Acer And Gateway Have Crappiest Tech Support

If you need to call tech support, you don’t want to be holding an Acer or a Gateway, a new Laptop Mag study finds.

They called up the tech support lines of the major laptop manufacturers and asked them several basic questions. How well they answered those, along with the time the testers spent on hold and how easy it was to get the answers to their three questions via the vendors’ website, became the basis for their grade.

Acer and Gateway got a D+ each. Apple had the best grade, an A, while the best PC grade of a B+ went to HP and Lenovo.

Acer And Gateway Have Crappiest Tech Support [MSNBC] (Thanks to Chris!)

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  1. tootberg@spam.la says:

    You get what you pay for.

    • Etoiles says:

      Pretty much. I don’t have any customer support expectations of the Cheap ($399 and under) laptops I get from Acer, I just want them to work more or less right most of the time for easy stuff I use them for.

      I do want high-end support on my desktop PC, which is why I build my own and source parts from vendors with good service reputations. ;)

    • 8TrackMind says:

      Agreed. You pay through the nose for Apple, but the few times I’ve needed help with their stuff, it has always been an absolutely painless experience.

  2. waybaker says:

    Acer, Gateway, and Emachines are all the same company. Gateway and Emachines merged a number of years ago, then were purchased by Acer.

  3. stock2mal says:

    Haven’t had to use MSI’s tech support yet, but if you register your laptop online, 3 year warranty parts and labor. It says 1 year on the box and on the site, but once you register it you are good for 3.

  4. Scuba Steve says:

    Yeah we generally only buy Acers as throw away web surfing netbooks, I wouldn’t trust an Acer to do anything more.

  5. AI says:

    To be fair, Apple would have to try hard to be anything less than number 1, as they have a mere fraction of the hardware and software to support compared to the PC manufacturers.

    • s0s has a chewy nougat center says:

      They also tend to provide excellent customer service. I’ve had nothing but pleasant experiences with them. Now, that Toshiba I had years ago that went through thirteen hard drives, three motherboards, two track pads, three sets of RAM modules, and a few other bits and pieces in SPITE of being behind every kind of firewall and anti-virus known to man…

      My father eventually had to threaten to sue in order to get them to replace the machine (since I sort of, you know, was REQUIRED to have one for school, and they forced you to purchase a Toshiba through the university–you literally had no choice in the matter), and you’d better believe that one had issues, too.

      He’s always had good luck with HP’s tech support, though, and I like my little HP netbook, plus my friend really likes his HP laptop. Based on that, if I were to purchase a boxed PC I would consider them.

      • AI says:

        I’ve had 3 HP laptops over the years, and have used HP’s tech support, so I was a bit surprised to see them at #2. I can’t imagine what the others must be like for HP to beat them.

      • Anita says:

        I really don’t understand why some colleges force students to buy certain computers. Anybody willing to give me a clue?

        • Torchwood says:

          Monetary kickbacks in order to try and achieve brand loyalty.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Sometimes it has to do with the ability of a college to meet the demand in different ways, like tech support and software distribution. If the college doesn’t have extensive tech support for Macs, it might recommend PCs until it can set up a good support structure for students. As long as a class doesn’t require a particular OS (and I have no idea why a class would), it isn’t necessary to require students to buy a certain operating system.

          • operator207 says:

            OS no. Application yes. Unfortunately you cannot even count on Applications that are cross platform to be 100% the same. If the teacher is trying to teach you how to use an application (let us say Excel) you cannot teach it the same way on a PC as you could on a Mac.

    • Jerem43 says:

      Think about this:
      1. Apple is consistently one of the top ten PC manufacturers globally.
      2. While Apple only has about 5% of the total market, that is 5% of a billion PCs, or 50 million units.
      3. In the first half of 2010 Apple sales were 8.8% of the global market. (iSupply)

      While we perceive them to be a niche player in the industry, that niche is pretty damn big comparably to the market they are in.

  6. crazydavythe1st says:

    I actually had pretty awesome tech support from Acer when my netbook went out after ten months. My guess is that I went solely through e-mail – telephones aren’t my thing. Of course, having to have a netbook fixed after only ten months of usage isn’t inspiring to say the least.

    I have an Iphone, and I’ve had to get technical support on that. While better than Acer’s tech support, I wouldn’t say it is better enough to merit the huge premium.

  7. SagarikaLumos says:

    I honestly don’t see how it could be worse than what I had to deal with on Dell when repairing one for a friend. I needed OS discs ($10) which I clearly ordered over the phone. Upon checking the order status the next day, I was charged $60 for a one-time tech support on expired warranty notebook. I called back and got the discs on their way, which arrived the next day. However, it took two phone calls, one of which was close to 3 hours long, 6 emails and three weeks to get that one-time tech support refunded. Each person I talked to was polite and seemed to genuinely want to help, but wasn’t in the correct department. Each could bring up the transaction, see what it was, and would direct to someone else who was supposed to be able to do it right then. I earned that $60 back…it was no refund.

  8. Minj says:

    I have been extremely happy with my Acer 1810T (best ultraportable in class) and my significant other loves her NV5927u (Core i5 and bluray for 500 bucks). Both immensely good products for the money and both have functioned flawlessly. Only time I’ll ever need tech support is for an RMA and it is hard to screw that up.

  9. danmac says:

    Acer and Gateway got a D+ each. Apple had the best grade, an A, while the best PC grade of a B+ went to HP and Lenovo.*

    W-wha?!?

    http://consumerist.com/2010/03/best-buy-hp-make-both-worst-company-most-ethical-company-lists.html

    http://consumerist.com/2009/12/hp-wont-replace-my-messed-up-lcd-monitor.html

    http://consumerist.com/2009/10/reader-receives-900-for-broken-laptop-in-small-claims-court.html

    W-w-w-wha!?!?

    http://consumerist.com/2008/12/hewlett-packard-wipes-your-hard-drive-to-fix-a-broken-key-on-your-keyboard.html

    http://consumerist.com/2008/06/hungry-hp-repair-dept-captures-another-laptop.html

    But…but…um…huh?!?

    In other words, perhaps grading companies based on a three-phone-call sample size is too simplistic when trying to comprehensively evaluate a company’s tech support.

    • wackydan says:

      Some only evaluate support on consumer products as part of their sampling, some only business focused PC’s … So yes, they can be very subjective.

  10. dougp26364 says:

    I guess this just goes to confirm why I have HP’s right now instead of Gateway. We also experienced exceptionally bad service with Dell and don’t plan on buying one of their products again.

  11. theSuperman says:

    PC = Personal Computer
    Mac = Personal Computer
    Mac = PC
    (Btw, I cannot seem to post comments from a Chrome Browser, but if this posts, that means Firefox works…)

  12. TehLlama says:

    After getting told that because I was in Afghanistan when Windows7 came out that they’d no longer honor my request to receive a 7 upgrade from Vista Premium Fail Edition, I’ve given up entirely on Acer support.

  13. NoFriggingWay says:

    Acer and Gateway are the same company arn’t they? I filed a BBB Complaint against acer earlier today and it showed them on the same page. Either that or they share a repair center.

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      Acer owns Gateway, who owns eMachines. In other words, they’re all one and the same.

  14. captadam says:

    Yep. I have a “Gateway” laptop, and I like it okay. I paid $500 for it. I realized that I was probably not going to be getting the greatest tech support, since the laptop was the cheapest one in its range that I could find.

  15. brinks says:

    Acer’s products suck. I wouldn’t expect much from their tech support.

    At a previous job at a place that did some computer repair, our techs weren’t even supposed to work on Acers, despite the fact that we sold them. They were so unreliable and troublesome that we just shipped them out for service (the Acers, not the techs).

  16. muzicman82 says:

    If you ask me, Gateway (2000) was fine until they released that Destination “home theater” PC.. around 1996, if my memory serves me right. It was a fantastic idea at the time. I remember following the Christmas after it’s release, they couldn’t handle the tech support calls for the size of company they were at the time. It was all downhill from there. I remember people calling Gateway phone support for non-Destination PCs and being on hold for over 24 hours. Not even exaggerating here.

    It was also around this time that Dell began to pickup their slack and ended up where they are today. You may not be a huge Dell fan, but they make some good computers.

  17. mcgyver210 says:

    I had 3 HPs & they are all three the well known defective ones that should have been recalled. I now have Toshiba & Gateway. I like both computers better than my defective HPs.

    HP support was no where near good
    Toshiba support has been GREAT
    Gateway wanted to charge me for support so not very impressed so far but I really like the computer so far.

    I also used to buy all HP Printers but they have let me down too many times to count so I now buy Canon & they are awesome.

    Even if HP had the #1 rating I wouldn’t purchase HP again unless they made good on the three pieces of junk I already purchased.

  18. muzicman82 says:

    Oh, and I might add that Apple’s support is often hit or miss. I know of a couple instances where their computers have died or completely failed due to hardware related issues, and even with AppleCare, they did not remedy the issue. One of them was a white iBook, and it caught on fire in the user’s lap. They denied any replacement or repair claims saying that “AppleCare doesn’t cover fire”. The user’s response was, “I didn’t leave it in a fire, it caused the fire”. In another case, someone purchased AppleCare with a computer, but CompUSA failed to apply the serial number to the AppleCare, and so Apple had no record of it ever being purchased. This was before there were AppleStores.

    I’m willing to guess that Apple gets an A on these reports in part due to their loyal fanbase.

  19. coren says:

    Yes, but did Gateway score poorly in the “sets up adult sites of customers” category?

  20. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    Oh oh… I guess this cruddy eMachines laptop falls in the same category. But I knew that going in that I wasn’t getting top-of-the-line for a $400 laptop. At least it works as advertised, I’ll give them that much.

  21. psm321 says:

    I’ve been very happy with all 3 Acer’s I/family have, but I guess I’ve never had to contact support for any of them. No idea if support is good or not, but that doesn’t matter when the product just works :)

  22. Razor512 says:

    I had many problems with acer.

    They have ok products but if you get a bad one, you better hope the return period for the store is not up because dealing with them is hell.

    I had a acer x191w and after about a month of owning it, the screen started to mess up, had about 13 dead pixels and the bottom began to get more and more faded.

    I sent it to acer for RMA (I paid shipping) After a week, I got a tracking number that they are sending it back. When I got it back, it was the same monitor but in even worst condition as it has pressure marks all over the screen from the workers handling it like it just their car.

    So I called them and they said that the monitor was testing and found working. so they sen tit back.

    I sent it back again, (again spending my own money (I lost $40 now)

    They send the monitor back to me again, this time completely broken, the power light just blinked. I called them again and demanded that they pay shipping, it took 5 hours on the phone to finally get someone to pay the shipping for me. The monitor was sent back. it was finally replaced. The replacement was in poor condition. When I received it, the screen was discolored with random dirt and smudges and hair strands in between the LCD and the backlight layer so I could not clean it. over 60% of the screen was unviewable

    I then had it sent back again, they sent it back saying it was working fine. I then had them pay to send it back again, and they sent it back to me yet again. I then filed a complaint with the better business bureau. A week later, I got a called from someone at acer and they had the monitor replaced. The replacement only had 4 small black spots randomly on the screen (in between the backlight and LCD layer) I decided to keep it because all replacements are refurbished models and they all have problems due to the crappy workers changing the LCD’s, they don’t use gloves so when they do a repair like replacing the backlight, you get finger prints behind the LCD (noticeable when displaying white on the screen)

    Overall acer is a bad company when it comes to warranty and customer service.

  23. Torchwood says:

    I’m going to sound bitter here….

    Tech support means we solve problems. If something is broken or not working properly, we are here to fix it. However, because there are millions of programs out there, we cannot know how each and every one of them work (although we have a fairly good idea), thus your ISP cannot fix your USB problem. More importantly, *WE* *ARE* *NOT* *A* *TUTORIAL* *SERVICE*. While we can give suggestions on where to go, we simply do NOT have the time to teach you how to use your computer.

    When you get a laptop from Wal-Mart for $248, guess what? There is hardly any profit margin there. The $248 laptop does NOT include $250 of “How do I use the computer?” services.

    Guess where a majority of “How Do I” questions come from? Home users. Some of the questions that get asked could easily be answered by a typical “Consumerist” reader, including, “How do I open up a web page?” and “I don’t know how to cut and paste”. These are the skills that can be learned by just sitting down and playing with the computer for several hours or by taking a basic computer skills class. But, plenty of people don’t want to do that, as if the desire to learn new skills died at age sixteen. Instead, they complain about being “outsourced to India, please do the patriotic thing and bring the jobs back to America.”

    How can you spot a tech support agent? They work weird hours, and really don’t want to talk on the phone on the off-hours. On a bitterly bad day, they start losing faith in the entire human race, or complaining that people should hold a license in order to operate computer. (After all, a car is less complicated, and you have to have a license to operate THAT!)

    Some of this is the fault of the program manufacturers. Whose bright idea was it to make the installing of an ActiveX control a small, thin bar at the TOP of the browser rather than a box in the middle of the screen? Why did you put “Select All” in Tools rather than Edit? How come you named the outgoing mail server “smtp.nonesuch.net” instead of “outbox.nonesuch.net”, so people are typing in “fnpt”? Why did you make your error messages so brief and generic that it could mean 12 different things, such as “Error 421: Something went wrong. Please try again.”?

  24. BigBoat2 says:

    While Asus received a B- in the article, dealing with their support has been truly aggravating. Never again.

  25. MeCatLikesMeHamSanwich says:

    Those tech guru’s must be High by giving Asus such a good grade. I would rather get paper cuts all over my body and dropped in a vat of salt and lemon juice then deal with them. I’ve had to RMA a number of Motherboards from my shop and dealing with them is just a nightmare.

  26. legolex says:

    I won’t ever be purchasing an Acer again, however, what computer company’s tech support is good?

  27. DoubleEcho says:

    I gotta say that Lenovo’s personal tech support was top notch when I had to use them a week or so ago. I call in on the business line a lot for work, but when my wife’s laptop had a bad part they didn’t give me any hassle and shipped it right away. It arrived at 8am the next day.

  28. teke367 says:

    About 10 or so years ago, I had a Gateway computer, and got great customer support. A little after that I had a Dell and got great customer support. But by the time each company gained a good reputation, all of that went to hell.

    I did have good customer service with HP lately though.

    Bad customer service is one thing, but my girlfriend had a problem with her RCA TV, and because it was over a year old, RCA was going to charge for tech support. That alone will prevent me from ever buying anything from RCA.

  29. PosesQueen says:

    I’m on my second Acer now in 4 years (not bad, IMO). I had a few problems with the old laptop, that were entirely my fault – drunken college students sometimes drop laptops, oops! Each time I dealt with Acer, they were friendly and helpful, setting up my RMA. Each time, laptop was sent back to me with a brand new screen. When I saw a new laptop for $500 with a 3 year accidental damage for an extra $200? I bought it without looking back. It’s chugged along perfectly for a year now, no issues.

    Pre-Acer I had a Compaq. Ugh, I know. Tech support was completely worthless when my computer started malfunctioning. The Compaq wound up bricking itself. I bought an Acer and never looked back!