I couldn't agree more. I made the mistake of opening up a "preferred"
account with Dell, and purchased a computer from them for the kids.
With that account, payments are deferred for 6 months with no
interest. It was ordered and delivered 2 weeks before Christmas. Since
then I keep getting calls from India telling me I am late with
payments and there is no such thing as a preferred account. Bullpucky,
I have the paperwork! After many many phone calls to Dell trying to
get a person who can actually speak the English language, I am at the
end of my rope. I have given them my final arguement and have CLEARLY
stated my position. Either they live up to my agreement, or the
computer gets sent back and replaced with another brand.
Ironicly, the only person I could reach in this country was in the
Returns Department. He fully agreed with my position and is trying to
avoid a return, but I think , as much as he is trying, it may be a
lost cause. Time will tell.
p.s. I love my Compaq. They have always been there for me.
Just pray that you don't need service from HP/Compaq. I recently had one
of the most frustrating support experiences of my life when one of the
onboard IDE controllers died under warranty.
First, HP's preferred system of Instant Messaging-based support is a
slow, irritating way of doing things. Secondly, their original attempt
to diagnse the problem had them insisting that they should send me a
replacement CD-ROM drive when the evidence and my own experimentation
clearly demonstrated that the controller on the motherboard had failed.
Thirdly, although HP did manage to turn around my system in about a
week's less time than they'd originally quoted when I had to ship it
back in, they loused up the built-in network interface, and since the
original warranty had expired while it was in transit back to me, they
tried to argue that it wasn't their responsibilty to correct the problem
they caused while they were repairing it.
After spending half an hour trying to explain to the guy on the other
end of the phone exactly why it WAS their responsibility to fix what
they had broken, I came to the conclusion that it would be more time-
and cost-effective for me if I drove out to the computer store, bought a
third-party network card and installed it myself. That is what it took
to get my system back to where it was before the IDE controller went out
and HP "repaired" the system.
Basically, my complaints are that 1) The person on the other end when I
first called in didn't have the savvy to deviate from his canned script
when it was clear that their process wasn't working. 2) When HP messed
up an unrelated part of my system, it would have been more pleasant to
have oral surgery than to get their tech to agree to go through the
process of correcting their mistake.
The ironic part is that this is the first white box ("off the shelf")
system I'd ever bought. Prior to this, I either built 'em myself or
bought a custom system from one of the integration/assembly shops in
town. Having had memories of good support from HP three years back with
a relative's computer, I figured that there shouldn't be support
I've two systems I plan to replace at home this year. Neither will be
replaced with HP or Compaq equipment. The whole culture at HP has
changed so radically there that I refuse to do business with them again.
The address in the header is bogus.
See my sites for the real address.
I'll make two recommendations here:
1. If you insist on buying a monopoly PC, buy a dell with their three year
"in home" service plan. I've had several Dells, and when they do fail (my
laptop glide point mouse "buttons" broke off), they sent a tech in 24 hours
(my schedule) who showed up on time, and then proceeded to disassemble and
repair my laptop. Then he tested it to make sure all functions continued to
work: dial modem, TCP internet, memory, disk, etc. I was pleased.
2. Buy a Mac from Apple with AppleCare. You have to send it to them or take
it to an Apple Store where for the most part, their tech's are Apple heads
who actually want to fix things. I had an iBook whose battery compartment
lock failed. While not officially covered (it is a "case" problem, likely
caused by the user), then said, "send it in anyway. We'll fix it." They did
and I had it back in 48 hours with a shiny new case.
All that said, I have several HP printers and I've not had problems with
warranty repairs. They send me a new one, I send the old one back.
in article email@example.com, Fritz Milhaupt at
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 4/1/04 3:41 AM:
I can tell right away that Mr. Oates is a city dweller.
I live 200 miles north of Toronto, the nearest DELL center is in Toronto.
The nearest Apple Center is in Toronto.
Dell does NOT care about individual clients in this area, they have proven
this to us time and time again. Anything the few people who use Apples up
have to buy, they have to mail order. There is one stop here, but the only
have the basic stuff and not much at any given time.
Apples and Dell computers fail at the same rate as any other computer, nine
times out of ten, they have the same parts in them. Only the BIOS and
Operating system are proprietary.
My suggestion would be to buy from a shop who will also fix it there, or has
provision to repair on site. My whole company is based on the "ON-SITE"
principal and has it's foundations deeply rooted in "Customer Service". I go
to my customer and our motto is "Helping you understand technology better."
Most problems are fixed within an hour or two. If it is a parts situation, I
can have the parts next day 90% of the time or second day at the most. My
client's computers are only down for 2 days, not 2 weeks becuase they had to
send it to Dell or Apple or HP or Compaq or IBM.
Something to think about. We all know they WILL fail, best get the proper
solution to the problem of "What happens when it fails."
Guilty as charged: I live in Palo Alto, CA.
It is true that if you live further out than 50 miles from an urban center,
and/or Dell won't sell you "in home service," then you pretty much are on
your own. But if Dell will sell you the "in home service," they actually
drive to your house. My tech drove from Tracy, which is 62 miles.
WRT Failure rates: Apple machines have pretty much been more reliable on
most surveys, but that doesn't help when YOUR machine breaks. I've found the
AppleCare techs pretty good, and there has always been a more senior tech
around to talk to for a complicated software crash (turned out to be a
failing Xircom USB hub).
I have found PC manufacturers USELESS for software issues: they buck
everything to Microsoft.
Apple machines disk drives and memory may be like everyone else's, but the
similarities end there. The fans, mother board, CPU, sometimes even their
DVD drives are special. But I like 'em better.
If you have a good, local computer fixit shop as Will's apparently is,
terrific: us 'em. But I've found most computer fix it shops have the same
skill as my cat at fixing computers. For example, I wouldn't take anything
to Fry's (a really really big retailer to the geek community here is
California) which I ever wanted to see run again.
I figure if I want to build my own computer from the various parts (cases,
power supplies, mother boards, et al), then I can also fix just about
anything which fails. If I don't want to do that, I buy a brand which has
some way of on site, local store, or send it in get it back soon repair and
in article 6q%ac.19262$ email@example.com,
snipped-for-privacy@CreditValley.Railway at firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 4/1/04 1:01 PM:
FWIW, I have bought consistently at 15% above 'shed' rates over the
years from one guy. Everything that has ever gone wrong has always been
fixed, mostly FOC.
You can buty a compuetr anywhere. Buing aftre slaes servie is much
harder, and costs money.
The level of actual service bears no relation to the printed gurantees
or indeed to amthing oher than the will of a small trader to keep on
doing business with you.
AS Good Americans you ought to have realised that putting a disconnect
between the pesron who is supplying the service and the sale to you that
funds it, is a recipe for as little as won't get you sued. Nt as much as
is needed to get you to come back again.
Geek community??? Heck, everyone goes there because of their sales. And I
usually pick that day to go get some simple memory and get stuck is some
ver-r-r-ry long lines (Like now as they just opened the Concord store). I do
NOT like even speaking to their sales staff and I always have to check the
print out pages to make sure they ordered the correct part up for me. I have
never used their Tech Support desk at all.
I built about 30-40 that way for some cheapskate customers (like family)
over the years. I have quit doing that lately as Dell, Compaq/HP, Gateway,
etc., all offer systems cheaper than I can build them from scratch. To the
tune of $200 cheaper (at least) per unit.
Fry's hasn't been a "geek" place since they started doing the theme stores.
The only reason I go to Fry's anymore is that I need something right now.
An equivalent machine? For the same money as Dell wants I can usually
step-up on Processor speed, memory and motherboard. Granted, it's not
the hugh savings you could get a couple of years ago. I've taken to
getting barebones systems to start. The savings (not from Dell) on
piecemealing often isn't enough to overcome the shipping.
in article 3HDbc.67109$JO3.39525@attbi_s04, Paul Newhouse at
email@example.com wrote on 4/3/04 10:49 AM:
Fry's still sells bare processors, memory, power supplies, chips, yada yada
yada. Non-geeks now go there, too, but if you know what you want so you
don't have to talk to the sales help at all, and you don't go on week ends,
the lines are fairly short here in Palo Alto (the western themed store).
I've not been in the others for a while; maybe they are less geeky now, but
the PA store has lots of electronic component stuff. Not as good as
Quement's was for ham radio or regular old school stuff, but you can waste
your time and money there for computer age pieces and build your own.
There is still a "geek"ish section in the stores. If you catch a sale
for the particular thing you want they can be price competative with
Take a lunch if you want to talk to them. Once'n a while some friends
and I will go there and listen to the "sales pitch" some of them try
to use on unsuspecting customers. It's laughable ... but, it gets
boring pretty quickly. They have no clue, what's scary is that most
of the customers are less clueful. I always enjoyed the sales person
who sold the customer the square connector fiber switch and the round
connector fiber cables (there was a pretty large clear picture on the
box, hold the round cable end up against the picture of the square
hole and ask the clown, "How does this work?").
I haven't been there in quite awile. I was thinking of the newer stores;
the one on Argules (sp?), Brokaw Rd (I think thats the street it's on).
The one on Durham & 680 is just a manufacturers paste squirt up. If you
want washers, dryers, TV's, boom boxes, VCR's they have competative prices.
in article 94Lbc.69231$JO3.39665@attbi_s04, Paul Newhouse at
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 4/3/04 8:14 PM:
As I walk around the store, if I hear a sales person giving mis-information
to a customer who clearly doesn't know better, I just interrupt the sales
person with a "I've used this in the past and find it works well" and point
to the right product. I've heard DVD+R media to people who said they had a
Macintosh. Sales person said, "Oh, they are all the same. Don't pay more the
the Apple brand" then hand them a box of essentially identically priced
DVD+R. The sales guy glares at you, but I don't care. I did have one guy
tell me not to interfere with his customer, and I told him point blank that
he didn't know what he was talking about, and if he cared to get his
manager, I'd explain to him the misinformation he was spreading. He walked
I recommend such interference in ALL computer stores where the sales folks
are willfully ingnorant.
We didn't let the guy get out of the store without pointing out the round
peg in a square hole problem. And have often spoken directly to the
customer, while the sales bozo is there, and given them the benifit
of our experience ... if we can stop laughing enough to talk *8-D
Agreed, the right thing to do. I was concerned, during the round->square
episode, that I might have to take some of my cohorts to the hospital for
sedation (not wanting them to bust any ribs and puncture something
important). I nearly had my dropped jaw runover by a shopping cart!!
One of the advantages to building your own is the use of standard
off the shelf motherboards and other parts. Many of the Compaq, HP, Dell
and Gateway computers have proprietary motherboards which can't be
replaced with a normal AT or ATX form factor motherboard.
When my Compaq Presario was getting too slow and outdated to handle
the latest Winslow bloat several years ago I decided to roll my own. Now
it's just a matter of swapping a new motherboard or peripheral card for
a couple hundred $$ when something goes awry, rather than buying an
entire new system
Ran into this same prob with my HP. 800mhz is too slow for video rendering
and so forth and the max RAM the board will support is 256 megs. I had
already done an HD and DVD-R/RW upgrade so I figured I would just replace
the board and CPU. Ended up having to replace the ATX case also due to
connection issues. Add to that the setup software not working with a non-HP
board meant I had to buy XP full.
Now I have an Athlon 2400+ w/512megs RAM upgradeable to 2 gig. Cost me
probably less than a quarter what the HP cost when new.
AND easily upgradeable now.
< snip >
As I said, I love my Compaq. I didn't mention HP at all. Why? Because
they do build trash. 1 HP PC, and 3 HP printers have all been
consigned to the trash heap in the last 5 years. From normal home use.
The latest to die was a 697C printer. When Compaq and HP were about
to merge, I recieved a survey from Compaq asking for a consumers take
on the merger. My response was "don't do it, they will drag you down
to thier level, which is rock bottom". I've had several conversations
with Compaq tech support, and they have always been right on the money
with advise and accurate with all technical questions. HP tech support
actually has eclipsed AOL's tech support in applied stupidity.
My fear is that Compaq's support crew has been diluted by dolts. Maybe
next time, I will "roll my own".
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