Max was trying to be all “yay, local business!” and bought his notebook computer less than a year ago from a local independent retailer. This computer wasn’t built by that local store, though. It came from Gateway. According to Gateway’s records, they don’t even have parts for it anymore, since it had been manufactured in 2007 or 2009. Even though it came new in the box with Windows 7 installed. Remember, that operating system that wasn’t released until 2009. According to Gateway, Max’s computer is so positively ancient that Gateway doesn’t even keep the parts for it around anymore. The computer that he bought new–or so he thought–less than a year ago.
Here is his story. The middle section is an e-mail exchange with Gateway support; if you’re pressed for time, skip over the italicized portion and just imagine hitting yourself in the head repeatedly with a non-functional computer. That should simulate the experience of dealing with Gateway.
On July 26, 2011, I purchased a Gateway Notebook from an independent retailer about 30 minutes north of where I live. I try not to patronize bigbox stores and help the small business owner, so I was okay paying a few extra dollars to give back.
Anyways, recently the fan in the computer failed. It has been making a sound like a chainsaw. Also, the harddrive constantly spins up and down and the screen has suffered “burn in.”
After searching endlessly for a phone number of Gateway.com to no avail, I used the chat feature. Representative B. told me he could not locate my serial number in their system and assured me I did not have a Gateway Computer, “was it perhaps a Dell or Toshiba?” I assured Binu I am not stupid and it said “Gateway” on it.
I went on Gateway.com again and searched by my serial number and sent B. that link. B. informed my that he (actually I) located the system, but it was out of warranty as it has been built in 2007. I told B. this was impossible as the computer came new in box with Windows 7, which not released until 2009. B. told me I needed to fax in a proof of warranty, which I did.
Fast forward seven days. I chatted representative A. to get repair set up. A. told me my serial matched no Gateway Products and “are you sure it is a Gateway.” So I sent her the link I sent B.. She told me I needed to contact “Level 2 email support.”
Those conversations are below.
Hello. I have faxed in my proof of purchase (POP) to Gateway to update the warranty for this
computer. As of today, that warranty has not been updated. I contacted chat support and I was told to email Gateway and ask for LEVEL 2 support.
My serial number is [Redacted]
I have attached the documents I faxed to Gateway. The documents include the fax cover sheet with all required information and a copy of my receipt with serial number.
Also, for some reason the representative had trouble when entering my serial number. If you have any trouble, please see this link [redacted]
I need this warranty updated so Gateway will repair my computer at no cost to me.
Thank you for contacting Gateway. My name is N., badge number [redacted]. I’ll be happy to assist you.
I understand that you would like to update the warranty details. Let me see what best I can do for you.
As per our records your computer is not covered under standard limited warranty.
I have escalated this case to the concerned department for instructions on this issue. We would contact you soon after we receive the instructions. I suggest you to wait for our reply and respond to that message if necessary. We deeply regret for the inconvenience caused.
For further clarifications please feel free to visit our web site http://www.support.gateway.com/ Thank you for contacting Gateway,â€¨Have a great day!
Thank you for contacting Gateway. My name is A., badge number [redacted]. I’ll be happy to assist you with this issue.
From what you have described, Max, I understand that you would like to update the warranty details. Let me see what best I can do for you.
Please be informed that the unit is a legacy product therefore we are unable to provide warranty for this system.
I hope the information provided above would help you.
For further clarifications please feel free to visit our web site http://support.gateway.com/.
Thank you for contacting Gateway.
Have a great day!
This information has NOT helped me. I was told by your Chat support agent [B] if I faxed
in my POP, Gateway would repair it GUARANTEED. What is a legacy system and why is Gateway not honoring their warranty?
Thank you for contacting Gateway. My name is P., badge number is [redacted]. I’ll be happy to assist you.
I understand that you have a concern regarding the warranty of your computer.
Max, we have already escalated this case to the concerned department and they informed that this is a legacy product and therefore we are unable to provide warranty for this system.
I definitely know that this would be frustrating. I can understand how you feel.
I will ask again. What is a legacy product? Also, if I had purchased an extended warranty what would have happened?
Thank you for contacting Gateway. My name is [J], badge number [redacted]. I’ll be happy to assist you.
I understand that you have a concern regarding the warranty of your computer. Let me see what best I can do for you.
Max, please note that the legacy systems are those systems which we are unable to retrieve system information from our database and the parts are not available for repair.
As per our database the product shipped date was NOV-2007 and there is no extended warranty for your computer. We deeply regret for the inconvenience caused.
For further clarifications please feel free to visit our web site http://www.support.gateway.com/
Thank you for contacting Gateway,
Have a great day!
So I called Gateway Corporate who told me the same thing. The computer was built in 2007. I asked them if they were positive since there seemed to be so much trouble locating it. They said yes and explained they only keep parts around for about 2 years. I asked what would have happened if someone purchased a 3-year warranty and needed the parts. They had no answer, but suggested I call Acer since they bought out Gateway.
So I called Acer who told me it was not built in 2007, but in 2008. (The Gateway website still shows a ship date of 2007). I told Acer this and was told Gateway Support can be wrong. But alas, Acer does not have the parts either as they dont keep then on hand for a long time. (I can only think this is due to the planned obsolescence of their products)
Therefore, I decided to EECB Acer with the info I found in Consumerist. I can’t find any “.tw” email addresses, only “.com” ones. I got a call back from the same woman who I talked to at Acer corporate. She told me the independent store I bought it was violating Acer’s TOS. Because they do not have the parts, I am SOL. I asked her what happens if I had bought it directly from Gateway/Acer and has bought an extended warranty. Where would the parts be then? I got no answer.
All I want is a working computer. I cannot believe such a large company does not keep items in stock for several years.
For any of my naysayers, let me reiterate.
-I know the computer was new in box when I bought it. The shop owner is a longtime friend.â€¨
-The computer came with Windows 7, so it had to at least be built in 2009 or later.
-I am sick of Gateway’s total LACK of chat support and the fact you cannot call them unless you prepay.
-It serves me right for buying a PC and not a Mac.
Any ideas?â€¨ Thanks!
No, I’m pretty sure our readers would be more critical of the choice to buy a Mac. We can’t help but wonder, though: has anyone out there managed to get a Gateway or Acer more than two years old repaired? If so, what kind of wizardry was required?