop screen )

    i got tired of the RMA’s since I needed a monitor and couldn’t stand using my old 13 inch crap crt that was in my basement so I took the lmonitor apart and cleaned the back of the lcd panel and got rid of all of the dirt

    there was lots of spots, and hand marks like someone with really dirty hands touched the screen

    the front of the screen was also dirty but I was able to clean that easily. it is just annoying when the back is dirty

    here is a link for info on how the inside looks if needed http://blog.fieryferret.com/2008/03/taking-apart-my-lcd-monitor.html

    this will void your warranty but you will get better results than with the RMA

    I don’t recommend this if your a novice user.

    I am do a lot of electronic repairs as well as tech support and have a cheap clean room set up in my house ( a small walk in closet with 2 high quality air filter systems )

    if you don’t have clean air, don’t take the monitor apart unless theres a crap load of dirt, but if theres like 4 or 5 specs of dirt, don’t as you can risk adding even more dirt behind the screen

  43. Puddy Tat says:

    Nothing no additional feedback?