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Gateway M520CS notebook / Faulty notebook

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On December 23, 2004, I purchased a Gateway M520CS notebook (serial no. [protected]). Instead of buying a Dell or Apple, I chose Gateway because of the affordable price and because I thought that Gateway was a reputable company. Since then, I have had numerous problems with the system.

As a journalism major entering my junior year this fall, I rely on my computer for both class work and writing articles for my college's paper, the Towerlight. However, I experienced steadily declining quality and support from Gateway. It seems as if I purchased a $209 warranty that practically means nothing.

Upon receiving my notebook, I was contacted by Gateway to "warn" me about problems that many M520CS owners were experiencing, in regards to virus and spy ware infections. Instead of trying to rectify the problem, Gateway tried to capitalize on the problem buy selling anti-virus software bundles. After spending, $1009.98, why should I have to spend more money on a problem that Gateway should have been willing to fix, free of charge? I used SpySweeper and other means of virus protection instead. I refused to give Gateway more money.

My second problem came in the summer of 2005 when I noticed the top of the computer (the lid) was very loose and made loud creaking sounds. Within a few days, I noticed cracks on my computer's hinges. Around this time, I noticed that my computer had dramatically slowed down and it would take a long time to load programs such as Internet Explorer, AIM and Word.

Another major problem is battery life. When I contacted Gateway earlier this year, I was told that it was my fault that the battery was poor. The charge decreased dramatically to almost non-existent. When I first got the computer, the battery would last for barely an hour. Since the initial battery life was so poor, I hardly used it on battery power alone. Instead, I was constantly connected to AC power. I was unable to take my laptop to my class lectures or even the campus library because I always needed an electrical outlet. I purchased a laptop for portability, convenience and flexibility. However, I was immobile and unable to enjoy the experience of having a portable computer. As of July 17, 2006, after charging the battery for eight hours, the battery only lasts for 36 minutes. This is truly pathetic.

I am also stunned by the poor quality of the notebook's keyboard. It is practically falling apart. While typing papers or editing my articles, I would have to stop to fix keys that would come off. I am also having problems with the LCD screen. It flickers from bright to dim and then back to bright. Finally, the computer gets extremely hot, even when there is excellent ventilation for the fan. On Thursday, my computer shut down and would not restart – a problem that I believe was caused by the computer's excessive heat.

When I starting having problems with the M520CS notebook, I began researching the computer and was shocked by what I found. I have read accounts of motherboards smoking and catching fire, hinge cracking and breaking, flickering LCD screens, loose AC adapters and poor battery quality – all of the problems that I have had. These findings cause me to believe that Gateway continued to sell this product despite customer complaints and did nothing to help customers. Read through any laptop message board or Google "Gateway M520 problems" and you will see that many customers are very dissatisfied with this product. If my computer were a car, I would sue Gateway for selling me a "lemon." However, unlike the owner of a "lemon," I feel like I have no rights and that Gateway does not care about me as a customer after I spent $1, 009.98 on this ghastly product.

Customer service and technical support were of no use to me. I was told conflicting information about whether the company sells replacement batteries. As far as speed, I was told that I needed 1 GB of RAM and another representative told me that I needed 512 MB and another told me to install 256 MB. After doing further research, I realized that my computer can only handle DDR PC2700 RAM; with 333MHZ. Gateway technical support did not give me this information. I had to find it myself. Earlier this fall, I was on hold for almost an hour when I called in regard to RAM upgrades. When I finally spoke to a representative, I was told that Gateway does not carry RAM for my computer.

I am truly disgusted with this product; however, I have tried continually to get help from Gateway. After speaking with a representative Thursday night, I was told that I would have a technician sent to my house to replace my keyboard and look at and possibly repair my LCD screen. When my call was forwarded to another department, to set up the onsite service time, I was told to troubleshoot the LCD screen. It was very complicated and took over an hour! Instead of following through with that the first tech said (new keyboard, onsite service of LCD), I was told that I had to mail my computer to Texas!

Last night, a Gateway representative had the audacity to call my home and ask me to take a customer service survey. One was the lowest grade on the scale. Please adjust the scale to include zero, because that it what this company deserves. The poor quality of this product has me seriously considering Apple for my next computer purchase. Sadly, I'm $1, 009.98 in the hole for a faulty product; money that could have been used towards a better computer. It seems that companies like Gateway and Dell bait and hook customers with low prices and then hang them out to dry when it comes to service, repairs and support.

I don't want a quick fix. I know the product is faulty. Other M520CS users know that the product is faulty. Gateway knows that the product is faulty, so let's not pretend that "mail in service repairs" can fix the problems of this wretched laptop. Nothing can save it. Even technical support knows that the computer is terrible. Thursday, a technician said that LCD problems and AC adapter problems are, "common problems with this particular model." I'm tired of being told to ship my computer to Texas in a $44 box that I have to purchase from Gateway! I think that charging me for a box is an insult considering the poor service and product quality that I have experienced. And finally, I don't want more faulty parts put on an already dismal product. Aside from sending it to Texas to possibly sit on a shelf for weeks and then shipped back – still faulty, what restitution am I entitled to for having to deal with this terribly pathetic and mediocre product?

Upon reading my warranty booklet, I saw that the return and refund period ends within 15 days of purchase. However, this system is exceptionally dreadful. This computer is not worth the money I paid for it and I wish I could get every penny back. As a college student, I have enough stress worrying about paying for books and covering tuition. A computer should be the least of my worries; however the Gateway M520 CS notebook has stressed me out more than any mid-term exam or final paper I've had to write.

I look forward to hearing from you to discuss this problem and possibly a feasible solution. Please contact me at [protected]sss.

Truly dissatisfied,

sent a copy of the attached to:

Executive Response Team
610 Gateway Drive
P. O. Box 2000
No. Sioux City, SD 57049

Department of Consumer Affairs
South Dakota Office of the Attorney General
500 E. Capitol
State Capitol Building
Pierre, SD [protected]

Division of Consumer Protection
1302 E Hwy 14
Suite 3
Pierre SD [protected]

Gateway, Inc.
7565 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618


Jazzmen S

Baltimore, MD 21216

July 18, 2006

Executive Response Team
610 Gateway Drive
P. O. Box 2000
No. Sioux City, SD 57049


Sort by: UpDate | Rating
N  27th of Nov, 2008 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I ve got same problems but considering the laptop is like 4 or more years old I can understand it
web is full of people against this product but what I found funny is right now I am using this product (which went dead on me 2 times in 2 days and did not turn back on) but I achieved to fix it back on (I am a pc geek) also fixing the flicker problem today. I have used many laptops (acer, dell. toshiba) but I do not know why this laptop gives me more confidence than any other laptop. While I was trying to fix it I had many issues I broke 2 screw heads I was so harsh that I thought I will never be able to turn it back on, but now I am on it. I tie the ac plug with earphones attached to mic input and letter "t" on the keyboard has fallen many times and still tingling. But no matter what I love this laptop I agree poor quality of things but last summer I had an acer supposedly 4 times better than this one but that had worse problems than this one. I sold it I am keeping gateway will I ever get a gateway again, probably not
But I love this machine...
am I a little bit like a polianna?
no if you fall into the sea you hug the swordfish...
A  1st of Dec, 2008 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I have a gateway notebook that just today started smoking on me and the funny part of this is that they will not do anything about it cause im out of warranty,
I work for a competitor and they would take it back and send me a new one, no problem.

I am now reporting it to the safety commission and others, I may even ask a Hi up Executive to send a email to theres, Cause this is crap and they made a Product that is a safety hazard, If you have any information about getting this taken care of please post it for others,

Rest in hell Gateway
A  28th of Dec, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
well...my 520cs is the brother to yours, and yours, and yours, and yours, ... it is the the most terrible product that gateway has sold! good by gateway!! forever!! and i had 3!!

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