How many times have you had a problem with your computer system?? Regardless if you are a student, professional, or a home body, if you are like me, you’ve probably experienced quite a few headaches figuring out your laptop or PC.? I have had my laptop since August of 2004.? Back then, I was anything but computer literate.? I couldn’t tell you what the difference was between RAM and a hard drive.? I know, pretty pathetic.? So where does someone go when?they don’t know much about computers?? Well, I went to Fry’s Electornics.? I figured I constantly see great advertising from them and there are many stores in California that I can always?go to one if I ever had a problem with my system.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with Fry’s Electronics, it is a specialty retailer of software and?consumer electronics.? Starting with only one store in Sunnyvale, CA, the chain now boasts sales of 2.4 Billion with over 30 stores located in the western states of the US.
When I first purchased my computer I figured, “well, I’ll?be in graduate school for about 3 years,” so when they offered me an extended warranty that would cover my laptop for 3 years I thought it was a great investment.??I do have to admit, that for 2.5 years, I can’t really complain about the system.? The laptop I purchased was a hp pavillion and it’s been pretty reliable until now.? Recently, it had been over heating and shutting down on me (must have been all the blogging time I’ve been putting in) .? Last week, I woke up one morning to check the site’s stats and approve comments.? To my surprise, as I tried to boot up the system and?a system error message popped up.? I shut it down and turned it on again.? This time, as it attempted to boot up the only thing that happened was that the screen had turned black.? I tried several times throughout the day and the same results.? I immediately thought, oh sh*#!!? The worst has just happened…I lost my files.
That?same morning I had our IT department take a look at it, run a few diagnostic tests, and back up all my data.? Basically, the technician?said the hard drive was corrupt and would need a new one.? If I had a warranty, that should cover it.? That’s when I remembered my extended warranty with Fry’s.? After a year, the manufacturer warranty expires, I would have much rather worked with them!? Since purchasing my computer I had heard of the horror stories fry’s customers would go through to get things fixed.? I wasn’t looking forward to their customer service, which doesn’t seem to be the best!!? You know its bad when Wikipedia claims:
A number of customers have reported frustrating customer service expereinces at Fry’s stores.? Some of these customers have established websites to discuss their experiences.?
After having our IT people look at it, I took it to Fry’s in Manhattan Beach, CA to see what they could do for me.?
When first walking in, I see signs hanging from the ceiling over their service desk.??One stated, “Computer help when you need it.”? If that wasn’t the biggest crock of you know what!? I waited in line for an hour and fifteen minutes just to see a technician.? There were only 3 people ahead of me, but the lack of staff made things go real slow.? When I get to the service counter, I manage to have?someone in?training work with me (just my luck).? She tells me that there will be a $100 charge (what a new hard drive costs) just to diagnose the problem.? I asked her if the warranty covers the fee, and she said no, unless it’s a hardware problem.? Since I know it’s a hard drive problem I’m comfortable giving it to them.? She takes about 45 minutes to clear a place for my computer and write up the paper work.? She didn’t bother to ask for the power cord or battery that she took off when checking my laptop in.? I asked her if she needed it, so she proceeded to redo all the paper work to include the battery and power strip with the computer (another 15 mintues).?
On my warranty, it states “a computer will be provided upon request.”? So I request a computer and she tells me I can’t borrow one because they haven’t diagnosed the problem yet.? I asked her how long it would take to diagnose it, she told me 3-5 days!? At this point, I just wanted to get out of there, so I asked to speak to a manager before leaving.? I waited another 45 minutes for a manager to come and never saw the guy.? I had other things to do that day so I left, 3 hours later!!
That was a lie!
This is a snap shot of the line at the service desk.? As you can tell, I wasn’t the only one getting frustrated.
Since taking in my computer, I have called twice and nothing has been done about diagnosing it.? They did say I can go pick up a loaner computer because I have been forced to wait for so long.? It’s been a week as of today and who know’s when I’ll hear from them, let alone get my computer back!? For the time being, I’m using a computer that looks like it is still running on DOS.? If there is anyone out there that would like to make a computer donation, please keep me in mind
To all of you that are not familiar with computers, or use Fry’s for computer purchases, I would be very careful as to what you buy from them.? I’ve learned my lesson, unless it’s a manufacturer warranty, I will be staying away from those extended store warranty traps and especially Fry’s itself!