Is The Patriot Act Stopping Gateway From Fixing Your Laptop?

Gateway claims that the Patriot Act is holding up delivery of the part needed to fix Redwoodflyer’s laptop, which has been broken since October. Seems believable to us!

Redwoodflyer writes:

I’ve been having a problem with a Gateway laptop, as well as their service. I’ll go ahead and put it in bullet form since I tend to get wordy otherwise:

  • Bought the Gateway M-Series laptop in mid-October
  • Said laptop suddenly died about 10 days later
  • Called Gateway, setup an RMA, and shipped it to their TX service center (at my expense, of course) on October 30th
  • Didn’t have a laptop back as of mid-November, so I called them. After waiting on hold for over an hour, I was told that the motherboard was on back order. No ETA was available.
  • I contacted them again during the first week of December. Still no ETA.
  • I called on the 29th and they said that it had been shipped back finally. It hadn’t arrived as of the 6th of January, so I called again. They said that they somehow put the wrong shipping address on it (they shipped it to CA instead of FL – no clue how that works). The rep told me that it was on the way from CA back to the TX facility, but they refused to authorize a reroute so that FedEx could just deliver it directly to me instead.
  • 21st, I finally get the laptop back. It powered on and worked fine, but I immediately noticed that there was a significant chunk of plastic chipped around the modem jack
  • I call 1-800-Gateway, and it suddenly starts telling me that my warranty was expired. The way Gateway has it setup is so that without a valid in-warranty serial, there is no way to get a hold of tech support! If you try to go via sales, it transfers to Tiger Direct. The Tiger Direct rep told me that I would have to pay for Answers by Gateway to get to their support rep…at $2+ a minute. Of course, you have to key in your CC number before you can talk to a human.
  • Another Tiger Direct rep gave me a non-toll free number, and instructed me to just mumble the serial number on that line. After 3 repeats, I finally got through to a tech.
  • Gateway gave me another RMA, and agreed to pay for return shipping. I mail the package from the local FedEx Office store on the 22nd.
  • I still don’t have my laptop. Called them just now – which, as mentioned above, is a bit of a process since the automated phone lady thinks I’m out of warranty – and I was told that the lower casing is on back order, with no ETA.
  • The Rep, Cole, #25473, said that the backorder isn’t their fault, since “due to the Patriot Act, customs holds shipments for various lengths of time.” Somehow, I find it hard to believe that the delay is caused by customs holding a shipment from an established firm such as Gateway.
  • I ask if they can just send me another equivalent laptop – he said no, but they can return my unit unrepaired.

And now…here I am… (Ed: At the end of February) with no laptop, and no foreseeable idea of when I’ll get it back. I feel that I’ve been very polite and courteous to every rep, making clear that I realize that it’s not their fault personally, but I’d appreciate their help. I also feel that I’ve waited well beyond what would be defined as a reasonable period. What can I do to get a working unit in a timely fashion?

Patriot Act, eh? How clever of you, Gateway!

Redwoodflyer is stuck in an unenviable position. Tiger Direct isn’t known for satisfying their customers, and Gateway is now owned by Acer. You can try launching an EECB to Acer’s “Pan America Executive Team” using the format firstname_lastname@acer.com.

Does anyone else have any suggestions that might get Redwoodflyer’s laptop back?

(Photo: hoyasmeg)

Comments

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  1. Quilt says:

    If Gateway doesn’t give Ed his laptop back, the terrorists have won.

    • From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

      @Quilt: If Ed ever gets his Gateway laptop back, it’ll feel like the terrorists have won anyway – since he’ll then have to use it.

      From what he’s endured already from Gateway support, I guess I know why Cheney still thinks that waterboarding isn’t torture – there are worse things you can do to a man to break his will to live.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @Quilt: @PGibbons:

      Lol, out of curiosity, where did you ascertain that my name is Ed?

  2. Paul Quirk says:

    I work for Customs and I can tell you the Patriot Act has nothing to do with your shipment. We do hold on to shipments for various reasons, but we’ve been doing that for over 200 years. Just because Gateway is an established company doesn’t mean their shipments won’t get held. If they are screwing up things on the consumer end of the business, then they are probably screwing up things on the import end of the business as well.

    • Inglix_the_Mad says:

      @Paul Quirk: Agreed. My friend, and former boss, at a mid-sized PC company in WI has similar container issues. Mind you, it doesn’t happen very often that a container is held, but it does happen. The company he works for had a container of parts (cases, power supplies) held for 3 MONTHS to “clear” customs. The owners were less than pleased, but it has happened before a couple of times over the years…

      The real joke is that it sat on their lot (if I remember right), sealed, with them unable to open it.

      This situation though… I would think that if a smaller company could get parts in the interim, then Gateway would be able to…

  3. Yankees368 says:

    Is this like how when I signed up for a sams club membership, the rep asked for my email address and when I declined, she said they needed it for the patriot act? What a stupid lie.

  4. MustyBuckets says:

    So, he’s had a computer for 5 months that has worked for all of ten days? EECB, here is a link to another consumerist article that might be able to help – [consumerist.com]
    Other than that, OP is most likely outside of Chargeback, so he could try to appeal to the store he got it from.

  5. easy2panic says:

    What pisses me off more, is that during all this time, you can’t use the item that you paid for, and it is depreciating in value exponentially.

    My favorite, add at the bottom of your EECB that you really like their products, and since you paid for it, but are not fulfilling their end of the bargain, you will take them to small claims court if you do not do x,y,z in some amount of time. Then throw in a second sentence saying that in small claims court, it only costs me $15 (or so) to file it, and if you do not spend thousands of dollars to send a legal representative, the court will judge in my (your) favor so you might as well do the reasonable thing that I asked, or I will get my money back from you and take my business elsewhere.

    • metaled says:

      @easy2panic: If they are anything like Compaq and Hewlett Packard, The tech support will not talk to you anymore if you mention lawyer or Small Claims. After that sentence, you will not get any customer rep to talk to you EVER AGAIN. You will not get a reply to any e-mail you send, Not even to their legal Dept!
      They have a script, that if you mention legal action, they are not allowed to discuss your account and you will need to contact their legal dept. I found this out on a laptop I could not get returned from repair, I asked them the question “what am I supposed to do to get my computer, take them to small claims court?” Never saw it again (since 2000), glad it was only a Jornada 540 Pocket PC.

    • fantomesq says:

      @easy2panic: The threat of legal action is unnecessary to resolve the issue and, as others have noted, threatening it is usually counterproductive. The implied threat is always available without having to point it out.

  6. Trai_Dep says:

    Wait – I thought that if I bought a Gateway, Teh Terrorists have won…

  7. easy2panic says:

    @easy2panic: When they try to talk you out of some of your requests x,y,z, DO NOT back down. Just remind them that if they cannot do what is reasonable, my local small claims court judge will agree with me on what is reasonable.

  8. Kasey620 says:

    I went through the same run around with Gateway/Acer a while back…parts on back order, lots of excuses, they couldn’t tell me when I would get it, etc. In fact, I came to find out that they didn’t even bother ordering the parts for two weeks after they got it…they quoted me 7-10 business days for the repair, but don’t bother ordering the parts they need until the 11th day? It made no sense to me.

    My final straw came about a month into the process…I waited the requisite 80 minutes to speak to a level two agent. Robert, id 25486, seemed angry and annoyed with me before I said my name. I heard the same thing I have been hearing the whole time…parts are on back order, you’ll have to wait. I told him that my computer had been there for over a month, and even if they got the
    parts tomorrow it would be another week or more to repair and get back to me and I needed another solution. He then told me that he had given me all the information he could. I again expressed that I needed a solution and asked if they could just send me my computer with an external keyboard (when I sent it in, there was only a keyboard issue)…it would not be ideal, but at least I would have a working computer at home. He actually laughed at this point, said that made no sense, he had told me everything he could and was now going to disconnect me for, and I quote “a situation that won’t waste my time.” He ended up hanging up on me.

    That day I shot off a an email to:

    richard_black@acer.com,
    Rudi_Schmidleithner@acer.com,
    Mark_Groveunder@acer.com,
    Clarence_Worthington@acer.com,
    Mark_Hill@acer.com

    I expressed in my email the hell that I had been through trying to deal with their customer service, the importance of having a computer at home for me, and the fact that I was cc’ing consumerist on my emails with them. The next morning I had an offer to replace my laptop.

    I would use those emails to send off an EECB yourself, and I wish you good luck!

  9. ospreyguy says:

    What you can’t build your own perfect laptop? That is always the best solution.

    • Rawley Greene says:

      @ospreyguy:

      This is what I do, just buy a barebones laptop base made by Asus or similar company. I’ve never had problems with Asus fulfilling RMAs, or companies of all the internal add on parts (processors, ram, hdd).

      I always build all my own desktop units too.

  10. goodcow says:

    And this is why I don’t really mind paying the “Apple tax” so I don’t have to deal with bullshit like this.

    • Ouze says:

      @goodcow: yeah, because no Apple product has ever broken, ever.

      oh wait

      [consumerist.com]

      • wardawg says:

        @Ouze: It’s not about whether or not the laptop breaks, nobody is expecting to get perfect products 100% of the time, it’s about the level of customer service and bending over backwards that is involved on behalf of the company. Apple has notoriously better consumer level customer support than most tech companies.

        • From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

          @wardawg: That’s a low bar, especially if you skew the curve with HP and emachines/Gateway.

          I’ve been pretty impressed with Apple’s attempts to provide service when necessary. However, I’m still not very pleased with the fact their second generation iTouch was unable to stay paired to many non-Apple wireless networks. Long after it was a well-known issue, their phone support people were clueless about it. Apple got a firmware fix out a few months afterward – but that’s months of your warranty without wifi on a device you paid the Apple tax to have wifi on…

      • NotMe says:

        @Ouze:

        No, it’s because Apple’s customer support isn’t broken.

        Without fail, Apple has always corrected any problem I’ve had on the first attempt, and I’ve never been denied use of my stuff while they address my concerns.

        Specifically, here’s a list of my problems and their resolution:

        1. I had a problem with a MacBook battery (at least the computer thought the battery might be faulty), and I called Apple care. The MacBook was out of warranty, but since the battery was deemed to be faulty from day one, Apple sent me a brand new battery next day air (at their expense), along with prepaid return packaging.

        2. I had a cosmetic problem with a new iPhone, called Apple, and they arranged an in-store replacement at my convenience. When I went to the store, my phone was immediately replaced with a new one.

        It always amazes me when people rag on Apple’s products and customer support. I buy Apple products because you get what you pay for, plain and simple. Our family has had four Macs, five iPhones, and countless iPods, so I’m speaking from first hand experience when I say that Apple deserves credit for first rate customer support.

      • Real Cheese Flavor says:

        @Ouze: Nor has Apple ever refused to repair a design defect, instead claiming that the problem was caused by the user until a sufficient amount of people start getting vocal about said defect.

  11. DeloresPompeii says:

    call your credit card company and see if they have a buyer protection policy that will refund you the purchase – or if you can do a charge back for services not rendered.

  12. easy2panic says:

    @goodcow: You know, that is the first good reason I’ve heard for the Apple Tax.

    (For some reason my replies won’t nest.)

  13. Skaperen says:

    Parts ARE on back order. But the reason is these companies are delaying orders to avoid cash outflow. They hold up repairs until a sufficient number of them need a particular part, then they order them in bulk (for a bulk of repairs still undone).

  14. Trai_Dep says:

    @ Goodcow: Yup. Bet “saving” that $100 was a real bargain…

  15. jpdanzig says:

    This is very disheartening to hear. I have never had an issue with any of the Gateways I have owned over the past fifteen years, but now that they’re part of Acer, it sounds as if their customer service has gone down the crapper.

    I might go for a Toshiba laptop next time instead. I never had any problems with the Satellite I had a few years back…

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @jpdanzig:

      Hopefully Toshiba makes them better than the Sputnik people…

    • Andrew Abrams Marchant-Shapiro says:

      @jpdanzig:

      I’ve had very good luck with Acer customer service. I bought my Extensa 4620back in December ’07–in part for the curved keyboard. In September ’08, I accidentally knocked off one of the arrow keycaps. I called, and within minutes was told that it would be 10-day repair. Since I’m in law school, I asked if they could just send a replacement keyboard instead. They were willing, and did so (no charge), and it took me maybe 10 minutes to replace the keyboard at home.

      FWIW, my machine gets a 10-mile bike ride (in a pannier or on my back) every day. So far, my “cheap” machine has held up just fine…

  16. RedwoodFlyer says:

    Thanks for posting this Consumerist!

    A current update: We finally got the laptop last week…but the plot thickens:

    All the stickers on the bottom were simply pealed off of the previous undercarrige and shoddily stuck on to the new one. As many of you know, most of those stickers (such as the Authentic Windows one) are rigged so that they turn into “VOID VOID VOID” stickers if tampered with. Not only that, but the stickers are curling off, since they aren’t made to be reused.

    As though that’s not bad enough, they managed to take a chunk out of the plastic on the monitor hinge. After going through hoops to get them on the phone again, I asked if they could give some sort of promise that the re-re-repair won’t take more than a week, and they said no.

    Having been jaded by their delays already, we just opted to keep the laptop, broken plastic, voided stickers, and all.

    There goes any hope of reselling the laptop down the road…

    I’m going to attempt the EECB….I wasn’t able to track down the addresses anywhere, so thanks Kasey620!

    Just a clarification: the laptop wasn’t from TigerDirect, so I can’t really fault them in this case.

    When you select anything besides “Warranty Service” or “Pay for Support Service” on Gateway’s phone menu, it automatically transfers to TigerDirect’s call center, because they apparently handle cow-box’s sales channel.

    • fantomesq says:

      @ComcastRedwoodFlyer: Most manufacturer’s warranty repairs come with stand-alone 60 or 90 days warranties on the repairs performed. There is no need to settle for a laptop that they damaged. Send it back immediately followed by the EECB. You should be entitled to get a new laptop out of it.

      • RedwoodFlyer says:

        @fantomesq: True, I think this one has a 90 day warranty on the work performed.

        The problem is that I don’t trust them with the laptop anymore…I can’t stand to be without it for another month, with no promise of successful repair.

        I did try an EECB though, I’ll be sure to post the outcome here.

  17. maxx22 says:

    Did you pay for the initial unit by credit card? Does your credit card have any sort of guaranty or extended warranty for stuff you pay for? Can you go back to your credit card and charge back the original purchase?

    Just some thoughts.

  18. magic8ball says:

    I once had a furniture salesman tell me it would take several weeks to get a nightstand shipped from a warehouse in Michigan to a retail location in Utah. When I asked why it would take so long, he replied, “Homeland Security,” as if that explained everything. I decided that from then on, that would be my standard excuse for everything. Late for work? “Homeland Security.” Homework not done? “Homeland Security.” Didn’t stick to my exercise program? “Homeland Security.”

  19. Anonymous says:

    I had a terrible experience with Gateway as well. Even our corporate liaison couldn’t get them to do anything. Four months after I ordered a new screen, they were still giving excuses about shipments from Asia not coming in … and then they happened to lose the entire order just after the warranty expired. Handy … Gateway=Never, NEVER again.

  20. celestebai says:

    DON’T BUY GATEWAY. That’s what you should have done. Helpful, I know.

  21. Jenny Mauck DeBonte says:

    How weird, I’ve never had a problem with Acer tech support. Is Gateway’s support separate from Acer or have they combined by now? I dealt with the TX depot on behalf of a customer and they were incredibly helpful and had a quick turn around. That was in September, I think.

  22. citroën67 says:

    This is why we should all just buy ThinkPads.

  23. DH405 says:

    Why is it out of warranty five months after purchase?

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @SMSDHubbard: It’s not…the stupid phone system just thinks it is because of ???… however, the reps are all able to see that I clearly have warranty until Oct.

  24. Nick Freidel says:

    I’ve had issues with my own Gateway, the CX210X convertible notebook.
    When I got the first notebook, I found that a fan near the hard drive was buzzing each time it spun up, and it seemed to get worse and worse each time it ran. Called up Gateway and they wanted me to send the laptop to a repair facility (ignoring that I bought on-site repair service from them). I took a close look at my product terms and found a line stating that if I was not satisfied with my purchase up to 15 days after receipt, I could return the product no questions asked. I got on the phone with support and told them this line, and we agreed to have my first laptop sent back and they would build a new one and send it to me.

    Fast forward a year and a half (and a couple of small repairs), I have an unusual situation with the laptop display. While burning a DVD, the laptop display went all flickery, jittery, and just plain weird. The bulb in the display refused to light at all, so the tech and I ruled it a problem with the display. It took Gateway a full month to get the part to me and have it replaced, and during this time they kept saying the part was back ordered.

    Ultimately, replacing the display didn’t fix the problem.

    Called up Gateway again, and this time it was determined to be a motherboard issue. The replacement order was placed and I was told it wouldn’t be too long before the part was shipped. I then spent the next month and a half waiting for the motherboard. During this time, I spent hours of time on the phone with techs that kept pointing fingers to other departments saying that they were the ones that had the answers. I even had one representative tell me that they couldn’t fulfill the parts order because their warehouse in Texas was hit by Hurricane Ike. I would presume that a company the size of Gateway would have more than one parts warehouse.

    After submitting a complaint to the BBB, I got my laptop motherboard replaced in about a week.

    Unfortunately, I think I need to contact the BBB again, as the lady I spoke to (Leslie) from Gateway Executive Support promised to extend my warranty a month due to being without a laptop for 2 1/2 months. I could have sworn that I saw this reflected in the system, but when I check it now, its back to its original date.

    In addition, there are only 4 factory original parts on this laptop: The hard drive, the wireless chip, the keyboard, and the bottom chassis. Everything else has been replaced once, or in the case of the hinge, twice.

    This laptop was my family’s 4th Gateway computer. The first computer we bought was rock solid, and the second one was too (besides running Win ME). The third one also runs well, but with some time it started forming cracks around one of the hinges. My experience with them has been far poorer than what we’ve had before.

    It pains me to say it, but I honestly have to suggest that people avoid Gateway.

  25. coren says:

    The OP has said they didn’t buy from TD – so why are they even a step in the process. Does Acer own them as well?

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @coren:

      TD is who Gateway’s phone automatically transfers you to if you press the button for sales – the only option that worked for me since the autobot on the phone decided that I didn’t have a warranty.

  26. camman68 says:

    @fantomesq

    You say the threat of legal action is unnecessary – – yet you offer no suggestions on how to get this handled.

    You aren’t providing much help – or am I missing something?

  27. Anonymous says:

    Lenovo. Thinkpad. I know it won’t help you now, but think about it for next time.

    Tech support is in the USA and most of them have a clue. They were quick to fix my software problems and used 2 day shipping for sending some replacement disks.

    High quality product and good tech support, I’m a happy puppy.

    -Erik

  28. Brothernod says:

    Try calling this number
    254-298-4681

    It’s a direct line to some sort of higher level customer service.

  29. feckingmorons says:

    Just sue them, geez I never have understood why people bothered to talk to clerks and email people ad infinitum. Give it two or three tries, and then sue them.

    If you want to be nice before you do it send a letter to their registered agent in your state (your state’s secretary of state or division of corporations website should help you find their registered agent). In my state lawsuits filed against Gateway Computers are sent to their registered agent, CT Corporation Systems. They forward anything received post haste to the corporate legal department. Send it certified (no recipt needed track it online) and give them 10 days after receipt. If that fails drop by and ask the clerks in the Small Claims Division how to file a suit yourself (or check out any alternative dispute resolution programs they may have at the Court).

    Then sue. Stop putzing around and sue them. They don’t have to do anything until directed to by the Court.

    N.B. This is not legal advice.

  30. oregongal says:

    Gateway used to be wonderful to deal with. I bought my first PC from them in Jan 2002. Its a desktop that came with 256 RAM and a 20 G HD. Sucker still works … a bit slower than it used to and is now living with my kids at their house. Funny, all I’ve ever done is replace the CD drive and had to do 1 reinstall of Windows. Tech service was super!

  31. Savanna Rose Yeatman says:

    Send a letter to Good Housekeeping! Seriously, they fix this kind of stuff for people all the time. No one wants Good Housekeeping to print that they wouldn’t settle when it was their fault.

  32. HPCommando says:

    All manufacturers buy bulk; for any given model, for example, a run of 10,000 is made for immediate sale. once that is done, an additional run of about 1/3 (3,000 in this example) are made but unassembled major components (parts unique to this model). Of these, roughly half (1/6 total) are retained by the actual plant in China or Malaysia, while the rest are shipped for warranty repair use.

    If its a “bestseller”, the remaining 1/6 is used as a buffer to a new production run-up, giving the actual manufacturer time to catch up on orders. If not, then the remaining inventory is shipped out by year end for post-warranty repairs.

    There is a “magic number” here, depending on the manufacturer…that “magic number” is the expectation of “X” defective units per 1000. Below that number, the actual manufacturer charges the company (HP, Dell, Acer, Sony, etc.), since the manufacturer ‘guarantees’ a no-fail ratio of X:1.

    If more than “X” fail, the manufacturer eats the costs…but reserves the right to recover old parts for refurbish/repair, in order to minimize costs (and keep them from adding it to future runs).

    Both manufacturer and vendor game this “X” number, which changes each production run. This is, in large part, why it is so easy to replace a defective unit earlier in the run than 3-6 months later; the earlier the failure, the easier to point to manufacture defect than abuse/damage.

    Long story short…this is either a unique failure, or it is one that has hit the entire production line, hence the mass delay on service.

  33. Anonymous says:

    It died in 10 days and he went with the MFG warranty? Did OP buy direct from gateway? Because otherwise, most electronics retailers provide at least a 14 day return/exchange warranty on products purchased at the store.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @HainesDius: It was from Buy.com. Their return policy was 14 days from date of shipment, and since they mailed it out right before a weekend, 6 or so days got eaten up in transit!

  34. Meathamper says:

    This has got to be the most unbelievably moronic excuse ever. Patriot Act? Try again.

  35. Bt Garner says:

    Way back in 1989 I bought my first desktop, a Gateway … it was a piece of junk. Within the first year, I had literally replaced every part of it except the video card and the motherboard (even replaced the monitor). Gateway CS was awful then, and it looks like things have not changed.

    The only think I can thank them for is that since I had to do all the repairs myself, Gateway forced me to learn how to replace hardware and diagnose problems on PC hardware.

    In 1989, replacing 36 separate RAM chips was not fun.

  36. stuphology says:

    FWIW I’ve never had anything but utterly awful customer service from Gateway. After the first time (a number of desktops I was helping a school install 10+ years ago)I swore I’d never deal with them again, but I’ve fallen for pricing a couple times (a desktop for myself, a tablet PC) but been suckered by crappy design and abused by horrible customer service both times. Moreover, I’ve never known anyone to have a good result from Gateway.

    Here’s an example – I bought a tablet PC from them. Hey, it was a lot less than other folks tablets, I wanted a tablet, and it actually worked pretty well. When it needed service, though, I found out that they had the serial number in their system as “spare parts”.

    Spare parts. Really?

    Needless to say no amount of argument sufficed. Not only would they not repair it, I was told that if I sent it to them they would keep it, because, they said, it shouldn’t have been sold in the first place. Um, come again?

    Never buy Gateway. Just don’t.

  37. Etoiles says:

    Wow. I had two Gateway computers (and my parents have a third) purchased between 1997 and 2004 and they used to have excellent phone service. How far they have fallen…

  38. deejaypopnfresh says:

    i have had nothing but good luck with acer and gateway (knock on wood)

  39. grapedog says:

    Just like anything else in life, you get what you pay for.

    You didn’t buy a Fujitsu laptop, you didn’t buy an Alienware laptop…you get what you pay for.

    If you pay $400 for a laptop, and the average cost of just the LCD flat panel is say $150+ depending on size…where do you think those cost cuts are coming from. Shipping…

    Also, Thinkpads are no longer being developed by guys who used to develop them 2+ years ago. They are now part and parcel with Lenovo which, good luck with them.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @grapedog: Sorry, but I disagree. No matter what, there are basic levels of usability that any product must meet. A Kia may not have leather from cows that grazed fields devoid of barbed wire, like Jags, but it still needs to e driveable and they need to stick behind their warranty.

      That being said, Fujitsu makes a great product….I still get a lot of use out of my year old T4010 tablet from them (and I bought it as a refurb!)

  40. flyromeo3 says:

    can you do a charge back with your cc company?
    He must be one of those proud people that paid in cash.. lol

  41. dragon:ONE says:

    Ah, yes, Gateway Support.
    Still have a box from ~2001 from them. Still runs quite nicely and support’s still a charm.

    Do they still offer lifetime phone support?
    I pulled up my old box’s warranty info and saw “OBS LIMITED HARDWARE PHONE SUPPORT AS LONG AS CLIENT OWNS PC” and “OBS LIMITED SOFTWARE PHONE SUPPORT AS LONG AS CLIENT OWNS PC”, and I wonder if they still do that today.

  42. Joseph Butler says:

    Absolutely, do a chargeback.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @Joseph Butler: Not sure if that’s an option, since the merchant fulfilled their end of the deal. The item arrived in a sealed OEM box and it did power on and such…

  43. trujunglist says:

    LOL @ Apple being perfect.
    I love Apple; always used Macs and probably always will, but to say that they’ll get it right the first time and that you’ll have no problems getting your problem fixed when you have a machine with obvious design issues is laughable.
    G5? G3 266? Every lombard produced by Apple?
    All of these are good examples of where Apple completely screwed up and then didn’t fix the problem.
    Apple ain’t perfect, they’re just better than most others. Please continue to buy their machines, but don’t expect magical fairy dust to spray out of the telephone and fix your computer when it periodically overheats due to non-functional design.

  44. Anonymous says:

    @RedwoodFlyer,

    I wouldn’t give up with buy.com just yet. Their policy is 14 days for returns, but that’s probably just if you change your mind. If it turns out that you were shipped shoddy merchandise, they will certainly want to know about it.

    I recommend NOT settling for the laptop as it stands now. Even if it works, it *is* defective — the peeling serial number stickers are defects in the product. They will fall off sooner or later, and at that point as you note it will be impossible to resell the laptop. Therefore, it’s defective. Buy.com, as the retailer, should be an advocate for you the consumer. We’ve all heard stories where retailers don’t do this, but this is a service you should demand. Don’t let them leave you out in the cold.

    You might also reconsider a chargeback per Joseph Butler’s suggestion. Any product that you’ve only been able to use for a couple weeks out of the past five months is defective, regardless of reasons/excuses given. Sure, maybe Gateway is having problems with customs, but that is THEIR problem not YOURS.

    At this point I’m not even sure you should be satisfied with a replacement laptop. After this experience why would you want to have any dealings with Gateway or Acer? Ask for your money back, and buy a different laptop.

    Keep up the fight!

  45. Tom_Servo says:

    I have had this same thing happen with items from CDW, they claim they can no longer send cans of computer wipes, anti-static cleaner etc. because of the patriot act.