Newegg: Installing Linux On Your Computer Is Basically The Same As Breaking It

One would think that Newegg, beloved electronics supplier to the world’s geeks wouldn’t have a problem with customers installing different operating systems on their systems after delivery. Heck, they should expect it. Which is why Norma was surprised when she returned her new Thinkpad that had a glitchy display after only three days, and Newegg refused the RMA. Why? Well, she had installed Linux Mint on it, which voids the Newegg return policy for computers. Update: Newegg tells us that, oops, this was all a terrible mistake.

I’ve always received excellent customer support from Newegg, but apparently they aren’t big fans of Linux. I ordered an E525 Thinkpad from them that I received on time and seemingly without issue. The system appeared to work properly and had no issues with the Linux Mint 13 install placed on it for 2 days.

On the third day of use a loud coil squeal/chirp became apparent, becoming louder when it was running on battery power. Within hours the wireless chipset failed and refused to connect, the display began glitching with horizontal lines appearing through it, and it became unresponsive. I tested it with a Windows live USB thumb drive, just to ensure there was no problem with the OS before RMAing it.

RMA.gif

As you can see from the attached email I received today, the RMA was declined. I spoke with a support agent, as well as a manager who couldn’t comprehend the difference between an obvious hardware failure that could be found running the BIOS provided diagnostics, and the Linux installation.

I’ve used Newegg for years and spent tens of thousands on tech gear with them, so I’m really bummed out by this situation.

Here is the relevant section of Newegg’s return policy. There could also be extra conditions for return put in place by Lenovo, but we can’t find them.

The following conditions are not acceptable for return, and will result in the merchandise being returned to you:
Any desktop PC, notebook or tablet PC that has been opened
Any desktop PC, notebook or tablet PC that is free from defects in materials or workmanship
Any desktop PC, notebook or tablet PC that has physical damage due to abuse or improper use
Any desktop PC, notebook or tablet PC that is missing any accessories or packaging including, but not limited to, AC adapter, battery, pack, manuals, carrying case (if any)

Wait, so which of those does installing Linux fall under? Improper use, physical damage, or missing accessories?

Update, 7:14 PM: Newegg contacted Norma after we published this story, and her RMA is now going through. They’ll be issuing her a refund. She updated us:

I spoke with a “Public Image Professional” from Newegg who contacted me via email regarding my RMA. She immediately offered to replace the laptop or process a full refund, and I accepted the latter given all the issues I’ve had with them. I received an RMA confirmation telling me that it has been approved as a defective product return, and that I will receive a credit in 3-5 business days.

Comments

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  1. Blackadar says:

    None. Cut and paste the above section and send it back to them. If they don’t respond in 24 hours, chargeback.

    • Jawaka says:

      That’s a great idea…

      If you don’t plan on ever ordering anything from them again.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        There might be a couple other places on the internet to buy things from. Not sure…would have to check.

        • Jawaka says:

          And the next time you need a router or a tablet and Newegg is selling it for $50 less than those other places I’m sure you’d happily pay the higher amount.

          • heismanpat says:

            Or you just ship it to a friend’s address…it’s not hard to get around a ban like that.

          • UberGeek says:

            It depends on how upset a person is. My identity was stolen in 2009 and used to purchase a laptop from Newegg. I called Newegg during my investigation and mentioned my password was not working, so they “helpfully” told me my password over the phone. I couldn’t trust them any more after that. I have not purchased from Newegg since, despite sometimes finding superior pricing or product availabity (I say “sometimes” because I no longer research Newegg when comparison shopping). Maybe I’m just weird, though, because I also will pay more for a product online if it comes from a vendor with better ratings, just like I’ll pay more for a product if I can return it locally instead of shipping it.

            • Herbz says:

              You know, that means they store their passwords in plaintext somewhere…. which is REALLY bad security.

              Kinda makes me rethink everything I knew about newegg.

      • Overheal says:

        Would you really plan on ordering from them again after they screwed you out of hundreds of dollars over Linux?

  2. Almighty Peanut says:

    whenever i had ANYTHING that was DOA with newegg, i always had to jump through hoops to get my money back. it was easily a 30 day or more process, assuming they even let me. when i got a business account with them though, i had a bit more luck. blackadar had the best advice. paste back their own wording and wait, then do a chargeback if they still push back. just refuse delivery if they still send it back.

  3. fsnuffer says:

    From their point of view, they probably don’t want to be in the business of debugging multiple OS device drivers to prove it is a software issue vs. a hardware issue. I could see people thinking they had a bad display whey it was actually a Linux video driver issue.

    • mypcrepairguy says:

      Except in this case the OP ran the BIOS provided hardware diagnostic test, and still determend that the HW was at fault…Additionally any tech worth a chicken and a half, will run HW diagnostics on the device from a DVD or within the BIOS and never from the OS.

      • bwcbwc says:

        Yeah, if he erased the Windows restore partition, that would raise all sorts of red flags in retail RMA. OP will prbably have to go for the manufacturers’ warranty instead. Lesson learned for Linux fans: either a) build your own or b) don’t touch the original OS restore partition until after your RMA window has expired – and restore the original OS before returning the system.

        • Harrkev says:

          Yeah. Build-your-own is really an option when buying a laptop.

          And about restoring things, if it is really busted, you might not be able to restore (but I guess if the system is really that hosed, the techs might not be able to even tell what OS is on there until it is fixed).

      • tinyhands says:

        Except that the hardware fault COULD have been caused by the software installed, which any tech worth half a chicken knows.

    • edman007 says:

      Newegg isn’t in the buisness of debugging software, if you return a laptop and say it’s bad they should check it out, make sure you returned all the parts and that’s it, they might want to do their own checks or just send it back to the manufactuer. The OS is irrelevant, if a user had it before it’s going to get a fresh install before they do anything with it. My guess is he erased the OS restore partition (it’s really just wasted space if you’re using linux), and thus destroyed the “OS disk” that comes with the laptops, in effect he failed to return the OS (since many no longer come with a physical CD). That could cause problems when newegg tried to do a fresh install.

      • Lyn Torden says:

        No it would not. The re-install disks are all exactly identical. They might not be sending any to the customer, but they can sure have them ready for the repair techs.

        If the customer is not going to get back the same exact computer … and note the wording about being able to “re-sell” … then they need to re-install the OS anyway no matter what (to wipe off the kiddie porn or other bad stuff leftover that the tech doesn’t have the time to scan for).

    • Bor&Mitch says:

      That sounds right. I bet they have standard debugging tools for OEM OS builds. They don’t want to have to deal with multiple flavors of Linux on RMAs.

    • Alaric says:

      I’m feeling cynical this morning, so I assumed the problem was that having an OS on the machine that it didn’t ship with just made it impossible for them to sell as an “open box” item.

  4. Here to ruin your groove says:

    WTF Newegg. I always considered them the nerd friendly PC solution (Linux pantshitters unite).

    I remember the Dell Windows/Linux customer wars from years back. Now we can get Dell computers with Linux preinstalled.

    Now Newegg is pulling a Best Buy. What a sad day.

    • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

      If the OP did in fact get rid of the recovery partition, then I would decline the return as well. Say it is a hardware issue, which we don’t have enough evidence to know for sure, not only do I have to fix the hardware but now I need to waste time getting the unit reset so I can sell it.

      • Republicrat says:

        Nowhere in the terms of the warranty does it say you are required to keep the OS and partitions *exactly* the way it was shipped to you from the factory.

        Further, how can you possibly trust the recovery partition after the data has been in possession by the customer? How do you know that the customer didn’t load it up with spyware / malware for the next unsuspecting customer? You’re a bad salesman if you’re willing to expose your customers to being compromised because you’re too lazy to reimage the drive.

  5. Moniker Preferred says:

    Chargeback.

    BTW, this story seems to be reasonably well researched.

  6. FilthyHarry says:

    I wonder if you bought a laptop with XP on it and erased it, installed Win7 from scratch would that also be covered by “original manufacturer’s operating system has been removed.”

    • Here to ruin your groove says:

      Dell and HP used to freak out about this as well and made all sorts of warranty breaking claims. Now their tech support simply state they can’t help you with your issue unless the machine is running the original OS since the “specs were made/optimized for that specific OS” (BS).

      I really thought we were past this whole nonsense of OS and warranty.

      • Republicrat says:

        It’s not unreasonable for them to limit the scope of their technical support to the OS that they specced for the device. It would cost too much to train their support techs to work with every OS and OS version just to please the minority of people who choose to install something other than the default.

        With that said, I do agree that loading another OS should not void your warranty. However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be asked to reproduce the issue in the supported OS environment unless it’s an obvious malfunction (i.e. a broken DVD drive, defective LCD, or something) as there can easily be driver and configuration issues under other OSes that make a device appear to be defective when it really isn’t.

      • dangermike says:

        If it has to be the originally installed OS, what if a windows update broke something due to a hardware configuration? (note, I have seen this happen. About 3-4 years ago, a windows update to vista caused certain systems with the hard drives set to cable select rather than a defined master/slave configuration to fail to boot)

        Technically, this would have been a situation where the OS had been modified.

        Funny thing is, though, I don’t necessarily disagree with newegg’s decision. While it does seem to be a hardware problem, I’d have to ask whether it was an existing problem or if a hotrodded OS could have caused it. The simple solution: make sure to buy laptops with an easily accessible hard drive bay, replace the drive with one to install your new OS, then store the OEM drive with its data unmodified. With a well-designed laptop, there would be no way to know a hard drive was swapped.

    • IraAntelope says:

      would this be the same as reinstalling windows vista a few times because it crashes?

  7. Blueskylaw says:

    Newegg uses bullsh*t excuse to avoid replacing obviously defective Thinkpad, passes the blame on manufacturer. Manufacturer will say that Newegg is responsible since installing Linux shouldn’t void warranty.

    Bounce customer back and forth until they give up in frustration.

    Profit?

    • LJKelley says:

      He doesn’t have a warranty from Newegg. He has that from the manufacter. He just wants to return (albeit a faulty unit) to Newegg. Newegg won’t take a return unless it is in its original state with all accessories. He can restore it to its original state or take his valid warranty and deal with Leveno who will probably reimage his drive before taking any troubleshooting steps or repairs.

  8. dolemite says:

    Could a driver issue in the OS cause a hardware failure? Fan not properly spinning, wrong voltage sent to a component, etc?

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      That’s what I was thinking. Could the new OS have caused the malfunction… just like making my system overclock can burn out hardware.

      • OutPastPluto says:

        You don’t need to install a different OS in order to create this sort of situation.

        Installing Linux or Win7 on your Mini9 because Dell put a crap copy of XP on it is an separate issue entirely.

    • wren337 says:

      Yes. You can easily screw up a driver and fry something (for example by pushing your refresh rate higher than supported).

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      Great point. This would be like “chipping” your car for a performance gain.

    • Joe User says:

      Thats near impossible on a modern pc.

      • dolemite says:

        I figure it was unlikely, as most of that is controlled within the bios, but I also know you can override bios settings from within the OS with certain programs. I’ve no experience with Linux, so I figured it could be possible.

    • Razor512 says:

      changes from within the OS cannot hurt the system, even if you do something like use an application to slow the fan. If the system reaches a critical temperature, it will either do a thermal shutoff or revert to a default control.

      pushing the CPU voltage too high using the software control (laptops do not allow this), will also either cause a thermal shutdown or a revert to defaults.

      • ajaxd says:

        Not true for all components. Video card drivers, for example, let you override standard settings with a disclaimer that you could, in fact, damage the hardware. There is some safety built into hardware but it is not guaranteed to prevent every single mod from becoming potentially harmful.

        I’ve had hardware that would let you configure the temperature at which it would half the CPU frequency. The same hardware also had wildly inaccurate temperature sensor. So yes, in theory it could result in damage.

  9. Pete the Geek says:

    I’m a Newegg customer and I sincerely hope this is resolved. Newegg has always given me good service, but I’ve never had to return anything.

    • ldillon says:

      Therein lies the rub. Newegg is great to buy from … until you have a problem. Then you run into their “Newegg.com does not currently offer technical support….” policy.

      • dangermike says:

        I’ve only ever had to return something to them once (a video card back in ’05 or ’06 that was DOA) and it’s entirely possible their attitudes have changed since then but it was as easy and hassle free as ordering the part in the first place. I hope it hasn’t changed.

  10. That guy. says:

    I would think that Newegg customer service had more tech savy critical thinking, and could isolate if a hardware issue is unrelated to instaleld software (or OS). At least they should look into it, and not just delcine the RMA. If, somehow, the OS caused the hardware failure, let them document how, then decline the RMA.

  11. Snowblind says:

    Lenovo ships systems with Linux on them.

    I work for IBM, they provide us a Redhat and Fedora image for use on the Thinkpads we are issued. (IBM spun off Lenovo)

    I have never had an issue returning items to Newegg, I hope this is not a trend. I stopped doing business with TigerDirect when they started pulling this kind of crap.

  12. Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

    -ehem-
    For the third time, NewEgg has the WORST customer service I have ever experienced.

  13. Gorbachev says:

    Reinstall Windows, resubmit RMA.

    This does really disappoint me a great deal, though. Newegg should know better.

    • bar_foo says:

      Not always possible. Most PCs nowadays don’t come with Windows DVDs, only a restore partition on the local HD. If the user wiped that to install Linux, there’s no way to reinstall the original Windows version. (What they could have done is create a restore disk/USB drive before wiping the recovery partition, but it doesn’t sound like they did).

      • bsh0544 says:

        Man, I can’t think of *any* way to get my hands on a Windows DVD. Especially when I already have a valid Windows key stuck to the bottom of this laptop I want to use.

    • Crank says:

      Complete agreement.

      First step I take with any computer that I buy is to burn a Windows restore DVD. Second step is wipe the HD – including the hidden partition – and install Linux.

      The OP could have made a Clonzilla image of her Linux install, restored the Windows install, sent the computer in for RMA, got back the repaired computer (a bit of optimism there regarding Lenovo) and finally restore her preferred OS with no data loss.

      In fact, she may still do the above, using an external monitor.

      All that said, it is a shame that Newegg and other manufactures require paying customers to jump through these hoops.

      Unless we get an update to this story that Newegg relents, I may remove Newegg from my preffered vendor list.

  14. homehome says:

    I thought it was common knowledge when you changed the OS that it voided your warranty. Every major company that sells computers that I know of has that policy. The issue is not whether they could fix it, they could, but apparently their Terms says you voided the warranty.

    • brinkman says:

      It’s not common knowledge because that’s not the case. Computers are usually (at least the hundreds of Dells, Lenovo, Toshiba, and HP systems I’ve purchased over the years) sold with hardware warranties and no warranty on the software.

      Sometimes to get service on the hardware the manufacturer will require you to run some diagnostic software that’s only available on Windows, but that’s another issue.

      • homehome says:

        Hmm, I guess, still even searching online, I have yet to find a company that doesn’t have that policy.

        • OutPastPluto says:

          When I took one of my Minis to the Apple Store for warranty work I bluntly told the guy at the Genius Bar that it had been wiped and reinstalled with Linux. The Genius didn’t bat an eyelash. Although he did warn me that it would likely have MacOS on it when I got it back.

          Banning OS upgrades creates all sort of nasty side effects with far reaching implications.

          This is especially true for Windows boxes that are prone to become part of some zombie network.

          • homehome says:

            Just cause he did it doesn’t mean he wasn’t breaking rules. When I worked on software I broke rules when it made sense to as well.

        • brinkman says:

          Where are you seeing a policy that changing the OS voids the warranty?

    • ludwigk says:

      At its core, a warranty is a promise that something will perform in a certain way. A company could state that installing a new OS would void your warranty as to the previous OS’s features, for instance, if you install MintOS, you cannot call them to complain that Windows Media Center and Internet Explorer don’t work, but are listed on the box as included.

      Replacing the OS, however, does not void the hardware warranties. If you install MintOS, then find out that your computer only came with 2 GB of ram instead of the advertised 4, and the screen is defective on a hardware level, the company cannot disavow the hardware warranties for an unrelated software issue.

      • dangermike says:

        Is it still possible to damage display circuitry by the selection of an invalid refresh frequency? I don’t know LCD’s well enough to know the answer. But it would strike me as possible that a windows driver could prevent selection of an invalid mode while a linux driver might not, and this would place the onus on the operator rather than the manufacturer. (and, of course, begs the question of why a manufacturer would forego such protections on a hardware level, which could probably be answered simple by a single word: cost)

        all hypothetical, of course.

    • LIthium543 says:

      Dell’s business models don’t. You can order servers, desktops, and notebooks with any OS, or none at all. Then again, people tend to dislike the price point.

      My daughter has – spilled cereal on my notebook, pulled all the keys off the keyboard, cracked the screen (twice), and knocked it off the table probably a dozen times (precocious at 15 months), and dell has always honored it. It’s been in warranty with windows 7, OSX, and Fedora Core.

      Yes it was 1800 bucks, but you get what you pay for.

  15. AcctbyDay says:

    I recently purchased a new harddrive from newegg. It was dead on arrival and I returned it to newegg for a refund. They denied the refund due to “physical damage”, which was there when I received it but nearly impossible to see due to how the harddrive is put together. I stuck my foot down and demanded that I be given a refund or replacement as I would’ve kept the harddrive – damage and all had it actually *worked*.

    They sent me a replacement harddrive as a onetime convenience, but I will say that I am displeased with the direction that newegg is taking.

  16. HalOfBorg says:

    So….if you buy a PC from them AND an extra harddrive for it, you void the warranty by opening the PC to install it????

    • zz9 says:

      That always bugged me about PC retailers and their T+Cs. PCs are designed to be opened up to upgrade and change components like RAM, hard drives, video and sound cards etc. My current PC even has quick release clips to make taking the top off easier.

    • 85% Real 15% Filler says:

      Yes.

  17. consumed says:

    Devil’s advocate…

    I worked in a retail computer sales shop awhile back and HATED when customers returned a laptop with Linux on it. Made troubleshooting a pain in the ass because some models of computers had special drivers or software that made the unit work properly only in Windows, and 99% of these computers don’t come with OS recovery discs anymore. Yes you can burn your own recovery discs within Windows but most consumers don’t know this is possible.

    So technically while it’s highly unlikely that Linux would cause hardware damage or alteration, it sometimes throws the hardware in a loop due to thermal controls, etc only working from within the operating system. Yes very poor design, this stuff should be built into the BIOS/EFI, but some models of laptops are junk and they depend on proper OS/drivers to work properly. Very rare, but it happens.

    This is a very gray area which I wish retailers would take a more clear stance on. Removing the factory operating system and putting Linux makes things more difficult for everyone involved, and increases the costs all around. Please, if you’re going to return a laptop, at least put Windows back on it first. Thanks.

    • longfeltwant says:

      “99% of these computers don’t come with OS recovery discs anymore”

      Yeah. I wonder why retailers put up with that b.s.? If all retailers had refused to sell such crippled hardware, then manufacturers would not have continued to try to sell such crippled hardware.

      Alternate answer: a Linux live CD *is* the backup OS disc.

    • MrEvil says:

      “[thermal protection] only working from within the operating system”

      I’m afraid you’re incorrect there my friend. I’ve been building, tinkering, and fixing PCs for over 10 years (I currently work in enterprise IT) and I’ve NEVER encountered any Laptop whose thermal protection relied upon the OS. Not EVER. Alienware desktop PCs would be the exception to that, they use a USB device to control many of the cooling systems in the chassis which may or may not have Linux support.

      • ugly says:

        I like how you emphasized NEVER and then provided your own counter example.

        Suffice it to say that you absolutely can cause damage to a computer hardware via the operating system. I’m not suggesting that is what happened as there’s precious little information, but it’s absolutely possible regardless of how many years you’ve worked in Enterprise IT.

        Furthermore, not many Enterprise IT support Linux to any degree so that’s not really much of a basis for authority on the issue.

    • ldillon says:

      I see your point but don’t think we should be blaming the consumer here. All the manufacturer has to do is provide restore disks or allow people to download restore disks from their web site. Not too tough or expensive.

      The problem is that manufacturers and Microsoft would rather have you buy a new PC than fix the current one. Millions of people have bought replacement PC’s when all they needed to do was reinstall Windows and the manufacturers are well aware of this.

      • Lyn Torden says:

        Or the repair guy can do the re-install since they don’t give the disks for that to the customer.

  18. ferozadh says:

    If the hard drive is not fried, take it out, hook it up to another machine and restore Windows on it. OP seems tech savvy enough.

  19. longfeltwant says:

    I hope this story is updated when Newegg comes to a final determination. If Newegg’s policy is to refuse RMA on hardware with Linux installed on it, then that would make Newegg unacceptable for me. I myself right at this moment have a pile of Newegg hardware in my house waiting to be built into a computer which will run Linux.

    • dolemite says:

      I think changing the manufacturer’s OS to a home brew OS while it is under warranty is different from building a fresh computer from scratch and installing your OS of choice on it.

      • OutPastPluto says:

        Yes it is.

        You are FAR more likely to destroy a computer component while putting it together yourself than you are to damage a ready-built system by installing “home made” software of any sort on it.

    • The Cupcake Nazi says:

      Your situation has no relation. They’re refusing to accept a fully built notebook with the OS replaced by linux. You installing linux on a PC built from parts would have no bearing on one of those parts failing. At all.

      • OutPastPluto says:

        Today it’s a pile of parts.

        Tomorrow it’s a Zotac or Asrock low profile machine.

        The day after that, it’s a pile of hard drives.

        Newegg better pay attention. Amazon already packs stuff better and charges less for shipping.

  20. abz_zeus says:

    Well living the uk we have “sale of goods act” and “distance selling regulations” to back us up. So for us no issues – for the OP ask newegg to do a factory restore if they can’t then it is hardware!

    • Snowblind says:

      In the US, it is called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

      It covers computers, and installing a different OS is not a violation of the warranty.

      • incident_man says:

        I just read the Act you referenced and there’s an important distinction: The Act only covers FULL warranties and most warranties are “limited” warranties, thus all the provisions of the Act may not apply.

        The manufacturer of a new product usually is the entity from which the warranty is issued, not the reseller (Newegg). The OP should seek remedy through Lenovo (or IBM), unless it is used equipment in which Newegg specifically issues the warranty on the product.

        Essentially, unless the entity issuing the warranty expressly indicates on the product that it carries a “full warranty”, that entity can attach conditions to obtaining warranty service, including having the original OS installed, and not be in violation of the Act.

        I believe we’re dealing with a different animal here, though: a RETURN policy, which, by definition, is different than a warranty. Under the terms of a company’s return policy, the item being returned has to be in the same working condition compared to when it was purchased. Altering a product, including installing a different OS, would violate that return policy because the merchant would not be receiving the same product that was originally sold. The OP’s remedy to this would be reinstalling the original version of Windows. The only exception to this would be if the product was DOA, or determined to be non-working, right out of the box.

  21. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    I never thought I’d live long enough to say “I remember when NewEgg used to be great.”

    Even though they never IPO’d, they definitely have started acting like they have.

  22. ClemsonEE says:

    This is as stupid as Apple saying jailbreaking your iPhone voids the warranty.

  23. TuxMan says:

    We are missing the part where the OP ran “burn-in-test” software for 2 days straight…we are just expected to belive it went poof?

    If anything re-install the factory os from the recovery partition that is on every Thinkpad unless the OP erased it.

    If the OP erased it, it voids the warranty? So the OP voided the warranty.

  24. MasterK says:

    Newegg has VERY CLEAR policies with regards to computer purchases! When you check out with a purchase they make you not only click a box for their terms, but they also take you to a special screen that clearly lays out that they do not accept returns for hardware issues and that you MUST go through the manufacturer for any hardware issues. That screen has the support links and phone numbers listed clearly.

    If you do want to return a computer, it MUST be in resalable condition and then you pay a restocking fee. They are totally clear about this upfront! It is how they keep prices low! They do not want your business unless you are sure that you want what you are ordering. They do not allow you to “Try Out” computers.

    They OP agreed to this when they made the purchase so contact the Manufacturers support and stop complaining.

    The Consumerist should check things out better before allowing posts like this.

  25. MicroFace says:

    Time to start posting to the newegg.com chat rooms, and start an e-mail campaign insupport of this fellow geek. I have already done so, and informed them that until they fix this policy, situation I will spend my 5k – 8K / year on gear at some other place.
    If we all group together then newegg.com will come to their senses.

  26. kidstechno says:

    I remember when my Radeon X1900XT died that I had purchased from Newegg back in the day. It died right before my 1year warranty was up and I requested an RMA. Since they had none in stock anymore, they let me get something of equal or lesser price. As we all know, 1 year is leaps and bounds with technology so I ended up getting a 8800GTS 640mb absolutely free. Ever since then, I’ve been a very happy customer. Had to RMA back a Power Supply and had no problems either.

    Maybe a RMA dude had his Cheerios pissed in that day but I can understand both sides (or maybe OP should have Dual Booted Linux/Windows :P)

  27. karshan says:

    all newegg customers here. lets send them an email saying if they don’t replace his laptop we will not purchase from them again. May seem a bit extreme, but if OP doesn’t get a replacement from newegg I’m not gonna use newegg anymore. Consider if OP decided to reinstall windows before sending the laptop back, what would have happened then ? its completely nonsensical.

  28. framitz says:

    Return it to stock if possible and do the RMA.
    I always burn them in for a month before wiping and doing it my way.

  29. Dave says:

    Northrup, you removed the OS and didn’t restore it before you returned it. That is substantially altering the product and will cost Newegg money to return to a salable condition. That is your fault. Did you bother to make recovery disks before you re-partitioned the hard drive and formatted the hard drive?

    What you left off out from Newegg’s return policy: “A defective Desktop PC, Notebook, or Tablet PC that is returned for a replacement may be repaired or replaced in Newegg’s sole discretion, unless otherwise required by law.” THAT is the relevant part of the return policy. That sentence gives Newegg the discretion to NOT repair or replace the unit.

    Once your RMA had been rightfully rejected, you should have contacted Lenovo for warranty assistance as it within the warranty period. Unless, of course, the warranty said that replacing the OS would void the warranty. Did you bother to read the warranty?

    Also, the operating system, which is now missing by your own actions, could be considered an accessory to the hardware.

    Finally, the title is wrong. It should read “Returning a laptop to Newegg without the operating it was installed with when shipped is basically returning an incomplete item.”

  30. ldillon says:

    Because this issue is making news on Consumerist and got picked up by Slashdot, Newegg will accept the RMA and apologize for “any confusion”.

    If your story doesn’t get picked up, you might have a harder time getting results….

  31. luusyphre says:

    Surely a person who is clever enough to install Linux on a machine would be able to restore it back to factory settings before returning the laptop, right? The first thing I do whenever I get a laptop is image the laptop as close to factory settings as possible. Clonezilla works well, or even the built in Windows Backup tool should be good enough.

    • ldillon says:

      Does Windows Backup get the restore partition?

      • RvLeshrac says:

        No, but creating recovery discs using the first-boot tool that ships with every laptop ever, or following the simple instructions, pictorial so you don’t actually need to be literate to use them, on the printed card or fold-out which comes with the unit is a great way to ensure that the consumer doesn’t fuck it up and then fraudulently attempt to return it.

        The recovery media ensures that when the consumer DOES fuck it up (by, say, ‘installing a clean version of Windows’ and then complaining that several hardware components don’t work properly), it can be quickly restored to the original condition.

  32. ldillon says:

    On the other hand, Newegg and PC manufacturers aren’t in the business of selling PC’s so much as in the business of selling replacement PC’s when OS inevitably becomes unusable. If you put a much harder-to-break OS on a PC, like Linux, you’ve broken their replacement-oriented business model.

  33. K. Darien Freeheart says:

    It’s a missing accessory. Odds are, “Microsoft Windows 7″, was listed in the product details, just as Kensington Lock probably was, or “Hello Kitty Laptop Bag” or whatever. Like the bag or lock, the manufacturer PAID FOR that accessory, put it in the box to you and shipped it. And like those things, if your system is BROKEN and they need to send you a replacement for the entire unit, they lose money if it’s not included.

    It’s standard to flash the included software to a drive when you ship it back. It’s not a big deal. You have three options. Install the stock image that comes with it, wipe it and send it back with no data at all, or three, send it in unmodified with whatever OS you run. But nobody who shops at NewEgg is stupid enough to send their personal data back in an RMA.

  34. Newegg_Support says:

    Hello Norma,

    Our records indicate a representative has been aware of this issue and is working with you toward a solution. Please feel free to respond to her phone call or email at your earliest convenience. We appreciate your patience while we work toward a solution. Have a wonderful day.

    Newegg Support

    • KyBash says:

      Ha! Yet another company that needs to be shamed in public before it does anything. What a surprise!

  35. EddieB says:

    I had a chance to visit Newegg and I must admit, in my opinion, NOT IMPRESSED with their operations. The company reminds me of a sweat shop complete with underpaid, overworked foreign workers (mainly Indian and Asian), and the IT department looking more like a someone’s basement rather than professional – than again, the company is pressed to save every penny. In my opinion, after visiting their facility, I would warn everyone please exercise caution with dealing with this company and expect good customer service.

  36. gnikhog says:

    Newegg could have refused the return simply because the box had been opened as noted in their return policy. I suspect that they were willing to waive that policy considering their comment regarding the OS. I guess it is a judgment call that laptop was not returned with something missing – in this case the oem OS. If restore disks were supplied, I believe the warranty should have been honored otherwise there is still something missing. These types of situations are always a PR nightmare. In the end, Newegg probably should have honored their return warranty and taken up the issue with Lenovo themselves. The customer has a right to functional hardware. The economic damage to Newegg as a result of an articles like this, far outweighs the cost of any laptop. But, that’s just my opinion.

  37. Jeff says:

    The question isn’t about Linux, but about dumb customers that modify the operating system then sending it back to newegg without reinstalling the original. I’m extremely surprised that she had the audacity to even bite back.

    The policy is very understandable and I will continue to buy from Newegg. Why should Newegg waste their time and money to reinstall the operating system?

    Idiots.

  38. gellenburg says:

    Considering that Newegg has — in the past — taken returns and turned them around and resold them as new I’m not surprised they’re pushing back.

  39. gaitdoctor says:

    This is so called the free enterprise system. Where, we the consumer have choices. BS These large corporations are monoplies that force us to use their defective products. And until we say,
    no more, they will keep screwing us. When we buy a computer, we should have a choice of OS.
    Worst yet, when windows 8 comes out, we won’t be able to change OS without paying a few. This not a free enterprise system. We are being dictated to.

  40. blink says:

    I’ve never had a problem with Newegg. Every outlet has a set of rules governing returns.

  41. blink says:

    I’ve never had a problem with Newegg. Every outlet has a set of rules governing returns. Removing the original operating system voids the warranty. The buyer has the option of contacting the manufacturer to resolve the issue, probably free of charge. You can’t always have it your way…

  42. Benanov says:

    I’ve had good luck so far when purchasing from NewEgg but I’ve never had to return anything – so really it’s just “I haven’t had defective kit” not that NewEgg is good or not with their return policies.

    I generally look for reviews saying something will work with GNU+Linux before even purchasing, so it’d like to see this resolved.

  43. axiomatic says:

    So here’s the deal. I agree NewEgg is being douchey but sometimes that low price on a laptop is because Microsoft offered subsidies for their OS being on the unit. The right answer is to buy Acronis True image, (or Norton Ghost) if you like, and make a drive image of the original OS so in the even you run in to one of these warranty gaffes you can just land the original OS back on there and not have these additional hassles.

  44. bearymore says:

    Buy a Taiwanese computer….

    Taipei Times, June 3, 2006:
    Government says all new PCs must be Linux-friendly.

    “The government-run Central Trust of China has mandated for the first time that all desktop computers purchased from now on must be Linux-compatible, demonstrating the government’s desire to widen the nation’s usage of open source software.

    “It is a global trend that Linux is gaining wider adoption due to its lower costs and better adaptability,” Mike Lin (林智清), a consultant at the Taipei Computer Association (TCA), told the Taipei Times yesterday.”

    I assume that in the last 6 years they’ve included laptops.

  45. RedMoogleXIII says:

    I remember reading this exact same story years ago with a different store, but I think that one it was laptop display dying and that wouldn’t honor the warnity because they replaced Windows with a Linux distrubtion.

    They ended up with some advice to help. It basically was get a second hard drive for Linux, take out the original hard drive with Windows, put in the Linux one and install it to that one and if something goes wrong, put the Windows hard drive back in and send it back with the Windows one.

  46. ben_marko says:

    It sounds like she did violate the return policy. Where it says “that is missing any accessories” you can count the operating system as a part of that. I work in IT and have seen operating systems bundled as part of a hardware shipment (it is sometimes called a “software version description” (SVD) and lists all of the software accessories that are bundled as part of the package.

    However if the computer did come with system restore discs than she should have either returned those with the computer or at least tried to reinstall the original operating system before returning it. At least then she would have an argument.

  47. PupJet says:

    Seriously, a company shouldn’t reject a return like that just because they prefer to use a different OS. Linux doesn’t break much unless you manually do it (terminal window and type a bunch of stuffs).

    Thumbs down on NewEgg for the hassle, but Thumbs Up for at least refunding/replacing

  48. LilBambi says:

    Glad to hear it had a happy ending. Maybe the public outcry made a big difference. I think it did. I hope it did. I get so tired of companies thinking they can get away with this kind of crap as long as the people are not the squeaky wheel.

    Many types of products from NewEgg have nothing to do with Linux directly like a full-blown laptop or desktop computer would – so since they have come through, albeit only after the public outcry – I would consider buying other things besides computers and laptops from them, or may call them first to make sure they are not going to give trouble if the product is defective and make sure I talk with a supervisor or manager that gives me their ID name/number just in case.

    Sadly it won’t be the no brainer it used to be with NewEgg before this incident. I have always recommended them in the past. I may find it harder to do so if the person might consider installing a Linux distro on the computer.

    I believe this was a major thing. It could have been a precedent setter for other vendors. I am glad they did not get away with this. I hope other vendors realize it is a huge publicity nightmare and not get involved with this type of harassment and unfair practice.
    LilBambi

  49. Buckus says:

    Newegg is stil a great place to get components, but they’re devolving a bit into an online Kohl’s of sorts with all their “sales” and “24 hour” specials and whatnot.

  50. parnote says:

    Seriously? I’ve used Newegg for years. I’m also a Linux user and the editor of a monthly Linux magazine. This turn of events is very disturbing. I’ve recommended Newegg to my Linux friends for many years. I hope my recommendations have not been been in vain.