MDG Computers — Bad customer service, bad product
On September 13, 2007 I contacted MDG computers to let them know that contrary to what we had been told by their salesperson, the battery life of the laptop computer, Acer 5610Z, even on a full charge, was no where near four hours. The battery life was a key factor in the purchase of the computer, because I use it when I commute and my daughter would be using it at university.
The manager, Alex (no last name was given) indicated that when he spoke to his salesperson, he denied saying it was four hours. I told the manager that as this was a make-or-break factor in the sale, I know the salesperson did say it and my daughter, who accompanied me to the purchase, also heard him say it. I asked Alex if I could exchange it (we'd used it for about two weeks) for a computer that had a four-hour battery, and he said that he doesn't allow returns or exchanges because some people abuse that. He asked me if I had done various things to the computer to help prolong the battery life, and I said we had, such as reducing the brightness of the screen, turning off unnecessary programs, and making sure the battery was completely spent before recharging; basically, the advice given to us by the salesperson. He said that what he would try to do is to order a four-hour battery for my computer model from Acer.
I called back on September 19 to inquire about the progress and was told Alex was not in the office.
I called again on September 29.
I called again on October 2 after he had returned from a business trip and he told me he was still looking into solving the problem.
I called again on October 19, and told Alex I had been waiting for over a month to hear about the resolution. He told me he was doing everything he could to get hold of the battery. I told him as the three-month deferred payment plan would soon be up, I would have to start paying for the computer and needed this problem resolved as the product was not fulfilling our needs as promised by the salesperson. I told him I did not want to be paying for a $1500 dollar product that was not working as we needed. He told me he could try to extend the payment plan but would have to charge me additional administration fees. (Basically, he'd charge me more for a product that we told him was not performing as expected after having it for just two weeks!) I said I did not want that; I would prefer to have the problem resolved. He said he would get back to me.
After not hearing from him again for another two weeks, I called again on November 2nd, twice. I said as I had not heard from him and this was now going on two months I'd been hoping this problem would be resolved, that I would give him until November 6 to fix the issue. He told me that I have been using the computer for three months so obviously it was working. In essence, he completely dismissed my initial concerns and my suggestion that I exchange the computer. He ignored the fact that for a two-month period out of the almost three months that we owned the computer I had called his store six times to have the problem resolved. I basically told him that I was disappointed to realize that he had simply been stalling, rather than actively trying to solve the problem. I told him that he obviously had no intention of solving the problem from the beginning and was simply delaying for as long as possible until I had to start paying for the computer; basically I would be stuck with the product and would be paying for it. I repeated that I wanted the problem resolved by November 6 or that I would have to contact his supervisor. He told me that if I was going to give him an ultimatum, he wouldn't bother continuing to try to solve the problem (as if he had ever!), that I should contact customer service. He gave me the number 1. 877.466.3634.
I immediately called the number he gave me, which turned out to be technical support. They transferred me to customer service. My first contact was with Stephanie. I explained all that had transpired between Alex and me and told her he said I should contact them to deal with the problem further. She said she would speak to him and try to get more info. She called me back that day and said that basically he had told her he was trying to get me a battery, but, quite conveniently, in between the time that I had spoken to him and she had contacted him -- approximately 30 minutes -- he had found out that Acer did not have four-hour batteries for my computer. I told her it was rather interesting that he did not tell me that in my phone call with him earlier that morning, and that it took him seven weeks to discover this. She suggested that what she could do is contact her warehouse to find out if they had a regular battery for my computer and ship it out to me. She said it was unfortunate that we hadn't spoken earlier because she could have had it shipped that day. She told me she would take care of it.
On November 19 I called MDG customer service again because I had not received the battery. I spoke to Alison, who told me that Stephanie was away that day. She said she checked my file and had spoken to her supervisor, who said that Stephanie had ordered the battery and it hadn't come in yet. I told her that was strange as Stephanie had told me she could have had it shipped on November 2 when I first spoke to her. She said that it would have had to been ordered, because they don't stock the batteries for my computer, and that Stephanie even had a waybill on her desk, but they couldn't guarantee when the battery would arrive and I should keep calling back to check.
On November 27 I called Stephanie, who told me that "a product" had been shipped out on November 6 to my apartment building. I asked her to what apartment number and she said there wasn't any. I told her that I had given her my full address, as I live in an apartment building, and that it was even on my MDG customer file. She repeated that there was no apartment number and that the package had not been returned to them. I told her if UPS had not delivered it (and how could they with no apartment number?!) then they would have returned it to them. Besides, you can't deliver a courier package without a phone number, and no one from UPS ever called me! She said she had no record of the package being returned, and she would have to resolve that with them. She said she would contact her warehouse again to see if they had a battery.
A few minutes later, she called me back and said they didn't have the battery and they were not going to order it and there was nothing else they could do. She suggested I go back to the James Street store in Hamilton, where I'd first been given the runaround, to see if they would give me a store credit. I told her that after having been given the runaround for two months by the store manager, why would she think they would do anything further and that he had passed the problem on to them. She told me there was nothing else she could do because I had bought the product at a store, not at MDGDirect, their online store. I told her that she had left me no choice but to contact the Better Business Bureau.
I have all the logs of when I made the calls to MDG. I have now been paying for a $1500 item which does not work properly, and which the store manager prevented me from exchanging at the outset, and for which he promised to get the proper part to fix the problem. I have been treated with an absolute lack of integrity and honesty by this store -- starting with the salesperson saying that the computer had a four-hour battery life on a full charge. The complete contradictions and changed stories indicate to me that neither the MDG store manager nor the customer service reps had any intentions of resolving this problem to begin with. The Better Business Bureau tried to intervene on my behalf, and MDG did not respond. What a surprise!
Over the past seven years, I have bought three computers from MDG, totalling close to $8000. They seem to think that they are getting the better of the customer in this situation by not resolving the problem and not responding to the BBB. They are profoundly wrong. For one thing, I will never buy another computer from them, so they certainly will never get another $8000 from me. But it doesn’t stop there. I have told everyone I know about my situation and have encouraged them to buy their computers elsewhere. By the time, they spread the word as well, MDG will have lost untold thousands of dollars. All because they wouldn’t solve a problem that would probably have cost them a couple hundred dollars. I guess the next time they think they can screw over a customer, they should think of the real cost to their bottom line.