I bought a new laptop online in January of 2007, and it arrived 2 weeks later. I'm usually the on-the-run kind of guy; going to work, then coffee shop, then late evening classes or the GYM if time permits. I would get a new MP3 player every year from Future Shop, cause none of the MP3 players I've previously owned could live through this rigorous weekly regime.
It was no hassle at all to replace the MP3 players, and I didn’t mind to pay a little more to replace for these small ticketed items. Often than most, many of the staff would smile and politely say that “we can exchange this for you with either a store credit, or an MP3 player at a similar price.” Sometimes the MP3 players that I would get won’t have the same features that I enjoyed in the previous MP3 player, however this is a small price to pay since you’re getting it for almost nothing (when you factor in the initial cost of the MP3 player, and the ever rising internal flash memory capacity, and it’s depreciation value, and in some cases an irreplaceable internal battery, it’s almost worthless within a few years). So, no biggie I didn’t really mind paying the extra few bucks in getting it insured under the Future Shop warranty plan.
But as for the laptop: 319.05 bucks for a warranty! Looking back now, it was money that has gone to waste (with the same amount you can either get a new laptop LCD screen (if by some unholy reason should it get damaged), OR a new SATA hard drive if it conks out on you, OR a new keyboard +++ other plastics and bezels if you get a scratch or a ding, OR a new battery if the battery was to lose its juice, OR a new DVD-R laptop drive if your original just stops reading….). But before I get in my ranting, let’s go far back, to the time before I ever knew this site existed.
“We’re here when you need us.”
I bought my extended warranty from a Future Shop sales representative at the Future Shop store #XXX (Just to be fair for the guys who work there, I won’t mention any last names). My sales representative is named Hassan and he was very polite when I approached him with my questions concerning Laptop warranties. We covered every angle of the warranty together; he even gave me his Future Shop business card if any questions were to arise concerning the warranty. I even selected a well padded laptop case that would protect my investment from all the elements. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think he got commission for both of those items. Good for him, he earned it.
All of January, and early February it was freezing. Traveling from one place to another, or just picking some groceries from the store, I kept my laptop bag in a secure and freezing compartment of my trunk -away from the climate controlled cabin of the car, and away from prying eyes of thieves. I thought it would be a sure way of keeping it safe.
Two weeks later, a crack on the top right corner started forming, and liquid like stuff started to spread behind the glass. I suspect that the cold and hot temperatures or maybe moisture build up (from coffee shop to trunk, then to 4 hours of none stop work, and then back to the trunk) seems to be taking a toll on my laptop.
A friend of mine who builds computers and websites for a living took a look at my laptop, and told me that I should see an LCD specialist, and pointed out a repair shop in the West Island (Montreal). The repair man (Mikhal) told me that I need to replace the LCD, and that a job like this would cost 400 dollars! (Wow, almost half of the price of the laptop!). I told him that the laptop was still under warranty, and that if it was ever opened it, it would void the warranty. He suggested that I should speak to the sales rep about this, and that the LCD screen should be covered under the warranty. He said that the crack could have been caused by extreme changes of temperature, but it is more likely that it was cause by a pressure point (pointing to the cracked LCD screen). However there was no evidence that would lead to suggest something like that was to happen (the laptop top cover had no markings, nor did the keyboard). He wished me good luck and I was on my way.
I proceeded to call my sales rep.
When I called him up, I was on hold for a long time. A lady told me to call back. I did, and I was on hold again…
“We’ll help diagnose the problem.”
The crack started to spread, and so the laptop stays at home on dual monitor support. It’s late February and Hassan hasn’t called back. A few days later, I turned on the computer and Vista doesn’t want to load up. When I Google the symptoms, I read in a trouble shooting article that Vista was in an “endless reboot” loop. It also mentioned steps in how to alleviate this problem by pressing F8 on Vista boot up, and then disabling the “automatic restart” feature. I wanted to get confirmation about what I should do before following the suggestions on the website. I then called the technician at Future Shop and asked what I should do with the LCD, and the constant reboot problem. After repeated attempts in reaching the technician, I finally go through and explained my problems. First he mentions that they’ve been having similar problems with the computers, and suggested that I backup all my files and proceed to reinstall the software. After backing up my software, I used (the suggested software) HP’s Total Care recovery program and returned my computer to the proper factory default settings. Now it works beautifully but no more of my previously installed programs. That’s ok, it’s almost new. As for the LCD screen I had to bring it to Future Shop for him to see it. Unfortunately, he didn’t give me his name (CLICK!).
When I arrived at Future Shop, I saw my sales rep behind the cash register serving a customer. The customer, a middle aged woman, was buying a new keyboard and Hassan was there ready with the “Product Service Plan” pamphlet. I stood there and waited for him to finish. The lady was in a hurry and agreed to buy the service plan without taking a look at the pamphlet. She swiped her credit card, and she was off. Hassan turned to me, and I asked if he remembered me from a month before, about the warranty on my laptop. He them asked me what was wrong. I told him everything. But when I was telling him my story, he was going through my receipts without caring what I had to say.
Without saying a word, he turned around and knocked on the window and pointed to a technician behind the glass, and then pointed to me. The Future Shop technician then comes out, and starts talking to another customer waiting for her laptop to be fixed. Hassan leaves, and without telling me anything. The new technician (no-name, the guy wasn’t wearing a name tag) takes a break from the other customer, and proceeds to talk to me. I tell him the same thing that I told the Hassan, and direct me to a 1-800-HP INVENT number, and said that “I should get a service number, before coming back here.” Short and effective, but I got the idea: I am a stupid customer that behaves like a punching bag every time you throw a rude comment or gesture. The technician then returns to the lady waiting for her laptop.
Throughout this whole ordeal, I was calm, polite, and I did not raise my voice. I didn't swear either. Cause I know how it's like working in customer service.
Complete your gift with a Product Service Plan
“… ensure your recipient will always enjoy their product and to protect them against expensive repair costs.”
After having been on hold at HP, I was told that the damage to the laptop was self inflicted and that I had to pay for the repair and replacement. They haven't even seen the laptop.
Before I even begin my story, the decision was already made...
So I got swindled out of 319 bucks. Big ticketed warranty items are lemons.