When Laptop Screen Cracks, Office Depot Comes Through

Usually, when a message arrives in our mailbox containing the name of a big-box office supply store and the word “saga,” it means that a sad tale of incompetence and woe is in store. But that’s not the case this time. “I’ve never had a corporation help me this much in my entire life,” Curtis noted in his e-mail. When something went wrong with the screen of his Gateway laptop that be purchased from Office Depot, Gateway offered to fix the screen for $200. He wrote to Office Depot about the problem, not expecting much, but ended up stunned at the help he received from corporate.

He wrote about the experience on his blog, and gave us permission to repost it here:

I’ve gotten incredibly lucky in dealing with Office Depot, and for the first time in my consumer history, I’m glad I’ve chosen someone.

A few months ago, I was working on a web design project (that didn’t really pan out) and my laptop failed. I had no choice but to go get another. I did a bit of research into what was currently available and decided on a Gateway NV55S02U. Office Depot was the only place in town I could find that had anything with a working GPU for a sane price, so I bought it there.

Then, midway through February, disaster struck. I got to my psychiatrist’s office and opened it and the screen was broken. I went into the store and was turned down on a return. Then, I contacted Gateway’s support, which is like saying you’ve tried contacting Charlie Sheen’s humility. I was offered a $200 repair from them, which is sort of ludicrous for a screen repair.

I was about to give up hope, and I contacted Office Depot’s customer support on a whim.

I sent this message. I’m not exactly proud about the contents, but it was straight from the heart. I rely on my system way too much, but having it helps me a lot.

In 4 days, I got a message from [redacted] at corporate. I wasn’t expecting much, but I went along with his questions. A few days later, I had just forgotten about it and was doodling in my notebook when I got a call.

He’d searched around town, and he couldn’t find anyone who’d do the job for under $90. He’d talked the store manager into taking a return on it, despite it being out for 6 months and likely being my fault. I went in to get an equivalent, and they wouldn’t offer one since all of them were out of my price range. So I left again.

I got home, and was disappointed. I sent him another letter. “They offered to upgrade me to an actual equivalent system if I paid the difference, but the amount it’d take to get to anything would cover a new screen on mine. Should I just give up on them?” was the gist of it. He could’ve just told me to go away here, and been completely in his rights. Or he could’ve told me to take the trade, and been above average in customer service.

He sent me back a letter of “No, tell me the difference. I’ll see what I can do.”

I found a system that was faster (!) than mine for less than any equivalent that was on sale, and told him it’d be $100 in difference.

He shipped me a $100 gift certificate.

I borrowed $60.10 from one of my best friends in the world to cover the mail in rebate and tax, and went in today and got my new system.

I’ve never been so impressed with the empathy of a corporation in my life. If I need ANYTHING that they carry, I’ll go there first from now on.

Thanks, [redacted], you’ve renewed my faith in the entire system. I genuinely appreciate it.

I’d also like to give a special shoutout to [redacted], the assistant manager of the store. He was extremely patient and was the person who dealt with me through most of this, and did his job incredibly well. He was the one who refused me on the exchange, but he was entirely RIGHT to until I could cover the difference. It’s not often I see someone in a position of management who knows how to handle people that well.

The Office Depot Saga [arcaneblog]