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

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

(Photo: hoyasmeg)