On October 11, 2008 a Gateway laptop which I had purchased from Office Depot with a Performance Protection Agreement was sent for repair. The unit is a Tablet Pc and the single pivoting hinge broke. We were not aware that the hinge had failed until the stress caused the housing around the hinge to crack. This released the screen from the laptop.
The following is an honest and detailed account of the process I went through to get the item repaired. It took 45 days, 25 phone calls, and conversations with dozens of Office Depot reps—many of whom were rude and/or unqualified to, in any way, help with my problem. I spoke to five different supervisors, four of which did not follow up with me as they had promised. The reason for refusing the repair was first stated to be because the damage was due to accidental damage (which it was not), then because the damage was cosmetic (which it was not), then because it was covered under the contract terms (which it was), and finally we went back to the accidental coverage defense. At this point I called them out on their tactics and they submitted to repair the item.
I have another laptop which I bought from Circuit City with their City Assure Plan. When this item has needed repair, it has been fixed without dispute. The repair company that services both Office Depot and Circuit City is Nexicore with repair centers in Texas and California. This tells me that the problem arises out of Office Depot’s policies for honoring their contracts with customers.
Clearly this company does not need to be selling warrantees. There are other places to buy electronics and better places to buy an extended warrantee. If you must buy a product from Office Depot, do not by the Performance Protection Plan. Stories like mine are not uncommon.
--Beginning of Log--
Monday, October 20
• Called [protected], told to call Nexicore to find out why service was denied.
• Called Nexicore, told that they had sent word to OD that screen was cracked, assumption made that laptop was dropped. I explained that they must be mistake. The screen was not cracked. Rep placed me on hold and reviewed photos. She determined that the screen was not cracked but then stated that she actually meant to say that the hinge was cracked, I was told to call [protected] to find out exactly why service was denied on loose hinge.
• Called [protected] – I explained that Nexicore was incorrect in their diagnosis and that I wanted to speak to someone about reissuing the service call. I was transferred to Monty Wilson. His mailbox was full. I pressed *0 to go to the operator. I explained to her that I needed to speak to Monty Wilson but that he was not at his desk and his mailbox was full. She transferred me to Monty’s full voice mailbox again. I pressed *0 and repeated myself to the operator. She placed me on hold for 7 minutes. I finally hung up.
• Called [protected] – Asked to be transferred to Monty but that his voice mailbox was full can someone place check take down a message or find him. I was place on hold by the rep. When the rep returned he told me that he had found Monty and he would transfer me. I got Monty’s voice mailbox again. I pressed *0 and spoke to the operator again. She told me she had done everything should could for me and that I would simply have to call back.
• Called by Monty – While I was trying to call back in, Monty called me. I explained the situation to Monty and told him that the hinge was bad, the hinge cover was cracked due to the pressure of the bad hinge, and that the screen was fine. I explained to Monty that this was a tablet PC and that the laptop had one single hinge and that the crack on the hinge cover occurred from the bad hinge. Monty said he would turn it over to his supervisor and call back this evening or tomorrow
Tuesday, October 21
• No call from Monty
Wednesday, October 22
• No call from Monty
Thursday, October 23
• No call from Monty
• Called [protected] – Yolanda checked to see if Monty was still in, he was not, Yolanda stated that she would send him an email and he would call me tomorrow.
• Called [protected] – Obtained Monty’s email to send him photos of the Laptop.
• Looked up number to OD national customer relations. [protected]. (email@example.com)
• Called the original store (#00037) @ [protected] to inquire about what action I can take to get the matter resolved. Bill said to email information to him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will forward to cooperate. (I determined to wait on sending the photos until I had exhausted all efforts through normal channels at WACA)
Friday, October 24
• Received voice mail from Sheldon who state that the screen is covered but it is not damaged. And the hinge cover is not covered by the contract (which was never in dispute). Call back information is [protected] Ex 24127
• Called Monty who apologized but stated that there was nothing more he could do for me.
• Called Corporate Office [protected]. I spoke to Bethany and asked to speak to a supervisor but was asked to relay my need to her. I explained the issue to her and she attempted to refer me back to the WACA. I explained again that this was pointless because they have refused to help. Jimmy refused to talk with me but sent word that he would not be able to help me. Bethany told me to call [protected] again. I explained once more that this was pointless because they have refused to help. She placed me on hold to find ask Jimmy were he should send me then (without getting back on the phone to let me know what she was doing) transferred me to WACA anyways. Spoke with Bryant who documented what just happened and tried to located Monty. At my request, he arranged for a new shipping label and service order—in hopes that they previously simply misdiagnosed the problem and this time will diagnose it right.
• Called to speak with Sheldon. Rep O’Neal tried to locate him but he was at lunch and I was directed to call back after 7:40 p.m. EST.
Monday, October 29
• No contact with Sheldon
Tuesday, October 28
• Called to speak with Sheldon. Rep told me that there was no way to transfer me to a supervisor. I told her that I was sure she could transfer me. She placed me on hold and said that she would be unable to transfer me to a supervisor. I told her that I knew this was incorrect because I had been transferred numerous times to a supervisor. Rep placed me on hold and obtained Stephanie. After much delay it was determined that Sheldon was not available but rep transferred me to Stephanie. I explained the situation to her and she assured me that the problem would be fixed. She would add a note to the service order created by Bryant on October 24 instructing item to be fixed.
Thursday, October 30
• Box was shipped to Nexicore
Thursday, November 6
• Received phone call from WACA advising me that my laptop was sent back unrepaired because the hinge was not covered. I attempted to argue the point but found myself being talked over and schooled on the “Terms and Conditions” of the contract. Rep said that hinges are excluded from repair.
Wednesday, November 5-Wednesday, November, 12
• I was personally unavailable to dispute because of a business trip
Friday, November 14
• I reviewed “Terms and Conditions” of the contract.
What is not covered: (Heading)
Computers, Electronics, and Miscellaneous Products (Subheading)
Cosmetic defects, damage, or failures of non-operational components that do not inhibit the proper operation and performance of the covered items, such as but not limited to: cabinetry and cabinet frames, decorative finishing, door liners, glass, projection television exterior screens, handles, knobs, masks, racks, rollers, shelves, cracked cases and broken hinges;
it is abundantly obvious that every item in this list refers to cabinetry and cosmetic accessories—i.e. handles, knobs, masks, etc. Further, a hinge on a Tablet PC or any laptop for that matter is an operational component
• Spoke with Andria. I explained that the Terms and Conditions did exclude hinges but that appeared to be on cabinetry. Further I read the Terms and Conditions to her: I explained that this is obviously referring to cabinetry and accessories for electronics stands. Further that the monitor staying open was not a non-operational comp Andria placed me on hold for upwards of five minutes, got back on the line and told me that the unit was denied service because the damage was accidental (referring to the cracked hinge casing). I explained to her that this was not the reason it was denied service most recently. She insisted that it was. I told her that I received a phone call on November 6 from WACA stating that it was declined because hinges are not covered. She ignored my statement restating the supposed accidental nature of the damage. I asked to speak to a supervisor and after several passionate requests she placed me on hold and went obtain a supervisor. She returned stating that she could not located one but that she would have someone call me soon.
• Called the original store (#00037) @ [protected]. Asked for Bill and told that he was with a customer. Rep suggested that I should call back in a few minutes.
• Called the original store (#00037) @ [protected] after about 5 minutes. Asked for Bill and was told that he had gone home. I asked for another supervisor and was transferred to Joanna. I explained the situation to her, that I had already talked to Bill, and that I would be emailing him the information we had discussed on October 23.
• Received call back from Bill Nation. I explained all pertinent details up to this point and how that now OD is saying they will not fix my laptop because of the supposed exclusion in the contract (no longer because of supposed accidental damage). I read the section of the “Terms and Conditions” that was referenced to me on November 6. He placed me on hold. When he returned we resumed talk about weather or not the damage to the laptop was accident (was the unit dropped). He returned and asked me if the unit had any external damage. I explained to him that it had none and that I would be happy to email photos of the unit. He said he would review the images, contact Nexicore, and return my phone call around 2:00 tomorrow.
• Photos and description to this point emailed to email@example.com
Saturday, November 15
• No call from Bill (Nation)
• Spoke with Bryant again (9:20 p.m.). He told me that had gone home for the evening. He sent Bill and email with the contract number and instructions to return my phone call. I asked when I might expect to hear back from Bill. Bryant told me that there was no way for him to know.
Sunday, November 16
• No call from Bill. I called and spoke with Richard who told me that Bill was not in. I asked to speak to a manager. He placed me on hold and came back stating that no manager was available. He stated that he would send Bill another email to call me.
Monday, November 17
• No call from Bill
Tuesday, November 18
• No call from Bill. I called WACA and spoke with Clement who told me that he did not know a Bill Nation that he must work in another area. I asked for Bill to be located (referring to the notes to help located him). He told me that this was not possible. I asked to speak to a supervisor. He said he would check the notes and then told me that Bill had placed a note in the system on Monday, November 17 at 7:00am stating that the unit would not be fixed because of accidental damage. I explained to the rep that this is not the reason Nexicore sent it back last time and that I have gotten multiple excuses as to why the unit would not be repaired under agreement. I asked to speak with a supervisor. He told me that he could not transfer me. I told him that I know this was not the case because I had been transferred to a supervisor numerous times. He placed me on hold. I waited for several minutes and disconnected call.
• I called the original store (#00037) @ [protected]. Spoke to Bill who instructed me to email my notes and photos and he would forward on to the “Escalation Department”.
• I called WACA and spoke to Brandy. I asked her to speak to a supervisor. She insisted that she would be able to help me. I assured her that she would not because I have spoken to many reps. She placed me on hold-checking back periodically to let me know we were still waiting on a supervisor. The supervisor Cheryl came to the phone and I explained the situation to her (the multiple diagnosis and Bill’s neglect to call me back like he said he would, and exactly what I wanted fixed-just the hinge). She arranged another service order, placing notes that the unit should be repaired under warrantee because it is not accidental damage and it is covered under the “Terms and Conditions” but even if it is not I wanted to have it fixed and I would cover the cost. I told her that was fine but in such a case Nexicore needed to call first to notify me of the cost. She placed a note to this effect and then read to me exactly what she he wrote. I explained to her that I would be supremely disappointed if I wound up having to pay to have this item fixed.
• Photos and description to this point emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, December 1
• Box shipped to Nexicore
Friday, December 5
• DHL attempt to make delivery of an item today—apparently the laptop
• Called to check status of repair. I spoke to Dominic and asked him is he could confirm weather or not the repair had been completed. He told me that he could not and that he would have to “escalate me to a supervisor.” He placed me on hold and then transferred me back to the automated system. I followed the automated system and spoke to Bruce. He verified that the notes on the account stated that the unit was repaired. Finally!