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.
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.